Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last day of February can only mean spring is on the way. Since southern California has been drenched by rain, rain, and more rain for the entire "season" of winter, I say bring on March. (Facetious quotation marks because California doesn't really have seasons. We have rain and sun, the end.) Although there is that dreaded "spring forward" time change to contend with. Hooray, more daylight! Boo, less sleep! It's a trade off.

I was thinking today about co-writing. I'm taking the very first steps to starting a venture with another author, and while we're excited about it, neither of us has done it before. Well, back in my fanfiction days, I wrote a couple of things with other authors, but that's not the same. So my question is, who's done it? How did you do it? Did you like it? Would you do it again? Man, I wish this thing had polls like Livejournal. ;)

Tell me your wonderful and awful co-writing experiences. I'm eager to hear.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Escapade Con!

Ack, I'm so late. Sorry y'all! Today was...well, I don't know what I was doing today. I blame Supernatural. I got my kid sisters addicted to it (and they promptly became Dean girls *wipes proud tear*)so we're watching Season 1 right now.

But anyway! Here's my news of the week - I'll be at Escapade Con in Ventura on Saturday to Sunday. The con actually starts on the 26th and not only will moi be there but so will some of my favorite people - James Buchanan, Stephanie Vaughan, Kathleen Bradean and Jet Mykles.

Y'all should come and say hi :) James has a table in the dealer room with Steph and Jet so there's some serious swag to be attained! Here's the info and if you go, see you there!

Escapade 2010: the slash slumber party!

It’s Our Twentieth Anniversary!

Escapade is the longest-running annual slash con in the US (and probably the world). Instead of letting that make us feel old, we’re using it as an excuse to PARTY. Escapade 2010 will be a celebration of our history, an opportunity to reestablish old friendships, and a time to create new ones.

Like a high school reunion, we’re planning a big blow-out party, inviting all of our old friends (and plenty of new ones). We hope you’ll be there. We’re throwing open the door to new ideas, too. What should we do to celebrate? What elements of Escapades past (strippers, plays, fan games, massage, filking) should we resurrect? What is the coolest new thing we should add this year? And, of course, there will be plenty of purposely controversial panels, lovely art, songvid shows, and the ever-popular Escapade con suite.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New book!

I'm delighted to announce the publication of a new story. It's a shorter novella that I really enjoyed writing very much. It's my first historical and I loved doing the research. Voyageurs is part of Torquere's fun Spice It Up e-book series.

Jack Cavendish needs to get to his station at Fort Charlotte, a fur-trading outpost in Grand Portage, Upper Canada. The fort is only accessible by canoe, and there’s just one man willing to take him on the perilous, thousand-mile journey from Montreal this late in the summer. Young Christian Smith, the son of an Ojibwe mother and absent British father, needs the money to strike out on his own, so he agrees to take Jack deep into the wild.

As they travel endless lakes and rivers, at times having to carry the canoe over land, the arduous expedition takes its toll. Yet the attraction between Jack and Christian, two men from vastly different worlds, grows ever stronger. Locked in a battle against the wilderness and elements, how long can they fight their desire for each other?

How long indeed? Here's a peek.


There would be no fire that night, so they quickly ate a cold dinner. Jack couldn’t wait to reach Grand Portage and have proper meals again. When he returned from relieving himself in the woods, he saw that Christian had pulled the canoe farther up the riverbank. One end of the overturned canoe was perched on a low rock. Christian unrolled a large, oilskin tarp over it. He glanced over at Jack. “This will keep the rain off.”

Jack’s heart skipped a beat. “We’re sleeping under there? Both of us?”

Christian’s expression hardened. “I’m not sleeping out in the rain.”

“Oh, no! I wasn’t suggesting you should.” Jack felt so flustered and dim-witted. “It just looks... small.” He was always saying the wrong thing. The thought of sleeping next to Christian in such close quarters set his pulse racing. They’d slept under the stars until this point, with plenty of ground between them.

Christian grunted a response and disappeared into the forest. The rain had slackened a bit, but Jack was still eager to take cover. He crawled under the tarp and the canoe. Although the ground was sodden, it was a relief to be out of the elements.

A few minutes later, he heard Christian’s approach. Jack couldn’t see much under the shelter, and he tried to squeeze himself over to one side. Christian shimmied in beside him, and although Jack had been practicing a deep breathing technique he’d picked up in India, his body still reacted. Christian was mere inches away and it was as if Jack could feel the heat of Christian’s body.

Jack took a ragged breath. Christian’s voice was loud in their little shelter. “Are you ill?”

After clearing his throat, Jack replied, his voice shaky. “No, no. I’m fine. Thank you.”

Christian rolled over, his broad back so close to Jack. If Jack shifted only a tiny bit, his shoulder would press into Christian. He wondered if Christian would move away. Soon Christian snored lightly, and Jack reminded himself that he needed to rest. He was exhausted, and yet sleep refused to come. He listened to the rain on the tarp and Christian’s deep, steady breathing. He could reach out so easily...

Monday, February 22, 2010

So many contests, so little time...

I have about a gazillion contests running right now, so I'm going to use my post today to remind everyone where to go to get some free stuff. :D

I'm giving away an autographed copy of Daywalker Legacy via Goodreads. The giveaway ends on February 28th -->

There's another copy being given away through Romance Junkies Valentine's Day contest -->

On my blog, I'm running a contest for a Hummer H2 gift set.

And last, but not least, the drawing through my yahoo group is for winner's choice this month.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A specific species of crazy

One particular to authors, I think. I just finished my latest work in progress, Shenandoah (sequel to my short story Dragon's Kiss). As in, just now tonight. Well, mostly finished. I need to think of an actual last line, but hey, in a 70K+ work, I think we can call it done at this point.

This book has kicked my butt all over creation. I am NOT kidding. I've been at this damn thing for months. I don't know why it's been so difficult. There's no one factor to blame, really, just a lot of different things. Lack of time, working in a created future world, having to do a lot of research, the general creativity-killing that comes with stress and overwork. But whatever the reasons, this was a difficult book to write, and it's a relief to have the bulk of it behind me, even if I still have to think up a last line then read through it and do rewrites, smoothing out, etc before turning it in to my editor.

Here's the thing. Here's where the specific species of author-crazy kicks in. I am already all fired up to start on the next one. I have ideas, and I'm excited to work on some of them and see where they go. I want to get to know these new guys and learn their stories. All this, knowing that I'm probably gonna suffer just as much as I did with Shenandoah. If that's not a little twisted, I don't know what is.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm still alive!

I've actually been working on a combination of dejunking the house, cleaning the entire kitchen and contents to accommodate for my new dietary restrictions, and ... gasp... writing and editing!

I did discover that Bittersweet is actually up for two of LRC's awards! I'm up for Best Alternative Lifestyle and Best Cover (my cover artist rocks!)

To vote:
Email dawn_roberto AT yahoo DOT com with "LRC's "BEST OF 2009" Awards" in subject. If this is not in the subject it will not be counted. You are to vote from the nominee list on your pick. The list will be up in our loop files under "LRC Best of award nominees 2009".

All entries are to be in by 2/23/2010. Any entries received after that will NOT be counted and automatically deleted.

I'm hoping to post some new work tidbits in 2 weeks!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Annual LRC Awards on Now

Voting for the LRC's "Best of 2009" Awards begins on FEBRUARY 15th and ends on FEBRUARY 22nd.

I’m up for three and other’s here are up as well!

EdgeofDesperation Best Sci Fi/Futuristic Book:

The Edge of Desperation (Jason Edding and James Buchanan-MLR)


fadedbike Best GBLT author 2009

James Buchanan


Personal Demons Best Mystery/Suspense 2009

Personal Demons (James Buchanan-MLR)


To vote:
Email  dawn_roberto AT yahoo DOT com with "LRC's "BEST OF 2009" Awards" in subject. If this is not in the subject it will not be counted. You are to vote from the nominee list on your pick. The list will be up in our loop files under "LRC Best of award nominees 2009".

All entries are to be in by 2/23/2010. Any entries received after that will NOT be counted and automatically deleted.

Here’s an Excerpt from Personal Demons


Hours later, Chase stared at the drink in his hand. Maybe this was just a bad idea. He’d been in the City of Angels for four hours, tops, and he hadn’t even talked to anyone yet. Well, during dinner, he’d chatted it up with a waiter who looked way too young to be serving drinks. The kid recommended the bar Chase leaned on now. Relaxed, trendy — but not — and way crowded; Silverlake’s low-key answer to West Hollywood’s forced urban hip.

Nude women stared vacantly off red and gold walls. Chase figured he should have specified somewhere more overtly gay and less just gay-friendly when asking for recommends. People, of all orientations and ages, lounged on Moroccan-styled couches along the wall. Maybe he would have had better odds on a weekend, Chase mused into the amber liquid swirling in his glass.

“Wow.” A voice at his shoulder jerked Chase’s attention from his self-pity.

He looked up into a bright smile and warm skin. “What?” Damn, the guy was good looking. Not in that stunning movie star kinda way, but with a pleasant face, easy body language and dark eyes. A choker of red and white beads flashed at the open collar of his white shirt. Both colors set off the man’s caramel skin.

Another smile flashed as the guy tapped Chase’s tumbler. “You managed to get a drink.” He laughed and the sound traveled straight down Chase’s spine to his hips. “Takes an act of congress to get service here.”

“Oh,” Chase’s face felt strange. Then he realized it was from an ear-splitting grin. Shit, if that didn’t come off as desperate, Chase would eat his badge. He coughed and raised his glass to his lips in a badly concealed effort to mask the smile. “I laid the money down before I ordered.”

The guy slid onto the stool next to Chase. “Explains it then.” He leaned in and drummed his fingers on the bar. “My name’s Enrique, I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.”

Enrique’s hip pressed against Chase’s thigh. When Enrique shifted, a hard bulge rubbed Chase through his jeans. Okay, Chase mused, so maybe the waiter had been on the money about the place. “I would be surprised if you had,” Chase nudged back a little, letting Enrique know he felt it, “Just in town for business.”

“What kind of business?” The question came loaded. Chase wasn’t sure with exactly what. A strange wariness seemed to lurk under the words. For a moment, Chase toyed with a few implausible explanations and then figured he just didn’t care. Because the hand that dropped down onto his thigh wasn’t wary in the least. Easy, light, Enrique traced the inseam of Chase’s jeans with his fingers.

Refusing to elaborate, Chase muttered, “Just business,” as he knocked back his drink. Chase shrugged and spread his legs a little wider.

“Really,” Enrique moved in closer, “I thought it might be scoping twenty-somethings out looking for their sugar daddies.” The faded edge of cologne threaded under the scent of guy in a hot, crowded bar.

Chase snorted. A sense of humor, he liked that. Not that it was a requirement, but it made it nice, friendly. “The problem with twenty-somethings is they’re twenty-something.” He slid his arm around Enrique to cup a nicely toned ass through expensive slacks.

Damn, if Enrique moved any closer, he’d end up on Chase’s lap. “How ‘bout a thirty-something then?”

“You’re, ah, pretty direct there.” Chase teased. Actually, for a bar pickup, Enrique was beating about the bush a lot. Half the time a nod, a smile and a jerk of the chin arranged everything.

Enrique leaned in and laughed in his ear. “No, pretty direct is, do you wanna fuck?”

He squeezed Enrique’s butt. “Is that an offer?” Felt good.

No laughter this time. Enrique hissed, “Want it to be?”

“Yeah.” Chase stood.

“Then it’s an offer.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Altered-Altered States

Since I still cling like a barnacle to the academic schedule, this is presidents' week. It was always my favorite vacation week as a kid, because we never traveled, never had company and there were no family obligations. (Sweet sociable kid, wasn't I? I haven't changed. But I think it was my parents' secret favorite, too.)

As a teacher, I love it for precisely the same reasons. And as a writer—well, let me see, where was I when my alarm to post the blog went off. Oh, playing a computer game. But this time, I have an excuse. And before I rationalize my gigantic time waster of the day, let me say that this blog will prove what a ginormous dork I am. (Like I don't already get 100 dork points for saying ginormous).

Rationalization for not writing today follows. (People I have been nagging to work on their books should not read any further.) So the WIP is different. Different in a lot of ways, but the way that was frustrating me last night and today was because John and Mason are separated for most of this and the next chapter, which is very unlike me as a romance writer. I missed them together. So I borrowed the love of my life's Sim 3 game and made them a happy home. They are adorable together. Mason wants to have John's babies, but I don't quite know how that works out. I'm not a regular Sim-gamer. And I don't know how Mason and John work out in the book either because I'm a panster. But seeing them happy made me feel more determined to write them to that happy ending.

But then the blog alarm went off and I realized I had no idea what to write about. Now, people have often asked if the characters who all live in Florida and know one and other would ever get together. So with the thrill of a Sim-god raging in my blood, I built a giant house and threw all six of them in together. Noah and Cameron from Diving In Deep, Joey and Aaron from Collision Course and although you haven't met them officially yet—their excerpted selves are floating around—Kim and Shane from No Souvenirs which comes out March 9. To make life really interesting, I also threw in a Simmed Dean Winchester (who is not my creation but Eric Kripke's) because two prickly personalities (Kim and Aaron) and one aloof bastard (Cameron) were just not enough for fun.

In the first five seconds, Dean hurt Joey's feeling; Aaron and Shane got into an argument; Kim walked off into the yard; and Cameron disappeared while I was watching the argument. They weren't even in the house yet.

Immediately after they got into the house, Dean turned on the TV. Cameron, Kim, and Aaron all joined him on the couches. Noah and Shane got on the computers and Joey turned on the stereo.
Dean and Aaron argued, but Dean and Kim got along. Joey danced with Shane and flirted with Kim. I sent Aaron over to talk to Joey, and when I clicked that one of his options for conversational openers was to complain about Kim. I left them alone for a few seconds, and they disappeared upstairs for what EA games calls "WooHoo."

Kim and Shane played catch on the lawn. Cameron ignored everyone and got on the third computer. Then Kim made supper which he ate with Dean out on the patio. Joey ate in at the counter and left his dish there. Aaron started cleaning. And then I figured any more fact finding would be enough to have everyone stop reading so I turned it off, and I swear, I'm getting back to John and Mason right now. Not the Simmed ones either. The ones with issues that can't be resolved by shoving them into a pretty suburban house and making them flirt.

Given the two ways of creating reality, I think I like being a writer god more than a Sim-god, especially because I'm much better at typing than I am at mouse clicks, and I'd rather skip the boring parts of TV watching and cooking and just do the flirting and the fighting and woo-hooing. So who else altered reality today?

And in other dork news, Joey and Aaron celebrated Valentine's Day and Kim denied wanting a prince in this free story.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Madness

I don't just mean the obsession of watching elite athletes compete against the best in the world. I also mean the fury I feel towards NBC and their shitty coverage of the Games. I want my CBC coverage! (Or CTV to be on my cable system. I really wouldn't care which if only I could watch LIVE coverage of events taking place a mere three hour drive from my house.)

But all rants aside, I love the Olympic Games, and I love the Winter Games even more than the summer ones. Sure, the Summer Olympics are great for ogling scantily clad athletes. But give me a guy a in a speed-skating suit and pass the whipped cream. You know what I'm saying? Or a figure skater? Fitness, artistry, and sequins? Dude. I don't even need the whipped cream. Honestly, I'm happy watching any Olympic winter sport--even the ones with all the layers and padding. It just leaves something for my imagination.

For you instant gratification folks (like me), however, here are some pics I found inspiring.

Who doesn't want to put their hands where his are right now? Am I right?

I have no idea what this costume is about, but it makes me want to write a shifter story. Ooo...feathers!

This one is for all of you who simply appreciate the beauty of the unadorned human form.

I know I'm inspired now, but to what, exactly, I know not. *happy sigh*

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bookstore Blues...

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day. Though my husband had to work, we did manage to spend the afternoon and evening together - without children, even! ^-^ Thankfully we don't just use this one day of the year to set aside time together. Every day is special to us.

But that's not what I am going to blog about today. Instead a little tirade about bookstore closings in my area. :(

I’ve had a moment of doubt today about the popularity of all these different e-readers that are out on the market and it’s been bugging me so much that I felt a rant coming on. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that my e-books are far more accessible by a new group of people, but in the area I live, I think it has affected us in a negative way.

How many of us – readers and authors – has just taken the time to browse aisle after aisle of books in a local bookstore? Do you walk into a B&N or BAM and take a deep breath, inhaling the coffee and new book smell? How about looking at all the well crafted covers (and even some not so well done ones) or picking up a book to read the blurb or leaf through it?

Heaven? Right? (I know I’m not the only who feels this way)

Unfortunately, my access to this guilty pleasure has been severely limited. *sigh* Again, don’t get me wrong about this rant that I’m against electronic books. I love them, it’s how I make my living and love writing for e-publishers. I spend more money on e-books than print, however, many times there’s no other way to enjoy my some of my favorite authors except through print books. (Yes, I own an e-reader that I use often) Just don’t get me started on the policy of a series switching to hardbacks once it reaches a certain point. That’s for a different rant. lol

But here’s my own personal dilemma…

At Christmas I learned that the Waldenbooks in our mall was closing. That wasn’t too much of a surprise to me. There were emails and such floating around about Borders closing many of their stores and our Waldenbooks was a small store. That was fine. There’s a nice B&N right there in front of the mall.

*Pfft* That closed after Christmas. No warning that I know of and no one really knows why – I was in just before the new year. It was always a busy store when I visited and it’s in a great location and no competitors nearby. Also there goes the only place that sells my mint Frapachinos (spelling sucks). :( I would have rather them close one of the 4 Starbucks that are within a ½ mile radius – come on, 3 across the street from each other and one further down the road…is that really necessary?

Now, I will have to travel more than 40 miles for a Borders (not going to happen) and 25 miles for a BAM. How fair is that?

What about used bookstores, you ask? Well, I’ve found a good one that has a decent selection of the genre I like to read (mostly paranormal romance when it comes to mass market print books), but it’s a 40 minute drive to even get there and unless I need to go to the dentist *shiver* then I have no other reason to go to that area. *sigh* So, I’m on the search for a closer used bookstore via the computer, as places like Walmart and Target have such limited selection and not good for finding older released books. Guess I'm going to have to be forced to shop on the net.

So, has the e-reader boom caused a noticeable difference in your area?

Sorry, rant over. Now you can go back to your lives. *G*

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Well well well, looks like I get the lucky job of posting on Valentine's Day. Since my own valentine is working today, I'll console myself by putting up some of my very favorite pictures of boys with their sweeties.

Some people are definitely into Valentine's Day and some are not. It's never been a big deal for my honey and me, but we do exchange cards and kisses. If Valentine's Day is your thing, especially to read about, then go check out Torquere Press's Valentine's Day Extravaganza. Twelve lovely little stories about... well, yes. Love. Go find something you like.

Have a good one, folks. Give someone a kiss today.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Now for Pre-Order: GPS (ARe 28 Days of Heart)

Everybody needs a nudge in the right direction sometimes. For a guy like Cale Durbin, alone and not looking forward to burning off a birthday with a blind date, the Bat Signal shining down on the home of the man of his dreams would be a big help. Instead, he's gifted with a quirky GPS device with a mind (?) of its own. Where is Cale going? You can find out on February 21 when GPS releases through the All Romance 28 Days of Heart celebration. GPS is an erotic romance featuring explicit male on male lovin'. ;-)

Proceeds from the sale of GPS are donated to the American Heart Association in conjunction with their Wear RED campaign to raise awareness of heart disease among women. Usually when we think of women and overcoming illness, the discussion turns toward breast or ovarian cancer. Perhaps sometimes we lose focus and don't realize that good heart health is equally important. We only have one, after all, and we should take care of it. :)

Heart disease awareness is a cause close to my, er, heart as well. Both of my parents lost their fathers to heart attacks, and in both instances neither man lived to see 60. Granted, on my father's side there had been a history of heart problems among the men (up through his line, several men succumbed in their 50s and 60s to heart trouble), yet it's because of associations like the AHA that we learn things that break these cycles brought on by genetic patterns. As I head into my 40s, I don't want to worry about having my life cut short by something that could have been prevented.

For just two dollars (maybe more if you check out the other titles available at ARe), you can help a great cause and read a hot story that gets your heart pumping. Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Remember Me??

Yeah, it's been ages & eons since I've had anything/time to post but lo and behold there will be slashy goodness with my name on it in 2010, both co-written with Aleksandr Voinov

Clean Slate
Aleksandr Voinov & Barbara Sheridan

The "hit" American Chris Gibson and British-born John Soong are ordered to carry out on Russian mob affiliate Andrei Voronin doesn't go exactly as planned. Voronin has already been shot when they arrive but he's clinging to life. GORGON, the international intelligence and paramilitary agency John and Chris work for agree with John that Voronin may be more valuable alive than dead.

The failed assassination turns to an undercover intel operation as monogamous-minded John and manwhore Chris portray lovers who came to Monaco to meet with and form a personal triad with the now amnesiac Andrei. This operation takes its own unexpected turn as the men bond and clash and try to outwit the Russians who've realized Andrei is still alive.

(tentative release date 4/2010 from Dreamspinner Press)

Risky Maneuvers
Barbara Sheridan & Aleksandr Voinov

Having been a mercenary for the past decade, Mikhail Volkov is a man without a country and that suits him just fine. Playing by his own rules, on his own terms, for the price he sets, is the way he likes it best. But when a CIA contact dangles a carrot he can't resist to entice him into a clandestine search-and-rescue, Mikhail is brought face–to-face with the biggest foe he has yet to vanquish—his own loneliness.

Growing up, Devon ‘D’ Dearborn planned to follow in his father's footsteps as part of the Army's Delta Force. Once commissioned, D's own ambitions took root and he became a top-level tank commander, occasionally serving as a go-between for his CIA-employed brother and a sexy Russian mercenary.

When his doubts about his chosen career and his own desires impacted the perfection he demanded of himself, D resigned his commission and exchanged his Abrams tank for an 18-wheeler.

After six years, the last face D expects to see when he pulls his rig into a truck stop is that of Mikhail Volkov. D wants nothing to do with his brother's new cloak-and-dagger job, but the temptation of working alongside the Russian is too hard to resist.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Now Available: Pain Management

Tag and Reese have been friends forever, seeing each other through the good times and the bad, including the untimely death of Reese's lover. Until one drunken indiscretion threatens to change everything.

But there is more than friendship on the line. Can Reese put the pain of his loss behind him and take a chance on a future with Tag, or will one hot night together be all Tag ever has of the man he's loved for as long as he can remember?

Buy it here!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Do you see the theme here?

It seems to me as there's a theme in the rejected superbowl ads. I don't know how many ads were rejected, but two of them are below. Judge for yourself...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

ADDER, now in print

Music. Sex. Fame. What’s missing? Surely not the “L” word…

Adder has a plan for his life: play his music for millions of adoring fans, who will reward him with money, fame and as much sex as he can handle. It’s a goal he’s been working toward since his teens and is on the cusp of achieving. The idea of a relationship never entered his mind—until a new drummer joins his band. One taste of Kalil, and all he wants is more.

For Kalil, playing drums for Adder is a dream come true, the creative connection he’s always wanted. What he never reckoned on is the deeper connection he finds with Adder. Kalil would rather avoid sexual involvement with a bandmate, but Adder seems just as determined to break through his resistance.

Attraction aside, music and sex are about the only things the hedonistic Adder and the increasingly jealous Kalil can agree on. Still, before they know it they’re on the brink of something deeper, something lasting.

And it scares the hell out of both of them.

(Warning: This book contains adult language, hot gay sex, weird bands, colorful prophylactics and unforgivable fashion crimes)

Get Adder in lovely, molestable PRINT right here! And read on for a loverly excerpt *G*


The gig at The Wedge surpassed Adder’s wildest dreams. Kalil’s energetic and inventive drum work added a richness which Adder hadn’t even known had been missing from their music until now. The audience screamed twice as loud as usual and refused to let them go without two encores, which just proved that Adder’s instincts were correct. Kalil was the perfect addition to their group. He was one of the best, most dedicated musicians Adder had ever known. Which was saying a great deal, considering how picky Adder was in who he considered to be a good musician.

Of course, from an audience-drawing perspective, it didn’t hurt that the man was also a walking wet dream. Olive skin, big dark eyes, black hair that fell in a halo of wild waves around an androgynous face which wouldn’t have been out of place on a Botticelli angel.

There was nothing androgynous about Kalil’s body, though. Just one glimpse of those well-toned arms and that muscular back running with sweat was enough to make Adder’s prick harden. He’d always had a weakness for a drummer’s physique. Especially drummers who put everything they had into their jobs the way Kalil did.

Perched on a barstool at The Wedge after the lingering would-be groupies had been shooed away, Adder sipped his Kir Royale and watched Kalil take down his drum kit. He disassembled each piece with the same care he’d used to put it together, every movement precise and careful. Adder couldn’t help wondering if he touched his lovers with such reverence.

Probably not. Adder chuckled under his breath, amused with himself in spite of the sexual frustration caused by Kalil’s unwavering refusal to fuck him. He had to admire a man who could make him wish to be a drum.

Harpo wandered out of the cramped hallway leading to the restrooms and plopped onto the barstool beside Adder. “This was a fucking epic show.” He leaned his elbows on the bar behind him and flashed Adder a wide grin. “Man, we totally got it right hiring Kalil, huh?”

“Oh yes.” Adder caught Kalil’s eye and flicked his tongue out at him. Kalil scowled and turned back to his precious drums. “Gods, what I wouldn’t give to get that man between my legs.”

“You’re a slut,” Harpo told him, though there was no real heat in the accusation. He scratched his bare chest. “Seriously, Adder. He’s fantastic live. The girls love him.”

It was true. Once they’d introduced their new drummer to the tight-packed crowd, every wispy little Goth girl in the place seemed to osmose to the front row to worship Kalil in their near-silent, disturbingly intense way.

Adder had been a bit disconcerted by that at first. After all, he was the name and face of this band. All that attention should be his. Then he’d remembered that no matter how much those girls lusted after him, Kalil was not ever going to sleep with them, and he’d felt better. Plus the fanboys still seemed to focus mostly on Adder, which went a long way toward soothing his bruised ego.

Maybe he and Kalil could have a threesome with one of the more attractive young men. I wouldn’t mind sharing with him, Adder thought in a burst of magnanimous impulse. Especially if he would fuck me.

The mental image of himself impaled on Kalil’s prick while sucking some faceless pretty boy’s cock was a very nice one. Adder hummed into his glass.

A hard nudge from Harpo nearly knocked Adder off his barstool. He shot a frosty glare at Harpo, who just smirked. “Adder. Would you please stop trying to get K into bed? You’re gonna drive him away.”

Adder shook his head. “No. He wants me.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But he’s not into fucking his bandmates.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Harpo let out an exasperated sigh. “C’mon, man. Don’t you get enough ass already? Why do you have to go chasing after Kalil?”

Why, indeed? Adder had no answer for that question. There was no lack of men and women willing to fuck him. Hell, there’d been at least five girls and three guys in the first row tonight who would’ve gladly shared his bed for a few hours. A couple of them had been every bit as physically attractive as Kalil. But he’d ignored their transparent offers of no-strings sex in favor of a chance to be around Kalil for a while longer, a decision which he knew damn well would result in him jerking off in the shower later. So why had he done it? He had no clue, and that irked him beyond belief.

On stage, Kalil straightened up, linked his hands above his head and stretched. Adder stared, mesmerized by the damp skin of his naked chest and the tantalizing glimpse of sharp hipbones peeking above the waistband of his well-worn jeans. Gods, the man was a human kebab of ripe, tasty maleness. Adder sipped his drink, imagining the tang of Kalil’s sweat on his tongue.

Beside him, Harpo dropped his head into his hands and groaned. “Jesus, Adder. Could you at least try not to look like you’re about to jump him any second?”

“I’m a passionate person. I can’t help that.” Adder waited until Kalil glanced his way, then licked the rim of his glass in a way that left no doubt as to what he’d rather be licking. Kalil went crimson and turned away, giving Adder a stunning view of his ass encased in body-hugging denim. “Besides, I do believe he enjoys my attentions.”

“It makes him uncomfortable, asshole.”

“Uncomfortable in an ‘I have a hard-on that needs Adder’s mouth immediately’ way, perhaps.”

Harpo sighed. “Adder, I swear to God if you fuck this up for us—”

“I will not fuck this up.” Adder tore his gaze away from the object of his thus-far unrequited lust to aim a pointed look at Harpo. “This band is always first with me. You should know that by now.”

“I know. It’s just that sometimes I think you let your need to be loved cloud your judgment.”

Adder’s mouth fell open in shock. “Do not say the ‘L’ word to me,” he sputtered when he thought he could talk again. “You know I don’t believe in that.”

“Yeah, that’s what you keep telling me.” Harpo stared at him, dark eyes searching. “Look, man, you’re my friend. I care about you, and I’d like to see you happy. Just don’t look for that inside the band, okay? It never ends well. For the band, or anyone else.”

Stunned by his friend’s unprecedented speech, Adder could only stare in frustrating, humiliating silence. He didn’t know which was worse—the fact that Harpo thought Adder was actually looking for love, or that he clearly believed Adder wasn’t capable of it. Of course he could love someone, if he chose. He just didn’t want to.

By the time he collected himself enough to come up with a scathing answer, Sheila had detached herself from Vi and was teetering across the floor toward them on her ridiculous three-inch heels. He forced his face to obey his will and gave her a beaming smile. “Sheila, my love! How did you like the show tonight?”

“It was good. Kalil rocks.” She hooked her arm around Harpo’s shoulders, leaned close and kissed him. “Can we go to my place tonight, babe? I’d like to be alone for a change.” She shot a barbed glare at Adder, who fluttered his eyelashes at her.

Harpo studied Adder’s face for several unnerving seconds, then nodded. “Okay, sure. Adder, you’ll make sure Vi gets home okay, right? She rode with me.”

“Of course I will. You kids go on, and have a good time.” Adder winked at Sheila. “I’ll miss you in Harpo’s bed tonight, Sheila darling.”

“Pig,” Sheila muttered. She grabbed Harpo’s arm so hard her hot pink nails dug into his skin. “Come on, Harmon. We’re out of here.”

Adder snickered. Harpo dealt a stinging blow to his shoulder before jumping off the barstool. “See you tomorrow, Adder.”

“Until then.” Adder waved at the retreating pair. He thought he could hear Harpo growling that he didn’t care if Harmon was his real name, he hated when Sheila called him that.

Chuckling, Adder drained the last of his drink, set the glass on the bar and hopped to his feet. He glanced around. Vi and one of the Wedge staff—Susan? Sarah? Something with an “S”—stood huddled together in the corner of the club near the front door, evidently discussing something of vital importance. Another staff member whistled an off-key tune while he mopped beer and assorted other substances off the floor. Kalil zipped his favorite drumsticks into their special pouch, set it carefully on top of the bass drum and walked offstage.

Adder followed without hesitation. He could always pretend he’d been innocently heading for the men’s to take a piss.

When he reached the dressing room, Kalil was already bent over the sofa. Adder stared in pleased surprise. Then he realized Kalil wasn’t offering him a fuck, he was searching for something in the cushions. Undeterred in spite of his disappointment, Adder wandered over and perched on the sofa’s arm. “Hi, Special K.”

Kalil shot him the fiery glare that always made his blood sing. “Will you please stop calling me that?”

“What are you looking for?” Adder inquired, ignoring Kalil’s request since he had no intention of honoring it.

“I had twenty dollars in my pocket when we got here, and now I can’t find it.” With a deep sigh, Kalil straightened up and ran both hands through his dripping hair. “Hell, maybe I just thought I had it. Maybe I left it at home.”

“That’s possible. Haven’t we all done things like that sometimes?” Adder watched a drop of sweat wind its way between Kalil’s pecs and down the middle of his abdomen. “Gods, I really want to lick you all over right now.”

Kalil scowled. “Quit it, Adder.”

Adder grinned. Kalil turned away, but not fast enough. The flush in his cheeks and the sudden swell in the front of his jeans just confirmed what Adder already knew. Kalil wanted him. Badly.

Considering that the feeling was mutual, Adder saw no reason not to act on it. They were alone for a change, and he’d behaved for so long already. He stood, grabbed Kalil’s arm, whirled him around and pulled him close with an arm around his waist.

It was intoxicating, feeling Kalil’s body pressed tight against his. Kalil’s bare chest was warm and damp, his brown eyes wide with shock and a need he couldn’t disguise. Adder leaned close and drew a deep breath. The scent of sweat and desire flooded his brain. Unable to stop himself—not that he would have tried in any case—he slid a hand into Kalil’s hair, tilted his face up and kissed him.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Harley talk...

Working through the edits on All or Nothing and a Harley thing has come up.  Now, I have three beta-readers and each of them has changed 74' to '74 when I've written it in reference to Brandon's Electraglide.  So for trivia's sake and because some of you may have wondered if James was stoned when writing and missed that and because I geek on bikes at times...the 74' was actually made between 1941 and 1984 and it refers to the to the 74cubic inch engine of the Harley models not the year it was made.  Brandon's bike is the last of the Panheads, a 1965 Harley Davidson Electraglide 74' -- rather than the smaller 61'.  The large bikes were often used as police bikes.  And if you spell it out Harley Seventy-Four you're referring to the Flathead Model V from the 1940s.  Brandon's bike may be vintage, but it ain't that classic.

Just for fun here's a few '65 74's. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hanging Onto My Pants

Once again I owe a huge thank you to Maia, who—to my great fortune—precedes me in the blog rotation here. I had in mind the topic of "pantsing," but of course, I didn't write it down, so I was staring at my upcoming blog date with a bit of apprehension. I knew I had a topic, but I couldn't remember it.

Although it's gotten Maia into a bit of a jam, I am here to sing the praises of pantsing (which definitely sounds like something an erotic romance writer would be into.) I'm a writer because I love to read. I love the magical page-by-page discovery of a story in my head. Once the story is told, it's a different kind of magic. That's not saying I don't love rereading old favorites, but that first time thrill is gone. That's one reason I can't be a plotter. If I know all the details of how it's going to turn out, I get bored, even with myself. (I know, hard to believe.) The mystery is gone. One of my excellent critique partners has her entire story plotted out on scene cards. She can pull up any scene from her book and write it in any order. I am awed by her ability even as it makes me shudder in horror at the thought of doing it myself.

For me, a romance begins and ends with the characters. The books I've written that had more to do with what than with who are still sitting on my hard drive, and rightly so, because I let the plot outshine the people. I've learned to start with the people, throw them into a situation and let them tell me the story. The characters take on lives of their own, the rat bastards, often dragging me down plot threads I never saw coming or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, but that's what keeps me turning (um, churning out) pages. Because I'm lost in their story as they tell it to me.

As Maia said, it can be frustrating. Sometimes these independent little brain children paint themselves into a corner, or worse yet shut up and refuse to tell you the rest of the story. I saw that someone suggested to Maia that violence might force her characters to speech. I'm all for it. When they pull that crap with me, I go back to who they are, remember what it is they fear most, and light a fire under their recalcitrant little butts. It may not work right away, but that's usually because I haven't dug through all their layers of protection to find out what will really hurt the most.

So while I heartily endorse flying by the seat of your pants, (the fact that I'm sniggering at "seat of your pants" only shows that one of my college-aged characters from my current work in progress is ready to come out and play), it's not for everyone. It takes a willingness to relinquish some of your god-like control over the world and people you've created. It takes a willingness to dig deep inside your characters and make them hurt. And since it's your world and they're your brain children, I guess you have to be willing to hurt a little too. But I'll take that over the scary empty space inside when there's nothing new to discover. I'm K.A., I'm a pantser, and as Henry James said, "The rest is the madness of art."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An unusual position

I hope I don't disappoint anyone when I clarify that I don't mean an unusual sexual position. ;-) The position I mean is one that we pantsers don't find ourselves in so often: that of knowing exactly where the story we're writing needs to go. That's the nature of a pantser, right? We don't know where we're going until we get there. Sure, we can guess at some stops to make along the way, or we know approximately what the destination is, but the excitement is in the journey of discovery. (Of course, this is why I've already had to go back through the current manuscript twice to tweak it to fit what happens later, but that's beside the point.) Only now here I am with a very clear laundry list of What Must Happen, and I'm stumped how to get there. It doesn't help that the chattiest character has suddenly clammed up, and it's his backstory I need to sort out. But that doesn't explain the rest of the characters all shutting up at the same time. I thought maybe that meant I was on the wrong track after all, but if that's the case, I need to build an entire new railroad, and I just don't think that's necessary. So you'll excuse the short post today, I hope, because I need to get back to work prying some words out of people's mouths and getting them onto the page.

Wish me luck. They're a tough crowd.
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