From Fan to Friend by Vivien Dean – Guest Blog

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Vivien Dean, as she celebrates the release of Stranded with Desire, which she co-wrote with Rick R. Reed.

From Fan to Friend

I am no stranger to collaboration. I wrote over seventy stories with Pepper Espinoza, someone I’d known since she was nineteen, but we entered our five-year partnership as Jamie Craig as a bit of a lark. We knew each other too well to take it too seriously.

But I have a confession to make. The first time Rick Reed asked me to collaborate with him, my fangirl heart went a little crazy.

I knew Rick professionally, of course. We’d met in person at EPICon and GRL, and he’d worked with me and Pepper on one of our books as an editor, but those were not my first exposures to him. My first exposure to Rick was through his work. Specifically, the novel Orientation. I bought it because I have a soft spot for reincarnation stories, but I finished it completely shattered and blown away. I immediately started buying up his other work and turned into a fangirl for a huge host of reasons, but the biggest was obvious from the start.

Rick is fearless about writing flawed men who actually feel like people I know in real life. That’s not always the case in a lot of romance. There’s an ideal that many heroes seem to conform to, and while Rick’s protagonists are heroes in their own right, he never shirks from letting their very human sides play prominent roles. How could I not turn into a fangirl?

Somehow, I think I managed to control my fangirl tendencies in our professional interactions—well, I hope I did anyway; Rick might have a different opinion and is too much of a gentleman to tell me—but then I received a fateful email from him. He had a question to ask me.

Did I want to collaborate on a story with him?

I read it through a few times, convinced I’d read it wrong, but the message never changed. A little voice inside me kept whispering, “Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod.” The bitchy naysayer that resides in the back corner of my brain—I try to keep her locked up, but she gets out a little too often for my own good—kept asking, “Why would he ask me to write with him?” Thankfully, my fingers have a mind of their own, and I typed back an appropriately enthusiastic “Of course!” before either of those other voices could send me down a very wrong path.

One of my best decisions ever.

I quickly discovered that Rick is as inspiring on the first draft side of the story as he is on the final copy, but better than that, he let me into his writing space where his wonderfully real men came to life. Our work ethics and habits are very similar, so the actual process was so painless we could concentrate on just telling the story. Amidst it all, though, the voices inside me merged. I was still a fangirl, but now I knew Rick on more of a personal level. Just like the characters we created, he became more real to me, too. He’s charming, intelligent, and generous of spirit, and I’m so lucky to be able to call him a friend as well as co-writer.

Stranded with Desire brings to life more of the flawed men we adore. Colby squashes his feelings for his boss for the greater good—setting aside his personal happiness in the process—while Maine lives in an all-too-familiar world where he’s been taught to believe appearances are everything and being gay just isn’t a viable option. Both make sacrifices, but it’s those sacrifices that root them in reality while still allowing them to find their way to getting the romance they deserve. We love them to pieces. We hope the readers will, too.

perf4.250x7.000.inddWhen their plane crashed, their desire took flight.

CEO Maine Braxton and his invaluable assistant, Colby, don’t realize they share a deep secret: they’re in love—with each other. That secret may have never come to light but for a terrifying plane crash in the Cascade Mountains that changes everything.

In a struggle for survival, the two men brave bears, storms, and a life-threatening flood to make it out of the wilderness alive. The proximity to death makes them realize the importance of love over propriety. Confessions emerge. Passions ignite. They escape the wilds renewed and openly in love.

When they return to civilization, though, forces are already plotting to snuff out their short-lived romance and ruin everything both have worked so hard to achieve.

About the Authors: Vivien Dean is a firm believer that love doesn’t care about gender. That’s why her titles encompass both GLBT and het, erotic and sweet, as well as a wide variety of genres. After growing up in the snowy and isolated Midwest, she went off in search of her creative muse. She performed on stage, wrote and directed indie films in Orlando, then met her British soulmate online. One wedding, two children, and ten addresses later, she resides in the Bay Area where it’s easy to indulge in her favorite pastimes—good theater, great movies, and amazing food.

Vivien is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner and collaborated with Pepper Espinoza to write as Jamie Craig for five years.

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Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner: ebook print (buy the paperback and get the ebook for FREE!)

Buy the book at Amazon or All Romance eBooks.


  1. Vivien was an absolute dream to collaborate with…I can’t wait to do it again. In fact, plans are already shaping up for another Dreamspun Desires book.

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