Laura Stone

Writer, Fangirl, Nacho Lover

Coming Soon on May 18, 2017: AND IT CAME TO PASS

It’s here!! This is a deeply personal story for me (and if you’re curious to learn more about my Mormon upbringing, click the Mormon Mondays tag), and one that has been slowly coming to fruition since 2008.

Here’s the official blurb from my publisher, Interlude Press. And I’ll be talking about my polygamous family, growing up Mormon, and more as the countdown to May 18th nears.

LGBT Mormons,November Policy,gay mormons,gay LDS


Adam Young is a devout, young Mormon following the pious path set forth for him by his church and family. But when his mission trajectory sends him to Barcelona, Spain, with a handsome mission companion named Brandon Christensen, Adam discovers there may be more to life and love than he ever expected.

About the author:

Laura Stone, a descendant of pioneer polygamists from the early days of the Mormon Church and a former Gospel Doctrine teacher, now keeps busy as a media blogger, ghostwriter and novelist when she’s not raising her youngest child.

While the majority of her family still lives in Utah, she resides in Texas because it’s where the good tamales are. Her first novel, The Bones of You, was published by Interlude Press in 2014 and was named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Her second novel, Bitter Springs, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.

Photography by TI Still Photography. On-site consulting by Carrie Pack.

Find it on Goodreads.

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Books You Need In Your Life: Idlewild by Jude Sierra

I knew I was going to enjoy this book if it was anything like Sierra’s last book (one that also earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly), What It Takes. This is nothing like Sierra’s last book. Oh, it’s beautifully written with prose that often times feels like music on the page, the characters are real and layered, just as with her other book.

But where What It Takes is the journey of two young boys becoming men, Idlewild is several things at once:

  • A story of two flawed and closed off men learning how to tear down their walls and let others in
  • A love story
  • A how-to guide to rebuild a restaurant (oh man, I could hear “Order up!” and the hustle and bustle–and the after hours drinks–from my college-era restaurant jobs as I read this)
  • A love story to Detroit
  • A cautionary tale about gentrification and how important respecting all aspects of a city–the good, the bad, the ugly, the amazing–is
  • A masterclass in minimalistic romantic writing

I worry about saying that last one, because the last thing I’d want you to take away from this recommendation (and boy howdy, do I recommend that you run, don’t walk, to your local bookshop and pick it up OR get it from her publisher directly OR the usual suspects, your Amazons and what have you) is that this is going to short-change you.

Idlewild Detroit LGBT romance

(This is a limited edition postcard from the author. See below for the equally gorgeous cover)

It is incredibly difficult to tell a story that flies off the page if you weigh the reader down with incidentals. There is no fat to this book. It’s all meat. (Probably some delicious sliders from George in the kitchen, to be honest.)  It moves at a fast clip and expects you to be able to keep up. (You totally can.)

Sometimes I struggle with POV switches in books. Sometimes writers retell a scene from the other POV and it feels… indulgent, like wasted time. I want to move forward. I want to keep the story going. Sierra does this, and does it well.  There is always a point to the switch, which is as it should be. And it always, always moves the narrative forward, giving the reader a richer insight into the characters’ lives.

You’re not going to be bogged down with details about the cleaning crew, the delivery trucks, the main characters third-cousin twice removed. But you absolutely learn about their lives, their pasts, their families, and what they want for their future. And it all comes together here, in the restaurant Idlewild:

Idlewild LGBT M/M romance,LGBT literary romance Sierra

I WANT TO EAT GEORGE’S PORK SLIDERS HERE. I want Claudia to make me a cocktail. And I want to watch these two men flirt awkwardly while this happens. How about it, Science? Asher on the left, Tyler on the right, btw.

This cover, which is another glorious bit of work from Interlude Press’s art director, tells you right away that this is an intimate look at these two men–it’s not about the other characters. I feel like a voyeur in the best of ways. The book pulls you in immediately giving you a sense of intimacy, of longing, and of men  who don’t know what they want other than for things to change.

Their journey is real and emotional. For me, a Woman of a Certain Age, it felt completely authentic. I know that there are readers who want an idealized world on the page. Sometimes I do, too. Then there are times when I want to fall into something that feels raw and honest. I want to know other people have hurt like I’ve hurt. I want to see how they deal with it, how they come through on the other side.

And then there is the prose. The gorgeous, lyrical prose that is quickly becoming Sierra’s hallmark. Sometimes there are gems that just smack you with how accurate it is, gems like:

“March in Michigan is always a series of hopes and heartbreaks.”

Ain’t that the damn truth?

The explanation of why Asher chose to open a restaurant in Detroit stems from his mother calling the city “hopeless” at a time when Asher was coming to grips with his sexuality. Was he hopeless, too? And how about that nifty little showing (no telling!) that Asher is a roll-your-sleeves-up kind of you-can’t-tell-me-what-to do person? Marvelous.

No point is beleaguered, nothing is trumpeted as Very Important. It all just happens to be important. This is a book that handles the issues of classism and racism (Asher, white, comes from privilege; Tyler, black, doesn’t. Their Detroits are vastly different entities, and yet they are both Detroit.).

This is also a massive love letter to both Detroits, which is really the one Detroit. This is a quiet introspection into a young widower’s grief and how he allows himself to love again. This is a powerful look at a young gay black man who believes his family’s future rests on his shoulders, but doesn’t know how to please them.

But most of all, this is a deeply romantic story of two men who can see the other’s potential. Who love their city fiercely. Who want to love someone passionately and learn how to do so without reservation. (Ha. See what I… Sorry.)

This is a beautiful, masterfully written bit of literary romance. I do hope you’ll take the time to get to know these two men and the better world they’re trying to make in their little bit of Detroit. It’s worth it.

Follow Jude Sierra on her website  or Twitter and drop her a line if you do read this wonderful book.

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Current Books

Bitter Springs Gay Romance,Historical Romance Bitter Springs,LGBT Romance Bitter SpringsBitter Springs, in bookstores now, is available everywhere fine books are sold (and even where a few crummy books can be found) including: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AllRomance, iTunes, Smashwords and IP’s store.

“Highly recommended… Bitter Springs is a wonderful depiction of a lost period of gay life and history in the rural West of the 1800s”. —American Library Association, GLBT Roundtable


Stone deftly mixes yearning and hot passion with sweet tenderness and a love of nature in this engrossing and deep coming-of-age love story.  — Booklist


The Bones Of You is also available anywhere books can be found as well as at these locations:
Amazon B & N, AllRomance, iTunes, Smashwords, and the IP Store.

Stone’s sensitive debut reunites two lovers who were separated by both distance and expectations […] Stone plays the relationship with restraint, letting it unfold slowly and organically. — Publisher’s Weekly


It was difficult to pick up another book knowing Seth, Oliver, Moira and the others wouldn’t be there. My own life was enriched by this story and these characters. Laura Stone is an author to remember and follow. I highly recommend The Bones of You as a beautifully written book and a story to enjoy. —USA Today

I’m proud to announce that THE BONES OF YOU is an IndieFab Foreward Review 2014 Book Of The Year Finalist!


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Reader’s Question: no guns?

From Perryavenue on Tumblr:

Why didn’t Renaldo and Hank carry guns with them for protection? Eduardo had a gun when he was at his parents’ home, wouldn’t Renaldo and Hank carry guns when they’re traveling along open and rough terrain with potential predators (both animal and human)?

Fun (and probably shocking) fact, most cowboys didn’t carry guns! Turns out that’s a Hollywood fabrication. Guns were expensive, hard to maintain, and cumbersome as a guy on a horse. Six shooters? Super pricey. You had a rifle if you were a frontiersman (bear, wolves), and you had a handgun if you were a man of the law, but cowboys? They were the bottom of the barrel.

I cannot stress enough how low on the totem pole cowboys were at this time.  Cowboy = guy who literally rode next to or behind a herd of cattle on a cattle drive for very little pay.  They didn’t have the funds or need for such hardware. It was considered a dangerous practice to carry a pistol, and wasn’t something that was looked upon with positivity. (Not to mention that handguns were considered a luxury item.)

A dispatch from the Texas Live Stock Journal dated June 5, 1884, 14 years after Bitter Springs is set:

The six-shooter loaded with deadly cartridges is a dangerous companion for any man, especially if he should unfortunately be primed with whiskey. Cattlemen should unite in aiding the enforcement of the law against carrying of deadly weapons.” 

Continue reading

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Romantic Times Con: Las Vegas

VEGAS, BABY, my home away from home.  Well, for the week at least.

RTCon 2016 romantic times

WHERE: Rio Hotel and Casino, on Flamingo RD

WHAT: The biggest party in the world of Romance Writing. Agents, authors, publishers, bloggers, and more importantly: READERS all converge in a week long fest of good times.

ME: I’ll be signing books, attending events, drinking cocktails, and (most definitely) hitting the craps tables at some point, and I would love nothing more than to see YOU.

Book signings: Wednesday, 3:15pm (I’m with Tessa Dare, ahh!) in room AMAZON G.  I’ll also be at the Giant Book Fair on Saturday signing (I’m next to Damon Suede!) in the RIO PAVILION, and this starts at 10:30am and goes until 2:30pm on Saturday.

I’ll also have bookplates if you have a book you weren’t able to bring and still want my John Hancock. <3

There are so many great sessions this week, so the best way to find me (and please do!) is via my Twitter.  I would love, love, love to meet you guys, talk about the things we love and have the best time ever. Last year was a blast, and this year promises to be even better.

And guys? Guys?  I’m such a good luck charm at the table. No, really. You’re so money and you don’t even know it, baby. Let’s do this!

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Proper Nana Puddin’ with Bonus Elvis Style Twist

So those of you who follow my Twitter and Facebook [see the sidebar] know I’d been yapping about proper old school banana pudding. When I say proper and old school, I mean basically one thing: no damn pudding mix.

banana pudding nutter butter

Nutter Butter Nana Puddin’ like the good lord (Elvis) intended

Look. Shortcuts exist for good reasons.  You want to make pudding fast? Knock your socks off! Goodness knows I’ve used shortcuts in my kitchen. But you know what I don’t  do?  Say my recipe is “homemade” or “old school” if I used a pudding mix. Charlene, my sassy-ass grandmother who didn’t put up with nonsense unless it was from her own mouth, did not make her Nana Pudding with Jell-O pudding mix.  Not company pudding, any way.

[Dibs on new band name: Company Pudding]

And neither will I.

I had a mighty need recently for my Nana’s Nana Pudding and finally found her original recipe, the one that used to be on the box of Nilla Wafers, like back in the 1940s.  CLICK ON FOR THE RECIPE! Continue reading

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The One with the No-Tell Motel (aka Pimps up, Oh my god, child get down)

This heart-felt tale is about the time when my family was almost shot up Southland-style on the highway of life because of my son disrespecting an Alabama pimp. You know, your typical family summer vacation.

Lampoons Vacation station wagon

Every summer the kids and I would go on a road trip across the south to visit friends in Florida and Alabama. The kids are seasoned road trippers. They have their books and snacks and travel games. There was plenty of space in my Mom Ride for everyone to stretch out and not argue. But 13 hours in a car is a long time for anyone, so on this particular trip, I used my points to book us a room in Birmingham at a cheap-o family-friendly hotel I’ve stayed at before: The Hampton Inn. It’s your basic road-trip joint with a Continental Breakfast, something that for whatever reason kids think is amazing. 


(Literally my children. This is literally how my children view a continental breakfast.)

The problem is that I evidently didn’t book at the Hampton Inn north of the city, but at a Days Inn on the same highway but an exit off. Eh, they both have the word “Inn.” Should be fine.  Right?


Oh, what a difference that one word (and that 1.2 miles) made. Continue reading

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Meet the characters of Bitter Springs: Renaldo Valle Santos

vaquero cowboy gay Mexican

This dashing gent (this is done in pencil, can you stand it?) is Renaldo Valle Santos, youngest son of Estebán Santos.  Like most kids who come tail end in a large family, he hasn’t had expectations put on his shoulders aside from watching out for his twin sister Canadarí­a and doing what his brothers tell him.

Life is pretty easy when that’s all you have to think about. And given the isolated nature of the family’s ranch out in San Felipe Del Rio, Texas, he doesn’t have to worry much about things like finding himself a wife. (Which is good, because that’s the last thing he wants.)

A wrench gets tossed in the works in the form of that handsome fellow in the bottom left corner, Henry “Hank” Burnett.

Turns out there’s a reason why Renaldo didn’t want a wife: He’d much rather have a husband. But seeing as this is a much different time than today, (1870, to be exact) how would that even work? Continue reading

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Fun With Fictional To-Do Lists

When Bitter Springs was first released and I was on a “virtual book tour,” I was asked a really fun question that gave me a little more time to play with one of my favorite characters, Hank Burnett.

Warning! If you haven’t read the book, spoilers abound.

Give us a to-do list for one of your characters.

Well, Hank is the sort of man who appreciates order, but also has a rather droll sense of humor.  Now that he and Renaldo have gotten to a place of ease out at Bitter Springs, I like to think his “to-do list” would go a little something like this… 

Continue reading

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