Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Juggling Multiple Mistresses

I don't know if I've said this before, but the best metaphor I've ever heard about the book you're writing and the next one is this: "The book you're writing is the wife. The one you wish you were writing is the mistress."

As you may have figured out from the title and my little intro, my writing brain is having a bit of trouble with focus. My time is still heavily devoted to the wife book, but I have three sweet little things tantalizing me with purred promises of how gooooood they will make things. How easy they will be to get into. How they'll do things for me she won't do. Umm. *shakes head* I may have gotten a little metaphorically carried away there. There's even a fourth and fifth one, winking in and out of my line of sight like the shimmer of a mirage. Yeah, carried away again.

I love my wife book. I do. I wouldn't have committed to it, to Dylan and Mike's story, if I didn't. I want to know how it works out. I love hanging with Dylan's sullen attack-first attitude and Mike's ability to make Dylan start to question that attitude. I love that Mike is so smoking hot Dylan can't help himself. Even talking about it makes me regret this time away from them—and get a little weak-kneed.

But damn. Those mistresses.

First, Joey and Aaron appear in the book and if one or the other of them aren't trying to take over every damned scene they're in, they want to tell me about things that don't have any place in this story. Then out of nowhere, this pile of hot-wrong angst downloads in my brain and then keeps popping up to make me put some flesh on those hot-wrong angsty bones. And the more I think about how excited I am about Eli's book coming out in December, the more I want to go back and play in Baltimore with another Bad book.

I've never tried to write two (and start thinking about a third) books at the same time, but I'm not sure I can fight temptation much longer. In the meantime—Yes, dear. I'll get right to it.

(Whispers: Book monogamy sucks.)

To those of you about to NaNo: I salute you. Best wishes with your new wife!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Catching a Breath

::deep breath::

The show I'm in has opened and now I might have the brain power to gear up for NaNoWriMo. This, naturally, means I'm about to get hit with edits on my m/m/f novel Rose & Thorn (that will be released by Torquere Press around the new year). It's going to be a marathon run, I can tell.

Here's a little about Rose & Thorn:

Eamon Quinn is an actor with designs on a position with Rose & Thorn Theatrics. As a new university graduate, he's up to the acting challenge, but he's not so sure he's up to facing life in the big city. Fortunately, he quickly finds a friend in Jasper Davison. Jasper is intrigued by Eamon, sure that he's a fellow mountain-born soul, and that's something Jasper's been missing in coastal Yanuk. When both men are hired by Rose & Thorn, the kindred spirits soon become lovers--and catch the eye of the company's head apprentice, the pretty and precocious HJ Greenhills.

Bad luck plagues the theatre--accidents, injuries, and a sudden death--leading to rumors of a curse. Weaving sexual energy with Druid magic, Eamon and Jasper seek the truth behind the rumors. But confirming the curse is only the first hurdle. They need figure out who cast it and how to end it before it causes more harm. Even together, the two men aren't strong enough. Druid magic works best in threes, and so they seek HJ's help to lift the curse. The three put their bodies and energies together to call up the magic they need to set things right.

And on a completely unrelated note: It's St. Crispin's Day! I recommend celebrating by watching Branagh's Henry V and buying a new pair of shoes. "We few, we happy few..."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Well, the first cold of the season is upon me, so I'm not ashamed to say that I'm sluggish and crabby and forgot it was my blog day. I remembered last night before bed (and before the Nyquil) and my first thought was just to let you guys know that my newest release, By the Numbers, is #5 on the best sellers list at All Romance ebooks! If you're unfamiliar with ARe, I highly encourage you to check out their site. I was lucky enough to meet the owners a couple of years ago and I continue to be impressed by their professionalism and business sense.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rebate offer and a little background on Sonoran Heat

All Romance eBooks is spotlighting publisher Amber Quill Press until October 31st with special rebates on all AQP titles! This includes LGBT imprint Amber Allure, so now might be a good time to stock up on M/M titles for the winter. For example, ahem, my novel Sonoran Heat is currently $5.25 after eBook Bucks rewards:

A little background: I wrote Sonoran Heat on the tail-end of a rather rough Midwest winter, one that challenged me physically, emotionally, and creatively. I found I needed a quiet respite, with thoughts of sun and warmth, while returning to the roots of writing for the sake of the craft itself. That's exactly what Sonoran Heat provided. It grew from Sunrise at Mama Irene's, a free short story I'd posted almost a year earlier. I asked myself "What happens next?", changed the setting to the Sonoran Desert where I've lived twice, and wove the story from there.

This tender romance focuses on the relationship itself, minus some of the crazier elements I've explored in other works (like, oh, forest fires, train wrecks, or Balkan mobsters). It's also low on angst and conflict, themes my regular readers know I often explore to the point of sadism, but this is one story where I needed a break from all of that. (Hey, even I can't be dark all the time!)

So...if you're in the mood for a hot but mellow story that's been praised by one reviewer for "gentle pacing" and cited by others as not being *too* squicky for a May/December romance, Sonoran Heat might just be what you're seeking. (If a tamer approach bores you, or isn't the sort of escape you need right now, well, that's what my wilder stories like Blue Ruin are for!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Excitement for Sparks

So excited that I got the final blurb for Sparks, my upcoming Dreamspinner Press release. I also got the mock-up of the cover for Sparks. It fits the book very well. Can’t share it yet since it was only the sketch and had some changes to be done to it. I will share the cover once I get the final version. I’m getting excited to see the finished product of the book. So here is blurb for Sparks.

Sparks - Blurb
By: Talia Carmichael
Dreamspinner Press
Release. Date: November/December 2011
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Something in Common - Book 2
Format: E-Book

Bernie Jenkins knows longing for Tomas is futile. The strong, sexy man sees him as nothing but an obligation, a burden he took on out of pity. He even calls Bernie “kid.” Bernie knows all about burdens and how they can consume you, so he pushes away feelings for Tomas.

Tomas Rodriguez likes Bernie. He’s a buddy, a friend. No matter what anyone says, there is nothing going on between them… or so he believes until Bernie surprises him one night at a club. Tomas realizes there’s more to the clumsy geek than he ever knew, but being attracted to someone isn’t the same as acting on it. For that to change, Bernie will have to take a chance and allow Tomas into his heart.


I'm in the process of going through the galley for Sparks. One of the final stages before release. I love seeing it all come together.

Talia Carmichael
Fill Your Cravings


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Lost Time Is Your Gain (I Hope)

National Coming Out Day was yesterday and I got to thinking about a scene that won't make it into my work in progress, but I thought someone might like to see it. I'm thinking Joey and Aaron will give me a lot of deleted scenes for the director's cut. They've already insisted on the prologue. Guys? Not your book. Dylan's book, okay?

Aaron stared at the ceiling. The full-sized bed didn't give them much room, but Joey had rolled on his side, facing away. Annihilating the stress of the last couple hours in the heat and smell of his skin had been on Aaron's mind as he stripped for bed, but as soon as his head hit the pillow he realized he was too fucking tired to fuck. He hadn't been this exhausted since the kids were young.

So of course, Joey decided it was a great time for conversation. Hooking Aaron's leg with a foot, Joey dragged it between his legs. "How old were the twins when you came out to them?"

"I didn't."

Joey started to turn. Aaron wrapped both arms around Joey and pulled him in tight. Joey's hair slipped across Aaron's shoulder, balls resting heavy on Aaron's thigh, ass in tight against Aaron's belly. Sometimes cuddling Joey was an act of self-defense.

Since Aaron was too tired to fuck him, the fastest way to sleep was to answer his questions. "I asked their dad to do it."

"When did you tell him?"

"I think I kind of knew before he was in prison. We had a sort of talk about it one night, just before things got bad again."

"How old were they? How did they take it?"

"Fourteen. And about how you'd guess. Dylan made all kinds of jokes and started calling me a fag at least as often as he called me an asshole. Darryl was quiet. But I think it bothered him more."

With Joey's nod, his hair made a cool lick across Aaron's throat. He started to wonder how he could convince Joey to keep it chin length—and its usual warm blond.

"Yeah. I think that's probably why Dylan doesn't want Darryl to know he's gay."

"What?" Aaron couldn't remember moving, but he was out of the bed and staring down at Joey who rolled over to face him. "Dylan?"

"Shhh. You'll wake him up."

"No fucking way." Aaron whispered it.

"You caught that the other guy, Mike, the one who saved Darryl, was gay, right?"

"From the way he stared at my dick and your ass, yeah, I got that."

"Something's going on between him and Dylan." Joey pulled Aaron back down onto the bed and tucked himself around Aaron's back.

Aaron's head was back on the pillow, but sleep had gotten a hell of a lot farther away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I got nothin'

And since I got nothin', I'll simply leave you with some drool-worth photos of actors I find visually (and otherwise) inspiring.

Like Benedict Cumberbatch, and...

Daniel Dae Kim. and...

Sean Maher.

You're welcome. ;-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Whoops, almost missed my second Sunday in a row. And that would have been a shame, because I have a new release!

The lovely and talented Chris Owen and I co-wrote a novel called By the Numbers. This novel has the cutest cover I have ever seen.

Puppies! Firemen! Cute tech geeks! It's a win/win kind of novel. Here's a work-safe excerpt for you:

Smoke was pouring out of windows, through doors, and Deuce's vision narrowed until all he could see was his apartment. "Let me go!"

The cop was yelling at him, and then there were two holding onto him, demanding to know who was inside, what apartment. They wouldn't let him go, and Deuce couldn't make the words come out. He swore he could hear her barking. "Q! My dog. She's locked in the bedroom. She's pregnant!"

"What number?" He didn't know who asked, didn't care.

"Six. Second floor, on the right." He made himself stop pulling at the cops, mostly because someone was going toward the building, someone in fire gear who could actually help, but also because the police weren't going to be patient with him for very long.

"Stay here," one of the cops, the second one, ordered. "You don't move, understood? If you head to that building I'll put you in cuffs and throw you in a patrol car."

Deuce nodded, not even looking at him. He was pretty sure the cop couldn't do that, but he wasn't about to find out. He just watched the apartment, his big front window that looked like it had maybe blown out or been smashed in. "Q," he whispered. Then he made himself shut up and wait.

...and wait, and wait. It felt like a year had passed before he finally saw the firefighter emerge again, and by that time the building had become almost totally obscured by the thick, dirty smoke. Too many people were still in his way and he couldn't tell if the fireman had found his poor Q, her belly swollen with pups.

He craned his neck and stood on tiptoe, trying to peer past the police officer that was keeping him from dashing to his building. Had the firefighter gotten to her? And had it been in time? Deuce was just on the verge of saying fuck it and risking arrest, but suddenly the flock of people in front of him melted away and he was face to face with a pair of strong arms that cradled his pregnant dog.

"Q!" He reached out his arms to take the squirming, panting mutt. "Is she okay? Are you?"

Q's tongue lolled and she whined and wiggled until he put her down. Holding onto her collar, Deuce crouched down next to her and looked up at the firefighter. "Thank you. God, I can't even tell you." He pet Q with one hand, made her sit and held on tight. "Thank you," he repeated.

The firefighter had already taken off his mask, and now he did the same to his helmet and wiped at his forehead. He nodded at Deuce and leaned down to give her a pat. "She's a nice girl. Came right to me and let me pick her up."

"She wasn't real scared?" Deuce noticed his own hand was shaking and he reached up to push it through his hair to make it stop. His knuckles hit his bike helmet though, and he let out a shaky breath before undoing the snap and taking the helmet off. "I'm a mess. Thank you so much, again."

"She was a little scared." The man shrugged and pet Q's head again, his gloves still on. "But not like some pets I've tried to grab. Got bit right through my turnouts once by some little yappy dog."

"What's your name?"

"Trey Donovan. And she is...?"

"Q. Well, her vet papers still say Cutie, but that's a stupid name. I got her about two years ago after a break up and took the liberty of cooling her up." Deuce gently stroked her belly. "She got loose on me, though."

The corner of Trey's mouth lifted as he gazed at the dog's stomach. "She wasn't spayed, obviously. Don't you listen to what Bob Barker tells you?"

Deuce didn't blush, but he did nod contritely. "Lesson learned, for sure. It'll be taken care of as soon as she's ready. I'm not sure how long we have to wait after the puppies come, but the vet will tell me. I hope they're okay."

Q whined again and looked at them both, her tail thumping on the ground. She was still panting, and Deuce decided he'd have to find some water for her really soon.

Someone was yelling for Trey, who glanced over his shoulder and nodded. He gave one last pat to Q and shifted his helmet to under his other arm. "Good luck getting rid of the puppies," he laughed. "My kid would love one." Then he turned and headed back in the direction from which he'd come, presumably to do something else heroic.


By the Numbers is available for purchase from Torquere Books HERE.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Mercenary Post: Get a Kindle (or certificate) AND "Counterpunch"

I've been remiss in my duties - means I barely blogged for a few weeks. The main reason is that I'm currently 150% engaged in the little start-up publisher I co-founded with Rachel Haimowitz and Chris Hawkins, Riptide Publishing, which is an amazing labour of love. I've always toyed with the idea to one day start a business, but in this case, suddenly all the missing skills and people appeared and formed a kick-ass team. The authors who have signed up with us are at the very top of their game, and we are looking forward to launching their stories on October 30.

Being a publisher (running part of the business), and editor (ultimately turning a good book into a better book and guiding authors), and face of a company (giving interviews, approaching authors, customer service) in addition to being full-time employed has, admittedly, eaten into my writing time.

It would be weird if it were any different. Then again, we saw that coming and expected no less. It can be uncomfortable to suppress the urge or form new habits, but I expect to be able to go back to some writing once our launch is done. You guys of course won't notice the difference for a fair while, because the books I wrote before we founded Riptide are still in the pipeline and are being produced as we "speak". There's, first, the "Dark Soul" series, a line of hot and kinky short stories collected in a few volumes that still form an overarching plot - and that plot is clearly a romance. But there's also a lot of soul-searching and character exploration as people deal with their scars and darkness and the taboo to be gay in the Cosa Nostra.

"Dark Soul" is the first book I'm putting out via Riptide - just look at the cover! - and the process has been everything I hoped for: the editing has been brutal, but I'm convinced that "Dark Soul" is, writing-wise, the smoothest, stylistically best I've ever written in English. It does pay off to have an editor rip the guts from a story and question everything that's not 100% solid. I can't praise Rachel enough for kicking the complacency out of me. She's one tough lady.

And the year ends with another release: On 20 October, Samhain releases "Break and Enter", written with Rachel Haimowitz (do you detect a theme?). The link has an excerpt.

After that, things will quieten down a lot. I'll be working on three full-sized historical novels, and those take a lot of time. If I do nothing else, creatively, in 2012 but get those three novels ready, I'll have been really busy.

But before that happens, my second English solo novel will hit the shelves. On 4. November, Storm Moon Press is putting out "Counterpunch", my boxing novel.

And if you pre-order the book (before the release date on 4 November), you can win a Kindle or a $115 book certificate. Right now, Counterpunch is 20% off, too.

Here's the blurb:

Fight like a man, or die like a slave.

Brooklyn Marshall used to be a policeman in London, with a wife and a promising future ahead of him. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose father was a Member of Parliament and had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the overcrowded prison system, Brooklyn was sold into slavery rather than incarcerated. Now, he's the "Mean Machine", a boxer on the slave prizefighting circuit, pummelling other slaves for the entertainment of freemen and being rented out for the sexual service of his wealthier fans.

When Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn's services for a night, it seems like any other assignation. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it "love"—such things do not exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to help get Brooklyn's conviction overturned, he dares to hope. Then, an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he has worked so hard to achieve and sending him into the most important fight of all—the fight for freedom.

So, if you like some grit in your romance, you can't go wrong with Counterpunch. It should tide you over until I get the historicals ready. Hell, it'll tide *me* over while I slave away over the research...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Progress is sexy. Steve was about as sexy as progress gets.

RIP Steve Jobs
1955 - 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

So Excited!

Next week is the big Gay Romance Literary Retreat in New Orleans and I couldn't be more excited. I'm flying out next Tuesday, just a touch early because I've always wanted to visit New Orleans and want to spend as much time there as possible before I have to fly home again. I mean, not only am I going to be in a beautiful, historic area, but I'm also going to be surrounded by over two hundred writers and readers in my favorite genre. How often does that happen? It's going to be fabulous.

Anyhoo, if anyone else is planning to attend make sure you track me down and say hello. I'm sure I'll be all over the place and easy to find. Tune in next time I post, because I'm sure I'll have a gazillion photos to share. I may actually have the camera attached to my face the entire time I'm there. :D

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Book and Its Judged Cover

Make You Sweat received two great reviews last week. Whipped Cream Reviews gave it four cherries, and TRR gave it five stars, labeling it a Top Pick. Yay, and thank you!

Both reviewers commented on the cover, and it got me thinking. (Yes, that was the funny smell…)

When I filled out my cover art paperwork for Make You Sweat I mentioned that I loved PL Nunn’s covers, and then held my breath for several weeks. When I found out she’d been assigned to my book, it made my day. No, my week.

But I wasn’t always a fangirl.

Both of the reviewers for Make You Sweat mentioned the “cartoon” cover and said they might’ve passed it up because they didn’t like that style. Honestly, while I’m a fan of Nunn, I understand their reactions. I really do. The first time I saw one of Nunn’s covers, I thought the same thing. I didn’t know what Yaoi was at the time, and I’d only purchased books at the bookstores… you know, with photos, not drawings, as their covers. It was only after I read reviews and received several recommendations for the Heaven Sent series by Jet Mykles that I moved past my doubt and bought a book with Nunn’s art. She captured the Heaven Sent boys and their lovers perfectly, and from there, also capture me as a fan of her artwork.

Once I moved away from the initial doubt, I developed a habit of buying books with her covers without always reading the blurb. She has that effect on me. I broke out of my comfort zone and tried BDSM when I fell in love with Blue from fellow Slash & Burner Katrina Strauss’s Blue Ruin series. It turned out to be a good temptation, and the cover made me do it.

So what have I learned from this? Don’t judge a book by its cover? Heck, I hope we all know that already, but as I said, I still buy books with Nunn’s covers as if by rote. I enjoy most of them, but I have found myself tempted to purchase a book by an author I don’t enjoy when I see her art advertising it. On the flip side, as I draft this blog post, I think of a few books I’ve turned up my nose at because the cover was awful. I haven’t purchased a single ebook with a Poser designed cover, for example. The Poser men look creepy and unprofessional to me. (Yes, I’ve been told that sometimes they can look very real at the hands of someone who excels with the program, but alas, I don’t have an example for that.)

Will I read one now? It’s a habit I must break. After all, the reviewers at Whipped Cream and TRR took a chance on Make You Sweat, and loved it, so certainly I can pay that forward. I do like to challenge myself, stepping out of my personal comfort zone in so many ways. Yet this one simple challenge... 

Okay, dear Readers, leave me links for your favorite books with awful art. Help me to stop judging a book by its cover.

Pia Veleno

PS Speaking of judging covers, don't forget to vote in the Rainbow Awards poll for cover art. If you vote for Fallen, even better, but I promise to forgive you if you don't. ;-)

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