Monday, July 8, 2013

Love Is Never Perfect... @diannehartsock @breathlesspress @KMNbooks

KAREN: Enjoy a behind the scene look at Dianne Hartsock's Shelton in Love series. Love is never perfect, but Shelton and Nevil learn and grow as they explore what love truly means.  Take it away Dianne!

A Glimpse Behind the scenes of my SHELTON series by Dianne Hartsock
Thanks so much Karen for having me as your guest today. I've been writing m/m erotic romances for a couple of years now, with a dozen books to my name. But I think my first love will always be Shelton from my SHELTON IN LOVE series. He's such a sweetheart! Beautiful and kind and absolutely crazy about his lover, Nevil.

That's not to say they haven't had their moments, and Nevil has disappointed Shelton on more than one occasion. But I think that's what makes these stories believable. Neither one of the men is perfect, but their flaws only make them into characters that readers can relate to. Shelton can almost be the neighbor who stops in for coffee and advice.

Shelton first came to me as a daydream during a long afternoon's drive through the Utah desert. I had just finished reading my first m/m romance the week before and experienced insta-love for the genre! I began toying with the idea of writing my own man on man story. And why not? Men are delicious and here was my chance to write about two of the yummy creatures together.

The story I had read was of vampires and their human lovers. Loved it! But I didn't want to write that. I wanted to do a contemporary story about a man with the traits I admire and a few faults thrown in to make him human.

I threw a few challenges in his way for him to overcome, the biggest one being a boyfriend who is both a flirt and a bit of a playboy. In the beginning of their romance, Shelton knows Nevil will sleep with him, but he wants more than that. Was it so bad to want a relationship with someone and not just a fling?

I wanted to explore this feeling. I think most of us are looking for that one person we can love and who makes us happy. I had Shelton resist Nevil time and again, though he loves him, simply because he was looking for a man to go through life with. It takes all of the first book for Nevil to realize what a jewel Shelton is.

The next four books deal with the ups and downs of their relationship, the joys and heartaches, separation and return, and overcoming temptation. I wanted to make this a realistic couple in the modern world. So many temptations to stray, so easy to fall into misunderstanding and hurt feelings. But because I insist on a HEA in my stories, they always come back together at the end of the book, understanding each other a little better and more deeply in love.

So, that's my Shelton series! I've enjoyed writing these stories and hope you'll enjoy them as well.

Shelton in Love

Shelton's falling quickly for his sexy roommate, but can he forget the pain of past rejections and give Nevil what they're both aching for?


Shelton ignored the flutter in his stomach he always experienced when invited into Nevil’s room, and settled back into the cushions of the chair. “Who’s the lucky color?” he asked, trying to feign indiffer­ence.

Nevil randomly drew a pair of socks from the top drawer of the bureau. “Ah, the gray ones.”

“What? Percy again? Didn’t you have him earlier in the week?”

“So what? These socks have never let me down,” Nevil countered, rubbing the soft wool against his cheek and purring like a happy kit­ten.

Shelton’s stomach knotted at the decadent smile on Nevil’s face. Nevil had made it clear when they’d first met that he’d enjoy sleeping with him. The jealousy Shelton was keenly aware of now was his own fault. But was it wrong of Shelton to want more from the man than a passing fling? He shoved away the wish of sharing something mean­ingful with Nevil, a thought that made the flirtation all the more hurt­ful. “Fine, but if you make the man fall in love with you, then you can buy us an answering machine. I’m not going to listen to his whines when you break it off.”

Nevil looked at him, raising a finely arched brow. “Who says I’ll break it off?”

“Get real. You’d be bored of one lover in less than a week. Remem­ber Daniel Pratte? You only managed six days with him after telling me you’d love him forever. He called for weeks after you told him it was over, hoping you’d be the one to pick up the phone. Admittedly, he was a bit of a prig, but I’m the one who had to listen to him sobbing his heart out every evening. I refuse to do that with Percy.”

“Danny wasn’t the right man for me. I haven’t made up my mind about Percy,” Nevil protested, unknowingly twisting the knife deep­er into Shelton’s heart. Shelton unconsciously held his breath when Nevil sat back against the headboard and lifted his foot onto the bed, pushing up the cuff of his tan Dockers. Moistening his lips, Shelton fought the arousal as he watched Nevil pull the sock over his foot and up a muscular calf—he was a faithful jogger and in May already had the beginnings of a fabulous tan.

Shelton’s treacherous gaze followed the fine dark hair up Nevil’s leg until it disappeared under the cuff of his pants. Captivated, his gaze continued upward to where the fabric tented nicely at the junc­ture of his legs. His heart skipped a beat when Nevil shifted on the bed and the material pressed against a definite bulge.

Panicked, he raised his head, hoping Nevil hadn’t observed his interest. Nevil’s beautiful blue-green eyes watched him; then Nevil cocked an eyebrow. Shelton pushed to his feet from the chair, his face burned at the man’s slightly mocking smile. “I’m going to make a sandwich. Do you want one?”

“No, thanks. I need to save room for dessert,” Nevil reminded him as his tongue flicked over his lips.
An image of Percy’s nicely rounded butt in tight jeans flashed through Shelton’s mind.

“Suit yourself,” Shelton muttered, watching as Nevil crossed his legs to leisurely pull on the second sock. Tearing his gaze from the provocative sight before acting on the impulse to join Nevil on the bed and strip him of clothing, Shelton left the room and stomped to the kitchen, grabbing meat and cheese from the refrigerator. He swore under his breath as he slathered mayonnaise on the bread, hating Per­cy and every other man in the myriad of colored socks in Nevil’s top drawer.

After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, I now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.

I have to say, Oregon's raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There's something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms my hands, which kindles my imagination.

The intricate and fragile nature of the mind is always fascinating. Having worked with the public through various careers I've come to respect the resilience and strength of the human spirit. I'm always trying to capture that spirit in my writing.
Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.



Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


Thanks so much for being a guest here today and sharing a glimpse of the making of your series.

Since I love book covers: Were the covers for this series what you envisioned for each book.

diannehartsock said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for having me over, Karen! My Shelton books were the first series I've done with Breathless Press so I wasn't sure what to expect, but Victoria Miller was able to capture the feeling behind each story with her fabulous book covers. I love each one. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Your book covers are truly lovely!

Sandra Dailey said... Best Blogger Tips

Great post ladies. I like M/M, but it's not often well written. I took a little time to visit your website, Dianne, and read OFF SIDES. Now, I can definitely say, I'll read more of your work. Good luck and keep em' coming!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips


Thanks for stopping by and sharing what you've read. :)