Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Love Unlocked - A Beaten Track Anthology - Blog Tour with Author Guest Post and Giveaway

Author Name:
Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Victoria Milne
Dawn Sister
J P Walker
Caraway Carter
Ofelia Gränd
Debbie McGowan

Book Name: Love Unlocked
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Various

Release Date: February 14, 2016


Love Unlocked is a collection of seven short stories and novellas - unique LGBTQ romances inspired by the Love Lock Bridge.
The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Writer's Lock by Victoria Milne
Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister
The Weekend by J P Walker
The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter
He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd
Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan

* * *


New job - sexy boss - fate - Art...

When Sal attends an open exam for an apprentice artist to work alongside the infamous Matthew Picard, the last thing he expects is to be the winner. But then his role is revealed and nothing is ever the same again. As he toils day and night on the unique sculpture, strange sensations begin to affect both him and the watching master artist.

Matthew Picard thought he was through with men and love. What he wanted was for Sal to help him create one final monstrous masterpiece - The Trap.

But as he observes his young apprentice, his focus shifts, and so do the very walls of the gallery.
Is it the beauty of art, or something more magical at work?
As the sculpture is created, a power is unlocked.

Can love save them, or will they be trapped forever?

* * *


Spending a month in Paris to write his romance novel had seemed like the perfect plan, but one week in, Phil Pearson is suffering from a severe case of writer's block. With barely a word written, he's fed up and ready to cut his trip short.

When Laurent Marceau sees Phil in his café, it sends him hurtling into the past, opening old wounds and reminding him of the love he lost. But, after watching the aspiring writer struggle for inspiration, he surprises himself by offering to show him Paris through the eyes of a true Parisian.

Finally bursting with ideas, Phil is delighted to put pen to paper, albeit badly at first. As the writer finds himself falling in love for the first time, Laurent knows he needs to decide quickly if he's strong enough to return his affections, or whether it would be better for them both if he walked away. He knows he may not have a choice, once Phil finds out the truth.

* * *


Due to a misunderstanding, the troll that lives underneath one of the most romantic bridges in Paris inadvertently unlocks every single padlock lovers have left there over the years. L'Authoritié de Fée Folklorique are up in arms. He has no idea what all the fuss is about. The noise was driving him mad. He just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.

A spell is cast, leaving the troll in a bit of a predicament. He is charged with the seemingly impossible task of fixing the locks before the spell can be reversed and he is allowed to return to his home. There are other complications, the least of which is the insistence and persistence of a fairy who is determined to help him against the wishes of his own people.

Now the troll has a dilemma. What is more important to him? The only home he has known for two thousand years, or a fairy he has just met?

* * *


Nat's been through a rough breakup and trust does not come easily. When she accompanies a group of friends to Paris for a hen weekend, she finds a connection she wasn't looking for, in the form of beautiful, passionate Morgan. They quickly fall into a wonderful weekend fling and even engrave their initials into a lock and attach it to the most romantic bridge in the world, Love Lock Bridge.

But was that weekend fling all there was, or will news of the bridge being taken down lead to something more?

* * *


Brandon Marshall, in Paris for his twin sister's wedding, has a fling before the big day. At the end of a whirlwind week of discovering each other, Brandon and his lover place a scarlet lock on the Love Lock Bridge.

Follow Brandon through six years of letters - to the citizens of Paris, on everything from how to make love, to eating passionate fruit - and to the lover, who is now his brother-in-law.

The locks are being removed, the bridge refitted... What will be the fate to The Scarlet Lock?

* * *


All Delron wants is to live his life with Phillipe, but when their love lock is stolen from Pont des Art, their relationship is in jeopardy. Without the lock holding them together, Delron is convinced they'll crash and burn. The only way he can save their relationship is to find the stolen lock, and that is just what he plans to do, no matter what.

Phillipe loves Delron, he really does, but it's driving him insane that Delron can't see that a padlock is simply a piece of metal. The lock has nothing to do with them, not really. Up until the night the lock was stolen, their life was great, but Del's crazy behaviour has Phillipe wondering if he has ever really known his boyfriend.

Delron's search leads him through art-filled Paris, but will a symbol of love ever be enough to soothe the mistrust his quest has planted in Phillipe? Phillipe always thought he'd spend the rest of his life with Del, but who can live with anyone willing to break the law just to find a padlock when they can buy a new one in just about any shop?

* * *


Josh and George have always shared the special bond of friendship. From days in primary school, to holidays spent riding their bikes along the canal, theirs is a promise to remain best friends forever.

But can that promise withstand the trials of adolescence, and the changes in their feelings towards each other?

Pages or Words: 156,000 words, 550 pages

Categories: Bisexual (1 story), Contemporary (7 stories), Fantasy (1 story), Gay Fiction (6 stories), Lesbian Romance (1 story), M/M Romance (6 stories), Romance (7 stories)


Excerpt from Writer’s Lock  by Victoria Milne

Phil Pearson tilted his head, contemplating the blank pages of his notebook, and a dark lock of hair skimmed his eyes. Still nothing. Yet again, his mind was totally blank—an alarmingly familiar feeling. He squinted hard, blurring the faint, ruled lines into thick, grey barriers.
So much for coming to Paris for inspiration; he’d barely written a word in the six days since his arrival. Leaning back in the rickety, wooden chair, he slammed the notebook shut, sighed and gazed out of the café window at the tourists bustling past in the warm, evening sun.
He felt like such a fraud. How could he legitimately call himself a romance writer, when he was in the city of love and still struggling to write anything of significance? His fingers trembled as he smoothed condensation from his beer glass. His inexperience of love was certainly shining through. He had to prove he could do this, for his own sanity if nothing more. Surely, it shouldn’t be this hard.
Vous désirez…un café peut-etrê?
Phil peered blankly at the waiter, who smiled and repeated in English.
“Can I get you anything else?”
Phil shook his head, and the waiter took a step closer—a little too close, Phil noticed—as he glanced at his notebook.
“Ideas not flowing today?”
“Or any day, it feels like.”
The waiter indicated towards the empty chair opposite, and Phil shrugged his acquiescence, catching the delicate scent of the man’s aftershave as he took his seat. “You’re a writer?”
“Trying to be,” Phil said with waning conviction.
Studying him, the waiter pursed his full lips. “You cannot wait for inspiration to come to you like this. Sometimes you have to go out there and create it for yourself.”
Phil snorted a laugh. “You really think I’m going to take advice about inspiration from a waiter?”
His companion’s chair legs noisily scraped the tiled floor as he stood and gave Phil a long, hard stare. “Perhaps you should not be so quick to judge on appearances. Most things are not as they seem at first glance. You could learn a lot about inspiration from me, if you were not so arrogant.”
Phil stared at the man as he walked away, horrified with himself. He’d been so caught up with his own woes and torments that he’d unwittingly committed the one sin he despised most in others: not only to judge someone negatively but to do so with no thought as to whether it were true, or deserved, even.
The waiter was preparing coffee behind the bar, and Phil looked at him more closely. His shoulder-length, auburn hair was tied neatly into a ponytail, and he had the physique of a long-distance runner, or perhaps a cyclist. The sleeves of his crisp, black shirt were rolled to his elbows, and a wooden beaded necklace graced his throat. The more Phil watched the man’s practised movements, the more intrigued he became, and also more embarrassed.
Draining his beer and packing up his things, he stood and walked the short distance to the bar and placed the empty glass down with a thud.
“I’m sorry about before,” he said and slid twenty euros across the bar. The waiter glanced over his shoulder and made to open the cash register, but Phil shook his head and began to walk towards the exit. “Have a drink on me.”
Phil spun to look at him and was studied with a guarded smile.
“How would you like to know Paris through the eyes of a true Parisian?”
Phil eyed him cautiously, and the waiter strolled over.
“This is not true Paris,” he scoffed and waved his hand at the tables of tourists. “You will never feel inspiration here. Allow me to show you Paris, the places we Parisians go. If you cannot write afterwards, I guarantee it was never meant to be your passion.”
Phil considered his offer for a moment. “Okay, you’re on.” He scraped a lock of hair from his eyes and held out his hand. “I’m Phil, by the way.”
“Philippe, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Laurent.” He leaned forward, ignoring Phil’s outstretched hand, and kissed him on both cheeks. “But we should start right away, and I know exactly where we’ll go. I’ll get my coat and tell Luc I’m leaving.”
Phil hovered by the doorway, wondering what exactly he’d agreed to. He’d just put what felt like his entire future in the hands of a complete stranger. To his surprise, instead of feeling apprehensive, he was excited to see where this journey would take him.

Buy the book:

The Trap by Claire Davis and Al Stewart –
Writer's Lock by Victoria Milne –
Locked in the Moment by Dawn Sister –
The Scarlet Lock by Caraway Carter –
He Melted Us by Ofelia Gränd –
Chain of Secrets by Debbie McGowan –


Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Debbie McGowan author of Chain of Secrets (Love Unlocked).

Hi Debbie, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi, I’m Debbie McGowan, an author, publisher and social scientist. I also happen to be the publisher of Love Unlocked – the anthology in which my story Chain of Secrets appears. :)

I am passionate about books and believe in the power of fiction to transform lives, even if it’s just for those few moments of happiness that follow the words ‘and they all lived happily ever after’. That’s why I write, and also why I went into publishing. I’m a socialist, so I’m not after being rich or famous.

I’m also a mother of two grown-up daughters, grandmother to a little chap called Christopher, who was born 12 weeks early, and his hairy brother, Patch. Oh, and I have a Nige. LOL. He’s t’other half.

Open up your recipe box! Give us something that would thrill us.

OK, so I have this great little book for writing recipes in, which my gran bought me a loooooong time ago. It contains a fair few ‘heirloom’ recipes—cakes, scones, more cakes, and lots of festive fayre—plus a few recipes I’ve come up with myself over the years. The one thing all of the recipes have in common is the final step in the instructions.

The most recent addition, made for my youngest daughter’s 21st birthday (though it’s only a tiny cake), is a supremely easy lemon drizzle cake. It involves lemon curd, which you can buy in UK supermarkets, or online for stupid amounts of money if you can’t buy it where you live (8 USD was the cheapest I could find it online). Or…you could make it.

Lemon curd is a thick custard made with sugar, lemon juice, eggs and butter. There is an excellent recipe here:

Lemon Drizzle Cake

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4 (350F / 180C).
2. Grease a deep, six-inch-diameter pan/tin and line base with greaseproof/parchment paper.

3. Measure these ingredients into a mixing bowl…

4oz (110g / ½ cup) self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour + 1 tsp baking powder)*
4oz (110g / ½ cup) butter
2oz (55g / ¼ cup) sugar
2oz (55g / ¼ cup) lemon curd
2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder

*according to the delectable Nigella Lawson, US self-rising flour has added salt, which you don’t want in a cake. Nor do you want baking soda.

…and mix them together with an electric whisk until smooth, light and creamy (about three minutes).

4. Spoon the mixture into the pan/tin and make sure it is evenly spread.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until it springs back to the touch.
6. Turn cake out onto a sheet of greaseproof/parchment paper, on top of a cooling rack.
7. Mix 2 tbsp lemon curd with 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp hot water.
8. Drizzle the mix over the cake.
9. Leave to cool for as long as you can wait.

10. Eat and enjoy.

The authors and where to find them:

Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Al Stewart and Claire Davis write about people who are not perfect. Claire embraces the dark side, and Al the good side of the force. Their work is there for a fusion of both, mixed often with kink and humour.

Contact and Media

* * *

Victoria Milne

Many years ago, Victoria chose the words ‘watch this space’ to accompany her picture in the school yearbook and had no dreams of being a writer. Sixteen years later, after someone joked that she should be an author, she began the first page of her very first novel and realised how perfect those words had been.

As a latecomer to the world of creative writing, Victoria is now making up for lost time and enjoying every second of the experience.

In the rare moments these days when she’s not writing or dreaming up new plots, she can usually be found at either the ice rink or the dojo and all of these activities are done listening to loud music.

Victoria would love to hear from anyone who shares her passion for writing; and in particular from anyone who has tips on how to tame the editing fetish she has unwittingly acquired along the way.

Contact and Media

Beaten Track:

* * *

Dawn Sister

Dawn is from the North East of England. Her life is spent juggling.  The juggling balls are: children, husband, work (occasionally), voluntary work, professional knitting (notice she doesn't class this as work), and writing. When she has time she actually sleeps.

The whole point of writing for Dawn is just to get it all off her chest and out of her head. If she doesn't write it down then she ends up having long conversations with the characters out loud and her husband thinks she's crazy.

Contact and Media


* * *

J P Walker

Jem Roche-Walker was born in Norwich and moved to the Northwest in order to attend Edge Hill University, studying Social Work Studies. After studying, she began working in rehabilitation for patients with acquired brain injuries and spent seven years writing her first novel, Knights of the Sun, (2013, Beaten Track).

She lives in Burscough with her wife and baby girl and loves spending family time with them.

Contact and Media

Beaten Track:

* * *

Caraway Carter

Caraway Carter has worn numerous hats. He’s been a furniture salesman, a dresser, a costumer, an actor/waiter, a rabble rouser, a poet and most recently a writer. He married his husband on Halloween and they are the loving parents of two rambunctious cats. He loves words and stringing them together, he loves sex and sexy men. He loves seeing how far his muse will take him and he’s looking forward to entertaining you.

Contact and Media

Beaten Track:

* * *

Ofelia Gränd

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes contemporary and paranormal, and dreams about one day writing a post-apocalyptic story—if that ever happens we’ll see.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods. She’s recently discovered the miracle of podcasts and spends her strolls listening to wise people talk.

If you want to know more, subscribe to Ofelia's Mailing List:

Facebook 1:

* * *

Debbie McGowan

Debbie McGowan is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, she went back to college to study social science—tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can.

Contact and Media

Twitter: @writerdebmcg


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