Friday, August 3, 2018

Blog Tour: Hearts & Health Volume 2 by DJ Jamison (Guest Post, Excerpt + Giveaway)

By DJ Jamison

I’m visiting the blog to talk about Hearts and Health: Volume 2, which includes Books 4 to 6 in the series.

Hearts and Health focuses on romances between doctors and nurses, hospital staff, and students -- but there’s one common theme that runs through them all. These stories are grounded in everyday life. I write about people who live in a small town. They have jobs or school, family concerns, and hopes for a better life.

And sometimes, it’s those secondary characters -- the friends and family -- that can really bring a story to life. Today, I want to share an excerpt from Orderly Affair, which is included in the box set. I really enjoyed writing this scene between Ian and his mother, which took place right after he came out to his family at dinner.

It illustrates, I think, a lot of personality on the part of Ian’s mother, as well as his younger brother Sean (who will be getting his own romance in an upcoming book).


In the kitchen, his mother was scooping ice cream into bowls as if her life depended on it. The ice cream was still hard, and instead of running the scoop under hot water, she was straining to force the scoop through the cement-like surface.

“You okay, Ma?” he asked.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” she asked. Then growled. “Except for this damn ice cream! Why’s it gotta be so hard?”

Ian pried the scoop from her hand and turned on the sink faucet. Running the scoop under a stream of hot water, he said, “I just made a pretty big announcement out there. I have a boyfriend, and I’ve never dated a man before. It’s okay if you’re upset.”

“I’m not upset,” she lied. Then huffed a breath that made her bangs flutter. “I’m not one of those bigots who judges people. Live and let live, I always say.”

“I know,” Ian said. “But maybe you’re surprised?”

“I’m confused,” she admitted. “I don’t understand this. You’re nearly forty years old—”

“Ouch, Ma. Don’t age me up. Thirty-eight is bad enough.”

Her lips twitched, but she didn’t smile as he’d hoped. “You loved Michelle, didn’t you? I don’t see how you could have fooled me all these years. You might have surprised me tonight, but I knew something was fishy with that boy. You don’t just go hanging out with a young guy who looks more like your son’s friend than yours.”

Ian massaged a hand over his heart. “You make me sound like a perv who’s robbing the cradle.”

She held out her hand. “If that scoop isn’t hot enough by now, it never will be.”

He pulled it from the stream of water, shook off the excess moisture, and handed it over. Then he turned off the faucet. As she turned to dish out the ice cream — scooping more easily now — he realized the time he had before she’d have to deliver those dishes was running short.

He broke the silence. There was more to say, and he’d never really answered her question.

“I loved Michelle. That was never a trick or a lie,” he said. “But Michelle and I were over a long time ago.”

“You’ve always dated women, so I don’t understand where this is coming from,” she said without looking at him. “Did your divorce fuck you up that bad?”

Ian winced, but he didn’t have to say anything. Sean stood in the doorway, looking horrified. “Ma! It’s not okay to say gay people are fucked up. That’s not, like, PC at all.”

She turned from the counter. “I’m not saying gay men are fucked up; I’m saying Ian is fucked up,” she retorted, then pointed at Sean. “You mind your own business.”

“My brother is my business,” Sean said, somewhat sulkily.

“Listen, Ma, this isn’t about the divorce,” Ian said, jumping in before they got derailed by mother-son bickering. “I’m not messed up about Michelle. I’m better off without her.”

“I’m sayin’,” Sean muttered.

Their mother shot Sean a glare but didn’t speak to him. She pressed fingers to her temples. “Michelle’s a good woman, but I know you two had your problems. I won’t judge your choices. She’s obviously moved on, and she seems happy.”

“She’s much happier,” Ian said.

His mother sighed. “Okay, let me try to understand.” Ian nodded, glad she sounded more like herself than when the conversation started. “You loved Michelle, and you liked women, but now you like men.”

“I like both,” he corrected. “I’ve always liked both. I just didn’t show it.”

“Hey, you ever … you know, with both?” Sean asked. “At the same time?”

Ian rolled his eyes, but his mother turned and slapped Sean’s arm. “Oh, get out of here, you idiot! Here, take some ice cream.” She picked up two bowls and shoved them into his hands, then pushed him toward the doorway.

“But he didn’t answer,” Sean protested as she herded him out of the kitchen.

“Don’t ask me about my sex life in front of Ma!” Ian said, exasperated.

“Sorry!” Sean shouted back. “Tell me later.”

“Lord have mercy, where did I go wrong?” his mother muttered as she turned to face him.

“Ma, it’s not like that. I’m a one-person kind of guy.”

“That’s a relief.”

“So, is there anything else you want to ask before we go back out there?” he asked, hoping there wasn’t. The tension in his body was starting to make his back ache.

“Just tell me one thing: If you can like both women and men, why not just date a nice woman? Why would you choose this road when you don’t have to?” At his expression, she held up a hand. “I don’t judge. God does that, honey, and I honestly don’t know what God thinks about same-sex relationships, despite what those church folks say.”

“Not all church folks say the same thing,” Ian pointed out.

“Right.” She nodded. “No one really knows, and it’s hard to think that love would be a sin. But …” she hesitated. “Is it love, or is it just his cute ass?”

“Ma!” Ian exclaimed with a laugh. “Can’t it be both?”

Finally, a smile appeared. “I suppose it can.”

While the romance is fun, it’s their fully fledged lives that make the story complete. That make the characters real.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 220,000 words approx.


Room For Recovery - Book #4

When Beau James is cornered by two bullies, he's rescued by none other than the broody Wade Ritter, who he's crushed on from afar. Despite their family connection, Wade has resisted all of Beau's attempts at friendship -- until now. His protective streak gives Beau an opportunity to get past Wade's prickly exterior. But Wade is carrying a heavy burden that makes it tough to open up. With Beau's help, he realizes there's room for recovery. If he can face hard truths about his sexuality and love himself, he might be able to love Beau too.

Surprise Delivery - Book #5

Dr. Casper Rollins knows how to have fun. The love of his life, Kage Myers, lived every moment to the fullest before he died. Now, Casper goes on adrenaline-soaked adventures when he wants to feel closer to his lost love. Dr. Eric Holtz is married to his work, so much so his last partner left him. When his niece arrives, pregnant and in need of an ally, he has family again. Then her obstetrician suggests breaking Eric of his workaholic tendencies, and a fun and sexy fling ensues. But it's not long before feelings are in the mix. If these two want a future, they'll have to embrace the lesson Kage taught Casper long ago: You only live once.

Orderly Affair - Book #6

When Ian Connolly installs a hookup app to explore his long-suppressed attraction to men, he doesn't expect to connect with anyone he knows, especially not lab tech Callum Price. But from their first scorching encounter, he's hooked. Callum hasn't had the best luck with love, and he's suffocating under a pile of responsibilities. But when he sees an opportunity to blow off steam with Ian, he takes it. If Ian can be honest with his family about loving a man, maybe Callum can admit his own truth: He wants a man he can count on, a man just like Ian.

Author Bio

DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors' books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.

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