Here’s a rundown of all the giveaways on Stories That Make You Smile that are still open as of this posting. Act quickly, some are ending soon!
NOTE: If an open giveaway lists a requirement for you to comment on the blog post, please click through to the original blog post (book titles are links) to comment rather than leave it on this post.
Excerpt on the original blog post!
The first paragraph of Kerry Ashton’s new memoir explains a lot: “I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat—a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years. The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing, but also how I eventually unshamed myself. It is about the journey of a lifetime, finding spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing along the way, while encountering many miraculous events that pushed me forward through darkness toward the light.”
Telling about his experiences during his four years at BYU—the rape, falling in love for the first time, police surveillance, harassment and arrest, while enduring three years of conversion therapy and electric shock treatments—provide the structure of Kerry’s memoir. But intermittently, the author shares memories from his childhood, growing up Mormon in Pocatello, Idaho, and later from his adulthood, as well as from his professional career as an actor and writer, both in L.A. and NYC, describing encounters with Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis and Julie Harris, while detailing his experiences with Tennessee Williams and his brief affair with Stephen Sondheim. Lastly, he talks about the 12 years he spent in therapy, about his 16-year battle with cancer, how he eventually rid himself of the shame internalized from his Mormon youth, sharing glimpses into his sexual journey from his innocent youth through S&M and the gay leather scene in mid-life to the loving monogamous relationship he now enjoys.
Donnie Watson’s baking disasters are legendary, but this Easter, his mismatched chocolate eggs bring accidental but astonishing results to four downhearted gay men. The chocolate sweets spill onto the pavement of a small parade of local shops—and go on a matchmaking tour like no other! From a bankrupt and betrayed baker, to a homeless but hopeful man, to a conceited bar owner in need of a reality check, and finally to the hapless but caring Donnie himself.
After all, Love means you can have chocolate too!
Excerpt on the original blog post!
As the Light Festival draws near, the Něssyrians craft paper lanterns, awaiting the most important holiday of the year.
The Lyliňg Fighting House, too, prepares for celebration—by laying fresh sand onto the arena and setting up a match against their top pit fighter, the unrivalled Yüuzuki Ōren.
His last match. One he can’t win.
With the odds more than stacked against him, the gorgeous Barbarian is as good as dead. Unless his lover, healer Ĥaiatto Ẽkana, proves himself every bit as determined as he is clever and finds a way to protect the man he’d stop at nothing to save.
A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.
Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.
When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.
It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.
When they spend time alone on a Montana mountainside will Tyler ever convince Martin that like sapphires, love is worth searching for?
Martin’s name was the very last on a kill list. The son of a murderer, he’s had no childhood; lost in a horrific holding pattern of death that turned his heart to stone. Thanks to the man who called him brave and spared his life, he no longer has to look over his shoulder, but he does have one question. Why did Justin let him live?
Tyler Colby has identified a major flaw in the seismic mapping system used to monitor earthquake activity. Sent to Crooked Tree by his employer, the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, he is tasked with adding a new remote station to the network. The installation should be his entire focus, but the lure of sapphires and his attraction to a heartbroken young man called Martin is enough to make him want more.
Sullivan Haines knows exactly what he wants out of life. Fame as a Broadway dancer and to find the man of his dreams. Sadly, his love life is a dismal mess, his roommate is PMS personified, and working at a dingy dance studio teaching old people how to tango and foxtrot is not exactly the bright lights. Actually, life in the Big Apple is pretty rotten, until he and his dog run into tall, dark, and oh-so-handsome Duane Hart in the park. Their pooches hit it right off, but can the two men find romance along the park’s winding paths?
Duane Hart hasn’t had a lot go right in his life. His girlfriend recently broke up with him, taking everything that wasn’t nailed down or in his roommate’s name. Well, everything except the Yorkshire terrier that he didn’t want to get in the first place, and that she now refuses to take back. However, when he meets a handsome stranger and his pit bull in the dog park, will the blooming heat in his chest be able to convince him to start dating again? Or will fate prove love isn’t a walk in the park, after all?
Excerpt on the original blog post!
Innocence is his only currency.
The gilded cage of propriety where Nathan grew up as a member of the Deilian aristocracy became a true prison when, at fifteen, his homosexuality came to light and created a terrible scandal. His parents see only one way to preserve their reputation amongst the other noble families: fit Nathan with a chastity belt to increase his value to a potential partner and marry him off as soon as possible.
The recipient of that prize is Lord Rother Marsh Delaga III. After a hasty wedding, Rother whisks Nathan away to the strange and seductive land of Marisol, where Nathan will begin a new life, free to explore the pleasures of the marriage bed, though his life is still not his own.
But Rother’s Delaga House is a place of secrets, dangers, and depravity Nathan can scarcely comprehend. Where friends are few and peril waits around every corner, Nathan must employ all the manipulation he learned from high society, along with his talent for clockwork. Most of all, Nathan must adapt, compromise to survive, and cast off the preconceptions of his homeland.
Because only he can orchestrate his freedom, and it’ll come at a cost.
Excerpt on the original blog post!
“I’ll always want more of you.”
Robert McKenzie lives to work. He’s fresh out of university as a video-game entrepreneur, and his new app could actually save lives. But burning the candle at both ends means missing out on the best parts of his own life—including his boyfriend, Liam.
Liam Carroll works to live. His job as a bartender pays the rent—if not always the heating bill—and that’s plenty for now. But Robert’s workaholism reminds Liam his own life is going nowhere, and his own dreams are scaring the pants off him.
To jolt them out of their ruts, Robert invents a new game: He and Liam are to take turns offering each other sexy new challenges with irresistible rewards.
Of course, Robert gets more than he bargained for, as Liam takes their game in one surprising direction after another. Whether it’s in the bedroom, on the football pitch, or at the pub (or even the supermarket?), the things they learn about each other—and themselves—could change their lives forever.
Play Hard is the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now!
Note: This happier-ever-after novella features the main characters of Playing With Fire but can be read as a stand-alone story.
An Auckland Med. Story
What if you’ve worked your whole life for a dream, to play rugby for the most successful sports team on the planet, the New Zealand All Blacks?
What if that dream is so close you can smell it?
What if you meet someone?
What if you fall in love?
What if your dream will cost the man who’s stolen your heart?
And what if the dream changes?
Reuben Taylor has a choice to make.
Cameron Wano is that choice.
Guest Post and excerpt on the original blog post!
When fate sends Kodiak DePaul from his home in Alaska to a new world in a big city it is a move equal to going from Manhattan to Mars.
His wild success as a model is quickly followed by tragedy and heartbreak, sending the young Alaskan running back to his home in the north to hide and heal. Intrusion in his now notable life continues in the forty-ninth state, sending Kodiak deeper into the bush to his grandfather’s homestead in one of the most remote parts of the state.
But soon even that place of solitude and refuge loses sanctuary status.
Mucklucked, an adventure with loss and love set against the beauty and danger of the Alaskan wilderness.
Author interview and excerpt on the original blog post!
What happens when thirst becomes an obsession that can’t be quenched?
Forty-year-old Zachariah Taylor prides himself on being the overprotective older brother of seven. He owns a successful bar, Zach’s Bar and Grill, in the quiet town of Riverside Falls and loves the life he’s built for himself. But as his siblings move on and find their forever partners in life, he’s starting to feel less and less needed—not to mention old. Suddenly, he’s finding it even harder to ignore the younger man who has pursued him for years, but the twelve years separating them is something Zach can’t seem to overlook.
Twenty-eight-year-old Drew Belford has been in love with the stubborn Zach Taylor for seven years. Sure, he was a kid when they’d first met, but what Zach is determined to ignore is the man Drew has become. Drew, however, is just as strong-minded and refuses to let Zach use their age difference as an excuse to disregard the attraction burning between them. He doesn’t need an overprotective older brother—he needs Zach.
When Drew begins to get unsettling messages from an unknown person, Zach feels helpless in a way he’s never felt before. How can he protect Drew from someone he can’t find? The thought of anyone hurting Drew unleashes years’ worth of pent-up desire Zach has had for the younger man. Is his thirst for Drew enough to protect him from the danger lurking in the shadows, or will the threat of the unknown be enough to dowse the spark of love between them—and silence Drew forever?
Warning – This book contains acts of violence which some readers may find disturbing.
Stuntman Draven O’Connor never turns down a dare—even if it means getting down on one knee to propose to his former college roommate and friend. The same man he’s been crushing on since the first day they met. The same man that has grown distant over the past year. And the same man who just agreed to be his fiancé.
Julien Bouchard is tired of living a lie. He spent the past year exploring his sexuality in secret, enduring countless dates with women to appease his mother, and dodging his best friend, Draven, who knows everything there is to know about him, except the one thing that could change their friendship. Ready to face his friend, he meets him at a bar and is greeted by an unexpected marriage proposal. The dare isn’t surprising; it’s the scorching hot kiss that sends Julien’s head and heart in a tailspin—and gives him an idea for the perfect plan.
But perfect plans never go according to plan, and news of their fake engagement spreads to their families as fast as a wildfire, forcing them to confront their true feelings about each other and hope they don’t get burned.
All Remy Harker wants is a fresh start.
Well, maybe that’s what he tells himself as he rolls up to his nice new house, in the nice little neighborhood, in a town where nobody knows his name.
He’s surrounded by friendly neighbors and a white picket fence. The ugly pink carpet might drive him to insanity, and he can’t stop wondering where the old lady who lived there before him died—but it’s nice.
And if he puts his mind to it, he can be anything—or anyone—he wants to be. He can be nice too.
At least, he thinks he can until he lays eyes on his next-door neighbor.
Luke Boucher is nice.
It doesn’t take long for Remy to insinuate himself into Luke’s life. A camera here, a break-in there.
– It’s not really stalking if you love someone, is it? –
But when Remy’s plan to make a good impression goes to hell, he ends up over his head in more ways than one. Then things aren’t quite so nice anymore.
– It’s not really murder if you love someone, is it? –
Loving your neighbor isn’t so easy when you’re the devil next door.
This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.
Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.
Trigger warnings/enticements – http://alexjane.info/love-but-darker/
Criminal Delights Collection info – http://criminaldelights.com/
Character interview and excerpt on the original blog post!
Surviving the devastation of DarkFall, Timorn is now rightful King of Faerie. With evil lurking at the fringes between the kingdoms of the humans and the elves, the dark mage Dalannin travels to Dragonreise to forge an alliance with the Dragon King.
Timorn’s travelling party sets off on request from an elven emissary but dissent grows as the party passes through the human city of Ekhrine. As they stop at the Ecclesiastical University where the cleric Kabal translated The Legend of Arden prophesy, a demonic aura haunts their path.
Can Timorn forge an alliance with the dragons to ensure peace or will darkness drive a wedge between him and his magical twin Ethesian as they journey through the elven lands. Transgender heroine.
Galen’s Redemption by Parker Williams
Author & character interviews and excerpt on the original blog post!
A Links in the Chain Story
A rich man is about to set foot into an unknown world, while a Good Samaritan fears he’ll have to close the charity he’s spent his life building. Poised to lose it all, they might find what they need most in each other.
Son of a wealthy importer, Galen Merriweather lives to broker deals, and he’s damn good at it. But it’s getting harder to ignore the kind of man his father is—a man who would pay Galen’s brother’s lover to leave… a man who’d demand Galen retrieve a quarter-million-dollar check from a struggling homeless shelter.
Robert Kotke knows the money is too good to be true, but it’s a godsend that could help so many people. Still, he hands it over when Galen shows up. But he isn’t done with Galen yet, and he’s going to challenge everything Galen ever believed.
Galen will face an impossible decision: the redemption he’s come to realize he wants, or the life he’d always dreamed of.
It’s 1942 and after a sexual indiscretion, US Navy pilot Zachary MacKenzie is sent to serve in the Royal Navy’s submarine service—a shockingly harsh punishment for a man who loves to fly. The submarine is oppressive and frustrating for him, and he’s marked out from his peers, publicly by being American, and privately by his attraction to men.
The only bright spot is the company of his steward, sonar operator Gethin Llewelyn. Despite the differences of rank and background, they’re drawn to each other. Gethin’s integrity complements Zach’s casual joie de vivre, and soon the friendship develops into something much more.
As the threats of war increase, the submarine is plagued by potentially hostile vessels, and circumstances lead them to suspect there’s a spy amongst their own crew. Being forced even closer together as they work for the greater good reveals a new awareness, and Zach doesn’t know what is in more danger, the vessel under his charge or his heart.
“From Polari to Polaris, it’s never been just the nice girls who love a sailor. Lillian Francis effortlessly evokes the claustrophobia and camaraderie of life—and forbidden love—aboard a WW2 submarine.” – JL Merrow
Excerpt on the original blog post!
There are moments in your life that become part of you. They become so ingrained in your memory that you can’t let them go, no matter how hard you try. Some may seem small and insignificant when they happen. Others are so big and important that you know, even while you’re in the moment, that your life will be forever changed. For me, almost all those moments—both the small and insignificant as well as the big and important—were moments I shared with Chance Wyrick.
If I were in a support group for hopelessly pathetic gays, I’d have to introduce myself by saying, “Hi, I’m Andy Michaelson and I can’t stop myself from thinking about Chance Wyrick.”
From the time we met, when we were only six years old, and for the next twelve years, he was my best friend. I fell in love with him along the way. I couldn’t say exactly when it happened, only that it happened.
Words of advice:
Never fall in love with your best friend, especially if he’s one of the most popular kids at school, the best high school quarterback in the state, or if he happens to be your next-door neighbor.
But most of all…
Never, I repeat never, fall in love with your best friend if he’s straight. Nothing good can come of it. Trust me.
Our friendship was over before we finished our last year of high school. My best friend became my ex-best friend. I hoped to forget about him when I went off to college. But Chance followed me there. So did all the memories.
I tried to forget him. I did. But he was more beautiful than ever. He was the starting quarterback for Gilcrest University. He was larger than life. He was impossible to ignore. We hadn’t spoken in years, but the memories still hit me out of nowhere, and they still hurt.
By the time I started my third year at Gilcrest, I was beginning to think I’d never be over him.
As it turns out, I was right…
Chasing Chance is the first book in the Gilcrest University Guys series. It’s a full-length, “friends to lovers” romance novel. It has “coming out” and “first-time gay” themes, is stocked full of STEAM, heartache, and laughter, and it has a guaranteed happy ending. The series will follow the love stories of four college friends. Chasing Chance is the first of two books that will tell Andy and Chance’s love story. Look for book two, Catching Chance, to come out soon!
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to enter the giveaway for a chance to win
a $100 Amazon gift card or 1 of 10 ebooks!
Giveaway closes May 29, 2019.
Author Interview and excerpt on the original blog post!
Angela Wright might have everything her father’s money can buy, but that meant nothing to her on the night of her twenty-eight birthday. She is angry and a little bit drunk as she flees the scene of a fight with her mother.
All her life she has done the right thing. But she is tired of living under her mother’s shadow. How can she ever compete with Margaret Wright, the first Human judge on the Intergalactic High Court?
,br>Within the space of a few days, Angela drops out in the last semester at Intergalactic Bureau of Investigation Academy, signs a bounty hunting contract to find the top ten criminals in the galaxy, and kisses Brenda, her best friend since childhood.
She might be late, but at last she is blooming.
~ ~ ONLY 99¢ ~ ~a Rafflecopter giveaway
Excerpt on the original blog post!
Walker Reed’s Louisiana cattle ranch is in debt after costly repairs from hurricane damage. To get the money, his family schemes to make Walker the star of a new bachelor reality series: Queer Seeks Spouse. How hard can it be to fake interest in a dozen handsome men for a few weeks in exchange for enough money to solve all of their problems?
Roan Carmichael never got his Masters degree after his mother was diagnosed with cancer. With medical bills piling up, and a costly experimental treatment available, Roan signs on to be a suitor on Queer Seeks Spouse. While he hates having to leave his sick mother long enough to win the cash for her treatment, he’s willing to do whatever it takes.
Can two men who are just in it for the money fake their way into real and lasting love?
Cowboy Seeks Husband, the latest book by Vespertine authors Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn, features a cowboy, a hipster, opposites attract, steamy scenes, and heart tugging moments that will leave you wanting more.