Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour: Winter In My Backyard

January-April 2012
Welcome to the second week of the Beat Your Winter Blues Blog Tour, where sixteen authors will 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 at end of post). 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.
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, JL Merrow's Permanently Legless.
Coming soon: Mary Sexton's Cinder.
To win a free copy of Academic Pursuits, post here.
And now, all our authors with new releases in February will share their wintery backyards:

Marie Sexton: Winter on the Colorado Front Range varies one day to the next. We average over 300 days of sunshine per year, so it's not uncommon to have bright sunny days with temperatures in the sixties or seventies. Of course, we occasionally get hit with huge snowstorms or cold snaps, but they rarely last. The snow usually melts in a few days. These pictures from the campus of my alma mater were taken this year in October, but they could just as easily have been taken in December or February.

Heidi Cullinan: inter in Iowa is never the same. 2009-2010 was nothing but snow from December until April and even in town my daughter missed over a week of school. Last year was pretty snowy but nothing on the year before. This year? Hardly any snow at all, and we've had more 40-50 degree days than anything else.

Iowa rides the jet stream, which means we either get the weather of the Gulf of Mexico or Canada depending on its placement. Some of our worst storms come when the two air masses clash, because we start with warm air and ice, which coats everything, switch to heavy snow  that piles up fast, and then as the dry Canadian air takes over, we get a top layer that's nothing but powder, and the crazy winds that power the air mass send that top stuff sailing through the air to make a white out. Weirder yet? If the Gulf air gets its ground back in the next few days after the storm ends, the snow all melts and it's like nothing happened.

I do love Iowa winters, though, snow and all. My street is full of trees, and it feels like a winter fairyland in a blizzard. I just stoke up my fireplace, get under a blanket, and watch the snow fall.

Ellis Carrington: Washington D.C. weather is so wacky. One day it's 40 degrees and pouring cats and dogs. One day 50 and sunny. A couple of days later, it might be 20 with biting winds and freezing rain. You wind up with icy roads and squishy yards, which can get dreary if you let it. So you lean to ride it out. I enjoy the nice days when they come, and the rest I dance in my kitchen with Maroon 5's Adam Levine or hang out at Starbucks and enjoy the good company and the muzak. If you're like me, you check out naughty pictures and read naughtier books, and wonder if anybody notices (they do). Or you enjoy writing guy on guy action while the rain falls outside and the local bible study group is having their Saturday morning meeting right next to you. Me, I like to use the wacky winters in D.C. as an opportunity to be my freakishly pervy introspective self and make up stories about the bundled business travelers and folks chatting over lattes. The two people having coffee next to me right now? Clearly married to other people, but having such great banter I can't help but think they're into each other. That guy from the neighborhood I know? He's married to a woman but keeps meeting another man for coffee. I smell an affair in the works...I think the winter weather is making my muse feel extra naughty...

Kate McMurray: I don't have much of a literal backyard. I live over a kid-friendly ice cream parlor—they advertise gourmet hot chocolate in the winter—that took over building's backyard when it moved in. (Which goes to show how rapidly things change in New York City; when I moved to the building six years ago, that same space was a tattoo parlor.) My bedroom window overlooks the backyard, and I have a stunning view of... the backs of two big brick apartment buildings. So I must look for winter wonderland elsewhere. Fortunately, I live three blocks from Prospect Park, one of my favorite places in the city. If you're unfamiliar, it's Brooklyn's answer to Central Park, a huge green space with open meadows and woods and bike paths and hiking trails and anything you could want in a city park. This winter has been freakishly mild, but when we do get snow, it's a popular space for kids to go sledding. It makes me want to get my cross-country skis out of storage and see what kinds of trails I can blaze. (I have yet to do this, but I think about it every time it snows. I went skiing a lot as a kid. My recently-retired dad is such a winter sports fan that he's thinking about moving to Vermont or Minnesota. I keep telling him normal people retire to nice, sunny, warm places like Florida, places where their tired-of-winter daughters can come visit.) The photo is of the treelined vista of Prospect Park West, which I walk along every day to get to work (taken a couple of years ago when it actually did snow). 

JL Merrow: Here in the South of England, we tend not to get a right lot of winter.  Well, not the proper sort, at any rate. Grey, damp days: we have those aplenty. But crisp, cold days, where the air smells fresh and clean and your footsteps crunch in the snow—ah, those seem to come along once in a blue moon.

Which is probably just as well, as we in Britain are notoriously bad at dealing with extremes of weather, on those rare days we actually get them.  What, in hardier countries, might be dismissed as barely a frosting of snow tends to throw the whole British infrastructure into disarray. Trains are cancelled; schools close; people stay home from work and throw snowballs with their kids.  Which, come to think of it, isn’t exactly something to complain about, after all!

Here’s a couple of pics from a walk I took, the last time a real winter decided to grace us with its icy presence:

Don’t forget, you can still warm up with a copy of A Calling for Pleasure free – just follow the instructions on my website!

Andrew Grey: Winter in Central Pennsylvania is totally unpredictable.  Some years it’s really snowy and old, while others it’s wet and rainy.  This year has been one of the wet and rainy ones.  We’ve had cold weather, but thankfully, it’s been dry during the cold spells or we’d be up to our ears in snow.  There are years where we’re just that.  A number of years ago, we got over two feet of snow in a 24 hour period.    Right now, I’m looking forward to spring because even though there hasn’t been snow, the trees are bare and the grass is brown, and the gardens are empty.  Everything appears lifeless and dull, but in just a few months all that will change.

Lou Harper: Winter in my backyard looks more like spring. Occasionally summer. Yes, I'm bragging. This is the only time of the year that we get some rain, so the scenery goes all green. The more rain we get, the more stuff grows, and the bigger the fires will be at the end of summer. This "winter" the weather has been especially nice, the temperatures are often in the low eighties.
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway. You can find out more about Marie 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, Facebook, Wordpress, and her website.

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
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 at:
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
January 11: How We Beat the Winter Blues (hosted by Coffee & Porn in the Morning)
January 18: Favorite Wintertime Activities (hosted by Josephine Myles)
January 25: Join us for a January getaway (hosted by Andrew Grey)
February 1: Winter in My Backyard (hosted by Lou Harper)
February 8: “If I could get away right now, I’d go to…” (hosted by Ellis Carrington)February 15: Valentine’s Day (hosted by J.L. Merrow)
February 22: Authors by the Fireside (hosted by Kate McMurray)
February 29: Join us for a February getaway (hosted by Z.A. Maxfield)
March 7: Things to Do in a Blizzard (hosted by S.A. Meade)
March 14: St. Patrick’s Day (hosted by Clare London)
March 21: Spring Break (hosted by Blaine D. Arden)
March 28: Join us for a March Getaway (hosted by Tales from the Writing Cave)
April 4: Favorite Winter Movies (hosted byStumbling Over Chaos)
April 11: Signs of Spring (hosted by J.P. Barnaby)
April 18: Join us for an April Getaway (hosted by Marie Sexton)
April 25: Farewell (hosted by Joyfully Jay)
April 30: Grand Prize Announcement (hosted by Heidi Cullinan)
Every week we’ll also let you know what books are recently released and about to be released, complete with links to giveaways.


  1. I love the picture of the lampost in the snow - makes me think of the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. Trying to resist the temptation to re-read it though; I've found that sometimes children's books are best left remembered from childhood :)

    1. I'm not a huge fan of snow, but it's romantic, isn't it? Except when it turns into slush.

  2. I enjoyed all the different pictures. Everyone's winter is so different!

  3. Snow can make everything look beautiful, or it can just look cold & miserable.


    1. Sleet, on the other hand, makes everything cold and super miserable.

  4. I'm surprised at how variable many peoples' winters are. At the moment in the Midlands (uk),temperatures have plummeted, snow is falling and I'm wrapped in a thick blanket. No traffic outside - everyone has hunkered down somewhere warm.

  5. I love the way snow looks in pictures--I just don't like how cold it is!!