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?


Giveaway!

To enter to win one of two $10.00 Amazon gift cards, simply follow this link:
https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3e0e9a43581/


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

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!

Interview with the Lads: Liam & Robert

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions for Robert and Liam through Facebook, especially the Glasgow Lads readers group, the Rainbow Regiment. Their interview (and a giveaway) is now up at Gay Book Reviews! I think you’ll especially like the story of how Robert’s obsession with rubber duckies began.

While you’re there, don’t forget enter to win a four-book Glasgow Lads bundle ebook!

Play Hard: A triumph of fun over real-world rubbish

It’s release day for Play Hard! I’m here today to share the story behind the story. But first, the essentials:

One of Play Hard’s taglines is, “The feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now.” But it’s also the feel-good, staying-in-love story I needed when I wrote it.

Book promo graphic. Text: "I'll always want more of you." and "Liam & Robert return! Book cover features two young men snuggling on a tartan duvet, plus title “Play Hard: A Glasgow Lads Novella by Avery Cockburn"
I love this cover. Thanks, Damonza!

Rewind to January of this year, if you can bear it. That month is always dark and gloomy, but January 2019 was extra dreadful. The US government was shut down, with no end to the impasse in sight. The UK government and its Parliament were battling it out over Brexit—again with no end to the impasse in sight.

My refuge from the daily drumbeat of despair was Play Hard: a purely fun, minimum-angst, maximum-sex novella.

Upon returning to the bedroom, Liam found Robert sitting up with his laptop, once again fully dressed—minus the gloves and knit cap. “Are you rating our bonk on Sex Yelp?”
“Aye, five stars,” Robert said without looking up. “Action-packed, a howling good time, literally.”
Liam had long ago stopped protesting he didn’t howl during sex, after witnessing video evidence to the contrary.

Play Hard, Chapter 1

Play Hard is a bit of departure from most Glasgow Lads books, in that it has very little sociopolitical content (apart from the usual LGBTQ awareness), and the characters aren’t dealing with trauma, mental illness, or other major life-quaking challenges. As a bonus: no terrorists! After the three-year odyssey of writing and rewriting Playing in the Dark, I needed a book that was a wee bit easier on the psyche*.

I figured it wouldn’t last. I figured it would go something like this:

  • Me, Week 1: Play Hard is going to be sex and fun and more sex and more fun!
  • Me, Week 2: But also maybe with a family of refugees who need a home for themselves and their three-legged dog, and it turns out that Liam’s long-lost deadbeat father became a mercenary who burned down the refugees’ village; and then Robert, whose heart is touched by their plight, decides to give up making video games and instead develop an app which safely detects land mines from a distance.
  • Me, Week 3: Note to self: Learn Arabic and also British Sign Language because one of the refugee kids is deaf.

But somehow that didn’t happen. Somehow I overcame both the January blues and my natural tendency to complicate things. I wrote the first draft in about a month, which is a record for a novella to pop out of my snail brain. My beta readers and copyeditor had some minor adjustments, which I made promptly and without heartburn.

So I want to thank Liam and Robert for cooperating like no characters have cooperated before and probably never will do again. You made me happy when I needed it most, and I think you’re going to do the same for a lot of readers.

*PS: If you’ve not read Playing in the Dark, don’t let my pain in writing it deter you—it’s the book I’m most proud of and might be the best one yet.

Play Hard cover reveal and ARC giveaway!

Thanks to all the lovely bloggers who took part in last week’s cover reveal for Play Hard (coming April 23), and an even bigger thanks to Signal Boost Promotions for organizing it. For those who missed the official reveal, here’s the cover! What do you think?

Play Hard cover - two young men on a tartan bedcover, faces nuzzled together, laughing.
Liam & Robert snuggling like a couple of snugglebunnies.

I’ve never been one for faces on covers, as a writer or a reader, but I told my cover artist (at the amazing Damonza) to try a draft with faces just to see what they came up with. And when I saw it…well, I got something in my eye. The artist managed to find a photo that perfectly captured both Robert and Liam as well as the spirit of the book: loving, playful, sexy.

The artist also sent me fonts and images used to build the cover art, and I was pleased to discover that the original photo featured a same-sex couple. Often on M/M romance covers, the artist takes two separate models and places them together. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with that method if it looks convincing. But I love that there are more same-sex couples available on stock photo sites, and I’m proud that Play Hard features one of them.

ARC Giveaway

For a chance to win one of 5 Advance Review Copies of Play Hard, simply share my Facebook post, retweet my cover tweet, or post the cover to your Instagram. For every social-media platform you get one entry (i.e., once each on Facebook and Twitter gets 2 entries), but only ONE entry per platform (no spamming followers with multiple shares).

  • Giveaway open internationally.
  • Entries close 11:59pm EDT Sunday, April 14.
  • Drawings will be performed using a random number generator.
  • All entries from every social-media platform will go into one pool.

Autism Awareness Blog Hop – Learning to Play Again

Banner: Autism Awareness Blog-Hop Event. "Childhood Toys"
Graphic of cardboard box with toys like teddy bear, hobby horse, etc

Autism Fact of the Day:

Seventy per cent of autistic adults say that they are not getting the help they need from social services. Seventy per cent of autistic adults also told us that with more support they would feel less isolated.

A Childhood Toy

Quote graphic reading, "It's easy to lose our natural sense of wonder and enjoyment. But just like awareness, they are here nonetheless, waiting to be rediscovered.
Words of wisdom from my Headspace meditation app

I’m thrilled to be taking part in RJ Scott’s annual Autism Awareness Blog Hop event. Check out the full list of posts and join the hop!

Once I realized this post would be going up on April 24, one day after the release of Play Hard, starring a video-game developer, I knew I had to talk about video games, a childhood love I’ve only recently welcomed back into my life.

Our first console was the Coleco Telstar and its classic “Pong” games–including handball, which, glory of glories, could be played alone (an important feature for a kid whose brother and sister were 8 and 10 years older and therefore actually had homework).

Black and white Telstar video game console on wooden table.
Credit: Keith Pomakis. Used without alteration under CC License 2.5.

(Yes, I am totally dating myself by discussing these things. If I wanted to hide how old I was, I’d claim I played with nothing but crayons and paper (they still make paper, right?).)

Then, of course, came the Atari 2600:

Atari 2600 video-game console with joystick
Credit: Public Domain

And finally the Nintendo Entertainment System:

Nintendo Entertainment System console with controller
Credit: Public Domain

Honestly, I don’t know why my parents kept buying more video games, because the games clearly interfered with my ability to hear their voices. Maybe it was because they liked them too! In fact, when I was a teenager, playing video games with my dad was the only time we stopped arguing. 😀

But then…I went to university and put away childish things. For several years a darkness fell upon the earth, when video games seemed a fad of the past. Now we had the internet–why play silly games when you could participate in usenet chats and ooooooh…visit all the new web pages?

Then in 2015 I wrote Playing With Fire and decided to make one of the main characters a video-game designer. This required learning about the latest developments in the industry and watching play-throughs on YouTube. (I spent 8 hours watching a dude play Dragon Age: Inquisition just so I could write a single scene, but that scene was SOLID.)

Now video games have sucked me back in. I’m fascinated. All the limitations that frustrated me about classic games (“Why can’t I drive OFF the road? I want to see what’s over there!”) have vanished, and video-game creation is as much a creative endeavor as films, paintings, or novels.

GIVEAWAY

To win your choice of ebook from my backlist, leave a comment about your favorite video game, past or present. OR, if you’re not into video games, tell me one toy or game you’ve rediscovered as an adult, something that brings you the sort of joy you thought was left behind in childhood.

Entries are open until 11:59pm Tuesday, April 30. Please leave a way to contact you (email, social media link, etc) in your comment.

And be sure to check out my new release, Play Hard! It’s the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now. See yesterday’s release post for more details, including an excerpt and links to more giveaways!

Book promo graphic. Text: "I'll always want more of you."
-Happier-Ever-After
-Best Friends
-Bisexual MC
-Toys ’n’ games
New release! averycockburn.com
Book cover features two young men snuggling on a tartan duvet, plus title “Play Hard: A Glasgow Lads Novella by Avery Cockburn"