Latte Luck

Congratulations to B.E.P. Dance with Me Release Day Raffle Winners!

All four winners have received an e-copy of Dance with Me. The Grand Prize winner, Emily, has also won a $10 Starbucks gift card, so she can cool off with something icy when things heat up between Alexi and Sherry. Thanks to all who participated, and a special thanks to Debra at Book Enthusiast Promotions.

 

Creative Arousal

Someone recently asked me this: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

For me, the spark that ignites each story comes from a different place. Just as two relationships never begin the same way, neither do two stories.It can be a snatch of overheard conversation. An image. A chance encounter. A memory.

Often by the time the novel or story has gone through edits, revisions and drafts, I might not remember exactly where the seed idea came from. That’s so not the case with Dance with Me.

It all began when a friend posted this video on their Facebook timeline. Take a minute (or four) to watch it.

I’m a long-time ballet lover, but even if you’re not, you can’t help being impressed.That grace. That power. Those gravity-defying leaps. That incredible body. But what really got me was the naked emotion not just in every movement, but also in each facial expression. That was not acting. That was real turmoil, angst, and desire.

Then there were his tattoos.

If you follow this blog or my Pinterest boards, you know I’ve got kind of a thing for inked men, especially those with razor-sharp cheekbones and chiseled abs.But there was way more to this than aesthetic appeal.

You expect tattoos on a musician. Even a soccer player or a surfer. But a ballet dancer? Tattoos may have lost their underworld association, but ballet has a reputation for being posh, refined, prissy, even.

So what kind of a dancer covers his body with images you’d be more likely to find on a member of a nihilistic punk band or a biker gang? Only a rebel would do that. Where there’s rebellion, there’s conflict. And where there’s conflict, there’s a juicy story waiting to be told.

Dance with Me is no Sergei Polunin biography. If you’re after that, check out Dancer, coming to select theaters in the US in September.

But if you want a sexy fictional joyride that takes you from lofty spaces of the Lincoln Center to the gritty alleys of Little Odessa, Dance with Me is 25% off at Evernight Publishing for a limited time. It’s also available at full price in the Amazon Kindle Store and All Romance E-books.

 

Family Matters

families.jpg

What does summer mean to me? Swimming pools and barbecues and ice-cream cones leaving trails of sticky sweetness down your arm, for sure.

But for me, summer also means family.

Every summer we make our annual road trip “Up North” to the wilds of Northern Ontario where I grew up. We come for dips in icy lakes and hikes through fragrant pine forests. We come for fresh pickerel dinners and blueberry-stained fingers. But mostly, we come for family.

I love my family, but we’re an odd bunch. But then, I bet you say the same thing about yours.

In my family money and status aren’t important, but education and intelligence are. We are Word Nerds, bigtime. You can have holey socks and live in your car, but if you don’t know the difference between “affirm” and “confirm”, be prepared for some hard-core smiling condescension.

As we sit around the table playing Balderdash and teasing each other, our smiles as genuine as our steely determination to win, I realize how much family dynamics shape who we become as people.

Take Sherry Wilson-Wong, the heroine of Dance with Me.

Her family is close-knit yet competitive (a bit like mine). While she has always had the quiet support of her hard-working father, she’s feels she can never quite measure up to her younger brother in her status-focused mother’s eyes.

Her recourse? She rejects everything her mother wants for her – marriage and a career in medicine – but her single-minded pursuit of journalistic glory is all about proving her mother wrong and winning her admiration.

Alexi Davydenko, the ballet bad-boy bent on winning Sherry’s heart, is a different story. The child of an absentee alcoholic father and a mother determined to create a better life for herself by cashing in on her son’s talent, Alexi has never known true family.

Sent to ballet boarding school at the age of six, Alexi has had to grow up fast. His charming surface, developed to survive the competitive lonely world of professional dance, masks both a desperate need to be loved and a wariness of being used.

Two very different families, two very different people, f-ed up in strangely similar ways.

Kinda makes your family seem a lot more normal doesn’t it?

Dance with Me is available now at Evernight Publishing, All Romance E-Books and in the Amazon Kindle Store.