We stayed on the boat from A Christmas Harbor!

Last weekend my husband and I spent the weekend in Annapolis (the Maritime Republic of Eastport, specifically), living aboard the boat I used as a model for David’s vessel, the Many Waters.

I wasn’t able to travel to Annapolis last year while writing A Christmas Harbor, which meant I had to settle for Google Street View. So I was incredibly eager to see the living places that felt so familiar to me from pictures, and super excited to share this behind-the-scenes look with you all.

Note: This post includes teeny tiny spoilers (e.g., “This is where they first kissed”) for my standalone M/M Romance novella, A Christmas Harbor, which is on sale this month for just $2.99!

Click on each photo to see a bigger version.

Starting at the beginning of the story with Paul walking through Annapolis at night:

I can’t show you the sad piano bar, because I made it up. Later, on their way to David’s boat, they pass through this same part of town. If you were facing the Christmas tree in the photo above, behind you would be Annapolis harbor, specifically “Ego Alley,” which according to David is named for “obvious yacht-related reasons.”

Boat in harbor decked out in lights and a lit-up snowman

In one corner of the harbor, Paul and David come across the Alex Haley/Kunta Kinte memorial (in the book this happens at night):

Speaking of civil rights struggles, they then discuss David’s military service under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. This seems like a good place to share the photos I took on the US Naval Academy walking tour (highly recommended).

Then Paul and David arrive at the Spa Creek drawbridge, where they have their first kiss. This would have been their view if it were about 7 hours earlier and not sleeting:

The Maritime Republic of Eastport, David’s fiercely independent neighborhood
The drawbridge as seen from David’s boat.

David shows Paul his boat’s light display from the Eastport Lights Parade, which we were able to watch live from the deck of the “Many Waters.”

Then the most AWFUL thing happened to us in real life: one of the boats in the parade, one we LOVED the first time it came around, ended the night by playing Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” thus causing thousands of people in the crowd to lose Wham-ageddon all at once! I was furious at this reckless deployment of WMD (Wham! of Mass Destruction).

Where was I? Oh, David’s boat. Here’s a nighttime view taken from the prow. You can see part of the marina in the background, as well as the line of people gathered on the road to the drawbridge to watch the parade.

Let’s go inside!

Interior photo of small boat saloon (living room). Two blue settees flank the space with a table between them. The decor is a warm wooden finish surface. Two skylights let in sunshine
Saloon (living room). In the background is the forward berth, what Paul called the “triangle bed.”

The next morning they awake to a marina covered in snow, which I was not able to arrange. It’s still beautiful, though, no?

Marina as seen from the Eastport end of the drawbridge
Annapolis as seen from the deck of the “Many Waters.” In the center appears the dome of the US Naval Academy cathedral.
Sunny daytime photo of marina dock. a wooden building is painted turquoise
Docks! Also taken from boat deck. Really not a bad view to wake up to.

Rainbow Advent Calendar story!

Green Grows the Holly: a Glasgow Lads Holiday Short

“We’ll always be the luckiest lads in Glasgow.”

Hello and Happy Holidays! I’m so thrilled to be part of the Rainbow Advent Calendar again, run by the incredible author Alex Jane. This year, I’m bringing you a fun wee holiday short featuring the couple from the first Glasgow Lads novel, Playing For Keeps, and the followup short story Play It Safe: Fergus and John! It also features cameos from several other beloved characters from the series, including Liam, Robert, Ben, and the inimitable Lord Andrew.

After Fergus and John’s wedding plans face a last-minute upheaval, can they salvage the situation (with the help of a few friends) and savor their first Christmas together?

Download Green Grows the Holly in your choice of format at Bookfunnel (including PDF to read in your browser if that’s more your thing). And don’t forget to visit the Rainbow Advent Calendar Facebook group to read new stories every day between now and Christmas! (Now that my writing is finished for the month, I’ll be curling up with all the ones I’ve missed thus far.) Check out the Master List for all stories.

Text: "Green Grows the Holly A Glasgow Lads Holiday Short Avery Cockburn" Image: holly branch with green leaves and bright red berries. Background: white linen cloth with subtle pattern

Mistletoe acquired! A wee Must Love Christmas excerpt

Must Love Christmas comes out in only 3 days! The preorder is already up, and the paperback should be on sale by tomorrow (I would make them available on the same day, but Amazon doesn’t allow paperback preorders for indie authors).

Meantime, Must Love Christmas‘s companion novel, Throwing Stones, is on sale through Monday! Only 0.99 in the US and UK, and discounted in every other country.

I’ve been sharing one- or two-line teasers from Must Love Christmas for the last few days, but today I finally had enough time (after uploading the final book and doing Thanksgiving) to add a longer excerpt.

This scene takes place during Simon and Garen’s first “night out” since Simon left the hospital. Naturally, it’s to buy a real Christmas tree, because hard-core ho-ho-ho‘er Garen won’t settle for an artificial one. At this point they are still just friends and flatmates, but both of them are longing for more.

As they went to the till to pay for the tree, Garen came to a sudden stop beside a display of assorted greenery.

Simon looked up to see what he was staring at. In the corner of the display, beside a column of holly wreaths, hung several sprigs of mistletoe.

“Shall we get some of that?” Garen asked.

Simon cleared his throat. “It might add a touch of…” Extreme awkwardness. “Fun?”

“Definitely.” Garen grabbed the biggest mistletoe garland, bunched with painted-snow pine needles and cones. “Something for guests to kiss under at our party.”

Simon took the mistletoe so Garen could push his wheelchair over the dirt path toward the till. He ran his fingers over the white berries, his mind blending memories and fantasies of their mouths melding in passion. He was strong enough now to stand on his own beneath this mistletoe, strong enough to hold Garen in his arms while they kissed.

He was strong enough now to do a lot of things.

– From Must Love Christmas by Avery Cockburn, Chapter 12

Massive book giveaway!

This month, dozens of authors have teamed up to provide all the free books you need for a summer of hot, hot reads, in the Summer Heated Blitz Giveaway. Every subgenre represented!

My offering is Play On, the standalone prequel novella for the Glasgow Lads, a M/M sports romance series set in contemporary Scotland. Duncan and Brodie’s story is a sweet and sexy new-adult tale of pride over prejudice.

Follow this link by June 30 to grab your free books!

Shirtless muscular guy leaning over a table drinking coffee. Text: Summer Heated Blitz Romance Book Giveaway, Free Unlimited Downloads Available June 1-30, 2019

The Wee Things: Guest author Amy Aislin with The Nature of the Game

Hello and welcome to another round of The Wee Things! This is a new feature where authors spotlight important objects in their books, talk about their origins, and what these objects mean to their characters and themselves.

Today’s guest is Amy Aislin, author of the Stick Side series of m/m hockey romances. She’s here to talk about the latest installment, Book 2, The Nature of the Game, which just came out May 7.

Take it away, Amy!

Thank you for joining me to celebrate the release of my newest m/m romance, The Nature of the Game, and thank you so much to Avery for having me to talk about wee things!

The Nature of the Game, book two in the Stick Side series, is a second chance romance. Six years ago, the main characters—Ash and Dan—were in a relationship that didn’t end well. They haven’t spoken since then and now, all of a sudden, they’re back in each other’s lives.

Today’s wee thing I’m going to talk about? Sun catchers!

In The Nature of the Game, one of the main characters, Dan, works as a financial analyst for a print company. He’s more or less indifferent about his job. What he really loves is working with wood, especially to create whimsical items like sun catchers. The idea for Dan to create sun catchers came while I was writing book one in the series, On the Ice. I had just received this beautiful sun catcher as a gift, and I loved it so much that I had to include it in the book.

The artist behind this beautiful sun catcher is Giolla at Artwood Ireland and I loved his designs so much that most of Dan’s are based off them.

To find out who Dan gifts his sun catchers to, check out The Nature of the Game, available for purchase at:

More about The Nature of the Game

Six years ago, an ultimatum forced Dan Greyson to make a choice that cost him everything he loved most. One of those things? His boyfriend, hockey player Ashton Yager. Now that they’ve crossed paths again, Dan isn’t about to let the opportunity slip away. Ash’s reappearance in his life is just the catalyst Dan needs to escape the rut he’s fallen into…and win back Ash’s trust and love.

Ashton Yager, once burned and now a little bit shy, didn’t mean to publicly come out as bisexual. But now that he has, he’s got to deal with the consequences, including the fact that it might’ve cost him his NHL contract. With his job on the line, he needs to keep his head down, work hard, and play the best hockey of his life. Rekindling things with Dan? That’s not exactly keeping a low profile. It’s also never going to happen, not after Dan walked away once without an explanation.

When a hurricane forces Ash to seek shelter out-of-state, he and Dan find themselves in the same B&B, where old feelings resurface. But with everything Ash has on the line, does he dare play with fire again?


Running a hand over his face, Dan glanced over to the hallway Ash had disappeared down, and then kept staring, waiting for Ash to reappear again like some smitten teenager who couldn’t control his hormones.

He was so very cool.

Tearing his eyes away, he scanned the restaurant, his gaze snagging on a woman sitting with a group of friends. In her early twenties, she had brown hair to her shoulders and purple glasses were perched on her nose. She sunk into her chair with a grimace when Dan caught her ogling him, her lips twitching up in embarrassment. Dan smiled back at her despite the across-the-room flirting doing nothing for him. All he could think about was Ash. Ash’s arms streaked with dust; Ash’s muscles straining as they moved furniture around; Ash’s laughter when Dan nearly swallowed a dust bunny; Ash’s mad scramble to the other side of the apartment when Dan came down the stepladder with the spider colony; Ash’s expression when he talked about hockey; the emotion in Ash’s eyes when Dan had shown up earlier.

It was Ash. It had always been Ash.

Dan’s smile grew when the man himself reappeared next to him.

“Who are you smiling at?” Ash stood next to the booth, hands on his hips. His scowl would scare small children away.

“Um, you?”

Assuming they were leaving, Dan stood . . . and ran into a wall of muscle when Ash didn’t budge. Ash was warm and big and strong, and Dan forgot all his words. He swallowed hard and told himself the shiver was from the air conditioning.

Ash looked over his shoulder, scowled some more, and growled, “We’re leaving.”

They left. The walk back to Ash’s apartment was silent but for Ash’s stiff shoulders proclaiming his unhappiness with Dan, dinner, or the world at large. Who knew.

“Are you okay?”

“Just…” Ash gestured wildly, arms flying. “I’m trying to sort some stuff out. In my head.”

“O…kay.” Whatever that meant.

Reaching Ash’s apartment, Ash slammed the door behind them and whirled on Dan, hands on his hips. “Do you want to date women?”

“Like, right this second?” I only want to date you. “Not particularly.”

“What about the woman from The Tavern?”


“You know.” Ash gestured. “The one you were smiling at.”

“Why are you being weird?”

“I’m being weird.” Ash huffed and paced away. “You were the one eye-flirting while I took a two-minute bio break.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“No idea what I’m…” He trailed off, jaw ticking, his eyes fire and fury. Pacing back to Dan, he clamped a hand behind Dan’s head, pulled him forward, and kissed him.

Ash kissed him.

Ash kissed him.

Ash kissed him.

Dan stood shocked and immobile.

“Gonna kiss me back?” Ash murmured against Dan’s lips, walking him backward until his back hit the wall next to the door. “Or just stand there like a corpse?”

More about Amy Aislin

Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking. She binge watches too much anime, and loves musical theater, Julie Andrews, the Backstreet Boys, and her hometown of Oakville, Ontario. 

Visit Amy:

Robert’s challenge

In Play Hard, Liam and Robert reminisce about how they first became best mates, back when they were six years old. I won’t give it away, but it involved this collage:

Text in cutout letters: "When I grow up I want to not make fucking collages."
I made this with my own wee hands, thereby proving I’m as crafty as a 6-year-old boy.

Check out my guest post at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for more about Robert’s first challenge for Liam. Hint: It also involves a collage. And be sure to pick up Play Hard while it’s still at its early price!

Guest post by RJ Scott and VL Locey

I’m thrilled to welcome RJ Scott and V.L. Locey, authors of the Harrisburg Railers M/M hockey romance series, which is now in Kindle Unlimited for the next 90 days! They’re here to discuss why they love men in sports, something I am totally here for. 😎 And there’s a giveaway at the end!

What is it about a guy who plays sports?

RJ: One of the biggest reasons I like reading about guys in sports teams is that feeling of brotherhood. It’s the same as when I read a series set around a SEAL team, or a group of best friends. It’s that whole camaraderie and code of friendship.

VL: Oh gosh, how long do we have? Aside from the skill and grace of an athlete, there’s that camaraderie that one sees in sports. Also, and I’m just being shallow, most athletes are easy on the eyes.

RJ: Skill and grace is one for me too. In hockey there is a particular move when the skater comes to a dead stop and reverses direction. It looks effortless, but to be able to stop and turn on a dime must take years of practice and muscle memory, plus some serious leg strength! Mmmmmmm…. Legs… (joins VL in being shallow) hockey players have really nice legs. And abs (just look up the following in Google “Tyler Seguin Abs” and you’ll see what I mean!

VL: Welcome to the shallow end of the pool! Oh yes, legs. I still have a thing for Marty St. Louis’ legs. *fans self* But yeah, there’s a “thing” about hockey players that just sends me. They’re always so darn humble and I find that quite appealing. The Segs abs are okay too mind you!

RJ: I honestly have no idea who Marty St Louis is (adds to my google list) but if Vicki says he’s fine, then he must be. 🙂 Another thing I love is the team jokes and pranks – Marc-Andre Fleury is one of the classic pranksters and I must admit when we wrote Adler Lockhart we definitely gave him the prankster genes!

VL: GASP! You don’t know Marty? Oh woman I shall have to show you his legs. They’re to die for. Aw, yes, pranks are rife among hockey players. There’s a pretty standard one where they make rookies take a lap around the ice all by themselves. I shudder to think of what goes on in the dressing rooms that we fans don’t know about!

RJ: I’d love to be a fly on the wall of a dressing room – purely for research of course. So there is also the whole team work ethic, they are a dedicated group of guys in our books, always having each other’s backs, always there for each other in a crisis.

VL: Research. Uh-huh. All in all I think that hockey players are just a great combination all the marvelous things we look for in a romance hero. With great legs. 😉

RJ: Agreed…  particularly about the legs LOLs (not at all obsessed).

The Railers Are Rolling Into KU!

Book promo graphic featuring 6 book covers. Text: "Now in KU, for a limited time, Railers Series, Books 1-6; Available for 90 days ONLY, from May 3rd

Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1) – Jared & Tennant: Can Tennant show Jared that age is just a number, and that love is all that matters?

First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) – Layton & Adler: Layton wants success, Adler wants family, how can love made both these things possible?

Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) – Trend & Dieter: One man’s passion, another man’s lies. Can love fix even the darkest of hearts?

Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) – Stan & Erik: One scorching summer in each other’s arms could never be enough.

Last Defense (Harrisburg Railers #5) – Max & Ben: A hockey player with a medical secret, meets the owner of a no kill shelter. Two men afraid to feel have to make choices that could end up breaking down their defenses and leading them back to love.

Goal Line (Harrisburg Railers #6) – Gatlin & Bryan: Fear and sadness mark Bryan’s life, can Gatlin show him that you have to trust before you can love?


To enter to win one of two $10.00 Amazon gift cards, simply follow this link:

Logo for RJ Scott reading "RJ Scott happy ever after"

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.

RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below: Email RJ rj@rjscott.co.uk | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Instagram | Pinterest

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

The Wee Things kickoff: Robert’s rubber duckies

I’m starting a feature here called “The Wee Things,” where I and other authors will spotlight specific objects in our books, talk about their origins, and what they mean to us and to our characters. Fun stuff!

In Play It Safe, Liam and Fergus are shopping in the Barras market when they come upon a toy merchant selling rubber duckies that light up when you put them in water.

Liam stopped in his tracks in front of a toy seller. “Rabbie used to love these.” He darted over to a small tub filled with floating rubber duckies. Two of them were blinking lights of every color.

Fergus was confused for a moment. Liam had so many younger siblings, it was hard to keep track of their names. “Our Rabbie? As in McKenzie?”

My Rabbie,” Liam said with a growl. “You know he hates anyone else calling him that.”

Play It Safe, Chapter 2

The duckies feature in two scenes in Playing With Fire, including a very touching–literally and figuratively–scene near the end.

They undressed in silence, fingers trembling on buttons, buckles, and zippers. As his last bit of clothes hit the floor, Liam said a silent thank-you that Robert’s flat was well-heated.

He paused for a moment at the foot of the bed, taking in the sight of his naked boyfriend, as the rubber ducks’ lights flashed every color over Robert’s smooth chest and abs.

Playing With Fire, Chapter 30

To find out how Robert’s obsession with rubber duckies began (maybe), check out this interview at Gay Book Reviews. Liam spins quite a yarn about it!

If you love sports romance…

Check out author RJ Scott’s blog for a spotlight feature on this exciting subgenre! Play Hard is featured alongside books by some of my favorite authors, including Amy Jo Cousins, Sarina Bowen, and Jay Northcote.

Plus you can enter to win an ebook of Changing Lines, the first in Scott’s fantastic Harrisburg Railers m/m hockey romance series with V.L. Locey!