Saturday, July 31, 2010
Buy Dare and Dare Alike at All Romance and Smashwords!
Kindle and elsewhere are coming soon, and DLP Books is getting a new cart that will let you download right after purchase. It's time, since we've grown so much.
In this story we meet some new Dareville residents, namely the Robeson twins, Darien and Derek. They are cousins of Kate (A Winter's Dare) and Spring (The Dares That Bind) and nephews by marriage of Marlene (Handle With Dare), and they have an interesting tale to tell. Now, please note, since this is a twin story (which I didn't place with my first house because they already have a well-written and popular twin story there), it is not twincest! I realize that particular sub-genre has a following, but in all honesty I can't bring myself to write it. DaDA is more erotic than romantic, yes, but beyond the adult entertainment subplot there are no other taboos.
Okay, enough rambling. Here's the blurb for DaDA. Hope you enjoy it.
Identical twins Darien and Derek Robeson may look alike, but the similarities end there. Where Derek is hard-working and responsible, Dar is reckless and carefree. When Dar's chosen profession in adult entertainment causes yet another mistaken identity hiccup in Derek's love life, one brother gives the other an ultimatum - quit the sex business or else.
Dar enjoys the freedom and money earned from a career in the sex trade, but respects his brother enough not to hurt him intentionally. However, when a hunky film star makes Dar an offer he can't refuse, Dar's left to wonder if blood is thicker than gold. What he doesn't realize, too, is that a local video company has made Derek a similar, more profitable offer, and Derek's interested!
Perhaps the Robeson twins are more alike than they thought?
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I was told the party's BYOB, as in Bring Your Own Boys, so I brought along an image that inspired my upcoming Amber Allure release, May/December contempo Sonoran Heat. The age difference looks a little more narrow between the hotties in this photo than between my characters Tony and Josh, but it's still an inspiring image with some lovely contrast, don't you think?
While I was at it, I thought I'd post a sneak peek from Sonoran Heat as well! Enjoy!
Tony sees a chance for a fresh start with 21-year-old Josh, but worries chasing a man half his age will lead to heartache. It’s hard to resist when Josh intrigues him on an intellectual level -- and fires his libido hotter than the Arizona desert they call home. As the desert nights heat up, Tony and Josh explore possibilities in and out of the bedroom, but when each man faces a difficult choice, they must decide on the future -- together, or apart.
Josh looked out across the desert vista. Tony followed his gaze. The sun had dropped behind the mountains, silhouetting them against a purple velvet backdrop streaked with ribbons of red. As the colors deepened, Tony poured himself and his guest a second glass of wine. In silence, they watched the bright star of Venus blink to life, while the crescent moon turned a fiery shade of orange.
“We’ve shared one sunrise and one sunset,” Josh said. “What’s next?”
“Meteor shower?” Tony joked.
Josh’s laughter chimed in the cool evening air. He sobered and looked at Tony, point-blank, his face shadowed alluringly in the soft twilight glow. “I meant, what’s next now that dinner’s over?”
Tony shifted in his seat. What’s next indeed? “How late can you stay?”
“A while.” Josh shrugged, but his gaze grew more intent. He downed his last sip of wine and set his glass beside his empty plate.
Tony wondered if the wine had bolstered the boy’s bravado. He finished his own, letting the final sip linger on his tongue. As bad as he wanted to get in Josh’s pants, he didn’t want it courtesy of an alcohol buzz.
He scooted his chair back and rose. He held out his hand. “Let’s go inside.”
Josh’s fingers wrapped warmly around Tony’s palm. The current that had been growing between them thrummed stronger. Josh stood, and their bodies drew close, just shy of contact.
Tony’s lips hovered over the other man’s mouth. The promise of a kiss was enough to send pleasant tremors down his spine. He pulled back an inch, realizing he wanted to savor the buildup a little longer.
“What’s stopping you?” Josh murmured, his breath sweet with the scent of the vine.
“You’re the first since…”
“It’s okay,” Josh said, squeezing his hand. “I have all night.”
“Me, too.” Tony turned and led Josh inside. The dishes could wait.
Excerpt from Sonoran Heat
Copyright 2010 by Katrina Strauss
Coming September 5th from Amber Allure!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Man, is it me, or am I never here anymore? I miss Slash and Burn, I miss you all! Amanda does such a brilliant job keeping this site all pretty and hip and I'm like that hermit that's a friend of a friend that lives in the downstairs room and only comes out at 2 am for grilled cheese sandwiches.
Or something. Ahem.
Where have I been, you may not be wondering but I'll tell you anyway. I'm currently in a Life Upheaval (and both words deserve capitals). I have quit my old job (huzzah!) and immediately fell into a new one because I don't do anything without some kind of stable next step.
Usually. I'm not a fan of spontaneity when it comes to my real life. I like to do things on impulse but I really like being stable. Perhaps a bit too much but that's a discussion meant for warm, dark nights and cigarettes. But with this new job currently comes the juggling act that I knew was coming by the end of this year whether I was ready or not.
I'm on the fast track to getting my debt finally taken care of and MOVING! Omg, say it with me now, babies, I'm MOVING OUT! ...As soon as I see how much my check will likely be and I find a place. Which is proving to be the hardest part. Because I work in the OC and if you're not a SoCal resident or if you've never watched anything based in Southern California (hey, it could happen!), the OC is Orange County which is by far one of the most expensive bloody counties in the southern region. Sigh. Oh, life.
Anyway, I don't want to bore you to tears with the details but that's where I am. Real Life has firmly and rudely taken over. I'm carving out writing time in oh-look-time-thank-you-God-increments. I can't say it always works out but I try.
But hey, this stuff was bound to happen. And despite everything, my brain is ticking away with the words. I have a WIP I have seriously high hopes for, another idea and perhaps another tickling my muse in bad places. So no lie, it may be awhile before you see me up and running again but I promise, I'm getting there :)
Ah and my time is up because I am also sniffly with a sudden head cold-that-may-be-allergies-but-I-dunno-what-I-could-possibly-be-allergic-to and it's past midnight on the west side. So, see you next time y'all! Same Bat time, same Bat station.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
To complement my Hanukkah novels, I'm sharing a recipe for pesto latkes. Come over and tell us about your favourite holiday treat and you can win a copy of Eight Nights.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Lee Calder’s life is right on track. He has a small circle of close friends, a career he loves, and a baby on the way via a surrogate. Mr. Right is nowhere to be found, but Lee isn’t about to let that little tidbit rain on his parade. He’s more than willing to thrust his other needs aside and focus on fulfilling his lifelong dream of being a father.
With his love life in the gutter, Lee turns to fantasies of his hunky neighbor, Finn Alexander. His daydreaming is merely a harmless diversion until Finn comes to Lee’s rescue on a dark and stormy night.
To Lee’s surprise, the chemistry they shared in his imagination is nothing compared to the real thing. Finn is as hot between the sheets as Lee always envisioned. Better still, they get along famously outside the bedroom. The only things standing in the way of Lee having it all are the bundle of joy due any minute and Finn’s apparent aversion to children.
Lee hustled into Peckers Bar and Grill and cast a frantic glance around for his friends. Spotting them off to the left in the corner booth toward the back of the room, he waved and hurried over, conscious of the fact that he was once again late for their weekly powwow. He smiled as he slid into the booth beside Ted, opposite Jimmy and Sal. “Sorry I’m late. The snow made traffic hell between here and Asheville.”
“Excuses, excuses.” Jimmy picked up the pitcher of beer sitting in the middle of the table, filled another glass, and slid it across the table toward Lee. “At least you made it before the first pitcher disappeared this time.”
Lee caught the glass, making foam slosh over the rim and spill on his hand. He lifted it and brought the rim to his mouth, taking a small sip. “Thanks.”
“So”—Jimmy leaned in over the table—“how’d it go?”
“Things were fine.” Lee tried his best to tamp down his enthusiasm. One or the other of his friends was always giving him hell for hiring a surrogate, and he wasn’t in the mood to listen to any negativity, not when he’d just spent the day with Dawn.
Ted pushed his wire-rimmed glasses up the bridge of his narrow nose. “Just fine? That’s the best you can do?”
“All right.” Lee beamed at Ted. Thank goodness he had at least one buddy on his side. While he’d known Ted a shorter duration than Sal and Jimmy, both of whom he’d gone to college with, he and Ted shared a love of children. Whereas Lee had never given up on having kids of his own, Ted never dared to dream that high. Instead, he taught English at the local high school. “Well, since you asked and all, today was fabulous. I went to Dawn’s OB/GYN appointment and got to see the baby again. My little peanut has grown to about the size of a honeydew melon, if you can believe it. The doc says he or she is about four or five pounds now—which explains why Dawn’s belly is so huge. The whole day was just amazing. Really, really amazing.”
Sal groaned. “You just had to get him started on the procreation issue, didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” Jimmy added. “Now he’ll never shut up about vaginas and uteruses and fetuses, oh my!”
Ted snickered. “I don’t know, buddy. I think it’s great that you’re going through with having a kid of your own, but they kind of have you pegged.”
Lee rolled his eyes and took another long gulp from his glass before he bothered to respond. “I’m not that bad.”
“Dude,” Sal exclaimed, waving his hands, “last week you brought the week-by-week pregnancy book and tried to show us the diagrams. That shit is disgusting. If I wanted to know about the female reproductive system, then I would fuck women.”
“Come on, guys.” Lee looked as his friends and tried to will them to see things his way. “I admit I may go a little overboard sometimes, but this is a huge event for me. I’m going to be a dad. Can’t you be just a little happy and supportive?” God knew he had supported them through one drama after another, from helping them get rid of manipulative boyfriends to lending a hand to retrieve toys lost in orifices Lee could’ve gone his entire life without exploring.
“Oh honey.” Ted patted Lee’s thigh. “I’m totally happy for you.”
“So am I,” Sal added. “I think it’s great that you want to spit in the eye of convention and do your own thing.”
Jimmy lifted his beer. “I support you too. I just don’t necessarily want to hear all the gory details.” He nodded, as if to cement his statement, then chugged back half a glass of beer.
“Hear, hear.” Sal clinked glasses with Jimmy. Then both men turned their glasses up and drained the contents.
Lee shook his head and smiled in amusement. Some things never changed. If he didn’t know better, he’d think they were still in their early twenties instead of verging on middle-aged. “Well, I’m starved. Who wants to split an order of hot wings and cheese fries?”
“That would work.” Ted waved over the server. “I could use something to help soak up the alcohol.”
Lee placed the order for what he wanted, remembering to ask for extra ranch dressing and the blue cheese Ted preferred. Sal and Jimmy ordered a second pitcher of light beer and a plate of nachos. While they waited for their appetizers to arrive, the men caught each other up on what was new in their lives.
Before the other men could get a word in edgewise, Jimmy launched into tale about how his latest trick left him.
“Can you believe Biff said that I was shallow? Me?” Jimmy’s narrow and overly waxed blond brows rose to a comical level.
Lee snorted. “Personally, I can’t believe you were sleeping with someone named Biff. Who would hate their kid enough to name them something so ridiculous?” In spite of himself, the sound of Jimmy’s nasal voice shrieking “oh, Biff, harder Biff” popped into Lee’s mind and sent him into a round of totally inappropriate laughter that had all his friends staring at him like he was crazy.
He waved away their questioning looks. “It’s nothing. Sorry. I was just thinking about something that happened earlier.”
“Uh-huh.” Sal wadded up his drink napkin and threw it at Lee. “If you’ve been smokin’ the good stuff, the least you could’ve done is share with the rest of us.”
“As if.” Lee rolled his eyes. “I haven’t touched anything of the sort.”
“That’s probably what’s wrong with you,” Sal replied. “You need to loosen up a little.”
“Or get laid,” Jimmy added. “When was the last time you sat on a big fat one?”
Ted groaned. “Could you be any more crude?”
“Thank you,” Lee said. Some things just didn’t need to be discussed in public.
Jimmy leaned forward. “Are you going to answer my question?”
Sal laughed. “Please do. I want to hear this.”
“Fine. It’s been a while. Is that what you wanted to know?”
“Yes.” Jimmy nodded. “Just once I’d like to hear about you scoring some tail. I know you. You can’t be happy all by your lonesome, with nothing to keep your bed warm except your hand and fantasies about your hunky neighbor.”
“I have so much happening right now. I don’t need the added drama of a boyfriend.” He had a life plan, damn it, and he didn’t need a man to help him make all his dreams a reality. A lover would be nice—he wouldn’t lie about that—but he was satisfied on his own.
Jimmy chuckled. “Who said anything about a boyfriend?”
“I want to hear more about Mr. Hunky.” Sal rolled his beer glass between his palms. “Just how good-looking are we talking here? And more importantly, is he gay?”
“Spare me.” Lee shot Sal a dirty look. “The last time I checked, you’re the only one of us with a steady lover. Besides, there’s nothing to tell. He’s just some guy who moved into the house next door a few months ago.”
“Oh come on,” Sal said. “You have to do better than that.”
A spectacular lie was on the tip of Lee’s tongue when the server arrived with their order and saved him from answering. Rather than give him any more hell, his buddies discarded the conversation in favor of tucking into the grub. Lee was thankful. He didn’t need any more reminders of how much better his life would be if he had someone special to share it with.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I'm bringing my hubby's camera. Hopefully I'll remember to actually take pictures...
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Not only did James tease me with the excerpt to the sequel to Hard Fall (if you haven't read that book yet, what are you waiting for?) but James was kind enough to share the blog day since I fell asleep early yesterday and missed my post.
So I have definitely managed to get myself a complicated week or two. I am trying to finish up Not Knowing Jack, which is about Tony and Jack, two characters from Regularly Scheduled Life. Meanwhile, the National Romance Writers of America conference date snuck up on me. If you have any Orlando connections, or know someone who works at WDW or just want to stop by yourself, the book signing on July 28Wednesday evening is at the Walt Disney World Swan. The proceeds go to fund literacy projects and with 500 authors signing, there should be something for everyone. I'll be there, somewhere in the M's. It's all alphabetical.
And the day after I get back, Life Over Easy is released. Those poor boys must feel all unloved since I haven't been running around promoing them, but I love them. It was a different sort of story for me, younger guys, first book in a series (though the book is resolved, no cliffhangers), and even some paranormal elements--but no fur or fangs. The thing I loved most about writing that story was that John and Mason had a chemistry that surprised even me. They were just two guys in my head, but I let them meet and wow! In fact, their first chapter was too R rated for Samhain's website, so I have the full excerpt up on my live journal. Enjoy.
Now, I'm out of here before I take over someone else's blog.
Thanks again, James. I can't wait for Requiem in Leather.
“Food’s on!” Fred burbled from off in the kitchen.
My stomach kinda rumbled as I moved with the herd toward the table. Fred bustled about setting food out and such. Brian’s and my offers to help were shot down with a dismissive wave. Took us all a bit to settle into chairs. I ended up at one end of the table with Kabe on my right and Brian to my left. The other end we left open for Fred.
Fred hustled over with a platter of fish and set it on the table. The food smelled incredible and I realized I really was starving. As Fred eased into his own chair he clapped his hands together. “Let’s eat.”
Dishes started going round, family style. Once I managed to get a couple of helpings of fish and vegetables I asked what seemed the most natural question to me, “Who’s gonna say blessing?”
I swear, to a man, they all swung to stare at me.
I mean, Matt’s got his fork halfway to his face already and he just stopped. Kabe and Dale both rolled their eyes – I sure for totally different reasons. I knew it seemed odd, but you gotta give the Lord his due. He don’t ask much of us.>Still, I felt like Daniel among the lions right then.
“Well,” Dale broke the ice by sneering, “I’m pagan, you know.”
Wasn’t about to take him on with something like that. “Okay, well then we can keep it simple.” I grinned and tried to keep my tone even. “Cause you know my grandma always said you can thank the Lord, or you can thank the cook, but you better darn well thank someone.
Fred took a deep breath, “Why don’t you say grace, Joe.”
I didn’t correct Fred. Grace is what God had…blessings is what we ask for. “Lord, thank you for this food we are about to eat, good friends, old and new. Thank you for your love and your acceptance. We know you love all your children even of those who don’t understand.” I could have gone on, ‘cause you can never thank God enough, but I cut it short for the company I kept. “We ask that you love us and keep us in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.” Kabe, Brian and Fred answered me. Matt came along in a whisper a little bit later.
Dale glared. “You put up with that every night?”
“Sometimes,” Kabe reached for the bread, “it’s a little shorter.”
“Like what, only a third of a sermon?”
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
In other news, my novella, False Dawn, releases on MONDAY 26 JULY! Whee! I will be partying over the weekend, starting Friday because all weekends should start on Friday, right? Too right! Of course, being on the other computer means I don't have my pretty pretty cover to upload for you, but you remember it, yes? Sun flare over a planet; lots of stars; and a hunky guy. Sure. You remember. Pop over to my blog, Just add coffee, Friday through Monday and comment to win a prize! There will be an excerpt (maybe two, we'll see) and a release day bonus scene and I don't know what else because I tend to host by the seat of my pants, rather like how I write. I hope to see you there!
Monday, July 19, 2010
But at least it's done. :)
Also, to top it off, I'm still trying to recover from having to get a new hard drive. My computer is much more organized now and of course cleaner, but still, having to install everything again has been a project in it own self.
So since I can't seem to think of a good question to ask, I 'll leave you with a little inspiration I used for Kinks R Us.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
In the meantime, I've been editing and, damn it, I'm gonna write tonight, come Hell or high water!
First up: Blood & Fire 3. MUST get that one written. I know the general premise and the title, so that's a start! LOL
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I have a deadline for my new novel, and I've been plugging away to ensure that I meet it, which I will, with some room to breathe, even. After months of nose to grindstone, I'll be taking a much-needed vacation to Provincetown and New York City. I can practically taste the frozen margaritas already.
So here's a question: What's your favourite way to celebrate once you've completed an important project and met a deadline?
Monday, July 12, 2010
Now available at:
Cast out of the family home for being gay, Milo Santiago considers himself lucky to have a soft place to land. However, crashing with his older brother isn't all it's cracked up to be. Desperate for an escape from his dismal reality, he turns to work and casual hookups to take his mind off his troubles.
He isn't prepared for Campbell Brooks or being rejected in front of all his coworkers. Another run in with the older, enigmatic man is serendipitous, but not entirely unwelcome once he gets a gander at Cam in a pair of tiny swim shorts. One hot night leads to a weekend of debauchery. Long before the weekend is through, Milo finds himself falling for the enigmatic man who insists on keeping things casual. Milo doesn't want to let Campbell go, but there doesn't seem to be any other option.
Afterward, Milo isn't sure if they've parted ways as friends or lovers. Cam's eventual return leaves Milo with a hard choice. A little persistence could go a long way toward landing the man of his dreams. Or it could alienate Cam and send him running right back to New York for good.
Now available at...
Dominic and Mason have barely come to grips with the new aspects of their bond when one tiny slip up shines a light on their forbidden relationship. With societal pressure weighing down on them, the brothers are faced with an impossible decision – one which could end more than their taboo love.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Soooo. What about you guys? Anything interesting happening in your lives?
Friday, July 9, 2010
What's fun for me is the way the names lined up beneath the characters we each created. Aleks and I do share and cross write all the characters but tend to concentrate more on certain ones.
Subscribe to the Noble Romance Newsletter by July 22 and use code RXVJWR for 15% off your total order Sign up for the newsletter here (below new releases)
If you're feeling daring you may just want to use that 15% off to put a Copsucker in your Kindle. ^_^
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
It didn't stop there. Everywhere I looked there were signs of Pride celebration. The hotel lobby had rainbow flags and even a table display in the six colors to celebrate. Sears arranged its mannequins in same sex couples and made sure there were plenty of rainbow displays. A cookware store had its pots in a rainbow. That feeling welled up again. So what if they were after my money. They were standing with us.
I usually feel like an invisible lesbian. When I'm out with my wife, strangers talking to me refer to her as my sister or my friend. I correct them. I didn't have to. At breakfast our fun chatty waitress leaned in and said, "Happy Pride. Have a great time."
At the street festival, dozens of police kept the peace while draped with rainbow beads, laughing and chatting with people, posing for pictures with those in elaborate costumes. There were hundreds of booths hawking everything from dildoes and leather restraints to Jones soda, hot tubs, time shares and an opportunity for a law enforcement career or the opportunity to serve in the armed forces. Surprising, I know. Because I wasn't in the land of "liberty and justice for all" on the fourth of July, I was in Canada.
I grew up a fierce little patriot. I loved American history. In celebration of the bicentennial (yes, I'm that old), I had my bedroom done in red, white and blue, complete with a tricolored shag rug (I'll wait while you shudder in horror) and a stars and stripes sheet set. The site of the battle of Yorktown awed me as a fourteen year old. Yet on the day when we celebrate the signing of a document that begins "When in the course of human events" I had to find my pride, my sense of belonging, in another country.
Sure I could go to a Pride celebration closer to home. Like the one in Albany, NY where a guy was hospitalized afterward when three guys beat the crap out of him. The police are classifying it simple robbery. Who can forget last year's fun opening of the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, TX where the thirtieth anniversary of Stonewall was celebrated by law enforcement coming into the bar to break some skulls?
As I celebrated the birth of modern gay revolution in another country, I thought about the younger me who believed so fiercely in the power of our history to give us forward momentum to an amazing future. She would have sworn that these words would have been spoken by an American in a debate on gay marriage, "We would risk becoming a country in which the defence of rights is weighed, calculated and debated based on electoral or other considerations." But she'd have been wrong. That was Prime Minister Bill Martin of Canada. I'm afraid he was talking about the "land of the free" to the south of him. I have to thank the governor of Hawaii for proving my point in demonstrating how unworthy of equality gay people like me are.
This summer, I plan to paint my office the same shade of deep blue I once had in my bedroom. (Don't worry. I'm skipping the shag rug. And the sheets.) I wish it was as easy to regain my sense of pride.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
However, despite the stuffed up head and the plethora of cold meds running through my blood, I managed to get final edits off to my editor at Torquere, and you can all look forward to the release of False Dawn later this month. I'll be having a bit of a party on my own blog leading up to the release on the 26th. So be sure to swing by that preceding weekend as there will be fabulous prizes to be won! http://maiastrong.blogspot.com/
It looks like summer has finally arrived. All true Pacific Northwesterners know that summer starts not at the solstice, but on July 5. This year, it's a day late (and following an especially cool and cloudy extended spring), but apparently it's making up for that by being sunny all week. Better soak up the Vitamin D while I can. If only I had a magic wand to make my laptop screen non-reflective, I could take it to the lake with me and I could write while watching fit, shirtless men jogging past. That'd be some nice inspiration.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
It's a big ol' holiday here in the land of the free, home of the brave! And one I don't mind saying I fully participate in. America is my home and my first choice of places to live. While I will freely admit that I am not always proud of America, I am ALWAYS a proud American. Today is my day to celebrate that fact, and tomorrow I will go back to being quietly patriotic in my heart. I've got fireworks lined up on my kitchen counter to set off later and there are hot dogs and potato salad waiting to be consumed. I hope you get to participate in some kind of celebration today or at least have a fireworks show in your area that you can watch.
Happy Birthday, America. May your colors never run.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Anyway, while I remain in M/M writing flux, I want to remind you that I do have a free July 4th themed short, In-Dare-Pendence Day, which came out last holiday. If you haven't read it yet, it's new to you! It's part of the Dareville series and will serve as an epilogue to my eternal work in progress, Daring Red.
Download the story in PDF format from Phaze Books here!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Here's the nifty video trailer for RM:
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Just click through the previews. Trust me. *goes back to drool more*