New book coming out this winter!

I signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press yesterday for my first full-length novel with them, Held for Ransom, a contemporary M/M romance set in rural Illinois. It will be out in November or December. I don’t have an official blurb to share yet, but here’s my pitch:

Two weeks before Christmas, the small town of Osmar, Illinois is gearing up for its annual winter carnival. But this year the carnival is skirting disaster because its long-time organizer Vivian Lanning died last spring. Everyone has turned to Vivian’s son DJ to save the carnival, but DJ can’t even get himself together, let alone the carnival. He’s spinning his wheels in Osmar — working part time at the gas station/service garage, living in his parents’ house, and trying to figure out what to do with his life. DJ is caught in a large, loving web of well-meaning family and friends, but the one thing they can’t do is straighten out his life for him.

Into this mess comes Ransom, a handsome mystery man on a motorcycle. Ransom is traveling around the country doing “good deeds” to make up for his past sins — everything from picking up trash along the roadside to rescuing a small-town carnival that’s sinking for lack of funding and organization. He and DJ have a one-night stand that neither can forget, but that’s just the start, because Ransom has a plan for saving the carnival, and DJ has a plan for saving Ransom … and possibly himself.

This takes place in the same setting as my short story “Waiting for the Light” in last year’s Snow on the Roof anthology, although you don’t need to read the short story to understand the novel. Heatherfield County, Illinois, and its small towns are entirely fictional, but it’s roughly based upon the vicinity of Champaign-Urbana, where I lived for several years in the early 2000s while my husband went to grad school there.

I have other stories I want to tell in the Heatherfield area, so hopefully Held for Ransom will be the first of a number of Heatherfield books to come.

In the meantime, I’m working on a steampunk/historical murder mystery novel using the characters and setting from my short story “Untouchable” in the Steamed Up anthology from last fall. I’m at about 45K of a projected 60-70K, and hoping to finish the rough draft before the end of April. This one is the first in a projected series. (Because apparently I am incapable of writing a short story that doesn’t instantly spawn 6 books’ worth of ideas.)

Also, there is a lovely review of Homespun at Gay List Book Reviews that I completely forgot to link to. Mea culpa!

I'm a writer and artist living in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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Posted in Announcements, Books - Mine, Heatherfield
5 comments on “New book coming out this winter!
  1. Congrats! I enjoyed the antho short, & am looking forward to reading the novel. 🙂

  2. This sounds fabulous, and I love the title! I look forward to it, Layla.

  3. slhuang says:

    Congratulations!!! Can’t wait to buy eet!!! 😀

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Newest release
Held for Ransom cover

Held for Ransom - released November 14

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