Saturday, February 28, 2009

Everything you wanted to know about editing...

I'm one of the many guest editors answering questions at Love Romances Cafe today. If you want to know more about submitting a hot M/M novella to Phaze Books, or anywhere else, somebody will be there to help. Yahoo group chat runs through 11PM EST, though I won't necessarily do so. So come on down and say hi!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Wayward Muse has (briefly) returned!

Man, I thought I was doomed. I really did. I've spent the past... uh... several months in a weird writing funk that left me muse-less. Then today, I finally broke and asked my partner Zathyn for a prompt--something paranormal in theme.

His response? "Blood Oath Lullaby."

The result? A short story of about 2400 words about a vampire and a ghost and a bit of blood magic. ;)

I tell ya what... It feels GOOD to finally have a finished story. I just now finished it and am going to ship it off to him to look over before I figure out what to do with it. LOL

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Insert Witty Title Here

Oh boy, I wish I had something cool to talk about. Like...oooh the fact that I'm going to Vegas for my 20th birthday! Yeah baby! Coincidentally, my birthday weekend clashes with EPICon...which I doubt I'll be at. Mostly 'cause I mised registration and all that...but I'm in the same hotel as the con so I'll probably run into folks.

I might try to sneak in ninja style just because I've never been to a con before but otherwise, Chippendales! Wooo! Second time seeing that show, nom nom nom. They is so pretty, no?


Am one happy girl, oh yes.

Oh! I do have something to share. New release :)

Image Hosted by

Unreal: An Asher Sip
Price: $1.29
Publisher: Torquere Press

Life is going perfectly until Asher wakes up in hospital one day and can't remember how he got there. Derek is there to set him straight: an act of arson aimed at someone else has turned all of them, and the QQ Bar, into collateral damage.

No matter how he tries, Asher can't get through his strange calm to remember what happened to him. Asher has a lot to think about once he's home, though, like how he's going to comfort Derek, and where Dean is fitting into their relationship. But he can't stay comfortably numb forever, can he?

Ya'll can grab it here.

Until next time :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

And they lived...oh, wait.

I was up until 1 a.m. last night reading Rebel Angels, the second book in Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy. The third book is in transit to my library, so I'll be standing there drumming my fingers on the check-out desk until it arrives.

HOWEVER. I glanced at the Amazon reviews for the third book, and the word "bittersweet" has popped up more than once. This gives me great trepidation. I have a very bad feeling that Gemma and Kartik will not live happily ever after. Look, I don't care if he's Indian and she's white and it's forbidden in the 1890s. I DON'T CARE. They can move to Canada and live in the woods, where it's too cold for anyone to give a fig about who you're married to.

I really require a happy ending unless I know going in that it's going to be sad. Perhaps this is why I'm a romance writer who has never even imagined anything less than a happy ending for my characters.

I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro a couple of weeks ago and it was clear from the start that Kathy, Tommy and Ruth would most certainly not be skipping off into the sunset arm in arm. So I had different expectations. Ishiguro is a compelling storyteller, and even though it ended up exactly as sadly as I thought it would, the book was still a page turner. The last line was perfect.

But when I enter into a romance -- on TV, or in a movie or book -- with a reasonable expectation of HEA (happily ever after), and I get very invested in the couple, I am most put out when things don't work out. Realism, schmealism. I want satisfaction!

It's all about expectations. That's probably why not only do I write in the romance genre, but I read a lot of it, too. I love tons of angst and pain along the way, but as long as I'm guaranteed that HEA, I can relax and enjoy the ride.

Now I must dial down my expectations for the conclusion of Bray's trilogy, because I think Gemma and I are going to learn that life -- and fiction -- doesn't always turn out how you want it to.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Busy little bee

Happy Monday, people! Rather than plug my new release, Furtive Liaison, I thought I would talk to you all about what I'm up to right now. It feels like it's been forever since I did that, since the last couple of posts from me have been new release announcements and such.

I have been busy little bee over the last month. The third book in my Reckless series is currently under construction. This time around, Beau is getting his happy on with his personal assistant, although I'm sure Cody and Dante will make an appearance as well. :)

I've started working on two new series, Chicken Ranch & Bottom's Up. Bottom's Up is a series of shorts revolving around a small town bar, while the Chicken Ranch books are a little longer and about a group of rent boys.

The first book in the Chicken Ranch series, Hunger, hasn't found a home quite yet, but I'll let you all know when something is official. I'm already in the process of working on the second, Opportunist, so hopefully I'll have good news to share soon.

Two of the Bottom's Up stories, A Kinky Orgasm & Triplesex, have been accepted for publication at Amber Allure. I've even been blessed with some hot artwork to go along with them.

Bottom’s Up: A Kinky Orgasm - May 17, 2009 - Briar planned for his fancy new drinks to bring in business, not the love of his life.

Bottom’s Up: Triplesex - June 28, 2009 - Neglecting his lover was never Caleb’s intention. His only hope is to turn back the tide of discontent before it’s too late.

Well, that's about it from me for right now. Talk to you all again in two weeks!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wanna tangle our particles?

So I'm working on a new book, right? And one of my guys is a physics major at UNC. This has, of course, led to all sorts of research regarding what sorts of classes my boy might take and suchlike interesting web-browsing experiences. For instance, I ended up spending about half an hour staring in slack-jawed wonderment at the UNC-Chapel Hill page for junior and senior level classes for physics majors, just for ONE SCENE where my boy would be writing a paper for half a second before leaving behind to do something else.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I am not a person who is good with math or things that involve math. I passed college Calculus. Even made a good grade. But that's only because I do okay at plugging numbers into formulas. I did not then, do not now, nor do I ever forsee myself understanding how one actually finds practical, real-world applications for numbers that do not exist o_O


This shit FASCINATES me anyway. Check this out, from the UNC physics website:

595 (175) Nonlinear Dynamics (3). Prerequisite, Mathematics 383 (083) (or permission). Interdisciplinary introduction to nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Fixed points, bifurcations, strange attractors, with applications to physics, biology, chemistry, finance.

What?!?!? WTF? How in the nine hells does non-linear dynamics apply to finance??? I feel that I must learn this or DIE.

And this article here. I have to say, this really got my brain going. Think about the implications for just a moment. If Joe and John have entangled particles, and Joe, say, is kidnapped to the Death Star or something and is in need of immediate sex so he doesn't die, can John get him off from a distance by sucking his own cock?
Things that make you go "hmmmmmm...."

This just proves you can be a science geek without any particular brain power :B

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More than Skin Deep

When pondering what to blog about today, I kept coming back to my fascination with the idea that people are not their surfaces. We've all heard the sayings about making a good first impression and the seemingly opposite ones about not judging a book by its cover - but humans will forever try to categorize someone by their first impression. My personal experience has been that there is confusion when that first snap judgement turns out not to be correct or complete.

But most people are not defined by their surface. Sometimes the rest of the person is not in line with what society would have them categorized as.

Tattoos are an interesting example of this. I have numerous tattoos but they're not usually that visible. I don't know how often I've met someone and they've been almost shocked to later find out that I have tattoos. Does that make me a different person? Not to me but maybe their world-view required a shift to accommodate the "new" image of me. Yet my tattoos are more outer signs of inner truths to me. There's a reason and a meaning to every one of them.

I think some of this carries over into my writing as well. Shapeshifters are a great example of them being more than what you see when you meet them. I do have characters with tattoos or body piercings but those make sense for their characters. I have characters who are changed or forced to realize they are not who THEY thought they are and must remake their own view of themselves.

I'm not sure I'm ever going to get over my fascination but I hope my readers enjoy the surprises when characters are not who or what they seem as well.

Friday, February 20, 2009

m/m artwork

Work, work, work! :o)

Things have been extremely busy for me lately, but it's all stuff that I absolutely love doing, so I'm thrilled. I updated my DeviantArt gallery with some recent projects I've completed, including the artwork for the re-release of RW Day's "A Strong and Sudden Thaw" and Cameron Dane's "A Fostered Love".

My goal is to finish a couple of digital paintings this weekend, so please send me some good working mojo my way! :D I'm working on the cover for an upcoming issue of Pride High (a very excited *SQUEEEEEEE*! gets inserted right here), and once I get thumb's up from creator Tommy Roddy, I'm totally sharing the sketches and finished artwork here.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

James Buchanan: Booksigning in Vegas Baby!

At the Erotic Heritage Museum
Wednesday March 4, 2009

EPIC book signing!Attendees of EPICon 2009 will be presenting and signing their books at the Museum from 7 PM - 10 PM. Wander around, view some lovely erotic art and meet some of your favorite erotic authors...including yours truly!
3275 Industrial Road
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

The Museum Charges Admission:
Adult: $20.00
Senior: $15.00
Student (18 and older): $15.00
Las Vegas Residents: $15.00
Retired Military: Free
Members: Free

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wishing On a Star

Actually, I can save a wish. I’m living out one of my fantasies this week. No, not that one. The other one, the one where I get to have no day job and be a writer full time. It’s a week of vacation with no obligations or commitments or plans, except for the plan I had to really enjoy the time to be a full-time writer.

My plan was to get up around nine, answer correspondence while eating breakfast, do twenty minutes of writing, go to the gym, come home and write for a few hours, take a nap, play some video games or watch something, and then write until two.

So let’s see how I’m doing.

Answering correspondence: Errr, I’m going to have to get back to you on that. I’ve taken care of the important things, but the things I’ve been putting off are still…well, off.

Trips to gym: 0

Word count: 87 (less about 40 words crossed out in notebook)

Naps in excess of two hours: 3 (Is it a nap or going to bed if you go to bed at 5 AM and get up at 8 AM?)

Times I have been victorious at Age of Mythology: 8

On the plus side, my office is the cleanest it’s been since we bought the house.

And to compare that with a week of regular life?

I answer my correspondence during lunch, because all the interesting, time-wasting websites are blocked and it’s really hard to eat yogurt while I write, even longhand.

I go to yoga class and the gym at least two or three times a week.

My average word count for a week is between 5 and 10K.

Now that isn’t to say I haven’t been writing. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my new book. The glorious thing about being a writer is we can honestly say we’re working when we’re playing solitaire, staring out the window, or best of all, sleeping. (Though the times when that story I dreamed actually makes sense when I wake up are rare, it still happens). But yeah, I’m not proud of my accomplishments this week.

I keep learning the same lesson: the busier I am, the more I get done. There’s no time to put it off when it has to be done now. When time stretches out on vacation, there’s always tomorrow.

I don’t hate my day job. It keeps me in touch with the world, and it’s rarely boring. But in wishing on that star…could I maybe make enough writing to go part time so that I could get up at nine everyday? I’ll get lots done, I promise.

For those of you more interested in my fiction than my pontificating, pop over to my live journal for an excerpt and information about my next release.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fate intervenes again

I'd been wondering what to blog about when fate once more saved my ass. Wanna know how? Okay, I'll tell. ;)

When I get the sudden urge to tidy/organize, more often than not it applies to something that no one will ever see. Case in point: yesterday I decided I needed to put things away in the big cedar trunk in my basement. Some stuff had been out since New Year's Eve. Oy, right? So I opened up the trunk to find all the random paper from which the china had been unpacked back in November for Thanksgiving. Double oy. Those dishes found a home in the meantime so I unpacked the rest of them to make room for what needed to go back in. Low and behold, I got to the bottom of the box and there was a page of the local newspaper from when the china had first been packed away. The headline: " 'Refinements' sought in gays policy". The date on the paper: Friday, July 16, 1993. (Tells you how often I've used the china, doesn't it?) Can you guess what the article was about? I'll give you three guesses... It was about the proposal for the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. A policy that was backwards and outdated even before it was proposed. I think the only positive thing it could possibly have spawned, and I freely admit I'm reaching here, is the potential for m/m military romances laden with secrecy and angst. So, that said, anyone know of any? I'm suddenly in the mood to read about, oh, let's say a Navy SEAL in love with the tough-but-geeky sergeant who works in the tech department; or maybe the Marine lieutenant at sea who's having a hot romance with a Navy pilot (who is being recruited for the Blue Angels), only to discover that his ex-lover is also stationed on the same aircraft carrier. Anyone? If it's out there, I wanna know about it. It's the only silver lining I can think of for a policy that forces people to lie just to keep their jobs.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why just one day?

I thought that I'd have something substantial to post about today, but it's been a odd, whirlwind type of week with family visiting and Valentine's Day, not to mention all the other usual duties that I have. However, it's Valentine's Day that inspired me - somewhat - lol.

I've never really been a big fan of Valentine's Day. Back in my teen years, there was this really strange occurance where I never had a boyfriend/sweetie from mid-December to mid-March. This cut out the "major" gift giving holidays of Christmas, Valentine's Day, and my birthday.

That is until I met my husband. :)

Now that doesn't mean that we go all out for Valentine's Day. After the first two went by, it's turned into a date day for us - just another day. In fact, this year we went to our local blood bank and donated blood before going to a simple lunch of chicken wings. *drool*

However, I've noticed that society/media are the ones that go crazy and apply pressure to consumers for this holiday for lovers. Commercials. Red and pink things in every store you enter. Cute Valentine's Day cards. Hearts everywhere. Chocolate candy! *yum* The candy is the worst for me as I'm trying so hard to lose weight and eat healthier. *sigh- yeah, chicken wings weren't the best choice but they sure were good*

I've learned to ignore all this, but as I watched shoppers this past Friday at Walmart, I found that not everyone does. The asiles of holiday items were busy of people finding that "perfect" something that will show their love.

My question is why just narrow it down to only one day a year? Why not find things to do for your special someone everyday? Or even once a week? It doesn't have to be expensive or even store bought. Making my husband's favorite dinner has him all smiles the rest of the night. Spending fifteen minutes snuggling has me feeling all warm and fuzzy. Taking a walk and sharing our day makes my heart flutter (okay, so it's a brisk walk, but it's time together ;) ) A brief note that comes from the heart.

There's endless opportunities out there to show them that you care. Not just one of the 365 days in a year.

How was your Valentine's Day? How did you spend it?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I had it in my head all week that I was going to blog today about reviews and what makes it a review versus just a bunch of squeeing or bashing, but then I found myself watching the Princess Bride on tv and somehow my whole topic changed. Perhaps I'll save my review post for next time, since another two weeks' perspective on it might be a good thing.

I wanted to talk specifically about hurt/comfort in romantic fiction and why it's such a big draw for some. Okay, a big draw for me. :D H/C is one of my bulletproof kinks (which I think I've blogged about before but will happily do so again, maybe next month). I just love when a strong male character is brought down by illness or injury, thereby rendering him temporarily helpless. And the other side of that coin is the strong male character that's forced to use a bit of tenderness when caring for a partner who is sick or hurt.

Hurt/comfort can be written well. Of course, it can also be written poorly. Too much crying, the illness or injury being dragged out for tooooooo many pages, or one of the characters being completely turned off to his partner by the sickness never fails to ruin a good H/C scene for me. However, since it IS a big kink for me, I'll always give the scene the benefit of the doubt before I dismiss it. To me, there is nothing hotter than a strong, stubborn man being forced to stay in bed and be cared for by another strong, stubborn man. It makes them both ornery and cross, but circumstances dictate the necessity of it. And delight me as a reader.

Tell me your opinions on good H/C!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How Did This Happen?

How is it that it fell to me to take the Valentine's Day post? Good lord, should I feel blessed or cursed to be put on the spot like this? Is anybody even reading this today? I should hope not, I hope every single one of you has a hot date and is too busy getting on with the business of Valentine-ing to be concerned about this long and winding sentence. If you're free, well, I feel for you. Today instead of Valentine-ing I am in Rhode Island attending the annual NELA Fetish Fair. Sounds sexy, yes, but I'm here as a vendor rather than a giddy shopper.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still giddy, but I have to maintain some degree of professionalism because I'm selling books. It's my first fetish fair so I imagine I'll have quite a bit to report. I hope I'm allowed to use my camera. Heh.

Anyway, it's Valentine's Day and this is a manlove blog, so perhaps some V-Day recommendations are in order. In the past V-Day has resulted for me in a nice dinner and a movie. If you're going solo this weekend, maybe catching up on some old fashioned love stories is the ticket to a pleasant evening. With this in mind, here are a few to consider for expanding your manlove library:

Jeffrey: It may seem a bit dated now, but I adored this movie. Steven Weber is a gay man, in love with the idea of casual sex, faced with the grim reality of AIDS. Thinking the right one will never come (ha), he swears off sex for good. What happens? He meets the one, and he's HIV positive. Now what? Rent it and see. It's funny and touching in all the right places.

Gypsy '83: To watch this film, you might think it was done in the 80s - it has that look and feel. Actually this movie is only eight years old - it just celebrates a great 80s icon, Stevie Nicks. Two misfits from Ohio, totally in love with Stevie, steal off to New York to take part in a Nicks tribute night. One half of the duo is an introverted young gay man who finds his first passionate encounter along the way, and the hope of finally finding his place. It's a sweet story if you can find it.

Brokeback Mountain: Of course, you can never go wrong with the classics. ;) Just have tissues handy, is all I have to say.

Buy why stop here? Do you have an aptly themed movie to share? Let's hear it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

That's A Big Fat NO!

I like breaking rules. I'm all for destroying society's conventions, wrecking the calm and causing general chaos. If I can make a whole room of people go "WTF?", I'm pretty happy with my lot in life. When I do this though, I'm also aware of the line I'm pushing. I'm conscious of what path I'm treading if only because being Out There is all well and good until someone doesn't forgive you for breaking their brain!

And that's my rather silly intro into my post: since I started pro-writing, I've been fascinated (some might say morbidly so) with Reader No-No's. Ya'll know what those are. The big things in books you won't go near, that makes you scowl on cue. I don't mean bestiality or necrophilia (say it with me now: EW) but things like infidelity, character death, incest and so on.

With the growth of m/m, we've had the chance to indulge in some fantasies so incest/twincest isn't so taboo anymore (me personally - never been the biggest fan. Cousins yeah, I can work with it. Brothers? Nah.) but the other no-nos I mentioned are still, well, no-nos.

Why can't these so-called terrible things happen? We handle homophobia and racism in stories because they're facts of life. Sad facts, but facts nonetheless. So why not infidelity or death? Is it because they threaten the fragile nature of romance in general? Homophobia and racism don't exactly stop a love story do they? In a way, they enhance the affection, making it that much more potent.

I suppose infidelity does make it hard to handle a relationship but I also think if you can get over it, you have the chance to make your romance stronger. Character death, I admit, is harder. You've fallen in love with the partner as much as the hero/ine has...and then he/she dies. It's a letdown and a harsh one. But...that's not the end of the romance. I never could understand why we made death the end-all. I mean, yes, the partner is dead.

Yet don't we have widowers in stories all the time? Usually with sweet, cherubic demons we call offspring and the emotional scars to boot. They, the widowers, are the epitome of Let's Try Again. So what's wrong with handling the death 'onscreen'? My curiosity gets stronger each day and my fingers just itch to write. I adore a challenge, particularly when that challenge could potentially break down a couple of Walls of Expectations. This isn't to say that I can write that one story about infidelity or whatever that will blow your ever-loving mind and convert you.

But it does send my brain into overdrive. Why not write something taboo? Push that line and defy conventions and traditions. Doing the unexpected and the unique just juices me, man. Especially when I think that maybe, just maybe, someone will enjoy the rollercoaster ride with me.

So I'm curious: what won't you read? What squicks you so badly that the minute you see the word/scenario, you leave skid marks running in the other direction? And to go along with what I was talking about, what don't you read but would consider reading if it looked interesting enough?

For me, the usual "NO" stories are about blood brothers. I don't read menages or really like them but I have certain authors who I'd read if they ever wrote a poly story so I can't say I would never read them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I sat at my computer earlier and racked -- or possibly wracked; I'm never sure which -- my brain for a subject to blog about. Then I realized I might as well talk about the one thing that has pathetically dominated my thoughts today: the Starbucks red velvet cupcake. I'm a big fan of anything with cream cheese icing, and I had a cupcake a couple of weeks ago. It occured to me today out of the blue that the cupcakes would probably be gone after Valentine's Day, since our Starbucks in Canada usually only have these kinds of items for limited time and in conjunction with holidays. Then I realized I'll be out of town and out of Starbucks territory this weekend.

I was struck with panic; I must act now or lose the red velvet cupcakes forever! (I know I could just make some, but that's logic talking.) I'm happy to say that on my way home from work I did pick up a cupcake. Or three.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Available on the 15th


Available February 15, 2009 at Amber Allure

A blowjob was all Shawn wanted when he met Marc at XXX bookstore. Instead, he discovered instant, explosive chemistry with a man he had nothing in common with. The last thing he wanted was to fall in love with anyone, much less an impulsive guy sporting chipped black nail polish.

Love was a four letter word he never wanted to take part in, until Marc strolled into his life and turned it upside down in the best way possible. For the first time in his life, Shawn isn’t concentrating on work.

The discovery of a yellow rubber ducky in Marc’s luggage sends Shawn on a downward spiral of confusion and heartbreak. Has their entire relationship been nothing more than the illusion of happiness, or could there be more to Marc’s betrayal than meets the eye?


...Shawn strolled into the XXX bookstore and glanced around the almost empty shop. He’d left his suit jacket and tie in the car, hoping the rolled sleeves and open collar of his white dress shirt would suffice as casual enough. If not, maybe he’d find someone who had a suit fetish. After all, he still wore the charcoal-colored Versace slacks and coordinating dress shoes.

Honestly, he didn’t really care what ticket he punched with someone as long as he got off in the process. The muscles in his shoulders were tense, his body tight with pressure, but it was nothing a good orgasm or three wouldn’t take care of. While he could manage on his own, as he had been for the last several months, he was in the mood for a little assistance this afternoon. All he had to do was find someone interested in helping him out.

There were a few people milling around the shelves—a guy dressed in black from head to toe, a bleach-blond bimbo who was clearly looking for tricks, and a man nearly old enough to be related to Father Time. A bored, overweight clerk with dark, greasy hair flipped through a Juggz magazine behind the counter.

All in all, Shawn had to say his options looked slim. For noon on a Friday, the place was dead. He’d expected more when he’d decided to pop by for a little lunchtime recreation after a round of annoying meetings. The morning had been one shit-storm after another, ending with the loss of a multi-million dollar merger with P & E systems when the homophobic CEO had gleefully announced they would be taking their business elsewhere…just because Shawn preferred dick over snatch. If he ever figured out who’d spilled his personal business to the bastard he was going to pound heads. What he did in his spare time was nobody else’s fucking business. It didn’t have a goddamn thing to do with how he ran his company.

What he needed now was a diversion to take his mind off the money he’d lost. Losing himself in a sweet piece of ass was preferable, but he’d settle for a nice hand job. Right then he wasn’t in the position to be choosy.

He bypassed the shelves and headed toward the back, a pocket full of tokens from his last visit jangling in his pocket. Four movie stalls lined the short, dingy hall. Three out of the four were occupied, the doors closed. Whoever was in the last stall on the right had left the door ajar.

Shawn approached with the hope that the person inside was to his liking and willing to play. Although it was dim inside the booth, Shawn was able to discern a slender young man, his dark hair spiked with gel. One pale hand hung at his side, the short nails painted black. He faced the movie screen where two naked, muscle-bound jocks wrestled on a mat. Shawn hoped the actors on the screen didn’t represent the only type of man the other guy was interested in, because he sure as hell wouldn’t ever be described as overly muscular. He kept in shape, his six-foot frame lean and firm without being bulgy. Thanks to the gray hair encroaching on his temples, people would be more apt to describe him as a silver fox than anything else. The gay social scene revolved around youth, but Shawn knew without a doubt that he’d never been happier, more secure, more accepting of his lot in life than he was now at the ripe old age of forty-two. No way would he go back to the angst-ridden hell of his twenties.

Coughing discreetly, Shawn announced his presence to the guy in the booth. The younger man turned his head, appeared to give Shawn a quick once-over, and quirked one black-lacquered fingernail in a come-hither motion.

That was all the permission Shawn needed to slip inside and close the door behind him. He stepped closer, and the dim, pulsing light from the screen flashed over the younger man’s features, revealing large kohl-rimmed eyes and plump lips. His forehead was high, his nose a little too long for his face. Shawn guessed his age as somewhere around early to mid-twenties.

The guy glanced up at Shawn as the screen flashed particularly bright and revealed eyes the color of stormy seas. He licked his lips in a slow and calculating move designed to make men speculate about what else his tongue would be useful for, then smiled with a small, beguiling upward twist of his mouth. “What took you so long?”...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ally's career-minded musings

This past week, I finally stopped a couple years of Hamlet-worthy waffling and joined the RWA. The final nudge over the edge for me was the fact that a bunch of us gay romance writers are looking at forming a special interest chapter within the organization, and of course in order to join such a chapter I would have to be a member of the RWA in the first place. But that wasn't the only reason I joined. I had plenty of others, not least of which was the fact that I'm hoping it will in some way help to strengthen my career as an author.

Here's the thing. I love writing. I want nothing more than to be a full-time author, and be able to support myself and my family on manlove alone. Now, I realize that this is pretty unlikely, not least because gay erotic romance is not really a mainstream genre. It just isn't, no matter how much those of us who love it might like it to be. I would settle for being able to go part time at the EDJ, honestly, but I want to make my writing career as robust as it can possibly be.

The question is, how do I do that? Write the best books I can, sure, that goes without saying. But then what? Should I try to land an agent? What would an agent do for me, if NY remains as uninterested in gay erotic romance as they have been in the past? How do I get the most out of RWA and make sure it works as hard for me as it does for its authors of straight romance in mass market print? So I guess I don't really know exactly what to do, but I am trying my best.

So what do you, the readers of this blog, know about the RWA? Do you care anything about it? What about the big New York print houses? Do you wish they would publish some real gay romance, or would you rather get your manlove fix from smaller presses like Samhain, Alyson, Cleis or others, or online from the epubs? I figure if I am not sure how best to manage my career, a good place to start might be to ask you, the readers, what you think. What do you read? Where do you get it? I have to work within the publishing business, sure, but the people who buy the books are the ones supporting the whole thing, so I want to know what y'all think!

Please pardon the stream-of-consciousness ramblings. Just be glad I spared you the essay written in my head the other day while running, on the similarities and differences between Radiohead and Sigur Ros and why I like to listen to music in langagues I don't understand *g*

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bittersweet - (Unedited)

I've rewritten this story about four times and think I'm almost done. I'm so glad, given the current chaos of my world :)

Coming soon in ebook from Aspen Mountain Press and in paper as a part of the Hot Comfort anthology from Manlove Romance Press.

(c) 2009 by Maura Anderson

Dark chocolate and sex—a perfect combination. Too bad he had a lot of the first but none of the second, at least none that involved a second person. Maybe his naughty treats would inspire the recipients to have a good time, though.

With a sigh of satisfaction, Brandon carefully tucked the remaining dark chocolate box in its nest of crimson waxed paper and set it inside the heavy delivery box. One last check to ensure that there was enough space to allow the fragile boxes to travel without sticking or breaking and he closed the container. A few pieces of tape secured the elegantly printed lid and he set it on the long steel table behind the counter with the other three he’d already filled.

Done. Not that he should have taken this large an order with this short a deadline to start with. If his staff had agreed to it, he’d have chewed them out. But the bride had been difficult to say no to and it made a convenient distraction from his own thoughts. Work filled that bill and he liked the added bonus of making someone’s day.

Shirlee planted herself just within his field of view and just stood there until he looked her in the eye. Her crossed arms nearly made him laugh. If you discounted her youth, the pierced eyebrow, the Doc Marten boots and the multiple skulls and crossbones that littered her clothing, the strict schoolmarm expression might have been a bit more effective. Instead the raised eyebrow and grumpy, chastising look made him bite his tongue—hard. A few steps back to his large work area for the clipboard with the order information and he held it out to her.

“Here’s the order form and they’ve already paid. Pick up is supposed to be by six today.”

“Umm, Brandon, has it escaped your notice that we closed at four? That would be an hour ago?” Now she looked downright annoyed. “Why do you keep letting people talk you into nearly unachievable rush orders and weird pick-up and delivery options?”
“Umm. Because I don’t want to turn business away in this economy?”

One heavily penciled eyebrow lifted and Shirlee stared at him in blatant disbelief. She clearly wasn’t buying it, not even for a moment.

“Okay, because I like to make people happy?”

Yes, the rush order for twenty five sex-toy candy boxes had kept him late at work for a week but it’s not like he had anywhere else to be. The weather had been too drizzly and rainy to make him want to go for an evening ride and his cats were always happy to see him whenever he arrived. Hell, he didn’t even have to be home to catch his favorite television shows—TiVO had that covered. But work kept him from thinking too much.

This bride was the friend of a friend, too. He couldn’t help it that he still had a soft spot for love and lovers. Too bad it wasn’t mutual. His chest tightened with a deep ache. No, he didn’t have any time to think of that. Jason and his betrayal was years in the past. Pushing the memories away didn’t ease the ache at all.

“You might be a sucker for other people’s romances but, Boss, how are you ever going to get a date if you don’t ever get out of here?” Shirlee shook her head, setting her currently shaggy green hair into motion. Then she gave him a naughty grin “You could be sucking something a lot more fun, after all.”

“I don’t need a date, Shirl. And do not set me up with any of your friends again. When I want a date, I’ll find my own. And somehow I don’t think discussions on what to suck are something I want to have, thank you. Especially at work.”

She rolled her eyes and stuck her tongue out before she turned to grab the army bandolier she used as a purse off the hook behind the counter. After a few steps toward the door, Shirlee came back to pick up the order clipboard. Damn, he’d have enjoyed teasing her about her OCD coming with a lack of follow-through. But she’d remembered in time. A few moments were all it took for her to put the papers in the filing basket and hang the now-empty clipboard on a nail in the prep area’s project wall, then head off toward her car.

Alone, Brand flipped the lock on the store’s front door and treated himself to a mocha. The richly scented steam hit his lungs and he sighed. How come he could smell coffee a mile away but he was almost immune to the scent of chocolate now? He could still smell it but it didn’t register unless he concentrated on it. It seemed to have lost its allure. Ah well, maybe it was just one of the greater mysteries—he was too exhausted to ponder it for long.

He loved his store and his edible art but he needed to sit for a while. He reached one booted foot out, hooked the tall counter stool and drug it closer. A groan escaped him at the tight ache that seemed to consume his back and legs when he sat down.
It made for a long day when he came in at three a.m. Again.

Maybe he did need a good fuck. The insomnia had grown worse and when he managed to get to sleep, he kept waking up again and again, thrashing around in bed and thinking far too much. Why the hell couldn’t he sleep, even after he worked himself into a near stupor? For that matter, why did he keep working so hard?

He’d finally succeeded. The business his relatives thought would fail in its first year was making a nice profit now. His income was good without having to sell his soul to the corporate world or work in someone else’s space. Even in the growing uncertainty of the recession, he managed to see a small increase.

Too bad Jason couldn’t see him now.

No. That was the past and it needed to stay in the past. The future needed his attention and he had a great idea for a pomegranate and dark chocolate truffle addition to the aphrodisiac candy series.

He drained the rest of his coffee and refilled it before going back to his work area. Selecting ingredients from his huge storeroom, he focused on the treat he wanted to created instead of what might have been.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Totally unedited excerpt

From an as yet, untitled Sci-Fi story:

Gray mist undulated around him and Alad hunkered into his greatcoat cursing the government, the military, the enemy, religion and pretty much anyone else he could blame for stranding him on this rock in the skanky armpit of the far side of the universe. He'd beg for sun, but none existed here, at least not in this season. Perpetual overcast served up with sides of absolute darkness and intermittent twilight haunted his days. He'd be so stoked when he found a ride off this shit-pit.

Alad stepped from slick twisted root to twisted root; a winding, treacherous and living shortcut from one ramshackle walkway to another. Things slithered through the oily water below. Tumbledown bars, whorehouses and low rent lodgings twisted off in dizzying directions…their location due more to where infrequent patches of solid land could be found than actual planning. All of it cast off MDU and MTO prefabs destined for the scrap heap, salvaged and pressed into service to make up the eyesore known as Desperation Alley – the no-man's land between base and the up-rank civilian settlements. Missing panels patched by biopolymer sheets added off color dissonance to the grays and muted blue buildings. Shadows flitted behind window openings covered with NatuResin tarps. Here and there outmoded and damaged shipping containers served as pod barracks: racks of one-bod and two-bod bunks bracketed floor to ceiling for those too drunk or burning to stumble back to base.

Above him, a canopy of steel blue foliage almost three stadion deep, hid the makers of all the various scurrying sounds. Large trunks, bleached white by the salts sucked up through the water, supported networks of vines and explosions of flora in colors the human eye couldn't even register. The whole planet washed out into a charcoal rendering of actual living things. Rotting organic material tainted the air with an ever present miasma of decay. Yesterday was spent searching for companies that would have him and his men. The standard hours akin to daylight today dwindled away in the same futile quest and Alad figured tomorrow would dawn on him humping his ass to various commands. Not even a hint of a future appointment graced his horizon. If he didn't land something soon, well he'd have no choice but to tell his men to split up, try to find a rack on their own with some squad down a couple of grunts. Trying to place an entire patrol…hard didn't begin to encompass the problem. Xosh, at this point if some other Sergeant expressed interest in his boys, Alad would have gladly let them go on without him.

He'd traded half a month's pay off the bar-code scan in his forearm for a third of a month's pay in local trade chits on the black-market. Alad needed them to buy off information brokers in the cumshaw data pool. Really, if he hadn't needed any lead possible, there was no way he'd step into Desperation Alley right now. All the good tips though, they came out of the scuttlebutt haze floating through taprooms, dice dens and sex parlors.

Alad stepped onto the plank walkway that comprised the misnamed Mandera Blossom Highway and huffed. Various beings, each more disreputable than the next, passed him. Alad debated whether to start the search first or fortify himself with the local version of rot-gut to file the edge off the eventual disappointment. Shoving his hands into the pocket of his greatcoat, he stepped into the flow of traffic and let it sweep him towards the quasi-legal establishments.

Heading toward him and away from Desperation Alley, Alad caught sight of another human. Not that humans were uncommon in this area…pisk, they made up sixty percent of the military troops in the region…but by now most were stationed on bar stools or slop shop benches and planning the night's entertainment.

This guy seemed different. Tall, whipcrack lean, his shoulders rolled in a resigned, but still defiant, manner. Black hair shorn in military fashion, longish on top, but buzzed so short it barely rated as fuzz in a halo from above his ears to his neck line, marked him as infantry – what they called the collar cut so that neck armor wouldn't rub. It set off features so sharp a man could cut himself on his chin. His eyes damn near glowed blue white like eons old ice flows. All the more striking when contrasted with the cinnamon tones of his skin. A cold and reserved air blew off the man….must have been what kept his pupils from melting.

Alad hadn't seen anything that enticing in six patrols.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

I have a confession to make. Sometimes when I really should be working, I spend time reading articles about writing, because then it’s not quite as bad as goofing off and playing Guitar Hero. And one consistent theme pops up in the articles: writers’ relationships with their books are very similar to romantic relationships. Well, since I read articles on writing romance, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

And here’s another confession. I really like that analogy. One of my favorites, and I apologize if I’ve told you this before, (I have a mind like a large gauge sieve) is the wife and mistress analogy. The book you are supposed to be writing is you wife. That’s the one you’ve made the commitment to. But you’ve been together for awhile now, and as they say, “the bloom is off the rose.” The mistress is always there to tempt you. That other book. The one that’s fresh and exciting. Maybe it’s in another genre, maybe you know it’s something that will be a hard sell and the forbidden nature of it makes it all more alluring. The wife and the mistress dilemma. I’ve been in that one many times.

Yes, they talk about the infatuation stage you have with your book. When it’s new and magic and you’re learning all kinds of fascinating things about each other and, in the case of erotic romance, all this first time sex is seriously hot. Then you settle in and the new becomes familiar. You’re in the “sagging middle” and looking for a way to spice things up. (A little kink can help out even the most stale marriages, right?)

But the part of the relationship so near and dear and painful to my heart today is the end. Who really wants to say goodbye after all you’ve been through together? You’ve been so intimate, you know each other so well, it’s really hard to walk away. And even if you see each other again, in a sequel or as secondary characters, it will never be like it was when you were all to each other.

It’s not the beginnings or middles that challenge me most as a writer. It’s the endings. Some of it is being a pantser. If I know the ending completely, I lose interest in the story. I have to remember that as much as I love these characters, the reader is probably more ready than I am to say good-bye. You want to leave the party while everyone is still having a good time, not drag it out to the awkward turn- off-the-lights-and-turn-down-the-music stage. So when is enough? When do you know that you’ve given the reader exactly the payoff they crave without over-staying your welcome? When is it time to break up and move on?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Movie Rec

What do you get when you take:

1 gay teen romantic comedy
1 Shakespeare comedy
several sexy boys in private school uniforms
some fairies
a scoop of fantasy
several spoonfuls of musical theatre
and a healthy pinch of magic?

You get Were the World Mine from SPEAK Productions. This delightful film is playing in my town for a week and I'm so glad I saw it before it flitted away. It stars Tanner Cohen as the Timothy, the openly gay hero secretly in love with the captain of the high school rugby team, Jonathon (Nathaniel David Becker). When the new English teacher casts a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the all-boys academy, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur. Cast as Puck, Timothy sees a way to make his dream of love come true. But "Love in idleness" gets in more eyes than just Jonathon's and suddenly fantasy and reality are intermingled and free will is no longer in play.

There are so many things to recommend in this flick. The lyrics for the songs are taken from Shakespeare's script. Several moments in reality are homages to the story told in Midsummer... The cinematography is beautiful. The costumes and make-up are fantastic. The cast is uniformly strong. If this movie shows up at one of your local theatres, do yourself a favor and go see it.

Here are some pics to entice you.

Timothy and Jonathon - musical dream sequence.

Fantasy? Reality? What's the difference?

And while I'm recommending movies, there's one I want to see but haven't had a chance to yet. I'm hoping it will come back to town for a limited engagement. It's called Humpday and apparently it's gotten a lot of buzz at festivals like Sundance and has been picked up by Magnolia. This quote by writer/director/producer Lynn Shelton gives you an idea what it's about.

"Straight guys can be funny fellows. Don't get me wrong, I love 'em to death, but the way they seem capable of turning any situation into a game of one-upmanship–even with their closest buddies–can be a pretty awesome spectacle. Humpday takes this syndrome of hetero guy competitiveness to a new, ironic extreme: two straight friends outduding each other by attempting to do each other."

Whenever I get to see it--even if it's only on DVD and not the big screen--I'll let you know.

Has anyone seen either of these? If so, I'd love to hear what you thought of them!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday, Monday

Wow, it's been 2 weeks already? Time flies when you're piled down with "to dos", "must dos", and "when time allows". *whew* Unfortunately, a lot of my writing things are in the "when time allows" slot lately.

However, I'm about to finish my first draft of a novella featuring Dakota Knight. A character that was introduced in my holiday release, A Gift Worth Sharing from Loose-Id. Since Dakota is bi-sexual, my muse was conflicted as to whether to pair him with a male or female in order to give him a happy ending he deserved. Lucky for my M/M readers, it was a male. A younger, much less experienced man. But there'll be more on that at a later date.

Since I've been out of town most of the day, my internet is going in and out because of the rainy weather (cursing satelite internet), and I've begun 2 month long workshops today, I thought I'd throw out some eye candy so I can get back to work on finishing my Dakota story (title is still eluding me :( ).

Like my pretty harem? :P

Who's interested in a lesson in pool?
Motorcycle riding can make one so hot. *fanning self*
Oh,'s that man that's doing that. *G*
On a rainy day such as today, there's nothing better than staying in bed. ;-)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wow, Sunday already? Must be my day to blog.

Happy February, everyone. And Happy Superbowl Sunday, if you're in the U.S. Usually, Superbowl means nothing more to me except a lot of junk food and entertaining commercials. However, since I originally hail from Pittsburgh, today I will be donning my black and gold Bettis jersey and taking my Terrible Towel over to an actual Superbowl party.

I hope there's beer.

Moving on! All sports-related activities aside, I'm totally excited about yesterday's new release! I wrote a short-story sequel to my best selling novel (and EPPIE finalist) Tinder. The title is Embers and it picks up just a few months after Tinder leaves off. Chris and Morgan are arguing once again, but this time Morgan's got something he isn't sharing.

And oh yeah, both Tinder and Embers are available in print under one cover! Now that's a great deal.

You're unsure if you want to buy it, you say? WELL. A good friend made a lovely little promotional video for me, so feel free to watch and decide. There are firemen. Motorcycles. Lies. Sex. Hurt feelings. More sex. All that in just 41 pages! Here, watch for yourself...

See? You're intrigued, I can tell. Check it out, you won't be sorry. To-buy links are below:

Embers and Tinder together in print

Have a good February, people.
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