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Looking Back: Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love

**Looking back is a series here where I take a meander down memory lane and talk about my past books. I’ll bring insight to the inspiration behind the story and what the writing process was like. Hope you enjoy!**

This book. This is one of those books that stemmed from my own life in a lot of ways. It’s full of little easter eggs meant just for me and for my friend living all the way across the country. I was in a rut, to be sure, but there was a sub call (see, I told you there would be a pattern) for a story with an older MC. But I was stumped.

Until I almost fell down the stairs and busted my noggin.

From there, a story was born. Of Josie falling down the stairs and getting concussed. Of Ben, her friend across the country who gets an email in the middle of the night that his friend is hurt. And of Zack, Josie’s younger brother who contacts Ben. Of Ben getting a flight across the country to be with the sister of his heart, even though they’d never met in person.

Of Ben and Zack falling in love. Which is the most important part. Of course, it’s not easy. There’s an age gap to content with. The distance poses a problem. Ben hasn’t been in a serious relationship in a while and has resigned himself to the fact that it’s just not going to be an option for him. And of course, there’s Josie, who Ben would do anything for, and perhaps falling in love with her brother isn’t the best idea.

Zack, on the other hand, sees all that he wants in Ben. He’s the driving force for them to try, and he’s the one that brings them back together after they have to say goodbye. Zack is a ray of sunshine and optimism. He knows he’s what Ben needs.

And those Easter eggs I mentioned? Well they’re maybe not as amusing to the average reader as they are to me. There’s the title, for one, which comes for the song by The Outfield. (And happens to be a song that stalks both me and my friend.) It’s where Josie’s name came from as well. Josie is a knitter. Those emails Ben and Josie exchange, and how they met? Copying real life.

Needless to say, this one has a special place in my heart. I needed to get out of a writing slump and I needed something I adored. This story was exactly that in my time of need. For most readers, it’s just a cute little story about two men falling in love and overcoming obstacles. For me, it’s little pieces of my life put into a story because it amused me so.

You can read the blurb and find by links here. You can also find some additional flash fics I wrote there too. Just scroll down 🙂

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Looking Back: Requiem Inc.

**Looking back is a series here where I take a meander down memory lane and talk about my past books. I’ll bring insight to the inspiration behind the story and what the writing process was like. Hope you enjoy!**

Today I’m revisiting the Requiem Inc. series! This is one of my most popular series, and the one I get asked about the most. Not only has it been well received, but readers want to know if Tyler will get his own story.

But first, we need to start at the beginning.

Years before I wrote Ghost of a Chance, my brother told me a story he imagined in his brain. Of a man who went to work everyday, was stabbed through the chest and “died” in order to do his job. My brother’s details were slightly different from mine, but the story he told me stuck with me. For years, I would randomly think about that scene as I imagined it while he was telling me. It came back to me again and again.

So I asked him if I could use it. And he said yes.

Which is how I came up with ghostwalking, and Requiem Inc, a company that, through private and government funding, has operatives who find lost souls and help them pass on. Blake and Derek were not the first iteration I came up with. In fact, it took a few tries to get their story, and their characters, right. But when I hit on this combination, the story bloomed before me. Not only were they a ghostwalker and anchor pair, but there was an anchor bond as well. Of course, their relationship isn’t always easy. Blake, in particular, has baggage he needs to unpack before he can move forward. Which, with Derek’s help, he is able to do.

Derek is a big sweetheart. Like, he’s almost too good to be true. And I wanted him to be that way. I wanted him to be perfect in every way for Blake, and to have a huge heart, and be an outstanding cook, and absolutely love taking care of Blake. Blake needed the care taking, for sure, but I leaned hard into just how good and perfect Derek was, because he was an utter joy to write that way.

This series isn’t heavy on the angst, but there is a bit. There’s also a wonderful mix of science and paranormal in the world building. And from Blake and Derek’s story, other stories arose. Sam, Blake’s brother, was pining for Michael King, their boss. It was originally meant as a throwaway side plot moment. It grew into more. And then I had to write their story, and all that entailed. Their problems were different than Blake and Derek’s, of course, even more so compounded by King being a Guardian and Sam being a little reckless. I faced new challenges with Lost Souls Found as I had to walk a fine line between being too cliched while also telling their story. And of course, they had their own sort of bond, but I had to figure out what that looked like as their roles were hugely different.  

Avery made an appearance in book 1, and then a cameo in book 2, and he deserved a new love and a new life as well. Somebody to Die For was more of a challenge to write as Avery was still grieving the loss of his husband and anchor, but was also healing from that. There was a heaviness to that I wanted to do justice. But Jameson was a light not only for Avery, but for me as well. Far from perfect, but also so giving and open to learning. In a lot of ways, I had the most fun writing this third book in the series, because even though the subject matter was, at times, heavier, the world was well established and it was great to see all our boys, as well as other secondary characters again.

The other thing of note, here, was that I was laid off in 2017, and though Ghost of a Chance had already been written at that point and was in the works to be published, the other two were on spec with the publisher. And because I’d gotten laid off, I had plenty of time on my hands. I was able to write them back to back, pounding out the words. I managed to write the 100+k words between both books in a shorter amount of time than I’d ever been able to write that many words before. And I was thrilled with their releases, and the overwhelmingly positive response I got to the world building and the characters and their stories.

(And yes, for those of you who know, I still feel bad Tyler hasn’t gotten his story and yes, every once in a while he pokes me and reminds me that he deserves his story told. I haven’t said it’ll never happen for a reason.)

I love this series for a lot of reasons. Mostly because I think it showcases my world building skills the best, and is something different. Not wholly unique, to be sure, but interesting and creative certainly. I love stories with bonds as well, both to read and to write, and while not every story has an actual bond, the MCs are all incredibly connected.

This series is one that originally was a part of a particular line, and I was exceedingly proud to be pat of it at the time. This series also kicked off my foray into writing with paranormal elements in my stories, which is something I’ve always loved to read and couldn’t quite solidify in my mind to write. So this was the first, and it’s only grown from there, as a lot of my recent releases have been PNR.

All in all, this series has been a roller coaster to write, is one of the series I’m exceptionally proud of, and one that just might not be finished yet. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, you can find blurbs and buy links here.

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Looking Back: Hero Worship

**Looking back is a series here where I take a meander down memory lane and talk about my past books. I’ll bring insight to the inspiration behind the story and what the writing process was like. Hope you enjoy!**

Today we’re talking about Hero Worship and not just because it was the second title I published. Alex was my first bisexual MC, so he has a special place in my heart. I wrote him before I even admitted to anyone out loud that I, too, was bisexual. In fact, I was still thinking of myself as mostly straight at that point, not really giving myself the room to accept my own identity.

This story came from a sub call (you’ll notice a pattern as we go through the series, and if you’ve followed along for any length of time, you know how much I love submission calls) for an anthology featuring medical professionals. I remember thinking I definitely didn’t want to write a doctor, because so many romance heroes are doctors. I contemplated a nurse, because they don’t get enough credit. But then, thinking about who didn’t get enough credit, I landed on paramedic. I wanted something a little different, especially because I didn’t think there’d be many submissions with paramdeics for the call.

With this story, the first thing that came to mind was the opening scene. More specifically, that Alex’s name would be screamed by the bride, and Alex would, in fact, rush to the rescue to help someone going into anaphylaxis. That his calmness and competency would save the day. From there I had to flesh out the characters. Who was Alex Sullivan? Who was the bride to him? And who was Matthew Carter?

It became apparent very quickly to me what Alex’s hang-ups were going to be. Matt was nine years younger than he was, but more than that, Matt has always had an apparent case of hero worship when it came to Alex. Alex is determined not to take advantage of that. To keep Matt at arm’s length and to keep things platonic.

Matt, of course, has other things in mind. Namely that he knows Alex’s heart is a good one, and that he wants nothing more than to be Alex’s forever. Their story is not without bumps, and has the traditional romance story beats—including the big miscommunication that I actively avoid in most stories these days—but in the end, they get their happily ever after.

This book required very little research on my part, as the medical part was the only part not made up by me, and I have a ridiculous knowledge of medical things. (Someday, I should do a post about how and why I know so much medical stuff.) But I did need to ask a few questions of a paramedic I know, and read an article or two on epinephrine, just to make sure I had my facts straight. But since I love the research part of writing, none of that was a hardship.

This was another book where the words flowed rather easily. My beta at the time had some good suggestions to help, and one of my favorite scenes toward the end was also their favorite scene. In fact, the one thing that was the most important to me in that scene was the thing they picked up on and loved too, so that made me extra happy. It was important to me, and the story, that Matt didn’t forgive Alex too easily for running. At least, not until he was sure that Alex had really learned from it. In the end, I was super happy with this story and Alex and Matt’s journey.

In fact, these two left such an impression on me that they ended up getting 5 flash fics here on the blog continuing their story. Which you can also get as a downloadable PDF. It was also one of the first stories I republished when the press that shall not be named took their fuckery to a new level and I got all my titles back. Because I love these guys so much, and I love the love they’ve gotten from readers. As I said, Alex has a special place in my heart as the first bi MC I wrote, and he was the one that gave me courage to not only express myself but to continue to write bi guys. Nowadays, almost always at least one of my MCs is bi.

You can find buy links here, as well as links to the free shorts. Just scroll down to the title. And if you want your own copy of the companion shorts, click here.

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Looking Back: Worth It

**Looking Back is a new series here where I take a jaunt down memory lane and revisit my past stories. I’ll talk about what inspired me and some of the process while writing it. Hope you enjoy!**

Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve been writing since I was about ten years old. Mostly romantic fiction, even at that age. It waned some in middle school, and then there was a resurgence in high school and college. And beyond. I had stories in my head all the time. Mostly influenced by what I was reading at the time. Harlequin romances? I had sweet with heat in my head. Paranormal? PNR abounds. And then in 2009, I found MM romance and my fate was sealed.

I started thinking about men falling in love with men, and the stories in my head were only those. I’d always wanted to be an author, ever since I first started writing, but up until that point most of what I wrote I just didn’t deem good enough to even try. Until started thinking gay romance. Until I read and read and read and actually thought “I can do this.”

My first published story was Worth It. Though it’s no longer available, it was the first story I completed and actually thought was good enough to be published. That I was actually ready for other people to read. It came from a sub call, and was part of a collection. I was so unbelievably nervous to submit it, on tenterhooks in the months following, waiting for a response. I nearly threw up when I got the email accepting it and offering me a contract.

Worth It came about slowly, but when I actually started putting words on paper, they flowed easily. The prompt was “heartwarming” and it was to be a holiday story. Right there, I was already getting one of my favorite tropes, as holiday romances are my crack. I also knew I wanted a grumpy MC, not only because I love that in an MC, but because I knew I also wanted a reunion romance, and so he would have reason to be grumpy.

Jackson was born pretty easily, and he told me he ran his family’s Christmas tree farm. I dove into research about that, and fell in love. Ryan was a little harder, because he had to have a reason to leave. But his ambition caught me, and I sent him to college. But I knew he would be pining for Jackson, just as hard as Jackson was pining for him. I knew they would end up together—it is a romance after all—but I had to figure out how to get them back together. So it made sense to me that they would make a pact, to come back together after five years, when Ryan was done with his extended program. Jackson had lost all hope that Ryan would come back though. He was convinced Ryan would have moved on with his life by then. Especially because Jackson was a few years older, and he expected for Ryan to find someone else once he was out in the big world, away from their small town and the farm.

As I said, when I actually started writing, the words flowed easily. I think I wrote the first draft in about three days. Granted, it was only 8k words when I was done, but for the first time, I was actually really proud of what I wrote. Jackson was my POV character, I found my groove in writing, and he spoke to me with a clear voice. Scenes came to me as if I were watching a movie. Especially the scene where Jackson and his pregnant sister are riding on a tractor and talking about Ryan, and how it’s been five years. The reunion scene between Jackson and Ryan at their favorite spot. There’s even a line I wrote that I still think about to this day.

The story is outdated now, and I’m a far better writer than I was way back then. It was nine years ago, after all. In fact, I wrote it in March and April of 2013. Though I would probably handle the story and characters differently today as I’ve grown a lot in the intervening years, I can’t help but be proud of this short story. It will always have a special place in my heart.

It all began with Jackson and Ryan, Christmas trees and a reunion, and two men who were meant to to have their happily ever after.

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What’s Going On

Get your updates here!

So Fated Hearts is out and from what I’ve heard, people seem to like it. You can find buy links in the books tab (as always, and links for all my stuff). I love these guys. Ethan, Avriel, and Cash have an interesting dynamic, I adore them all, and I love their story. And we might see more of them in the future. (Wink, wink)

Gareth and Owen’s story is complete, and you can check that out in the tags. It’s about 13 parts. It started back in October, and finished about a month ago.

Of course Agent Delaney Willis seems like he needs a story. So does Aeron. And my original intent was to write their stories here on the blog, serial format, as I did with Gareth and Owen. But….I’m toying with another idea for these guys so I’m putting them on hold for a bit. Until I make a decision at any rate. Bear with me. They’ll eventually see the light of day.

Instead, we’ll have a different story on the blog tomorrow and it might have a couple of parts. Yes, it’s still paranormal. And it’s loosely in the same world, but it’s a completely separate story. So you can read it even if you haven’t read Gareth and Owen.

In other writing news, I’m working on a novella now (magic!) and have a couple of other things in the pipeline. I have a BUNCH of ideas swimming in my brain. A few deadlines to meet. And some sequels I really want to write. So hopefully I’ll have more out this year than last. I’m working on it!

All that being said, there’s so much going on in the world that is scary and disgusting and heartbreaking and terrifying. Give where you can, use your voice as you can, and send good thoughts if that’s all you can.

Stay safe. Try to be happy. Be kind.

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Out Now!

Looking for a new PNR? I’ve got the story for you. Out now, Fated Hearts!

Ethan MacGowan has been not-so-patiently waiting for his mate to find him. The heart-shaped mark on his neck is not just a birthmark, but an Anam Cara, a sign he’s destined for a supernatural being. At thirty-three, he hasn’t given up, but he is frustrated by waiting. Until a regular night out puts him face to face with a vampire that makes his blood sing.

Avriel has spent a century on this earth, skulking in shadows. Until he met his mate thirty years ago, and gave up illegal activities for a more sedate life. Being mated to a wolf shifter isn’t anything like he expected, but Avi is happier than he’s ever been. Meeting Ethan at a club, and knowing the man is supposed to be his, sends Avi’s world into a tailspin. How can he be so drawn to Ethan when he has Cash at home?

Cash Turner never expected to mate a vampire. He certainly never expected his mate to come home distraught because Avi feels the mate pull with someone else. Ever the alpha, peacemaker, and fixer, Cash remains calm. When he meets Ethan for the first time, Cash understands what’s going on.

Cash and Avi were never meant to be just two. Ethan was always destined to join them. But navigating a relationship between three people is never easy, no matter that Fate has decreed it. If they work together, and make sure everyone’s needs are met, will it be enough to cement a happily ever after?

Get it at JMS https://www.jms-books.com/kris-t-bethke-c-224_240/fated-hearts-p-4250.html

Or at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Fated-Hearts-Kris-T-Bethke-ebook/dp/B09SFNJN7L/

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The Gareth and Owen Serial

I know it’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve last checked in with our witch and his wolf shifter familiar. I’ve been focusing on finishing the book I’m working on (mates! Wolf shifter and vampire and human oh my!) and with the holiday madness, the serial has had to take a back seat.

But we aren’t done with them yet.

There’s at least two more episodes in their saga, so now’s the time to catch up. If you haven’t been reading along, you can start with the first part here. I’ve also tagged all the posts with the Gareth and Owen tag so that they are easier to find. So far, it’s a nine part serial, but as I said, there’s a few more to come.

I’m going to try to get the next part up this Friday, and hopefully I’ll be done with the current project at that point, and will be able to focus on Gareth and Owen. The deserve their happy ending too, don’t you think?

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New Release

Out today! Yule Be Naughty, the holiday coda for Asher and Trey!

Sequel to Accepting Submission

Asher and Trey have enjoyed two years of mated bliss. It’s still not easy for Asher to ask for what he needs, but he’s accepted his submissive nature and trusts Trey to dominate him. But with the growing pack and the holidays approaching, Asher finds himself losing touch with his Dom.

In a desperate attempt to gain his mates attention, Asher acts out of character and breaks the rules. He knows it’s the fastest way to get Trey to focus on him. Asher doesn’t want to be selfish, but he knows that their dynamic is important to them both. Being naughty works like a charm. Can these two men finally have the conversation they need to have? And will it be enough to save their love?

You can buy it here from the publisher (it’s on sale!) or of course from Amazon

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Freebies!

Did you know JMS Books is hosting an advent calendar this year??

Every day, you can download a free book from one of 24 awesome authors. Click here to get caught up, and then check back for a new book to download every day.

Advent calendars are such a fun thing! I remember in my youth, it was Oma’s job to buy us each one every year. Usually, it was the kind with the okay-tasting chocolate inside, but it was still a fun way to count down the season.

And hey, free books! Even if you don’t celebrate, take advantage of the free! 🙂

(And yes, you’ll see me pop up one day, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.)

Make sure you check it out!