Sunday, January 31, 2010
So as you can see, my mind has been on other things this week. Please accept this adorable picture of a man and his puppy in lieu of a real post, and I promise I'll be back in two weeks with something of substance. ;)
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Take a look at these covers.
Why, Why, Zed? and By the Chimney with Dare are both M/M erotic works, the former published about a year before the latter. The former is part of a special line with Phaze Books, the latter a holiday story. One cover has no people on it, the other does.
The Christmas short sold exceedingly well, the Toronto story not so much. Looking at sales of my other M/M where at least one male body graces cover, I see high numbers as well. Naturally, I'm curious to know if sales had been effected by the lack of a warm (okay, nekkid) body on YYZ.
I've always been one to welcome feedback from readers; I do occasionally get mail and am happy to respond. Now, though, I'm interested in general manlove reader feedback. Even if the description and categories clearly label the book as M/M, do you hold off on buying when you don't see a bod? If there are bodies, should they be clothed, au naturel, what? With recent cover art flaps making the rounds of blogs and social media, I'm curious to know what readers think.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
It's a question that's been plaguing me for a while--since I finished Spirits of Abaddon: Bad Blood. I'm not talking about anti-heroes (like Triarius or Gabriel). I'm talking about villains... like Lazarus in Bad Blood.
When I wrote Bad Blood, I fully intended for Semoriel's destruction at Gabriel's hands. I never expected what DID happen...
Instead of doing away with a demon and maintaining an evil elemental, I ended up with a demon/elemental couple that I never thought I'd have. Lazarus wouldn't LET me kill off Semoriel. He isn't the love type--not by any stretch of the imagination--but he does feel passion, and Semoriel delivers that in spades.
So...can a villain be redeemed, in the eyes of readers?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
So bear with me folks, I'm gonna try and sound intelligent about this. Today, I was looking for pics to inspire a post. I admit it, I'm never truly prepared. My mind is usually stuffed with all kinds of other things and a lot of the time, I am a total space cadet. So as I was wondering Google Images, changing the search word as ideas came and went, I hit onto a comfortable topic.
BDSM is rapidly becoming a topic that, while I am not an expert and never will be, I am able to say I've formed opinions on. Slight background: I identify as a Dom (as an FYI, yes I am aware that it is Domme for female dominants. But it's my personal preference to say Dom) with some switch tendencies. So, it's something I feel I can talk about without sounding like a total dweeb.
Anyway somewhat long-winded beginning done, I discovered that there is an alarming lack of male submissive art. This isn't a new fact, no doubt. And hey, I might even be behind in talking about it. After all, there's already a website devote to it (in which I found my lovely pic): http://www.malesubmissionart.com/.
But the reason it caught my attention today was because of the absolutely ridiculous amount of female submission images. I tried to think of other images that relate directly to BDSM but you know what? If you Google anything on BDSM, it is likely that you will get an image result (or a thousand) of a bound and gagged woman. In fact, until I actually became actively interested in BDSM and met gay or male-identified practictioners, the first thing to pop in my head in relation to it was a bound woman. And the pre-requisite whips and chains and leather, yada.
Since then I've learned and written otherwise. Still, looking at those images, I'm not angry so much as I'm annoyed. There is a perceptinon about submissives that is already difficult to climb over, which is the idea that submissivs are weak or beholden to their Dom/me/Master/Mistress. But looking at the pictures on Google, I'm also baffled to see the idea that subs have to be feminine, if not female entirely.
Thinking on the stories I've read, the trend of subs tend to be slender, slim-hipped, short...or in any case, just weaker than the Dom in general. No, this doesn't mean that female subs are weaker in any way, shape or form. But let's also accept that the female gender is physically weaker than the male gender and therefore, the image of a feminine/girlish figure as a sub is a perfect visual stereotype for a submissive.
That doesn't mean it's right. A man, even the most masculine and butch male, can make a wonderful sub, visually and so on. This is another obstacle of m/m BDSM that needs to die as rapidly as the mind-reading, asshole Dom needs to. Subs come in every shape and size, male, female, genderqueer, and I think it's something those of us who write BDSM need to seriously work on bringing to the forefront.
I hope this made sense! So what do y'all think?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The book is about the trials and tribulations of Olympic figure skaters, so it's just in time for the upcoming Games. I really enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Includes the Stories...
Secrets and Lies
After the near genocide of his race, Teague Johnson now spends his lifehiding in plain sight. In a city populated by humans and Nightfeedersalike, he and his brother are forced to cloak themselves in forgedhistories in order to blend in among the hierarchy of society.
Teague’s weekly trysts with Kyle Drake give him a reason toanticipate the future — until Kyle unexpectedly disappears. Afterward,Teague’s life is thrust under a microscope, endangering everything heholds dear. Allegiances are tested, and the lines of friendship blur ina race to stop an inhuman killer. Kyle’s fate hinges on Teague’sability to untangle the intricate web of secrets and lies before it’stoo late.
The Hard Truth
Blackmailed into claiming a birthright he doesn’t want, Cadge Johnsonis thrust into a world of politics and intrigue. His only ally is oldfriend and former lover, Red Taylor — a Nightfeeder he has kept atarm’s length for decades. The sordid past they share is nothingcompared to the trials ahead. After nearly a century of love, loss,murder, and deception, only the cold, hard truth will finally set themfree.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I've been diagnosed (so far) with obstructive sleep apnea and a heart arrythmia (probably congenital and not horribly severe) and, as of about two weeks ago, celiac disease. This has, as you might imagine, taken most of my time and attention for a few months and pretty much everything else has had to take a back seat.
Thankfully, I am feeling a LOT better as I am getting the various conditions treated. I'm back to writing now that I have more energy than just that needed for survival. So you should hear a lot more from me in the near future!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Sometimes the internet seems like a great thing. Then….well, sometimes it can seem like everyone has it in for you. And, no, this is in response to something amusing and not directed at me.
I have always taken the attitude with the net that 90% of what gets written down is read in a way that the writer never intended. Mob rule and anonymity go into the mix as well. Pretty much the only thing you can do is laugh it all off.
So, I give you The Butt Hurt Complaint Form:
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The how-I-set-my-self-on-fire-making-tea story goes like this: I was pitching my work to an editor at a conference a few years ago and her eyes had definitely done the glazing over like icing on a cake and so I pulled something out of my err hat and pitched a story that I'd been planning. I thought I had about thirty pages of it written and figured she'd only request a partial (three chapters and a synopsis.) She perked right up, asked many questions (to which I winged the answers), told me she was excited, and wanted to see the full manuscript. I got home and realized I had eight pages written.
So I slaved away, day and night, a zombie chained to the keyboard. The chain stretched as far as the tea kettle on the stove. I put the lid on the kettle and looked down to realize my shirt had trailed over the still-red hot electric burner. Fwoomp! The flannel shirt was not "flame retarded" as the Halloween costumes around here often proclaim as a virtue. I looked down and called to my wife "I'm on fire." No, she did not think I was speaking figuratively about my writing progress.
I had what felt like a half an hour to consider my options. My waist–length hair was down, very close to the flames. Would it catch? It's a galley kitchen. Do I go to the front room to stop, drop and roll or do I run to the sink and shove myself under water? Should I take it off and stomp on it? Wait for help? It really was excellent slow-motion camera work. I yanked it off and stomped on it so hard I thought I'd set my foot on fire. I didn't. My hair was fine. My skin was fine.
Oh and I finished the book. But that's not the point. The point is those seconds. Or probably just that second. In that instant when your life can change forever, do you make the right decision? How can you ever know if you did?
Right now I'm writing about two characters who meet while trying to resume lives that have changed for the worse in separate examples of those very long instants. Those instants where there are a million possibilities. Or maybe there's only one. Maybe it was always going to work out that way or maybe they could have prevented what happened.
Our lives may be made up of more of these instants than we know. If you're just far enough behind, you don't see that car that ran the red light or the kid who safely chased a friend across the street in front of you. Those moments still happened.
I know what the characters from some of my other books would say. Joey would tell you it's all tape-delayed and it's already determined. Jae Sun Kim will tell you life's a crap shoot but it beats the alternative. Speaking of Kim, his gorgeous cover and an excerpt from No Souvenirs is up on the Samhain website. Watch my website and my live journal for outtakes and other fun stuff as the release date gets closer. And hang onto every second.
Now excuse me, I have two very angsty young men to sort out. I think they're kind of pissed about those life experiences I doled out in their back story. But man do they have some chemistry. Tell me more, guys.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I can also say that I had a terrible moment of RPS the other day. I tried to kill it, but it wouldn't die. See, I don't support Real Person Fic (RPF) or Real Person Slash (RPS). I know others do and that's fine, but to me it's an uncool invasion of privacy. So the fact that I had a moment of RPS while watching Ace of Cakes is just wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm laughing about it now, but at the time I was not amused with myself. No, not at all.
In less disturbing news, I got one of my novels back from one of my beta readers today. Woo-hoo! Can't wait to dig into it this afternoon. Any productive excuse to avoid actual writing is a little too welcome right now, if you know what I mean.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Speaking of e-books, January is always time for the Preditors and Editors Readers' Poll. I totally forgot about it this year until someone emailed me to say they had voted for me. Since not only did I totally forget the polls were open, but I also had no idea that someone had nominated my story Embers in the Short Story - Romance category, I was quite delighted. I was also delighted to find that I'd placed eighth in the category, and I'm one of only two M/M stories in the top ten! So YAY, readers! You guys rock!
Happy January, everyone.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I am pleased to announce that my M/M short for All Romance eBook's 28 Days of Heart, GPS, is now available for pre-order! Proceeds from sales of this title are donated to the American Heart Association, along with the 27 other titles under this banner. GPS was a fun little story to write - it's been a while since I sat down to write a magical romantic comedy. I don't know if this would classify as contemporary fantasy, because there are elements in the story that may make a reader scratch her/his head and wonder. Either way, I hope you enjoy!
While we're waiting on that, I have a sneak preview of my upcoming Enter Sandman, the first in my unofficially named Metallarotica (heh) trilogy for Phaze Books.Struck by insomnia, Len Crocker is desparate to try anything to get to sleep, even obtain the services of a mysterious living god, and probable huckster, known simply as The Sandman. When the object of Len's desires, Andrew Gibbons, springs for the nighttime session, Len is amazed by The Sandman's effectiveness...and pleasantly surprised with what he finds in his bed the next morning.
Friday, January 15, 2010
What the hell?!? I mean, really?!? Downey's Sherlock Holmes was awesome, and I looooved the subtle tension between the two leads. Tension so subtle in fact, that I may have been imagining most of it while watching the film. But I really enjoyed that ambiguity anyway, and I can't believe the Arthur Conan Doyle estate is getting their panties in a knot over some innuendo. (And kudos to Robert Downey Jr. for playing it up for the fans.)
Anyone else care to opine? I'm sure there's already fan art out there with Downey/Law being all cute and cuddly as Sherlock/Watson, but I'd so draw something to that effect if I wasn't so swamped with other projects already. If you guys have any links to cool gay-ed up Holmes stuff, please post them here. It's all in good fun, and the people who whine about it need to chill out. ;)
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Eh, I'm taking a day off today. I was specifically TOLD to do so--and not think about anything work-related. Me? A workaholic? Nah...
So... I'm not thinking about work. I'm watching Food Network, playing WoW, and listening to music.
Now, at the risk of being reminded it's about work... I'm getting back into the chat thing again, starting Monday (18th) when I host Changeling's Bar & Grill every third Monday of the month.
And now I leave you with a little pic Tory Temple sent me. I send her firefighters. She sends me.........
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Don't quote me on this but I believe that every writer has that sub-genre (or genre in full) that they want to write in. For one reason or another though, they don't. Maybe because its a risk.
Because that's the big deal and I think the attraction of it all: risk. You risk your name with each story you put out. Not to say that one bad story will destroy your credibility as a reliable storyteller. But going outside the lines is sometimes a little daunting. One of the pleasures of writing GLBTQ fiction is that there are so many wide open areas to wander through.
With respect, obviously.
But believe it or not, I'm not here to discuss the varied ways to write about the GLBTQ community (another post, another day). I'm actually going to talk about mysteries and why I really want to write one (and why I haven't yet).
My biggest thing with mysteries is figuring it out. I'm constantly impressed by folks like Josh Lanyon who put together these intricate plots, lush with clues and actual investigating. I enjoy JD Robb's In Death series as well and despite the fact that the villians have much of the same personality flaws behind their murder, it's still awesome watching Eve and Roarke figure out whodunnit.
Naked in Death, the first book, still awes me. The Adrien English series (which is over, omgosh, and I still need to get DOAPK and Dark Tide! Eee!) is a full melee of detective work. James Buchanan's Taking the Odds series is stuffed with cops doing their cop thing and doing it well.
Cops, I might never be able to do as anything but side characters and I can accept that. But I want a mystery, y'all. I've just got to figure out the whys and whats and hows behind it. The clues that lead to this, making you backtrack to that and jump to that waaaaayyy over there! But here's where the risk comes in.
I'm not a mystery writer. I'm excellent (and this isn't tooting my own horn, this is a fact I've learned) at contemporary romance. The simplicity yet complex mayhem of a relationship - be it same sex or not - makes a kind of lyrical sense to me. This is what I know how to put together, from the first meeting to the second to the sex to the fight to the HFN.
Mysteries baffle me. Yet, I want to do it. That's my super secret desire. I took the first tentative step (of sorts) with Lost. However, you knew from the beginning what that one was about and it was more about the relationship. As a romance author, I will always center more on the people than the external plot. Love's about the lovers not the circumstances. The circumstances affect them though and that's what makes the rest of the story.
I haven't written a full mystery yet because I'm not sure how. I've figured by now that it's a process that I'll just have to start. One bad story isn't going to mess me up but hovering and fretting about what if it sucks like hell? will definitely keep me from learning anything. If I love it, I should try it. And maybe it will suck. Horribly. Then I'm sure y'all will tell me.
In a way, the latest kick in the ass about this is K.A. Mitchell. On Twitter ( I think it was on Twitter, possibly LJ) she mentioned that mysteries aren't her usual style. The mystery story (Chasing Smoke - LOVE that book, btw) is a definite departure from say, Collision Course. But she wanted to do it, she did it and you know what? I envy that. I mean, she even did a historical (An Improper Holiday)!
It's all about risk. But then, taking chances is what creativity is all about. So I'm going to take a chance and go back to my WiP and...well, I can't give everything away, now can I?
Monday, January 11, 2010
The Rest of Our Lives by Dan Stone
Colm McKenna has led a guarded life. Gifted with a wintry soul and a photographer’s eye, he can stop time as easily as he freezes water, or call down cold north winds. He thinks he is alone and unique in the world. Then, seemingly by accident, he meets writer Aidan Gallagher, his opposite, a young man who quickens Colm’s heart as magically as heats the air.
In this lighthearted, gay romantic fantasy, can two male witches whose passion reincarnates century after century, find a way to express their love for each other again? Can this enchanting pair finally succeed after so many lifetimes?
Matter of Time Books 1-4 by Mary Calmes
Jory Keyes spends his time drinking and cruising gay bars picking up one night stands. Then suddenly he becomes the only witness to a brutal murder. Although the killer vows to silence him, Jory refuses to go into witness protection. This puts him into conflict with Sam Kage, a very straight and very hot police detective. When passion flares between the two men, Sam is astonished. Is he really gay? And if so, what will this mean to his career, and his life? As the danger threatening Jory increases, Sam senses that nothing is as it seems, and wonders who is really after his newfound and forbidden love?
The Manny by Sara Bell
Tate Fuller's life is a God-awful mess. He's flat broke, his dead lover's parents are suing him again and his asshat landlord A.J. Boyd is evicting him from his bike shop, the one constant in Tate's life. He's starting to think things will never look up when sees an ad in the paper for a night and weekend nanny. So what if the guy who's doing the hiring is none other than A.J. himself, or if A.J. makes Tate's blood heat with something other than anger?
After having his wife dump him because she claimed a bisexual man could never be faithful, A.J. Boyd has stopped being surprised when life throws him curve balls. Stopped being surprised, that is, until he finds out his ex-wife has died and left him with a six-week old daughter he didn't even know he had. Now he's sleep-deprived, scared stiff, and ready to do something really stupid, like hire the stubborn, infuriating, cocky Tate. And if the tension between them's hot enough to restart the Chicago fire, well, so be it.
Fun with Dick and Shane by Gillibran Brown
These pages detail the days of my life as houseboy, partner and submissive to my Daddies, Dick and Shane. They’re both older than I am and they treat me horribly, chain me, beat me, keep me short of food and water…NAH, I’m just kidding. We share an unusual relationship it’s true, and in that respect this book is suitable only for adults over the age of eighteen, as it often makes reference to sex and consensual discipline practices within a ménage relationship...step inside and enjoy!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
During this delightful vacation, I read an out-of-print book my husband found and bought for me from someone online: The Elementals by Michael McDowell. This is a horror novel, leaning rather toward the Gothic more than anything else. It has some pretty glowing reviews up on Amazon, so I was anxious to read it. I was not disappointed.
My first impression, during the prologue, was that all of my editors would have a collective heart attack. It's set in L.A. (Lower Alabama, of which the author was a native) and is written with a fair bit of local "color" in the dialogue. Example: "We're gone do this" instead of "We're going to do this". It even threw me off a few times, and I was born and raised in L.A. But dammit, I loved loved LOVED this book. I loved recognizing landmarks the author mentioned in Mobile, Gulf Shores and the miniscule towns in between. I loved the perfect descriptions of slow summer days at the beach with nothing to do but swim, walk on the beach and listen to the waves. I loved the incredible Gothic beach setting of Beldame. Most especially, I love the gradual build-up of a horror that you can't explain or escape. There are some stumbles. There's a villainous father who is TSTL and whose actions I didn't buy for a hot minute. What he did seemed to be stuck in there just as a convenient way to accomplish what the author needed accomplished. For the most part, though, The Elementals was a wonderfully atmospheric, well-spun tale of terror. I'll be reading it again.
So, that was my vacation reading. Starting on Stephen King's latest, Under The Dome, next. Although, I just received the marvelous gift of Jane Arden: Space Nurse from the wonderful TeddyPig (thank you Mr Pig! you are the bestest!), so I'll probably read that one first *g*
What about you guys? What good books have you read lately?
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Tired of the pulp eroticization of sexuality? Annoyed by the self-aggrandizement of sex bloggers? Want a more thoughtful, heartier, smarter approach to sexuality, society, culture, feminism, and queer activism? These are the droids you’re looking for. Kink On Tap is more than just a netcast about sexuality; it’s also a community of people for whom intelligent conversations about sexuality and how sexuality relates to other aspects of their lives is a motivating force for Doing Good.The show will air live on Sunday, January 17, 2010, 8pm Eastern-5pm Central http://live.kinkontap.com/ You can log in, listen and chat in real time during the show. Love to see you there!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I will not bring up high school every time Trey and I get into an argument.
Thank God, but I'd settle for not bringing it up one time out of four.
Diving In Deep
I promise not to do that in an airport bathroom again.
Why the hell not?
I will not take any vacations without very careful planning.
--------Jae Sun Kim
C'mon, it didn't totally suck.
Says the guy with scars from it.
Yeah, but that's not all I got.
I will remember that the volume knob has more than one setting.
Huh? I can't hear you? I think I'm deaf.
And continue to worship my boyfriend's huge cock.
I thought you were deaf.
I can still read.
Regularly Scheduled Life
I will find a way to get that outdoor shower installed at the beach house without Sean finding out until it's done.
You'll thank me when the families descend on us.
Let's not tell them when we finish the house.
I like the way you think, papi chulo.
I will figure out what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.
I will figure out if I want a rest of my life.
Jeez, guys. Dark much?
I will only manipulate people when it's really necessary.
Stop editing my resolutions.
Fine. Aaron Chase's resolution: I will stop calling people assholes even when they deserve it.
It's not a resolution if you write it for me, princess.
My point exactly.
But yours isn't a resolution. It's got a huge loophole.
Resolutions are for pussies anyway. You aren't going to change so why bother.
Are you happy right now?
Then what the hell do you need a resolution for?
What if we make it interesting.?
I thought you were supposed to want to keep your resolutions.
So why bet when you know you love losing as much as winning.
I will keep trying to make as many readers as possible fall in love with the characters in my head. Clearly, I'm already nuts about them. And no, I'm not working on a menage. ^ ^
Nicky and Ian from An Improper Holiday hope that everyone's Twelfth Night was as pleasurable as theirs was.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I'd really like to get my two finished novels polished up and submitted.
I'd really like to finish the two unfinished novels currently residing on my hard drive.
And on a non-authorial note, I'd very much like to climb a 5.10a at the climbing gym, and to run a 5K.
That's as close to a set of New Year's resolutions as you'll get from me.
What do you think of New Year's resolutions? Do you make them? Do you keep them? Why or why not?
On another note, I've not heard from my contest winner. So, Mo, if you're out there, gimme a shout at maia (at) maiastrong (dot) com. Thanks!
Monday, January 4, 2010
Resolutions. A sometimes dreaded word. Sometimes a word that brings confidence. It all depends on how one looks at it.
2009 wasn’t the best writing year for me. Looking back at my list of resolutions, I fell flat on my face. My muse took a year long vacation and it was a struggle to keep it around the short times it did make an appearance (and that’s when I really had to pull out the big guns to bribe it). 2010 is a different story. The muse and I have compromised and so far, all is going well. ^-^ (Though I am running low on chocolate. Donations always welcomed - lol)
So, my resolution is to keep my bottom in this chair and bring you all more stories.
What are your resolutions? Do you dread them and avoid them like the plague or relish in creating goals and trying hard to fulfill them?
Friday, January 1, 2010
So thank you, thank you, thank you! And here's to a fabulous 2010!