Thursday, July 30, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: M/M ~ Redesigning Max by Pat Henshaw ~ (ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Virtual Book Tour: M/M ~ Redesigning Max by Pat Henshaw ~ (ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: Pat Henshaw
Book Name: Redesigning Max
Series: Foothills Pride
Book: Two
Can be read as a standalone
Release Date: July 29, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Buy The Book:
DSP ~ Amazon


Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene's Hunting and Fishing, hires him to remodel his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills.  Fredi is an out and proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes' he remodels, and Max is just too hunky gorgeous for words.
When Max starts coming on to Fredi, the designer can't imagine why.  But he's game to put a little spice into Max's life, even if it's just in the colors and fixtures he'll use to turn Max's dilapidated rustic cabin into a showplace.  Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max's life visually?
Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally.  Coming out, he finds is the most exciting and wonderful time of his life, despite the conservative former friends who want to stop his slide into hell

Pages or Words: 73 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance


By the time we got to the Rock Bottom Cafe, I felt like I’d bottomed out. I was hungry, tired, and feeling the first twinges of a headache.
Max hadn’t exaggerated about how much I’d hate the Rock Bottom’s decor. It was the worst of rural cafe: hellacious plastic flowers, grotesque plastic-covered booths, peeling gangrene-painted beadboard walls, pockmarked linoleum floor, and faded food-stained menus. It made the cabin look almost palatial, except it didn’t smell as bad.
As Max slid into one side of a booth and I into the other, he said, “Food’s great here. Okay?”
I glared at him, but I had to admit the odors coming from the kitchen wove seductively around us.
After we’d ordered and had gotten glasses of iced tea, which I liberally dosed with artificial sweetener, Max leaned back in his side of the booth and blew out a little breath.
“So guess here’s what you need to know about me.” He was looking at the tabletop. “I was an only kid when my folks died. Raised by my aunt and uncle with their four boys. I was the youngest and nobody cared what I thought, so I don’t talk much.”
Oh dear. I wasn’t sure which of those statements I should answer, if any. My heart bled for the beautiful man in front of me who would give me a raging hard-on if I let my libido take control.
His words and lack of self-pity made me want to create a unique space where he’d feel completely at home and that would soothe him when he needed it. I probably wouldn’t end up his BFF or someone he could unbend with, but I could create a warm cocoon to shelter and coddle the man or let him entertain his friends comfortably.
The image of the young Max feeling like an outsider when he was thrust on his uncaring aunt and uncle to raise was banished by the waitress who put lunch in front of us.
“Oh. My. God!” I nearly drooled into the chili and homemade bread as I tasted them. “This is incredible.”
“What’d I tell you?” Max gloated. “Said you shouldn’t be put off by the decor. Some of us are more than our decor.”
I spooned up a couple of bites, then looked at Max. “You really do think I’m a snob, don’t you?”
Why was it so easy to get him to blush? I hadn’t a clue, but his quick, mercurial red cheeks had me intrigued.
“No, no, I don’t think you’re a snob,” he protested. “I mean, you’re just so….” He waved a couple of fingers at me, but kept his elbows on the table as if protecting his bowl of chili.
“I’m so what?”
Max shrugged. “I don’t know. Beautiful. And fancy,” he added, ducking his head over his bowl.
Ah, I understood now. Max was intimidated by my suit.
“Look, you came to get me in the coffee shop. I was dressed to take a rich lady through her house later this afternoon. I can work in jeans and a T-shirt”—did Max think I wore suits every day?—“or anything I want. Pajamas even. You just caught me on a suit day.” Which, I didn’t add, was too often for even my overblown sense of style.
Now Max was staring at me.
“Yeah, right. You wear jeans,” he scoffed, but looked interested, intrigued.
I shrugged. “Okay, not when I’m with a client. At home I’m way more casual.” I might have sounded a tad defensive.
“Yeah, right,” Max muttered with a grin.
I left it lying there. It wasn’t worth fighting about. But it bothered me that he saw such a divide between us. I was just a man, wasn’t I? Just like him, right? What was he going on about? Sheesh.

Author Interview:

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Pat Henshaw, author of Redesigning Max.

Hi, Pat, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi!  I’m originally from Nebraska and have lived all over the U. S., landing here in Northern California.  Now retired, I’ve held a number of jobs including theatrical costuming for the Alley Theatre in Houston, public relations for radio and television at WETA in D. C., and teaching English comp at a junior college in California.

Redesigning Max, the second of the Foothills Pride novellas, revolves around the unlikely pair of interior designer and architect Fredi Zimmer and the CEO of an outdoors equipment store and wildlife guide Max Greene.  When he hires Fredi to redesign and update his Sierra Mountain mountain cabin, Max finds his life and heart undergoing a makeover too.

Not everyone in the small Stone Acres, California, community is as excited about Max and Fredi getting together as the guys are.  Because Max’s been in the closet so long, he not only has to convince his friends that he’s gay but he also has to convince Fredi, who keeps getting mixed signals from him.

  1. Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

Usually I buy because of the blurb and the sample chapters.  My Kindle is my constant companion, and I always have five or six samples on it at a time.  I’ve been known to do some of my best book buying between 1 and 2 a.m. when I can’t sleep and the Kindle store is always open.  If I had to say what the best innovation of my lifetime has been, the Kindle would be it.  I know, sad, but true.

  1. What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

First off, as far as I’m concerned, romance doesn’t equal sex.  Romance is that delightful time when two people are getting to know each other and find tiny but significant ways to show each other how much they care and want to please the other.  Romance is a person’s tiptoeing toward love and happily ever after.  It’s the dawning realization that the other person might actually be the one for the long haul.  It’s the sunrise of a lasting relationship and something to be savored.

  1. What are your current projects?

Oh, thank you for asking!  The third in the Foothills Pride series, Behr Facts, is in edits right now and will release in late October, 2015.  I’m writing the fourth Pride story, When Adam Fell, and the fifth, Cookie, which a friend says is an awful title.  

  1. What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

I struggle with active verbs in the first round of writing.  (Notice how many times “is” is in the answers here?  Aarrgghh!)  Rewriting is a pain, but has to be done because, well, as you can see, there was another “is” followed by a “was.”

  1. Open up your recipe box! Give us something that would thrill us.

My Cajun grandmother made a wonderful gumbo.  My grandmother’s gumbo has no real directions or quantities, so this is a true “Cajun Stew.” Wow this is very fitting for our blog! :)

Boiled white rice: Rinse rice two or three times to get the processing sheen off of it.  Cover the rice with water.  Cover.  Bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, turn the heat to low and let it cook until the water is absorbed.

Whole chicken, cut up
Louisiana hot sausage (or Kielbasa or Summer Sausage) cut in
bite-sized pieces
Seafood (white fish fillets, shrimp, crab, crawfish, etc.)
Onion, cut up in bite-sized pieces

Cooking oil (Use whatever you have in your kitchen cabinets)
Flour (All-purpose)

Gumbo filé

Use an equal amount of oil and flour (1/2 cup to ½ cup, 1 cup to 1 cup, etc.)  Mix them until they make a syrupy paste.  Over high heat cook the paste stirring constantly.  Watch the color carefully.  When the color looks like milk chocolate, take the pan off the heat.  Do this quickly.  The mixture can burn very, very fast.  You have done the hardest part:  making the roux.

With the pot still off the heat, stir in the onions, sausage and chicken.  Coat the ingredients well with the roux.  When the ingredients are completely coated with the roux, add water, just covering the ingredients.  Return the pot to the stove.  Bring to a boil.  (If you’re an okra lover, as are many in the Eastern part of Louisiana, add the okra now.  It needs lots of cooking in order for it not to be stringy and tough.)  When the water is boiling, stir it, then cover the pot leaving a slight crack for steam to escape.  Cook until the chicken is done.

When the chicken is done, you can do one of two things:  leave it in the pot and don’t worry about the bones, or debone the chicken returning the meat to the pot.  (My grandmother NEVER deboned the chicken.  Everyone was always too hungry to wait.)

Put in the seafood.  Cook until the seafood is done.

To serve:  Put a bunch of rice at the bottom of a dish.  Spoon the gumbo on top of the rice.  (My Uncle D.J. always loaded on catsup at this point.  In fact, until I went to grade school I didn’t realize people ate catsup with anything but gumbo.  And I also didn’t realize D.J. was so odd by putting it ON gumbo.) 

Yeah, that's a bit weird. I have never put ketchup on my Gumbo, (Yuck!)but I did work with someone that put it in their Red Beans! o_o I've also Never had fish in my Gumbo, although fried fish and potato salad are common staples with Gumbo here!

The controversy:  Where to put the gumbo filé:  My grandmother and most people in Leonville, Louisiana, (all relatives) sprinkled the dried filé on the top of the gumbo.  HOWEVER, in Basile (pronounced baa-zeel) where some of my relatives moved through marriage, they add the filé to the roux before they added any of the ingredients. I’ve noticed that this makes the gumbo hotter to the taste—especially if you add green peppers and okra also.

Mari's Review:

***ARC provided via Pride Promotions in exchange for a fair and honest review.***

This was a delightful story! It was sweet and both characters fit well together despite being so different. 

Max was my favorite of the two. He's not exactly in the closet, but he's never advertised that he's gay or act up on it until he meets Fredi, who is as out and proud as can be. Because of that he has to prove not only to Fredi but to others that he's indeed gay. He's the big, strong, silent type, just the perfect counterpoint to Fredi, who is just the opposite.

Fredi might be smaller in size compared with Max, but he's no wimp, and is used to fighting for what he wants and against anyone who might be wanting to bash him for being gay.

They have to fight against several people that aren't all that happy of them being together, but they have a fantastic set of friends backing them up, and I really liked that. I enjoyed the coincidences that showed just how perfect Max and Fredi were for each other, like Max's cabin and other little tidbits that gave depth to what they found together.

I enjoyed the story a lot, it was a series of tender little moments as both Max and Fredi learn to know each other and fall in love, although I would have loved to see more of them together as a couple, like maybe having them kiss or make love in a more descriptive manner, rather than just being told it happened. Other than that, it was a pretty good, enjoyable read.

Rating: 4.5 Stars!

About the author:
Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride series, was born in Nebraska but promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat has visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and regularly travels to Rome, Italy, and Eugene, Oregon, to see family.  

Now retired, Pat has taught English composition at the junior college level; written book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helped students find information as a librarian; and promoted PBS television programs.

Pat has raised two incredible daughters who daily amaze everyone with their power and compassion.  Pat’s supported by a husband who keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away writing fiction.

Where to find the author:
Book website:
Twitter: @phenshaw
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Pat!! Thanks for chance
    Book sounds great.

  2. This book sounds really great! Can't wait to read it!! Thanks