OS: Welcome to Jeff Adams, author of Somewhere on Mackinac! Thanks for talking with us about your new book and for the giveaway- FUDGE!
Many thanks to Open Skye Book Reviews for hosting me today as I celebrate the upcoming release of Somewhere on Mackinac, which is the Michigan installment of the Dreamspinner Press States of Love series.
Mackinac Island is so uniquely Michigan that it was one of the first things that came to mind when I heard about the States of Love series. Combine the Victorian Village that is Mackinac Island with the fact the time travel/romance movie Somewhere in Time was shot there and I knew this was the place to set a romance in my home state.
As a kid, between the ages of six and nine, my family went to Mackinac Island for a day trip usually once a year. One of the vivid things I remember about the trips is the fudge. Ryba’s Fudge Shops makes several amazing flavors that that come in cute pink boxes, that include a knife, for easy cutting on the go. And the fudge was always to go. You have to have more than a single piece, but you had to eat in moderation lest you eat too much. So, you get a box to munch on through the day. Besides the fudge itself, watching it and the other candies being made in the shop window was something I never grew tired of as a child.
Fun fact: If you’re reading this post on the day it comes out (April 28), Ryba’s will have just opened for the 2017 season on Mackinac Island yesterday!
Just this year, for the first time in a few, I ordered up a box of Ryba’s fudge because it seemed an appropriate treat to have on hand as Somewhere on Mackinac was getting ready to come out.
Now, don’t think I’m telling you all about Ryba’s and it doesn’t play into the story. Chicago business man Jordan comes to Mackinac Island for the Somewhere in Time fan weekend. Shortly after he arrives, he see Miles at a distance. In the excerpt below Jordan speaks to Miles for the first time. Miles is driving a carriage and Jordan decides to go for a ride so he can talk to the handsome man. As you’ll see, it becomes a trip to Ryba’s.
Later in the story, the two men share a sunset while sharing the delicious treat as well as Ryba’s coffee. It’s another Island original and, sadly, one I’ve never enjoyed. I do, however, remember that my grandfather loved their coffee.
The Island and, of course, Miles, change Jordan over the course of the story. City boy Jordan gets into the more relaxed ways of the Island, especially as tourist season winds down. While he can’t imagine living in a place colder than Chicago, he’s at least intrigued at what a winter could be like with only a few hundred people around.
Most of all, Jordan falls more and more for Miles. However, Miles hasn’t considered living anywhere but the Island, but he’s realistic there may not be a man for him among the island’s small population. Neither of them are sure about managing a long distance relationship either. There’s a lot that gets in their way, but in the end with some good fudge, a little Island atmosphere and maybe just a little bit of magic from their favorite film.
I hope you’ll check out the excerpt below and that you’ll pick up a copy of Somewhere on Mackinac as well (make sure to check out the other States of Love titles too, I’ve loved each that I’ve read so far). Plus there’s a Rafflcopter where you can register to win a free copy of Somewhere on Mackinac.
If you have any questions, or just want to chat, leave a comment below. I’ll check back over the next few days and respond.
Now that he’s single, Chicago businessman Jordan Monroe can finally take his long-desired trip to Mackinac Island for the Somewhere In Time fan celebration weekend. On the first day, Jordan finds himself attracted to Miles Colter, a handsome local stable owner who is giving horseback tours of film locations.
Jordan is surprised and charmed that Miles pursues him. When Jordan learns the stable is in trouble, he wants to help despite Miles’s resistance. As their relationship grows personally and professionally, Jordan dreads the issues that face them—an ex who won’t let him go, the complications of a long-distance relationship, and a secret he knows he shouldn’t be keeping.
Can Jordan and Miles find a way to forge a love as timeless as the romance in their favorite film?
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
“Looking for a ride?” It took me a moment to realize the blond man was talking to me. I stared for a moment. His hazel eyes sparkled in the sunlight and even his beard seemed to shimmer. He was the handsomest man I’d ever seen.
“Um, yeah,” I stammered, mouth going dry. “Um. I’ve heard there’s, well, some great fudge and I, um, wanted to get some.” I fought the urge to run into the hotel and hide. Tongue-tied was not a good first impression.
His smile was breathtaking. It was like being in the presence of a long-lost friend. My stomach somersaulted and the flutter of excitement was strong. This was what had been missing from my life with Drake. He’d stopped making me flutter.
“Best fudge in the world, if you ask me. I know just the place. Hop in.”
The canopy on this carriage was down so there was an unobstructed view of the landscape, and the driver. Wearing a sweater had been a good choice since it was a bit nippy in the late afternoon.
Since it was only me, I decided to sit behind the driver’s seat, hoping we’d talk as he took me to wherever the fudge shop was. As we departed the hotel grounds, I marveled at how easy he made it seem to guide the horses. It was only my second ride in a horse-drawn carriage, but I’d trade this over a regular taxi any day.
I angled sideways so I could see the scenery and him. He’d pushed up the sleeves of his jacket and shirt and, under the fine dusting of hairs, he was lightly tanned, proving just how much time he spent outdoors. The tan was present in his face too. I didn’t expect to see that in late October, but I guessed he worked outside enough to maintain a hint of color.
“I take it this is your first time here since you haven’t experienced the fudge,” he said.
“Just got here a few hours ago.” I watched his profile. He looked briefly my way and smiled again.
“You’re here for the Somewhere in Time event, then?”
“Yeah. Finally took the plunge.”
“You’ll have a great time. They do it up right, immersing people in the film and the island. I learn something new every year from the panel discussions. My dad was sometimes a speaker because he shot a lot of pictures during the filming.”
“That’s cool. You grew up here?”
“Except for college, I’ve lived here all my life. Don’t really want to be anywhere else.”
I relaxed as he spoke. He might be handsome, but he put me at ease. He probably dealt with people so often that it came naturally to him just like it did for me in a business setting. Except this didn’t feel like business. His ease made me want to be around him more.
“The winters don’t drive you away? Chicago’s freezing enough. I can’t imagine what it’s like up here.”
“It can get pretty intense, but it’s also beautiful. When the lake freezes over and you can go out on the ice, it’s fun. Kinda magical.”
He looked back at me and gave a nod of his head. “Really.”
“Amazing,” I said quietly. The idea of a lake as big as the one I’d been on earlier today freezing over was mind-blowing. I’d seen ice in Lake Michigan around Chicago, but I’m sure it wasn’t safe to walk on.
“I’m Miles, by the way.”
“Jordan. Nice to meet you.” I paused, before I decided to find out more about him. “I saw you earlier, walking along one of the hotel paths with a horse and a woman. Do you work for the hotel?”
“I’m working with the hotel for the weekend since there are a lot of people who’ll want to ride for the tours. My family’s owned stables on the island for decades, and we help out the hotel when they have big events like this one.”
He worked for himself. There was at least one thing we had in common. I made a mental note to ask him about his business because the more we had to talk about, the more I could be around him.
Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published.
Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.
He also co-hosts the weekly show Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast with his husband. You can learn more at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.