Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Annabeth Albert: Man Candy Inspiration + Rough Terrain Excerpt and Giveaway!

Today I have Annabeth Albert back on the blog, celebrating the final book in the Out of Uniform series, ROUGH TERRAIN (out now)! She's talking about the man candy inspirations behind the characters, and even brought a little teaser to share, too.

Oh, and there's a giveaway at the end. Good luck! :)

Bringing “Man Candy” Inspiration to Life

Hi! Thank you so very much for having me! I love this blog, and one of my favorite features is the Lusting for Covers feature. I love my ROUGH TERRAIN cover so much—big sexy SEAL, close embrace, and a lot of passionate energy. One of the reasons I was so thrilled with this cover was how closely the cover captured my inspiration for Renzo, my sexy Italian SEAL with all his swagger.

Renzo started as a secondary character in TIGHT QUARTERS (don’t worry! It was a brief spoiler-free appearance and his book stands alone!), and my original inspiration for him came from some “man candy” I saw on social media of seriously fit men filming parkour style workouts.  A lot of these guys have huge social media followings who wait with baited breath for their next fitness video or picture.

And so I wondered to myself, what if one of those guys was secretly a SEAL? And thus Renzo was born, giving me an excuse to watch even more of those videos. But a character is more than just a sexy picture, more than just “muscles here, hair there, smile on top” descriptions. I had to dig deeper, ask why a guy would want to have a fitness-oriented social media presence, figure out what backstory he had, what personality and character traits behind the marvelous physique.

It’s figuring out this intrinsic motivation that really speaks to me as an author. Hot photos are fabulous for jump starting the imagination, but to me, the real work of writing comes down to those old classics of goal and motivation. So figuring out who Renzo actually was, what he wanted, what he needed, what he wouldn’t let himself have, what he was lacking, and what events had wounded him in the past was a fascinating journey that happened prior to any of his story coming to life.

And for me, it involves a lot of asking “what if” as I develop a character, going back and forth between photo inspiration and notes. What if those sexy eyes hide a secret side? What if his swagger comes not from vanity but from uncertainty? What if that video is motivated by something other than a desire to show-off? After a while, I’m able to set aside any inspiration pics and really let the character “breathe” so to speak as he tells me his story.

Then, months and months later, the art department needs to know what this character looks like. So I return to my inspiration folder as I tell them about the characters, but I also share a little of that motivation—the things that make him more than just a picture. And part of why I’m so thrilled with the Rough Terrain cover is that I think they captured  that essence of Renzo—the part of him that is more than just muscles and hot body, the hint of uncertainty that makes him all the more sexy in his vulnerability, the sexy interplay between him and his co-hero Canaan.

I loved writing this book—everything from those first inspiration photos to the epilogue, to the production process. This one was a joy to bring to life, and I hope you check it out! Thanks again for having me. If you write, do you use inspiration photos? How? And even if you don’t write, do you play the “what if” game, trying to figure out the story behind a photo? Share!

Rough Terrain by Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press (January 14, 2019)
Series: Out of Uniform, 7
Genre: Contemporary Romance -- Queer, M/M

The camping trip from hell may be the first stop on the road to happily-ever-after in Rough Terrain, the final book in Annabeth Albert’s critically acclaimed, fan-favorite Out of Uniform series.

Navy SEAL Renzo Bianchi has a soft spot for Canaan Finley, and not only because the man makes a mean smoothie. He’s the first guy to get Renzo’s motor revving in a long time. But when he agrees to Canaan’s insane charade—one all-access fake boyfriend, coming right up—he never expects more than a fling.

Creating a hot Italian SEAL boyfriend to save face seemed like a good idea…until his friends called Canaan’s bluff. Now he’s setting off into the woods with the very man who inspired his deception, and Canaan is not the outdoorsy type. The sparks are already flying when a flash flood separates them from their group, leaving Renzo and Canaan very much trapped…very much alone in the wilderness.

Working together to come up with a plan for survival is sexier than either of them expects. But back in the real world, being a couple is bringing its own set of hazards…

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Rough Terrain by Annabeth AlbertExcerpt

Maybe they were better off as buds. But telling himself that didn’t stop his brain from taking note of how Canaan looked digging into the soup. His lips parted, a sigh escaping, and his eyes went soft, happiness smoothing his features. The sound of pleasure he made at the first taste of the broth had Renzo shifting in his chair. 
To distract himself, he asked Canaan all about his favorite foods while they ate, and he liked discovering that they had a lot in common with a taste for all things Asian, a dislike of beans, and a high tolerance for spicy foods. Hell, he liked just hanging with Canaan in general. He was fun and spontaneous and easy to be around. 
The food was as good as Canaan had advertised—well worth the drive—spicy broth balanced with sweet barbecued pork, loads of delicious noodles, and crisp veggies. Heaven. 
“Good thing this isn’t closer to base. I’d lose all my ab definition in a week,” he joked. 
Canaan gave him an appraising stare that made Renzo’s face heat. “I don’t think you have much to worry about there.” 
“Ha. You have no idea how hard I work for this body.” 
“I think I speak for all your admiring fans when I say it is well appreciated.” Canaan gave him another of those looks that made Renzo think about sex again. Damn it. Just buds was hard.

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Where to Find Annabeth:

1) Paperback copy of any back catalog Out of Uniform series book. Open Internationally.
2) e-copies of any back catalog Out of Uniform series book. Open Internationally.

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Don't forget Annabeth's question for you:

If you write, do you use inspiration photos? How? And even if you don’t write, do you play the “what if” game, trying to figure out the story behind a photo? Share!


Until Next Time,

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