Thursday, January 31, 2013

Laying Ghosts out Tomorrow!

Its been a whiles since I've had a new release...but finally TA DA`
Laying Ghosts Cover

Laying Ghosts
By James Buchanan

available from MLRPress

Some families are haunted by tragedy. Some people are haunted by their pasts. Some men are haunted by who they are. Joe Peterson is haunted by all three. His parents' return from their mission, combined with a family reunion, forces Joe's kin to deal with his new life: out of the Mormon Church, out of the closet, and living with his lover Kabe. When a decades-old murder of a child lands on Joe's desk, digging into it dredges up long buried truths and festering secrets about folks Joe thought he knew -- including Kabe. Joe and Kabe must lay the ghosts of the past and bring closure to a family scarred by loss to move forward in their life together.

An old style fireproof and somewhat waterproof small document safe came out into the thin light. I blew the dust off the top to reveal an old badge sticker, the kind we still handed out to kids at parades and such, and a property tag taped down with evidence tape. Someone’s pencil scratch spelled out G.S.D. for temporary storage and gave the department’s address from before the new county courthouse had been built back in the eighties.

Temporary, my left nut.

I did not have the key. Likely no one at the station even knew whether the key even still existed. Since the box appeared to belong to my department and it seemed the type of box that you’d keep important files in, I figured I should get it open. The locksmith in town might have the correct bump-key to open it, so I got out my cell and made a call. He was out and nobody knew when they expected him. Well, the county had maintenance folks and they were on premises. Went upstairs, hauling the box, and tracked down Duncan.

“So what’s in the box?” Duncan played with a set of picks he’d pulled out of his kit. “It’s not going get me in trouble is it?”

“Naw.” I shrugged. “I mean, I don’t know what’s there, but I got a good suspicion it’s what I’m looking for.” While he worked, I rocked the chair I’d commandeered onto its back legs. “And if it ain’t something the department wanted opened, then we’ll re-key it and lock it back up.”

“Hum.” He let out the non-committal sound and focused back on the lock. Another couple minutes later, I heard the lock pop and Duncan stood up. “All yours.”

“Thank you, sir.” I pulled open the lid. Files. Old files. My hunch was likely right.

“If that’s all you need, I got to go fix the john in the jury room.”

Looked up from the files I’d already started thumbing through. “I’m good.” I, hopefully, was more than good ‘cause if this was what I needed I didn’t need to go back down with the dirt and spiders. “Can I use the room? Little more comfortable up here.”

Duncan saluted me as he opened up the door to let himself out. “Knock yourself out.”

Dragged the chair on over, pulled out the first file and opened it up. The details of an unsolved hit and run along the highway confronted me: serious injury, not a death case, from around seventy-five. Jackpot! I dropped that one back in and grabbed one from around the middle. Late sixties, commercial burglary with penciled in margin notes referencing the Ross boys, but again unsolved. Definitely the old case files I was supposed to retrieve. Fingered the edges of the files to find the place where I’d pulled the file. Went right past it and then my brain registered what I’d seen. I set the file I’d been holding on the table before pulling out the one that caught my eye.

Peterson, Rosalie - 1979.

Too much coincidence to be coincidence. I opened up the brittle manila folder. The first thing there, staring out at me, my sister Rose’s face. The same school photo that hung in the hall of my parent’s house, except at home a little card with Jesus and the children occupied one corner of the frame. Couldn’t quite wrap my mind around it. Rose drowned. Accident. Why was there a file for her? Accidental death, drowning, that’s a closed case. Solved.

Except, sitting there, holding that file and thinking back on my memories, nobody’d ever said direct that it was an accident. They’d just always sorta avoided the subject.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wow, I missed my last Sunday! Funny how time really does get away from you. Well, when you're in Las Vegas, anyway. There are no clocks ANYWHERE except in your hotel room.

I was in Vegas to see the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul 2 Soul concert at the Venetian. Totally worth it. Many, many writing ideas were spawned during that 90 minutes. Hopefully some of them will even make it to paper!

Not much else going on with me. California is pretty soggy and wet right now, but that's standard winter here. It does allow for writing time since I'm not tempted outdoors by the gorgeous weather. Still working on a sequel to By the Numbers with Chris Owen, so expect that sometime in late 2013. I have a re-release in March. Will reveal more of that as it gets closer.

Not all blog entries have to be brilliant, right? Because this one was not. Happy Sunday, slashers!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Clustering stories & Easter eggs

Apologies for skipping a few times - my day on the blog is Friday, and some Fridays are utter pigs in terms of workload, and sometimes I remember only on Saturday it was my turn. (This is not to talk trash about pigs - perfectly nice, tasty animals.)

I  also don't really believe in blogging when I have nothing to say. (Yep, it happens. I can spend days just sitting by myself, perfectly entertained without any need to talk about it or to anybody. I call those phases the introvert part of my cycle.)

Anyways. One fascinating question I've recently thought a lot about is - when we're creating worlds, are we really creating ONE world? To explain, I'm sometimes fascinated by the idea that characters from different books meet. Silvio could conceivably be in London, where I'm increasingly drawing my international characters - a weak imitation of the real diversity going on here. But it's a setting I know reasonably well, and London would be an attractive base for many of my characters (though Stefano and Donata decided to settle in Paris - just a short train ride away, really). Nikolai and Henri are definitely settling in London for the time being.

Stephen King did it. His stories were full of cross-references. You ended up with Stephen King's take on Maine rather than individual stories. (As a kid it annoyed me a bit - it could seem like an elaborate reference/joke that I could never work out.)

As an adult, I really like that idea. I like shared universes, too (like the Tucker Springs series by LA Witt, Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan), the idea that we're looking at something larger that exists outside the one book we're currently reading, but the current book is adding to it.

My own worlds are increasingly converging. Incursion is set in the same overall sci-fi set-up as Dark Edge of Honor (the Doctrine is just such a fascinating thing to explore - I can't stay away from the impact of totalitarian systems on human souls). There's a brief mention of the Doctrine in Incursion, which likely adds nothing to Incursion, but opens that large arch that invites the reader to see the bigger picture. It's an Easter Egg to discover and enjoy.

Mostly, I'm doing these in one genre - the Market Garden contemporary series (written with LA Witt) mentions characters who are the main characters of other parts of the series. While Tristan and Jared open the series in Quid Pro Quo, Nick is mentioned who is the main character in two novellas. In those, we mention the owner of the club, Frank. Who gets his own novel. It's fun. (And seems to spark further books on Frank's friends Mike and Geoff and Raoul in Frank's novel. Think of it as a literary daisy chain, where everybody gets to have fun...)

But then the real Easter Eggs: "Market Garden" of course is the name of a WWII operation. With the club owner something of a military... enthusiast, he's aware of that and chose the name as a bit of an insider joke. That all goes back to my WWII novels, which all happen in "the same version of WWII". All my main characters I set in WWII are taking part in the same war, and some have walk-on parts in the stories of the others. (Baldur of Skybound was the pilot who shot down my American pilot in an as-yet unpublished WWII novel, for example.)

Or another one: There's a part in a Market Garden story where our contemporary characters go to a museum to look at some paintings. These paintings showed up first in my WWII novel set in Paris. In the context of my overall work, the paintings are silent witnesses to a story that was never really told "in the real world", hopefully building a resonance, for want of a better word.

I see my stories as a kind of modern chorus ensemble - ideally, taken as a collective, they'll build more force and feed off each other, building harmonies and dissonances, but those are just my very "arty" concepts. I'm essentially hoping to mimic things I've observed about the "real world" and comment on history versus story versus reality, but wow, deep shit, and it should absolutely work without all those crazy meta ideas.

Maybe what I enjoy most is to cross genres there. Not only am I moving items and themes from the past into the future, but I'm firmly connecting my "literary" efforts to my "genre" work. Same brain. Same process. I don't like divisions here, and they are all happening in the same world. All I'm doing is apply slightly different tools and voices. You CAN play metal on classical instruments.

I'm just hoping that my faithful readers who read everything I do, enjoy finding these cross-references. It's the best I can do to map my own brain and creative processes - that express themselves in stories. Actually, in clusters of stories. Can't help it, that's how I roll.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

7's Up

I'm always looking for something to write about that won't bore a reader to sad little reader pieces and Josephine Myles on Facebook tagged me for this. While I'm still trying to figure out how Facebook works, anyone stopping by here gets the benefit. 

What it is is seven lines from the seventh page of your current work in progress, then you tag seven other authors. (Um, Slash & Burn authors, consider yourself tagged!) 

So here's my seven lines from the seventh page of a historical that has seized my brain and won't let me work on what I'd been planning. I'm calling it Dead to Me right now. 
It takes place in 1896 in Cornwall. 

I disembarked at the Looe station in the early evening. The air was warm, scented with thick growth and cleansed by the sea. My blackened London lungs immediately rebelled in a violent cough, the hacking echoing through my rattled and aching bones.

The last stretch of track had been laid without regard for safety or comfort, either clinging to  cliff face on a steep incline or traversing a spit of land in salty marsh. I’d done far too much clinging to the hard wooden seat back in my third class carriage, damn Fred to the ninth circle of hell with the other traitors. It had been far too easy to become accustomed to a life of finer things and small luxuries such as clean linen and soft seating.

Informercial voice: But wait, there's more. 

Here's what I thought I'd be working on. Feel free to chime in with opinions and make my manuscript ADD settle. This is seven from page seven of the next Baltimore book, Bad Habit

Silver looked back at Marco, who, yeah, Silver had dragged up to Mount Washington. What a fucking time for Silver’s conscience to come back from the dead. He ran down the driveway.

It was easy enough to find the tools in the freakishly neat garage. Remembering how his father had never been happy when he sent Silver for tools, he came back with the wrench and three different-sized screwdrivers which he shoved into the arrogant asshole's hands before backing away.

Though Silver was fuck-all certain the only time Gavin looked under a car’s hood was in a gleaming showroom, the two older guys got cozy and flirty over the engine. It was all Silver could do to not roll his eyes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rediscovering a groove

I just got home from a short vacation where I had almost no internet access. I cannot tell you how good that felt! I got very little writing done while on vacation, but the trip did help me get back in touch with my writer self, and that's just as good for me at this point. I'm rediscovering what routines work for me as a writer; things that have fallen to the wayside over the past couple of years. I am digging out of my rut and stepping back into my groove, and what a good feeling that is! That said, it's a delicate balance between "researching" and "procrastinating". At least I got in about four hours of writing before I got sidetracked to all those pretty websites with all that interesting information. Today, I call that a win.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Release!

I'm thrilled that Ascending Hearts is now available from Ellora's Cave! It's the next in my Tempting Tales series with Leta Blake, and is inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk. 

Rumors of treasure have long sent fortune hunters clambering up a magic beanstalk to a mysterious castle in the clouds. Survivors told of an evil giant who guards the gold with savage strength. No sane man would dare risk the climb—but Jack has nothing left to lose. Shunned for his evil red hair and abandoned by his cruel lover, he’s desperate to escape his life.

Rion isn’t a giant, only a man bearing the burden of protecting his family’s legacy. It’s a lonely existence, but he’s duty bound. Then Jack appears, and Rion’s world changes. After a blazing confrontation, undeniable lust sparks. Isolated in the clouds, Jack and Rion give in to their desire and growing connection. Soon they must protect the treasure—and each other—from a new threat. And they have everything to lose.


Also available at:

All Romance Ebooks

Monday, January 7, 2013

Exciting Contract News!

I have wonderful news to share. For those who have been patiently waiting for the next book in the Chicken Ranch series, I’m thrilled to let you know your wait is almost over. The second book in the series, Recession, was recently accepted at Loose Id. I don’t know anything about when it will be released at this point, but I’ll be sure to give you updates when I know something more. Until then, here’s a sneak peek at the blurb. It’s unedited, so forgive any mistakes at this point.

Chicken Ranch: Recession

Garrett has fallen on tough times. Once a construction worker, he now depends on the desires of others to feed his little brother and keep a roof over their heads. As one of the many rent boys at Chicken Ranch, Garrett lives in constant fear, torn between making enough money to survive and getting busted for doing something illegal and immoral to pay the bills.

Miller is a workaholic with a chip on his shoulder. Memories of the past and the man who got away are his most constant companions. It isn’t until his beloved Grandma passes away that Miller dares to temporarily return home to the town he despises and the man he left behind.

Garrett never expected to see Miller again. In his worst nightmares, he couldn’t have foreseen his first love sweeping into town and trying to insert himself into his life by offering him a way out of prostitution. As much as he’d love the opportunity, he fears Miller will once again walk away and leave him hanging just like he did the summer after graduation. No matter how much he’d like to, he can’t put his faith and future in Miller’s hands when more than just his own welfare is at stake.

Their reunion comes with an abundance of complications and old feelings. Bitterness and anger swiftly turn into desire and a rekindled love that threatens more than their hearts. Although he never intended to stay in town, Miller finds himself longing to put down roots. Things are looking up until he inadvertently provokes a threat to Garrett’s custody of his little brother. Having already lost Garrett to familial obligations once, Miller fears they’re doomed to repeat the past, only this time Garrett will be the one who’ll walk away.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

For the New Year

The New Year is not quite a week old yet. We all have our own ways of celebrating the retiring of one year and the birth of another. Some watched the ball drop on Times Square, others drank until they couldn’t remember last year, still others spent quiet time with family. Regardless of how you rang in the New Year, let’s make it the best one yet.

How? I’m glad you asked. Here are my ideas for 2013:

Look for the happiness and joy in your life every day. Maybe it’s a hug from your child, or and unexpected text from an old friend. Maybe it’s that chocolate bar you’d been saving for a special occasion, or freshly fallen snow painting your yard a pristine white. Look for it, acknowledge it, appreciate it.

Better yourself. No, not resolutions; something you’ll enjoy. Pick an instrument and take some music lessons. Learn how to snowshoe. Study a foreign language. Apply for a better job. Participate in a charity; pick one that means something strong to you.

Lastly, step away. So many of us spend way too much time in front of the computer. Social interaction online is simply not the same as taking a friend out for coffee, or going shopping with your sister. Get away from your computer and get some fresh air, and welcome smiles with friends and family, and do it often. Oh, and don’t check your smart phone while you’re doing it.

In 2013,

May you find what you seek. May you catch the dreams you chase. May you walk the path to your most desired life goals. May the New Year treat you with the same joy and love for life as you give yourself every day.

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year's Eve! A year ago today I was flying home from Iceland. I expect today to be much more relaxed. ;-)

I'm not much for resolutions, New Year's or otherwise, but there are things that I'm excited about today, this month, and in the coming year.

Today: I have black-eyed peas cooking in the crock pot. I missed out on this Southern good luck tradition last year, so I was determined to make it happen this year. I hope it turns out tasty!

This month: I'm back to a new session of aerials and I am determined to accomplish what's needed to move up to the next level by Session 2. (I would bore you with details, but that would be boring--and possibly nonsensical--for you.)

This year: It's the 25th anniversary season for the theatre company I work for and I am beyond excited by the slate we have planned, especially King Lear. *swoon* (Yes, I said *swoon*.) Plus, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is also doing Lear this year, and I already have tickets to see it in September. Woot!

This year, too: I have two books that will go out of print this year, and I'm determined to get them self-pubbed in a timely fashion. I'm already working on cover art for the first one, so yay for me! I have unfinished manuscripts on my computer that I plan to finish, too. Maybe it's just the sunshine out there, but I'm feeling productive today. Here's hoping it lasts.

Is there anything you're excited about this year? What delights does 2013 hold for you?
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