Thursday, July 31, 2008

Geeks and Bad Boys

Specifically, together.

What is it about a geek paired with a bad boy? I can't put my finger on it, but whatever it is, the end results are hot as hell. Maybe it's that whole "opposites attract" thing...

I've got several (ie, countless) works in progress, some of which I've been neglecting in favor of deadlines.

Some of those works involve geeks and bad boys.

I think the appeal for me, aside from the opposites thing, is the chance to explore hidden desires in someone you wouldn't expect to find them. Like...a geek who's a hardass top underneath, or the bad boy who secretly wants to beg to come.

So...do you like this type of pairing? Why?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Monday!

Good morning! Why am I so chipper on this bright, and entirely too hot Monday morning? I have good news. Lots of good news, actually.

The sequel to Secrets & Lies, The Hard Truth was finished last week and turned in to my editor. No word back on what she thinks yet (these things take time) but I am thrilled to have it finished. :)

I've also signed another contract with Loose Id. They've accepted my Halloween themed m/m story, Reckless Seduction. As I'm sure you can imagine, it's scheduled to come out some time in October.

****
As as aside, a recent discussion about the movie Shortbus prompted me to watch it again the other night. Following my TV watching stupor, I looked up some of the cast. Turns out Jay Brannan (the actor who played Ceth in the movie) is a musician. I've embed one of his videos for you below.

Call me crazy, but I think this song (and the artist) is just adorable.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ally's Grilled Onion

My romantic-comedy-type gay romance The Happy Onion releases Tuesday July 29th from Samhain publishing. Yay! (look at the hot cover!) In anticipation of this long-awaited event *g* the incomparable Jessewave will post an interview with me on her blog, along with reviews of The Happy Onion and Untamed Heart. Be sure to drop by tomorrow for the interview, Wave really put Ally through the ringer! LOL.

Click here to go to Wave's awesome blog. Read on for a snippet of manlove hotness from The Happy Onion :D

~*~*~

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.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Cover - Live Action Hero 3 Mission: Possession



I am pleased to announce the new cover for my next installment in my Live Action Hero series - Mission: Possession.

It goes on sale August 2! (http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=954) I hope you enjoy! I really had fun with this story.

BLURB:

Hugh has put his marketing talents to work for the store he owns with his friends, The Fantastic Five. He knows a hunk when he sees one, and the broken action figure has model material written all over his muscled body. Hugh repairs him and places the figure in the center of his new ad campaign. But when Hugh finishes taking the photos, the figure, magically returned to life, comes out from behind the camera and into Hugh’s life.

A model before he was a soldier and then an enchanted action figure, Talon is no stranger to the camera. The handsome man behind it, however, is completely new and all his. Talon is determined to show Hugh that a picture is worth a thousand kisses. But inside his chest beats the heart of a hero, and when he interrupts a robbery, he’s wounded, and Talon might lose not only his magazine-cover good looks, but Hugh.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cover Art Woes

I'm thinking on this as right now, I'm trying to get ideas together for two books coming out Hard Fall (Winter '08) and Inland Empire (Print - Summer '09)

Unless you, the author, are a talented cover artist (*cough* Leigh *cough* Anne *cough*) you have to rely on the kindness/talent/ability to mesh with your cover artist. And if you’re stuck with photoshop covers (some of which can be beautiful), you’re stuck with stock photos for the most part. And while there is a great variety out there, you’re often stuck trying to find something that embodies the characters.

Honestly, I can find hot men all over the place. Pictures that are exactly how I see my characters…and I can’t use them. Like someone copying my book or parts of my books for their own use, I can’t just take a photo I like. I have to have a license to use it. The photos I have here are from a site where I do have an account and got a free license to use them (some sites have a certain amount of free stock, but its rarely the best stuff, and usually only suitable for the web). Without the license, I’m infringing on the photographer’s copyright.

The other problem is the good shots, the sexy guys, have been used and used and used. So when you see the same guys face on a cover, that’s why. My cover for Twice the Cowboy ended up also as the cover a het romance. We both ended up with the same stock photo. Now, my cover artists have usually been very cool to work with. Working with me, asking me to submit photos I like and elements I want to see, then they play with it. I’ll often get five to ten rough versions to look at. And then we play.

Now the original art is often better…for the sheer fact you’re not going to have the same cover as someone else. If it’s a poser program (think cheap computer generated art) it may not look so great, but no one else has that shot. Computer art, where there’s actual drawing involved (just using styluses and such) can be gorgeous – Anne Cains work. But like my cover for Inland Empire (which I like) I didn’t get to see it until it was done. There was no way to change it because it’d been specifically created for the book.



So, just some thoughts, when y’all are looking over covers and wonder about the whys…there you go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vanilla Coke

You’ve probably had that experience, the one where you pick up a glass of soda, thinking it’s Coke (or Pepsi, I don’t want to exclude anyone) and you get something a little different, vanilla Coke or maybe root beer. Even if you are immensely fond of vanilla Coke or root beer, the experience is a bit disconcerting because you were all set to taste Coke.

There is a point to my little did-you-ever introduction.

I’ve got a release coming up in three weeks, Regularly Scheduled Life. (Ooooo, pretty cover, thanks again, Anne.) There are a lot of things about writing that I love, and one of the things I love the best is having readers. I want them to be as happy as I am when I read a book by an author I’ve read before. I don’t want any readers to get that head-shaking sputter if they pick up Regularly Scheduled Life and end up with an unexpected vanilla Coke experience.

Not that the book is vanilla. No, not with interesting uses for a old Boy Scout scarf, not with the “tingling sensations” lube and not with the glass dildo. But RSL is different than any of my other books, actually different than anything I’ve ever written.

I knew it was vanilla Coke when I wrote it and I loved it just as much (and sometimes more) than regular Coke. See, the characters in Regularly Scheduled Life don’t meet, fuck like weasels and then fall in love. They’re already in love and fucking like weasels when the book starts. They’ve had years of happy, perfect coupledom. (As for how weasels fuck, I’m sure I’ve seen it on Animal Planet.)

What Kyle and Sean have to do in their book is to learn how rare and good their bond was when something threatens it. Even after the initial threat, how they react to the threat is what pushes their bond to breaking (though they get in plenty of weasel action). When a relationship has been easy and suddenly you have to work, it can be a lot more disconcerting than even picking up what you think is a glass of water and getting Sprite. (I think there are too many glasses around my house and parenthetical expressions in this blog entry.) But in the case of Sean and Kyle, I really wanted the vanilla Coke. I loved having something just a little different, even when the characters made me cry.

So, to help readers get used to that slightly different taste, I thought I’d write a few free prequels. (At least enough to cover the meet-and-fuck-like-weasels part.) The first is ready to go on my live journal. You don’t have to be a live journal member to read it. Just follow the link. And check back on live journal for more updates as I get Joey and Aaron to shut up long enough to get the prequels done.

Link to free porn prequel

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Book Recommendations

Folks have been recommending a lot of movies lately (and my To Rent list is bulging as a result; I don't get out to the movies as much as I ought to). In that vein, I have a couple of books to recommend: Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett. There are lot of things I like about these two books. The authors created a fully realized fantasy world where astrology is vital, magic is real, and ghosts visit for a month every winter. I love the main characters--Philip, the hired sword, and Nico, the policeman--two flawed, realistic men who have to deal with the fiddly facts of daily life like jobs, rent, dinner, and politics along with the more exceptional goings-on such as murder and magic. I could wish that the bedroom door wasn't shut quite so soon as it is, but that's what my imagination is for and Nico and Philip are well worth imagining "off-screen".

My first literary love is fantasy, and the fact that I can read and write about gay men in fantasy worlds is a like a dream come true. I get worn out by realworld bullshit like bigotry and hatred and intolerance of all sorts, so I find it hard to enjoy any genre of fiction where those elements play a major role in the telling of the story. Angst is good and useful in book, but there comes a point where I just want to escape all that RL crap. An author who creates another world controls that world absolutely. There may be the same issues we face in our real lives. There may not. Or there may be a layer of it that isn't the focus of the story. I love that. That's the best, because I've never understood people who fight about religion, sexual preference, race, and all the other non-issues people get all worked up over. I love books about people where their problems could be anyone's problems, you know what I mean? You don't have to be a certain gender/colour/religion/political party to identify and connect with them. Those are all things that shouldn't matter, so I love it when they don't, or when they are at most a background concern to a select few characters. That's my escapism. I read fantasy for, well, the fantasy. Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams are brilliant fantasy.

I highly recommend these books and sincerely hope that someday Melissa writes the other two books she and her partner had planned before Lisa passed away. These fellows deserve to have the rest of their story told. Meantime, I'll just re-read these two books whenever I need a dose of Nico and Philip.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Guest Blogger: Selah March

GAY COWBOYS
IN THE
POST-BROKEBACK AGE


by Selah March
http://selahmarch.wordpress.com/


When I first got the idea for a gay cowboy story, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN had yet to hit the big screen. By the time I got around to writing SEVEN YEAR ACHE, the film had been out for eighteen months, but I hadn’t seen it — mostly because I’d heard it featured irretrievably damaged characters and a heartbreaking ending.

I write romance, both “het” and gay, which means fixable characters and a happily-ever-after every time. So while I was intrigued by the concept of the movie — the love that dared not speak its name among the rough-riding icons of the American West — I was afraid to let the tragic tone of the film color my own story. Finally, in between writing SEVEN YEAR ACHE and its sequel, WILD HORSES, I took a chance and bought the DVD.

Wow. I’d been right in waiting, and I ended up wishing I’d waited a little longer, because writing WILD HORSES was exponentially more difficult with the ghosts of Ennis and Jack floating around in my head.

With the sad themes of BROKEBACK playing like background music in my brain, my main and secondary couples, Kris and Blake, and Rafe and Jamie, kept wanting to do self-destructive, irredeemable things...and I’ll be damned if I didn’t almost let them. After all, life is hard for a man who loves other men in a part of the country that doesn’t tolerate nonconformity, and I’ve spent enough time in the Flathead Valley of northwestern Montana (which is where SEVEN YEAR ACHE and WILD HORSES are set) to say that though the people there are as nice as you’ll find anywhere, they’re also deeply traditional and slow to change.

I kept having to remind myself that SEVEN YEAR ACHE and WILD HORSES take place in the present, while BROKEBACK is set a generation in the past. Much of the hatred and ignorance that caused the tragedy of Jack and Ennis still exists, but the threat of such deadly consequences for loving the wrong person has diminished somewhat. I only wish I could say it’s disappeared completely.

I tried to address that reality in my stories — the existence of ignorance and hatred and the threat of violence that lurks beneath it. But since I don’t write tragedy, I had to find a way to balance that reality with a sense of safety by creating a home and a supportive circle of friends and family within which my lovers could explore their new relationships. Part of the reason Jack and Ennis’ love ends so badly is because they were isolated. The folks of the Lazy C guest ranch, where SEVEN YEAR ACHE and WILD HORSES take place, are surrounded by people who love and protect them and give them the chance to be who they are without fear.

Riding the line between the fantasy that readers often crave and the reality of life as we know it isn’t easy, especially with the phantoms of Jack and Ennis looking over your shoulder, reminding you that it’s often a cold little world we live in. I like to think I’ve found a good balance in my Lazy C stories. I hope my readers will, too.

Purchase links:

SEVEN YEAR ACHE: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/SevenYearAche.html
WILD HORSES: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/WildHorses.html

***

EXCERPT from WILD HORSES, available now from Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press:

"What about you?"

"Huh?"

Blake finished folding his shirt and dropped it on the chair next to the bed where all his other clothes were piled. When he spoke, Kris could hear that Mississippi drawl coming on strong. "I said, what about you? You're still dressed."

Kris shrugged. "You trust me?"

Blake blinked at him. His mouth turned up in a smirk. "I'm here, aren't I?"

The sudden, thick tension between them felt like the drop in air pressure that came before a storm. Like maybe the bunkhouse was about to be at the center of a very localized bit of wild weather.

Kris crossed to Blake in three quick steps, leaving no more than a couple feet between them. "I think it's time for you to shut that smart mouth, Biloxi."

"Is that what you think?"

"Yep. Most definitely." Kris didn't give him a chance to come up with another helping of sass, but backed him up till Blake's thighs hit the edge of the mattress of the double bed across from the bunks. "I'm gonna ask you one question, and you're gonna answer it, yes or no."

Blake looked him straight in the eye and nodded.

"You ever been with man like you're about to be with me?" He leaned in, already pretty sure he knew which way the wind blew, but needing to hear it all the same. "You ever been fucked?"

He waited, patient and careful, as Blake's throat worked around whatever he was about to say. It was a loaded subject for any man. Girls were allowed to be proud of their virginity. Men...not so much.

"No." Blake squeezed shut his eyes, then opened them and gave Kris another straight look. "No, I haven't."

Kris nodded. "Good enough. We'll go slow, and you'll let me know if--"

"I already said I trusted you."

"So you did. I'm just tryin' to be..." Kris sighed and shook his head, at a loss to explain his all-of-a-sudden need to take special care without letting on how much he knew of Blake's recent history.

"A gentleman?" Blake's mouth twisted up in a smile.

"Don't sound so surprised, boy." He backed off a few feet and grabbed the hem of his shirt. "Now get your ass on that bed."

***



Sunday, July 20, 2008

welcome to hollywood!

The Birdcage was on TV last night. I always stop if I find that movie, mostly because Hank Azaria's character makes me laugh hysterically, but Nathan Lane is pretty hilarious too. Robin Williams is funny, for once, by playing it low-key. The whole movie is an over-the-top parody of the Florida South Beach lifestyle, but funny nonetheless. I suppose they figured that if they got an actual gay man to play the drag queen, it was somehow less offensive. I mean to see La Cage Aux Folles someday, but it's yet to make an appearance in my area.

So from there, I moved on to Pretty Woman. I love that movie. The whole hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold is cliched and overused by now, but at the time it was made (1990, holy cow) it was pretty daring and not yet unoriginal. As I sat there quoting from it, I couldn't help thinking to myself, "Boy, this movie would be a whole lot better if Julia Roberts was a man."

Think about it, Richard Gere picks up a young (legal-aged) kid on the street and takes him home to be his rent boy for the week. Where's the bad there? Especially if the kid was played by, say, Johnny Depp in his post-Jump Street days. Or maybe John Cusack, since he was on a roll with all the Brat Pack films. Hell, even Brad Pitt was making movies back then, as Thelma and Louise could gladly tell you.

Okay, yeah. Let's take Brad Pitt, since this is my blog entry and I get to choose the eye candy. (And since Christian Bale was only 16 at the time, damn.) Imagine Brad telling Richard he doesn't kiss on the lips, and then going down on him. Imagine Richard dressing Brad up in Armani and whisking him off to San Francisco for the opera. And imagine Brad seducing Richard on top of the piano in the hotel bar.

Mmmm.

So! If you've got a favorite movie that you're convinced would be better with two boys, feel free to share. Fantasies are more fun when more people know about them. ;)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Every Spec-i-men


Hallelujah! It's raining in Dareville. I am pleased to report that while I await edits on Dare to Dream, due through Phaze this fall, I have started the first all M/M Dareville work, Daring Red. I've also been tinkering with covers. See above.

I may end up appealing to Phaze's art director for assistance on this one. Red will focus on a side story in Dare to Dream which involves Red, the "other Marbury brother" (J.J. is the hero in Dream) and an old friend from Truth or Dare, Jared. You'll see some of Jared in Dare to Dream, and this story will also feature some backstory when our friends were preparing for college. Kind of like The Wonder Years, only everybody's legal and there's condoms.

Anyway, I want the cover to convey the difference in the two heroes. Where Red is an uptight businessman, proper and impeccably trimmed, Jared is laid back and casual. Red represents old media (he owns a newspaper) and Jared is new (he's a web genius). I got the idea, interestingly enough, from this cover:


In Her Day was one of Rita's early works, in my opinion a disappointing follow-up to Rubyfruit Jungle but not a bad story. The back cover bills it as a "lost treasure," revived presumably to capitalize on Rita's overall success - the way these old Janet Evanovich romances keep popping up. The protagonists, IIRC, are an older professor and a young waitress who enter into a tenuous romance. Throughout the book you're wondering what do they see in each other to make it so far, and if you're like me you might be satisfied (and not surprised) by the ending. I may have to pick up this one again to reacquaint myself with it.

As for Daring Red, the ending will be much happier, hopefully enough to please all the Dareville readers and M/M lovers out there. More later.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Plot Lines and Wayward Musi

Those two seem to go hand-in-hand, don't they?

My Muse is bad about wandering, though I imagine that's no surprise to those who know me. *smirks*

Take now, for instance.

I have a BDSM novella I need to finish, starring Ian and Kale from our Phaze Fetish HeatSheet, Onyx. Well...does my Muse want to work on that? Oh, no! He wants to play with Triarius and Lance and numerous other characters. *head.desk*

*sighs* See? We writers are plagued with Wayward Musi the likes of which... Well, they're just plain annoying, is what.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How about a free ebook to start your week off right?

Monday, and my turn to blog, is here. Unfortunately, I have a project kicking my ass and deadlines that need to take top priority this morning. Since I don't have anything interesting to share, I thought I would have a little delurk contest just for the fun of it.

To be entered to win a free ebook from my available titles, all you have you to do is leave a comment on this post. You don't have to say anything wise or fabulous. Just say hi and leave it at that if you'd like.

A winner will be chosen at random (most likely through the use of Iny Miny Miney Moe) and announced here on the blog tonight at Midnight, EST.

Friday, July 11, 2008

WIPs and the Wipped...

I've got a few works-in-progress that are officially kicking me in bum. For the sake of my sanity, I'm venting here and maybe I can help another author or artist going through the same thing.

When a WIP is driving you crazy, remember:

1) Deadlines are your friend. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like knowing that something is due...TODAY?!? AHHH!!!!

2) Don't press the delete button. Just don't. As bad as the scene or chapter might seem, a revision later will take care of it. But if the words are gone, they're gone. And the only way to bring them back is to find one of those Harry Potter hourglass-thingies or a nuclear powered Delorean that can take you back in time.

3) Outlines are awesome. Write one. Then, ignore it. Sometimes a fresher, better idea will come time if you're not shackled to the scene-by-scene rundown.

4) This is for artists in particular: Every once in a while, a drawing just wants to come out ugly, period. Don't fight it. In fact, make the drawing as horrible as you can, then rip up the piece of paper into a bunch of tiny pieces and throw it out. Doing that is like sending the creative part of your brain on a trip to the spa. You feel refreshed, rejuvenated even. And when you sit back down at the drawing table, you know you've already gotten that ugly sketch out of your system and now you can draw something attractive.

On that last note, I'm heading back to the drawing board to finish penciling. :)

Here Kitty

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Not quite vanilla

Yeah, kink.
I've got mine. SG and I talked last night about what is vanilla and what's not in our relationship. Specifically, how we consider handcuffs a normal part of our sex life, getting the sling out and hooking it into the ceiling...pretty normal. If his butt don't get whacked, we're obviously not having sex, and that there's certain types of play we enjoy that I can't even write about (okay I can write them...just can't get them published.

This was of course prompted by something another Dom freind of mine sent. I will say the fact that the guy in the dalmation suit yipps and barks when the guy in the Fox suit does him...just adds sooooooo much. And it's not just the Furries aspect...but it's bondage Furries, and cartoon sextoys.

This rates out at serious James ((O.O)) WARNING - DANGER WILL ROBINSON. Seriously I couldn't watch the whole thing.

1. Don't clicky if you're under 18.

2. Don't clicky if you don't like m/m sex and

3. FURRIES - NUFF SAID It is so not work safe. You have be warned. http://video.xtube.com/watch.php?v_user_id=Pup1k&cv=9&idx=5&v=PhO1a-G319-&cl=bTma9-G319-&from=&ver=3&ccaa=1&qid=&qidx=&qnum=

Obviously, this is not my kink. But of course, I'm going to have to write it. It's just too good to leave be. I've already got the scene in my head. The cop coming upon that scene, just the comidic potential from a writer's perspective is legion. Then how does one fetishise that? I can do rope, handcuffs, bondage. The oject and process recieves the same erotic description as a body part. If you write handcuff fetish, then a good portion of the story focuses on the handcuffsf, thier weight, feel and how the glint off the lighting. But how do you eroticise a fur suit? Don't know...life's imponderable.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Black Hole

Aaron and Joey and I worked out an arrangement (we all figured out how the story was going to end—sort of) so I can come out of the basement and occasionally write something else in my own point of view, provided they get their daily say and I stay on a pace to finish their story by the end of July.

As a pantser—someone who doesn’t plan my plots ahead of time (plotting by the seat of my pants)—it’s always with relief and dread that I see the end coming. Because the closer I get to the end, the closer I am to the black hole. The black hole is the void between books. As a rule, I can go right into the next one, provided the characters in my head are as vocal (if not as pushy) as Joey and Aaron. Usually when I’m a month or so away from an ending I have other characters who’ve been locked in a cage screaming to get out. (My mind is clearly a very scary place: cages, black holes, bodies.)

There are a bunch of characters I’ve stored away to play with next, but none of them have started screaming yet. It may be that Aaron and Joey are just too strong right now to let anyone else have his say, but what if I am teetering on the brink of that black hole?

I don’t like being in there. I don’t like myself when I’m in there. I need characters to show me scenes as I drift off to sleep. (Thanks for that last sex scene, Joey. Talk about sweet dreams). I need words bursting out of my head so that I’m scribbling in my notebook at any point in the day. I need a reason for the times when I get caught talking aloud to myself—“I’m working out a plot point, thanks.” Of course, these days I may as well be talking on my Bluetooth as on a daypass, so maybe I won’t get carted off.

In an effort to stay out of the sucking void, I’m sending out a call to my muse, to Caleb and Wes and Tony and Jack and Ethan and Dev: C’mon, who wants it? You could be center stage in just three short weeks. I’ve got the keys, and I’m coming to let you out. Please, guys. I don’t want to go in the black hole.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What's in a name?

Sometimes titles come with the story. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth without anesthetic trying to find a title. In my experience, there is no in between. Right now, I'm faced with the latter. I have a completed manuscript just aching for a name. I wrote tagline, blurb, warning--all in an attempt to find a title. So far, no joy. So I'm opening up the floor here at Slash & Burn. I want to hear your suggestions based on the aforementioned tagline, blurb, and warning. No suggestion is too silly, too bawdy, too schlocky, too snarky, too purple. Hell, my first novel was named by one of my beta readers with the accompanying statement that "it's better than nothing". Which it was, since it made it to publication. I'll even sweeten the pot, shall I? When I sell the thing (I'm practising my positive thinking.), if it goes to print with the title you suggested, you'll get a free download. Sound fair? All right. Here's what I've got.

Title: (You tell me...)
Author: Maia Strong
Genre: M/M erotic fantasy romance

When internal conflict is mirrored by civil unrest, Jonas must choose between truth and safety.

On the surface, Jonas Vaneau's life is perfectly ordinary. He works at the law courts five days week, spends Sabbath night with his parents and every other night with his cat, and tolerates the unending string of single women his mother invites to Sabbath dinner. But his routine life cannot provide what he most desires—at least not as long as he must continue to pretend to be the person his overbearing parents want him to be.

An unusual encounter with a seemingly ordinary client causes Micah Hartshorn considerable consternation. When Jonas inadvertently and inexplicably breezes right past his emotional defenses, Micah finds himself involved in a drama that is far beyond anything for which his professional skills have prepared him. Figuring out this new puzzle isn't in his plans—especially not when he has his own issues to deal with both at home and at work.

All personal problems are swept up in political unrest when new laws change daily life for everyone in the city. Conflict grows among a population divided by new policies. What chance does one legal journeyman have to fix the city's troubles when he can't even fix his own?

Warning: This book contains drinking, sex, language, politics, and organized religion; nine-year-old civil rights activists; legalized prostitution; and foreign food.

So... Help?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Now Available - Why, Why, Zed?

I'm pleased to announce my first original work in nearly a year is now for sale through Phaze Books! Why, Why, Zed? is part of the Urban Phaze lines, stories set in big cities with big passions, and mine is Toronto. Books usually go up for sale late Saturday, but I finagled an early buy link just for Slash and Burn readers. Click here to order this sizzling M/M short for only $2.

And while you're here, how about an excerpt?

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...


* * * *

Just in time.

Across the living room, through the feathery, fake plant strands in the vase on the back couch table, he could see two heads poking up from the patio loveseat. They bobbed and rolled in the unmistakable synchronous rhythm of an intimate act. Zed detected no other activity beyond that—he couldn't tell if Nick had a hand pressed to Danny's alleged bulge—or vice versa. Were that the case, it would end now.

A pang seized his heart, and he swallowed the bitterness rising in his throat. To see the actual infidelity, or at least the beginnings of it, bothered him more than expected. He didn't think he could stomach the scene had he arrived ten minutes later, assuming progression to something more hardcore would take that long. His first instinct to charge forward, like the lover scorned, faded quickly. His indifference toward the relationship caused this—Zed knew he had no right to be completely angry. He brought this on himself, and it was up to him to make amends.

He backtracked silently to the open front door then guided it forcefully to a foundation-shimmering slam. "Nick?" he called out in question, trying not to sound too eager, "You around?"

He knew, of course, where to look and what to find. Those resting heads, once joined at the lips, had now positioned themselves on opposite ends of the couch. Sotto voce, curses filled the closing gap between him and the patio along with the sound of a foot scraping the concrete—no doubt, a last minute attempt to hide any visual evidence of the pungent smoke filling Zed's nostrils.

At least, it seemed, it was good stuff.

A large, opened bag of tortilla chips rested on Danny's lap. Zed wanted to snicker, thinking of the surprise crinkling the bottom of the bag, inward. Nick crossed his legs tightly and blinked several times, but Zed could tell his lover was clearly riding the high that encouraged his earlier, and potential, behavior.

"Hey, you," Nick's voice cracked with worry. "I didn't expect you back so soon."

"I had a sudden change of heart," Zed said pleasantly. He chose to ignore the lip of the bong, peeking from the ruffled dust skirt of the ottoman, and moved around so he could face the two men. They resembled guilty teenagers with their heads bowed, caught red-handed, red-eyed, and purple-cocked. "Nice day to be sitting outside," he observed, gazing toward the spacious backyard.

"Yeah, I figured you'd be on the course all afternoon," Nick mumbled. "I called you at work when your cell was busy."

"I did too, but on the way there, I decided there are better things I could do with my time." He looked at Danny, narrowing his gaze. "Unfortunately… Danny, is it?" He should have taken more care to know the men Nick chose for friends.

Danny looked away in silent escape, as though affirming his identity might secure some kind of punishment. Finally, a short nod bowed his head.

"Danny, I had hoped to spend some quality time with Nick, alone. I don't mean to be rude."

"Not at all." Danny's response came swiftly, matching his sprightly leap from the love seat. Brushing off tortilla crumbs, he smiled at Nick and made a phone gesture to his ear with his left hand. "See ya."

Yeah, we'll be changing our phone numbers later tonight. Zed only smiled and waved. "Later," he said, a bit too placating. He waited for the front door to slam before turning his gaze on Nick, who cowered and hugged himself for protection. "Why are you sitting like that?"

"Are you going to hit me?" He sounded small and frightened. Had to be the weed enhancing his lover's paranoia, Zed decided. He had never raised a hand to anybody, especially Nick. The mere suggestion made Zed feel guiltier for his recent neglect.

He knelt before Nick and placed a hand on his bouncing knee. "Why would you even think such a thing?" he gently chided. "Have I ever done anything to suggest I could become violent with you?"

"No," Nick said, looking somewhat remorseful for having asked the question. Zed could sense, though, the next words forming on the man's lips. At least if you hit me, you'd be touching me. Wrapping himself in his own concerns at work really had put the burden of loneliness on Nick if negative attention was preferred over none at all.

Zed smoothed the palm of his hand down Nick's bare calf, then back up his thigh, to the cuff of his shorts. His touch left a visible trail of raised flesh and Zed watched the skin quiver. Farther back, the bulge tenting Nick's shorts increased. A few minutes later, that delicious cock might have been in another man's mouth.

Just in time. He'd come home to stop to Nick from making a mistake and to rectify his own.

"I love you, Nick, from the day we met. I'm sorry for shutting you out like I have these last few months."

Nick straightened a bit, his features softening.

Zed squeezed his eyes shut, mentally forcing back his next words. He wouldn't blame any of this on Nick. He wasn't going to ask Nick why he hadn't made his feelings known. Lost in his fog, he wouldn't have noticed any signals from his lover. Most assuredly, Nick had said or done something, but he just didn't acknowledge it.

He would enjoy making up for lost time and see that Nick did the same.

"Let me see that gorgeous body of yours," Zed whispered.

Nick looked unsure of himself at first, as though surprised to hear such a proposition. Zed bit back a laugh when Nick apparently recovered from his shyness and let his shirt slip over his head, flying to one side. The rhythmic rise and fall of Nick's bare chest—tanned and smooth—hypnotized Zed, and his mouth watered at the prospect of taking one of those taut, pebbled nipples between his lips.

"That's all?" he teased. Nick retaliated by easing slowly to his feet and undoing the button and fly of his cutoffs. Off came Nick's underwear then, and Zed was pleased to spy a patch of dark hair concealing Nick's reddening shaft.

"Turn around."
* * * *

Hope you'll pick it up today.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate with a chat and prizes


If anyone wants to take a break from all the barbecue and fireworks,
head on over to Literary Nymphs for an m/m author and reader bash!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LiteraryNymphsChat/

Tons of authors will be there, including...me! I'll be talking upcoming art and writing projects, and I'll be giving away some goodies like free copies of my books, gift certificates, and a signed print or two. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A sneak peek at ALL SHOOK UP

My next novella from Amber Allure will be published July 13th. Here's a sneak peek at All Shook Up.

BLURB:
The year is 1883. Eduard van De Lier is a Dutchman overseeing a spice plantation on the island of Java, in the South Pacific. His obsessive attraction to dark-skinned men is just one of his many secrets. His wife Marien knows of his indiscretions, but as she's content with their Colonial lifestyle, she stays silent.

Until a former lover of Eduard's shows up in their parlor with thoughts of blackmail.

Reza was a crewman on the ship that brought the van De Liers to Java. During the passage, Eduard spent many a night in the younger man's arms. Two years have passed, and the last person Eduard expects to find in his drawing room is Reza, a letter in hand that could destroy the life he and Marien lead.

Seeing him again ignites Eduard's lust for his first dark lover. He hopes to retrieve the letter, either through seduction or subterfuge, and the longer Reza eludes him, the more his desire grows. But they're on shaky ground, and before things can heat up between them, their world explodes ~ literally ~ when the unstable island of Krakatoa erupts.

EXCERPT:
Eduard entered the drawing room, carefully closing the doors behind him. "Good day to you, sir." He gave the man a slight bow, which earned him a nod from the stranger. "I do apologize for the delay. I was attending to household drudgery. I'll not bore you with the details."

When the man spoke, his deep voice rumbled through the room. "Dealing with a servant, perhaps?" Eduard's eyes widened, and the man chuckled. The sound was like thunder, sending shivers of delight down Eduard's spine. "They all speak so highly of you. Word on the street is you're more than generous with your ... affections."

The suggestive way he said the word made Eduard grin. At least he wouldn't have to dance around the issue with this one. Motioning to a sidebar near the fireplace, Eduard asked, "May I get you a drink, mister ..." He gave an affected laugh and dared to wink at his guest. "Mercy, where are my manners? We've not been properly introduced. I am Eduard van De Lier, Hollander."

The stranger's slight smile didn't fade as he watched Eduard give him another bow, this one a bit sharper than the last. But he didn't take the bait, and didn't bother to introduce himself. After a long moment, Eduard prompted, "And you are?"

Though the smile stayed in place, some of the light in the stranger's dark eyes died, hardening his gaze. "Do you not know me?"

"Surely a man such as yourself is hard to forget," Eduard countered.

It wasn't an answer, but it bought him some time. He studied the man as he tried to think. Did he know him? Should he?

"Perhaps this will refresh your memory." The stranger reached into a side pocket on his pants.

For one breathless moment, Eduard dared to hope the man would ease the fabric aside, allowing him a glimpse of the thick cock Eduard imagined hidden beneath. Though he doubted he'd know the man by his assets alone, he'd gladly fall to his knees before him, move the rest of the material out of the way, and take whatever length the stranger offered into his mouth. His interrupted libido stirred to life again, and adrenaline shot through his veins like a heady drug. He was addicted to other men, and since settling in Java, native skin had become his obsession. "This room is so open," he said, his gaze never leaving that hand in the pocket or the front of the stranger's pale pants. "Perhaps we could retire to my chambers ..."

But the man only extracted a bit of parchment, nothing else, and Eduard felt his disappointment catch in the back of his throat as he watched the stranger unfold the paper. Amid the folds, he saw a seal he thought he recognized, and his heart stopped. "No," he whispered. It couldn't be.

Unconsciously he drifted nearer, drawn by the page in the stranger's large hands. When it was completely unfolded, the man held it up for Eduard to read, the paper stretched open in front of him. The flowing script was familiar, and if Eduard closed his eyes, he knew he could probably recite the words written in fading ink without hesitation. It was a letter he'd last seen two years earlier, during the sea voyage that brought him and Marien to this part of the world. A letter he'd thought destroyed. He had read it, and reread it, hope rising within him at the implications, the opportunity presented, and then he'd copied it, meticulous, angling his handwriting to mirror that of the original letter writer. He could vividly recall the candle flickering low across the wooden desk where he sat, hunched over two pieces of parchment. The sway of the ship beneath him, which made his hand unsteady and his progress slow. The rustle of sheets on the bed behind him, and a low voice that still managed to startle him, coming as it did from such a young, slim man. "Are you not finished yet? I'm bored ..."

The voice resonated through Eduard's memory, attaching itself to a name. With difficulty, he raised his gaze from the paper to look at that face again ~ the haughty facial structure, the fleshy lips, the deep-set eyes. A few years had passed, strengthening the features, and the once-idolizing eyes were now harsh, calculating. Softly, Eduard murmured, "Reza?"

Coming July 13, 2008
All Shook Up by J.M. Snyder

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day

It's my nation's birthday today, and I thought I'd post some pictures from this past weekend's Pride events to illustrate how proud my country makes me.

For the first time, active soldiers marched in uniform. Do ask, do tell.


They joined the police and fire service members who march every year.


The Democrats abroad.


And John Barrowman, for good measure. (In Toronto judging the How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? reality show for the new Sound of Music production.)

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