Monday, June 30, 2008

Almost forgot: Contest!

Secrets and Lies is book of the day at Author Island. This means I'll be giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner. Just pop by Author Island for the details. http://authorisland.com/

New contract news...

I recently signed a contract with Amber Quill for a new M/M novella, Precious Ache. I'm excited to announce it's been given a release date of September 1st! Talk about quick. I can't wait for this one to come out. I think it may just be the sweetest thing I've written to date, but I promise you won't get a toothache. There's plenty of spicy to go along with the sugar. :)


Here's the very unedited blurb for you all:


Abandoned as a child, Dave Blanchard learned to be self-reliant at an early age. Puberty brought a distressing attraction to other boys, and an abnormal growth spurt that drove Dave further into his shell. Adulthood granted him the freedom to stand on his own two feet, but cloistered him in a plastic bubble of his own making. At seven and a half feet tall, Dave has no problem finding men for anonymous sex through sleazy backroom romps, but the experiences leave him feeling cold and unsatisfied. Although he dreams of love and commitment, finding someone interested in a relationship seems like a pipe dream.

Desperate for companionship, Dave signs up for an online matchmaking service. To his utter embarrassment, his first date never shows, but his luck improves when he runs into a former foster brother, Micah Black. Dave and Micah quickly rebuild their friendship, but with it comes the resurrection of the forbidden crush Dave harbored for Micah when they were teens. Micah is off limits to Dave, but that doesn’t stop Dave’s imagination from spinning torrid scenarios involving his straight friend.

When Micah’s life is threatened, Dave’s inhibitions melt away. Unfortunately, the price of one chaste kiss could mean the end of the friendship Dave wanted so badly.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beach bunnies?

The family and I are currently at the beach for a week of hardcore R&R, and as usual, plot bunnies are rampant. Not a whole lot of actual eye candy (depending on your definition of "eye candy", of course) but I keep seeing gay lurve all over the place.

Two guys walking down the beach? They MUST be wishing they had the nerve to hold hands like they really want to.

Two guys riding bikes down the beach and nearly breaking their necks trying to stare at two pretty girls? Why, they weren't ogling the girls, they were clearly lusting over the frat boys a few feet away.

One older man and two young men walking down the beach? Master and two sex slaves. Duh.

And then there was the story my MIL's friend told about her 34 year old nephew who just doesn't want to date, keeps saying "not interested" about any woman he meets. Has NEVER dated (as far as his family knows) but two women in his life. MIL's friend guesses he just is picky or doesn't particularly want to be tied down. Which could very well be true, but, well, y'all KNOW what my theory is. Not that I told her that. Not my business. But I already have her nephew's story brewing in my head O_O

I know I'm not alone in seeing hidden manlove all over the place. So do tell about the last time YOU saw two or more men in the same general vicinity and decided they MUST be doin' it *g*

Friday, June 27, 2008

June 30th

Mark your calendars people! On June 30th Anne and I have an interview going up at Jessewave's blog and there will be prizes involved:

Prizes will be awarded drawn from those who log on and comment on the interview or book review.

A free e-book download from Anne's and Barbara's library of files
1 T-shirt
1 signed poster or print
$5 LooseId gift certificate

Last but not least-- a GRAND PRIZE -- An original Anne Cain drawing or portrait -- to be commissioned by the winner. To be eligible for the grand prize just leave a comment on the blog!

Go HERE to check out the sneak peek preview of a very cool new painting Anne did.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's a hot and sweaty day...

here in So.Cal. And when it's hot and sweaty, you do get to see a good bit of eye candy. Unfortunatly I'm here in the SGV not down on Venice, so it's eye candy walking down broiling asphalt.

Now since I and most likely you, can't be soking up the rays with a bottle of ice cold Corona and nice cabana boy to bring it, I give you these: http://www.menwallpaper.de/Beach/Beach_3/beach_3.html

It's my favorite walpaper site for obvious reasons. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Aaron's Equal Time

An answer to Filling In

I heard Joey co-opted this space a couple weeks ago. Not that I’m surprised. The guy loves to talk and talk and talk… But hey, equal time, right? Especially since it’s such a big election year or something. Like I give a shit. No matter which of 'em is president it wouldn’t have stopped the state of Florida from dumping Sheree and the twins in the foster care system if they’d figured out I was queer.

So Joey says I’m always yanking away point of view. Hey, if Do-gooder’s got something to say he can open up that sexy mouth of his and say it. Though if that mouth’s going to be open, I’ve got some other ideas that’d suit me better.

See, Joey is hot. Seriously fucking hot. Best thing I’ve had in my bed since—well, ever. And despite his stupid I-can-save-the-world mentality I like the guy, even when we’re not fucking. He’s funny, smart, sneaky and fucking fearless, though he is a bit of a klutz. I suppose sooner or later it’ll all get old.

Possibly sooner. See, I’ve done enough taking care of people for a life time. I’m not looking for thanks for it or anything. It needed to be done and I did it. The end. But now it’s my turn to have some fun. Just me. Soon as Joey’s out of that sling he’s outta my hair. Though not necessarily completely out of my bed. Every once in a while wouldn’t be a problem.

So does all that make me sound like—what did he call me—an arrogant prick?

And by the way? K.A.’s locked up until she finishes our damned book.

--Aaron Chase

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reviews and Rewrites

Since my first book released last week, I've gotten two reviews—one from Elisa Rolle and one from Mrs. Giggles. I'm glad I have a thick skin. I'm an actor; I'm very good at handling rejection and criticism. Neither review was glowing, but neither panned it completely. Of course, Mrs. Giggles was less positive but that's to be expected. She is known for snark and she does it well. Both reviews had one criticism in common and I agree with it: the book starts slowly. ::shrug:: I'm okay with that. It was a lot of detail and description at the top. Visual world-building before leaping into the action. Some people like that and some don't. Usually I'm in the don't. Funny how that happened, eh? Irony. It's good for the blood. ;)

Right now I'm working on expanding a novella that my editor liked but wanted more of. Higher stakes, more back-story. I'm glad she didn't take it as is (or at this point as was). I initially wrote it for an anthology submission with a 25,000-word limit. These boys deserve more story than that and while I was pleased with the initial version, I think the expanded one will be much better. Here are pics of actors I'd cast were I casting. Pretty, no?


Jamie Bell
and Simon Woods

ETA: I discovered shortly after posting that I have another review. One which makes me very pleased, indeed. I got 4 Nymphs from Literary Nymphs!

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Great Review

My latest M/M work of fiction, Fallen Angels, was released earlier this month. I enjoyed writing this book, but was weary on how well it would be taken.
Yesterday started out with a review sitting in my email. As usual, it took me several moments to open it and I'm glad I did.

Fallen Angels was given 5 stars by Rainbow Reviews (which I'm grateful for as they specialize in gay fiction). :)

"From the moment I started reading Fallen Angels I could not put it down. - This is an amazing read that I cannot recommend more highly!" ~ Emily

For the full review - http://rainbow-reviews.com/?p=375

Thought I'd start the week here with an excerpt :) Enjoy and see you in two weeks!



Genre: Contemporary/GLBT
http://www.loose-id.net/detail.aspx?ID=726

Blurb:
Adam Hardy’s assignment was clear: Infiltrate the pseudo-biker gang Fallen Angels and bring back the dirt on their big boss, Lucifer.

Nowhere in the mission statement did it tell him to fall for their leader, Mammon, named after the fallen angel of greed.

Marc, aka Mammon, thought that a quick dip would sate the lust he held for the newest Fallen Angel. After all, Adam would never be his now that Lucifer has taken an interest in the pretty boy. Intent on making him a golden boy.

Who knew sex and the unexpected bond of trust would bring the two men together as they try to take Lucifer down and out of their lives forever. Can the two survive all the obstacles thrown at them?

Excerpt:

“Food has nothing to do with what you want.” I gave him a shit-eating smirk.

His head fell back against the fridge. “How did you know?”

“It’s my job to observe, to know who I take into the fold.” His body trembled under mine, and he stilled. It only lasted a second, but I made note of it. There was a chance Adam wasn’t out, which would explain his reaction.

“So, now what?” His question came out breathlessly.

“Now we fuck, pretty boy.” Before Adam could protest, I grabbed hold of the bottom of his T-shirt and pulled it up over his head, effectively trapping his arms up in the material. He could have freed himself with just a small amount of struggle; instead, he stood there, chest heaving with his panting breath. Adam looked too hot, with his cheeks flushed and lips parted. Evidence of my need to shave had made the skin around those lickable lips irritated to match his rosy face.

Using one hand to hold his arms up, I bent my head and took a nibble at the closest nipple. He gasped, his head falling back and eyes closing. I sucked it between my teeth and bit harder. Adam’s body jerked, and a moan tore from his throat.

“Like that?” I asked, licking soothingly around the nipple.

There was a hesitation before his answer. “Yes.” It was spoken softly, as if he was reluctant to tell me. It made me wonder. Having had my share of lovers, not too many of the real pretty ones were into pain, afraid of marring their beauty. Most wanted the tender, soft touches of a gentle lover. But not all, as Adam was proof.

I left the straining nipple and trailed light kisses up his broad chest and then shifted over to his collarbone. Adam sighed in response; his body relaxed further into mine. I licked his neck; the salty flavor of sweat invaded my mouth. I licked again, then quickly sucked in flesh and bit. It wasn’t hard enough to break the skin, just enough to leave a mark. Adam’s hips jerked forward against me, and a cross between a cry of pain and moan of pleasure rocketed from his mouth.

I nearly spent my load right there. Iron-clad control was the only thing that kept it from happening. How long it would actually last was another story.

I stepped back abruptly, releasing Adam. He blinked at me, dazed and confused.
“Mammon?”

“Don’t talk. Bedroom. Now.” I spoke between clenched teeth. I turned and started to the bedroom, yanking at the buttons of my jeans. I didn’t have to look back to see if Adam followed. Could hear him hurrying behind a moment after leaving him in the kitchen.

By the time I reached the bed, I tugged my feet out of my jeans and damned the stubborn boots that had taken precious time to get off. Behind me, I heard Adam undressing as well. Turning, I found he, too, had trouble with his boots and jeans.

I was impatient. Almost desperate to be inside of him. I could imagine how hot and tight his ass would be. Again, I called upon that well-learned control as I watched him finally dispense with his last bit of clothing.

I went to the bedside table and retrieved the bottle of lube and a condom. The safe houses were always fully stocked. Throwing them onto the bed, I went to Adam. He looked around the room, and I sensed that he felt a little -- lost? Reluctant? Unsure? Maybe a little of each.

Kissing him swiftly, pulling his body to mine, our bare flesh finally came together. We moaned in unison as our cocks made contact. It never ceased to amaze me how wonderful it felt to have another hard dick rubbing along my shaft. Wetness seeped from my tip, anxious for action.

I pushed Adam toward the bed, releasing my hold. “On your knees, pretty boy.”

Sunday, June 22, 2008

sweat and muscles




At the gym this morning, there were several men in my step aerobics class. This is not unusual; over the past few years I've noticed more and more guys doing aerobics for their cardio workout. The difference between the men doing aerobics and the men running on the treadmill, however, is that the ones doing aerobics seem to have no need to impress each other. The ones on the treadmill or in the weight room are always showing off for each other, puffing out their chests or sucking in their stomachs. It's cute, really. The ones doing aerobics are usually surrounded by a lot of women who are more coordinated than they are, so they seem to feel no need to show off.

Personally, I like watching the boys show off for each other. :D Although I bet they wouldn't call it showing off. Hmm.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Promotion: What Works, What Sucks

So a fellow M/M author Helen Madden (who, BTW, is featured in the marvelous Coming Together With Pride anthology) posed the question to a list I'm on. What have you done promotion-wise for your work, and what has been the most effective? The question stemmed from a discussion on an EPIC list, and Helen was inspired somewhat by recent challenges to get members of our merry band of Mid-Atlantic authors into area book events. Specifically, there is a book fair in Virginia I plan to attend, yet I cannot bring any of my erotic works. Luckily, other venues are more accommodating of the spicier stuff, but I find as an author being prolific has its advantages.

Anyway, back to the topic. What works in promotion? For romance and M/M specifically, I would say cover art plays an important role. Good cover art gets you noticed, as does bad art. Both can work for you if you have a good enough sense of humor to weather any snarking that comes your way. Great cover art...well, it can be a boost to sales. I submit for my example the cover of this pending Phaze release by L.E. Bryce, a print collection of M/M novellas in Bryce's Water Lovers series (Ki'iri, Becoming, and Still Life). It's simply gorgeous, and will look stunning in print. It's a great example of what can happen when an author and artist cooperate to create a look that best personifies the writing. I know many people who buy books after the art catches their eyes. I've done it myself. So if you have a pending release coming up, make sure the art is top notch.
What else? I wish I knew, honestly. I think of all the works I have available, including my M/M works, different promo methods have yielded different results for each title. One could argue with a work of M/M erotic romance written by a woman, the scope of possibilities is limited further. Indeed, I faced the "we don't review gay" policy once when I bought into a magazine ad (another grumble for another day), but at least the cover got some exposure. Of course, the nature of the cover was such that one couldn't tell it was an M/M work, and with no review to back it up...yada yada.

I would have to say personally what works best for me as far as advertising is simply writing. A publisher once told me that the best thing you can do for your first book is to write the second book, and I have to agree there. With M/M I have only one series, the stalled Cards series featuring Jack of Hearts and Jack of Diamonds, but I have noticed sales of the first went up after the second was released. At this writing, I am planning to expand the universe of Surveillance with a follow up story, as well as an all M/M story in my Dareville series with Phaze. Why, Why, Zed? will likely not have a follow-up due to the nature of the story, but never say never.

If I had to summarize what has worked best for me: it would have to be writing and blogging. As the blogs are better cached in search engines than static pages, it is essential that every author should have some kind of blog for promotion. Pepper it with the right keywords to attract the readers, and once you have them there talk to them about the work. Create a relationship with your readers and nurture the good vibes. You might find, as a writer, you will be inspired and driven more to write. Giveaways are nice, as are interviews and chats, but truly the best way to a reader's shelf is consistency and quality. They in turn will promote you.







Thursday, June 19, 2008

New release!



Jamie Smith runs an antique shop, and he thinks Samuel Haridan might be the most interesting customer he's ever had. Haridan is looking for a pearl necklace, but before he and Jamie can even start to negotiate, they're interrupted by a break-in, and Haridan helps Jamie hide while a band of vampires ravages his shop.

When Haridan heads back to Rome, he takes Jamie with him, introducing the young man to a whole new world, filled with shadows and vampire politics. Just as Jamie and Haridan begin to explore their chemistry, a kidnapping forces them apart, plunging them both into danger. Can Jamie and Haridan find a way to be together?

Get your copy here!

***

Excerpt:

The otherworldly, electronica beats of Beborn Beton filled Yesterday's Memories -- the antique shop Jamie Smith ran -- from the CD player sitting on the countertop. It had been a slow day, and now it was just after sunset, close to quitting time. This early in the week, Jamie was taking the opportunity to get some of his reading in. The noise from traffic outside was muted in the store, leaving Jamie able to concentrate on his book. His laptop was open beside him, allowing him to occasionally double check the availability of ingredients at his favorite downtown herbal store.

The brass bell over the door jingled and for a brief moment, the hum of traffic and blare of car horns poured inside before the door closed again. A middle-aged man walked up to the counter, eyes hidden behind dark sunglasses. Dressed in khakis and a dark green button-down shirt, he looked like everybody else who occasionally walked through the door of Yesterday's Memories -- average build, not exceptionally tall but not short, red hair. Overall, nothing stood out about him, except for maybe sunglasses indoors.

"Excuse me, but I'm looking for Jamie Smith."

Timothy, Jamie's spectral companion, drifted from the back room. “Oh, nice vamp. If I had a body, I’d do--”

Jamie closed his eyes in irritation and cleared his throat noisily before Timothy could finish. Whether or not the vampire could see Timothy depended on whether the creature had had the power when he was alive. At the moment, Jamie prayed he didn’t. Ignoring Timothy, Jamie smiled politely and said, “I’m Jamie Smith. How can I help you?”

"I'm looking for this," the man said, sliding a faded picture across the counter. He turned his head toward the far corner, but said nothing before looking back at Jamie. "Have you seen it?"

Jamie started nervously when he saw the picture. He stared at it, hesitating in his answer. Timothy hovered behind his shoulder to get a closer look. “It’s that the piece you don’t like to touch,” the spirit said.

Jamie glanced up at the man. “Yeah, I’ve got it. You interested in it?”

"Yes. It belongs to someone and I've come to retrieve it. Has anyone touched it?"

"Retrieve it?” Jamie scowled, immediately wondering if somebody was going to try to sue him over the thing. “I keep it in a case, so I’m the only one who’s touched it.”

The man cursed under his breath. "Give me your hands."

"Excuse me?” Jamie moved away to the other end of the counter than opened the back of the display case and pulled out the jewelry box. “If you want to buy the necklace, it’s going to cost you two grand. It's genuine pearl.”

The man grabbed Jamie's wrist before Jamie could open the box. "Do not touch it."

"I think you need to back off before I call the cops.” The stranger was really starting to piss him off. “And let go of my arm, now.”

"That might not be--” Agitated, Timothy hovered as close as he could, but he couldn’t do much.

“Timothy, just shut the fuck up, all right?” Jamie snapped.

A spark flickered up through Jamie's arm and the man released him. "Who else has been here?"

"Been here?” Jamie edged away, closer to the phone. “Look, why don’t you just leave? I’m about to close shop, and I’m not in any mood to do business with you.”

"You don't want to walk away from me. I'm willing to pay you -- others won't be."


Guest Blogger Day: Jon Michaelsen

Kevin has an obsession; one that involves the muscular Adonis in the penthouse adjacent to his high-rise condominium. He’s told no one, not even Alice, his best friend at the office of his fascination. He purchases binoculars, adds a camera with zoom lens and spirals into the depths of voyeurism before devising a plan to finally meet the man of his dreams. An evening of easy conversation and lustful glances ends far too soon, but not before Tony plants the most amazing kiss ever on Kevin’s lips, leaving him yearning for more.

When Tony shows up at Kevin’s apartment the next night all bloody and bruised, Kevin offers him instant refuge…and his bed. But not all is what it seems. Police burst into Kevin’s home, searching for the killer of a man in the penthouse across the street—Tony’s so-called partner.

Will Kevin’s pleas of innocence save him from this horrible turn of events?

Excerpt:

Later in the week, Kevin sat at his desk and stared at a spreadsheet of figures. He calculated and recalculated the numbers, but each time he ended up with a total different than before. He snapped his fourth pencil and held his face in his hands. Frustrated and exhausted, with a headache the size of a boulder, he sighed. Month-end loomed and the more time he spent on this client’s portfolio, the less time he had for his other accounts. He’d spent the last few nights tossing about and awakened by nightmares, none of which he could recall. Each retching experience left him drenched in sweat and drained. Though forty-five minutes remained of his shift, he logged off the computer, killed the lights, closed the door to his office and exited the building.

He walked a couple blocks to Peachtree Street and headed south, strolling past a menagerie of street vendors who hawked everything from faux designer handbags and watches to fake collegiate team jerseys and sweatshirts. He entered the Five Points Rail Station and boarded a crowded commuter train headed west. Exiting at Centennial Olympic Park, he walked the few blocks home.

Inside his unit, he rushed to the wet-bar camouflaged behind a beveled mirror door in the kitchen. He poured a tumbler full of scotch and downed half the amber liquid. Though not prone to needing a cocktail before dinner, tonight he made an exception. His was anxious, but he couldn’t figure out what made him nervous, or why he lacked focus at work. The guy in the window, maybe? He shrugged. Whatever caused his stomach to grind the last few nights and be responsible for his restless sleep, now seemed poised to ruin the rest of evening.

He stepped out onto the terrace and moved to the railing to stare across the horizon. The scenery appeared aseptic, and not as beautiful as the other day. Could it the absence of that angelic face? The golden rays glistening across his bronzed skin? He frowned. The sun set the same time every day during spring, spreading tranquility across the sky. So, why should today be any different?

He chanced a glance toward the window across the way. The glass stood empty and dark, the vertical blinds drawn. No young man peered out. Disappointed, he sipped the alcohol dry and moved back inside.

Before going to bed, Kevin opened the mini-blinds in his bedroom. The floor to ceiling windows covered the south wall and overlooked the city. He looked up at the night sky that resembled a black canvas littered with white dots of various shapes. The view engrossed him. He stood there longer than he’d intended, when a flash caught the corner of his eye. He glanced down and across to the adjacent tower. A light glowed against the backdrop to reveal a bedroom of the unit across the way and by his calculations, the same floor belonging to the hot guy from the window. He made out a dresser, reclining chair and the lower portion of a frameless bed.

His heart jumped into his throat, excited with the prospect of seeing the guy again. He would wait to catch a glimpse of the man once more, and he’d be content. Afterward, he’d go to bed and forget about him for the night. His plan failed the moment a figure moved within sight. He found himself trapped, frozen by hunger for more. The stranger he saw days before passed by the window. He moved about the room getting ready for bed. Sitting on the edge of the mattress, he removed his sneakers and socks, and stood, unbuttoning his jeans, letting them fall to his knees. He sat and slipped free of the denim.

Kevin’s heart pounded in his chest like a jackhammer. His stomach somersaulted and his mouth went dry. What luck! Adrenaline shot through his body. Clad only in white briefs, the man came forward to the window. Kevin panicked. He tried to move away, but stumbled. He regained his balance and eased forward like a child sneaking a peek at Santa Claus in the middle of the night.

The blinds no longer glowed, and the guy disappeared once more.

**************************************************************
Voyeur – releasing Friday, June 13th from http://www.loveyoudivine.com.

"Voyeur" will also be available in this summer's sizzling hot "MEN" Anthology – coming July 2008


Jon Michaelsen
http://www.myspace.com/jmichaelsen

Guest Blogger Day: Sarah Leslie


The Fey civil war has ended, but some of the remaining wounds are still raw. Not the least of which is a rift suffered between Alaric, a respected Forge Master, and Lord Valerian, Captain of the Queen’s Guard. Alaric, horrifically scarred during the course of the conflict, feels his disfigurement is an insurmountable barrier between him and his lover.

Alaric’s best friend Lily knows, left alone, Alaric and Valerian will never resolve their issues. She has her own reasons for playing matchmaker, and since patience isn’t her strong suit, she decides it’s time for some gentle interference. The upcoming Reconciliation Ball will be the perfect opportunity, for at this ball a gift will be given to everyone who attends—the granting of one wish.

But Lily isn’t the only one playing a game with other people’s lives. One wish will set in motion a chain of events that will bring them all face to face with the past, the future…and the truth

So this is the blurb for my first story If Wishes Were Horses due for release from Samhain on July 1st and I have a confession to make…it didn’t start life as a male/male.

Lily was a character I had written about before – a stroppy, no-nonsense heroine. The story opens with her stomping – Lily doesn’t walk if she can stomp – through the forest (in a ball gown) on her way to ask Alaric to the Reconciliation Ball.

Great! This was going to be a fairy story with a Cinderfella feel, with wishes expiring at midnight, the healing of old wounds and the discovery of the truth. Trouble was, when Lily arrived at Alaric’s cottage they had literally no chemistry together – Zip! Nada! Zilch! And no matter how I tried I couldn’t get them to work as a couple.

Since coming at it from Lily’s point of view didn’t seem to be working. I decided to see if I could find out what was wrong by looking at it from Alaric’s point of view. It was then that I realized what the problem was. Alaric had already given his heart to another, a captain in the queen’s guard – a male, Valerian.

Okay, I’d been reading quite a lot of male/male. But I have a hard enough time writing m/f love scenes – who’s on top, underneath, which way are they facing, where are their hands, working out which bit goes where. LOL. Did I think I could write m/m? Well I was gonna give it a damn good go. And what for Lily and Alaric was a struggle to write, just seemed to flow for Alaric and Valerian. Lily and Alaric were friends. Alaric and Valerian smoldered across the page.

It wasn’t without problems - the main hurdle to overcome being the inability to distinguish between the couple during the love scenes by using he/she. Boy, you do not realize what a luxury that is ‘til you can’t do it anymore. Lots of frustrated comments back from the crit group. Cries of I can’t tell who’s doing what, followed by lots of head banging on the desk from me.

But I persevered and from being a male/male virgin I am pleased to announce that the story I’m currently working on is also male/male. Yep, I’ve caught the bug. I haven’t forgotten Lily though, that fairy stomping through the forest sparked all this off, and her hero is not the most patient of men.

An excerpt from If Wishes Were Horses is up at Samhain.
http://samhainpublishing.com/coming/if-wishes-were-horses

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Convention-speak

This past weekend, I attended my first convention. ConTXT is a slash con and all I can say is I wish I’d known about such things when I had been writing boyband slash. There were so many fandoms there (including bandom, though I wrote pop slash and hardcore band fans will argue that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish). I really fell in love with my first slash pair (Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon) all over again, and left wishing I still wrote fan fic.

I didn’t attend any panels (except one, “Going Pro,” of which I was a part), but there were a lot of great subjects covered. If/when I attend another con, I’ll definitely check out more of the panels. I just didn’t know what to expect this time, but I’m definitely going to be more prepared in the future.

Here's some things I left thinking of when it was all said and done ...

Zines
One thing that really impressed me were the fanzines they had for sale at the con, in every fandom imaginable. My only experience with zines had been small chapbook-style publications, not these bound books with hundreds of pages inside.

More than once I wondered if anyone would be interested in a zine of my fan fic, specifically the longer stories (AIEW and TWIA, of course, but others as well). Nothing I’d make money from, but bound copies of my ‘N Sync stories to read and reread and who knows what else. Thoughts?

ConSweet
At ConTXT, the dealer’s room was part of the con “suite.” It made the experience very interactive ~ everyone came to the suite to unload after their panels, to snack or talk, to check their email, to peruse the art show … and the dealers ringed the perimeter of the room, which allowed us to be a part of the action. I sold a number of books (and gave away more freebies) simply because the con goers saw me constantly and eventually wandered over to check out my wares.

Promo … pros & cons
I sold more books than I anticipated ~ ten in all, which I thought was really good. The Bonds of Love and Forever After were my best sellers, with Trin a close second. This tells me the crowd was very much into speculative fiction.

As for promo goodies … my mini-books went like hotcakes but the other promo did not (shot glasses, pins, pens, bookmarks, goody bags). More than one person commented on not being able (or wanting) to carry back so much swag. In future cons, I may concentrate more on the excerpts and free stories than the other promo items.

One thing I wish I had done ~ and which I’ll do from now on ~ is have sampler CDs. I bought a bunch to burn and didn’t get around to it, only to find that one of the con goers was blind. I felt horrid that I didn’t have any electronic copies of my free stories with me. I know CDs are a bit expensive and that’s why I’ve steered away from them until now, but at future events I plan to have a handful of CDs to give away to those who can’t read printed material.

Overall
I had a very enjoyable experience, I must say. The con comm were wonderful, as were my fellow dealers, and the whole atmosphere was awesome. I’m definitely interested in attending the next ConTXT in 2010.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My 75-year-old father refers to my writing as "romance for guys." He's never read any of it (nor has my mother, although she wants to), because there are some things you just don't want your parents reading. Rimming and blow jobs certainly qualify. (Not that I'm opposed to them reading about these practices in general, just not when I'm the writer!)

Dad and I have never really discussed my writing in detail, and he doesn't quite understand that gay romance isn't just for guys, but for women, too. All of us here know that both straight and lesbian women enjoy male gay romance/erotica, but I don't think the older generation (generally speaking) understands. I wonder if, as time goes by, it'll become more and more normalized. I remember lending my Queer as Folk DVDs to a female friend who later admitted in whispered tones that she found the sex scenes hot. It'll be interesting to see how loud the whispers become in the mainstream world in the years to come.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Available tomorrow: Secrets and Lies

ay_secretslies_coverlg.jpg

Blurb:
After the near genocide of his race, Teague Johnson now spends his life hiding in plain sight. In a city of populated by humans and nightfeeders alike, he and his brother are forced to cloak themselves in forged histories in order to blend in among the hierarchy of society.

When he’s not working at Oasis, the sex club he and his brother own, Teague keeps to himself. He relies on strangers to feed his sexual desires, but anything more intimate is off limits. A nosy boyfriend snooping around in his business is the last thing he needs.

Kyle Drake’s arrival at the club makes Teague rethink his favorable stance on one night stands. From the very first touch, Teague can’t get enough of Kyle. Their weekly trysts give Teague a reason to anticipate the future -- until Kyle unexpectedly disappears.

A visit from an old friend thrusts Teague’s life under a microscope and endangers everything he holds dear. Allegiances are tested, and the lines of friendship blur in a race to stop an inhuman killer. Kyle’s fate hinges on Teague’s ability to untangle the intricate web of secrets and lies before it’s too late.

Excerpt:
Kyle Drake leaned against the large, circular bar set dead center in the cavernous room and took a languorous sip from the longneck beer bottle gripped in his clammy fist. He gazed restlessly over the crowded dance floor, unmoved by the sight of dozens of sweaty men and women in various stages of undress, bumping and grinding to the heavy thump of classic rock that pulsed out of the loudspeakers overhead. The scene should’ve had some effect on him, since the men outnumbered the women by a ratio of six to one, but it didn’t. All those hot male bodies rutting and writhing -- acres of scantily clad flesh to choose from -- and all he felt was impatience.Taking another long pull from his drink, Kyle turned his focus to the small clusters of people socializing here and there along the fringes of the large open room. He squinted to see better through the dim atmosphere, searching for one man who made his pulse pound and his dick ache for attention.

A pale, ginger-haired man, dressed in black denim and a sleeveless black T-shirt that accentuated his bulging biceps, walked past Kyle and looked him over. Kyle glanced away before the other man thought he was interested. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the redhead shrug and moved on.

Since he’d arrived at Club Oasis thirty minutes ago, Kyle had been cruised by several men and women. Their gazes had met his for just the right duration; their come hither smiles trying to lure him into accompanying them out onto the packed dance floor or, more likely, into one of the secluded booths in the back room. His face heated as he recalled the way one woman had pulled down her stretchy shirt and waved her pendulous breasts at him, pouting when he shook his head and looked away. She’d had a nice pair, he had to give her that, but he’d never been much on tits.

Firm pecs and hard nipples are much more my style.

Through it all, his dick remained flaccid inside the snug black jeans he’d squeezed into earlier in the evening. His body refused to react to their offerings, holding out for the one man who turned his insides to putty and made him come so hard his eyes rolled back in his head. A man Kyle already knew he couldn’t have for anything more than a casual fuck.

Teague Johnson, sex on legs and co-owner of Club Oasis, was an enigma. An unending mix of smooth sensuality and mystery that Kyle’s brain raced to unravel, while his body simply yearned for more. More contact, more time…more everything.

Kyle had met the other man upon joining the club with his then boyfriend Darren and had instantly been attracted to the tall, virile man. Shortly thereafter, Darren had ditched him for an older, richer, sugar daddy, and Kyle had been free to indulge in his desire for Teague.

After the first hasty fuck in the backroom, he honestly hadn’t expected to get a repeat performance from the sexy club proprietor. He’d been off his game that night, so excited by the prospect of cornering the other man that he’d shot his load almost the minute Teague pushed inside him. Mortification was an understatement compared to what he felt in response to popping off like a horny boy with his thieved copy of Playgirl. To his surprise, Teague had approached him the following weekend, and their routine was born. For the last few months, they’d been fucking every Saturday.

Kyle kept waiting for Teague to move onto someone fresh and new, but he hadn’t yet. The arrangement would have been perfect, and had been for a couple of months, but lately Kyle found himself wanting to talk to the other man, to share things he had no business discussing with someone who was only a fuck-buddy.

The situation was as annoying as it was hopeless. Yet there he stood, back at the club on Saturday night, waiting to see if he’d have another shot at the man he was quickly falling for, despite the knowledge that his feelings would never be returned. Coming here, making himself available, was an effort in futility. It was also a compulsion Kyle couldn’t resist.

He was smart enough to realize things would end badly -- probably sooner rather than later. That hadn’t stopped him from acting on the strong impulse to be with Teague, not tonight or any of the previous nights he’d broken down and given in to the urge. His sexual demons rode him as hard as he yearned for Teague’s touch. No matter how pathetic and empty he felt afterward, there was just something about the other man that kept drawing him back for more.

Finally, he spotted Teague off to the right side of the building near the entrance. The other man loomed a head above the crowd, chatting with a small group of men Kyle didn’t recognize. Even amid the cluster of more heavily built men decked out in everything from leather to spandex, Teague stood out like a beacon, a flame among the embers.

Kyle watched as his lover’s gaze casually scanned the room, even as he laughed in response to something one of the men said. Although he knew he was staring like a lovelorn kid, Kyle couldn’t look away. This was Teague in his element, always watchful, always…on. It made him wonder what his lover would be like outside of work. Would he be alert and reserved as he was here? The thought skittered away when Teague turned in his direction and their gazes clashed across the space separating them.

Kyle shivered, Teague’s penetrating stare as potent as a hand caressing his fly, and lifted his beer in way of hello. Teague acknowledged Kyle with a barely perceivable nod before turning his attention back to the men around him.

Kyle’s pulse thrummed, his blood rushing south to fill his shaft, making it ache from just one simple glimpse of his lover. He gulped down the last of his beer, the semi-cold dregs barely enough to quench his thirst, and set the empty bottle down on the bar. Glancing at his watch, he pushed the button on the side to light up the face and noted it was nearly midnight.

After sneaking one last glance at his lover, Kyle began to weave his way through the crush of people toward the backroom. Teague did a walk-through at ten, twelve, and two -- you could set your watch by his punctuality -- and Kyle planned to be there when the other man showed up.

He pushed aside the curtain of chains separating the illustrious backroom from the main floor and stepped into the dimly lit corridor. The stout tang of semen and sweat hung in the air, a hint of something almost coppery under the stronger scents. The wet slap of flesh and hoarse male groans echoed through the passage.

Tiny booths lined each side of hallway, each cubicle with its own large viewing window from approximately waist-height up to the eight feet ceilings. Crimson velveteen drapes shielded the glass, on the off chance whomever used them wanted privacy. He seemed to be the only club member who preferred to keep his sexual activities private.

Within the tight confines of his jeans, Kyle’s dick twitched and began to swell in anticipation. He stepped inside, his eyesight gradually adjusting to the change in light. Although he had planned to walk to the end of the corridor and wait in one of the last rooms for Teague, that didn’t mean he couldn’t change his mind and sneak a glimpse of the other things going on around him. Looking had never hurt anyone, but it did give him some extra creative ideas for what he and Teague could do during their time together. The man was an inspiration to Kyle’s libido. While he would be more than satisfied by straight sucking and fucking, he didn’t think that would hold his lover’s attention for long. Teague owned a sex club, for God’s sake; there probably wasn’t much he hadn’t seen or done a time or ten. The last thing Kyle wanted was for him to get bored.

Quick peeks into the first couple of six-by-nine rooms provided glimpses of unknown couples in different stages of vanilla sex. One man had his female partner pinned to the glass, the globes of her round buttocks pressing more firmly against the viewing window with every thrust. Another man stood facing the far wall, his ass pushed out, while his male partner held his ass cheeks open and noisily slurped at his hole. Neither was anything that really caught Kyle’s attention.

The third room offered up something a little different and he stopped for a moment to watch the threesome inside. Morbid curiosity kept his feet glued to the floor as two large bruisers fucked a slight blond man. The twink hung suspended in a sling connected to the exposed beams in the ceiling, strips of black leather tethered by silver metal rings crisscrossing his pale body and bracketing his thighs. A blood red ball gag spread his lips wide, his eyes scrunched tight in pleasure, pain, or a little of both.

More interesting than the tools of their trade, or even each man’s individual appeal, was the fact that the blond was lifted to the perfect height between his partners’s muscular bodies, his hips at the perfect angle to accept either of their sizeable pricks inside his ass. Kyle studied their rhythm as they plowed in and out, the steady cadence of back and forth that grew faster, rougher with every ragged inhalation. The measure of their thrusts seemed like a dance, one pulling out while the other squeezed inside, the timing behind each lunge impeccable.

Kyle considered what it must feel like for the man in the middle, to be surrounded by all that hot, silky skin rubbing over every inch of his body while his lovers held him captive. His ass cheeks clenched just thinking about it. On the other hand, being one of the men doing the fucking, squeezing into that hot, tight hole… That sounded pretty fucking good, too. His dick jerked inside his Levi’s with the intense desire to find out.
Would a threesome be something Teague was into? He’d have to think on that one a little more before suggesting it. It was an interesting thought, but sometimes fantasy didn’t play out well in reality. He knew that better than anyone.

The blond moaned around his gag, a shudder running through his slender body, as he came in what Kyle imagined would be the first of many orgasms before his partners were finished with him.

He tore himself away from the trio and continued down the hall, ignoring the other rooms and occupants in favor of finding an empty one to await Teague. Watching was fun, but it only went so far.

Kyle rubbed the heel of his hand over the stiff outline of his cock and winced. The metal teeth of the zipper bit into his flesh, chafing the delicate skin of his shaft. If he didn’t get some relief soon he was going to have permanent track marks up and down his dick. He shuddered. If he wanted to decorate his prick, he’d wear a cock ring or get a piercing. Scars didn’t bear thinking on.

After locating an empty room at the end of the hall, he slipped inside and pulled the drapes shut behind him. Kyle quickly undressed and folded his clothes, laying them in a neat pile in one corner of the bare room.

Naked save for white cotton ankle socks, Kyle leaned against the back wall and took his cock in hand, loosely stroking its rigid length to full thickness. Soft skin shifted over the hard inner core, the friction barely enough to tease. His eyelids drooped, imagining what would happen once Teague arrived. Looking forward to it.

The faint sound of chains rattling at the end of the hall filled the air with a musical tinkling. Kyle stiffened in anticipation. There was no guarantee the person entering the back room was Teague, but Kyle felt certain it was.

He glanced down at his watch, squinting in the dim light. One minute after twelve. Right on time.

Schooling his respiration into slow and even breaths, Kyle tried to calm the pulse thundering in his ears. He didn’t want to appear too eager, even if it was the only thing he’d been able to think about all week. Showing any expectation -- when their meetings were supposed to be fun and noncommittal -- would be akin to the kiss of death for their non-relationship.

No more than five or six minutes passed before heavy footsteps clattered directly outside the booth. The curtain rustled and slid back with a quiet whoosh, revealing Teague in all his divine glory. A snug black T-shirt hugged his broad chest and lean torso; the short sleeves cupped the muscular contours of his biceps. Leather pants clung to trim hips and long, athletic thighs. As nice as the legs were, it was the impressive bulge between them that made Kyle’s mouth water. He knew precisely what lay beneath the butter soft leather and couldn’t wait to get his hands or his mouth around it. The salty-sweet ambrosia of Teague’s skin was as addictive as methamphetamine, and Kyle couldn’t wait for another taste.

Kyle lifted his eyes and met Teague’s gaze from across the room. Teague still stood in the doorway, casually braced over the threshold. He regarded Kyle with a neutral expression, his dark eyes betraying not a hint of what was on his mind. “Back for more, are you?”

Kyle smiled in spite of the brisk greeting. “You know it.” He forced himself not to take offense at what Teague said. The man seemed overly wary of being too nice, as if a few kind words were the equivalent of exchanging a vow of everlasting love. “I can’t seem to get my fill of you. I’m addicted to your sweet cock. Think I could find a suitable twelve-step program for that?”

Teague let the drapes fall closed behind him and stalked across the room toward Kyle. The fluid, innate grace of his approach made Kyle’s heart race in excitement. Teague stopped a hairsbreadth away from Kyle and rubbed the tip of one forefinger along his collarbone. “I might, but why would you want to go to all that trouble when I’m right here to soothe away your craving?”

Available on June 17th at Loose Id!

Movie Recs


Since we seem to be on a movie recommendation kick here at Slash & Burn lately, I thought I would share a few of my own favorites with everyone.

These films probably aren't for everyrone, but I found them each entertaining in their own way.




My absolute all time favorite is Latter Days.



Sunday, June 15, 2008

The HO

The Happy Onion, that is *g* My romantic comedy-ish novel, coming out July 29th from Samhain. Isn't the cover purty? Anne Cain did it again. I heart you Anne! Mwah!

So, in celebration of this loverly cover, here's the blurb and a spicy excerpt from the book. Hope y'all enjoy it!

*~*~*~*~*

Liberal vegan meets corporate carnivore. What could possibly go wrong?

Thomas Stone has one sacred rule: Don’t Date The Boss. Ever. So when he finds out his new employer is the man he took to bed his first night in town, he’s less than happy. He doesn’t need any more complications in his life, and the way Phil makes him feel definitely qualifies as a complication. Especially since he can’t seem to keep his hands off the man.

Philip Sorrells is thrilled to discover that the new bartender his manager hired for his restaurant, The Happy Onion, is the aggressive little blond he slept with once and can’t forget. Thom is Phil’s wet dream come true, from his angelic face to his fiery temper. For the first time, Phil hears the siren song of monogamy, and he’s tempted to follow it.

When Thom leaves The Happy Onion for a job managing an upscale nightclub, it looks like a chance for him and Phil to be together without the whole boss/employee thing hanging over them. Instead, Thom’s new position brings out previously unsuspected differences in their world views. Differences with the power to destroy their fragile bond.

So how will this nature-loving tree-hugger and corporate-ladder climber navigate this political minefield in the name of love? Very carefully.

(Warning, this book contains bad language, good music, vegan personal care products and lots of hot, dirty mansex.)


Something was tickling Phil’s nose. Fine, silky threads that smelled like new hay and sex.

He scrunched his face up. The tickle intensified.

He tried to lift his hand to brush the whatever-it-was away. His hand wouldn’t move. Something was wound around his arm, holding it down.

No, he realized with a surge of delight. Not something. Someone.

Thom. It was Thom spooned naked in his embrace, trapping one of Phil’s arms beneath his body and cuddling the other across his chest. Phil’s hand was trapped in the hollow of Thom’s throat.

Smiling with his eyes still shut, Phil buried his face deeper in Thom’s soft, fragrant hair. Thom mumbled something about pancakes and wriggled his backside snug against Phil’s groin before lying still again with a sigh. Phil stifled a laugh in the curve of Thom’s neck. It was so cute how Thom turned into such a snuggler when he slept.

Opening his eyes, Phil pushed up on his elbow—as far as he could manage with Thom on top of his lower arm—and peered into Thom’s face. His eyes were closed, long golden brown lashes brushing his sleep-flushed cheeks. The plump pink lips were parted just a little. He looked even younger than usual, his delicate features as sweet and innocent as a child’s.

Luckily for Phil, looks could be deceptive. Extremely so, in this case.

Speaking of which, Phil wondered if Thom would be up for some morning sex. Or evening sex, he mentally amended after a glance at the clock told him they had in fact only slept a couple of hours and it was now dinnertime.

The thought of dinner made Phil’s stomach rumble. Okay. Sex first, then food.

His plans set, he leaned down and brushed his lips against Thom’s ear. “Bubbles,” he whispered. “Wake up.”

Thom curled up tighter. “Nn-uh.”

Grinning, Phil tickled Thom’s chin with one finger. “C’mon, pretty baby. Rise and shine.”

Thom’s brows drew together. “Go ’way,” he grumbled, rendering his own request impossible by tugging Phil’s arm even tighter across his chest. “Wanna sleep.”

“You’ve been sleeping for the last two hours. I want you to fuck me again.” Phil thrust his swelling prick against Thom’s rear. “Please, sweet thing? I’ll bring you dinner in bed.”

Blue eyes cracked open. “Say that again.”

“What? Please?”

“Not that.”

Phil raised his eyebrows. “Dinner? You hungry?”

“No. Well, yeah, actually, but that’s not what I meant.”

The light dawned. Phil grinned. “Sweet thing?”

“That’s it.” Thom’s mouth curved into a sleepy smile. “I like how you say that. It’s fucking hot.”

“It is?”

“Mm-hm. You have a sexy accent.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.” Thom pushed Phil’s hand downward until the palm rubbed against his crotch. He was every bit as hard as Phil, and he moaned when Phil curled his fingers around the shaft. “It turns me on when you call me that.”

“Hmm.” Phil traced the edge of Thom’s ear with his tongue, chuckling when Thom squealed and tried to squirm away. “Well then, sweet thaaang,” he purred, deliberately accentuating the drawl in his voice. “Since we’re both evidently up for it, how about you fucking me before dinner?”

Thom turned his head to capture Phil’s mouth with his. The kiss was brief, but sizzling. Phil moaned, fingers tightening around Thom’s shaft.

“I have a better idea,” Thom murmured, and nipped Phil’s bottom lip.

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Tell me.”

To Phil’s shock, a rosy blush crept into Thom’s cheeks. “Iwantyoutofuckmethistime,” he mumbled, the words rushed and uncharacteristically self-conscious.

“Sorry, what?” Phil wasn’t about to take it on faith that he’d actually just heard what he’d thought he heard. If he acted on it and it turned out he was wrong, Thom would probably cut his balls off with a butter knife.

A crease appeared between Thom’s eyes. “I. Want. You. To. Fuck. Me.” He glared at Phil, as if daring him to be his usual teasing self right then.

Phil flirted with the idea of deliberately pissing Thom off, but let the urge pass without acting on it. Hot as it was when Angry Thom fucked him so hard he walked bowlegged for a week, he wasn’t about to pass up what he suspected was a rare opportunity. Not because he was dying to fuck Thom. He was perfectly happy to let Thom top him every single time. No, he wanted this because Thom did, and as far as Phil was concerned, what Thom wanted, Thom got. Besides, Phil couldn’t deny that he wanted to experience every possible facet of sex with Thom.

He knew himself well enough to know what that meant. It made him happy, even knowing Thom might not feel the same.

Letting go of Thom’s prick, Phil slid his hand between their bodies and dragged one fingertip up the length of Thom’s crease. Thom moaned, and Phil smiled.

“Where’s the lube?” Phil murmured in Thom’s ear.

Thom’s head came up, flicking the hair out of his eyes. Flashing a smile that made Phil’s heart thud painfully against his sternum, Thom reached beneath his pillow and drew out the three-quarters-empty bottle of gel they’d been using earlier. He handed it to Phil without a word.

“Thanks.” Phil pressed the pad of his thumb against Thom’s anus for a second before worming his other arm out from beneath Thom’s body. He sat up, the lube clutched in one hand and the other palm splayed against the curve of Thom’s hip. “Roll on your stomach for me.”

Somewhat to Phil’s surprise, Thom did as he was told. Kicking the bedspread aside and shoving the pillow out of the way, he turned onto his front, slender legs parted slightly and both hands curled near his shoulders. His cheek rested on the sheet, heavy-lidded eyes watching Phil with unveiled desire. His skin glowed nearly pure white against the emerald green sheets.

Phil’s throat tightened. He ran a hand down the length of Thom’s spine to cup one firm ass cheek in his palm. Part of him longed to wax poetic about the man’s almost-ethereal beauty. But a larger part of him didn’t want to ruin the moment by turning into a girl, so he decided to keep his inner Keats to himself for the time being.

Rising to his knees, Phil shuffled across Thom’s legs, pushing those fucking gorgeous thighs apart so he could kneel between them. He bent and pressed a kiss just above the swell of Thom’s ass. Thom hummed, hips lifting toward Phil’s mouth like the potted cactus in Phil’s bathroom seeking the sunlight.

Phil smiled against Thom’s skin. “You want me to eat your ass, pretty baby?”

The violent shudder that ran through Thom’s body answered that question well enough. Thom’s breathless “hell yeah” simply confirmed it.

Raising his head, Phil spread Thom’s cheeks and stared down at that sweet little hole. His mouth watered. He’d had wet dreams about rimming Thom. The way Thom had writhed and moaned when he came with Phil’s tongue up his ass that first morning was permanently burned into Phil’s brain. He’d been dying to relive it ever since.

He lowered his face and drew a deep breath. Thom smelled like sweat and come, ripe and dirty and God, so fucking sexy. Fingers holding Thom open, Phil dragged the flat of his tongue across the tightly furled opening. The salty-bitter taste went straight to Phil’s crotch. He groaned, Thom echoed the sound, and Phil wondered if a guy could possibly come just from that sexy little noise.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer ficlet

This is what happens when I get lassoed into taking friends and family to the nearby theme park over the summer. I witness a totally innocent moment between two guys at a snack stand, and my imagination runs free like a kid on a sugar rush. *g* So I'm blaming this short ficlet on my sunburn, and the really sweet possibilities for love between men that seem to pop up everywhere I look lately. Enjoy~* :)


After his first week at Seven Banners amusement park, Sandy had learned (the hard way) that the longest a kid could tolerate waiting for a snow cone was thirty seconds. From the moment a frazzled parent pulled up to the stand and slammed down a fiver with the order for an extra-large Blue Vanilla Monster, he’d better be digging out the ice and packing it into the mammoth paper cone or else. Underline that word several times and put it in boldface, please. The white polo shirt he’d worn to his first day at work still had the lake-sized, neon-blue stain down the front from when he’d disappointed a very feisty and surprisingly strong toddler. Who knew little girls could flail their stuffed animals around with a batting average that would’ve made Barry Bonds proud? There had to be a way to earn extra cash for college that didn’t put his laundry at such high risk.

A harried-looking dad with sweat-stains on the sides of his baseball cap and on his T-shirt trotted up to the snow cone stand. “I need an…”

“Extra-large Blue Vanilla Monster,” Sandy finished for him, already scraping ice from inside the freezer. He eyed the dad’s little boy, who was bouncing up and down like his sneakers were made of flubber, and started counting the seconds to meltdown. Ten, nine, eight…

“Here you go, squirt,” Sandy leaned over the counter and handed the kid his snow cone.

“Thanks!” The boy grabbed the treat and ran off, his dad chasing after him. When Sandy straightened to collect the scattered paper bills left on the countertop, he found himself staring into the most gorgeous eyes he’d ever seen. Damn…he didn’t even think it was possible for people to have the same vibrant, practically neon blue color as the syrup he used in the cones, but there it was.

“These any good?” the guy smiled, showing off two adorable dimples on his cheeks.

“Hell, yeah,” Sandy nodded very enthusiastically. When the guy reached for his wallet from the back pocket of his red board shorts, that’s when Sandy realized he’d meant the snow cones and not the dimples.

Oh God…red board shorts. Sandy gawked. This was The Guy in the Red Board Shorts -- the hottie with the tall, lanky body and sexy ass Sandy had spent the last couple of weeks ogling from the snow cone stand. Almost every afternoon, the guy showed up on the boardwalk with a kid in tow, probably a younger brother or cousin, and waited on one of the benches across from the stand while the kid bounced from ride to ride. They must have been the only pair who visited the park and never stopped to buy a Blue Vanilla Monster, leaving Sandy to stare at the guy’s backside and fantasize about all sorts of things that would probably make even that randy skunk who was part of the park’s stable of costumed characters blush.

“What should I have?” the guy asked, still grinning.

Me, naked, would be great. Sandy shook his head, trying to clear the worst of his oversexed imagination before he slipped up and said something that would get him fired. “Yeah, let’s see…”

His mind went blank. What the hell did everyone keep ordering? The name totally slipped him.

“I see a lot of people eating that blue thing.”

“Right! The blue thing!” Sandy laughed like a boob. He cleared his throat and reached for a paper cone from the dispenser on his right. “That’s the extra-large Monster. Everyone loves ‘em big.” Did that seriously just come out of Sandy’s mouth? He swallowed a groan and hoped to God the guy hadn’t noticed. Unless he was gay too, in which case that might turn out to be a great pick-up line.

The way he looked at Sandy did change, but not for the worse. The guy’s gaze flicked up and down the parts of Sandy he could see above the countertop, and he opened his mouth to say something. But then he seemed to think better of it and clamped his lips together. A blush spread across his cheeks, bringing out the freckles on the bridge of his nose and making him about fifty times more adorable.

“What?” Sandy asked, extremely hopeful.

“Nothing.” The guy flashed him a quick grin before handing Sandy five bucks and refusing to meet his eyes. “I’ll take one for my brother.”

“Sure.” Sandy tried not to let his disappointment show. He finished making the snow cone, and then added an extra squirt of syrup to make the thing even sweeter. “I hope your bro likes it.”

“Yeah, thanks.” The guy moved off to let a mom with three sweaty tots crowd the counter. Sandy watched him leave while working on autopilot to whip up a cone for the lady. The guy went back to his usual spot across the way, where he handed the cone off to his brother before slumping down on the bench.

Sandy wished he’d said something to the guy -- if not to ask him out, then at least to get his name. Anything.

To hell with ogling from afar, and damn the thirty-second rule. Sandy hopped over the counter with the drippy, extra-large Blue Vanilla Monster in his hand, and asked the mom to wait just a second or two. He jogged up to the bench where the guy was slouched forward, elbows on knees. When Sandy dropped down in front of him, the guy looked up, surprised.

“Have you ever tried one of these?” Sandy asked, handing over the cone. “It’s good to try different things. You might find something or someone you really like.”

The guy stared from the cone to Sandy. The corner of his pretty lips turned up in a smile.

“So what’s your name?” Sandy wiped his hand on the back of his khaki shorts. “And what are you doing tonight?”

“Derrick,” the guy laughed. “And nothing.”

“I’m Sandy and I get off work at nine.” Sandy shook hands with him, their skin sort of sticking together from the syrup residue between their fingers. The touch was nice and Sandy looked forward to feeling Derrick’s hand again later, and maybe on other parts of his body. Acting on pure impulse, he dipped forward and kissed him on the cheek. “Don’t bring your brother.”

“I won’t.” Derrick’s blush deepened.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A little taste of Hard Fall

Woah, I've actually managed to crawl up out of my pit and post something. Much apologies for missing the past couple of times. I thought I might give you a sample from a novel I'm currently working on call Hard Fall.

Enjoy

+++++

Why was I here, sweating through my shorts and staring down that wiry piece of muscle and lean rear end? I don't know, 'cause maybe he's more trouble than he's worth. Pretty boys, city boys, they don't do to well out here. The way he's tossing gear about, well that's long work on a short task. Got more stumble than sense. Sometimes I wonder if he thinks he’s fitting in. Expensive shades, cowboy hat and jeans that had to have cost least a hundred bucks riding low on a set a hips just a hair on the wrong side of thin. His skin holds a warm shade of brown down deep. It ain’t the kind you get from too much sun.

Everything I like all in one spit-start package. Not that I can afford to be all that picky…this is the high country after all.

My beat covers more territory than some states are wide. All we got up here is cowboys and Mormons. If your family ain't been around for at least three generations you're new to the area. Don't even get me started on the tourists.

My family, they walked outa Nauvoo, Illinois just ahead of the lynching parties and fled into Utah pushing handcarts. I'm born and bred local. And since I ain't a cowboy that would mean I'm one of the Latter Day Saints…at least in my heart I am. Some members of the Church, they might not see me so eye to eye on that if they knew.

While I don't drink, don't smoke, and don't cuss, the first guy to mistake me for a pacifist got himself into a world of hurt. My badge, this star…Garfield County Sheriff, one of the “Magnificent Seven,” there’s only seven deputies for this whole county. Been there since I left the corrections department where I worked the state pen in Cedar City. Got my first 22 when I was eight. Shot my first buck when I was twelve. I can handle myself along with the best.
Except, maybe, doing what I was doing here now. Just watching.

Heck, the first time I saw him. It's like right on the top of my mind. I'd stopped by Ruby's Inn to get a pop, standing along the porch, watching who’s coming in and who’s going out. Outa old man Harding’s truck swings this kid. Anybody who’s got to ask how I knew it was old man Harding’s truck…they ain’t never lived a small town. Ruby’s is officially a township, population 182 or there abouts. Panguich, where the station is, hits around 1,600 with Tropic not quite a quarter of that. Both are on my beat. The biggest city round here, two hours and one county away, Cedar City, that’s big enough for two high schools, a college campus and the state prison. Not hardly big enough to get lost in even if, like me, you sometimes wanted to.

Why did he catch my eye? First off, he screamed city, but not in that overfed, treadmill kinda manner. Naw, punk, in a way that sent all my cop senses running for the shotgun. Then one of those weekend biker guys – all play bad ass, with a twenty thousand dollar custom rod, who would dirty his drawers if the wrong guy says boo – drifted by. The punk’s eyes focused in on that leather clad butt, he watched the guy walk by, and then he licked his lips in that slow I wanna be tasting a bit of that way.

Standing there swigging a root beer and I damn near spit it out. Man, oh man, I’ve got my sites on a prime slab of twenty-something pretty-boy in tight jeans. Since it’d been nearly six months since I’d even managed to score a hand job in Vegas, everything went south real fast. I could have passed out from rapid blood loss then and there.

I know. I know. Gay and Mormon don’t cohabit very well. The Church has been wrong on other stuff, seen the light and changed their ways…I’m hoping someday they’ll see the light on this issue. Can’t say I’m holding my breath though.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Filling In

K.A. can’t come to the blog right now. That’s because since she finally agreed to give me a story, I don’t let her write anything else.

Hi. I’m Joey. K.A. made me up because Noah in Diving In Deep needed someone to talk to about the guy he was in love with. Never mind that I’d once thought I was that guy; K.A. didn’t care that Noah broke my heart. So I helped him—I’d do anything for Noah, he’s a great guy, he just wasn’t my guy.

But seriously, I don’t know what she expected. After creating an incurable romantic with a Masters in Counseling, she should have known I would be demanding my own happily ever after.

K.A. may be my bitch for the next month or two, but she didn’t exactly give me an easy ride. When I started talking (she says whining) in her head about how I needed a hero I could fall in love with forever (instead of my current record of 18 months, six days), she came up with Aaron. Excuse me while I have to adjust my jeans just from thinking about him—thanks for that K.A.—but it’s going to be a lot of work to convince Aaron about the forever part.

Anyone who meets Aaron can tell right away that he’s an arrogant prick. And he is. I’m not denying that. A hell of a fuck, but not so much with the social skills. And I would have fucked him and then moved on, but something happened the first time he kissed me.

I know, I sound like a Disney princess. But seriously, it’s always in his kiss. I’ve slept with enough guys to know the difference between a fuck and something else, trust me. There’s that moment when you kiss and it’s more than just this is gonna be fun, it’s everything inside you singing him. Like when I’m surfing and I get up on that perfect wave. Flying on top, hanging on just enough to let it take me for a ride.

All right, so I’ve thought that him stuff before. I was good at giving Noah advice on love because I fall in it all the time. Now Aaron knows all about commitment—you should see what he’s sacrificed for his brothers and sisters—but he doesn’t believe in happy endings. At least not the kind that go on after we’ve both come so hard we can’t see. He’s kind of stubborn about the whole happiness thing. So getting him to believe in love (when I’ve got such a shaky record of it myself) is going to be a bitch.

It’s not even easy to get to tell my story, since he grabs point of view away from me all the time, the toppy bastard. If I don’t wrap this up, he’ll be here in a second.

Hey you guys, any advice? I’m thinking I’m gonna need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First Times - Release Day!

The first time I posted here it was all about a bunch of "first times" and that is my theme again today because this is the first time I have a book releasing. It's been out of the nest for a while now and is at last heading into the great wide open.

The Ballad of Jimothy Redwing by Maia Strong

To get you appetites up here's the smokin' snippet I promised last time.

*****

He wearily pulled off his tunic and shirt and couldn't hide the wince that flashed across his face as he did. "Do not offer me any medicine," he commanded before Ricky could even open his mouth.

"I wasn't going to," he protested, but it was clear from his expression that he was lying. "Sit down. Let me help you." He crossed to the bed and knelt, pulling off each of Jimothy's boots and setting them to one side.

Jimothy wasn't such a fool that he didn't appreciate the help. "Thank you. This is familiar." A little smile tugged the corner of his mouth.

"Yeah. Isn't it, though?" Ricky looked up at him with a warmth in his pale eyes that was completely unlike the fiery flashes Jimothy had seen there before.

Jimothy stood once more, leaning against the bed to keep his balance. He really was exhausted and the fact annoyed him.

"You're frowning," said Ricky, removing his tunic and shirt and tossing them aside.

"I'm annoyed."

"About what?" He pulled off his boots and set them next to Jimothy's.

"It doesn't matter." Jimothy hated being helpless. And helpless is exactly how I feel. He undid the lacing of his pants, but strong hands reached out and stopped him. He met Ricky's blue gaze, and the other man smiled.

"Let me." He undid the laces the rest of the way and slipped his hands inside the waistband. He pushed the breeches down, running his hands warmly over Jimothy's hips and down his legs as he did so. "Lean on me." Jimothy put a hand on Ricky's shoulder, lifting his feet one at a time so Ricky could slide his pants off over them.

Then he was naked before his kneeling lover. His memory of the last time Ricky had knelt before him rushed to his mind as blood rushed to his penis, making him hard and hot. He was suddenly very alert.

"You're not so terribly tired, then, I see," said Ricky softly, smiling up at him.

"I am," contradicted Jimothy, "but you seem to have this effect on me." Ricky's smile widened and he took his lover's erection in one hand, causing it to jump with anticipation. He chuckled and licked the tip playfully.

"Do you want me to?" Ricky asked. "Because I'd be more than happy to."

Jimothy wasn't about to lie. "I do, but I think if I came on my feet right now, I'd collapse."

"Better to just sit down in that case." Ricky stood as Jimothy sat on the bed, pushing the blankets back. Ricky took a moment to remove his pants, releasing his own throbbing cock from its fabric prison. Already the end was slick.

"You are beyond sexy," Jimothy stated fervently. "I want to taste you."

"Are you sure?"

Jimothy nodded once.

"Move back." Jimothy shifted back from the edge a little and Ricky knelt on the mattress, knees straddling the seated man's thighs. Ricky frowned slightly. "How's your jaw? Don't hurt yourself."

Jimothy couldn't help but chuckle. "You're about to trust me enough to put your cock in my mouth, and you're worried about me getting hurt. That's so incredibly sweet that I think you're actually even sexier than you were a second ago." Ricky looked down at him, and even backlit by a single lantern, Jimothy could see he was blushing. The blush ran down his neck all the way to his chest.

"I don't know what to say."

Don't say anything. Just trust me, Jimothy answered silently, wondering if he would be heard. Then Ricky smiled and he knew his message was received. Ricky placed his hands on Jimothy's shoulders for balance, and Jimothy put one hand on Ricky's hip, taking his hard penis in the other. He massaged gently, eliciting both a moan of pleasure and a dribble of pre-ejaculate from the other man. He licked at the slickness, tasted salt and sweet, and then ran his tongue in a circle around the silky tip.

"Mmm," moaned Ricky again. He looked down and they locked eyes. "You know I like to be able to see everything," he whispered.

"I know." Jimothy opened his mouth and took just the tip of Ricky's cock inside. Little by little he worked his way up the shaft, lips curled over his teeth to protect the silken skin. Too soon he was forced to pull back. The ache in his jaw was stronger than his drive to continue. He looked up at Ricky apologetically and shook his head. "I'm sorry. I thought I could, but… It hurts."

Ricky held his shoulders in both hands, sat down so he was on Jimothy's lap, and kissed him tenderly. "It's all right. I'd have been surprised if you could manage it, really. Delighted," he added with a smile, "but surprised. Here. Lay down." He shifted off of the bed so Jimothy could turn and stretch out on his back with his head cushioned by pillows. Ricky laid down beside him. Careful of Jimothy's bruises, he ran gentle hands over the supine man's lean, naked body. He leaned over and kissed him again.

This was something Jimothy could still manage—at least in short spurts. He opened his mouth and Ricky took the cue seamlessly, running his tongue along Jimothy's teeth and then using it to tickle the roof of his mouth. His already sensitized groin tingled and tightened, his hardness leaping at the surprising sensation. When Ricky released him, both men were smiling and Jimothy's eyes were wide.

"That was…unusual."

"Good unusual?" asked Ricky, a hint of concern in his voice.

"Very good," Jimothy reassured him. "I've never had anyone do that before. It tingled."

"Right down to your cock, I hope." Ricky reached a hand down and took hold of him, rubbing his thumb over the wet, slippery tip. "It does that to me."

"Yes," agreed Jimothy, suddenly at a loss for words as the other man's hand worked slowly, toyingly up and down his prick.

Ricky leaned in again, this time to whisper in his ear. "Come inside?"

Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer men

I don't know about other parts of the country, but it's already summer here in Florida. And I'm suffering through my first sunburn of the season. That's even AFTER I put at least two applications of sunscreen. Guess that's what I get for spending more time in the water-only because my boys forced me- and out in the open than under the umbrella.
The area we camped out at had both surfers and skimboarders. The surfers...eh. I don't think the waves were good enough so I grew board quickly. Better waves when there are storms.
However, the skimboarders....:P The batch that were near us were young (jail-bait for me *lol*), tanned, and fit. I found that I couldn't help but watch them and know I'd never be able to do what they do (been there, done that, and busted my butt).
For those who don't know. Skimboarding is: the sport of riding a skimboard (a very thin, small surfboard) over shallow water on a beach and into oncoming waves close to shore. The board is usually tossed ahead and jumped on after a running approach.
Most had the "surfer" look. Longer hair and tatts and very nicely tanned. A few had short hair cuts. I was able to gather information for future characters. :)
Anyway, it got me into the mood for some long hair hunks *sigh-dreamy eyes*
Enjoy some eye-candy





Sunday, June 8, 2008

ink, yum

Happy Sunday, gals and guys. I'm getting a new tattoo today as well as having my other one added to and touched up a bit. While I was browsing images on the web for the specific design I wanted, I was also trying to come up with a blog topic for today.

It finally occurred to me as I clicked through image after image of tattoos that the answer was literally right in front of me.

Boys with ink.

Enjoy.
















Saturday, June 7, 2008

Back in Black

Remember me?

Hello, I am Leigh Ellwood, author of erotic romance for Phaze Books, Samhain Publishing, and Liquid Silver Books. I write all manner of romances, and offer a fair amount of manlovin'. I had posted regularly on this blog in the past, but had to drop out to take care of editing and publishing responsibilities. My last publication was actually last year with 2007's Surveillance, a Phaze Force HeatSheet that was M/M and continues to do well. I'm happy to report my next original work will also be M/M, as part of the Phaze Urban series. Why, Why, Zed? has a launch date of 7/7. Lucky number for me, I'm hoping.

Anyway, here is the blurb for YYZ, as I affectionately call it:

A cryptic phone call to Cameron "Zed" Zedmore's cell reveals a plot to steal away Zed's live-in love, Nick. Devestating the thought of infidelity is, Zed realizes he can't blame Nick for being tempted to stray, as Zed's work has kept him in the lab, and out of their bed, for long hours.

Nick loves Zed, but isn't crazy about being a "house husband" anymore. He has needs Zed won't meet, and when another friend offers help in that department, Nick is tempted to accept. But then Zed comes home early...

Reading the blurb might lead one to think this is going to end in some kind of kinky menage. I have nothing against the kink, but this is actually one committed couple, HEA, with a surprise twist! Ooooooh! Well, it's finally in edits now, and I hope the manlove readers like it. It's HeatSheet size, so two bucks for a bang. The Phaze Urban line is a hot series where each story takes place entirely in a major city. YYZ is the fifth one to come out, I believe. And if you can believe this - the first four out now are M/M, too! I think it's just a coincidence, but the stories are really catching on.

Glad to be back, and hope to have more manlove news for you soon!

Leigh

Friday, June 6, 2008

Happy Friday!

Special shout-out to all the other June bugs that have birthdays this month including the new member of Barb's family (an adorable baby boy!), Jet, Zehavit, and moi :P~.

Inspired by Barb's post about her DVD find, "Shock to the System", I've been prowling around Amazon for some new vids. I snagged a copy of that one and loved it! I'm not even that big a mystery fan, but the chemistry between the actors is great and the storyline gripped me. Definitely a must-see! I also snagged these two:

Shelter Harry and Max

Okay, I can see a few of you guys raising eyebrows at Harry and Max because the movie does have some...controversial elements...but those boys sure are cute. IMO, they can explore their brotherly love anytime!

Does anyone have any other good movie recs? I've been warned to stay away from "Dante's Cove" because of all the cheeze factors, but maybe I've heard wrong. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Through the Dark

THROUGH THE DARK

Jeremy's cousin has been captured by the church and imprisoned, accused of being a demon. When the escape plan doesn't go according to Jeremy's planning, they are forced to seek refuge in Grey Constantine's keep. Behind closed doors are secrets that can kill and both men give into an attraction that can bind them irrevocably.

Being a werewolf, Jeremy knows the moment he sees Grey, he has found his mate. Unfortunately, Grey is being driven to near insanity by his own brother and the loss of Grey's lover, Rhys.

Haunted by his own internal demons, Grey tries his hardest to believe in the promise Jeremy offers him. When Grey's brother tries to destroy them, they both must fight the forces threatening to tear them apart.

***

EXCERPT:

As Jeremy entered the tavern, the feral wildness in his eyes caused quite a few of the customers to abruptly look away from him. Dressed rich enough in a long-waisted black jacket, his clothing fit him yet the overall look seemed at odds with his features. He hadn't even bothered to tie back the golden, untamed mane of hair.

Only the barkeep dared to even look at him. "What can I be getting for ya?"

Several others around the bar scurried away, tankards in hand. Huddling together, they sipped at their drinks, taking great care not to look too long at him.

"Ale." Tossing a coin to the scratched wooden counter, Jeremy ignored the others.

As the tender poured him a tankard, he asked, "So what's your business in these parts, stranger?"

With a short bark of laughter, Jeremy answered, "God's business."

When the mug was pushed toward him, he lifted it and drank it quickly down.

"God is not welcome here." The growled proclamation was accentuated by a tankard slamming down on one of the wooden tables. Half the tavern crowd moved to the other side of the room, and several left altogether.

"Watch that one," the barkeep whispered, nodding toward the back table. "He's got a mean temper, he does. Don't like that word."

"Another ale." With a smirk of amusement, Jeremy turned toward the potential troublemaker. "And this should concern me how?"

The man stood, knocking his chair backward onto the floor. Judging by the way he glared and swayed slightly, it was clear he was well into his cups. "You're here on…God's business," the man snarled, stepping around the table. "I'll give you to the count of three to get out of my sight." His hand went to the pistol shoved into his belt.

"Master Grey…" the bartender pleaded.

With a sharp warning glare from Grey, the barkeeper snapped his mouth shut.

Setting his mug on the counter, Jeremy stood and walked toward Grey. His gaze steadily held the slightly unfocused stormy one. "So quick to pull a pistol and ask no questions." Not at all afraid, he continued, "If you can shoot and actually hit me, I will be most impressed."

"I own this land!" Grey drew his pistol and, in the blink of an eye, he shot.

It didn't require any great feat of speed or skill to avoid getting hit by the bullet, as it flew wildly off the mark. Before his aggressor could even react, Jeremy was on him. With no more than a hard yank of his hand on Grey's, the gun dropped. The next moment, Jeremy spun Grey around and imprisoned him in an implacable grip.

"Whatever you own, you desperately need a bath and a good sleep, sir."

"I order you to release me!" Grey struggled and kicked, though the fight was slowly going out of him.

The barkeep gave Jeremy a grateful look and a nod. "He's the lord of the keep up the hill, but you'll be hard pressed to get him there. He's not been up there since Lord Rhys' passing 'bout a week ago."

Addressing the bartender, Jeremy asked, "And where has he been staying? The gutter?"

"Here mostly," the barkeep replied. He tilted his head, motioning toward the staircase leading up. "He has a room, but most of his time's been here, drinkin' a fortune in ale."

"Let. Me. Go." Grey renewed his struggle, jabbing an elbow back into Jeremy's ribs.

Jeremy whispered in his captive's ear, "Are you finished shooting complete strangers?"

Too drunk to control it, Grey shivered. "Unhand me or I will rip you to shreds with my bare hands."

Smiling knowingly, Jeremy loosened his grip enough to turn Grey around. Jeremy lowered his voice, keeping what he said between him and Grey. "And what would you do if I enjoyed it?"

For a moment, those stormy eyes stared into Jeremy's, his challenge answered without a word. To the side, the barkeep backed away, discreetly crossing himself.

"Beautiful amongst your own kind." Jeremy never looked away, showing not an ounce of fear but only an understanding of what he held in his arms. "So angry."

Slowly releasing him, Jeremy bent down to pick up the discarded gun and handed it back to Grey. "Know who your enemy truly is before you attack."
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