Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chasers, cowboys, and May/December romances

Well, the Hearth & Home Chasers are done. Robbie and Seth have their happy-ever-after. But did y'all really think that was the end? Of them, maybe. But there's another couple brewing... Jack is 42, ready to settle down. Problem is, the one he wants is half his age...and straight. What's a man to do?

Breakdown is the series title for a new Chaser series, focusing on Jack and Ty--supporting characters from the Hearth & Home series. Here's a little taste from story 1, which is in-progress, so ignore goofs.


Jack rummaged until he found a beer, then popped it open, taking a huge swallow.

Ty laughed. "We're going out and you're already drinking?"

"Needed it." Jack took another big drink, then set the bottle on the counter. "By the way..." He turned and Ty looked up from where he'd been reading the brake pads box. "Happy birthday."

The kid smiled, lighting up his entire face. "Thanks. Finally legal." As if to accentuate his point, Ty grabbed Jack's half-empty beer off the counter top and finished it off.

Jack made a point to not look at the way the kid's throat worked with every swallow, or the expanse of flesh exposed, waiting for a kiss or two. When the bottle hit the inside of the trash can, Jack snapped himself out of his daze. "I'm gonna go get changed."

"Cool. I'll be down here."

He took the steps two at a time, needing to put as much space between him and Ty as possible. His control was slipping the more they were alone. Every inch of Jack's body ached for Ty's touch, his fantasies only fueling the fire slowly driving him mad. Safe in his room, Jack slumped back against the closed door, eyes closed, and tried to steady his racing heartbeat. This was killing him.


Jack opened his eyes, realizing he'd been standing there for a good while longer than he'd intended. "Yeah. Just gimme a minute."

"You okay, man?"

No? Jack shook his head. Just open the door, take the chance...

"Jack. C'mon." Ty tried turning the doorknob, but muttered something when it proved to be locked. "Look, we don't have to go out. I can call Robbie's cell and-"

"No. I'm okay, kid." Really. Jack heard the wood creak when Ty leaned against the wall.

"Then what's wrong? You've been acting weird for a while now," Ty said quietly.

Taking a deep breath and saying a prayer, Jack turned and opened the door. Ty stared at him from the opposite wall, hands shoved into faded jeans pockets. Booted feet set shoulder-width apart, stretching the denim across leans hips, he watched Jack with a curious but worried expression. Jesus, Jack was in trouble and he knew it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sneak peek at "The Bonds of Love"

This weekend will see the release of my first novel-length story featuring my "superhero" characters Vic and Matt. I'm quite excited, for several reasons, not the least of which is that these two seem to have taken on a life of their own. And it's my second paperback that I didn't publish myself, which is always nice!

What started out as a short story has morphed into 16 short stories, a novel and a novella between two series, and thoughts of a third series on the way. And I'm getting ready to launch a website that will focus solely on these two characters. I have big things planned for them.

Me! Who ever thought I'd write a series?

Coming February 3, 2008 from Amber Allure Press

Vic Braunson has a special kind of problem ~ his lover, Matt diLorenzo, somehow imbues him with enhanced superpowers every time they have sex. It's something Vic has learned to live with in the years they've been together, and something he won't let stand in the way of their relationship. Matt hates the powers, particularly when they put Vic in danger, but what can they do?

When Vic stops an armed robbery at a local convenience store, his picture appears in the morning paper. Later that day, Matt gets a phone call at work from Jordan Dubrowski, a guy he knew in high school. Jordan was his first, in every way ~ it was through him that Matt discovered his ability to transfer superpowers to his lovers. Jordan had a taste of those powers, and after reading about Vic's role in the hold up, he's decided he wants them back.

But Matt is in love, and Vic won't let him go without a fight. Still, Jordan will stop at nothing to get what he thinks rightly belongs to him.

One image flashed in Vic's head, undeniable. A gun, crammed down the front of the black guy's jeans, the safety off. At least one of his friends had a knife, folded in the fist balled in his hoodie pocket. Crossing to stand behind his lover, Vic lowered his voice so no one else would overhear. "Come on, Matty. Time to go."

His lover started, "I'm ~"

Vic quieted him with a hand on his back. "Now."

Matt glanced around the store, confusion on his face. Opening the mental connection they shared, Vic pointed out the gun and knife. "Shit," Matt whispered. As he reached for the Slurpee lids, his hand hit a stack of the cups and they clattered to the tiled floor.

The noise set the gunman into action. "You fuckers on the ground!" he hollered, waving the pistol in the air. The cashier screamed and dropped behind the counter, out of sight. Cat food cans went rolling, the freezer door slammed shut as the customers hurried to obey. The cat food lady sobbed. Matt sank to his knees and tried to gather up the offending cups.

"On the floor," the gunman barked. He turned full circle, gun leveled, looking for a reason to shoot. When he saw Vic, the gun swung to a stop between them. "You, asshole. Didn't you hear me?"

Vic stared at the barrel, unperturbed. A strange feeling of calm descended over him and he stepped in front of Matt to block his lover from the gun's aim. "I heard you."

His low voice infuriated the gunman. "Then get the fuck on the floor!" When Vic didn't move, the guy shook his head in disbelief. "Motherfucker."

"Get on the floor, man!" one of guy's friends pleaded, the one with the knife. "We ain't gonna kill you, dude. Just get down and no one gets hurt."

Somehow, Vic didn't believe that. "Change of plans," he said, popping another chip in his mouth. He took a moment to chew it ~ in the silence of the store, broken only by quiet sobs and Matt fiddling with the cups, the sound that the chip made as he ground it between his teeth seemed unnaturally loud to his own ears. Choosing his words, Vic announced, "Give me the gun. And you, the knife."

The kid gaped, surprised Vic knew of his weapon. ::I know,:: Vic added mentally.

The kid's jaw dropped. "Who the hell are you?" he whispered.

"Hand them over," Vic replied, ignoring the question. "And no one gets hurt. How's that sound?"

For a breathless second, he almost hoped it had worked. The kid with the knife had it out now, but he held it by the hilt, ready to drop it and run. The third friend stayed by the door, waiting for the signal to bolt. But this was the gunman's show, and he wasn't ready to call it quits just yet. "What're you gonna do?"

Vic took a step to close the distance between them. "You stay right there!" the gunman warned, his voice ratcheting up a notch. "You hear me?"

As if he didn't, Vic moved closer. If he could just reach the guy, he knew he could bring him down~ the strength that flooded his system ran like adrenaline through his veins, energizing him. If he could just get close enough to tackle him ...

The gun went off. Vic saw a lick of flame, smelled the acrid odor of gunpowder and smoke, and heard the deafening rapport a second before something small and hard and metal punched him in the center of his chest. The energy in his body flared to life ~ the gun shots rang out, two, three, each accompanied by another hard knock that rattled him down through his core. The energy swirled through him, in him, around him, dazzling like bright light. Far away he heard Matt cry out for him, the sound of his name like anguish in his lover's voice.

Then the light washed over him like the tide, and everything disappeared.

Coming Sunday!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ally's Rant-of-the-Week

Okay, so we were discussing what constitutes a Real Man on the Samhain blog the other day. Which was my fault, as I just had to ask that question *g* And one of the folks who responded made a point about women not always fitting the gender roles people assign us either. That, in turn, brought to mind one of my pet peeves, and I decided to rant about it here rather than rant internally like I usually do. So here goes...

WHY, oh why, oh why, do people seem to equate being female with being weak??? Kick-ass heroines notwithstanding (and thank FSM there are plenty of them out there in Fictionland these days), there is this nearly subconscious belief -- at least in the U.S., I can't speak to anywhere else really -- that having girl parts = being weak, easily flustered, and basically unable to stand on one's own. It's not overt, usually. But it's there. If you want to say someone is spineless and cowardly, what do you call them? A pussy. If someone throws the baseball and it doesn't go anywhere, what are they told? They throw like a girl. Likewise, someone who cries out in fright when they are startled by something screams like a girl. If a guy dares to shed tears or show emotion (other than anger, of course, which is okay for some reason), he is called a girl.

None of these are compliments. All are insults.

Again, I ask, WHY????? Why is it assumed that females are weak? History has proven that we are NOT. Also, why is showing emotion or, heaven forbid, wanting to talk an issue out rather than pummel someone, considered to be a weakness at all? I don't get it. I really, really don't.

Sorry this has nothing to do with manlove, it was just on my mind :D
Or, hell, maybe it does have to do with manlove, since so many people seem so willing to apply the dreaded label of "girl" to some of the men in gay fiction. I don't get that either...

Rant over. You may return to your evening, and thanks for listening *g*

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Waiting Game

My novel For Love and Country was released just a little over a week ago from Samhain Publishing. And I'm in that lovely, or not so lovely, limbo state. I've gotten one review for it already (Beth from Paranormal Romance Reviews says: "...This story is wonderfully written and I was drawn in from the first page. The characters are very appealing and easy to fall for. It's a wonderful blend of history and romance and the sexual tension between the two characters really heats up the pages. Mary Winter's desire to bring the Civil War era to life has paid off.") However, that's the only review I've seen so far.

I've heard some good things about this book, so I know (okay, so I hope) people are buying it and reading it. But those first few weeks after a story's release are very tenuous. We all want to believe that people are buying, and reading, and loving our work. However, the waiting takes it toll. Every author, I'm sure, goes through this, and in the end, we finally see reviews or reader comments and know that yes, the book did reach its intended audience and they enjoyed it. (whew!)

I am noticing that reviews are taking longer to come in these days. But then again there are tons of new books released every month. It'd take a huge staff to get through all of them. And many people are like me, where certain authors are definitely on the "to read" list. It just takes a while to get there.

So in the meantime, I'll wait as patiently as I can.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Fond Farewell

I'm not sure if Anne has a post for you today but I wanted to do a quick farewell and tribute to Heath Ledger who serve as our inspiration for the character Matt Gavin in Parallel Process and the upcoming Lost Souls.

When imagining Matt I saw a big, happy-go-lucky All American boy. Why Australian Heath became the mental image I'm not sure, but I think it was his smile. He definitely had Matt Gavin's smile.

I wanted to share a sketch Anne did last year for our own personal authorly inspiration and enjoyment.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rainy Weather


Love & War
James Buchanan
© 2005

Rafe struggled in the soldier’s grip. “Run!” He shouted to the small group behind him. Although bigger and stronger than his captive, it appeared the man was prepared to fight if necessary. Protect his compatriots. Give them time to scurry their prize to safety.

Advent Nays watched the retreating pack of rebels, green eyes lit with mirth behind his rimless specs. “Oh yes loves, run.” He purred. Turning his attention back to his captive, “Where the devil do you think you are? Down the rabbit hole with Alice?” The older man laughed. “They won’t get within five feet of a door. We own this place. If it was that baby genius we really wanted, we would have had him hours ago.”

Those blue, blue eyes said it all. Rafe couldn’t decide if that was an empty threat. Like a frightened animal he had to get away, warn the rest of the filthy rebels that it might be a set up. The young man stomped hard on the toes of Advent’s high buckled boots only to discover they were steel toed. “Shit!”

Advent was a good eight inches taller than Rafe. And that would have been without the boots. Well muscled, long loose brown hair and vibrant green eyes the soldier was far more imposing. He was dramatic and handsome in his high collared, black Territorial uniform and long leather trench coat. Confidence radiated from the Field Officer.

“You trying to go somewhere?” Advent slammed Rafe’s back against the table knocking the man’s glasses askew. He hissed from the pain. “I don’t think so. You and I, we have some personal issues to deal with.” For years now Rafe and his crew had been a thorn in the Territories’ side. Which meant he’d been a pain in Advent Nay’s side. Amazing that he’d been caught so easy. Always before, the rebels had managed to slip away at just the last minute.

Months of studying grainy field cams and old school vids had seared Rafe Ayer’s features into the Field Officer’s brain. He dreamt of the pensive smile and brooding eyes of the man in his grasp. At first he told himself it was just work carrying itself into sleep. Finally he admitted that the cat and mouse game they played made him want a man he’d only seen in fleeting moments. It was “hard to get” ratcheted times twenty. Advent liked hard to get. And the rebel was really good looking; too bad he worked for the wrong side.

“Sod off!” Rafe spat. His silvered specs slid off his face, the mop of blonde hair falling into his eyes. He wore a bad imitation of club clothes: blue flash-pants that rose barely high enough to be considered hip huggers, a torn white shirt and chunky sneakers. It made him look young and small against Advent’s leather draped frame.

Pushing Rafe back into the booth, Advent hissed. “That’s an interesting idea.” The rebel was such a little committed freak…a lot like he’d been at that age. Of course Ayer came from one of the good families, the kind which bread intellectuals and dissidents. Nothing like Advent’s own working class background. Maybe the rebel wasn’t as aggressive, but cute; trying to pretend he was older and wiser than he really was. And his oh-so-proper accent, it reminded him of home.

Advent’s fingers hooked on the low slung waist of Rafe’s pants. “I bet if I pulled, just a little, these would come sliding right off.” He grabbed the rebel’s ankle and Rafe slid, squirming, on to his back. “Of course love, we can’t do anything about getting those britches down with these lug soled things on.” He dropped Rafe’s shoes and they rolled under the table. Then he grabbed the waist the man’s trousers. As expected there wasn’t much holding them up and in a matter of seconds they joined the shoes on the floor. The younger man kicked at him and Advent grabbed his legs, spreading them as much as he could in the cramped space. He knelt on the seat in between Rafe’s naked thighs. “What no knickers? You naughty boy what were you planning on doing tonight?”

Rafe swung a badly aimed punch at his head. Advent caught the blow and slammed Rafe’s hand against the wall of the booth. The rebel spit in his face. He’d started off just to terrorize the young man. He hadn’t had any intention of actually going through with it. Strip him, dump his things in the bin, and leave him naked in the middle of the club. It would have been sufficient revenge for now. But as Rafe struggled against him Advent was becoming excited. Bloody hell he was turning into that oversexed Second Officer of his.

Kicking and squirming Rafe tried to drive off his attacker. Advent wondered why Rafe hadn’t started off screaming when he’d started to strip him. Of course some form of industrial noise, masquerading as dance, thundered through the sound system. He probably realized no one would hear him over the pounding music. One arm was pinned to the vinyl by the older man. Rafe grabbed a hank of long brown hair with the other and pulled. “Go to hell you government prick.”

“You little sodding shit.” If that was how he wanted to play it, fine. His free hand fumbled with the buttons on his leather pants and he pulled himself free. Then Advent grabbed Rafe’s hip and drug him back. The hard head of his cock pressed against the lithe young body. He couldn’t believe he was about to give into his dreams.


Rafe trembled, muscles tensed in anticipation. His compatriots teased him: all work and no play makes Rafe a dull boy. They were so very right. The other members of his cell played with each other, a lot. He’d joined the rebels because he wanted to be a part of something. Living it for so long he’s started to believe. Year after year, going higher and higher within their ranks, the only life Rafe had was within the cause. And now, there was always so much work to be done; he could never let himself go. He could never bring himself to give in. The few times he had, he’d been distracted thinking about the hundreds of things that needed to be done.

Every time he’d encountered Field Officer Nays he’d managed an escape. Every time he’d escaped, Rafe had dreamed that he didn’t. He probably could have managed tonight. But he hadn’t wanted too. Because this way, this way took all the choices from Rafe.

That tall, sleek frame carried with a soldier’s bearing stalked his dreams. He’d read and reread the dossier on his opponent a thousand times. Each time looking for another bit of detail something that he could connect to. They’d grown up within the same sector. Rafe imagined he had visited the same museums and zoos and theaters as Field Officer Nays did when he was a boy.

Still, that power, that authority… Rafe desired it. It was something he’d never admit to anyone else, he could hardly admit it to himself… he liked not having a choice. He wanted to be told what to do, to not be the responsible one. Knowing where it was going to end, where he wanted it to end as he fought with Advent, he struggled because that was what he was supposed to do. It was what made it exciting.

His hips rose to meet the pressure. Rafe threw back his head and cried out at the grinding bite of Advent’s entrance. It was as wonderful as he thought it would be.


Frost ran down Advent’s back. “Bloody hell you’re tight.” He hadn’t thought the young rebel’s body would feel so good. He bent down to kiss Rafe. He wanted to feel his lips, pretend he wasn’t forcing him. The man’s shaft pressed into his stomach. God Rafe was hard. He wouldn’t have been hard in his place. He would have been scared shitless.

As he pressed his mouth against the other man’s lips he could feel more than hear Rafe’s words. “Hold me down.”

“What?” Both hands drove down on the rebel’s biceps as he reared back.

“Yes,” the Rafe’s legs wound about Advent’s hips, “like that.” Rafe’s deep blue eyes drifted along Advent’s body, full of hunger not terror. The throbbing base gave him a beat to follow as he thrust back against the other man. As Advent moved within the other man’s body, he lost more and more control, drowning in the heat licking up his thighs. Rafe’s shaft was coursing in a trail of its own moisture on the hard planes of the Field Officer’s cut abdomen. The weight of the taller man on his arms fed his shivers. Freezing cold and burning hot all at the same time Rafe thought he would burst.

Breath breaking in his lungs, Advent slammed into Rafe. He was trembling as much as the man under him. The rebel’s fingers were digging into his arms as he pulled his body against Advent. God it had never been this intense before. Frost clawed at the back of his legs and ran up his belly.

Rafe was driving their rhythm harder and faster, crying, panting, half words breaking his lips. Jamming himself onto Advent’s shaft, Rafe stroked his own length against the tall green haired man’s belly. Advent was going to explode, explode or die. Heat built in the center of his groin and licked its way up through the nerves in his cock. Convulsions wracked the lithe frame beneath him as Rafe erupted coating Advent’s chest.

Tight to begin with, the spasms of Rafe’s orgasm made his body a vice. Advent’s blood froze as his own orgasm hit like lightning down his spine. The wordless scream burst from his mouth as he pumped his juices into Rafe. He couldn’t catch his breath. Grabbing the back of the booth and the edge of the table Advent pulled himself up. His cock was still sheathed in the rebel’s body. Rafe’s delicate fingers reached up and wound into Advent’s long brown hair. He drug on it, pulling himself up and the other man down. Advent’s green eyes went wide as Rafe drove his tongue into his mouth.

As Advent drew back, the man’s teeth grazed his lip and then coursed down his neck. “More!” Rafe’s demand tickled the base of his throat.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Calling Kink

What is it that makes us try to find words for the pictures and the voices in our heads? And what is it that puts those pictures and voices in there?

Along with many of my fellow writers, I refer to what non-writers might call schizophrenia as a muse. One of my friends has a name for her muse, Kink. Kink even has a gender, male. When she’s having trouble writing, she imagines that Kink is off on some tropical vacation, sipping drinks under a cabana and eyeing the pool boys. Whenever she talks about it, I can actually picture him, pale and almost sidhe-like, lounging on a chair with sunglasses over his anime-style eyes.

My muse is more amorphous. I don’t have Kink or even a lovely woman in a toga with hair a la Greque. My muse is genderless and far more difficult to pin down. Sometimes it won’t focus on my work in progress, preferring to whisper in my ear about all the fun I could be having if I’d just forget about my loyalty to that almost completed work and run off with it to frolic with new characters.

I remember reading about an author who considered her muse to be more of a monster locked in a closet, being fed scraps from her notebook until it was fattened and she let it out. She had to keep it chained though, because it was unpredictable and dangerous.

My muse is that at times. Dangerous. It makes my characters say things that throw the scene or even the entire novel off-track. It makes me want to write things that scare me a little. Things that hurt. It promises me a wonderful story and then abandons me to fight for the ending on my own.

When my muse comes up with something so completely unexpected I seriously doubt that it could possibly have hatched in my thoughts, I wonder what my brain would look like if I were hooked up to one of those machines that charts the activity by color. What parts would light up? Where exactly does my muse live? And what does it look like?

I won’t deny that my muse is at times frightening, other times kinky. It will never be the monster in the closet or the beautiful man on the beach chair. I envy the more solid relationships other authors have with their muses, but I hope mine never needs to be chained and never disappears for a long, tropical vacation. As much as they sometimes keep me up at night, I hope that the voices in my head never shut up. Whether as a result of my muse or something that needs a more professional diagnosis, I’m happy to have stories in my head. Whatever it is, I hope it sticks around for a long time.

My new Samhain release Hot Ticket was a gift from the kinky part of my muse. To read a free prequel that doesn’t appear in the release, come on over to my live journal.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

First Times

Hello. ::waves:: I suppose I ought to introduce myself since I'm new here. I'm Maia and I'm a new Samhain author. My book that I recently sold is The Ballad of Jimothy Redwing and it'll be out summer or later this year. I'm totally jazzed about it and about being a part of Slash & Burn.

Since this is my first time posting here it seemed like a good time to talk about first times. There are a lot of firsts in a lifetime, many of which we don't remember ourselves, such as our own first smile or laugh or word or steps. We have to rely on other people to remember them. It's a toss-up whether or not we want to hear about them later, of course.

At any rate, I was trying to come up with some firsts from my life that I can actually remember and I realized that some that are meant to be significant are really very spotty in my memory. Things that you're taught to expect to remember, like you first kiss or the first time you have sex, are totally vague for me. But that's what you read in books, you know? Some hero or heroine remembers their first kiss or first copulation and it's wonderfulromanticmessywetstickypainfulstrangeneatnew. For me, not so much. My "first time" memories are less about an event than the circumstances of the event. Like when I first met my husband—at in Indian restaurant watching a mutual friend bellydance. Now that's memorable. Or the first time I saw Star Wars--in the big domed theatre with the curved screen and the speakers that circled the whole house. Wow.

Then there are the firsts you remember because they're a bit nerve-wracking. Like the first time I tried writing an m/m sex scene. It was a total hand-in-the-cookie-jar experience. Wondering if I would be caught at it and by whom. Wondering what that person would think or do or say. Then I finished the scene and it was liked I'd eaten that cookie and enjoyed every bite and there was no one to tell me I was naughty or to remind me how many calories were in it. Good times, yeah.

And now I get to remember the first time I sold a manuscript. It was 27 December 2007 and I was downing my second cuppa java and catching up on emails that came in over the holidays. That's a first I'm pretty sure won't get lost in my head for a long, long time.

So what are some firsts you can remember? Do you remember the big stuff or the little stuff? The personal or the global? What makes a significant "first" for you?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some yummy eye candy

Well, it seems as if my day is another holiday. Happy Martin Luther Day!

I've been off gallavanting with the family today and thought some yummy pics were in order. Especially after the last post had me panting over cute men with eyeliner *drool* (sorry, I don't have any with eyeliner except for Jarod Leto. Though it's sexy, it's thick)

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I had to get some new makeup yesterday so I headed over to the Benefit counter at my local Macy's, where I was promptly greeted by a very good-looking young man who obviously used some of the company's products. He had on some light eyeliner and I'm pretty sure some foundation too, or possibly just pressed powder. He was SO handsome that I couldn't stop staring at him, even while he was trying to show me the eye cream and highlighter and stuff that I wanted.

Finally I said to him, "You're very attractive. Do you use this?" And I held up the eye cream. Because man, if using that eye cream would make me look as pretty as he did, I was buying six pots.

He blinked very long eyelashes and smiled, showing very white teeth, and said, "I don't use this one, but my boyfriend swears by it."

The rest of my day was effectively wiped out by thoughts of these two putting on their product together in the mornings, possibly after their shower but before heading to the kitchen together for breakfast. Did I objectify both of them? Yes. Do I think they would have cared? No. Because I bought almost a hundred dollars worth of makeup and product, and all because of the prettiness factor.

Every cosmetics counter should have pretty men behind it instead of women. I bet women would buy a hell of a lot more makeup.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

When good websites go bad

My webhost was giving me fits, major fits. Apparently last weekend's outage caused them not to restore a bunch of folders to my server--folders that I didn't know I needed until I tried to do anything to the website. Well, the issue was fixed on my Jupiter Gardens site ( ) , but it remained on my Operation: Write website ( ). And, since Jade and I were planning an unveling party, and she had a lovely little flash fiction piece she was going to use to kick it off, well, I was understandably peeved.

I decided to move the site. However, in my haste, I completely deleted it. Oh noes! Suffice to say, that was not the worst thing I said that day. Luckily, the lovely person who did the design kept the template, and we were able to import earlier posts from blogger. About forty-eight hours later, Operation: Write was once more up and running. Most everything has been readded and the site is as good as it's getting.

Now, to convince Jade to post her flash fiction and get this party started.

However, this has taught me an important lesson. Always keep a backup of your websites, especially now that I don't use FrontPage and won't automatically have it saved on my C:\ drive. Don't be hasty when you're trying to kick someone (in this case my web host) in the ass. And, smile. It will all work out in the end.

I hope your websites behave and you have a stellar week!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rogue plotlines and the characters who love them...

The subject line pretty much says it all.

If you're an author, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're a reader, then imagine the following:

You've got a great story line, great characters. You have a title and even a cover. You know where and when the story is taking place. You sit down to write......... And your characters pull the literary equivalent of jerking up the emergency brake. Then they simply refuse to cooperate.

Well, that's what happened to me on my Urban Phaze story. Set in Cardiff, Wales, it was all ready to go--then it just...stopped. So, I lamented to my co-author (although this title is a solo thing). Within a few minutes, thanks to Shayne's tireless help and constant questions, I have a new story idea that's perfect for the setting: Cardiff.

So let it be said that characters, no matter how "good" they might seem, are purely evil. And co-authors are gods.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

No Sex Allowed

Now that I have your attention ... :)

I'm a huge American Idol fan and have watched it religiously since Season 3. Last night was the first episode of Season 7, which highlighted the best (and worst) of auditions in Philadelphia. One contestant only wanted a chance to perform for the judges a song he wrote called "No Sex Allowed."

That, and the previous post about "fade to black" sex scenes, got me thinking. To be perfectly honest, I'm one of those "fade to black" authors. Usually I have to struggle to write sex, because I believe the story should be able to stand on its own without sexual content to engage the reader. It took me a long time to say I wrote erotica or romance ~ in my mind, I write gay fiction. Sometimes there's a little sex in the story, but not as much as some authors write ... and not enough, some of my readers would probably say.

Which is fine with me. Sure, I might make more money writing more sex, but that's not my focus when telling a story. I don't stick in gratuitous sex scenes, or a certain number of fucks per chapter ... I can't do that. If the story dictates that the characters get their groove on, then fine. But I'm not going to go out of my way to find a place to add a little lovin'.

Some of my favorite stories (and, in my mind, my strongest as well) contain little or no sex. Scarred, Persistence of Memory, and my latest release Afflicted come to mind. The first publisher I submitted Persistence of Memory to actually asked me to increase the sexual content of the story, and I refused. I found a different publisher who accepted it as is, and now it's a finalist in the 2008 EPPIES Award, so I guess someone besides myself liked it, eh?

And all this blather leads me to Afflicted, a short story just released by Torquere Press in their Sip line. The story is much more serious than most of my stuff, and came to me almost effortlessly, all at once. It's about a young man who discovers his lover is a "cutter" ~ a person who cuts himself with razors or other implements to inflict pain on his own body. Why? The man doesn't know the answer to that. And he doesn't have any idea how to help his lover, either.

Here's an excerpt from the opening scene. The e-book is available for purchase here.

The first time I saw him naked, I noticed the cuts.

Red, angry scrapes across the pouch of his lower belly, like scratches or claw-marks. "What's this?" I asked, running a finger over one bumpy scab.

He sucked in his gut to pull out of reach. "Nothing." His voice turned sullen, pouting, and the erection that jutted from his thick crop of black curls seemed to wilt a little. "I thought we were going to --"

"Did you do this?" I asked, interrupting him. The cuts bothered me; they spoke of a pain I didn't know how to deal with, and that scared me. He scared me. I thought I'd known him.

When he didn't reply, I looked up from the cuts and saw the answer in his eyes. Sad, dark eyes, downcast, like the sky before a storm. He couldn't seem to meet my gaze, as if the cuts embarrassed him, or he was ashamed of his own weakness. "Where else do you this?" I asked.

Still no answer, but his arms moved behind his nude hips as if hiding from my view and I snatched his right elbow to see for myself. In the low lamplight of my bedroom, I could see very faint traces across his skin, a network of healed flesh. With a hard tug, I pulled him over to my bedside table and turned the lamp up higher, held his arm beneath it. "Please," he said, trembling when my fingers trailed over the scarred flesh. "It's nothing, okay? Those are so old."

Holding his arm aside, I pointed at his stomach. "These aren't."

His hand covered the fresh marks as if he could smooth them away, but he didn't say anything and I knew I was right. Sinking down to sit on my bed, I guided him into the span between my legs and wrapped my arms around his thighs. Ignoring the hard dick pointing at me, I pressed my face to his belly and kissed the highest cut, just below his navel. His hands cradled my head, fingers delving in my hair, and I waited for him to sigh my name before I admonished, "This doesn't happen again."

Excerpt from Afflicted by J.M. Snyder

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I read a really good book last week: Captain's Surrender. This was a great historical romance. Very well researched (at least, I assume it was -- I'm no expert), and I loved the two heroes, Josh and Peter. It was interesting that the author also tells the story from the POV of several of the supporting characters, which made all the characters very well rounded. Good battle scenes, too -- made me want to bust out my Master and Commander DVD!

My only complaint is that I would have liked a bit more sex, especially Josh and Peter's first time. I was thinking about this, and whether it's just because I'm a dirty girl who likes a lot of smut in her romance. However, I really think that you can learn a lot about characters through sex. Furthermore, in this day and age I'm kind of mystified when authors choose to fade to black for an important sex scene. (I don't mind fading to black to avoid repetition.)

Still, I do really recommend the book, which should be an indication of how engrossing the story was, even without a ton of sex.

New Release: For Love and country by Mary Winter

For Love and Country
by Mary Winter
Release date: 01/15/08
publisher: Samhain Publishing

Genre: M/M historical (civil war)
length/price: novella $3.50

Love? Or duty? His choice will damn his country—or his heart.

Vampire Basile Gagnon wants nothing more than to put the United States, its war, and the heartbreak he found on its shores far behind him. He has suffered the loss of one too many mortal lovers, and refuses to risk his heart again, not even for Emil, the mortal he turned away five years ago.

When Union soldier Emil Franks steps aboard Basile’s ship, his mission is to try to convince Basile to lend his vessel to the Union cause. But with one look at his former lover, he reveals far more—his lingering love for Basile.

Neither time nor the fires of war have dimmed their passion for each other, but not even the fact that Emil is now a vampire can sway Basile from his course. In two days’ time, he leaves for his native France.

On this war-torn Valentine’s Day, Emil must choose: Love? Or country?

purchase now:

For more information or to find out about Mary's other works, please visit her website at

Monday, January 14, 2008

Two hot new covers to share with you all...

Two new covers came in over the weekend, and I couldn't wait to share them with you all.

The first up (to you right) is the cover for my novella, GWM Wanted. Frauke, from Croco designs, did the artwork and I think it’s just wonderful. This story is part of the Husbands and Wives (or in my case, Husbands and Wives Husbands) series I penned with Anne Douglas and Michelle Cary.

I believe this one is due out sometime in April, though don't hold me to that date.

The second (to your right) is the cover for novella, Eye Candy, which was designed by April Martinez. Eye Candy is the sequel to Man Candy (as if you couldn't tell that by the name, huh? *g*) and is due out in late Feb./early March.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sex, sex, and more sex!

Now that I have your attention *g*

Okay, those of you who are familiar with my writing know that I don't usually write books with non-stop sex. Well, Love's Evolution came closest I guess, but even that one didn't have a sex scene in every chapter. However, my current work in progress (The Happy Onion, scheduled for release from Samhain in August) seems to be taking a different path.

In other words, all these guys want to do is f***.

I am not kidding. I'm on chapter six, and so far there has been a sex scene in every single chapter except the first one O_O
All that sex really is integral to the story, but yeah. There is a LOT of it.

So here's what I'm wondering. Does lots and lots of sex in a story draw you in, or put you off? It might seem like an odd question, but I don't think it is. I've heard people say more than once that one story or another has too much sex in it. But is that because all the sex didn't really fit the story, or because those particular people just get bored with reading lots of sex scenes? If all the horizontal tango is in some way important to the story, or least fits smoothly into it **insert juvenile snickering here**, does that make it okay to have more sex scenes? It does to me. I love a good sex scene that somehow moves the story forward, and/or tells me something new about one or more characters. If it seems like it's just plonked down in the middle of the plot simply to make the story "hotter" then it tends to turn me off, no matter how beautifully written it is.

What do y'all think? Do you love to read a good manlove scene no matter what, or do you want it to relate to and forward the plot? Or, do you prefer a closed bedroom door? Inquiring minds want to know :D

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Joy of Completion

Though I'm gearing up for For Love and Country's release early next week from Samhain, I turned in another M/M novella, this time to Changeling. It's a story I've talked about over on Operation: Write and one that is near and dear to my heart.

No matter how many times I type (in my head) "the end" there is still immense satisfaction in knowing that I completed a story. It could be a novella (as this one was) or a full-length novel. I finished it. I completed something. I marked plot points off on my outline until I was done. It's a milestone. And it's something I always celebrate.

I'm someone who writes several novels at the same time. So, this means that although I may have the joy of finishing one, there's still several more waiting to be completed. It's not so much a cycle as an ever changing kaleidoscope of plots and progression.

Doesn't matter.

I still celebrate it when I finish a manuscript. And I can't wait to start the next one!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Coming Soon

Samurai Captive, my first solo book from Loose ID will be out next month and it came about in an unusual way.

Then again maybe it's not so unusual for a yaoi fan.

I'm sure I'm not alone in seeing m/m pairings in all sorts of situations whether they're in a film or TV show or book. Louis & Lestat--definitely a couple. Spike & Angel--you know they did the deed at least once. And let's face it, any J-rock fangirl worth her salt has certainly paired up various band members in her imagination.

While Samurai Captive isn't strictly m/m it has a good share of hot, rough samurai smexing going on because I had to do it.

Seriously, I had. To. Do. It.

Two of my very favorite Japanese actors have appeared in a number of films together going back to 1982. The on screen chemistry between these guys is phenomenal and yet in the movies I've seen there's been nothing of an intentional yaoi nature, but...

...There should be!

There have been looks between their various film characters.

You know those looks, they're the ones that make a writer's imagination go into overdrive and wonder "Now what if...."

New release: The Good Thief

The Good Thief
by James Buchanan

192 pages / 77000 words
ISBN: 978-1-60370-249-2, 1-60370-249-0
Available file types - html, lit, pdf, prc

Buy Link:

Working construction provides Caesar with a great way to cover up his realjob; stealing whatever he can get his hands on. Which is why the guy he hasa fling with could be really bad for business. Nate is a cop, and Caesar worries that he might be tempting fate if he sees Nate again, even if hewants to.

When Caesar discovers something far worse than some petty thievery on one ofhis jobs, though, he knows he has to report it to Nate, and the two of themtry to find a way to keep Caesar safe until he can testify, even as thesparks fly between them. Can Nate protect Caesar and teach him that thereare ways to be a good guy as well as a thief?

Alexa Snow, author of Sleeping Stone and Clear Cut, writes:

When Caesar's brother drags him to a Hollywood hills party in the hopes of netting him a job, Caesar doesn't expect much. He overhears an argument between an incredibly hot guy and who he assumes is the hot guy's girlfriend. Instead, he discovers that the 'girlfriend' is a sister; evenbetter, a sister who's more than happy to help her brother Nate meet someone new. Nate and Caesar have both had too much to drink, and they go back to Nate's place for a round of very hot sex, then collapse for the night.

In the morning, hungover, Caesar makes a startling discovery -- Nate is a cop. Which wouldn't matter so much, except that Caesar's a thief with arrest and conviction records a mile long.

Life being what it is, it doesn't take long for Nate to find out about Caesar's past, but somehow they can't seem to stay away from each other. When Caesar accidentally finds evidence of horrific crimes being committed,his first instinct is to go to Nate for help, an act which kicks off a chain of events even more complicated than either of them could have imagined...and puts both their lives in jeopardy.

This story is a fascinating one; the plot contains enough twists and turnsto satisfy the most jaded reader. The characters are interesting and believable, crafted with care. There's also a subtle undercurrent of humor running through the book, as well as a well-balanced collection of sex scenes that are hot and in-character. Contemporary and compelling! Very much recommended.

There's another character that doesn't get mentioned btw. This little guy, the inspiration for Ponchito, Caesar's dog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First Lines

In theory I am working on three different stories right now. Here are their first lines, please share your own :)

Xeras had the brining barrel between his knees, and positioned the bung over the hole on the top. (Lover of Ghosts)

“Denizens of Gambit show distinct founder effects both in terms of measurable genetic compliments and deep-seated behavioral tendencies,” the U.P. anthologist droned from the lecturn. (The Game)

Murl hung from the windowsill, with the fingertips of one hand. (untitled)

...and from the last story I submitted:

“If you want to keep your sister out of my bedchamber you will do this small thing for me,” Old Man Jeryl said. (Wolfkin)

Edited to add: that one now contracted to Samhain :) :) :)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

What's in a name?

Names in romance novels are always the first indication of whether or not I'm even going to open the book. I always check the back cover to see what the heroes' names are (or heroines, as the case may be). If the names don't immediately speak to me, the book goes back on the shelf.

This is not to say, of course, that there AREN'T masculine, sexy men out there named Horace or Norman. I just prefer my romance novel heroes to have names that pack a punch and create an instant picture of sex in my mind: Logan. Tyler. Jake. I seem to gravitate toward certain linguistic patterns in male names, both when I'm writing and when I'm reading. I like names that begin with the letters C or T. I like names that end with the letter N (Ian, Jason, Evan).

So tell me. What's in a name for you?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Meet Triarius...

Spiked is a body modification anthology coming out next Wednesday from Torquere Press. My novella, "Beneath the Mask", is one of four novellas that make up the antho.

Out of all the men I've written, Triarius is one of my all-time favorites. He's my beloved anti-hero: cruel, ruthless, and downright sex on legs, if you ask me. But...don't take MY word for it. Just ask Lance Shaw, the reporter who managed to get an interview with one of the most dangerous vampires in the world.


"Dio knows we exist, Mr. Shaw. The Romanorum knows. At this point, I would daresay the entire world knows. The fact remains, however, that they cannot find the worst of us. And by that, I mean those of us who actively kill humans."

Fuck. I was in over my head. What was I thinking? Here I was, in some nondescript ghost town in the middle of nowhere England, with a man -- a creature -- who could easily kill me. And no one would ever know. Curiosity, however, is a strong influence.

"I know the Brotherhood is underground -- both figuratively and literally, and no, I won't ask where. I am curious, though, as to why the Romanorum can't find you. Can't every vampire -- even a rogue -- trace his or her blood back to the sire?"

"Not all of us are rogues," he said. "It is true that I myself am, by Romanorum standards, but you forget that the oldest of us did not take the formulas required to make that distinction. It is by name alone that I am known for who I am, not by any taint to my aura or soul."

"So... there are those who are not rogues within the Brotherhood?"

"Yes. The Brotherhood is not based on killing humans. We are gods, Mr. Shaw. Descended from gods, created by them. Human are cattle, put upon this earth for us to use as we see fit."

"The Romanorum would have something to say about that," I said quietly.

"You are not writing. Is my tale that uninteresting?"

I blinked down at the paper. A large stain spread out from where the tip of my pen rested, but there were no words. What was I supposed to say, how was I going to write any of this into a news story? I stared at the blotch of ink and wondered why I'd even asked for this meeting.

"Perhaps you were curious, more for your own sake than that of your readers."

"You can read minds."

"I can."

I figured the best step would be to find out more about the man behind it all. "What else can you do?"

Triarius chuckled, still facing away from me. "Much. More than you could ever begin to explain to your readers, Mr. Shaw."

It occurred to me then that I had no idea what this man even looked like. He was here when I'd arrived, cloaked in shadows. "What do you look like?"

"Another question for your story?"

"No." For me...

Triarius turned and my heart nearly stopped. Light glinted off of something silver on the right side of his face. Like some real-life twist on the Phantom, Triarius had a silver mask -- or at least half of one -- covering the upper right side of his face. There was a hole for him to see out of, and the mask stopped just an inch or so above his mouth, and then tapered off to the side. The eye peering through the hole in the mask was milky white, almost glassy. His other was steel blue. His lips curled into a twisted smile that said he knew exactly what I was thinking.

"I was disfigured long before my turning. A bit of sparring gone wrong, you could say."

I could tell there was more to it, but he didn't seem inclined to elaborate. He stepped away from the window and closer to the table where I sat. The shadows seemed to move with him, somehow, wrapping around his body like a cloak. I knew some vampires were able to control the shadows. I'd even been witness to the Prince of London toying with them a time or two. These shadows were much different, though -- thicker, consuming. Like Triarius, they seemed to draw in the light, engulfing it until there was nothing left. I wanted to say this man was evil, but even that felt inadequate for what I saw in his eyes. There was power behind them, more than I think anyone ever realized, but there was something darker. I knew he was a rogue -- he'd said so himself. This went beyond being a rogue. It wasn't blood lust that fueled him. It was the worst kind of power imaginable: unspoken, quiet, calculating.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Starting the year off write

FYI, I misspelled that on purpose.

This time last year, I was hard at work on the story that would become The Powers of Love and go on to land me a publishing contract with Amber Quill Press. I know this because, being compulsively anal about things like this, I kept a log throughout all of 2007 that listed not only how many words I wrote per day, but also the writing "highlights" of the year ~ publications, acceptance, submissions, and the like.

For the record I wrote a whopping 322,588 words in 2007.

Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? And I have a lot to show for it, granted. But there were days when the word count was a big, fat zero, when I couldn't even motivate myself to turn on the computer, let alone type anything.

Still, it is an impressive figure. I wonder if I'll beat that this time next year? I've already written more these first two days than I did this same time last year. Funnily enough, my current WIP stars the same two characters from The Powers of Love, and this story is also slated for release by Amber Quill. What comes around goes around, they say.

Why not keep a log of how much you write each day? How many words do you think you can do in a span of 365 days? 366, really, since this is a leap year. Go ahead. Keep count. You might surprise yourself.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008

I hope everyone had a happy and safe celebration last night!

My resolution for 2008 is to write more, and to write more effectively. I've never been one to really write outlines for books -- I tend to just let things flow. But I think it's a good idea to plan things out a bit more, always keeping in mind that inspiration will strike as I'm writing.

I'm also not one for having multiple works in progress -- I usually focus on only one story at a time. However, I always have different things swirling around in my head, so I'm resolving to take more notes and write snippets of other stories to come back to later.

Anyone else have writing-related resolutions?
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