Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ah, Autumn!

Despite the last gasp of an Indian Summer day yesterday, fall is definitely in the air here. It's my favourite season (besides baseball season ;) ) and I'm thrilled to bits that it has finally arrived. While others may sigh sadly over the passing of warm summer days filled with shirtless young men, I say, bring on the pullovers, cardigans, and fisherman knits. I love a guy who's bundled up in a scarf and a knit cap and a big, wooly sweater. I'm a sucker for cozy.

Take this snugglable Gap ad, for example. Dorky and undeniably adorable, IMO.

And who can deny that Jamie Bell is simply puthiminyourpocketandtakehimhome cute in this photo?

So yeah I agree that hot naked boys are all sorts of yummy, but let's enjoy these bundled up honeys, too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Drool-worthy pictures

Wow, it's already that time again. It's amazing how fast two weeks go by when edits and other things are keeping one busy. :)

Since I'm still trying to get my edits for one of my two holiday M/M books completed, I thought I'd just drop off a couple of favorite pictures I have laying around.
Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

October's a-comin'...

You've only got a few more days to check out Torquere Press's Road to Relationships advent calendar! Snippets, recipes, images, coupons and more. My day was September 15 and I posted an absolutely amazing recipe for Engagement Chicken. The best part about the calendar is that it offers you a daily clue for the Torquere Author Scavenger Hunt. You can win an Amazon Kindle e-reader, all loaded up with books from Torquere! September's almost done and then this offer will be too, so go and check it out while you still can.

And because we're having a political frenzy here in the States, I'll leave you with a little something to remind all Americans to vote on November 4th. We need change, my friends. You can make it happen.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is M/M Becoming Predictable?

I was cruising through the various blogs and forums that are a daily stop for me in thw mornings when Mrs. Giggles caught my eye in her intro to a self-pubbed book someone recommended she read. This isn't the first time she's said something similar to this and it got me to wondering what the rest of your out there in m/m land think of this comment:

Perhaps this reflects more on me than on this book, but the story makes me realize that maybe it's time I take a short break from gay romances. The whole "pretty boys with lots of angst" formula is wearing thin on me.

I have not read the particular book that this remark inspired but I wonder if she's referring to what I end to call the "OMG I'm not gay" plot point. I've seen it a lot and it always tends to bug me when that becomes a main point of conflict.

I'm sure it's a very real issue gays and lesbians face when discovering who they are inside and what they want in a partner but should fiction follow to the tune that it becomes predictable or formulaic?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great moments in advertising

This is tangentially related to J.M. Snyder's great post yesterday on marketing tips for authors, since it concerns advertising. I was linked to this terrific British ad today, which covers 122 years of British history in two minutes. Really clever and well done, so I thought I'd share. The background:

Long before Alien (and longer still before his still-famous “Big Brother” Apple ad), Ridley Scott made a rather modest television commercial for Britain’s Hovis bread. Filmed in 1973, the spot — which shows a Hovis delivery boy wheeling down a quaintly cobblestoned street in Dorset — may just be England’s favorite advertisement, ever. So this year, when Hovis decided to celebrate its 122nd anniversary in style, the company found itself in the difficult position of having to trump its own, legendary campaign. We say they’ve succeeded — and then some.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Free reads at Associated Content

Some of you may know I began my writing career in self-publishing; this has helped me think "outside the box" when it comes to marketing, as no one was pimping my books by myself. Now that I've worked with several different publishers, I've found that I still do most of my own promotion ... which is fine by me, as no one knows my stories as well as I do myself.

I've begun writing a series of articles which I hope will help other authors in marketing and promotion, as it seems to be an area most of us would rather ignore. Some of these tips are probably things you already know, but there may be some you haven't thought of, and a few that will hopefully work well for you. The links below open in a new window, where the articles can be read for free at Associated Content:
In addition to these articles, I've posted two gay romance stories at Associated Content, as well. If you're interested, please check them out (they're also free reads!):

Monday, September 22, 2008

So many topics, so little time...

I have so much to share with you all that you would not believe it. The last two weeks have been insane with good news and adventures for me. :)

Vincent Diamond and I hosted a booth at Pride in the Park yesterday, and it was a blast. We met so many nice people that it'd be impossible to list them all. Here's a picture of our booth. That's my husband looking bored in the background. :)

I have a brand new cover for my October release with Loose Id to share that I think is smoking hot.

And last, but certainly not least, I have two new contracts to brag about. The sequel to Secrets & Lies, The Hard Truth, has been accepted at Loose Id. Another M/M novella, Furtive Liason, has been accepted for publication, at Amber Quill.

Whew, I told you I had a ton of stuff to share. I think that's it, but I may be forgetting something. Tune in to my blog for pics of Pride in the Park. Next week I hope to have some more photos to share from PrideFest in North Carolina.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why Ally Loves College

Lots of reasons, not least of which is that I no longer have to go to class. All I have to do is visit my eldest offspring there and enjoy the place without having the related stress. LOL.

So what else is so fab about college? Lots. I love strolling around campus. I love the crowd noise you can hear from the football stadium from halfway across campus. I love shopping in the nearby town. I love the cemetery with all the graves from the 1700s and 1800s. I love the whole atmosphere of youth, excitement and learning.

But the best thing about college? Plot bunnies. Sooooo many attractive young men, looking all smart and thoughtful. Ally loves to pair them up in her head O_O

I have notes from this weekend's visit, oh yes *g*

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Since my brain is mush

I'm going to leave you with a thought on romance today.

"Bad guys always lose, because they have no friends."

This was Princess' opinion upon seeing Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade for the first time. She's 7. I think there's something profound there. It's romance...we know the hero has to come out on top (get kicked around a bit on his way to the top...but he wins). And throughout it all people come to his aid...because, he has friends. That's my philosophy on heroes in general, I think.

I'm off to go ponder it further, maybe with a hot shower and a glass of Absinth.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I know it sounds strange for a person whose day job is that of a teacher to say, but I love the fall. Yes, the leaves are pretty and the weather is cooler and the air smells great, but what really kicks my happy dance into high gear is the idea of new beginnings.

There’s nothing like the back-to-school magic. You get a fresh start. New students, new teachers, new clothes and new supplies. How I love that other adult toy store—Office Max. The pens, the paper, the highlighters and all those really cool other things that I’m sure I’ll find a use for someday spill off the shelves and into my basket. Just like the fall season itself, the possibilities of the back-to-school sale at an office supply store are endless.

And best of all, I have a new story. Since the characters are newborns (just birthed five days ago but already two chapters strong), they're a bit shy about coming out and playing on the blog, but they’re whispering all kinds of things in my ear. Sometimes they even get loud. I love this honeymoon period, where we’re falling in love, me with the guys and the guys with each other. It’s a magical time, like the turn of the year, old into new.

If any of you can think of a way to bottle September for that dreary rut I seem to fall into in March, please let me know. I’m sure my students—and my characters—would appreciate it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good evening...

I know I've been quiet lately. But I've got a good excuse. I've been writing and have two holiday themed stories contracted. :-)
The first is titled A Gift Worth Sharing coming Dec. 2nd at Loose-Id. Nate and Kyle from A Master's Love are back and sharing a long weekend together just before Christmas. Nate has a special planned for Kyle, only things don't go quite has planned. Will memories from Kyle's past and the hesitation of stepping into the role of a Dominant ruin their weekend?
This book contains M/M/M, BDSM, and voyeurism.

The second is titled No Ordinary Holiday coming Dec. 8th at Phaze. This is the third of an unplanned trilogy of related stories that started with At The Edge and last years Christmas story, enWrappture. It centers on Devyn Rhodes, who readers meets in enWrappture. As a descendent of Kris Kringle (aka Santa Claus), Devyn has been bestowed a gift to see people's past and future. It prevents her from having initmate relations with men. Only her late husband and those who share her blood, has ever given her reprive from the noise around her. That is until Cam and Jacob come knocking on her door. The silence aside, her attraction to both men are almost as overwhelming as her gift can be at times. What's a woman to do when she's snowed in with these two arousing men and lust comes calling?
This story contains M/M/F menage scenes and M/M sex

I've also been able to sqeeze in a couple of books that I've enjoyed.

Love's Evolution by our very own Ally Blue :-D
This is a journey through love with Chris and Matt. A true love story with all it's ups and downs. I absolutely enjoyed Matt and all his kinky fun ;-). I highly recommend this book. Very well written.

Blue Ruin 2: Close To Me by Katrina Strauss
This too is a great book. The writing is excellent. Blue and Derek dragged me in from the beginning. Then again, I fell for Blue in the first book (Some Kind of Stranger). I can't wait to read the recently released third book (Chains of Love). Oh, and all the cover art is by P.L. Nunn who really captured the characters.
Are there other books you would recommend? I'm always on the look out for great gay/yaoi books.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Coming Attractions

Normally I'd take this time to promote my new release this weekend, Daringly Delicious from Phaze Books, but as it is not M/M I will save it for my other channels. Of course, this chapter of Dareville will be entwined somewhat with the upcoming Daring Red, which is all M/M, so please do keep it in the back in your mind when you're shopping next. :)

Until that release comes, there are a number of books releases I'm looking forward to in the next few months. Hope you are, too.

Friday, September 12, 2008


gymnastikos dvd
It's been nearly three weeks since the 2008 Summer games came to a close, and I've been missing all the action and excitement, not to mention all the sexy athletes. (Oh, the naughty things I pictured the men's swimming and gymnastics teams doing together.) Anyway...*cough*
I started poking around online and I found THIS: Gymnastikos: Power and Grace -- a dvd where the super-cute European gymnasts perform their routines in the nude. Wow.

Before everyone starts calling me a perv for snatching up this dvd, I have to say that it's a very artistic, tastefully made film. Plus, not all of the routines are performed in the buff. But when they are, it's amazing to see the kind of tension and flexing that's happening with a gymnast's muscles during a routine. From an artist's perspective, that was a really cool.

But I'll admit it--there's a lot of camp throughout the film and I think the director tried a little too hard to make this an artsy project. Some routines can't fully be appreciated because of the angles the chosen by the cinematographer, like the high bar routine. I swear, the camera zoomed in on this empty space about two feet above the bar, so every few seconds you'd see a pair of arms whip around the bar...and that's it. I'm sure the gymnast was performing a bunch of releases and swing moves, but I couldn't appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wanted by JM Snyder


WANTED by J.M. Snyder

Part of the Saddle Up Pax collection!
Buy your copy today!

Jesse McCray ekes out a hard living cutting cattle from the local beef baron of Defiance, Texas. He's known for his quick draw and his steady aim; no one outguns him. Whenever he and his ragtag group of friends known as the Rustlers ride into town, the local cowboys hold their breaths, waiting for the men to ride through. But one evening, while playing faro at Billy's Saloon, Jesse's attention is drawn to a new face in the crowd.

Ethan Phillips is an idealistic tenderfoot from back East, passing through Defiance on his way to the California coast. He's heard tales of the gold that enriches the west coast, and he's looking for a way to make his dreams come true. When his horse pulls up lame, he offers to sing for the cowboys of Billy's Saloon to earn a few coins, but the men jeer at his song until a man in black quiets them. With one look into Jesse's dark eyes, Ethan finds himself falling for the man.

Ethan's horse heals but he stays in Defiance, enamored by his outlaw lover. But the cattle baron has a grudge against one of Jesse's outlaw friends, and a gunfight in Billy's Saloon puts a price on the Rustlers' heads. Can Jesse protect Ethan from the lawmen gunning for him and his friends?

The first crystal notes from the piano filled the air as Ethan tested the instrument, and Jesse frowned at his cards when the noise in the bar seemed to increase. The more Ethan played, the louder the cowboys got, as if deliberately trying to drown out the music. When Ethan began to sing softly, his voice was lost in the ruckus around them, and Kit laughed. "He ain't getting a penny in this shithole tonight."

The cowboys teased the young tenderfoot, disrupting the song that quivered beneath their raucous catcalls and mocking words. Jesse could barely hear the sound of Ethan's voice, a ray of angelic light cutting through the noise. "Stuff it, pretty boy!" someone cried.

Laughter followed as Ethan's voice faltered on the opening strands of "Nearer My God to Thee."

"Pick up the pace!" someone else shouted, and a few cowboys close to the piano leaned over Ethan, their fingers reaching for the keys. Discordant notes plucked from the instrument to strike the air, and Ethan blushed beneath the rough men pushing him aside. Someone else started up a round of a familiar drinking song, winking at Marie until she laughed like a bell in the crowd.

Jesse had had enough. Tossing his cards into the kitty, he stood and pulled his Colt .45 in one fluid move. Without taking aim, he fired a shot into the air.

The loud report silenced the room.

Diego and Kit looked up at him, Joey turned from Marie, and Ethan's warm gaze enflamed Jesse's senses. He dared another half-smile; the cowboys in the room shifted uncomfortably under the weight of his pale blue eyes. "If you don't mind," he drawled, his voice dangerously low, "I'd like to hear this song."

Someone tittered, and with lightning speed Jesse leveled his revolver at a lone cowboy, sitting with his back to the wall. "The next person who speaks, dies," Jesse promised.

He cocked the gun slowly, drawing the sound of clicking metal out into the sudden silence of the saloon. When he was sure he had everyone's attention, he lowered his weapon and nodded at Ethan. "I'd suggest starting over again," he said, taking his seat. "I missed the beginning."

Clearing his throat, Ethan ventured, "Thank you."

"My pleasure," Jesse said again.

He glared around the room, challenging anyone to meet his gaze or make a sound. None of the cowboys met his gaze, and no one dared speak. Satisfied, Jesse picked up his cards and studied them as Ethan started playing the piano a second time. This time, his young, clear voice filled the saloon, and Jesse let the music fill the hollow places inside of him.

Then he got a good look at his cards, and frowned at Diego. "I had a full house."

"You lie," Diego said softly, spreading his hand out in front of him. "I have a full house."

Jesse sighed and tossed his cards back down. "You cheat," he said, but his voice held no threat. This was nothing new to him.

"You should watch your cards more carefully," Diego pointed out, scooping in the pile of money and chips from the center of the table, "instead of letting yourself get distracted by a pretty face."

Buy WANTED today!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Come and see me!

You are invited...

To join Amanda Young for two Pride festivals this September! You can find her at Pride in the Park in Roanoke, Virginia on September 21. She will also be at Pridefest in Durham-Raleigh, North Carolina on September 27.

For more information, or directions please visit:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Help Ally find a man!!!

Not like that. I am blissfully happy with my loverly hubby :D No, I am looking for pics of a particular guy, so's he can be my website monthly hottie. And possibly my desktop for a while. And, erm, maybe star in a Tome O' Ghey Buttsecks one day, who knows...

Ahem. So, anyway. The guy I am looking for is an actor named Jesse Haddock. I saw him on the Masters of Horror DVD my hubby and I were watching last night. The episode was called "The Fair Haired Child". The story was, to be blunt, absolute dreck. Oh my God. Awful. Young Master Haddock, however? Decent actor. And pretty. Very, very, VERY pretty. Ally was smitten. Thank FSM he's 21...

This is the only picture I can find of him, and it does NOT do him justice by a long shot (which makes me think he should get a new agent maybe). I need another one! Preferably a really BIG one. Help a pervy old lady out, won't you?

Don't make me get on my knees and beg. My knees creak and it is NOT attractive O_O

Friday, September 5, 2008

Muse Wars

Just like that proverbial bad penny I've turned up when you least expect it--you have been warned... lol

My dratted Muse has been a fickle beast of late, or rather, a more fickle beast than usual and a few recent things (comments I've read or comments directly to me) had me pondering last night on whether I should try to corral that wayward Muse and make it "Conform" more than I ever have.

I've always been one to write characters that interest me and make me want to follow them and find out "what happens next", even though the majority of the time that puts me into "narrow niche audience" territory.

Some characters or plots demand that you stick with your original vision but I've noticed that a couple WIPs could be revamped to possibly make them "more marketable".

The question is--should I put the serious thought and elbow grease into it to reach a larger audience** or "follow the artistic vision" to please myself and the fewer and faithful readers?

**I have to expand on this to clarify that I can still "get into" the revamped version and characters so it wouldn't come across "forced".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back from Vacation

Went up to Utah, Bryce Canyon to be exact. Beautiful country... and cowboys. and Mormons. and Bakpackers. and Bikers. But mostly a lot of farm fed hunks wandering about. Hearing spurs jangle as they wandered through Ruby's or the local general store. Blond guys with broad shoulders and broader smiles seemed to be everywhere. Saw enough leather clad Harley riding butts to make my fingers itch.

There is something though, about a country boy. Innocent but not. You can just see a room full of wicked behind those smiling eyes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Of the Birds and the Boys

Maia’s last blog got me thinking. After the whole putting Ken and Chip in bed together while playing Barbie at six or seven, what was my first slash? Of course, I was slashing before I knew what it was, or that there was even a word for it. I didn’t learn the word until 2004 which I assure you is a long, long, way away from my Barbie days.

So after that brief foray, I think my first slash must have come at eleven, with Jonathan Livingston Seagull. (I’ll tell you that when I read it, it was a recent release. You can do the math and see how far away my Barbie days are.) In Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the theme is love. And for me, it was all about the love between Jonathan and Fletcher. Seagulls. I know. Not even cartoon seagulls. But the scene where they part, when Fletcher vows to turn up on Jonathan’s beach again someday, still brings tears to my eyes. Their love is eternal, man. Not bound by space and time as Jonathan would say. And sorry, Sully, but Jonathan just didn’t love you like he loved Fletcher.

After that, it was Watership Down. From seagulls to rabbits. Hey, I was twelve, okay? Bigwig loved Hazel (a boy rabbit--he’s named after a tree, just go with it.). Bigwig quit the Owsla and took a chance running away with Hazel because of a secret crush. The whole thing about the girl rabbits was just a plot device. They never even thought about girls until half-way through the 500-page book. Bigwig was totally devoted to Hazel.

After someone told me there was a name for what I had been reading, writing, and inferring for so many years, I looked around online and found an actual fanfic of Hazel/Bigwig. (The emotions. No rabbit sex, thanks. It’s not like I was picturing it at twelve, either.)

I made it through a clueless adolescence wondering why I never liked it when Starsky or Hutch dated women, trying to find any little crumb in the romance novels I read. I stumbled over a hero’s gay brother in a Kat Martin book and reread every part that referred to him, even though he never got a boyfriend.

It’s funny to look back on my slashy youth and try to reconcile what I was thinking then with where my brain likes to go now. I love the new sandbox I play in, where I get to hang out with other people who like the same games I play. So tell me, who did you slash before you knew what slash was?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to my roots

Since the gym provided zero inspiration for blogging today, I'm instead delving into my writing roots for something to blog about. I came up with the first time I wrote anything m/m. I'm not certain, but the best I can guess it was when I was in high school—the 1980s, before I'd ever even heard of fanfiction, never mind m/m slashfic. It was a play (I preferred that format to stories from second grade through high school and into college. Hello, actor!) about a modern-day late-teen guy who gets transported to a fantasy-based world where he meets this guy who starts out as his mentor, then becomes his friend and later his lover. I have no idea what the plot was beyond that or even what the title or the characters names were. There was probably a magical element. (Well, duh. Natch, right? Mysterious transport to another world would imply something magical in nature.) And probably something about saving the world by overcoming some evil someone. (Come on. You've been 15. You know what I'm talking about. ;-P ) And I'm positive it was a romance whether I admitted it to myself or not. The thing is, I'm pretty sure I still have the script. Will I go look for it? Hell no. I think it's best left as a fond memory of where it all began. It's fun to revisit your roots, but it's not always best to go digging them up.

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