Saturday, January 31, 2009

2008 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards

Gaylactic Spectrum Awards
PO Box 73602
Washington, DC 20056-3602
info@spectrumawards.org
http://www.spectrumawards.org/

For Immediate Release
January 29, 2009
Contact: Rob Gates


Washington DC: -- The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the 2008 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards. The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards were created in 1999 by The Gaylactic Network, the premiere organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) fans of science fiction, fantasy, and horror (SF/F/H), to honor works in SF/F/H that deal positively with gay characters, themes and issues. The independent Gaylactic Spectrum Awards Foundation was created in 2002 to manage and further the mission of the awards, which is to educate and raise awareness of GLBT content in SF/F/H. Nominations for the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards are open to everyone. Winners and a short list of recommended works in each category are selected by a jury. The 2008 Awards were presented in three categories – Best Novel, Best Short Fiction, and Best Other Work - for works originally appearing in calendar year 2007.

The novel selected by the judges as the best science fiction, fantasy or horror novel with significant positive GLBT content from 2007 was Wicked Gentlemen, by Ginn Hale, published by new independent publisher Blind Eye Books. This atmospheric novel combined unique fantasy elements with theology and mystery and incorporated complex emotional and relationship content between its two main characters. This was author Ginn Hale’s first novel, and the first title published by Blind Eye.

The work chosen as the winner in the short fiction category was Ever So Much More Than Twenty by Joshua Lewis from the anthology So Fey, available from Prime Books. This story of a man’s realization that middle age does not preclude the magic of love from one’s life was rich and sweet. Much like the Best Novel winner, this was the author’s first published story.

Other novels recommended on the judges’ short list were Daughters of the North, by Sarah Hall (Harper Perennial); Ha’Penny, by Jo Walton (Tor); Hero, by Perry Moore (Hyperion); Hex, by Darieck Scott (Carroll & Graf); Ink, by Hal Duncan (Del Rey); Lady Knight, by LJ Baker (Bold Strokes Books); Spaceman Blues, by Brian Francis Slattery (Tor); Vintage, by Steve Berman (Lethe Press); and three novels by Elizabeth Bear – a first for the awards – Dust (Ace), New Amsterdam (Subterranean Press/Far Territories), and Whiskey & Water (Roc). Short Fiction short list titles include three additional titles from the So Fey anthology – A Bird of Ice by Craig Gidney, Charming: A Tale of True Love by Cassandra Clare and Ruby deBrazier, and The Coat of Stars by Holly Black; four titles from the anthology Alleys and Doorways from Torquere Press – The Reflection of Love by Julia Talbot, Side Effects by M. Decker, The Steel Anniversary by Valerie Lewis, and Were by JoSelle Vanderhooft; Bittersweet, by Steve Berman (Endicott Studios); Dancing on the Head of a Pin by Kiernan Kelly (Torquere); Dividing the Sustain by James Patrick Kelly from the anthology New Space Opera (Eos); The Healing by Leigh Ellwood (Phaze); Medusa’s Touch by Catherine Lundoff from the anthology Crave: Tales of Lust, Love and Longing (Lethe Press); and Prime Suspect by K S Augustin (Total-E-Bound). These recommended works show remarkable variety in content, tone, publishing house size, author experience, and genre.

In the Best Other Work category – for works that do not fit in either of the two other categories - the judges identified the following recommended works: the comic book series 52 by Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison and others (DC Comics), the comic book series Buffy Season 8 by Joss Whedon and others (Dark Horse) and the comic book series Y The Last Man by Brian Vaughn, Pia Guerra and others (Vertigo/DC); the television show Torchwood (BBC) and the special episode of the television series Battlestar Galactica, Razor (Universal/Sci-Fi Channel); the films Socket (Dark Blue Films) and Stardust (Paramount); and the anthologies So Fey: Queer Faery Fiction edited by Steve Berman (Prime Books) and Alleys and Doorways edited by Meredith Schwartz (Torquere Press).

The 2008 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards were presented at Gaylaxicon 2008 in Washington DC on October 11, 2008 at a banquet celebrating ten years of award winners. Winners in the Best Novel and Best Short Fiction category receive physical awards and a cash prize. The 2009 Awards will be presented at Gaylaxicon 2009 in Minneapolis MN in October 2009.

For more information about the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards, including a complete listing of all nominated works from 2008, a handout listing winners and short list recommendations with brief descriptions, or to nominate works for the 2009 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards, you can visit the website at http://www.spectrumawards.org/ or send email to info@spectrumawards.org.

Gaylactic Spectrum Awards
PO Box 73602
Washington, DC 20056-3602
www.spectrumawards.org


Thursday, January 29, 2009

A report from the trenches.

Figuratively speaking, of course. Or... maybe not.

I've been struggling with a wayward muse as of late, but I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. So, what have I got in the works...?

First up, I'm working on a YA novel starring two gay Alabama college students, one of whom is autistic. (This will be under a different pen name, though, to keep young eyes from finding Myc's stuff.)

Second, I'm slowly but surely working with Shayne to get TPA 3 (Forever May Not Be Long Enough) into some semblance of a working novel. :P

Third, I've got a story to do for Torquere's new Spice It Up line. My spice? Clove. :D

Fourth, I'm bound and determined, come hell or high water, to write a novel (fantasy) for Tor or Daw, damn it. I WILL do it!

In the meantime... My upcoming release, 'Necessary Evil: Two of Wands' (Torquere's Arcana line) is a sequel to mine and Shayne's Pearl Birthstone, 'Sight Unseen.' It's in the Inferi Brotherhood line of the Romanorum series. Here's the blurb and a little teaser. ;)

BLURB:
Lance Shaw knows life with his lover Triarius is anything but dull, but when Triarius tells him about a vampiric son named Aldrich, Lance isn't sure what to think. To make matters worse, Triarius' trusted friend and general, Apollonius, has arrived to help with bringing Aldrich to justice for his crimes against the Romanorum, and Lance finds himself drawn to the general despite his reservations. It isn't until he stumbles upon what is intended as a private moment that Lance realizes there was -- and possibly still is -- something deeper than friendship between Triarius and Apollonius.

Just as the three of them come to an arrangement, however, Aldrich pays the Inferi Brotherhood a visit, armed to the teeth and ready to take over his Father's rule by force. Can Lance, Triarius, and Apollonius keep their people -- and their hearts -- safe? Or will an announcement from Triarius seal their fates once and for all?

***

EXCERPT:
"A Son. You have a Son?"

"Vampirically speaking, yes." Triarius didn't seem inclined to elaborate, which meant I had the rather unpleasant task of hounding him until he talked. Since he’d returned from his brief visit with his Father Diocourides, Triarius had been quieter than usual. I had the feeling his Son, whom I'd heard nothing about before, had something to do with it. "You're angry."

"A bit," I admitted. "You having a Son doesn't bother me. It's the fact that you kept it from me. I’m your lover. I have a right to know, don’t I?"

Triarius sighed and stood. "What's done is done. You know now."

"Goddamn it!" I grabbed his arm before he could walk away, ignoring the look he gave me that would've scared the piss out of anyone else. "When were you planning on telling me?"

"And say what? Admit that I failed as a Father? That Aldrich was my worst mistake?" Triarius jerked free and backed me up against the wall, voice low. "Or would you rather I told you with his blood on my hands after I slit his throat?"

I swallowed. "You're going to kill him? Why?"

Triarius spun on his heel and started for the door. "Because he threatened to destroy everything my Father and I have worked for," he shot over his shoulder before slamming the bedroom door behind him.

What had just happened?

I blinked, still standing in the middle of the bedroom, wondering what I’d said to piss him off so much. A lot of parents, even vampires, I imagined, went through the whole "I’m a bad parent thing", right? So why was Triarius making such a big deal out of it? I sighed and raked a hand through my hair. There were times when I really didn’t understand the man and his moods. He was over two thousand years old, sure, but he still acted like a damn teenager sometimes. Then again, having done the math, I’d finally realized a while back that he’d been eighteen when Dio turned him.

How I managed to get myself into these things, I didn’t quite know.

One thing I did know, however, was that I needed to find him. I hated fighting with him, and I much preferred a smile or a breathy moan coming from those lips than a frown or an angry growl. Sighing, I left our bedroom and went in search of my temperamental lover. I found him in the Council room, staring out the window onto his underground empire. He didn’t move or speak when I closed the door, but when I slipped my arms around his waist, one of his hands covered mine.

“I’m sorry.”

“I know I am not perfect,” he said quietly.

“No one has ever asked you to be. No one is perfect, Triarius.”

“But as a ruler, as a Father, I’d hoped to be.” He finally leaned back against me and I closed my eyes as I nuzzled his hair, breathing him in. “I’m tired, Lance.”

“Somehow I don’t think you mean in terms of needing sleep.”

“No.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Adam.

I like the look of him from behind. The black bomber jacket hugs wide shoulders and the blue jeans roll over a nice butt, hard thighs and long legs. The boots peeking from the jeans are old and battered. Working my way back up, a large tanned hand runs through messy black hair. It's not an intentional style...it's messy. Like he gets up every morning and doesn't think to brush it. Like his fingers can't help traveling through it, again and again.

Maybe it helps him think. It's a sign of stress, regardless. And that's what we're here to handle. I clear my throat as I make my way into the room. It makes me think of an interrogation room, but in reality, I've created a therapist's office. Sorta. All the bookshelves are there, the massive desk...but there's no chaise. I think if he had to lay down and talk to me he'd bolt.

Adam turns from the bookshelf he'd been studying and his face throws me off. It always does lately. The exhaustion has created landmarks in his face. Frown lines around the firm mouth, heavy bags beneath the shadowed brown eyes. He's handsome despite it all and carries his thirty years well. But he also looks like a man hanging on by a thread.

I gesture to the cushioned chair that's replaced the chaise and he sighs before walking over and taking a seat. I hop onto the desk and let my feet swing.

"You're not going to give me any problems right? We're doing this for your own good." I lift a brow at his grimace. "You're stretched to the breaking point, Adam. We gotta get some of it out."

He shrugs irritably. "There's nothing I wanna talk about. Nothing that hasn't been said before. That hasn't been whined about and cried about."

"Let's be macho on a different day. You may not agree but people might want to know about your struggle." When he frowns harder and starts to turn away, I tilt my head. "They're going to want to know about Graham."

He freezes. "Everything is about Graham." His voice has gone flat, maybe in an attempt to hide emotion. But I swear, just for a minute, that guilt flickered across his face.

"No, Adam. This whole thing is about you."

Adam tenses, so tightly strung that a tap to the arm would probably destroy him. Shatter him into pieces as sharp and jagged as broken glass. The smile he gives me has defeat running along the edges. "You'd think so, eh?"

"I know so."

He grunts. Surrenders. "What do you want to know?"

I scoot back until I can cross my legs on the desk, Indian-style. "Let's start with what's happening. "

Adam snorts, leaning back in his chair. There's a casual swipe through his hair - it definitely helps him think. "Graham has leukemia," he whispers. "I can't remember which type but it's rare in adults. Dangerous. It seems like it just happened. No warning, nothing. He came home from a doctor's appointment - he'd been having really bad headaches and nearly passed out on the way to store from the pain - and they'd found it. In a blood sample."

His hands are shaking. I hadn't noticed until now. Mentioning Graham must have started it. "That must have been hard to take."

Adam looks away. "I didn't handle it well." He won't go into detail when I prod him but I remember that moment. I'm not proud of him either and his shoulders slump, like he knows.

"So Graham's in the hospital for chemo, right?" He nods, still not facing me. "Didn't the doctor let you stay in there too? What's that like?"

Adam faces me again and he shakes his head. "It's terrible," he murmurs. "The machine that monitors his heart keeps me awake. It's like...I can't help but wait for the moment it flat-lines. It's hard to sleep with thoughts like that."

I straighten and blink at him. "But...Graham is barely starting chemotherapy. How can you be worried about that?"

"You know what leukemia is don't you?" I scowl at him and Adam tosses it right back. "It's not a joke. It's not like the flu or even fucking pneumonia. Graham could d-die."

He clamps his lips shut after he stutters and I frown. "You can die from pneumonia too. That doesn't mean its going to happen."

"I know." Adam drops his head and he stares at his hands. "I know. And it doesn't matter how many times I tell myself that or how many times I remind myself that we've just started...I can't shake the fear." He lifts his eyes to me and there's outright fear in them. "I don't know what I'll do if he...if it happens."

I know his past. I know his present. I know his future. And I know there's more. "Or are you just afraid of being alone?"

He jerks upright, hands curling into tight, tight fists. But maybe it's on my face, the determination to get to the root of the problem because he can't keep his eyes on me. His gaze drops again.

"Yeah." His voice is holds the same rigid tension that's evident in his hands. "I'm scared shitless of being alone. But it's more of being without Graham. For Christ's sake, I draw a webcomic. Who else is gonna let me plunk my ass in front of a computer to draw of all things and not want to strangle me by the end of the day?"

"Is he the more dependable half then?"

Adam snorts and his hands slowly uncurl. "Without a doubt. I'm not a complete flake...but Graham's the one who knows what the hell is going on."

I glance at the time and sigh. We've got to some good points but not everything. But then, maybe its better that we haven't. "We don't have much more time but before I let you go, tell me something about Graham's family. I know yours is kinda out of the way but I know Graham's mother flew in didn't she?"

Adam grimaces. "Yeah, from Georgia. Evelyn, Graham's mom, is the original meaning of steel magnolia. And she hates me."

I nod. "I've heard. Do you know why?"

"Oh yeah," Adam's frown morphs into a mean smile. "It's because Graham's gay and she thinks if I wasn't in the picture, she'd be able to bring him back to the correct side of the playing field." The smile softens as a little more amusement slides into his tone. "She calls me the devil's henchman, I kid you not."

I blink. "Filled with her own self-righteousness eh?"

"Yeah. How she made someone like Graham, who is so the comfortably gay dude, I'll never know."

"Graham has...two siblings, yeah? Brother and sister?"

Adam's smile turns fully genuine. "Juliana, the baby and Joe, who is smack dab in the middle. And I have no idea how Evelyn did it but she's somehow made them the most anti-homophobic people ever."

He glances at his watch and stands up. "Speaking of Joe, I gotta go. He's offered to watch the house and he's going to call and let me know if he's managed to escape his mother." He rolls his eyes. "Evelyn is staying in town and believe it or not, is actually on a campaign to get Graham to move back to Georgia now so he can go to a hospital out there away from Gay - with a capital G - California. Joe leaving to help out the enemy isn't going to go down well."

I hop off the table and walk with him to the door. "Watch the house?"

Adam nods. "Yeah, grab the mail, bring in the newspaper. I haven't had the chance to do it." His voice slows and lowers. "I hate being in the house without him."

We both know who him is. "Thanks for stopping by, Adam." I pull the door open and look up at him. "I know it was hard to be away from Graham to do this. Stay positive, okay? He needs you, you know. Now more than ever."

Adam shoves his hands in his pockets. "Joe told me the same thing." He blows out a breath. "He's kinda on a campaign himself, to help me get a handle on it. It's the Graham in him." There's a flicker of a smile. "Graham thinks of everyone before himself. I'm trying to learn to think of him now."

"G'luck." I salute him, get a nod and then he disappears through the door.

Staring out after him, long after he's gone, I have to wonder if he realizes just how alone he already is....and how fast he's slipping.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Hard Truth is here!

ay_hardtruth_coverlg.jpg


Blackmailed into claiming a birthright he doesn't want, Cadge Johnson is thrust into a world of politics and intrigue. His only ally is old friend and former lover, Red Taylor -- the very man who swindled him into traveling to the council's stronghold.

Thrown together with a man he's kept at arm's length for decades, Cadge fears for his sanity. The sordid past they share is nothing compared to the trials ahead. After nearly a century of love, loss, murder, and deception, only the cold, hard truth will finally set them free.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practices, violence.

Read a spicy excerpt here!

Buy the novel here!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where The Heart Is

Where The Heart Is (a Bay City Paranormal Investigations story) comes out from Samhain Publishing on Tuesday. Yay! This is Dean Delapore's story, something lots of people have been waiting for ever since Dean nearly stole the show in What Hides Inside (BCPI book 2). Read on for more *g*

Blurb:

When Dean Delapore takes a break from Bay City Paranormal Investigations, he doesn’t expect his work to follow him to the eclectic town of Carrboro, North Carolina. The chance to investigate a haunting at the Blue Skye Inn and Winery is more than he can resist, mainly because of the inn’s owner. Deceptively shy and gorgeous, Sommer Skye is not only fantastic company, he’s the best lay Dean’s had in ages.

As Dean probes the misty secrets of the haunted inn, he unexpectedly peels away the layers hiding Sommer’s private pain. Pain Sommer’s not sure he can withstand. By the time Dean realizes just how deep his feelings for the innkeeper run, it’s far too late to turn back.

Now if only he can convince Sommer that falling in love changes everything, maybe for the better. If the bones of the past can be laid to rest…

(Warning: This book contains a melancholy ghost, unusual jewelry, misuse of vegetable shortening and lots of hot, sweet manlove)

Excerpt:

From his spot at the table, Dean saw Sommer stop and speak to his friends at the door. Turning around, Kerry waved over her shoulder at Dean, then left the barn hand in hand with Ron. Dean picked up the glass of zinfandel he’d bought and took a long swallow as Sommer weaved around the emptying tables toward him.

“Hi, Dean,” Sommer said, leaning a hand on the chair beside Dean’s. “Walk up to the house with me? I’ll tell you about my ghosts, and I can show you around if you want.”

Dean grinned at the nervous quaver in Sommer’s voice. Oh yeah. I’m getting laid. “That would be awesome. Let’s go.”

Pushing his chair back, Dean stood and trailed Sommer toward a small door behind the bar in the back. He was close enough to smell the man’s musky cologne, underlaid with a hint of sweat. Dean breathed deep, trying not to be too obvious.

They rounded the bar and slipped through the back door into the night. Hunching his shoulders against the cold, Dean gazed around the grounds. A wide, neatly trimmed lawn stretched from the barn to the vineyard. The bare vines rasped together in the light wind. Overhead, the waxing moon shed a soft silver glow over the scene. Dean found it unbearably romantic.

Moving closer to Sommer, Dean gave him his friendliest smile. “So tell me about your ghosts.”

Sommer shot him a shy sidelong grin which made him want to rip the man’s clothes off and throw him down on the manicured grass. “What would you like to know?”

“What exactly you’ve experienced, where and when, and for how long.” Dean accidentally-on-purpose brushed Sommer’s arm with his, savoring the resulting hitch in Sommer’s breath. “Anything you can think of, really. Every detail can help determine what sort of haunting it is, and what if anything can be done about it.”

Sommer nodded, a thoughtful expression on his face. “That makes sense.”

“So tell me all about it.”

Sommer glanced at him again, a mixture of curiosity and fear in his eyes, but didn’t say anything. Dean waited, content just to walk together through the moonlit night. A light, chilly breeze rustled through the bare branches of the trees clustered behind the house, bringing with it the sounds of music and laughter from the barn, and the lingering smell of sun-warmed grass. Finally, as they approached the wide, shallow steps leading to the front porch of the Inn, Sommer stopped and turned to Dean with a determined expression.

“I see a mist forming,” he said, his voice low and quiet. “It rises from the floor in the kitchen, hovers there for a minute, then floats out the back door. It doesn’t make a sound, or interact with me in any way. But I…” He drew a deep breath, his gaze skittering away to rest on the huge wooden swing swaying from the branch of a large oak in front of the house. “I can feel it watching me. Like it expects me to do something, but I don’t know what.”

Intrigued, Dean leaned against the steps’ railing and regarded Sommer with keen interest. “Has anyone else seen this?”

Sommer nodded without looking at Dean. “Yeah. The cook, Lisa, saw it once, when I was in the kitchen with her.”

“Is she the only one?”

“So far, yes.”

“So far?”

“I’ve only had the Inn for four years, since my parents…” Sommer stared at the ground. “Well, they went missing. No clues to where they’d gone, or what might’ve happened to them. They just vanished.” Raising his head again, Sommer met Dean’s gaze with a surprisingly strong defiance in his own. “I’m an only child, there was no one else to look after this place, so I quit my job in Oregon and moved to Chapel Hill to take over the business. I’ve been seeing the mist ever since I first moved in, and no one’s seen it except when they’ve been with me.”

Moved by something he didn’t quite understand, Dean reached out and laid a hand on Sommer’s shoulder. “How often do you see this mist?” he asked, keeping his tone calm.

“A couple of times a week, usually.”

Dean pursed his lips, thinking hard. “Did you live here, in this house, before you lived in Oregon?”

Sommer shook his head. “No. In fact, my parents were—are—from Portland. They moved here when I was fifteen. I didn’t want to leave home, so they let me stay with my Aunt Katherine. I’d never been here until Mom and Dad turned up missing.”

“Hm.” Pushing away from the railing, Dean slid his hand down Sommer’s arm, making sure to brush their fingers together before drawing away. “Hey, can we go inside? It’s getting cold out here, and I’d love to see the kitchen, if that’s okay.”

Sommer’s face brightened into one of those sweet, crooked smiles which made Dean’s stomach flutter like he’d swallowed a flock of small birds. “That would be great. I have a few guests coming in tomorrow, but the place is empty tonight. We’ll have it to ourselves. I can show you everything.”

The implications in Sommer’s words were not lost on Dean. He took Sommer’s arm and smiled up at him, letting his lust shine on his face. “I like that idea.”

Sommer’s eyelids fluttered downward, hiding his eyes. His blush was clearly visible in the bright moonlight. He opened his mouth as if to speak, then closed it again and shook his head. His gaze darted up again, meeting Dean’s, and Dean caught his breath at the fire in the man’s eyes. Before Dean could say a word, Sommer’s hand clamped onto the back of his neck and pulled him into a rough, demanding kiss.

For a split second, sheer surprise held Dean immobile. He knew Sommer wanted him, and he was confident they’d end up in bed before the night was out, but he’d expected to take the initiative himself. He never would have guessed Sommer would be this aggressive.

The thoughts fleeted through Dean’s brain in the space of a heartbeat, then Sommer’s tongue darted into his mouth and anything resembling rational thought went right out the window. With a low moan, Dean clutched Sommer close and tilted his head to deepen the kiss.

One long, graceful hand slid down to cup Dean’s ass through his snug jeans, the ones he’d worn specifically because they displayed his backside to best advantage. Dean returned the favor, grabbing a double handful of well-toned rear end and squeezing as Sommer attempted to suck his tongue out. Sommer groaned, the hand on Dean’s neck moving up to fist into his hair.

Dean whimpered when Sommer’s knee pushed between his legs. He rubbed himself shamelessly against the firm thigh.

“Let’s go inside,” Dean breathed the second Sommer broke the kiss to bite at the juncture of neck and shoulder. “God, if you fuck as good as you kiss it’ll probably kill me but I don’t care.”

Sommer’s chuckle vibrated against Dean’s throat. “No one’s ever complained. Not that I’m in the habit of taking men I just met to bed.”

“Mmm,” Dean hummed, arching his neck for Sommer’s nibbles and kisses. “I’d ask you why you’re taking me to bed, but I don’t care just as long as you fuck me through the mattress.”

To Dean’s relief, Sommer didn’t seem inclined to answer the question Dean had half-asked. Pulling out of Dean’s arms, Sommer grabbed his hand and started dragging him up the steps to the porch. “Come on. There’s lube and condoms in my bedroom.”

Dean’s insides clenched. Oh, my. I think I like him bossy. Grinning, he let himself be led inside.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Digital Art & Design workshop

Creative Direction workshop
Happy Friday, everyone! Things are kind of slow for me as an m/m author right now (not much time for writing, I'm afraid), BUT, I've got some exciting news for anyone interested in digital art. Next week, I'll be hosting an online workshop with three of the most talented cover designers and artists in e-publishing: Croco Designs, April Martinez, and Cris Griffin! We've got lots of cool things in store for attendees, including an exclusive interview with TOR/Forge's art director, and we'll be discussing include making photomontages, creating banner ads, digital painting, using masks in Photoshop, etc. Sunday will feature a big Q&A session, so come prepared with questions and WIPs for feedback.

AND the workshop is being sponsored by Wacom, the premiere manufacturer of digital tablets, so all attendees are automatically entered to win a most-awesome BAMBOO tamblet! How cool is that? :D Tablets are one of the most important tools a digital artist can and should have.

I hope to see you there at the workshop! Register now

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why Me?

K.A.’s a little busy with deadlines so she asked if I would fill in. Trust me. You don't want her here. She's a little cranky right now. My name is Daniel Gardner, a character unlucky enough to be found in her head--and her current WIP. Wait a minute, considering the hot sex I’ve been having, maybe not completely unlucky.

But while I have your ear, just let me tell you what she did to me. If there is one thing I hate doing, it’s going home to Easton, PA. Everyone there still treats me like the four-eyed, braces-wearing geek I was back in high school. So what does K.A. do? She drops me in Easton for a month—an entire month. Just because my mother guilted me into closing up the house for her while she looks for a condo in Harrisburg.

I like my life in D.C. just fine, thank you. I have a great job I love and an offer for a better one. I have a boyfriend. Well, I did until he started making things awkward by suggesting we buy a house together. I wasn’t expecting that. Maybe I did want some time to think. About the job. About Scott. But a month in Easton? What the hell did I do to her to deserve this?

But—as any late-night TV ad can tell you—wait, there’s more. Two nights after I get there, someone breaks into the house. Who shows up when we call the police? Trey Eriksson. The guy who swore he wasn’t gay even after we both figured out at seventeen that frottage was a lot more fun to do than it is to pronounce. What kind of guy could deny he’s gay when he just got off rubbing on another guy’s dick? Guess. Go on. I’ll wait.

Yeah, so I open the door to a big dose of Trey. Thanks, again, K.A. Because Trey isn’t something you can ignore once he’s there. It’s like when there’s a big snowstorm and even though you’re not a kid anymore, you still get that whole rush of excitement: no school, snowball fights, sledding, hot chocolate. And in the morning you’re shoveling out your car, freezing cold and wet and late for work. Trey is that blue and white band of precipitation heading your way on The Weather Channel. Must be his Viking roots. I won’t say I haven’t thought about how much fun walking through a winter wonderland can be, but this time I know better than to expect anything but frostbite when it’s over.

Not that he can see past what happened before either. And I’m not just talking about our screwed up personal history. Trey’s got a hell of a lot more reasons to have put Easton permanently in his rearview mirror than even I did. But instead of doing what a sensible person would do i.e. get as far away as possible, he stayed.

So he’s here and I’m here and K.A. seems to think that I can help Trey finally put the past behind him. And I will. Despite what my family thinks, I am actually a trained federal agent. I can analyze a case and solve one, even if I do most of my work at a desk these days. So I’ll help him, whether he wants it or not. He didn’t—doesn’t—deserve to go through life with that weighing on his shoulders. But once that’s done, I’m out of here. You got that, K.A.? Are we clear on this?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change is good.

I have such disparate things to think about today. On the one hand, I'm pleased with myself because I finished the first draft of the paranormal investigators novel I started this past NaNoWriMo. I want to toot my own horn about having accomplished one of my three stated goals for 2009. But at the same time my personal achievement is awfully small when compared to what I watched this morning on MSNBC. In fact, I'm still watching. America elected and has now sworn in the first African-American president. That's big, you know? (Okay, understatement of the century, but you get it.) His address was eloquent, intelligent, somber, thoughtful, and yet to my ears also very hopeful. There are too many brilliant things in the speech to comment on, so I'll comment on the one that made me most hopeful: "The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness." Now, I am not an optimist, nor do I look at the world through Bono's rose-colored glasses. I know that neither Obama nor Biden spoke out in favor marriage equality during the campaign. Indeed, in the one VP debate I watched, Biden spoke against it. Part of me is still royally pissed off about that. The analytical part of me understands that you have to play your cards close to your chest--especially in a presidential campaign. You have win the job first. Only then can you accomplish any goal. I can only hope, based on what President Obama said, that marriage equality is one of his goals. "...all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness." Damn right.

You can find the full transcript here, and undoubtedly a lot of other places. I recommend you go read it. Better yet, go watch the presidential address online if you missed it live. I'm sure there are oodles of places where you'll find it. It's more than worth the 19 minutes out of your day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gay pirate fiction on a rise?

This is just an observation and thought.
I’ve noticed an increase in historical gay romances on the market lately. Especially those of pirate origin. The thought of gay pirates never really crossed my mind until recently. And when I started doing a little research concerning pirates for one of my paranormal plot bunnies, I found that there was a good possibility that homosexual activities was happening during this time.

Just think. From approximately the 1640’s to 1690’s, Buccaneers were all over the seas. The colonies they built consisted mostly of men and of course, the ships were packed with men. Hello. How else would all that testosterone find release? (Thoughts of yummy manluv floating through my head)

However, I found it interesting in my research that this was apparently acceptable behavior when women were hard to come by. It was usually when a man chose only to sleep with men did the possibility of scorn come about as men of the time were expected to marry, have kids, yada, yada. So I can see where the big conflict is in most of these stories.

This also reminds me of prison life. Having been around correctional officers for 14 years now, I know that it’s not unusual for one to find two men together, yet both deny being gay. Imagine being surrounded by 1,400 other male inmates and needing that release. This is acceptable behavior in this environment.

Other than Stephen King novels, I adored historical romance novels. Especially the pirate ones when I was younger. The heroine kidnapped for some plot of revenge only to fall in love with the handsome pirate captain. *sigh* The racier, the better. Personally, my attempt at historical romance was a big bomb, so I’ll stick to writing contemporary and fantasy.

What I’d like to know, as a reader, would you buy one of the gay historical romance books because it’s about manluv? Because it’s historical? Or both?

Here's some pirate eye-candy. :D





(This one is a little inspiration I found on the web - not sure where, but it's lovely :P by Kiriko Moth)


Sunday, January 18, 2009

And they just keep on coming.

My husband took his motorcycle out to the desert this weekend for some dirt bike riding. I asked if I could go, too. I don't ride, but I got a new Sony Reader for the holidays and figured this would give me the excuse to sit around in the tent and catch up on my reading.

"No," he says. "No wives. Just boys."

"Oh, really?" I say slyly. "Just boys? What do you do out there with all those boys?"

"I ride." He's slightly offended because he knows where I'm going with this, but feigns ignorance all the same.

"So do you share tents and stuff?"

"... Do you see slash everywhere?"

"Yes," I muse. "I sure do."

Can I help it if he sets them up and all I have to do is knock them down? You'd think he'd learn. ;)

Happy almost-Inauguration Day, world.



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Live from MarsCon

Forgive the lateness of this week's post. I've been a guest at Marscon 19 in Williamsburg, Virginia, and am having a great time. I sat on four panels this weekend, including ones for Victorian/steampunk erotica, social media for authors, ePublishing, and tips from editors. In about an hour the Rocky Horror people are going to play the movie and put on a show. Haven't done Rocky in years.

It's been a great weekend. Got to hang out with erotica authors, many who write M/M like Beth Wylde and Helen Madden. Will definitely have to do this con next year.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What is a real man?

I'm currently finishing up a collection of short m/m stories that I wrote throughout 2008, and there's a question I've been mulling over for a while. In Bloglandia, I see a lot of people, authors and readers alike, complaining about gay characters 'who don't act like MEN'. Or, to put it more crassly, the "men with p*ssies" phenomenon. (Edit: I've been corrected via email: the correct term is "chick with a d*ck". Either way, I'm not crazy about it.)

I don't get it. I mean, what does it mean for a 'man to act like a man'? What defines a "MAN"? Because no one is alike, and frankly, the overloaded-with-testosterone Alpha type isn't all that interesting to me. Also, the only gay males I personally know who are comfortable being open about their sexuality enjoy good fashion (as do many straight males for that matter), fuss about why I keep getting crappy dye jobs, and enjoy Broadway show tunes. And *gasp* they get emotional, and cry even. They've told me they've done this, and I believe them. So does this mean that, if I were to make them story characters, these guys would be called out for not acting like MEN?

Hmm. So now I wonder if the whole issue isn't about writing 'real' men at all, but writing about the kind of idealized male that romance readers find interesting, and then partnering him up with another idealized male.

But shouldn't it be more important to write about PEOPLE first, instead of trying to make them fit a cookie-cutter definition? I dunno...that's why I'm mulling this issue over. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Do! Antho and Fringe Benefits

Been busy :)

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I Do! Anthology
Publisher: MLR Press
Price: $ 5.99
Buy it here.

Do you support the right of any human being to marry the person they love? The right to say 'I Do' to a life of commitment and sharing with that one special person? We do. We hope that marriage will soon be a dream that everyone can share.

That's why the following authors of LGBT fiction have donated stories to this anthology, in aid of Lambda Legal Fund's fight for marriage equality:Tracey Pennington, Alex Beecroft, Charlie Cochrane, Clare London, Storm Grant, Lisabet Sarai, Sharon Maria Bidwell, Jeanne Barrack, Marquesate, Z.A Maxfield, P.A Brown, Allison Wonderland, Erastes, Zoe Nichols and Cassidy Ryan, Emma Collingwood, Mallory Path, Jerry L. Wheeler, Moondancer Drake, Fiona Glass, Lee Rowan.

All profits from the sale of this anthology will be donated to the Lambda Legal Defense to fight Prop 8 in support of marriage equality for all.


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Fringe Benefits
Publisher: Torquere Press
Price: $ 5.95
Buy it here.
Read a review here.

Combine a yaoi sensibility, a corporate setting, and four authors, and what do you get? Fringe benefits -- an anthology featuring what happens after hours in some of the nation's most upscale offices. From the subtle dynamic of office politics and personal identity in K.I.L. Kenny's Accessibility Beta through the rough and raw collision of James Buchanan's Just Business, there's something for everyone.

Zoe Nichols turns in Wunderkind, a sweet, contemporary semi-historical, set during the early days of internet marketing, while CB Potts explores the classic hurt/comfort dynamic in When the Cat's Away. See what these four talented authors of erotica have to offer, and sign up for your Fringe Benefits today!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New year, new look

Loose Id has gotten a makeover, and I quite like the sleek new design. The "Miss a Week?" feature is a handy way to see last week's releases if you -- wait for it -- missed them.

In other news, I just got back from a fab weekend in the Big Apple and am brain dead from a combo of booze, Broadway and babes. Good times, good times.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Current Obsession

For some reason that might have to do with migraine medication and lack of sleep, I was going over my list of projects for 2009 (so far) and noticed there was a really consistent theme that underlaid quite a few of them. So consistent and clear I felt like an idiot for not really consciously paying attention to it before.

Guess I could claim I planned it... nah, no one that knows me would believe that.

My current obsession seems to be "Don't believe the surface" :)

There's my erotic chocolatier who is not nearly as tough as his tattoos, muscles and motorcycle would seem to imply. He's rather a soft-center or truffle, really. A nice creamy one... ummm, right, back to the subject at hand.

There's a little sniper who is deadly and feared, but caretakes the man he loves.

There's a kilt-wearing shape-shifting black dragon that is sent to kill but hates it every time.

How about my celtic fiddler who turns out to be a classically trained violinist - and gay.

When I told Mr. Maura this eureka realization, he looked at me like I'd lost what little brains the migraine meds leave me with and said "You JUST figured that out?" Then he went off to get me some Diet Coke - I think he's hoping the caffeine will reconnect a few brain cells.

I still have a lot of love, compassion and forgiveness in these stories but it does make me wonder what pattens other people see that I don't. Anyone care to whap me upside the head with things you've noticed about my writing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Becasue it reeks of slash

And I'm brain dead and in need of a good laugh:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ficcus Interruptus

My trusty magic notebook and I went back to Disney World at Christmas. And while I hammered out 7K of my work-in-progress, the magic bus-summoning ability of my notebook remained.

You see if you stay at a Disney resort, a bus comes and picks you up to take you to your choice of theme park. Christmas week is a peak time and it was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it, yet the magic notebook could not be stopped. Even if we’d just missed the last bus, after three sentences another bus to our resort would appear (despite the stated standard of twenty-minutes between buses.)

So picture if you will me—a woman in a princess tiara, T-shirt and shorts—scribbling in a 4 x 6 notebook while waiting for the bus to the Magic Kingdom at 7:00 in the morning, surrounded by hollowed-eyed parents drinking coffee and on-the-verge-of-tantrum hyped up children.

His fingers brushed the worn spot on Trey’s jeans where his holster rode, a broken fingernail catching on the frayed threads as Trey helped Daniel shove jeans and briefs out of the way. Trey rocked his hips forward as Daniel lifted the thickening length to his lips. A big heavy hand sifted through Daniel’s hair while he rubbed his face over the soft skin, stroking and kissing, fingers—

Nudge. “It’s our bus.” And alas, I get motion sickness—in cars and buses, not on rides—so I couldn’t finish that sentence on the bus. Poor Trey.

While in the parks, I did manage a few pages in lines, or waiting for food. My notebook knew no power over the lines for food. There is a delicious dissonance to writing the some of the words frequently used in my genre while the high-pitched giggles from a Mickey Mouse stage show drift across the artificial castle moats to where you are sitting at a table waiting for your vegetarian noodle bowl from the Tomorrowland Terrace.

But when it was time to return to the resort, I had no sooner stopped in the queue and put pen to paper… It was that coaxing whisper again, despite the whiskey-hoarse voice, but just as Daniel opened his mouth to protest, Trey whispered, “Nah, not trying to seduce you. Just want to know. I want to make you scream.”

Warmth exploded—
A snort of laughter from my beloved spouse. “Bus is here.”

“But it’s not fair. Dialogue really shouldn’t count in the three sentence rule.”

“But the bus is still here.”

Honestly, whatever happened to those inconveniently long lines I remember from trips when I wasn’t writing to deadlines?

I hope you’re all enjoying your start to 2009. Happy New Year. Right now, I have some very frustrated characters to attend to.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No forking.

Wow, hi there, 2009. Kind of snuck up on me, didn't you? Never mind the mess, that's just 2008 on its way out. Come on in and have a cup of coffee; it's cold out there. I'll even add some Baileys to it.

Had dinner last night with the husband and a good friend of his. Good friend is a commander in the military and is being sent back to Iraq in March, and then hopefully will have a safe return home and he can retire. He'll be forty years old and he's been pretty decorated, so his military career was successful and satisfying for him. He was telling us what it's like over there, and was really open and casual about being around other men in those extreme conditions. The temperature in the winter gets below freezing (and up to 155 degrees F in the summer, UGH) and in his own words, "It's okay to spoon, but not to fork."

HAHAHAHA! I can just imagine. I almost said, "You'd get a hell of a lot warmer if you forked," but that probably wouldn't have won me any friends, and my husband might have taken away my wine glass. Instead, I just smiled and listened to all the male bonding tales and made up my own stories of military boys in my head.

Happy 2009, slashers! May your year be filled with random moments of boy love.

2009 Resolutions

I don't usually do New Year's Resolutions. I find they're just a way to set myself up for failure. That's why, should I resolve anything in the new year, it's usually something I know I can accomplish like, "I resolve not to purchase Norway." You know? Pretty easy to achieve that goal. This year, I'm taking a leap and making a few resolutions.

1) I will finish the paranormal investiagors m/m novel I'm working on.
2) I will begin a second novel in same series.
3) I will sell another freakin' manuscript.

I think it'll help if i plaster pics of pretty men all over my desktop background. ::goes off to pic her faves::

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New year, new resolutions, new site

Yes, I have resolutions for the coming year. I'm such a masochist. Really, I don't ask for much, maybe another month tacked on to the year so I can finish everything on time - I'll call it Maytember, and every Friday will be a mandatory holiday.

So here are my goals for 2009. Snicker all you want. I've had wine, that's my excuse for my loftiness.

1) Lose weight - Will go more smoothly if Obama can ban carbs. I got a head start on the plan today by getting one of those Eat This, Not That books. Ten pages in, and I'm convinced I never want to eat anything again. Ugh!

2) Complete one full-length Dareville novel - Most likely it will be Dare Devils - and write at least three novella-length works. I have an M/M work in outline and another in progress. Just need the time to finish.

3) Increase Phaze Books sales by 50% - We did it this year, why not?

4) Redo website...again - I am putting the finishing touches on the all-new LeighEllwood.com now.

5) Get new cart installed at Phaze - put that off long enough

6) Increase promotion efforts - more blogging and tweeting, less whining

7) Save up for Rush's next tour - and there will be a tour. Oh yes, there will.

So what are your plans?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hey handsome, what's your name?

I've begun working on a follow-up to the Infamous Story but I'm totally stuck on namimg one of the main characters.

He's just made his first appearance and a judge whom he's cheezed off has informed me my guy is "Officer Kirkland" but a first name is eluding me.

Suggestions anyone? What name have you seen too often? What name just doesn't say "sexy hero material" to you?

P.S. the name can't begin with an "M" ^_^

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome, 2009!

Wow.

2009.

Already.

Where, oh, where, did 2008 go?

2008 was an interesting, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes... something in-between, year. 2009 promises to be a good one, though. I rang in the new year with my partner Zathyn Priest (on MSN, anyway LOL) and Shayne (on Yahoo IM), watched the ball drop on ABC, and as of 12:01 am, January 1, 2009, I am officially living as Brenin Mychael. My parents know, my kids know--and they all still love me. Can't ask for more than that. :)

Work-wise, I'm still working on catching up with a lot of things--editing and writing--but I'm slowly getting there.

Hope everyone had/has a great holiday, and to you all, I wish you a very good and healthy 2009. :)
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