Haven by Morgan Brice - Blog Tour, Interview, Excerpt


Old secrets, hidden psychics, secret shifters, ghosts, scandals—and true love.

The Magic Emporium

A series of long-ago disappearances leads cold case private detective Austin Williams to investigate a troubled sanitarium. Jamie Miller is new in town, temporarily running the local historical association, and he willingly signs on to help solve Austin’s mystery. Sparks fly between them as they dig into the hospital’s troubled past. But someone wants the past to stay buried—and is willing to bury Austin and Jamie to keep it that way.


Haven is part of the Magic Emporium series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains explicit scenes, action, mystery, hurt/comfort, geeks in love, supernatural secrets, a brave historian and a lovelorn private detective, plus a guaranteed HEA. It is loosely connected to my Fox Hollow series.


Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Release Date: April 8, 2021

Genre/s: MM paranormal romance/mystery

Trope/s: Action, mystery, hurt/comfort, geeks in love, supernatural secrets, a brave historian and a lovelorn private detective, plus a guaranteed HEA. Old secrets, hidden psychics, secret shifters, ghosts, scandals—and true love.

Themes: Age gap, starting over, friends to lovers,

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 60 000 words/200 pages

It is a standalone book, but there are soft ties to Morgan’s Fox Hollow series. Other than the shared elements of the magic emporium, it does not connect to any of the other books in the Magic Emporium series.

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Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK



Interview

How long have you been writing?

A: I joke that I’ve been writing all my life, but published since 2007 (or 2018 as Morgan Brice).


What made you decide you wanted to put yourself out there to be published?

A: I wanted to share my stories with a broad audience, and I hoped to be able to make a living as an author so I could do what I loved doing.


Before you started, had you written any fan fiction? If so, what fandom?

A: Back in high school and college, I wrote fan fic of Star Wars and Hawaii Five-O and a few other series. That was long before Archive of Our Own (AO3)!


Are you in agreement that writing fan fiction is a great way to hone ones’ craft - why or why not?

A: I think that writing fan fic is a very good way to learn to write, and also great just for personal enjoyment. I learned that I could entertain people with my stories, which gave me the confidence to try for publication. I also learned a lot from that early feedback on what made a good story.


What was your first published book?

A: My first published book as Gail Z. Martin was The Summoner. My first as Morgan Brice was Witchbane.


Do you have a favorite character from one of your books? Why?

A: Not really—I love them all! I try to fall in love with the characters I’m writing at the moment.


What is your favorite sub-genre to write?

A: Urban fantasy and paranormal MM romance.


Is there one genre you haven’t tried but you see yourself writing in the future?

A: I haven’t done a true horror novel. I’ve thought about it, but haven’t done it yet!


Would you ever write a hetero romance? Why or why not?

A: There are undercurrents of MF, FF and MM romance in my Gail books, although since those books are primarily action-oriented, it’s a very small part of the plot and not explicit.


What are your thoughts on erotica?

A: Go for it!


What are you currently working on?

A: I’m working on Legacy, which is in my Deadly Curiosities series (Gail). However, it’s a series with massive crossover into my Morgan world, so a lot of characters show up and there’s an upcoming gay wedding and the plot actually hinges on a long-ago gay pirate romance....


When creating your characters, do you have models/actors/real people in mind or are they totally fictional?

A: They’re totally fictional, unless I’m drawing some ideas from historical figures. I have some general ideas about their appearance when I go to pick cover models.


If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are you in their sex scenes?

A: Explicit. I’d say 4 out of 5 flames. The sex is graphic, but it doesn’t overwhelm the plot.


As a gay fiction or m/m romance author, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?

A: I hope so. I’m not sure what defines ‘mainstream’ anymore, but it’s certainly widely read!


What would you say is the distinct difference between m/m and gay fiction?

A: In my own completely unofficial personal definition, I’d say that MM focuses on the romantic relationship, while gay fiction can be about anything, with or without romance, as long as it has a gay protagonist.


Do you believe it’s important for you to know the gender of the author?

A: It isn’t for me, personally. I care about how good the story is.


What is your stance on the difference between male and female gay writers?

A: If writers can only write characters who are just like them, we’re going to have a lot of boring books! I haven’t lived the lives of any of my characters. Getting the details right requires imagination, research, and good beta readers!


Do you think women making up a good portion of the m/m fiction writers detracts from the genre? Why or why not?

A: Obviously not, or I wouldn’t be doing it! Can you tell a good story that accurately represents the characters you’re writing about? Have you done your homework? Have you researched the parts you don’t know from life experience? Have you run the work past beta/sensitivity readers who represent a variety of viewpoints from the group you’re writing about, and did you take their comments to heart? What feedback do you get from gay readers? If you’re putting in the work to get the details right and the readers like the stories, then I think you’re probably doing okay. On the non-romance side of things I write fantasy action/adventure (which is a predominantly male-written genre) with nearly all male main characters. So this is not my first rodeo of not matching my characters!


What is it about gay fiction and or m/m romance that pleasures you to write it?

A: I like that in most cases, the two main characters in MM romance begin with equal privilege by virtue of both being male. I don’t have to spend half the book proving that one of them is independent, daring, able to take care of themselves, capable, etc. because that’s inherent in what we expect from men. There may be other differences in privilege that arise from wealth, background, education, and other factors, but so much is leveled by having two characters who are men that I can just write the story without having to convince the reader that one of the characters is really equal to the other.


Where do you see m/m romance in the next 5 years?

A: I hope that it doesn’t lose the quirkiness that comes from being a largely indie published genre. I hope that it becomes more widely read and that the story itself becomes more notable than the orientation of the lovers because readers just take that in stride.


As an m/m romance or gay fiction writer, what stereotype of gay men bothers you the most?

A: I get annoyed when a gay romance reads like an old 1950s I Love Lucy episode, where they’re really writing a MF romance with all the MF stereotypes only with two guys. It bothers me when writers don’t do the research to get the sex right, or at least make it plausible. And I really dislike when misogyny sneaks in with disparaging remarks about who bottoms. Stereotype-wise, I rebel against the belief that just because someone might be a ‘twink’ that they can’t be strong, confident and capable (shades of misogyny again). I have some characters who are twinks, but they are totally ninja badass twinks!


What promotional method works best for you?

When circumstances permit, I love going to conventions to meet readers. I have a reader group on Facebook (Worlds of Morgan Brice) where I love to post photos of locations from the books, tidbits of what I’m working on, and more. I also love to do cross promotion with other MM authors to signal boost each other!


Fun questions

Name two male celebs that you’d like to see in a hot make out session?

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki


Create a gay scene for your two gay stars in 5 sentences or less?

I certainly wouldn’t want to compete with the 28K+ slash and J2 fan fictions out there on AO3!


Your favorite gay TV show or movie? Sense8 (TBH the only TV show I really follow is Supernatural) For movies, an old but memorable one is Jeffrey, which features Sir Patrick Stewart in a secondary role leading a neighborhood watch group called the ‘Pink Panthers’.


Your favorite gay celeb? DJ Qualls (Garth on Supernatural)



Excerpt

The handsome stranger looked a bit pole-axed, staring at Jamie in surprised recognition although he didn’t seem familiar.


“We’ll be closing at five, but we open tomorrow at nine,” he offered, wondering if the man was lost.


The newcomer smiled, and Jamie’s heart sped up. Short, dark blond hair, pretty brown eyes, and broad shoulders got his attention right away. So did the toned chest that tapered to narrow hips beneath the man’s sweater and jacket. He definitely caught Jamie’s notice, something that hadn’t happened often since he’d moved to Saranac Lake.


“I realize it’s close to quitting time, but I wondered if I could meet the archivist? Then we can pick up in the morning.”


Jamie chuckled. “That would be me. Temporary archivist Jamie Miller, at your service.”


Hmm…I wouldn’t mind “servicing” him. Guys like that don’t wander in places like this every day.


The newcomer smiled and stepped close enough to shake hands. “Austin Williams. I’m doing some genealogical research, and I’m hoping you can help me. It’s a bit like solving a mystery—I’ve got bits and pieces, but I need to find the glue to hold them together.”


Austin’s hand was warm and the palm more calloused than Jamie had expected. His first guess had been that the man was a professor or researcher, but the callouses suggested a more hands-on vocation. Maybe I can get some answers while I’m helping him with his “bits and pieces.”


Jamie almost felt guilty about lusting after the man, but he’d had a long dry spell, and Austin was the best thing to come along in quite a while.


“We’re still open for twenty minutes. Tell me what you’re looking for, and that way I can think about it overnight so we can get a jumpstart tomorrow.” Jamie waived Austin toward a seat at a study table.


Jamie listened as Austin talked about his great-uncle’s disappearance and his grandmother’s desire for answers. He asked a few questions, most of which Austin said he didn’t know the answers to. When Austin fell silent, Jamie leaned back in his chair, sad to find that they only had a few minutes left before he needed to close up.


“I’m happy to help you, but the kind of records that might help you find your great-uncle would be at the county courthouse or the library,” Jamie said. “Especially if he wasn’t from a local family, I don’t think anything we’d have here will be what you need.”


Austin hesitated like he was trying to decide whether he should confide in Jamie. “I think he might have been a patient at Havenwood,” he said quietly. “I thought the archive might be able to shed some light on the hospital in that period.”


“Oh.” Jamie had only been at the archive for a month, but he’d already heard plenty of whispers about Havenwood, the creepy old abandoned hospital on the edge of town. “That’s a bit of a touchy subject. What are you hoping to find?”


Havenwood had been closed for decades, but plenty of people in town had worked there, and many of those former employees were still alive. Jamie had overheard some heated arguments between long-time residents over the rumors that still circulated about the old mental institution. He had steered clear since he was just filling in until a permanent archivist could be found. Still, he figured that both sides probably had a bit of truth to them. A place that big with such a long history dealing with vulnerable people was bound to have some heroes and villains.


Which made him wonder what Austin was really hoping to find.


The alarm on Jamie’s phone went off, telling him it was time to lock up. “I have to close on time,” Jamie said, sorry to bring the conversation to an end. “Our insurance company won’t let me stay open beyond the posted times or have anyone inside after we’re closed.”


Austin rose. “I understand. Thanks for listening. I’ll be glad for any help.” He paused. “One more question—where’s a good place to get a bite to eat?” he asked with a slightly shy smile that sent a surge of heat to Jamie’s groin.


“Do you like pizza? Moosehead Inn is a locals’ joint that serves great food. I was going to head over once I lock up—you’re welcome to join me if you don’t have other plans,” Jamie offered, trying to sound nonchalant.


Did I just ask him out? Holy shit. I haven’t done that in…forever.


Austin brightened, and his smile grew broader. “I’d like that. I’ll wait outside. Can we walk there? I didn’t bring my car.”


Jamie nodded, still a little surprised at his own boldness. “Sure. See you in a few minutes.”


He ushered Austin out the door and locked it behind him. Fortunately, Jamie had gotten a head start on the lock-up checklist before the sexy stranger arrived. He powered down the computer and started flipping off light switches as he made his way toward the back door.


This was the part he really disliked. Once he turned on the alarm system, the security lights would come on. But on the way to the back door, the old house got darker, and the shadows stretched longer with every switch he flicked.


I thought I knew what I was getting into when I took the job. But it’s just temporary, and I’m still sending out applications for something better, he reminded himself.


An old house like this was likely to have ghosts, even without being turned into a museum of sorts. Bring together the personal belongings of hundreds of people, bits of local history, journals, and letters, and it didn’t surprise Jamie that the place was haunted. Even if no one else seemed to believe it.


Click, click, click. He turned off the lights in the foyer and the former sitting room and dining room. Jamie had closed up the upstairs rooms early since it was a slow day. It held a storage area, a library of books written by local authors and books about the Saranac Lake area, as well as a conference room and a small classroom for lectures. The attic and basement were storage areas that weren’t open to the public, which made Jamie very happy since both gave him the creeps.


Click. The lights in the old parlor went dark, and Jamie braced himself. On the nights the ghosts felt frisky, this was when the shenanigans started.


A cool breeze out of nowhere made the hair on the back of Jamie’s neck rise. He heard the glissando of crystal pendants gently bumping together, the decorative dangles on a vintage oil lamp in the parlor that shouldn’t have any reason to move.


Jamie resolutely ignored the shadow gliding just at the edge of his peripheral vision as he hurried down the hallway. The kitchen doubled as the staff room and was the least haunted place in the building. Jamie heard footsteps on the stairs and forced himself to breathe. He knew there was no one else in the old house—at least, no one living.


In the room to his left by the back door, the former sewing room for the ladies of the house, he glimpsed a familiar gray figure and heard the swish of crinoline and linen. To his right, in the small office that was once the cook’s room, a rocking chair creaked.


Jamie’s hand shook as he set the alarm. The ghosts didn’t act up every night, and some evenings they were more riled than others. So far, none of them had tried to hurt him. As unsettling as the ghostly manifestations were, Jamie couldn’t object to spirits wanting to stay in a place that meant something to them. He didn’t mess with them, and he really hoped that meant they would return the favor.


The alarm beeped, and the security lights came on, dim but enough to send the shadows scurrying. The sounds stopped, and the house grew quiet. Jamie slipped out the back door and checked the lock, then let out a long breath. The halogen light above the door made the area around the steps almost as bright as day. He shook off the weirdness and smiled, excited about dinner with Austin.


It’s not a date. But I wish it was. Maybe…


This could be a pleasant diversion, Jamie told himself. Austin was just in town to look up some family history, and Jamie’s role with the archive was temporary. Nothing said they couldn’t have a little fun while their paths crossed.



the author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.


On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.


Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!


Author Links

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