A warm welcome to author L.B Gregg joining us today for the release of her brandnew novel “With This Bling”
Welcome L.B 🙂
Hi. My name is L.B. Gregg and I write gay romance. I’m delighted to be here today celebrating the release of my third Romano and Albright story—With This Bling. I need to give a quick shout out to Riptide Publishing, my readers, and to everyone following the blog tour. Thanks for popping by.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may already know that I enjoy a few reality shows. Not the K-named variety or the sport-dating shows. No Wives of Where Ever or singing/dancing competitors and their high-strung, stage mothers for me. I stick with low conflict programs where contestants use skill, creativity, and ambition to compete for potentially life changing prizes. You know. Just the little things. Like money and a career. Like Project Runway.
The show is not without controversy, and sometimes I disagree heavily (and vocally) with the judges. Let’s face it, those people can be mean and bitchy, (Michael Kors, I’m looking at your hilarious self), but my addiction to the show isn’t about who wins or loses. Or what the judges rule—despite my love of Nina Garcia and the uber adorable Zac Posen. <3 No. I’m interested in the creative process, and the grit and determination the contestants possess. I love to see artists rise to the occasion. They inspire me to dig deeper, trust myself more, and work harder.
Disclosure: once upon a time, I studied costume design. True. It took getting a four year BFA and half an MFA under my belt before I realized I truly sucked, but studying fine arts, and costume construction and design, planted a life long appreciation of just how flipping hard it is to create wearable apparel from absolutely nothing in a single day. Oy.
Anyway, if you’re unfamiliar with the show, contestants meet challenges to ensure a spot in the next episode and ultimately they vie to show off their designs at New York’s prestigious Fashion Week. Contestants have one project per episode. They must adhere to a changing set of crazy criteria and are given about twenty minutes to design before heading out to shop on a budget. Then they drape, sew, fit, and style for their models. Designers might work alone, in pairs, or on teams. At the end of the show each week, there’s a critique on the runway. A sort of a pass/fail for everyone except the winner of the challenge, and the poor exhausted soul who receives the kiss of death/farewell from the flawless Heidi Klum herself. And, the show still manages to preserves the dignity (most of the time) of the competitors. That’s something in today’s television world.
Actually, the whole show is sort of a microcosm of the writing world. Substitute reviewers for judges and books for clothing and, honestly, it’s sort of the same. Win/lose. High stakes. Proving oneself. Rising to the occasion. Cash. Survival.
As I said, I find this process inspiring and tend to root for those designers who work hard, take constructive criticism, overcome obstacles, and are unafraid to stick to their personal aesthetic and allow their artistic expression free reign.
The very best part of Project Runway is of course, the impeccable Tim Gunn, who knows a thing or two about survival. As their mentor, he serves as teacher, parent, boss, hard ass, cheerleader, lifesaver, and tie breaker. He’s the soul of the show and there are times I wish I had a Tim Gunn in my own life when I’m on a deadline and I’m overwhelmed and losing faith. I need a Tim to remind me to edit myself and trust my creative process. Or to take whatever shit pile of words I have going nowhere, and to just make it work. His words are sound bites that resonate.
It took over five years for me to return to the Romano and Albright series. I meant well. I tried often. But my writer’s block proved to be a daily war between my creative voice and a crippling fear of failure. A lot like the contestants on Project Runway, I struggled. And instead of a high-pressure experience over a short time, I sort of simmered on boil for a long, long time.
With This Bling was written over a period of ten months—which is an eternity for writers these days. I lost momentum numerous times, in the book and in my career, but with my rigorous travel schedule, and time with my family at a priority, I also lost sight of Caesar.
And there were times I lost my nerve.
And that’s a hard thing to come back from.
Still. I had the parameters for the next book—the criteria. I had a time line. A direction. And a lot of pressure to succeed. And exactly like those designers on Project Runway, my loss of faith created something unexpected, and difficult, though not impossible to overcome: fear. With my career and a reputation on the line, I had to choose whether I was going to rise above, or throw in the towel.
Television is contrived—but most art is. It’s all about point of view, and message, and selling a dream. So when Tim Gunn said this season, Fear never conquered anything, during a particularly weepy episode of PR, his words resonated so deeply, I had to include them in my book. Because he was so right.
We are often challenged. I struggle with the creative process, time management, and doubt, but watching others who struggle with similar issues illustrates that weakness doesn’t have to define a person. But it can strengthen a person. Resilience. Confidence. Courage. Adaptation. Editing. Faced with challenges, the important thing is to dig deeper, try harder, trust your voice, and believe in yourself. That’s how to vanquish the demons. That’s how to write a book.
It might take me longer than the average writer—much, much longer, actually— but I’m still here, and Ce and Dan are back. They are total winners. I hope you enjoy them.
About the Book
Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.
Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.
But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.
When not working from her home in the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut, author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama–sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny, stories about men who love men.
For more info on L.B., because surely one can never get too much of a good thing, you can follow her on her preferred social media, Facebook. You can also e-mail L.B. at lbgregg at lbgregg dot com, visit her website www.lbgregg.com, be her GoodReads pal or follow her sporadic appearances on twitter.
To celebrate the release of With This Bling, L.B. Gregg is giving away a Romano and Albright mug with swag, and a $40 gift card to Amazon! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 12, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!