Thank you for joining Riptide on our 4th Anniversary blog tour! We are excited to bring you new guest posts from our authors and a behind the scenes insights from Riptide. The full tour schedule can be found at HERE. Don’t miss the limited time discounts and Free Books for a Year giveaway at the end of this post!
Please welcome L.B. Gregg to the tour.
Hi. I’m L.B. Gregg, writer, mom, wife, and best friend to a beagle. Years ago I was also a blogger.
Once upon a time, there was a merry group of pals in Romancelandia who read novels and talked about heroes and authors and favorite books. We shared recommendations and sent novels in the mail and discovered eBooks together. We found gay romance quite by accident, which was new to us and frankly, quite new to everyone, and we branched out, while simultaneously reaching back and sharing our history and love of reading.
It was sort of amazing. And innocent, in a way—although there was a lot of sexy talk and man tit involve. And it was also empowering. We weren’t blogging to review books, necessarily, and we weren’t blogging for attention from authors, or free stuff, or notoriety, or stats. We blogged about books because the Internet provided us with something we’d never had before: a community of fellow romance readers.
This was a huge deal. Huge. Up until that time, romance readers were for the most part invisible. In the libraries, in the bookstores, in the UBS we were furtive and embarrassed. We made quick transactions and blind selections, often times waiting for one person to leave the aisle before we’d sneak into the pink and purple section ourselves to find that new book by Johanna Lindsey or Connie Brockway or Linda Howard. It was lonely. And shaming.
But with the birth of the online reading community, for the first time, we found other readers who shared our secret love of the Happily Ever After.
I can’t say how life changing this was for me personally. Or enough good things about the people I met eight or nine years ago online—many are still dear friends. We had so much fun reading and blogging together, and again, this wasn’t about promoting authors. We were much more interested in friendship and books. Sometimes, we’d find a story we loved so much, we’d fly our banners for a particular author or book and become unwitting champions of a genre. I know I did.
And when one of us found a romance that really resonated, we termed it a ‘Desert Island Keeper’ to elevate that book beyond the five star rating. Simply put, that was a book we’d take with us if stranded on an island. It was one you could read forever.
Which leads me to the blog experience that changed everything.
In an online chat one night with a group of readers, my friend Carolyn Jean (CJ, who is now the award winning author Carolyn Crane) came up with this crazy fantasy football styled hero swap idea. We’d invite a bunch of bloggers and take turns claiming a hero. We’d blog about the book on our own, and once we had five or six heroes in our stable, we’d have a big finale where we’d blog hop and interact and talk books. Just for fun.
That idea turned into an epic event. Other bloggers wanted in. We went from a pool of maybe six people and blogs to, I can’t even remember—twelve? Fourteen? Things became crazy, and heated. We undermined each other and swapped heroes behind each other’s back, as everyone was after a Roarke or Jaimie or a Derek or whomever. It was a hilarious, back stabbing, time consuming, good time. For the space of a week or two—I can’t remember because it felt like forever— the swap took over our lives.
This notion of Desert Island Keeper stayed with me, both because of the camaraderie I shared with those friends, and the literal sense of an island where I could go to have alone time with my favorite books. As my identity shifted from reader, to blogger, to author, I wondered why no one had written a book titled Desert Island Keeper**. That book could be an epic and fun nod to romance, but not take itself too seriously. It could be sexy and sweet—and have a really clever-assed name.
When Riptide invited me to contribute to their holiday collection two years ago, I was recovering from severe burn out. I’d take two years off from both writing and reading and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to publish again. I was nervous, and insecure, because two years off isn’t exactly what publishers like to see when looking at your career trajectory.
But months earlier I’d started a short story about a guy trapped on an island for a destination wedding. He’s lost on a trail of spiny scrub and he’s just learned that the dude he accidentally hooked up with the night before, is the father of the bride—and he’s the best man. It was a vignette. A writing exercise. A nod to good times and naughty books. A throw away. And that scene became the foundation for How I Met Your Father.
I based How I Met Your Father on an idea that stemmed from spending time with people I really liked. We were a band of merry readers back then, like the four guys in Rhythm Method, and existed in our own space in paradise.
The story was heartfelt, though funny, and maybe because I wanted so badly to write my own Desert Island Keeper for my friends, How I Met Your Father turned into my best selling book.
**Please don’t steal this title. It’s mine. Someday. Copyright. Trademark. Dibs.
Title: Home for the Holidays (A Holiday Charity Bundle)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
In L.B. Gregg’s lighthearted novella, How I Met Your Father, members of a boyband search for happiness years after the fame dissipates, finally coming to understand that home is any place where love dwells.
In Ally Blue’s angst-filled novella, Long the Mile, two homeless men come to realize that they are home for each other, no matter their living circumstances.
In Z.A. Maxfield’s novella, Lost and Found, an RV-dwelling musician (with a cute dog) has been running away from the idea of home his whole life . . . until he realizes that home is where his partner is.
In Amy Lane’s full-length novel, Christmas Kitsch, college student Rusty is kicked out at Thanksgiving for being gay, but at Christmas, his boyfriend’s family shows him what home really means.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
20% of all proceeds from this collection are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York.
When not working from her home in the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut, author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama–sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny, stories about men who love men.
For more info on L.B., because surely one can never get too much of a good thing, you can follow her on her preferred social media, Facebook. You can also e-mail L.B. at lbgregg at lbgregg dot com, visit her website www.lbgregg.com, be her GoodReads pal or follow her sporadic appearances on Twitter.
The Home for the Holidays collection is being sold in a special discounted bundle by Riptide this week only. Check out the sale on this series and other bundles at http://www.riptidepublishing.com/anniversary-sale
To celebrate our anniversary, Riptide Publishing is giving away free books for a year! Your first comment at each blog stop on the Anniversary Tour will count as an entry and give you chance to win this great prize. Giveaway ends at midnight, October 31, 2015, and is not restricted to US entries.
Follow the rest of the tour HERE.