Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Love, Unexpected by C.W. Stephens FALL FIRES BLOG TOUR

As Michael and Chuck's loving union comes to pass, two, gay members of the wedding party discover the sweet bonds of a comfortable companionship. Attraction becomes more as they recognize their true soul mate in each other, which fills the romantic void in their solitary lives. It seems only one, small obstacle stands in their way.

Excerpt from Love, Unexpected:

Chuck slapped me on the back and pulled me into a tight hug, giving me a peck on the 
cheek. “Evan! It’s so good to see you again. What’s it been… four months?” I smiled while 
looking at my friend. 
     “You were up in Oak Harbor helping some friend work on his boat the last time I was here 
for a visit, if I remember correctly,” I reminded him. “You returned the day after I left!” 
     He got me into a headlock and playfully poked me in the ribs. “Yeah, you just couldn’t 
manage to stay one more day until I got back, could you, punk?” 
     With both of us laughing, he released me. When he did, my attention was drawn away; I 
became enraptured by a handsome stranger whose face had the power to make me forget how 
to breathe. My palms became sweaty, and my breath caught in my throat while I took in his 
     There he stood, long and lean, and looking very toned. I guessed he was around six foot 
two, his dark wash jeans tight enough to accentuate his ass, hugging it in all the right places. 
He had on a deep red, button-down shirt, which seemed created to be worn only by him, the 
top three buttons undone. His hair was long, dark, and pushed behind his ears; it was straight 
and shiny, and the overhead lights sparkled off each strand. Eyes, which were a brilliant shade 
of blue, seemed depthless as they pierced through my soul. Fuck! My jaw had fallen to the 
floor, and I snapped it closed before he could see. Chuck noticed though, smirked at me, and 
then made the introduction. 
     “Evan, I don’t think you’ve ever met my cousin, Jon Schubert. Jon, this is Evan Thomas, 
Michael’s cousin and best friend. He’ll be serving as Mike’s best man.” 
     The stranger captivated me, but I managed to find my voice. “Very pleased to make your 
acquaintance,” I stuttered with a smile while our eyes remained locked together. I was hoping 
he hadn’t noticed my tongue hanging out when he raised his hand to shake mine. It wasn’t 
much of a shake; more like a lingering touch. 
     “Likewise, Evan. Always a pleasure to meet one of Chuck’s boys.” His voice was as smooth 
as satin when he spoke in a low, rich tone, causing the hairs on the back of my neck to stand 
to attention. 
     His eyes sparkled, a smile emerged, and dimples blossomed within his cheeks, his lips full 
and pink. I didn’t miss the fact he was still holding my hand, his eyes never leaving mine while 
I hesitated to pull away. He was beautiful, the darkness of his hair highlighting his pale skin.

Ms. Stephens is another new author to the blog and I just had to pick her brain regarding her ink. Y'all know how much I love it!
Considering your debut publication is a m/m romance, I'm curious about the story behind your LGBT tattoo. It's a gorgeous piece of work, and I'd love to know more about it!

Thank you! I love it, and had a small hand in the designing process. The design came from something I’ve always supported: Equal rights for the LGBT Community. The signs for male and female, along with the inverted pink triangle; the international symbol of gay pride and the gay rights movement, which is second in popularity only to the rainbow flag.
The idea of getting the tattoo was something I’d thought about for a long time but, at the same time, ended up being sort of an impulse. My friend Karen and I had talked about getting one for the past couple of years but neither of us had a clear vision of what we wanted. We’d talked about having them done together, but we lived over eight hundred miles apart. Unless one of us found time to take a vacation, it would never happen.
As I got more and more involved writing m/m tales, I read a lot of short stories from the genre and began to do research of my own about how difficult life can be for members of the gay/lesbian community. Some of the things I saw, and read, were despicable. Bullying, beatings, ridicule, even killings are a few of the things I read about, which made me nauseous and broke my heart. It’s wrong. People have no right to judge anyone, or to take it upon themselves to “right” a situation they believe is wrong. Everyone has the right to live, love, and have the kind of life they want, and to be treated with respect; how we all want to be treated.
During this time, I had started to plan a personal vacation to Philadelphia, to visit Karen. A week before I departed, I related to her the symbols I saw in my head via email. She took our designs to a parlour on the other side of town. While there, she checked the place out, made sure the place was spotless, read up on the artists and their certifications, and how long they’d been in the business. Satisfied with all her findings, she made our appointments for the day I arrived. The artist she’d chosen had already made our stencils. We loved them and he went straight to work.
That was a year ago. Today I still wear my tattoo like a badge, and take the opportunity to talk up equal rights to the people who don’t get it. At work, at home in the neighborhood, even to my eighty-three year old mother. I would have to say through all I’ve learned, all the research I’ve done, and finally getting the tattoo, it’s definitely had an impact on my ability to write a better m/m story because I draw from the people I speak with; some of their attributes end up belonging to my characters.
I hope to continue to educate myself and, some day, volunteer my time to this specific cause, to help in any way I can.
The tattoo brought it full circle.

About the Author:

C.W. Stevens lives in the United States, in the Midwest, where the winters are cold and icy, and the summers are disgustingly hot and humid. Spring and fall are her favorite times of the year.
Reading is one of her favorite pastimes.

She enjoys writing and loves meeting new people along the way. Music and Abstract are a couple of her favorite Arts. She enjoys the challenge of trying to unlock the meaning of what the artist is trying to express. She enjoys solitude and hates crowds.

C. W. has two, grown sons, and loves spending time with her three grandchildren. 
Life is good!

 Cheryl's Tour Schedule:
10/22: Elizabeth M. Lawrence – Guest Post
10/23: S.A. Jones – Promo/excerpts
10/24: Lorenz – Promo/Excerpt
10/26: N. Wood -- Interview
10/27: Layne Faire – Guest Post
10/28: Jennifer Garcia – Promo/Excerpt
10/29: Lily G. Blunt – Guest Post
10/30: R.E. Hargrave – Guest Post
10/31: Jude Ouvrard – Promo/Excerpt
11/1: K.L. Pratt – Promo/Excerpt
         Sam – Promo/Excerpt
11/2: The Hive Book Reviews – Review/Promo/Excerpt
11/3: Mich's Book Reviews – Guest Post

11/4: M.C. Rayne -- Review

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