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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

World Penguin Day!

Good morning friends!  Guess what today is?

World Penguin Day!

That’s right. And as some of you know, I love penguins. So much so that once upon a time I wrote a romantic comedy, penguin shifter story. No, for real! I did! And in honor of those adorable, goofy birds, I will be giving away (3) e-copies of Love, Marriage, and a Baby Carriage.

And if you’ve already read about Theo and Wes, check out their free coda here at my website! Also, if you enjoyed the story, please consider leaving a comment with sites like Amazon or Goodreads. All reviews, short or long, benefit authors!

Blurb: Theodore Reinhart is a young man looking for love. In San Diego. At a convention. For penguin shifters. WaddleCon is the go-to event of the year when looking for your life partner, but Theodore isn’t comfortable with the game they’ve turned dating into, nor does the convention provide for the gay community. A mistake in speed dating table assignments puts Theodore in front of Wesley O’Neill, a handsome and confident model who lets it slip that he’s definitely noticed the spark of attraction between them.
A perfect date ends prematurely when Theodore finds an abandoned egg in a bathroom trash can. Unable to leave it behind, Theodore and Wesley play a mad game of cat and mouse across the resort trying to keep it safe, all while growing closer to one another. Wesley may be the forever partner Theodore came looking for, but their relationship won’t work if they don’t make room for a little addition to the family.

I will draw the winners of the giveaway on Friday, April 28, 2017.

C.S. Poe

Monday, April 3, 2017

Interview: Derrick McClain, narrator Nevermore

I’ve been extremely excited about Nevermore coming to audio. Now that it’s finally available, readers/listeners can hear why I’ve been itching to share this project. Derrick McClain did an absolutely phenomenal job narrating the book! For anyone new to Derrick’s work, or those who may be interested in the creative process from his side, I did an interview with him about his contribution to Nevermore.

C.S.: Tell us a bit about your background as a narrator.
Derrick: While I always enjoyed the idea of doing audiobooks and other voice work, I never really knew how to get into the industry until I stumbled into work as an audiobook proofer for Dreamspinner Press. While I loved listening to the audiobooks, it really reignited my desire to be the one getting to bring these stories to life – and this time I knew where to go to start doing the work.
I think it’s also interesting to note that most audiobook narrators have a background in stage and screen acting. I on the other hand, do not – thanks in part to a dramatically tragic experience at theater camp in middle school, which I am not getting into right now. Instead, my background is largely in public speaking, along with the dramatic (live) reading of literature and a bit of reader’s theatre.

C.S.: What drew you to the Snow & Winter series?
Derrick: The very first thing that drew my attention was that it is part of Dreamspinner Press’s imprint DSP Publications. I’m a big fan of DSPP and love the idea of more of those titles going into audio.
But then I read the blurb and audition script and absolutely fell in love. Crimes inspired by Edgar Allan Poe? Hearts discovered under a floorboard? An MC who owns an antique shop? Yes please. (Okay, that last one might not sound exciting to most people but if you saw my house you’d understand. Seriously, you’d think a pair of old gay grandfathers lived here).

C.S.: What kind of research or preparation did you do for this project?
Derrick: Well, I worked with you on getting the voices and tone just right. The story fluctuates at times from an almost dark noir tale to a tongue-in-cheek comedy, and finding the right pacing and tone to cover all of that without losing the humor or destroying the macabre creepiness of certain moments was vital.
I also read up a bit on achromatopsia. Especially its pronunciation. Thanks for that.

C.S.: The Mystery of Nevermore is the first book in the Snow & Winter series. Do you enjoy revisiting the same characters as an audiobook narrator?
Derrick: I enjoy the idea of it – and I keep character voice files and backups specifically for those purposes – but Snow & Winter is the first series where I’ve actually signed the contract for more than one book in the series. There are some other series that I’ve started or come in on that I hope to continue with, but as listeners know all too well sometimes it can take a while for things to move into audio.

C.S.: What elements did you take into account when creating the voices of Sebastian and Calvin?
Derrick: First comes any explicit descriptions of their voices in the text. After that, for me it’s all about absorbing their personality and just seeing what voice rises out of that. [Sidebar: this is one of the things I find so challenging about auditions – I barely know the characters yet, which makes finding their voice very difficult] Finally, I try to make sure that all of the characters are still distinct audibly, which sometimes can lead to some final tweaking.

C.S.: Were there any characters that were difficult to give a voice to? On the reverse— were any of the voices easy to find?
Derrick: Sebastian was challenging in that he’s rather complicated, and I also wanted to go deeper with him at first but I needed him to remain very distinct from Calvin. Sebastian’s dad was a challenge only in that for whatever reason I kept wanting to make him southern. Stupid vocal chords, no!
Calvin came rather easily, actually, and I have a weird joy in voicing deep manly alpha males who try – but eventually fail – to hide their emotions behind a face of stoicism.

C.S.: Were there any scenes in Nevermore that you particularly enjoyed narrating?
Derrick: The parrot. I’ll spare you the full story but there was a certain elementary school experience in my life where my mimicking a parrot defeated a bully. So I’ve had a parrot voice in reserve for a couple decades now and finally got to use it.

C.S.: Was there anything in this project that challenged you?
Derrick: Action scenes are always challenging because the natural impulse is to go fast – and at parts you absolutely should – but the best way to convey action is usually breaking it up. And throwing in some epic dramatic pauses.

C.S.: Which character in Nevermore was your favorite?
Derrick: I want to choose someone other than Sebastian. But who am I kidding? I freaking love Sebastian and can’t wait to continue his story.

C.S.: What are some of your upcoming projects for 2017?
Derrick: Right now I’ve got more titles scheduled out than I’ve ever had before in my career – which is both exciting and terrifying. Immediately, I’m in the booth with Josh Lanyon’s Point Blank which is a collection of the first five Dangerous Grounds novellas following two agents of the Diplomatic Security Services as they navigate crime and love. Then I have Felice Stevens’ Learning to Love before returning to our boys Sebastian and Calvin in your The Mystery of the Curiosities. There’s another five or so titles also contracted after that but everyone will just have to wait for those announcements.

The Mystery of Nevermore (Snow & Winter Book One)
Available at Audible and Amazon

Narrator Bio: After eight years of professional and competitive public speaking and (live) oral interpretation of literature, Derrick has turned his powerful voice to the world of audiobooks.
While he enjoys reading, listening to, and narrating a wide variety of genres, he has a particular affinity and passion for romance novels of all types.
Derrick records in a professional quality studio at his home in Tallahassee, FL, where he enjoys the quiet North Florida lifestyle along with his fiance and insanely hyper dogs. He has previously lived in rural Pennsylvania as well as Orange County California, and has extensively traveled the United States, becoming familiar with a wide range of American accents and sub-cultures.

JOY Blog Tour #1

Hello, everyone! I’m ready to kick off the start of Joy’s blog tour here on my home turf! Part of Dreamspinner Press’s States of Love line, Joy takes place in beautiful northern New Hampshire.

The story follows Gideon Joy, a young man with laughable bad luck, stranded in Coos County after hitting a moose and totaling his car. An important element of the story is local cuisine. When I moved to New Hampshire in elementary school, I was introduced to a really popular snack: Fluffernutter Sandwiches. Below is a simple recipe along with an exclusive excerpt from Joy. And if you try the sandwich, let me know what you think!

1 jar of creamy peanut butter (chunky isn’t typically used, but I won’t judge.)
1 jar of marshmallow fluff
2 slices of white bread
Optional addition: freshly sliced banana

Spread a generous helping of creamy peanut butter on one slice of white bread. Spread a large quantity of fluff on the second slice. Press the two together, cut diagonally down the middle.


I stumbled forward, clutching the food because I was afraid of how a group of hungry construction guys would act if I dropped it all. A few of the workers met me halfway and directed me over to a table. One, who had to be younger than me, hungrily looked over my shoulder.
“Two, er—grinders?” I said, reading the neat handwriting on the outside of each wrapper. Looked like it was probably a sub. “Spaghetti. Chicken sandwich….”
The kid was picking up each meal and calling out the worker’s name who ordered it.
I pulled out some bags of chips and piled them to the side before reaching for the next meal. “An avocado panini.”
“Ted!” the guy called out.
“Don’t touch my panini!” Ted barked from somewhere nearby.
I took the last item from the bag and gave it pause. “A… Fluffernutter—?”
“Fluffernutter sandwich!” the kid shouted, laughing. “Silas!”
Silas? Are you kidding me?
I turned around quickly, all but knocking into the man in question.
Silas glanced down at me before averting his gaze.
You know… he actually didn’t look like a ham sandwich. That was mean of me. He wasn’t wearing that beat-up cap from yesterday. His hair was neat-looking now, and the scruff on his face had been trimmed to that oh you sexy piece of man stage.
He was actually kind of hot. And definitely still huge. His chest was easily two of me across, and he wasn’t wearing a long-sleeve shirt to hide his arms. Be still my heart, the muscles on that man. I’d be happy to watch him pick up heavy things all day.
I swallowed, but my throat was dry.
He pointed at the sandwich in my hand.
I glanced down. “Oh! Yours.”
“What’s a Fluffernutter sandwich?”
Silas was staring at the food. “Fluff and peanut butter,” he answered quietly.
“Fluff? Like marshmallow?”
He nodded and immediately walked away.
I frowned, watching Silas’s back. What was up with him? He couldn’t even pretend to be pleasant? There was apparently no getting on his good side, if the lack of eye contact and one-word responses weren’t enough indication that Silas didn’t want to be friends.
Not that I wanted to be friends.
Buff, hot guy or not.

Tour Schedule:
4/3/17 – C.S. Poe’s blog
4/4/17 – The Novel Approach
4/5/17 – Love Bytes Reviews
4/6/17 – Sinfully Gay Romance Reviews
4/7/17 – Boy Meets Boy

C.S. Poe

Down on his luck is Gideon Joy’s default state. He doesn’t know why he expected anything different on his cross-country trip, but not surprisingly, the hits keep coming—literally this time. Gideon strikes a moose with his car in New Hampshire, not only totaling his own vehicle, but damaging one belonging to local construction worker Silas Bright. He has no choice but to stay in Lancaster and take a job that’ll pay for the repairs. And in a town so small, Gideon’s always running into Silas. What starts as annoyance between them soon blooms into something much more romantic. But when Gideon’s notorious bad luck rears its head yet again, how many disastrous dates will Silas be willing to weather before realizing Gideon’s not worth it?
Despite Gideon’s desire to remain in the quaint community that has accepted him as one of their own, past fears of inadequacy threaten the very joy he left Los Angeles to discover. If he’s to find a happily ever after with Silas, Gideon must learn that sometimes it’s okay to not be the best. And true happiness might be waiting in a small town nestled among the great White Mountains.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.
She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.
She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.
C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.