Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Hop

January-April 2012


Don’t forget to check out Ellis Carrington’s Feeling Neighborly, Marie Sexton’s Blind Space, Andrew Grey’s An Unsettled Range, Josephine Myles’ Tailor Made,  Lou Harper’s Academic Pursuits, JL Merrow’s Permanently Legless, and Heidi Cullinan’s A Private Gentleman.

Coming soon: Mary Sexton’s Cinder and Ellis Carrington’s Immortal Valentine.


To win a free PDF of both Blind Space and Cinder from Marie Sexton, click here.  To win a copy of Heidi Cullinan’s A Private Gentleman, click here.

 (And be sure to comment at the end of this for the big grand prize!)


If I could get away right now I’d go…

 Andrew Grey: Right now more than anything, I’d love to be back on a cruise.  We went in late January and with the wet dreary

weather we’ve had lately, I could use some sunshine and warmth.   Time on a nice quiet beach with just the sound of the waves and sounds marvelous.  Dominic and I often go snorkeling and usually arrange for an excursion on a sailboat where its just the sound of the wind and water.  Last year when we were on Oasis of the Seas, we stopped in Cozumel Mexico and Dominic arranged for an excursion where we could snorkel with sea turtles.  I want to do that again, right now.

Marie Sexton: I would go to the Caribbean island of Saint Martin to buy more Guavaberry Liqueur. I bought a bottle of this yummy stuff when our cruise stopped there in May of 2010. It’s mildly sweet, great for drinking either straight or mixed, and it reminds me of hot Caribbean weather and wide open seas. I’d love to go buy a bottle and sit at some cafe overlooking the ocean, eating fresh seafood and drinking Guavaberry Rum. (No clue whether or not they have open container laws in Saint Martin.) Unfortunately, I only have about one little sip left in my bottle. Time to book a trip to the Caribbean! Who’s with me?


Kate McMurray: If I could choose to live anywhere, it would be in a place that is 75°F and sunny all the time. I have a friend in San Diego who keeps trying to tempt me to move to the other coast by explaining that the city has the weather of my dreams. I’m sure San Diego is delightful, but it’s not New York. (And that’s the problem with New York. It totally ruins you for all other cities.) Unfortunately, New York has these crazy things called seasons, and as much as I like the cute new boots I bought this winter, there comes a time (usually about mid-February) when I start dreaming about tropical islands. Still, I am most definitely a City Person, and too many days without the people and the noise and the access to decent take-out Thai food make me a little irritable. (I stayed with a friend in rural New England one time, and it was so quiet I couldn’t sleep; I was thisclose to calling the police just so there’d be some sirens or something.) I think the only sensible thing would be to just transport New York to a better climate for a few months every year. Well, actually, I went to Key Largo a few winters ago, and that was a pretty great trip. I spent most of it snorkeling. If you squint, the fish on the reef kind of look like the teeming masses walking up Fifth Avenue on a hot summer afternoon. Okay, not really, but I think maybe I don’t need all the palm trees and sand for my ideal winter getaway; I just need a little noise and some nice accommodations and a huge pile of books, and I’ll get along just fine.

Ellis Carrington: If I could go anywhere right now, I think it would be to one of those ashram thingies way up in the mountains somewhere, like Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love. The kind where you have to be silent for hours a day. Don’t get me wrong, it would probably drive me batshit crazy. I’m plugged in constantly. I’m naked without my phone, and my ipad is almost always in my bag, if not my laptop. Usually there’s a flash drive somewhere nearby. “Roughing it” means staying in a hotel without wifi. But I also feel lately like maybe I would benefit from a little quiet. Re-tuning. As Jon Kabat-Zinn puts it, we’re all operating with stone-aged minds in a digital aged world. Maybe, if I felt I could really afford to, it’d be good to get just a teensy, quiet break from all that. A little sun, a little peace and quiet…maybe? Or maybe I’d just hang out with Marie in the Caribbean and help her drink her Guavaberry liquor. 😉

Heidi Cullinan: Normally by this time of the winter I’d be pining for California or my sister’s place in McAllen, Texas, but this year? I want to go somewhere with snow, because we haven’t had any! Even today is supposed to be a blizzard and I can still see grass. If I could go anywhere right now I’d go to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. I’d hole up in a  cabin with a cozy fire, watch it snow and watch the Ice Road Truckers go by live! At night (or in the afternoon, since there’d hardly be any daylight) I’d go watch the northern lights. Maybe I’d make soup and bake things while my daughter played in the snow, unless it was so cold she wouldn’t go out. But yeah, I want my snow. I figure Yellowknife HAS to have some.

JL Merrow: If I could get away right now, I’d go to….Berlin, of course!  I chose the city as the setting for my novel Midnight in Berlin (due out from Samhain 21st February) because it has a lot of associations for me—but even if you know nothing about the place, it’s well worth a visit: a city steeped in history, it still has a vibrant, modern feel.  Twenty-something years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the two sides of the city—once very, very different in character—have been recombined into a seamless whole.  Which is just as it should be. Leon, my American narrator in Midnight in Berlin, makes a dig at Christoph at one point, accusing the Germans of papering over the cracks, but in fact it’s more like the healing of an old wound.
Nowadays, you can walk down the famous boulevard of Unter den Linden and keep going, following in Leon and Christoph’s footsteps straight through the Brandenburg Gate and into the Tiergarten, Berlin’s large and lovely Central Park. You can visit the zoo that gave the park its name—although I suggest you do so in daylight, rather than following my heroes’ example and breaking in after dark; the authorities would probably frown upon that sort of thing.

And in the evening, why not head off to Bull, which in its previous incarnation as the Kleist Casino was frequented by Christopher Isherwood and is one of the many places that lays claim to the title of Europe’s oldest gay bar?


The Authors

Ellis Carrington
 is a wild child who hates to color in the lines, but who lives and loves passionately. She can be found in and around the Washington D.C. area, swilling Starbucks and saying inappropriate things out loud in public. Her greatest loves are good friends, good music, and of course reading M/M romance.Find out more at

Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there.  When she isn’t writing, Heidi enjoys knitting, reading, movies, TV shows on DVD, and all kinds of music.  She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Find Heidi on the Web: Twitter,FacebookWordPress, and her website.

Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle,, Pennsylvania.  You can find out more at , on facebook, twitter, or email him at

When Kate McMurray is not writing, she works as an editor with a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She has a BA in English lit that she’s still amazed translated into an actual career. Among other things, Kate is crafty (mostly knitting and sewing, but she also wields power tools), she plays the violin, and she is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her at

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again.  Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Find JL Merrow online


Sixteen authors are here to do their best to make your winter brighter in January, February, March, and April. (Unless you’re south of the equator, and then we’ll just be jealous of your summer.) Every Wednesday will be a new stop on the tour (see schedule below). Be sure to leave a comment at each stop for up to sixteen chances at the grand prize: a $200 USD gift certificate to the e-retailer of your choice. Also keep an eye out for links to individual authors’ sites on their release dates for a chance to win some free books.

January 11: How We Beat the Winter Blues (hosted by Coffee & PornintheMorning)

January 18: Favorite Wintertime Activities (hosted byJosephineMyles)

January 25: Join us for a January getaway (hosted byAndrewGrey)

February 1: Winter in My Backyard (hosted byLouHarper)

February 8: “If I could get away right now, I’d go to…” (hosted byEllisCarrington)

February 15: Valentine’s Day (hosted byJ.L. Merrow)

February 22: Authors by the Fireside (hosted byKateMcMurray)

February 29: Join us for a February getaway (hosted byZ.A. Maxfield)

March 7: Things to Do in a Blizzard (hosted byS.A. Meade)

March 14: St. Patrick’s Day (hosted byClareLondon)

March 21: Spring Break (hosted byBlaineArden)

March 28: Join us for a March Getaway (hosted byTalesfromtheWritingCave)

April 4: Favorite Winter Movies (hosted byStumblingOverChaos)

April 11: Signs of Spring (hosted byJ.P. Barnaby)

April 18: Join us for an April Getaway (hosted by MarieSexton)

April 25: Farewell (hosted byJoyfullyJay)

April 30: Grand Prize Announcement (hosted byHeidiCullinan)


Every week we’ll also let you know what books are recently released and about to be released, complete with links to giveaways.

28 thoughts on “Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Hop

  1. I kind of wouldn’t mind seeing some snow for a change — we don’t exactly get a lot of the white stuff in Coastal Georgia.

    But really, it’s not so much where I wish I was, as who I wish was here. Hubby’s in California for a month doing soldier-y stuff, and I miss him! And when he comes back, Most Judgemental SIL EVAH is coming to visit to see her baby brother (who could make 2-1/2 of her) before he deploys. So I’m frantically trying to strip my house down to the walls, clean, & then put it back together, one room at a time. Oddly enough, I don’t particularly feel motivated (mostly because I don’t mind my house being a tad on the messy side). The only reason I’m doing it at all is to limit the number of things SIL has to get snooty about. (I even like the schizophrenic, Born-Again-Christian SIL better than this one…)

  2. We had some snow over the weekend; so had a day of everything being white and that lovely change in the light you see with snowfalls. But sadly since then we’ve been back to typical British weather – wet and gloomy.

  3. I have to agree with Heidi. We are having a pretty mild winter so far,too. The temperature has even been in the seventies at times. Since we haven’t had any snow, I think I would like to go to the mountains and stay in a cabin. I can picture myself in front of a roaring fire sipping coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream in it. I would be curled up on a couch, with a blanket and my Kindle, looking out the window watching it snow.

  4. Pingback: More tour, plus win a copy of A Private Gentleman « The Amazon Iowan

  5. Pingback: Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour Visits Ellis Carrington « JL Merrow

  6. No snow here either but it’s raining today and I’m tired of the gloom. I would rent a condo on the beach on South Padre Island and they might have to have me physically removed to get me to live. That’s my favorite beach next to North and South Carolina and the west coast of Mexico, ahh hell I just like beaches and I live in Oklahoma. Go figure.

  7. Less than a handful of snow days for me so far – what’s wrong with New England? I’d want go someplace like Banff, Canada. Not only would I probably get the snow I love, but it’s just all-around gorgeous too.

  8. >o< Snow! well… I'm sure if I ever got to see it and touch it i'd get moody and cranky from…well… being cold. lol… but I would actually still like to visit a place that had snow. For the weekend. LOL..
    but If I could just go right now— I would go to Australia.
    I've been talking to an online buddy lately and she showed me a few pictures of what she sees in her back yard every day; around the block and while traveling to the store or to visit friends and family and my god, I am completely blown away but the beauty of it all.. I really want to experience such beauty first hand.


  9. Id go with my friend on her month long tour of the US it’s something I really wish I had the money to do I’m so jealous of all the places she is going 😀

  10. Pingback: news « Kate McMurray

  11. Most of the places I’d like to go (Montreal, the Pacific Northwest) seem to be having worse weather right now than where I am, so those will have to wait. I always seem to rush trips to San Francisco, so a real, multiple-day stay there would be nice. Berkeley would be good, too, with all its record stores…

  12. Anywhere warm and sunny would do me nicely right about now, we’ve just had a couple of REALLY cold days, between -10 & -17C, brrrr
    If I had the money, I’d go visit online friends in Australia 🙂

  13. Heidi, you reminded me of one of my favorite TV series – Northern Exposure. There was an episode titled ‘Aurora Borealis’. If I could go anywhere I wished, I would go to Cicely.

  14. Snow and freezing cold (for us) in minus figures. BRRRR!

    Anywhere warm would be lovely, and any time when I didn’t have a cold would be good.

  15. It’s snowing right now in central Iowa.
    If I could go anywhere right now, it would be to Hawaii. I’ve always wanted to visit that state. It’s warm, I could just sit on the beach and watch the waves. Besides, my nephew just applied to Hawaii Pacific University and we could check it out; kill two birds with one stone so to speak. Stay warm everybody.


  16. I REALLY want somewhere with no MUD!! Snow is fine, bright sunshine with fluffy clouds would be awesome, and warm temperatures would be the best! But at least–no more mud, please! I love the people’s ideas of beaches or cruises, where I could be warm and play in the sun and waves and do the touristy thing all day and then read and drink cocktails at night!


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