In today's Featured Friday, please welcome EPIC member and multiple Ariana winner, Reese Dante! Reese tells us about her inspiration, what she loves about the industry, and more!

What's your favorite aspect of your role in the publishing industry?

The ability to unleash my creativity. I'm blessed that I can do so with both my writing and design work. I worked in an office setting for more than fifteen years. Over time, my job transitioned from creative into something monotonous with paperwork and constant crisis control and management decisions. I craved having a creative outlet that involved more than coming up with a "solution" to a problem. So I started designing covers and began writing. And I've never been happier.

Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? How has your personality shaped what you do?

I'm definitely an introvert. I'm not shy, but I would say I'm guarded and reserved. I tend to sit back and observe people and my surroundings. I'm social, but it depends on the role I'm playing at the time and I often wait until I'm a little more comfortable with the people around me. This tends to fit well when I'm in my design or writing bubble. I don't have a problem working on my own for extended periods of time and often lose myself in my work and enjoy the quiet time while working on a design or writing a scene. But it does get a little tricky at times. I'm also an organizer for a conference, and when I attend the annual event, it's almost sensory overload for me. So I start with smaller groups, a little at a time, to ease my comfort level with the larger crowd.

What inspires you?

Honestly, just about anything. It could be something I see, hear, smell, touch, etc. It could be a phrase someone says, a lyric in a song, a flash of something in a commercial. I have a vivid imagination and it doesn't take much to spur it on and distract me. I've lost count of how many times my hubby has to snap me out of it because my mind wanders.

What do you like to do when you're not writing/editing/designing?

I love spending time with my hubby. It doesn't matter what we do and it could be as basic as hanging out on the couch and watching some television. For me, that's my escape from everything. Somehow, hubby always makes it all better. :)

What would your pet say about you if he/she could talk?

"Mom spoils me, and I love it."  And I would simply nod and confirm. Rocco is a 125lb Rhodesian Ridgeback mixed with German Shepard (he might have a little bit of horse in him too if his size in any indication). He's my baby and he's a total sweetheart. 

About Reese: Reese is a self-taught artist who has drawn from the moment she could pick up a crayon. After earning two business degrees and climbing up the corporate ladder for more than fifteen years to a management position, she gave it all up and left the office job in 2012 to focus on cover art. She has won several accolades, including EPIC Ariana Cover Art Awards, Elisa Rolle’s Rainbow Awards, Cover Café’s annual competition, and many more.

Reese also writes contemporary gay romance under a pen name... Jaime Reese. She received an honorable mention for Best Gay Mystery/Thriller in the 2014 Rainbow Awards for her second book, A Hunted Man, and the third book in The Men of Halfway House series, A Restored Man, was a Runner Up in the Gay Contemporary Romance category in the 2015 Rainbow Awards as well as a Contemporary Romance category finalist in the 2016 EPIC Book Awards.

Reese Dante website/social media links:

Jaime Reese website/social media links:

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A Worthy Man (The Men of Halfway House 5)

A story of two men and the boundless love that forever changed them.

Vannguard Shaw has spent the last ten years serving a life sentence and adjusting to the ache of solitude. He accepts his fate, a sacrifice for the only man he ever loved and the one person who saw beyond his rough edges.

Drayton grew up with a trust fund and pre-planned future, but an unexpected encounter one night forces him to abandon everything and start from scratch. He is now a self-made man and developer of one of the most sought after electric exotic automobiles in the world with a fortune greater than that of his birthright. Yet, he’d surrender it all—again—for the only man who’s still ever-present in his heart.

After a decade and entirely too much distance between them, Vann is suddenly released back into a world that has been nothing but cruel. Drayton never lost hope they would once again reunite and pick up where they left off, but Vann’s stubborn nature and repeated encounters with a heartbreaking world prove to be a challenge.

Vann needs to tap into his fighting spirit’s reservoir of strength and hope life doesn’t punish him for taking a chance. Only then will he realize his own value and feel worthy enough to finally have Drayton’s heart. And their chance at forever.

**Although part of a series, this is a full-length stand-alone novel.**

Check out the whole series!