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Happy Book Birthday Verbalize by Damon Suede

Happy Book Birthday Verbalize by Damon Suede

It’s time to Verbalize with a detailed, informative writer’s manual to go forth and produce the book you’ve ever written.
Create your best work.
Are you a new writer? A seasoned writer? A blogger? Everyone that writes needs this book!

Verbalize is a Masterclass written with humor,
enough examples and exercises to tackle your WIP,
and improve your writing. It’s time to approach
your novel, novella, or whatever your writing with
a whole new attitude and an approach that makes sense.

In case you missed my review this weekend, you can find it here

Want to read an exclusive excerpt? Click here.

Need to have it in your e-reader? One-click here.

Check out this fabulous giveaway Damon has here. There is a bonus entry for visitors of this post.

If you have any questions for Damon regarding this book and the concept of Verbalize, please leave your comments below. What are you waiting for? 

Please note that FIVE winners (from any region) will be pulled by the app on 30 March. The more you help spread the word, the bigger your chances of claiming a prize.

**Books I love A Latte is not responsible for selecting or notifying winners**

Purchase links:

 

Author Info: Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. He has lived all over and along the way, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. He has been happily partnered for over a decade with the most loving, handsome, shrewd, hilarious, noble man to walk this planet.

Damon is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades, which is both more and less glamorous than you might imagine. 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..

Damon would love to hear from you…. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com

 

The Extra Shot – March 11, 2018

The Extra Shot – March 11, 2018

Welcome to The Extra Shot, a weekly Sunday post featuring EXCLUSIVE content from Authors who have books releasing in the near future.  

Books I Love A Latte is a book review blog focusing primarily on the romance genre, fiction, and women’s fiction. In addition, we periodically review products to keep you organized and more productive as writers and readers.  

Stay connected with Rae Latte and Books I Love A Latte for Book Reviews, Excerpts, Teasers, Coffee With (Interviews), Giveaways, Authors Dish, Book Sales, and other Tasty Tidbits. 

Today we’ve got TWO EXCLUSIVE excerpts and a few giveaways to jump start your week. Each author has brought there own giveaways so be sure to read for details within each feature!

 

 

Meaningful Detail: the little things that tell a tale by Damon Suede

I want to thank Rae for letting me come talk with y’all about the ways characters drive a story. Next week Verbalize comes out, aka my new craft book on characterization and story-planning, and we thought you might dig splashing around in some of its ideas. If you’d like to enter to win a story consult or a copy of Verbalize (print or digital), check out the contest here.

Specificity is critical in genre fiction. Over and over we’re told to keep things precise if we expect readers to care, but I often wonder if that advice goes far enough. Paying attention is always the answer to creative problems, but what needs our attention. Authors absolutely need to focus, but they need to focus on things that matter.

On that tip, I’d like to include a brief excerpt from Chapter 1 of Verbalize, about the power of significant specifics.

*    *    *

When we care about something, we pay attention, and by the same token, when we pay attention to something, we start to care about it.

You can only pay attention to specificity, so canny authors go out of their way to provide juicy detail that supports the story. Vagueness connotes laziness, sloppiness, or apathy in the writer, which is why pablum is general and generalized. Consequently, specificity is the core of solid craft and superior art. Precision makes us focus and remember.

By the same token, specifics are critical, but only in service to the tale you’re telling. Plunking random specifics into a story without any awareness of their impact serves nothing. Paying attention to your story’s details makes your readers follow suit. When you stop paying attention, likewise.

Every specific in a story requires a purpose, a function. Instead of pointless detail, what you should aim for is significance: meaningful patterns start with resonant focus. When weighing the effect of any detail, you should be able to answer the question “How does this help tell the story and improve the emotional ride?” Under that lens you’ll quickly pinpoint facts that actually characterize and dramatize the tale you’re telling.

Significant specifics don’t just attract attention, they reward it so that the patterns of the story begin to connect to patterns already hardwired in your reader’s mind. Rather than providing conclusions, show your audience respect and engage them directly by allowing them to reach conclusions on their own. Significance jacks into their consciousness directly for more potent and efficient narrative results.

A detail only becomes significant when it helps you tell the tale.

Show your readers significant specifics and you don’t need to tell them anything, but try to tell them something, and their craving for pattern will send them looking for specifics that might contradict it. Better to have your audience as an enthusiastic ally than a dubious witness.

The great power of significance is that it forces all your words to do the heavy lifting—sometimes several jobs at once—so you can pack more of a punch into less space by showing and not telling. As Elizabeth Bowen put it, “Irrelevance, in any part, is a cloud and a drag on, a weakener of, the novel. It dilutes meaning. Relevance crystallizes meaning.”[i]

Here’s the great secret of writing popular fiction: your audience helps you tell the best story, but only if you give them the right materials.

What matters most is why characters pursue what they pursue and how they pursue it despite terrible odds. Instead of bogging down in minutiae, you can anchor every project in the raw, emotional power that engages readers and inspires creativity by focusing on the energy of the story. What matters to your audience and your process is the driving force behind the story, the spring in the clock, the emotional core, the choices of the characters. The actions they embody. The risks they take.

The rest is parsley on the plate.

_________________________________________________________________________

Excerpted from Verbalize by Damon Suede.

© Damon Suede 2018. All rights reserved.

_________________________________________________________________________

BIO:

Damon grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen almost three decades and just released his first craft book: Verbalize, a practical guide to characterization and story craft. 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 on Twitter, Facebook, or at DamonSuede.com.

__________________________________________________________________________

[i] Elizabeth Bowen, “Notes on Writing a Novel” included in Collected Impressions, (1950).

 

Only a few more hours till you can discover for yourself how to Verbalize! Get your copy here –

In case you missed my review, you can read it here.  

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:

Miranda:

The solid wood door swung out easily when I pulled, and my heart began beating a quicker rhythm as Chance’s distinctive low voice rolled out the open door of an office adjacent to the lobby.

“If it gets any worse, let me know, John. We’ll lend a hand.” I could see Chance’s back as he stood looking out the window behind his desk, the phone to his ear.

“Miranda. What’s up?” There was an office on each side of the small reception space, and Sam appeared from the side opposite Chance’s office, no doubt summoned by the bell above the front door.

“Hey Sam.” My eyes were locked on Chance’s broad back, a dark flannel pulled tightly across the muscles just below the curls that were beginning to form at the top of his tanned neck. I pulled my gaze away to land on Sam instead. His familiar face was hardly a comfort. Chance and Sam’s eyes were almost identical, and the angular cut of their cheekbones and jaws were similar too. Both Palmer brothers could have been carved from stone—they were that good looking.

Despite their similar faces, I swooned when Chance looked at me, and I definitely felt something when my eyes met Sam’s—only I wasn’t sure exactly what it was. He made me nervous. Not in a good way, but in a way that kept me on my toes. And the way he was staring at me now made me uncomfortable. Like he was trying to figure something out. I was suddenly regretting wearing my hair down.

Best get to the point. “I came in to ask about that job. The administrative one?” My fingers found the tassel on my purse and began pulling at it.

Sam stepped out of his office and squinted at me as one side of his mouth lifted in a half-smile. He looked confused, his face crinkling up. “Why?”

Annoyance flooded me. This was the problem with Sam. Nothing was straightforward. I sighed, turning to see if Chance might be done with his call and come out so I could speak to him instead. Of course then I’d be nervous instead of annoyed. “I thought I might be able to help out with that.”

“It’s not a ‘help out’ type of thing. It’s a job. And you already have a job. And you’re in school.” Sam leaned his tall body against the door jam of his office and crossed his big arms over his broad chest. He gave off an air of judgment that put me on edge. And of course he was being difficult about something that could be simple.

“But Chance said it was part time?”

“What part of the time do you see yourself being here?” He was smiling now and I got the distinct impression he was toying with me. I shifted my weight uncomfortably as I stood there, in Maddie’s khaki pants and flowered blouse. The clothes had me feeling a bit unlike myself, and now I was standing here like an idiot in the middle of the room and Sam was being difficult. I had no doubt Chance would have offered me a seat. He was the polite brother. Sam was just watching me, like I was put there to amuse him.

“The part of the time when you guys need me, I guess.” My voice didn’t carry the confident edge I wanted it to, so I cleared my throat and continued. “I can rearrange my diner shifts if I need to, and college is online. I do most of my work at night anyway.”

“Right.” Sam chewed on his bottom lip for a second and then something about his fingernails caught his attention. He brought his hand to his face and rubbed his thumb against his index finger, looking intently at it. Finally he tucked his hand back under the opposite elbow and looked back up at me. “Okay.” He stood upright again and turned around to head back into his office, leaving me standing in the middle of the room.

Okay? What did that mean?

Love Reimagined © Delancey Stewart 2018. All rights reserved.

Delancey Stewart GIVEAWAY #1

ONE SIGNED copy of Love Rebuilt is up for grabs if you sign-up to
 Delancey’s newsletter http://eepurl.com/dneOEP today!


Delancey Stewart GIVEAWAY #2

Already signed up? There are THREE e-books of Love Reimagined waiting to find a new home. Will it be you?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In case you missed it, my review of Love Rebuilt.
My review of Love Reimagined.

Author Info:
Delancey Stewart is an award-winning author who writes romantic fiction with humor and heart.

Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She’s been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a wineseller.

A wife and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler and story reader. She tackles all these efforts at her current home outside Washington D.C.

Find her at www.delanceystewart.com

 

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Verbalize by Damon Suede

Verbalize by Damon Suede

Verbalize by Damon Suede is what every Author/Writer needs regardless of genre to create magic. This e-book is easy to read, portable, and packed with writing goodness. Damon has provided Authors with a detailed, informative manual to go forth and write the book they were born to create. Even seasoned writers will want to read this book.

I have a new appreciation of the craft as I write on the blog to share reviews, interviews and all the extra goodies that go along with blogging. The approach that Damon outlines, step-by-step makes sense. From start to finish he lays it all out.

Readers, I’m giddy with excitement for writers everywhere. There is no reason to not produce your best work. I had the pleasure of listening to Damon Suede discuss many of the key points presented in this book a few weeks ago and while reading at home, I could hear his voice on each page. If you’re looking for a tool to help improve your writing that’s easy to read, includes tons of visual bullets – bold and italicized words to highlight the key concepts in each section, meaningful quotes, literary and film references to tie it all together so you can have that aha moment this is it! If that’s not enough, there are even resources at the end of the book that will surely give writers plenty to think about.

Verbalize is a Masterclass written with humor, tons of examples and exercises to tackle a book regardless of genre. Nestled within each section are exercises that will allow you to use your work-in-progress. It’s a win-win. Not to mention the added convenience of having Damon’s expertise at your fingers to access anytime, anywhere while making notes, highlighting the important bits and flipping with the easy to locate pages. Perfection.

Whether your a plotter or a pantser this book provides you the tools to tackle every aspect of your next book adventure and breaks it down into manageable bites. Continued encouragement allows for a fresh mindset every step of the way. Damon even tackles grammar so eloquently that I wish he’d been my Spanish teacher. Perhaps then I’d have done better with my conjugations and verbs ;). It’s time to write, think and be honest with yourself to create a fabulous book adventure.

I received this ARC from the author for a fair and honest review.

 
 Sweet –  Either no romance, or romance behind closed doors with enough sweetness to put a pink blush on your cheeks and leave your heart full of joy. Warm, sensual, and delicious.

Check out this fabulous giveaway Damon has here. There is a bonus entry for visitors of this post.

If you have any questions for Damon regarding this book please leave your comments below. He will randomly answer a few lucky readers who reach out so have at it! 

Please note that FIVE winners (from any region) will be pulled by the app on 30 March. The more you help spread the word, the bigger your chances of claiming a prize.

**Books I love A Latte is not responsible for selecting or notifying winners**

Purchase links:

Be sure to check the blog tomorrow for The Extra Shot. I’ll have an EXCLUSIVE Excerpt

from Verbalize. You won’t want to miss it!

Author Info: Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. He has lived all over and along the way, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. He has been happily partnered for over a decade with the most loving, handsome, shrewd, hilarious, noble man to walk this planet.

Damon is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades, which is both more and less glamorous than you might imagine. 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..

Damon would love to hear from you…. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com

 

Authors Dish

 

 

Welcome to Authors Dish where your favorite authors share what they are reading. In addition, if you enjoy reading their books they have suggestions for similar book adventures by other authors. It doesn’t get better than that!

 

 

Today in the cafe are Damon Suede, Lucy Farago, and Hildie McQueen.

Rae: Who are you reading?

Damon Suede: I’m currently doing as binge read of Sherry Thomas’ Victoriana and after that I feel like it’s time for a weekend of Eileen Dreyer’s Kathleen Korbel catalog because she finds diamonds in the word mines.

 

 

Lucy Farago: Susanne Kearsley’s A Desperate Fortune, Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless, and Eve Langlais’s a Demon Witch. It depends on what mood I’m in.

 

 

Hildie McQueen: Kathryn Le Veque, J.D. Monroe, Jordan K. Rose and Renee George

 

 

Rae: If readers are a fan of your books, who should they consider reading?

Damon Suede: Charlotte Stein for the delirious, poetic smut, Mary Stewart for the broody, old-school neogothic, and Molly O’Keefe for the blend of feisty humor and dangerous emotions.

Lucy Farago: It’s hard to compare myself to other authors. Someone once told me I reminded her of Roxanne St Clair when she writes romantic suspense. Other than that I have no idea. I’m not a dark writer and I try and blend in as much humour as I can get away with.

Hildie McQueen: Merry Farmer and Sylvia McDaniel

Rae: Thank you so much authors! Let me know dear readers if you try any of these books. I’ll see you next week – sae time for new authors and more fun! 

Coffee With Damon Suede

Coffee With Damon Suede

Damon Suede | homoerotic romanceRae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today.

Damon: And thank you so much for having me. 🙂

Rae: First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an iced mocha latte with Coconut milk. What would you order?

Damon: A real chai, none of that syrupy Starbuck stuff. 🙂 Earlier this year I stayed with Sonali Dev in Chicago and all weekend she made me this amazing chai that her parents had brought from Mumbai, with fresh ginger grated into it. Heaven!

Rae: That sounds yummy! We met at RT Booklovers in Atlanta this past spring. Not only was our encounter fun, you were extremely generous with your time! My time was packed with places and people I wanted to meet. Were you able to connect with authors of books you read?

Damon: Absolutely. It’s one of my favorite things about RT every year I wind up meeting all these amazing authors and picking up books I never would’ve found otherwise and in the next year I get to go back and party with them. That’s one of my favorite things about romance events: the way Romancelandia extends beyond the physical space. I always say, “ugly carpets, nice people!” It feels like such a blessing, the romance community, and the folks who write the books I love are the people who get to party w-ith. Where else in the world does that happen?

Rae: Is there a topic or panel that you would love to discuss or be a part of but haven’t yet at a convention or conference?

Damon: I dunno… I talk a whole lot. LOL but now that you mention it, I wish more attention got paid to tropes in the genre. Fans love them, authors live by them, our entire industry hinges on them, but tropes tend to get short shrift in programming. Maybe it’s because they’re so complicated and so personal. Hard to say. But I love tracing and tracking the way tropes evolve over time, the way fans embrace and discard tropes. They’re fascinating.

Rae: For readers who are not familiar with your books can you tell us what sparked your desire to write romance? Where do you find inspiration for your stories and how long does it take you to write a novel from start to finish? What is your favorite genre to write?

Damon: Whew! Okay. A lot to answer there. 🙂 I first wrote romance on a dare: I was still screenwriting full time and a friend of mine was working on a book and I helped her with a plot problem and she legit dared me to write a book. I wrote my first book in six weeks, sold it in two days, and it was number one for six months on Amazon. I couldn’t believe it. After two weeks, I called my agent and said, “I never wanna work for the Weinstein brothers or Miramax again!” LOL Romance was so liberating, so fresh after years in showbiz; I didn’t have to wrestle with an entire shoot crew or worry what a director or star might do a story. I could just let to people fall in love and unpack all that emotion the way I wanted to. It was just so freeing, so inspiring. The funny thing is, I haven’t written that many books but I’m actually a very fast writer…I’m just fussy. I’d say the average book takes me three months to finish. And as for genre, I am a proud genre slut: I love them all so wherever the story takes me I follow.

Rae: Your previous jobs are impressive and fun! How much of your previous careers have found it’s way into any of your stories?

Damon: Well in a way, all of ’em. I grew up in Texas where my family still keeps a ranch which absolutely influenced the farm and town Lickety Split. I lived for several years on the Upper East Side of Manhattan amongst hyperpolished A-gays which is where the setting for Pent Up started. I’ve written comics, directed film, and acted and those jobs turned up in Bad Idea. I have a weird secret life as an academic with a degree in religion which definitely had an influence on the daemonology in Horn Gate. Even the Brooklyn in Hot Head comes from personal experience and long stretches hanging out with first responders in sketchy bars. LOLOL

Rae: When you are not sitting at your desk, in your chair, or wherever you find your inspiration to craft, what do you read to fuel your mind?

Damon: Lord. Everything! I read 1200 words a minute so my book consumption is like a wood chipper: history, science, sociology, lit crit, poetry, theology, true crime, biography, pulps… And of course I read tons and tons of romance and other genre fiction because I’m always trying to learn how to do my job better. But I mulch my muse with as much fresh, interesting content as I can lay my paws on. I never want to get stale. I’m always looking for the next thing, a fresh perspective.

Rae: What was the craziest thing you researched for a book you were working on?

Damon: Hmmm. I think it’s a tossup… either types of grass raised for hay bailing operations, which I spent four days researching for Lickety Split because I wanted to get the family business right, or else eels because Grown Men was about terraforming and eel ranching, which led to two weeks of reading and an afternoon on a boat watching fishermen club eels to death. Intense, but very very instructive when it came to writing sci-fi seafood ranching.

Rae: What inspired you to serve on the Romance Writers of America Board? Has your time on the board changed your perspective of the romance writing process?

Damon: I was originally appointed, which felt weird at first. As it happened, right before Diane Kelly took office, two board members stepped down and she wanted to focus on increasing RWA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. I gotta be honest, I turned her down for nine days because I didn’t really believe she was serious. Diversity push? Yeah right. Finally, my husband gave me a stern talking to and said if I passed up the opportunity to make a difference I’d kick myself for the rest of my life. Well color me an idiot… In our first meeting, Diane and the rest of the Directors made my doubts seem ridiculous and that year was in many ways a watershed for RWA’s future planning. After that first year I couldn’t run for the board fast enough. Working with these brilliant, talented women has completely changed the writer I am and the way I work in this industry. I have a completely different grasp and respect for our industry. There’s so much history, so much insight that comes from knuckling down and solving problems with folks this talented, gracious, and experience. Amazing. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Rae: What can we expect to see in 2017?

Damon: Well, aside from the Second Chance anthology which just came out I’m getting close to finishing a new royal romance which I’m having a blast with. Saucy tabloid misbehavior in excelsis. LOL I don’t have a hard date on release but that will be next and I think the fans will seriously dig it.

Rae: Readers, I featured a review and excerpt of Twice Shy, Damon’s tale in the Second Chance Anthology earlier this morning. You can read it here. Where can readers find you in the upcoming months?

Damon: Geez. I’m all over! LOL I’m traveling a lot, which I love. 🙂 Denver, Orange County, Houston, Valley Forge, even Bristol in the UK. There’s a full schedule of my workshops and convention appearances at my site if folks are looking for me and I post updates on all my social media feeds.

Rae: Thank you again

Damon: Thank you, Rae! I had a great time.

***** Tantalizing Tidbits *******

1. What is a must read book and why? Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe… She’s a brilliant stylist, with a sexy, snarky sense of suspense. Deeply emotional and personal in the best ways. This book just grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go.

2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? The next time you make it to NYC you should check out the view of the Manhattan Bridge from the waterfront in Brooklyn Heights. Every square inch looks like a shot from a saucy 1930s musical about Manhattan.

3. Best vacation destination? Prague. Amazing people, amazing food, amazing artwork.

4. What is your guilty pleasure? Well, I don’t believe in Feeling guilty about my pleasures. But probably the thing other people would feel guilty about that I do is collecting and savoring the worst films on the planet. Flop-tastic! I have hundreds and hundreds of the most god-awful films ever created and I watch them with shameless abandon and delight. That’s how Cinema Craptastique was born, actually. Fans had heard about my bad movie collection and the hardcore fiasco marathons in my loft, so we got public with the cheese! 😀

5. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? No tats. I’m too much of an editor so the minute I chose one I’d want to change my mind. LOL Every so often I flirt with getting something that seems PERFECT and then the next week I’m relieved I didn’t.

6. Organized or Free Floating? Worse! I’m a free floating organizer. The most infuriating qualities of each. 😛 I’m always riffing and improvising, but I’m fiddling and fussing and revising as I do it. Like an actor with a screenwriter sending pages telepathically every second of a shoot. LOL I love the wacky freedom but I also want the framework. Roses need a trellis! LOL

7. What’s on your playlist? Movie scores. When I’m writing I don’t like lyrics because I find them distracting, but for the last 25 years I collected movie scores in every genre because I love the emotions and the texture and I can build a kind of soundscape for whatever I’m working on.

8. What is one thing you can’t live without? Books. I literally read every day, sometimes as many as four books in a day. My entire loft looks like the library from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. F’realz. The idea of having to survive without interesting stuff to feed my mind makes me want to jump out of an airplane eating a razor while cutting my wrists with a sushi knife. I love books in a way I don’t know how to articulate properly. They are lanterns on the unlit path and safe harbor in stormy seas. Books save me more often than I’d care to admit.

Rae: Thanks again for hanging out! Time for another Iced-Coffee 🙂

Damon: You’re awesome! Can’t wait to hang the next time we’re in the same zipcode!

Rae: Happy Reading Damon

Bio:

Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. He has lived all over and along the way, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. He has been happily partnered for over a decade with the most loving, handsome, shrewd, hilarious, noble man to walk this planet.

Damon is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades, which is both more and less glamorous than you might imagine. 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..
Damon would love to hear from you…. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com

Second Chances is one-click worthy

Second Chances is one-click worthy

Earlier this month Romance Writers of America released it’s second collection of unpublished stories from hot authors to sample their fabulous talents. If you haven’t purchased the Second Chances: A Romance Writers of America Collection, one-click now!

Included in this collection are tales from J.Kenner, Christina Lauren, Liliana Hart, Alyssa Day, Rachel Hauck, Damon Suede, Marilyn Brant, Renee Luke, Kerri Carpenter, Tara Wyatt, Cici Coughlin, Cassandra Dean, Tina Ferraro, Ariella Moon, Brandi Willis Schreiber, Lizzie Shane, and Sharon Sobel.

Later this morning I’m meeting up with Damon Suede for coffee and wanted to share with you his tale in this collection, Twice Shy. A second chance story about a youthful crush, regrets, and loss.

Jerome and Wendell were best friends in school, then in one moment tragedy strikes and they are forever separated. Seventeen years later fate brings them back together. Life has moved on, years have passed, now more than ever they need each other the most. Can two friends find love after all this time? Older, wiser, and ready to find out what could be, will they take the leap?

When Damon crafts a story he infuses emotion, humor, and the perfect amount of chemistry. In three chapters his characters made me laugh, squeezed my heart, proved that love is everlasting and left me absolutely satisfied. In three chapters readers! Check out this excerpt and see for yourself. I’m off to meet up with Damon for coffee!

In this excerpt from the start of “Twice Shy,”Jerome (aka Jug) has bumped into Wince, his best friend from high school, 17 years after they got expelled; both men are now single dads with kids attending their alma mater.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________


Wince thumped Jerome’s shoulders and squeezed. “You look great, man. I swear you got blacker. And bigger, I think. You’re so jacked.”
“I do. I’m a…” Awkward. “I train people. At a gym. I’m a personal trainer.”
“Oh.” Doubly awkward. “I figured you’d be a doctor by now.”
“I am. I was.” Jerome studied the concrete. “Life got complicated.”
Wince blinked at him. “Truth.” He wasn’t leaving.
He could almost hear Olivia urging him to Talk to the man, Jerome. “My parents had some problems when I was doing my residency and I came home to help and I dunno…I never…”
Shrug, as if Wince wanted to put him at ease. “Well, you look amazing.” He crossed his arms. “I need pointers. Hey, you wanna grab some coffee?”
Yes. Jerome shook his head, wondering what Mrs. Wince might be like, and then wishing he hadn’t wondered. No reason to mention Olivia’s passing. He wasn’t hiding behind his wife’s memory, was he? Ugh. “I’m gonna be late.” He has a kid.
“Train?”
“The R.”
“I’ll walk you.” Wince herded him toward the corner, not actually bumping into him but steering him with his presence the way he had since they were in high school. He even walked with the same loose, dorky shuffle. Time travel again. They could have been headed to the library or to the principal’s office.
“Thanks.” Uneasy, Jerome tried to get Wince back on track. He just needed to survive another five minutes and they’d be done and over and nice to know you. “What about you?”
“Eesh.” Wince grimaced at the winter clouds and hunched forward as he walked, like the memory was too heavy to carry. “Yeah. Well, after I got expelled…so, juvie for a stretch. You knew that. After the wreck. Then a little prison for flavor. Got out, ditched my folks, and knocked around. A lotta drugs, because…reasons. I dunno. It was there. A couple sh*@#y tattoos I don’t remember getting. Then by accident, I fell into music. Bands, y’know.”
“You were in a band?”
“No! Well, I was, but mainly as scenery. Downtown Clowns. Pretty boy pop punk. I pretended to play guitar mostly. They wanted someone to freak the crowd and set fire to their pubes. You know me: professional troublemaker. That I’m good for. Right?”
Jerome chuckled. “And you applied.”
“Bulls@#t. I was recruited.” Wince smiled, big and bright, like they were still kids sneaking out to drink on the roof of his apartment building.
Back in school, how many times had he asked Jerome? What the hell am I good for?
Me. You’re good for me.
Wince faced him again and sighed. “Oh man. Fun gig. All that tail. Money eventually. Record label kept me out of court.”
They reached the corner and started snaking across a wide-open farmer’s market sprawled across a church plaza. In three minutes he’d be safe. “I can’t believe you were in a band. White boy rhythm and all.”
“Hand to God. And then we found a real guitarist and I sort of tagged along for kicks until our manager quit and I took over.”
Jerome choke-laughed. “Wait, what? You managed something? A band?” No way in hell.
“You could call it that. It just sorta happened.” Wince pushed his hand into his thick hair and scratched his scalp. “Made sure we got paid. Set up the venues. Fought with the label once we got signed. Kept the other guys clean-ish. Off hard stuff anyways. They figured I was crazy so they, I dunno, listened.”
They snaked past stalls piled with bread and onions, and fresh honey until they reached Union Square. “Never in a million years….”
“I know, right? But after my folks, what did I care? Nothing scared me. Nothing grossed me out. Turns out I’m a perfect stiff for pop bands. Now the label sends me out to break new talent. I’m respectable, Jug.”
“Jesus.”
“Tell me.” Wink. “But it pays great. How the hell else am I paying for private school in Manhattan?”
Right. “That’s amazing. You finally figured out what you were good for.”
You’re good for me.
Wince smiled again, and for ten seconds they were boys sitting on a window ledge, a hundred feet above the city, sorting out their escape plan.
Jerome could see Union Square up ahead and the entrance to the R train. Fright or flight, mofo. He wanted to run away and he wanted to let Wince kidnap him both.
“Here’s you.” Wince paused at the top of the subway stairs. His dirty gold hair gleaming in the cold sunlight, his joker’s grin teasing at the question that neither of them had the stones to ask.
Do you remember the two of us?
Jerome held out a shaky hand to shake.
Wince took it, but then pulled him into a quick hug, pressing their chests together for two impossible seconds. One breath, two breaths. And he still smelled great and felt better. And for two seconds, they were seventeen and anything was possible.
Once burned.
Wince muttered against his chest. “So great to see you, Jug.” And then he was gone, walking away before Jerome could respond or wipe his eyes.
Downstairs he stepped onto his train headed downtown. “Stand clear of the closing doors.”
_________________________________________________________________________________
Excerpted from Twice Shy by Damon Suede
published by RWA
Copyright 2016. Damon Suede. All Rights Reserved

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