Today I am so pleased to welcome Shae Connor to Joyfully Jay. Shae has come to talk to us about her latest release, Rhythm & Blues. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt to share. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hi all, and welcome to release day for my first self-publishing venture, Rhythm & Blues!
I’ve had this germ of an idea for a while about writing stories based around renovation projects. I’m a total geek for that kind of thing, with a long history of glomming various HGTV and related shows about home fix-it projects. (One of my favorites was Sell This House! on A&E, which focused on staging a home to sell, information that came in very handy when I was selling my house in New Jersey.)
The inspiration for this first novella, Rhythm & Blues, came from a combination of the renovation idea and two celebrities. First up was song-and-dance man Tyler Hanes, a veteran Broadway dancer and local Atlanta boy who went to a performing arts high school here. While Pate Finley doesn’t look just like Tyler, he followed a similar career path—until a knee injury changed everything for him. For his love interest, I went with model, actor, and professional manbun-wearer Brock O’Hurn, who just looks the part of a hot contractor. He filled the role of Horace “Ace” Samson, appropriate last name and all, though Ace is about a half a foot short of Brock’s height.
The juxtaposition of form and function—performing arts versus construction—helped develop the theme for the next few stories I’m writing as well. Tongue & Groove features a rock singer, a home restoration specialist, and a classic Craftsman bungalow. Heart & Soul, will focus on a jazz pianist, a retired football player, and the renovation of a nightclub. And finally, I’ll be branching out into new territory with Graphite & Glitter, which centers around a maid of honor and the bass player for an all-female cover band.
While each of these stories stands alone, they’re intended to be light, fun, and sexy, with a low level of angst. With that in mind, I’m offering an exclusive excerpt from Rhythm & Blues, featuring Pate meeting Ace at the renovation site for an update, only he gets a little more than just that.
Happy reading, and I hope you enjoy their story!
Pate pushed the door wider and stepped inside. “Ace?” he called.
“Down here,” came the reply from the far end of the building. Pate started down the hallway, cataloguing the changes he could see since his last visit. The walls were up, and some were painted, though they lacked trim. Stacks of boxes sat inside the first two studios, he assumed holding the mirrors for each room. He continued on into the largest studio and stopped short just inside the doorway.
In the center of the floor, a blanket had been laid out over the bare concrete, and a picnic dinner had been set out. He couldn’t make out specifics, but a cluster of dishes at the center flanked by two plates, wine glasses, and an ice bucket holding a bottle couldn’t mean anything but food.
Surprised wasn’t a strong enough word. Stunned might be more apt. Ace had done all this for him?
The man himself stood to the side of the blanket, looking equal parts eager and nervous. “Hi,” he said.
“Hi.” Pate moved closer, trying to find words. “You made dinner?”
Ace laughed softly and slid his hands into his jean pockets. “Nah, just ordered some stuff. Didn’t really have time to make it myself.”
Ace must have cleaned himself up after work. His clothes were dust-free and his hair damp and pulled back from his face, which looked freshly scrubbed. “Did you test out the showers too?”
Ace grinned at that. “Great water pressure, if I do say so myself.”
Pate was a foot away by then. “I hope you brushed your teeth,” he said just before he pressed his lips to Ace’s.
When life tears apart your dream, build a new one.
After a knee injury ended his career, Broadway dancer Pate Hawkins limped his way back from New York to Atlanta to implement Plan B: open a dance academy to train the next generation of song-and-dance dreamers. When model-gorgeous contractor Ace Samson answers his request for an estimate on renovating his studio space, Pate hits pay dirt in more ways than one. As construction gets underway, the red-hot attraction between the two men flares, and soon they develop a fledgling relationship. Then the siren song of the stage calls Pate back, and he has to choose between the dream he left behind and the new life he’s building—with his studio, and with Ace.
Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. A member of the Romance Writers of America, Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels available.
Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not in front of her laptop, she enjoying cooking, traveling, watching baseball, reading voraciously, wearing tiaras, and hugging a lot. She’s also the volunteer Director/Editor for the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon.
You can find Shae hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com or email her at shaeconnorwrites @gmail.com. You can also sign up for her mailing list.