Hey peep’s today we are welcoming Bru Baker with her Dreamspinner Press Daily Dose Branded, not only did I get to review this sweet baby but I got to have a nice chat with Bru as well which we will let you read 😉 Now you lucky guys get a chance to win Branded and all you have to do is leave a comment…. and don’t forget to click the Rafflecopter link for the chance to win all the beauties that Dreamspinner Press have in the Mended Daily Dose hmmm I do believe I set it up so you get extra points every day when you Tweet the Giveaway (unless I screwed it up LOL) ❤ ~Pixie~
Oh and Sula, congratulations you are the winner of Zahra Owen’s Cleary Palit 🙂
Life comes with a bit of hurt, but luckily for these men, it also comes with the right amount of comfort to mend their breaks, both of the body and the heart. From facing deranged exes to economic trials, the men in these tales have faced trial by fire–or in some cases water–for the right to love and live. Step into their shoes as they rebuild their family after a gutting betrayal or traverse the stars with an unexpected partner. The Mended Daily Dose package delivers stories about all kinds of second chances built on love.
Felicitas Ivey Zahra Owens Emily Moreton Cardeno C. S.A. Garcia Elizabeth Noble M. Lee Ellis Carrington Kim Fielding Ari McKay E.T. Malinowski Bru Baker K.C. Wells Gwynn Marssen Lee Comyn Ashavan Doyon Eli Easton Charley Descoteaux Therese Woodson MA Ford Kenzie Cade Coral Moore L.D. Blakeley Chloe Stowe Ronnie Matthews Jayden Brooks Diane Lennox C. Callenreese Mars Novak Emma Wilson
Live Interview with Bru Baker
Pixie: Hello to Bru Baker who is joining us today for the Dreamspinner Daily Dose with her newest release Branded, hey Bru
Bru: Hi, Pixie!
Pixie: Welcome to our little interview room Bru, it’s a pleasure to have you here.
Bru: Thanks for having me. 🙂
Pixie: Bru your newest release is Branded tell us a little about it.
Bru: It’s a novella that’s out of my usual genre–it’s historical/fantasy, which was a blast to write.
Pixie: Hmmm I see a Castle in the setting so a real medieval historical huh
Bru: Yes, it’s a castle with all the stone arches and carvings that you imagine when you think of medieval citadels!
Bru: I had a lot of fun figuring out kingdom names and writing about a mismatched couple–the prince and his advisor, who had to be secretive about their relationship.
Pixie: I do love medieval times*sigh* they were so blood thirsty
Bru: It’s also heavily guarded and locked down because the king is really paranoid, since his wife was killed by assassins when the prince was a baby.
Bru: So lots of blood thirstiness going on there! 🙂
Pixie: Now Coren and Bran (Prince and Adviser) have to go through a terrible time, how did you come up with the situation?
Bru: I always go for a little angst with my romance, and this is no different. I think everyone can think of a book where there’s a prince in an illicit affair that the crown would frown on, so I wanted to take it to another level of conflict.
Bru: Their situation really tests the bonds of their relationship, but I think it’s the hardest on Coren, the prince.
Pixie: It’s a huge test of love, and the lingering guilt over what he has no choice in doing…. I don’t think I could have been in either of their places.
Bru: I wanted to focus on how the experience helped shape Coren. He’s obviously a good, kind-hearted guy, but how he handled the situation with Bran and the rest of the servants really gave him a chance to develop as a compassionate leader. Bran tells him he’s going to be a great king some day, and I think readers will agree.
Pixie: Oh they will, Coren is clearly far different than his father. Even though it is a short story you have managed to convey a lovely little story that shows more than some novella’s.
Bru: As a reader I always like to see as much background and story development as possible (I’m a greedy reader!), so I try to pack as much as I can in even when I’m writing a short story for an anthology.
Pixie: So did you have this story in mind before the Daily Dose submission call or did it come into being after you saw the call for hurt/comfort stories?
Bru: I’d already come up with the characters Coren and Bran. They were hanging out in my folder of neglected story ideas, and when the call for hurt/comfort came out a lightbulb went on and I realized how much more there could be to their story than just the forbidden romance. (Though it hurt my heart to do that to Bran!)
Pixie: Oh I have a feeling it will hurt many people’s heart what happened to Bran LOL
Bru: I actually did a lot of research gearing up to write those scenes…that was pretty gruesome. I decided to try not to be graphic in my descriptions, because it’s really some horrifying stuff!
Pixie: Yeah I am glad you left the finer details out *cringe* Now will we be seeing Coren and Bran again *hopeful look*
Bru: I wouldn’t rule it out, because I’d love to jump ahead and see exactly what kind of king Coren will be and how the kindgom will handle his relationship with Bran. But that’s down the line–my eyes are always bigger than my stomach, so to speak, when I’m biting off new projects!
Bru: Right now I’m halfway through the third book in the Dropping Anchor series, which focuses on a married couple who are looking at adoption and surrogacy even though one of the partners isn’t sure he wants kids. I also have about two-thirds of a culinary-themed book finished, so those are next up for me.
Pixie: Well that killed my next question *live interviews *sigh**
Bru: LOL, well, I’m a journalist, so I’m prone to jumping the gun in interviews because I know what I’d be asking next if I was interviewing someone! 🙂
Pixie: Should I just grab a cup of tea while you interview yourself? *snigger*
Bru: They always say doctors make the worst patients, and the same is probably true for journalists making the worst interviewees!
Bru: Oh, I probably should have said in my “what’s next for me” omnibus that the second book in the Dropping Anchor series, Finding Home, is out in June.
Pixie: Oh too true 😉 How did you feel when you made it through to the Mended finals? I’ve heard that Dreamspinner’s gets tons of submissions (go ahead plug your next book lol)
Bru: I was thrilled! Especially given the nature of the story. I wrote it because it was there demanding to be written once I’d seen the call, but I wasn’t sure if it was too dark for the anthology. Hurt/comfort is my favorite genre (which is probably obvious, given the angst in most of my books!), so being included in Mended is a real treat. I can’t wait to read the other stories!
Pixie: *smug grin* I’m reviewing all of them.
Bru: There’s definitely some angst and hurt/comfort in Finding Home, which follows Island House (which has a LOT of angst) in the Dropping Anchor series.
Bru: It’s lighter than Island House (and much lighter than Branded, LOL), though. Lots of humor in there, too. I love characters who are “real people” and not just caricatures, and Ian and Luke in Finding Home definitely have real-world flaws and problems.
Pixie: Well we look forward to reviewing it 🙂 And send me a picture so I can tout it on the post. You’re lucky they are Dreamspinner releases or I’d be trying to steer you away from them lol
Bru: I’m really thrilled to be with Dreamspinner. My first piece was published about a year and a half ago (another Daily Dose anthology!), and I’ve been with Dreamspinner ever since. Everyone there is amazing!
Pixie: I’m glad to hear it, I like knowing authors are being looked after 🙂 Many authors get their first chance with Dreamspinners in their Christmas, summer and valentine packages and I am really glad that you love working with them.
Pixie: So as an established author that means you will have loads of places to share where fans can stalk you 3:-)
Bru: Nice segue! Readers can find me on Twitter as bru_baker and I have a website, http://www.bru-baker.com and a blog that’s linked off of it.
Bru: I post to Twitter a lot, sometimes about writing and other times about my kiddos and daily life. And lots of pictures of coffee, I’m realizing as I look back through…
Pixie: Tea is much better for you…
Bru: I’ll also be at GRL this year, which is exciting and scary. I’ve never been before, so I’m trying to prepare myself for sensory overload. Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s an amazing time. 🙂
Pixie: The picture’s I’ve seen means you will be drinking plenty of coffee every morning LOL
Bru: I have a 4 year old and a 7 year old–coffee is as close as I can get to functional without actually mainlining caffeine!
Pixie: LOL I needed tea to help relax after putting my monsters to bed, thank god they are older now!
Bru: I usually put mine to bed and then write for a few hours, so a cup of coffee is pretty much my constant companion.
Pixie: *g* Coffee is an author’s best friend.
Bru: Everyone tells me I’ll miss these days when they’re older, but yesterday I had to utter the phrases: “Did you just lick that tennis racket?” and “Why are you brushing your teeth naked in Tree Pose?”, so honestly that sounds pretty good to me right now….
Pixie: *snigger* oh the best is yet to come, the questions just get stranger!
Pixie: ‘Why are you using your sisters straightening iron?* *Why was it a good idea to sleep against the back door?*
Bru: When my oldest was five he had a plan to propose to his best friend, and he told me not to worry, when they were ready for kids they’d ask their best friend Madison to be a surrogate for them. At five! So I’m pretty sure I’m going to be in over my head soon with them…
Pixie: Kids *sigh* the joy and bain of every parent 🙂
Bru: So basically you’re telling me I’m never going to retire the coffee maker, then? 🙂
Pixie: It will get more use…. especially the first couple of times they go out for drinks with friend’s lol
Pixie: Ah anyway lets finish this interview LOL.
Bru: I tend to wander off track often–it’s why I have to ban myself from the internet while writing! LOL
Pixie: Yeah same here, so Bru let’s give the readers a little peek at Branded 🙂
Bru: Hmm. Do you have a passage picked out or are you going to be cruel and make me choose? I love all of it equally! 🙂
Pixie: I’m going to be cruel and make you choose otherwise I might end up posting the entire book LOL
Bru: Haha. Fair enough. Here goes:
Bru : “I’ve never hidden the fact that I love you, Coren,” Bran said softly. Coren heard the whisper of fabric as it fell to the ground, and he opened his eyes to see Bran standing shirtless in front of him. The firelight played across his skin, still golden from stolen hours at the lake even though it was nearly Yule.
Coren didn’t want to mar that perfect skin. Alois had brought him into the infirmary to see the servants who’d already taken ill with infection. He’d watched as the physician tended their burns, seen how even the unblemished skin around the marks on those unlucky servants had turned red with infection, the angry burns blistered and raw. Alois was doing everything he could— administering poultices to speed the healing of the burns and salves for the pain—but Coren had heard him telling the king that several servants would likely lose their limbs—or worse, their lives—from this latest flight of fancy.
“My father finds your love for your kingdom and your devotion to the service of it commendable, but wouldn’t hesitate to exile you if he learned the truth about us.” Coren took the sting out of his words by pressing a kiss over Bran’s heart. He lifted Bran’s right arm and used the cloth to cleanse a swath over his forearm. “I love you, and I know I’m in your heart. I don’t need you to wear my crest there to prove it.”
Pixie: *lip quivers* Yeah that’s perfect, damn you.
Bru: Bran is the one who physically gets hurt, but Coren is the one who needs comfort the most. I just want to scoop him up, stroke his hair, and feed him soup. 🙂
Pixie: I think it affected him more because he was the one that had to do it, hurting someone you love and adore is hard. And Bran oh the way he refuses to just cut and run because he loves Coren so much *bawls*
Bru: The regard he has for Coren and Coren’s feelings of unworthiness are pretty heart-wrenching. *grins evilly*
Pixie: You’re mean Bru, but damn it makes for a fantastic story.
Bru: I put them through a lot, but they can handle it!
Pixie: *sigh* Yes they can. Okay, right, before I go and read Branded again…. is there anything you’d like to say to the readers before we go?
Bru: Don’t hate me after the first paragraph? LOL. I’m always thrilled to hear from readers, so hit me up on my blog or Twitter any time, even if it’s to yell at me about what I did to Bran.
Pixie: LOL It would serve you right 😉 Bru it’s been a pleasure to have you chat to us today, and I truly hope everyone will love Branded like I do.
Bru: Thank you! I enjoyed being here, and I promise to do a better job of taking my journalist’s hat off at the door if we do it again! No more anticipating questions. 🙂
Pixie: We will do this again sometime…. like when you release your next book about Coren and Bran 3:-)
Bru: I like your optimism! Send vats of coffee…
Seeing as Bru pimped the hell out of it why don’t you check out Finding Home
Dropping Anchor: Book Two
When an inheritance fell in Ian Mackay’s lap, he fled the high-pressure banking industry and didn’t look back. Since then, he’s spent four years living carefree on the island of Tortola, his life a series of hookups and hanging out with friends.
After his best friend moves to Seattle and gets married, Ian finds himself lost. His unapologetic existence doesn’t hold the same appeal, and he wonders if he’s throwing his life away. After visiting Niall in Seattle, Ian decides to stay, but that means taking his life off hold and finding a real job. Meeting Luke Keys, who is about as far from a player as possible, isn’t the plan but might be just what Ian needs. Luke and his values intrigue Ian, and he pursues Luke ruthlessly until Luke agrees to a date.
Their courtship sweeps Ian off his feet, and when the relationship gets complicated, Ian has the chance to cut and run. Habits born from years of being on his own are hard to shake, and self-proclaimed playboy Ian must decide if love is worth fighting for.
Available 23rd June 2014
I write M/M romance that is often humorous, sometimes angsty, and always has a happy ending. I’m a sucker for a well-told story with rich details, sappy moments and a fair amount of toe-curling sex, too. Be sure to check out the Excerpts section for a sampling of my M/M romance stories and stop by my blog to keep up-to-date on projects I’m working on. Twitter
Series: Daily Dose Mended 03
Author: Bru Baker
Genre: Historical, Fantasy
Length: Short (36pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (1st June 2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Blurb: When a would-be assassin sneaks into the citadel disguised as a servant, the king requires that all servants who work in the castle be branded with the royal crest for easy identification. Prince Coren is powerless to fight the edict, but he refuses to allow his personal advisor and secret lover Brannir to suffer alone. Coren shows his devotion by wielding the brand to mark Brannir himself, even though he fears it will change their relationship. He’s prepared for resentment, hurt, and anger–every outcome but the one he receives: unconditional love.
Or as part of the 2014 Daily Dose Full Set Mended: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5113
Review: When an assassin gets past all the guards at the Citadel by pretending to be a servant, the King orders all servants to be branded to prove their loyalty and to safeguard against a sneak attack again. Coren can do nothing to sway his father’s mind and now he is torn as he faces his secret lover, Brannir; knowing there is nothing to save him from the brand Coren takes on the task himself even knowing that his lover may resent him.
This is a wonderful little short story that packs a punch. Coren and Bran have been lovers for a long time, when Coren’s father orders all servants branded both Coren and Bran know there is no way out. As Coren prepares to forever brand Bran, Bran is the one who offers comfort as Coren is devastated to have to hurt the man he loves.
This story really shows the incredible love that these two men have for each other; they have a forbidden relationship which could easily see either of them dead. Coren is torn into pieces as he contemplates branding Bran; Coren refuses to let anyone else do it and the only way out would be for Bran to leave the kingdom and Coren’s side. Bran refuses to leave the man he loves and knows that the only way to stay is to take the brand; he offers support and comfort as he watches Coren tear himself apart with guilt.
Coren and Bran are two incredible men, their love for each other shines through every page. Both men are affected by what has to happen and do their best for the other to get through it: the emotions jump off the page. This is an incredibly well written story that shows an important time in Coren and Bran’s relationship, the trust and love they have for each other have them standing strong but it doesn’t make it any easier for Coren to accept and only Bran’s support sees him through… and that is what jumps out at you.
I have to recommend this to everyone who loves a strong relationship facing a trial that would break many apart, who loves a couple who will do anything for each other and who admire a couple whose love is so strong that the pain of a brand dims in comparison.
One lucky comment winner will receive Bru Baker’s Branded
(Bru Baker’s Branded Giveaway has ended)
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