Saturday, August 16, 2014

Author Saturday Spotlight: Thorny Sterling *Interview and Giveaway*

Where do I begin? Thorny Sterling is quite possibly one of the most talented people out there. A few months ago his book Splinters came out. A fabulous beyond words book. I was so blown away by it that it immediately went on to my August Top Reads post and I recommended it to anyone I could think of. MANY of you are aware of this and so very many of you have read it. For those who have not. YOU HAVE TO!

Waking up in a strange place isn't a first for model and actor Allan Seville, but discovering himself alone and bound to a rough plank in the middle of an open Texas range certainly is. With no memory of who did this to him or why, panic sets in, until rescue comes riding up on a big, brown horse.

There’s more to Duke Walters than a handsome face and sexy drawl. In the arms of this rugged cowboy, Al discovers a peace and safety he never knew he needed, and now doesn't want to be without.

But someone wants Al out of the way and drugging him during a movie junket in Houston is only the beginning. A world of differences may separate this cowboy and diva, but when danger strikes again, Duke might be the only one who can get them out alive.


Truly an outstanding book. I will always hold it as one of my favorites. For anyone who has not read it yet. You may get your change in the giveaway ;)

Thorny's talent extends beyond the written word. Thorny is an artist. When he isn't making magic by typing away, with a flick of the wrist he is creating art!

Thorny alongside Paul Richmond and LC Chase have a site called Art Equals. Word for word,
Art= is a collective of artists spanning the gender identity spectrum, as well as the globe, who are committed to helping create a better world for GLBTQ people through sales of their artwork. Upon the sale of selected artworks, each artist donates a portion of that sale directly to one of our supported charities.
I have gone over to Art Equals page and have fallen in love! Many people in my life will be receiving art this holiday season LOL.

For more information or to contact the artists and get on this awesome train just click here > ART EQUALS and you can be a part of this!

NOW! Thorny ALSO has his OWN site where he sells his art and WOW! His work is breathtaking! People who follow him in social media are well aware of his talent. Others can check it out here: TAR (Baby) Paintings ... I will also let you know THIS is important to the giveaway too ;)

I had some fun with Thorny... and his characters *cough* after my interview with him he actually arranged for me to sit with Allan and Duke of Splinters *EEEE*

So first I would like you all to get comfortable and enjoy this interview with the amazing Thorny Sterling...

 We all watched this book grow and your excitement for it was contagious. When it released people bought it and ate it up! What has this experience been like for you?

Overwhelming, eye-opening, and wonderful :) The overwhelming bits have been all the times people have been so supportive. I really think I didn’t expect people who didn’t know me online or IRL to buy the book, let alone seek me out to say hi or tell me what they thought about it. Which goes with the eye-opening parts being about not just a blogger but an author now. People are doing to me what I’ve done to authors with the whole “hi, Mr. Sterling, I loved your book, can I have an autograph?” and I’m just floored. I mean, what? Me? Oh, right. I’m an author. And that’s when it’s really wonderful because I made something and people love it and they’re willing to stand up and say so! I’ve been the reader doing that, so to be on the other side now is amazing. I smile a lot :)

 Tell me about the cover for your book Splinters? It's stunning!

Thank you! The background of the cover is a digital painting I did from a few different references of windswept trees and wide prairies. After some frustrations in attempting to design the cover that came about from resisting this image, actually painting the scene from the book that had been stuck in my head from the beginning, was a relief. I’d resisted because this isn’t the usual m/m romance cover; it hardly says romance at all. I’d thought that would be a disaster. But a lot of fantastic encouragement from some great people had me seeing that unusual might be exactly what this book needed.

 There is incredible balance of emotion in Splinters. I laughed, gasped and cried. Does that sort of thing come naturally to you or do you have to tweak it to flow so well?

Oh, there were so many drafts of this story! I think my poor readers went through…6 drafts? Seven? Some of them might’ve read as many as 10 or 12, if we go all the way back to 2012, when I wrote the opening scene. I think I knew what I was aiming for in each of the scenes, like what had to happen or what Al would feel. My readers (critique partners and betas) would seriously help me hone that to a sharper and finer point every time. They’d ask questions or make observations, and I’d work to answer those questions or whatever I had to do to really get the point of the scene across. I am extremely grateful to all of them for their help.

 I love your blog and a part of me (While reading your book) felt like Al was a lot like you. I could be wrong. Do you find that putting your personality into a character is beneficial?

Oh, yeah, Al’s a lot like me. I had to go there for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t know how else to write about what Al went through except to put myself in every situation and explore what I thought I’d do. I can explode with temper, use humor and snark defensively, and refuse to address a problem because I just can’t deal right then. I figured those were things Al could certainly do too. Secondly, I am a demographic of the rainbow I don’t see much in fiction, let alone m/m. I’ve seen it plenty of times where someone doesn’t like a book because one of the heroes was so very gay or cross-dressed or did whatever that wasn’t straight-acting enough for them. Well, those guys are me and we deserve our romances too.

 Can you tell us about any future projects you have in the works?

Well, I have something kinda cool beginning Monday, August 25. I’ve written a short story based on a photo prompt, an author friend of mine, Kris T. Bethke, did the same, and we’re releasing them for free. She does a flash fic every week, and got me interested in giving it a try. I, of course, ignored the rules completely ;) and wrote way more than a flash of anything, but it’s still going to be free. I’m looking forward to what people think about the two really different ideas we came up with based on the same photo.

 What has been the hardest part about this whole process?

You know, being done with it all has been hardest, I think. Writing it was hard, oh yes. But letting those characters and that world go? Hell. I swear, I went through a mourning period during that first week. Even though people were buying the book and loving the heck out of it, I was all sad because the story was over for me. I couldn’t imagine moving on, even thought people said I should get to writing something new. Someone compared it to losing a cat and getting a new kitten to help in the processing. Well, I didn’t want a new kitten! Except…then I did. Writing something new did help me move on and enjoy my successes while working toward doing it again someday. The free story I mentioned is the result of this.

 This genre has grown through the years. Do you feel that this genre raises awareness within the LGBTQ community and if so what do you hope your work will do for it?

Now you’ve worded this kind of interestingly, and I’m going to poke at it ;) You said “raises awareness WITHIN” the community, and that made me think about how many LGBTQ people I know IRL who had no idea m/m romance existed at all until I told them. So I think being a reader and now an author does raise some awareness WITHIN the community about the availability of books about LGBTQ people living and loving and getting their HEAs. If you meant whether m/m romances raise awareness ABOUT the community, I’d definitely say yes to that too. I’ve talked to a lot of people online who’ve dared read a m/m book and had their eyes opened to one thing or another about LGBTQ people. As crazy as it might seem to some of us, I’ve even seen people say they’ve realized we’re normal people, just a little different. I’m going to take that as a success because the more people who realize that, respect that, the better off we’ll all be really soon.

 Do you have a writing process or do you just kind of wing it?

Hmm… I probably would’ve said I just wing it before SPLINTERS, but I know now that I do have my quirks and requirements to actually do the writing. I like those nature sounds music where it’s like a babbling brook and a loon or something. A fan’s good too, or opening a window and listening to normal outside noises. I like long stretches of uninterrupted time, something to drink, and few distractions. I take notes so I know where I’m going, but I try not to re-read before writing. That makes for a lot of editing sometimes, but it also yields some really good stuff.

 I'm fairly certain I know since I follow you in social media, but for those who don't can you tell us how Splinters came to be?

Once upon a time, I came across a pretty kinky photo of a guy all tied up in a field. After I got over some admiration for his physique and a flash fantasy of what I might do if I stumbled upon him ;) I started asking myself questions about why he was like that, who tied him up, was he happy or upset about it, etc. Every answer kept leading me deeper and deeper into what I soon realized was basically the plotting of a story. After I got over being impressed with my little self, I started writing down my questions and answers. Soon I had some scenes strung together, ideas for more, and the brief short story that explained that photo kept growing and growing. I’m still amazed I found so much to say from just one photo :)
Speaking of social media, how can your fans follow your happenings and such . Website, Facebook, Twitter etc...?
I'm on Twitter :Thorny on Twitter
And on Facebook: Thorny on FB all the time too!

I’ve recently started selling artwork online, so I gotta pimp that for a minute http://thornysterling.bigcartel.com/

Plus, I’m involved in an artists collective called Art= http://artequals.com/
that supports various LGBT charities through the sale of artwork :)
It was such a pleasure to do this interview and I can't thank Thorny enough for sharing with us his future projects and a great insight into his beautiful mind.
Now, I also got the GREAT pleasure of sitting down with Allan Seville and Duke Walters. The AMAZING couple of Splinters, Thorny's book. I didn't know what I was in for to be honest. It was so much better than I could have imagined...

Thorny was very kind to arrange this meeting for me. To be able to sit here with Al and Duke and hear a little bit about each of you is very exciting.  I have to say before we begin, Allan, your eye for fashion is impressive and I’m embarrassed for myself that I am not as in tuned as you are. 

ALLAN SEVILLE: We’re delighted to be here, sweetie. And don’t you worry about your sense of style. If you’re happy with how you look, that’s all that matters. Of course, if you’d like to have a chat about that later, I’m here to help.

You're so sweet. Al, can you tell us (Some know) what age you knew that fashion was something you were not only great at but that you wanted to be a part of your life?

AS: My interest in fashion goes back as far as I can remember. If my parents hadn’t pushed for “mommy” or “daddy” to be my first words, I probably would’ve said “silk.” Fine fabrics are a love of mine, but truly stepping into fashion didn’t happen until about six years ago, when Henri Dubois discovered me.

Duke, for your fashion, clothes all that, isn’t something you care much about yourself, but you LOVE Al and you’ve already told us your favorite shoot of his. Can you tell us this, does Al let you go shopping with him some, and do you get to help him pick out… uhm… outfits?

DUKE WALTERS: No, my own clothes don’t much interest me, despite all Al’s best attempts to spruce me up from time to time. His clothes, though… Yes, ma’am, I make my interests known there. Designers’ll send him things they want him to wear for them, and I’m always willin’ to help him choose. I will say, pickin’ out his underclothes are a highlight of my life nowadays. I guarantee I have my favorites.

Since the two of you have had time to settle down. Can you tell us what sort of things you’ve been up to, anything exciting?

DW: Go on, darlin’. Before you explode.

AS: Mere, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed on to play a deliciously provocative, gender-bending angel with a wicked streak in a glorious indie film. Isn’t that exciting? I could explode. I really could! We start filming in three weeks, and I cannot wait. I just can’t.

Oh, wow, Al, that's wonderful congratulations! 
DW: Before you ask, yes, I’m gonna spend a few days visiting once they get going. Wouldn’t miss seein’ him doin’ his thing and bein’ behind the scenes for it all. Otherwise, the ranch is runnin’ smooth, just the way I like it to.

I have to ask, Duke, that morning while you were riding and you came across Al there naked as the day he was born, tied and obviously in a “situation” what was your first thought?

DW: I thought it was a joke. Played on me or him, I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t believe it was near as serious as it turned out to be. Not until I really looked at his face did I understand. His smart mouth covered up a lot of what he was goin’ through, but seein’ those eyes big and scared got me right in the gut. I’d’a done anythin’ he needed to ease him.

AS: You did, honey. You were prefect.

Al, you have an extremely positive outlook. You seriously took every obstacle that was thrown your way with great optimism. What helped you stay smiling? How’d you persevere? 

AS: Oh, lord. Sometimes I’m not so sure. Well… Alright, I know I use my “smart mouth” defensively and maybe not always appropriately. I know I should stop and process things before I snap at people. I’m trying to change that. But, honestly, I’m not weak and I don’t give up. I have to persevere; there’s just no other choice. 

I know there are people who haven’t read the book so I am trying to keep this as unspoilerish as possible. Duke, without giving too much away can I ask, how is your brother?

DW: He’s doin’ alright. In a couple ways, I think this is somethin’ he needed. The help he’s gettin’, I mean. I wish it could’ve come about without so much hurt all around, but I’m seein’ a side of him I ain’t seen in a long time. This man now is my brother. I’m glad he’s finding his way back.

How has life changed for the both of you after all this?

DW: I have to lock the doors.

AS: You already were locking the doors.

DW: Now, I have to.

AS: We have a new security system. A few very dedicated fans dropped by for a visit while we were out and made themselves at home. We now have some sensors throughout the property that will let us know about anyone approaching, as well as various security measures on the house and outbuildings.

DW: Damn near got shot in my own barn.

AS: You did not. There’s nothing in there that could shoot you. The alarm went off because you didn’t deactivate it fast enough.

DW: Humph.

AS: It helps keep us safe.

DW: Yeah, baby, I know. But I could’a got some dogs and a few more guns to do the same work.

AS: Cowboys… I swear.

*Chuckles* Al, can I ask how Elsie is? Do you see her much these days?

AS: We talk more than see each other face-to-face, but she’s doing brilliantly. She and Stuart are apartment hunting. Both of them still fuss whenever I mention rings, but moving in together is a good start. I got yelled at for daring to mention what beautiful café au lait babies they’d make together, but I won’t keep quiet on that forever. I want to be an uncle.

DW: She’s gonna kill you before you get the chance, spillin’ all that in an interview.

AS: Oh, pish. I saw her eyeing baby clothes the last time we went shopping together. It’s only a matter of time.

I would love to ask some every day typical questions. These are for both of you:
What is your favorite color?

AS: Cobalt blue.

DW: Green.

AS: He likes Kelly green best.

DW: That’s what I said.

AS: Of course, honey.

*Laughing* Favorite time of day?

AS: Dinner time. Duke comes riding back home and, well, cowboys… It’s a very inspiring time to be out near the barn.

DW: That is a fine time.

Favorite food?

AS: I’m quite fond of biscuits at the moment.

DW: You’re fond of butter and anythin’ you can put it on.

AS: It tastes great on you as well.

DW: I, uh… My, um… What was the question?

Favorite flower?

AS: Pink Evening Primrose. They grow along the edge of the barn, and they’re just such happy little wildflowers. Duke picks them for me sometimes.

DW: They’d be mine, too.

If you could be anywhere in the world where would you want to be?

AS: On the ranch.

DW: Home.

AS: Yeah.


This is for both of you. Biggest pet peeves?

AS: He snores.

DW: Everybody snores.

AS: I don’t.

DW: Uh-huh.

AS: I don’t!

DW: He dresses like he’s in Antarctica to go muck stalls, then complains he’s too hot.

AS: You might not mind getting poo on everything you own, but I do.

DW: We have a hose.

AS: It’s gross.

DW: The hose?

AS: The poo.

*LAUGHING SO HARD* 

DW: Everybody shits, too, babe.

AS: Oh, my God.

DW: You know, it’s entirely possible she didn’t mean pet peeves about each other.

AS: Oh. Well, then. When people text without using proper punctuation. I can’t stand that.

DW: {just chuckles}

Finally, because I don’t want to keep you both. What does the future hold for you both?

AS: Oh, more acting and modeling jobs, cows and horses, riding lessons and—

DW: Allan.

AS: What?

DW: Don’t start that again.

AS: Real riding lessons, Duke. On a horse? You’re still thinking about the butter.

DW: As if you aren’t.

AS: It was lovely meeting with you, Mere, but we seem to have pressing matters to attend to.

DW: {sighs}

AS: Believe me, honey, neither she nor her audience minds at all.

Thank you, Al and Duke, for taking time out of your hectic schedule to humor a fan. I adore you both as many will agree, do as well. We love hearing from you and perhaps can pop in from time to time to say hi. I wish you both all the luck, love and happiness this life has to offer you.

AS: Thank you, sweetie. It’s been fun. Bye everyone! And remember: Save a horse, ride a cowboy!

SO WOW RIGHT? I don't know about all of you but I missed those two SO much. It was a great pleasure to speak with them. And yes they are adorable together. 
I'd like to talk about the giveaway! WHICH IS FABULOUS! 
ONE winner will have a choice between:
Deal 1: A free ebook copy of Splinters in the format of your choice
OR
Deal 2: Your choice of any Thorny Sterling painting on his website > http://thornysterling.bigcartel.com/ 
YEAH I KNOW! Decisions are hard people! But we all have to make them! SO! As usual the giveaway runs for 5 days and will end on Friday. When it ends I will notify you via email. If you choose the ebook I will ask you what format and what email you want it sent to. If you choose the painting I am going to ask you for your email address. That will be between Thorny and you. I will not ask you for personal information.
To purchase Splinters you can go to AMAZON Splinters on AMAZON and of course there is always Thorny's Goodreads page to find out other places to purchase, Thorny on GR 
Make sure to check out Art= and his website for wonderful art!!!
***GIVEAWAY***



a Rafflecopter giveaway

39 comments:

  1. Loved the questions that were asked! Great interview! :)

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  2. the pictures are great and havent read splinters yet

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  3. AHHHHHHHH LOVED IT. LOVED EVERY WORD!

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  4. This was a fun interview, both withThorny as well as with Al and Duke. I've missed Al and Duke. I'm looking forward to Aug. 25! Thank you all!

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    1. Yes I love when we get to hear from beloved characters again. It was a wonderful treat!

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  5. Loved both interviews! Loved the book and it was fantastic getting to see what Al and Duke are up to <3

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  6. What a great post. I have read Splinters and have to say it was a great story, For a first time author the characters and story were great and I really enjoyed them. You have to go and get it. Also go check out Thorny's art over on his blog page one word ....WOW. I loved the interview with Al & Duke it was like they were right there very enjoyable, Thanks. Sarah

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    1. Thanks! I totally agree with you his art is extraordinary and this book was amazing

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  7. Great interviews!! I missed Al and Duke!

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  8. Btw, just bought Thorny's Rose painting.. Can't wait to get it! He's sooo gifted!!

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    1. Oh that is a beautiful painting! Good choice!

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  9. Loved the interview (as I did the book)! ��

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  10. I loved the interview. I haven't read any books from this author but I want to read this book. I love the art. Thank You for this wonderful giveaway.

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  11. Thorny is a new author to me but the book sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. You're welcome! Between the writing AND the art he's a creative genius!

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  12. I haven't read it yet but I plan too. I love all of Thorny's art that I've seen.

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  13. The interview was fantastic. Thorny's art is amazing too. I have heard lots of great things about the book and have it high on my wishlist to buy.

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  14. Great interviews! Thorny is talented on so many levels. I loved Splinters and his art is amazing.

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  15. Splinters is up next on my TBR pile, and I can't wait :) love the artwork, too <3

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  16. Wonderful post and interview. I have Splinters patiently waiting for my attention and hope to get to it soon cause it sounds wonderful.

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  17. I have read Splinters, what an amazing love story. I adored the interviews as well. Thorny is multi-talented, his artwork is beautiful.

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  18. Loved the character interview - I haven't read Splinters yet but it sounds fantastic. I came across Thorny's blog and spent all night catching up on his & Alec's stories! Yay for brothers Jazz & Carter who know how to love their husbands. And what an incredible artist he is. Anyways - I've become a big fan :)
    lgrant1@san.rr.com

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  19. Loved the interview Have not read Splinters cvsimpkins@msn.com

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  20. I enjoyed the interview and I'm looking forward to reading the book.

    ShirleyAnn(at)speakman40(dot)freeserve(dot)co(dot)uk

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  21. haven't read it but it sounds great!

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  22. I can't wait to read Splinters. Great interview with Thorny Sterling! Thank you for the chance.

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  23. Splinters is in my TBR pile. I enjoyed reading the interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

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