Guest Blogger – Katrina Strauss – Summer is hot, but volunteerism is hotter!

Off the Beaten Path by Katrina StraussGood day from Katrina Strauss! No, don’t adjust your monitors — you’re at the right place! Many thanks to Jet for inviting me to play at her blog today. There are some sizzling men to be found here at ComputErotika, so I thought I’d bring two hotties of my own! That’s Travis and Kyle to your left. They’re the stars of my next m/m release, Off the Beaten Path, coming this Tuesday, July 28th from Loose Id.

As you might guess from the cover, Off the Beaten Path centers on a camping trip. Well, okay, besides the double whammy of sexy man chest, it involves camping! To be more precise, Travis and Kyle are thrown together on what’s called a “volunteer vacation” at a wilderness state park. A volunteer vacation can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Here are some opportunities begging to be taken advantage of:

** Constructing an inner city playground from recycled goods.
** Building or maintaining pedestrian and bike trails on former railroad beds.
** Wilderness trail maintenance at state and national parks.
** Working for a day at a local soup kitchen or food bank.
** Mentoring at-risk youth enrolled in summer programs.
** Planting trees with the Nature Conservancy.
** Building houses with Habitat for Humanity.

And that’s just a few! As you can see from the above list, volunteer vacations can range from day trip to out-of-town adventure, urban outing to wilderness escape. When volunteering at state and national parks, participants can receive a discount on guest fees with meals, housing, and/or camping equipment provided. (Volunteers are also often granted access to parts of the park that are closed to the public!) If you’re a high school student planning for college, or a college student seeking an internship, a volunteer vacation can count toward service points. Best of all, a volunteer vacation can be enjoyed by friends, families, youth organizations, church groups, etc, with crew size numbering from a few to several members depending on the task at hand.

Or as Kyle’s friend Mac explains to Travis, a volunteer vacation is “a nice alternative to the usual Vegas trip or overpriced ocean cruise, plus you do something that helps others.” If you’re looking to enjoy an affordable vacation that’s a little different, and serving a worthwhile purpose while you’re at it, you may want to consider one of the volunteer variety! Simply Google “volunteer vacation” to learn more!

Back to Travis and Kyle, I’ll leave you with the blurb and a teaser from their own excursion off the beaten path:



Travis Bell is openly gay to family and friends, but as a college athlete, he chooses not to be defined by his sexuality. When he covers for a friend’s misdeed, he’s forced to negotiate his future without losing his lacrosse scholarship.

The last thing he plans on is a “volunteer vacation” in the remote wilderness with Omega Beta Pi, aka Off the Beaten Path, a fraternity devoted to gay rights and environmental causes. Worse, Travis must share a tent with Kyle, an opinionated activist who also happens to be the hottest guy Travis has ever met.

A proud activist, Kyle Schafer disapproves of Travis’s indifference toward issues affecting the environment and gay community. To his even greater annoyance, Kyle finds himself attracted to his shallow tentmate on a purely physical level. Travis goes against everything Kyle believes in, but that doesn’t dampen the chemistry that sparks between them.

In a battle of wits and libido, Travis and Kyle venture into the uncharted territory of their deepest desires… and learn the path less traveled can lead straight to the heart.


EXCERPT — Copyright 2008 by Katrina Strauss
Coming July 28th from Loose Id at:

Kyle wiped the sweat from his brow, tucking the strands that loosed from his ponytail behind his ear. He’d slipped out of his flannel overshirt at some point and tied it around his waist above his shorts, his T-shirt clinging to him in spite of the moderate eighty-degree temperature.

Leaning on the rake with one arm, he reached out and accepted a bottle of water from Travis. The fact that they both wore work gloves did little to insulate the jolt of current that sparked between them when their fingers brushed. Thoughts of how things might have gone in the tent that morning inadvertently played through Kyle’s mind again.

Taking a sip, he stole a glimpse as Travis bent over to get another bottle from the small cooler they’d brought along. He tried not to stare as Travis tilted his head back and took a hearty swig of water. The other man’s Adam’s apple bobbed, sweat dripping down the corded sinews of his throat, every muscle of his torso clearly outlined through the stretched cotton of the white tank top. His six-pack abs crunched in where he’d followed Kyle’s lead and knotted his hoodie at the waist.

With a satisfied sigh, Travis pulled the bottle away from his lips, giving them a lick before pouring the remaining water over his head. Eyes closed, he shook his head, slinging the water from his ruffled hair.

Kyle nearly fell over as the rake gave under his weight. Catching himself, he turned away and set back to work. Between the athlete’s stamina and Kyle’s determination not to be outdone, they’d hacked away several feet of overgrown vegetation in the past two hours. They’d done such an effective job, Lance had instructed Kyle and Travis to pick their way a quarter of a mile up the path, then work their way back down to the remaining team.

Kyle had initially experienced discomfort at being alone with Travis for the first time since their awkward awakening in the tent that morning, but they’d soon fallen into comfortable, silent tandem as they worked side by side, their movements in rhythm to the buzz of locusts from the trees. Kyle couldn’t help but notice that so long as they weren’t talking, they made a pretty good team. He supposed that if they were going to get along, however, small talk was inevitable.

He just wished he could form a coherent sentence whenever Travis’s well-sculpted body filled his view.


Talk about battling the summer heat, eh? Thanks again to Jet for having me today! You may now return to your regularly scheduled blog. I can’t wait to learn more about Jet’s next Heaven Sent installment, Revelations, which also releases July 28th. Something tells me we’re due for a scorcher!

8 thoughts on “Guest Blogger – Katrina Strauss – Summer is hot, but volunteerism is hotter!”

  1. It fun to practice what I will be doing Tuesday. Thankfully I am off, though I wish I had a time machine this morning. *pouts*

  2. *looks up from book, pops another bon bon into mouth and ignores the god aweful smell*

    Whaaaaat? Shhhh… I’m reading.

    More caffine please? 😉

  3. I’m happy to hear you are all as excited as I am! And yes, Travis & Kyle are in good company with the Heaven Sent crew. 😀

    Though please don’t lose too much sleep, and at least munch on some chocolate while you’re reading. 😉

  4. I’ve been waiting for both this one and Jet’s to come out for a long time since you first told us about it in The Manhole @ The Phade. Thanks for the exerpt Katrina 😀 It’s lovely.

  5. *pants*

    Is it Hot in here or is it just menopause?! Whoa! Nice excerpt….really got to restrict my impluse buying so I can go on a book buying spree! Wheeeeee!

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