Monday, November 29, 2010

Life is what happens...

I owe you guys an apology for missing my last blog day. Things have been insane for me this month and blogging wasn't high on my list of things to do on November 15th (the last day I scheduled to blog). You see, my husband was in a real bad accident at work on the 7th and spent the next week in the hospital. He came home only days before and I was running myself ragged trying to take care of him, chase down all his claims for Aflac and Workers Compensation, and get all the day to day fluff that makes up a life taken care of before my husband could concern himself. He's a bit of a worrywart. In the process of running around like a crazy person, I managed to let a lot of my online responsibilities slide -- which I'm feeling a little guilty about now that John is slowly making progress on getting better and things are ever so slightly closer to normal around here.

So, yeah... Enough rambling from me. I just didn't want you guys to think I'd forgotten about you. :D

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Release: Honorable Silence (my story is Forsake Not)

I'm happy to announce I have a new release out - finally:) I am one of four authors participating in an anthology of stories relating to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell military policy against gay service. My fellow authors are William Maltese, George Seaton and Lex Valentine and I think we have an interesting anthology to offer. I really like the fact that all of us kept our focus less on the politics and our own feelings and more on how it affects the lives of those serving under it.

You can buy the ebook from MLR's website or Amazon for the Kindle. I'm sure it will appear in paper and in other venues soon.


Our men and women in uniform sacrifice daily to serve our country. But what about the additional, voluntary sacrifice that each gay person in the military makes daily when they don their uniform? We ask these men and women to not only serve their country but serve in silence and denial, sacrificing not only their physical lives but their emotional ones too by denying them their right to love. Four talented authors weave tales that describe how living a lie pulls at the hearts and souls of good servicemen, whose only desire is to do their duty to their country…honorably. In AFTERBURNER, two fighter pilots let their hearts soar despite regulations. THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE STORE provides a glimpse into the U.S. Army prior to the institutionalization of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A sniper and infantryman find that love eases the pain of being forsaken in FORSAKE NOT. And STRATEGIC MANEUVERS reveals the intricate steps that can lead to love while in uniform.

EXCERPT (from my story, Forsake Not)
(c) 2010 Maura Anderson

Leo jolted awake, bolted upright and reached out for his gun only to realize it wasn’t there. Hell, he wasn’t in his hootch at all. He wasn’t in Iraq anymore or even his base barracks. He rubbed his dry, scratchy eyes and forced them to focus on the sterile hotel room he’d rented, as his pulse slowed to a less panicked rate. A quick scan of the room showed nothing amiss. Why had he woken up?


He was in the hotel near Arlington he’d checked into yesterday when he’d decided to stay in Virginia instead of doing what he usually did on leave; hanging about on base. At least it was one of the longer-stay hotels, so he had a small kitchen and sitting room as well as a bedroom. It made it seem a little more like a home, however temporary— not that he’d really had one of those since the day after his high school graduation. The same day he’d enlisted in the Army. The same day he’d come out to his father who’d immediately disowned him, and hadn’t spoken or communicated with him since. As far as his father was concerned now, he had never existed, and if he had other relatives, he didn’t know them.

A wave of loneliness swept through him. The Army had become his focus and it seemed strange to be off-base and out of his normal life. The life he’d sacrificed a lot for, but the life that gave him a purpose and a feeling that he could make a difference. The life that might be ripped away because of one stupid loss of control. He needed to get his head on straight and he wanted to be near Terry until he had some idea of what was going to happen after his attack on Barker, and his announcement that he was gay. To hell with getting tricked into violating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; no one had even had to trick him or ask, he’d nearly screamed his secret out instead. It seemed like a smart idea to not be near the base, or his fellow soldiers, right now.

God, he was a fucking moron.

Leo dropped his head into his hands and groaned. How could he have been so stupid? His cell phone chirped from across the room, and Leo’s head jerked upright. What the hell? No one ever seemed to call him—no one that was still living, anyway. Maybe the battery was low or something.

He tossed the covers off his legs and eased out of bed, stiff despite spending the night on a bed more comfortable than he’d even seen in six months, let alone slept in. The rough skin of his boot-worn bare feet caught on the commercial grade carpet as he walked over to retrieve his phone. The display showed one missed call and a message, but he didn’t recognize the phone number listed. Maybe it was a wrong number.

Leo pressed the button to retrieve his voicemail and stretched a bit while he waited through the stock voicemail greeting. When prompted, he pressed the button to play the recorded message.
“Lion, it’s Star. Sorry to interrupt your leave but I wanted to let you know I overheard Barker saying he reported the bar incident and what you said about being a fag to the CO today.” A long pause and Star continued, sounding a bit hesitant. “The team is behind you, you know. We have your six. Barker is a worthless ‘git and should be shot by someone— not necessarily the enemy either. I’ll let you know more as I get any intel. Later.”

Oh, crap. It had happened. What the fuck was he supposed to do now? Maybe he could just lie and say he wasn’t gay at all; that he’d just said it to piss off Barker because he’d insulted a dead friend and teammate. It would be his word against Barker’s then, and the team would probably back him. No one trusted Barker anyway. God, but he hated lying, and he hated making other people lie for him even more.

But if he admitted he was gay, his career was down the crapper. He’d get discharged and not only would he be alone, he wouldn’t have the Army or the job he loved either.

Why the fuck had he been so stupid?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Where's My Montage, Damn It!

Once again I have come to the conclusion that screenplay writers have it too easy. They don't have to provide explanations for things, things just are the way you see it. They can work deus ex machinas like a stage hand in ancient Athens, and if that isn't enough, they get to use montages all the time, complete with awesome music.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love writing the middle of my romances. I love the building a relationship moments, but when your characters are in a holding pattern and you just want to show the passage of time, nothing beats a montage. You can't shift settings and time and make two sentences of dialogue work like that for you in text, you just can't. Plus, like I said, the soundtrack is an amazing bonus.

I can see a dozen scenes quick cut right here in this WIP, set to the jaunty beat of "Bohemian Like You" by the Dandy Warhols. Trust me, it would be perfect. Instead, I'll spend the next two days ripping out my hair as I try to figure out how to condense what I see in my head into the right two or three scenes to convey all that passage of time and incremental shifts in intimacy until I get to this next big show down. See, look at that bald spot. Man, screenwriters have all the luck.

Of course, when it comes to that next big scene, I don't have to pull a fade out, use tricky camera angles, or worry that my actors are going to lose their privacy socks. (See what kind of scene I'm eager to montage my way through to?) Hmmm. I'm thinking maybe being able to get extremely up close and personal—without a cheesy bow-chicka-wow-wow for the soundtrack—is a big point in an author's favor. And in keeping with the season, something I'm thankful for. What say you? Any screenwriters care to tell me I've got it all wrong?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow, Words, and Worlds

So I'm sitting here, ahead of time because I actually remembered it's my blog day tomorrow (today by the time this posts), and I'm wondering what to blog about. I could blog about the unseasonable snow that fell off and on Monday. It stuck, too. Very weird for November around here. I could blog about NaNoWriMo. I hit 45K words today, so yay that. Or I could do what I said I'd do last time I posted and tell you a little more about the novella I recently contracted with Torquere.

Okay, what did I tell you before? ::goes to check:: [muttering] Compass Hearts; first novella; same universe as... Got it. [/mutter]

Here's a bit of blurbage for starters:
When Ash Thearon meets Matthew Morgan, he finds him handsome and more than a little puzzling. To solve that puzzle, he has to first collect all the pieces—something more easily said than done.

As the fourth son of merchant parents, Matthew has always been superfluous. The only guidance he ever received was to behave and to stay out of the way. Now at a new university half a world away from home, he must discover who he is and what he wants. The only trouble is, he's never made a decision in his life.

The new friends quickly become lovers, but Matthew's limited experience has taught him only how to be dependent. Ash wants more than that; he wants a partner. As the holiday of Afan Valen approaches, Matthew tries too hard to please his new lover and Ash wonders how to teach him independence without losing him.


I said it's set in the same world as Client Privileges, which it is. But it's a different country, in fact a different continent, than that book. When I say "world," I mean it literally, not just literarily. I have maps and everything. Not of the whole planet, but of a good chunk of it. It's a pretty big planet, to be honest, and it doesn't have frozen poles so there's a lot more habitable land than there might otherwise be.

Compass Hearts is a quiet romance, if you know what I mean. And if you don't know, well, you're smart. I'm sure if you think about it for a minute you'll come up with your own idea what that means, and I bet you'll be spot on. It's quiet, but it's steamy, too. You put two sexy college boys together in the middle of winter and they're bound to find ways to keep each other warm, right?

I don't have any dates yet, but I'll let you know when I do. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating it this week. I'll be most thankful if the snow melts before I have to drive to my folks' house on Thursday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Early gift...

Well, I missed my posting day earlier this month *sigh* I don't like doing that, but unfortunately things happen to us all. I was going to talk about NaNo (National Novel Writing Month), except now that it's nearly over and got in the way the past couple of weeks, I don't think I will. lol Whoever thought to put it in November, anyway? The beginning of the holiday season. Or perhaps that's the biggest challenge about it.

Speaking of holidays, last night my husband and I enjoyed an early Christmas present. We went and saw Elton John and Leon Russell (who? Yeah, I was the same way) in concert. What a terrific show! The energy was incredible, both from the band and the audience.

Forgive the fuzziness to the pictures. I wasn't that far away, but my camera wasn't cooperating - story of my life this month. Maybe Santa will give me a new one this year.

This was our fifth time seeing Elton John in concert in the 16 years we've been together. 3 times with Billy Joel, once with just his piano tour, and then last night. If you've never seen him, I highly recommend it. He really outdid himself playing a good variety of his hits. My only complaint was that he didn't play anything from the 90's or 2000's.
:( Those are great songs too.

This was also the closest I've ever sat to the stage. It was wonderful not having to rely on the big screens to see the performer. Also the age variety of the audience was amazing - from young kids to elderly who needed help climbing the stairs. I guess that happens when you've been making music for 40 years 0-0

The guy in the white hat (right side) is Leon Russell. He reminds me of one of the ZZ Top guys - lol. He and Elton John have a new album - The Union - out that is really good. Though I'd never heard of Russell, I've found him quite easy to listen to, even though his voice reminds me of Willy Nelson. lol

I hope everyone has a great and safe Thanksgiving (those of you in the US). Don't strain anything on Black Friday ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Enter to Win a Gift Certificate for All Romance!

I don't know about you, but I've gone a bit overboard with the Christmas shopping this year. I don't know why, I suppose I'm feeling extra generous this time because - despite the rough bumps in the economy - I realize I have a lot to be thankful for. The good news is, however, I'm almost done, but I have one more gift to give.

Now through December 17, I'm taking entries for a drawing. Winner gets a $25 gift certificate to All Romance, my favorite eBook vendor! You'll find all of my titles there, plus some of the hottest M/M romance from other bloggers at Slash and Burn.

There's no purchase necessary to enter, though it's my hope you'll either like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter after signing up. That's how I keep readers updated on what's coming next, but it's not all promo, because I do like to chat and rant on occasion. :)

If I don't see you before then, hope all my US friends have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lying fallow

It's a bit weird that every time it's my time on the blog, I've just returned from a business trip. First Moscow, then Chicago, then Warsaw. I can't tell you much about Warsaw. I can talk about a local five star hotel and that it has very comfy beds and a restaurant that serves a strange mix of Asian foods, from Chinese, Thai, to Japanese, and compared to other places where I've eaten, you get skinned alive with the bill.

Warsaw is a haunted city, a city of ghosts. I'm not sure November is the best time to visit it. I missed both the National Museum and the Warsaw Uprising Museum. But the scars of history run deep in this odd place, full of classisist facades meant to impress and then the crooked, aged, fading Old Town. Where the taxi driver points out the war memorial, saying "voina, voina", and I'm the only guest in the taxi who knows voina is war. Not that it was ambivalent when the taxi driver added "Hitler, Hitler". I certainly want to go back and explore the history of the place and see it in daylight. In a foggy late November evening, Warsaw only showed two faces, and that clearly wasn't all there was to it.

Not that I'm going anywhere near Poland with my current World War II novel. Maybe I should. Maybe I should write another, a different story, dealing with the things that happened there. The sheer amount of suffering almost demands it, and also adds a "stay away", if we're talking romance. You need huge amounts of skill and mental fortitude to cut fiction from the bleeding wounds of history - respecting your material (and the people who died and suffered) on one hand, and at the same time telling the story.

I'm deeply ambivalent about touching anything relating to the Third Reich. I can't delude myself I'm doing it for art, for one, like the literary writers. I aim to entertain, primarly. But I'm aware I'm treading ground where only a thin layer of time covers the millions of skeletons under my feet. Rarely am I more aware of my nationality and birth language/mother tongue than where my ancestors have spilled blood, and within living memory.

While immersing myself into the history of the Third Reich and its people (in many ways, it's a foreign culture and a different planet), I'm fallow as a writer. I haven't written any meaningful quantities for three weeks now, partially because I've just finished a couple novels, partially because I've been away on business, and strangely, I struggle to write while sitting in a hotel in a foreign country.

It's disconcerting in that "oh ye gods, I'll never write again!" kind of way, but I know stuff is going on in my subconsciousness. Thoughts, feelings, energy. Much of the stuff writers work with is intangible. As a famous writer said, writers and spiders make a living from their guts. I know things are going on, I can feel the current pull and move, but the surface is untroubled. I'll have to trust that things will begin emerging when they are ready.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Built like a truck, I'd bump for a buck...

Anyone else remember 80s underground club hit "Male Stripper" by Man 2 Man? For some of us, it was our first taste of what was then the gay subculture. I owned an extended remix on 12-inch vinyl, even. (Yes, I've just sorely dated myself!)

Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube, I found this Top of the Pops appearance I hadn't seen before. The guys had to keep things tame for the BBC, but the audience still seemed to enjoy it:

Love it. Look for Man 2 Man on Amazon or iTunes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Andddd she's back

Incredibly long and time-consuming story cut drastically short: I moved! But then I had no internet and I've been in the more northern areas of the Sunshine State so I haven't been easy to reach either.

But now: back!

I'm working on the proof of a new story as I type this so the timing is pretty phenomenal. I wish I could give y'all a date to expect it but that's where that pesky lack of internet thing kicks in. But I do believe it's supposed to be out this month but it may be pushed back later.

Either way, I'm crossing my fingers that you'll get something for me before the New Year arrives.

Jeez, is it me or does it seem kind of way too soon to be saying that? 2011 is literally a month away! Oh how the year has gone. Sorry to cut this short but I should have been in bed hours ago. I'm too young for this late night business :P

*studiously avoiding looking at the clock that is pointedly telling me it's not even 8 yet*

And how are you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you for your service

For all the men and women who have risked or lost their lives protecting our country:

Veterans Day Comments and Graphics for MySpace, Tagged, Facebook
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I think if Maia was going to snuggle up that close she could have at least done one of those things that gives me a good blog idea like she usually does. Wait, she kind of did! Maia, you can cuddle close anytime!

First, I have a new book to talk about. Bad Company has been contracted by Samhain Publishing and is going to be a June release. It's been a lot of fun to write—not too angsty so far, though there's angst to come. I put a WIP excerpt up on my live journal here.

I've got a new book coming out December 7, Not Knowing Jack. It's a book about Tony and Jack, the couple who appeared as Sean and Kyle's friends in Regularly Scheduled Life. Like RSL, Not Knowing Jack was a hard story to tell, because it dealt with problems in an established relationship. At least, no one got shot. While I was writing it, people asked me a question I get a lot as a writer. Why? When it's hard, why do you do it? (Okay. The erotic side of my brain is having a field day with that question.) But I really struggled while writing Not Knowing Jack and it wasn't just because I had a contract that I kept at that book. It was because I couldn't not write it.

I love to write. Lots of times it's easy and fun and sometimes I swear the pixies come in overnight and do some amazing stuff on my computer because I know there's no way I was that clever. (The crap is always me, though.) But even when it's not fun and it doesn't flow and I want to reach through my computer and smack one—or both—of my characters, I can't stop. It's like my other job, teaching. I can't seem to stop it. I like figuring things out, and then I have to explain them to people. My students are stuck with me, but miracle of miracles, people actually pay to hear me tell them stories which, I guess, is another way of explaining things.

I hope that wonderful part of the equation never fades away.

Late Post, Good News

Oh geez! I missed my day! Hopefully I can sneak in here before K.A. gets here. ::looks around:: Coast is clear for now. I'd better hurry.

Good news! I just sold another novella to Torquere Press. I can announce this now because I just signed the contract so it's official. Woo-hoo! It's called Compass Hearts; it's the first novella I wrote; and it's set in the universe of Client Privileges. I'll tell you more about it another day. I gotta run before K.A. catches me. ;-)

::vanishes into the ether::

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Loooooovemaster

Ouch, late today! Even with that extra hour, too. Okay, so I was out last night. Like on a date and everything. We went to see Craig Shoemaker do stand-up last night, and for those of you who aren't familiar, he's the Lovemaster. *insert eyebrow raise and smug face here*

It is much easier to show you what I mean. Language alert! NSFW.

I love watching this straight white guy transform himself into the Lovemaster. Call my sense of humor childish, I don't care. He's really damn funny.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I'm still on a business trip in Chicago – first time US, first time Midwest, first time Chicago, and I reckon I couldn't have made a better start inside the States. At least everybody says so. I'm right now stuck in a hotel lobby waiting for time to pass so I can grab a last meal before I put my stomach at the tender mercies of British Airways (there's a pizzaria around here that has a very interesting take on pizza – it resembles a savoury cracker more than anything else, but it's very good).

Most of the trip was devoted to business, but I did manage to get some writing research in. See, there are things in the US that we don't have in the UK. I've eaten some terrific bagels, shopped at Walgreens (I needed a couple protein bars), and yeah, Starbucks in the same around the world. I met contacts in Caribou Coffee (a shameless Starbucks clone - ad why not clone something *good*?), and went into a Barnes & Noble and a Borders (we do have Borders, but yours is nicer).

I got a feel for Chicago, I hope, or at least the business area, and downtown, and the Gold Coast. All of that is not what my company paid for (well, they did, I'll make them pay for the protein bars), but it's all research. One of my Russian characters is relocating here to live with a couple Americans, so I walked the street with “Russian eyes”, remembering Moscow and how he'd see the city. I made some photos too to jog the memory.

Needless to say, I didn't write a word, and I even “missed” the launch of my latest book, “Transit”, which I wrote with Raev Gray and was published by Dreamspinner. It's a seriously busy day when a writer is surprised by a book launch.

Things are germinating, however. The “guys in the basement”, as Stephen King calls the muses, are moving furniture. And all the lucky accidents are working in my favour, too.

I walked down Michigan Avenue at around noon, and there was a Borders. Now, writers and bookshops are like moths and flames, but I did have this feeling of “I should look for Jewish soldiers in WWII while I'm here.” Not exactly the kind of topic that is on the bestseller lists, but Borders had the perfect book.

The need to come to grips with David was overwhelming, and that was one of the things that has been worrying me a lot lately. What do I know about Jewishness in war? Well, there it was, eye-witness accounts of Jewish GIs. I believe in that kind of lucky accident. Very often, when I define a problem (“I know nothing about horsebreeding in Eastern Prussia in the 1940ies”) and then go into a random bookstore, I tend to find the exact book that answers that exact question. Just like I get quartered in the exact area where my character would end up living – out of the whole wide US of A.

Writing is very often just lucky accidents, or a series of small miracles, or a chaotic brain seeing patterns where none exist. You decide, but it works very well for me.

A Friday visual treat...with culture!

Far be it for me to just throw some eye candy at my favorite peeps, but I recently discovered the phenomenon known as Roberto Bolle. Not only is this Italian native completely and utterly gorgeous, he's a fantastic ballet dancer. I almost had the chance to see him perform this summer, and I'm extremly envious of anyone who's had the chance to attend one of his performances. Not only does he move with the requisite grace befitting those in ballet, he has the stage presence (and beauty!) to captivate audiences. He's run away with my imagination, along with that of most other gals...and guys!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

With the record selection and the mirror's reflection...

Why yes, I'm quoting Billy Idol in the subject line. Surely you know what "Dancing With Myself" is really about? Oh, and the above photo isn't an ad for hand lotion. Well, okay, maybe in a way it is...

For my upcoming Christmas novel Sagittarius Blues, I needed creative euphemisms for dancing with oneself, or what one character refers to as "the art of self-pleasure." My, um, research turned up this most excellent and extensive list of slang terms for male masturbation, even if the actual word itself is misspelled in the URL. (Write this stuff for a living, and you remember how to spell all manner of interesting terms!)

So many amusing ways to describe a simple yet gratifying act. My favorite has to be "tuning the organ", which I used in my book. Speaking of playing one's, erm, instrument, I also came across this list of 10 songs about masturbation:

Nice list, but they left out Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop". (Surely you knew what that one was about, too?)

What's your favorite slang term and/or song about pumping gas at the self-service island? Do you find it hot to imagine Han Solo stroking his own Wookie? Humor aside, I find it not only sexy but beautiful to describe a man in the throes of pleasure at his own hand. So while two guys are better than one, readers will definitely encounter the topic of self-loving at least a few times in my male/male stories. Hey, as Ms. Lauper sang, there "ain't no law against it yet"!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Plot, schmot

When I first heard that Hollywood was making a movie based on the board game Battleship, I was understandably skeptical. (I still don't understand why they can't just make an action flick that takes place on a battleship rather than linking it to a board game!) However, when I saw some on-set pictures of stars Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Kitsch (of Friday Night Lights), the children's game was the last thing on my mind. eedless to say I'll be first in line to buy my ticket!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Since I have voting on the brain...

...I thought I would share this cartoon with you all.

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