Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Le Mot Juste

I’m going to talk a little about a kink of mine. Before you start covering your eyes and moaning TMI, I promise, it’s not that kind of kink. And like my early conviction that two boys kissing are the cutest thing ever, this kink started young.

I think I was twelve, about six years after the Barbie incident that got me banned from Peggy‘s house, when I started reading some book. There was a guy and his girlfriend in the car, and she got very excited because her boyfriend had called her “babe.” At that moment her insides went all squishy and so did mine. Then they got in a car accident and she was paralyzed and he was a jackass and she fell for her physical therapist or whatever. The point is she knew it was true love because he called her “babe.” I blame that for my schmoop kink.

There is something about an endearment spilling from the mouth of a guy that fills me with the kind of sweet feeling inside that is usually reserved for the consumption of fudge, getting a book contract, and getting that wink from the love of my life.

It doesn’t work all the time. Jeffery Dean Morgan and Humphrey Bogart have elevated even a mocking “sweetheart” into something to jumpstart my heart, whereas my creepy boss using it all the time made my skin want to run off in the other direction. (Crawling just wasn’t fast enough. )

I love how much you can tell from a pet name. Ranger calls Stephainie Plum “babe”; Joe Morelli calls her “cupcake.” The first time Jake Riordan called Adrien English “baby” my opinion of him changed in a heartbeat. Going back to The Catch Trap, Mario calls Tommy “Lucky.” These names for people we love are our inside jokes, showing that the person addressed is special in some way.

I’m not saying it works for everyone. There are characters who if they uttered even my old favorite “babe” would lose my faith in their credibility. However much Aaron might need it, I can’t see Joey ever calling him that. And certainly I’m not saying that having an ancient cashier hand me my change with a “Here you go, honey” lights my fire.

It may seem like I’m contradicting what I said about the power of actions in my last blog post on the Beau Geste now that I'm praising the power of these little words. I suppose it‘s the juxtaposition, the kind of thing we are accustomed to hearing in a soft feminine voice, (no one thinks twice about a woman using baby, honey, sweetheart, or even sugar) coming from a gravelly throat. Even better if the words are unbidden.

I think that’s why (despite the awful things that followed in the book I described at the beginning) when one of my characters surprises me (and himself) with a even a generic term of endearment, something about it makes warm squishiness ensue.

Is this a solo kink or are there other schmoop fans out there?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Sale!

I am delighted to announce that I sold a new manuscript to Torquere Press this past week! Unlike my other books, this one is a novella and a space opera. SF being my second literary love (close on the heels of fantasy), I had a great time writing this piece. It's a detective story set on a generational starship. I'll have more news as it comes, but right now all I can tell you is that the title is False Dawn and I believe it'll be out by the end of this year.

In the meantime, more writing, writing, writing on a new fantasy story as I wait to get my edits, edits, edits on False Dawn. No rest for the wicked, right? I must've been particularly wicked lately.

I'm okay with that. ;-)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Deleted scene from Never Too Late

I was sitting here pondering what to post when I remembered I had a scene that was cut out of my latest book, Never Too Late during the final edits. So, I thought why not let the readers of Slash & Burn have first look of this deleted conversation between Brice and Dakota.

Deleted Scene:

Setup: This conversation occurs after chapter 11 ends and before chapter 12 begins. Brice and Dakota are laying in bed after a session of sex and Brice is wanting to talk.

“Are you awake?”

Dakota opened an eye just enough to give Brice a quick glare. “No.”

Brice laughed and the sound made Dakota’s gut warm. “Talk to me.”

Dakota groaned. “Just my luck to be stuck with a talker.”


Dakota opened his eyes and held back a smile. “Oops, was that my out loud voice?”

“Ha ha. But I’m serious.” He turned on his side toward Dakota. “What do you like to do when you’re not…well, working?”

“To sleep.”

“Seriously, Dakota.” Brice nudged him in the arm.

Dakota nibbled on his lower lip while he contemplated his answer. He wasn’t in the habit of telling his clients too much personal information, but something about Brice’s character compelled him to share. “There’s nothing unusual about me, Brice. I do everyday-ordinary things like everyone else does when they aren’t working. I have friends, watch movies, listen to music.”

“What kind of music?”

“You’re a pushy brat, aren’t you?”

Brice shrugged and a sexy little smile graced his lips. “Sue me for wanting to know a little bit more about the man I’ve found to be a delectable fuck.”

Feigning a sigh, Dakota returned Brice’s smile. “Fine, I’ll humor you. I rarely listen to anything that’s not classified as classical music. Bach and Listz are my favorite composers.”

“Hmmm, I think Gershwin’s better. I love how he mixed jazz with classical for Rapsody in Blue. Did you know that the song was also Al Capone’s favorite?”

“Wasn’t aware, but I’m sure my life will be so much better now that I know.”

Brice gave him a playful punch in the arm. “Smart ass. How about movies? What’s your favorite?”

“I’m a bit of an 80’s movie junkie. The whole Brat-Pack fad. But my favorite would be Weird Science. Kelly LeBrock was hawt.”

Brice laughed. “Who could forget the bras on the head and Chet calling everyone a buttwad. But I had a thing for the actor who played Wyatt”

“You’ve actually seen the movie?” Dakota couldn’t believe it. Brice’s generation thought the Brat-Pack was the same as the Rat-Pack. Let alone know about a cheesy movie about how two teenagers made a woman using a computer and a Barbie doll.

“Thanks to Winter and her obsession with what she calls retro films.”

“A girl after my own heart.”

“But nothing, not even her wild plans she cooks up, stops me from missing an episode of Bones. Thanks to DVRs of course.”

“Isn’t Booth the hottest FBI Agent?”

Brice laughed. “Who’d have thought that someone like you could get goo-goo eyed over an actor?”

Dakota scowled. “I don’t do goo-goo eyed.”

“Whatever you say,” Brice was still chuckling.

Dakota pushed on Brice’s shoulder so he fell onto his back. “Enough talk. Go to sleep. You’ll need your rest for later.”

Brice rolled his eyes. “Give me your best shot. This kid can take you on anyday.”

Dakota growled and turned so he lay on his stomach, face away from the temptation Brice offered without knowing it. “Sleep,” he ordered.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm off to run in the Race for the Cure today, but I HAD to let you all know of my newest novel that was released this week!

is available at Torquere Press in both print and ebook format! Race cars, track paramedics, everything good. It received a lovely in-house review and is steadily climbing the best seller list for new releases. I'll leave you with a snippet!

Mitch’s cell buzzed angrily from its holster on his belt. “That’ll be Jarvis,” Mitch sighed. “He’s all wound up whenever we come to Martinsville.”

Pacey stood and wandered down the short hallway to the bedroom. “From what I’ve seen, that guy’s wound up most of the time.”

“True.” Mitch grinned and didn’t answer his phone, unwilling to let Jarvis intrude on the visit Pacey had paid him. “But it’s a hard pit road here. Small track means small pits. Guys make contact all the time and there’ve been plenty of wrecks from guys just trying to get to their pit. The pit stalls are wrapped almost all the way around the track. Jarvis gets freaked, even though I’ve always pitted safely here. He’ll want to talk about it before the green flag.”

“Oh.” Pacey stopped in the doorway of the bedroom and looked back at Mitch. “I didn’t know that. I’m kinda learning as I go, since it’s my first year as a roving ASCRA medic. I found the red hot dogs, though.” He gave Mitch a thumbs up.

Bright red hot dogs were another staple at the Virginia track. Mitch had eaten plenty of them. “If I win, I’ll buy you another one.”

“Deal.” Pacey disappeared into the bedroom. “Hell, you got a king bed in here? This place is definitely better than my house.”

Mitch moved to the doorway in time to see Pacey flop down on his bed and stare at the ceiling. “You don’t have a king?” He had to look away as Pacey’s sweatshirt rode up and exposed a thin strip of tanned stomach. If he got carried away, chances were he’d never make it back out to the track on time.

“Got a new queen bed last year and thought I was living well.” Pacey sat up with a smile. “I sleep on a twin bed at work, so anything bigger than that works for me.”

Mitch advanced further into the bedroom. Now Pacey’s hair was mussed and his sweatshirt was all rucked up around his torso. The man just got hotter every time Mitch laid eyes on him. And damned if he wasn’t nice, too. Good looks and a nice guy? Mitch definitely hadn’t counted on that. “Yeah, I… need a king. Space and all that. Lots of room is good.” God, the words coming out of his mouth were barely even sentences.

Pacey smiled a bit, eyes showing amusement. “Room in bed is good. Except when you don’t need it because you like sleeping close to someone. Did you know you can fuck in a twin bed and then cuddle, too? I bet you could do a lot more than that in a king.”

Was that an invitation? Or just playful teasing? Mitch had never felt this unsure when bantering with casual fucks before. Wait, was it a casual fuck? The questions flew at him faster than he could duck.

“I have thirty minutes,” Mitch said awkwardly, then kicked himself. Christ, what was he expecting?

“And a king bed,” Pacey grinned. He patted the duvet. “I can do a lot in thirty minutes.”

Oh hell, yes, it was an invitation. Mitch put his phone on silent and tossed it in the direction of the motor home’s living area, hoping it made it to one of the couches. He didn’t hear it crash on the tile, so he slipped in the bedroom and closed the door.

The pent-up energy that always made Mitch jittery before the start of a race was threatening to spill over. He crawled onto the bed next to Pacey and pushed the man to his back. “I can a lot in thirty minutes too,” he said. “But I prefer longer.”

“We don’t have longer.” Pacey smiled up at him. His hands settled at Mitch’s waist and he planted his feet on the bed. “So why don’t you show me what thirty minutes gets me?”

“Do you let guys fuck you?” Mitch had learned long ago that asking outright and getting an answer was preferable to priming himself for sex and then discovering his partner wouldn’t bottom.

“On occasion.” Pacey rocked his hips up and rubbed against Mitch’s crotch, revealing that he was hard and ready.

It was easier to assume that this was one of those occasions. Mitch’s hands were shaking from the pre-race adrenaline. He nodded and leaned down to kiss Pacey hard, too anxious and hot to be gentle or even sort of careful.

Pacey responded in kind. He reached up with one hand and fisted it tightly in Mitch’s hair while snaking his other hand between them to fumble with zippers and button-flys.
Mitch let him work out the details of getting their jeans off. Mitch was too busy kissing and tasting and trying to remember if there were condoms in his nightstand drawer.

“Pocket,” Pacey whispered against Mitch’s mouth. “Rubbers in my pocket.”

Available now!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why me?

Why is it, when I have deadlines, my Muse decides it'd be more fun to go on vacation... without me???

I've been trying to tackle a couple of stories, both due October 1st, and the ideas just... aren't there.

Wonder if he stole Zathyn's muse and they BOTH went on vacation without us? *ponders*

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Busy Zoe Is Busy

Basically, I have been buried under writing and job stuffs and I have nothing very cool to say. That and I've finally discovered the wonder and glory of Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Damn you Supernatural. We loves Dean. He eats our...brain cells.

Anyway, with lack of cool, I'm x-posting from my Livejournal. I know, I know, cop-out. I'll do better next time, I promise!

This One Time In My Room....

It hit, midnight? And I was done. I was so feeling another long bout of writing til the wee hours (which in retrospect would have only been about an hour or three since I was at the wee part of the day already) and I knew laying down to think was the dumbest thing I could do...

But I did. Closed my eyes, woke up at probably 1 am, dragged my pillows on the bed and shut the computer off. The Novella has not moved much. Well, I did do some clean up. I started Asher's novella awhile back and while most of the information is still accurate (read: 99%) there are still things I have to tweak to flow with the short I just finished.

Little things but its always the little things that catch up to ya. However, I know the next plot points. Minor explanation of technique: I own and read a book about writing a screenplay. I still want to do that but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Anyway, the author was a pretty popular teacher of screenwriters. And he was talking about plot points.

I understand what he meant now. I got it then, in 12th grade, but putting teachings to writing makes things even more clear. I consider everything drama/action related to be a mini point. There are the main slices of the book: whatever happened in the beginning, how its handled in the middle, and how everyone's doing in the end.

Beginning, Middle and End could probably be considered plot points in themselves but I look at them like a board game. Everything the characters do during those parts of the game are simply the moves of the player. Cause and effect even. So, with the Novella, I know the next exact plot point I have to crest. It'll slide me right into another small one which explodes into a huge double whammy, slides into I think one more minor one and then the end.

Knowing this of course is exactly half the battle. Because now I have to write it which is proving to be the difficult part. I officially think I know why though. Can't tell y'all just yet though. When I'm done...I'll do a special post explaining why this was so hard.

Enough with the morbidity. I gotta scoot off to School to chat with the Placement Services lady, handle some banking and probably more jobing. I hope to write early in the day though. the next few hours. Cross your fingers, yeah?

Later days!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What I've been up to lately...

Hello guys and gals. I know I haven't been nearly as chatty as I normally am, here on the blog and elsewhere. Want to know why? Cause I've been a busy little smut writer.

No, I actually haven't been waxing poetically about butt-sex lately, although I am slowly but surely working on the fourth and final installment of my Reckless series. Instead, I've been out and about doing public events.

In the last two weeks, I've done The Crucible in Washington DC (with Beth Wylde and DL King) and Roanoke's Pride in the Park(with JM Snyder and Vincent Diamond). On the 26th I'll be at Durham's Pridefest, along with Beth Wylde and Vincent Diamond. I may be an introvert by nature, but even I enjoy coming out of my hidey-hole occasionally.

Below are some pictures for you. :D

From left to right: Andy Eisenberg, Marguerite Labbe, and Beth Wylde. While we didn't all share a table, it was lovely to have some extra author company at Pride this year.

From left to right: JM Snyder, Vincent Diamond, John (my hubby), and me. Check out the 'fro I was sporting. Rain + curly hair = disaster.

Me in DC, all dressed up for the play party hosted by The Crucible last Saturday night.

Beth Wydle and me the day of the Leather Fleamarket at The Crucible. Could my face have been any more shiny? I think not.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Planning Ahead

As some of you are probably aware, I recently sat on a panel on same-sex romance at the 2009 Dragon*Con. It was a real blast; we had a fabulous audience willing and eager to talk with us, and my fellow panelists were awesome.
(BTW, if you want to get a taste of what we're all like when we're together, tune in to The Romance Show With No Name on Radio Dentata tomorrow, Sept. 21st, at 6pm EST/3pm PST for an interview with all five of us; fun, informative and a little crazy *g*)

We all enjoyed the panel so much, we're already talking about doing it again next year. We were thinking about what we might do differently next time, and of course everyone thought the best thing to do was to ask you, the readers, what you thought.

So, I'm asking. If you're at Dragon*Con -- or any reader's convention, really -- and you're attending a panel on same-sex romance, what are you looking for? Do you want to know what the trends are and what's behind them? Are you a writer yourself looking for tips to getting published in this genre? Are you looking for a discussion of craft issues? Do you want to talk about what you want to see more of or less of in same sex romance? A little from column A, a little from column B? Any and all ideas are welcome at this point, so speak up :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Beau Geste

On Saturday, I was a vampire at High Mass. Life-long Yankee fan that I am, I entered the hallowed ground of Fenway, home of the Red Sox. To my surprise, I did not burst into flames. I sat through a two-hour rain delay—when it wasn’t raining—and then through the game—when it was raining. I sat through it all on what may be the tiniest, most uncomfortable seats invented. There’s more leg room in coach with the seat in front of you pushed all the way back. I even—gulp—cheered for the Red Sox. (They weren’t playing the Yankees.)


I did it for love.

Many years ago I fell in love with a Red Sox fan. We’ve managed to keep the peace for over a score of baseball seasons, and on Saturday I presented the love of my life with the birthday gift of a trip to Fenway.

Actions speak louder than words. And that’s doubly true for the characters in our books. As men, they are creatures of action, much more so than words. What proves love more than doing something they never would have done at the beginning of their story?

The beau geste is often defined as a gesture noble in form but lacking in substance. I prefer the more literal translation of gracious gesture, what to me epitomizes a lover’s capitulation to the vulnerability of raw emotion. Or as one of my characters would put it, proof that he knows “I am so fucked.”

From taking a bullet meant for his lover to buying a mansion, from turning his back on his family to quitting his job, the beaux gestes of romance bring a lump to my throat. What’s your favorite?

I have a little poll going over at my live journal to name the dog Joey and Aaron got at the end of Collision Course. You don't have to be a member to vote or to weigh in.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Release

My new novel came out last Wednesday from Torquere!

Client Privileges by Maia Strong

Jonas Vaneau's life seems ordinary, with days working at law courts and evenings at home with his cat, plus countless Sabbath dinners with his parents and an endless string of potential brides. Meanwhile, an unusual encounter with seemingly ordinary brothel client Jonas causes Micah Hartshorn considerable consternation. When Jonas inexplicably bursts past his emotional defenses, Micah can't even fall back on his professional skills to help him.

The attraction between Micah and Jonas grows, despite their misgivings. As they grow closer, all personal problems are swept up in political unrest when new laws threaten both men's livelihoods. When even greater troubles send Jonas' world spinning beyond his control, it's up to Micah to save Jonas from the downward spiral if he can.


And now that that's out there, I've been better able to focus on new (i.e. languishing on the back burner) stuff. I went through my To Do List the other day and came up with this:

Wait to hear on new novella submission
Wait to submit other novella until I hear on first novella
Wait to hear back from my beta readers on m/m/f erotic fantasy menage novel
Wait to hear back from my beta readers on m/m contemporary paranormal novel
Get my lazy ass back to work on second contemporary paranormal novel and/or f/f fantasy novel

Needless to say, this means I am reduced to doing some REAL WORK. Now if only the weather would cooperate and get all gloomy out so that I'm more inclined to snuggle up with a warm laptop and do some damned writing. So you tell me (since I'm obviously too lazy wishy-washy to decide for myself)... Which one should I work on first: contemporary paranormal or fantasy?

Monday, September 14, 2009


It's been a crazy, hectic weekend - traveling in and out of town - and today was just as bad with doctor appointments, "must-do shopping", and then taking care of the family. Do you think this left me any work/writing time? *pfft* I wish. I guess I'll just have to wait until after everyone goes to bed...if I'm not too tired. *sigh*
Needless to say, I didn't get much of a chance to figure out what I was going to blog about today, however I was sitting here looking through some my folders for some inspiration. You know...those pictures that get your muse going. ^-^
When it's a bit dull, I personally wander through my pictures and other files, letting my gaze blurr and my mind wander as I take in each of those pictures.

So my question to the readers...what do you do for inspiration? Listen to music? Look at pictures? Read a book? Share.

I'll also leave a couple that caught my attention today. :) Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Current calls for submission at Phaze Books, erotic romance and women's erotica. First, the special anth calls:

As Yet Titled Steampunk Anthology: M/M or bi-Male Menage, one-time rights sought, payment on acceptance. Details for guidelines on this post. This is an open call until the slots are filled.

TouchAble: Stories featuring characters with disabilities sought for anthology. One-time rights sought, payment on publication. Details for guidelines on this post. Deadline February, 2010. GLBT accepted.

Lemon Kisses: Yaoi anthology. Standard Phaze rights/royalty payment policies apply. Details on this post. Deadline December, 2009.

Present Phaze Books lines open for works:

Urban Phaze: Erotic romances set entirely in one metropolitan city. Duplicate cities permitted. Min 10K words, no max. All sub-genres.

Phaze Scores: Romances with a sports theme. Min 10K words, no max. All sub-genres.

Phaze Rocks: Romances bearing title of a popular rock classic or contemporary hit. Story doesn't have to be music-themed. Min 10K words, no max. All sub-genres.

Phaze Binary Stars: Two-story collections, with both stories by one author or two, with collected work totalling 10K minimum. Great for authors experienced in flash fiction. All sub-genres.

Please review the Phaze Books submissions page for details on how to send us work.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I'm in a VERY good mood today. Last night, I found a long-lost notebook in which I'd written the beginning of a prologue for my fantasy trilogy, Sword & Sorcery. The prologue is for The Lost Son (book 1) that comes out Feb. 2010 from Samhain.

Of course, in the arduous process of finding said notebook (which I WASN'T actively looking for at the time), I've found all my other notebooks. O.o

We're talkin' notes from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back... like brainstorming Going Home, and my old novel (under Kay Derwydd), The Legacy. It's kinda fun looking through those old notebooks, though my inner editor had a coronary several times throughout the process. It's amazing how much has changed--in my style, mainly--since those earlier days.

Hard to believe it's been 4 years since I started writing professionally. August marked mine and Shayne's 4th writing anniversary, too. Wow, what a trip it's been. :D

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Today, I was bad

Well, really it's been all week. I lazed about like mad. No jobhunting, no writing. Nothing but reading. This is of course completely counter-productive to me getting anything done but them's the brakes.

I sense that I'm dancing with burn out again. This is a much more mellow hit than it was last time when I was going stark raving mad from not being able to write anything or really think.

Not fun, no sir. However, this time around, I did manage to get something done so I don't feel like I'm just wandering off again. My short story, Just a Game, was accepted by Cobblestone about a week ago so I'm stoked on that.

Once Red Rose releases mine and Cassidy Ryan's Pain Management, we'll probably start on the sequel which is currently unnamed and totally all in our heads right now. I have a few things I'm toying with but I'm just not with it.

Seems like I hit these roadblocks more and more these days. Ah, but I'll climb over 'em and be back on my feet in no time.

Anyone else having the blahs lately? I swear everyone becomes a over-producing machine when I'm like this so somebody make me feel better and tell me you're tempted to run away and hide too!

And to make up for my total lack of awesome today - my distractions. Let me show them to you:

(The size of this thing makes me go O.O)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A question

I was talking to a friend the other day about dramatic devices typically used in romances. After listing plot scenarios that we've seen many different variations on over the years, I decided my absolute favourite is when one half of a couple thinks that the other is dead -- but they actually aren't. So you get the grief and angst and tears and heartache, but then the happy ending, too. It's the best of both worlds!

So the question is: What's your favourite romance plot device that pushes your buttons every time?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Come and see me this month!

September is going to be an extremely busy month for me this year. Rather than blast you with multiple posts about where I am and what I'm doing, I thought I would consolidate all of my events this month into one handy-dandy blog for you. Below you'll find a list of what I have planned, as well as links to each event. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or need additional information.


On September 12th I will be at The Crucible in DC for the fetish fleamarket, from 11am-6pm, as well as the play party held later that evening from 8pm-2am. Authors Beth Wylde and DL King will be there as well. For times, cost, directions and more details visit:


On September 20th I'll be at Pride in the Park in Roanoke, Virginia from 11am-6pm. This year I'll be sharing space with Vincent Diamond and JM Snyder. For more info on location, times and more visit their website at:


On September 26th I'll be at Durham's Pridefest from 10am-5pm, along with authors Beth Wilde and Vincent Diamond. For more info please visit their website:

For the moment, I think that's about it for me. As if that isn't enough for one month, right? I hope if any of you are in the areas mention above that you'll stop by and say hello.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Weekend Sale & WIP peek

There was something I wanted to blog on/discuss last week but never got the chance to write it up. Now--you guessed it--I totally forgot what it was. -_-

Loose ID is having a Labor Day sale: From Sept. 3rd to the 6th, they are offering 5% off all e-books purchased. No gimmicks. No codes. Just buy and save.

Self serving thing I am I encourage you to try out the ChildsPrey series then with the $ you save at LI go on and pick up Their Lover the last book in the series. It even has a cameo appearance from everybody's favorite TMPD Inspector Miki Nabeshima.

Noble Romance is putting together an anthology with a western theme. Working title on that is Cocked and Fully Loaded ^_^ Here's a taste of mine introducing the hero (needless ot say it's unedited.):

Indian Territory 1893

The orange glow of a small campfire offered little respite from the chill and absolute blackness closing in on the two men in the clearing. The larger man, deputy U.S. marshal Jon Sauvage, slept lightly as always, each cricket chirp, every rustle of a small animals in the brush capturing his attention long enough to recognize and dismiss it as inconsequential.

But another sound, close by brought him fully awake. Before a second, similar sound came Jon had pulled his Colt and aimed with the deadly swiftness that had earned him the nickname Savage Jon.

"And what do you think you're up to, Cantrell?" he asked the prisoner who rested poised on all fours not more than a foot away.

"Not much, Marshal," the man said indolently, his breath catching just enough for Jon to know that despite the easy bravado he feared for his life. "Just thought I'd give us what we both want and get it out of the way. Thought it might make the rest of the trip a bit more pleasant."

Jon sat up, revolver still cocked and aimed right between the other man's eyes. "And what do you think we both want?"

"For me to suck you off."

"And I'd want that, why?"

Cantrell laughed. He shifted and sat back on his heels, his hands resting lightly on his slim thighs. I can see it in your eyes. You're like me. I can tell."

Jon's cock hardened inside his worn denims. "I'm nothing like you Cantrell. I'm the one with the badge. You're the one going to jail."

Cantrell laughed again and slid his hand across his own crotch. "I heard what the whore said to you when you stopped by that whorehouse to water the horses."

Jon remained silent.

"Come on and stay the night," Cantrell mimicked in a high pitch. "I'll let you fuck my ass. You're the only one I let do that." He smirked. "She lets you do it, but is she any good? Don't you really want to hold on to another cock instead of a pair of tits when you ride that ass?"

The silence between them fell once more. The crickets chirped and Jon was certain they were also egging him on.

"Get back to your side and go to sleep. We got a long ride to Fort Smith."

Cantrell remained as he was. "Let me do it. I never had an Indian before. I won't try nothing. I promise. You can shoot me if I do."

"I can shoot you any time and no one has to be the wiser."

Cantrell smiled.

This smile was softer and the way he licked his lips hardened Jon's cock more. Jon stood, gun still aimed, then undid the buttons of his pants and pulled his erection free. "Do it good."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Playing With Fire

I'm in awe of those that can do this.

I may have to do story about fire dancers. A couple of guys, Breathing fire and swallowing swords...sounds like a party.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to School Assignment

Ahh. Back-to-school time. I’m still catching up on some reading at the beach, but next Wednesday when my students come into my classroom they’ll have a quiz (I’m evil that way) and a form to fill out about their attititudes on reading and writing. One of the questions is about their favorite book. I fill out the form every year right along with them and while my answers about a lot of things change, my favorite book is always the same: The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Some people have a keeper shelf, some have a desert-island-keeper shelf. This book is on a shelf by itself, the throw-it-in-my-coffin-with-me shelf. (I know. It’s kind of Ancient Egyptian.) This is the book I want brought to the hospital if I’m stuck there. This is the book by my bedside so I can read it on those nights when I need a comfort read.

And what’s really funny is that it took me some time to pick it up, despite the recommendations of trusted fellow readers. Because like Marty and Maia were saying in their two previous blogs, there are formulas that just make people turn away. I just couldn’t wrap my head around this setting. Late forties? Circus family? So not for me. But one day I picked up The Catch Trap. Around the second page I became unconscious of the act of reading. The story simply unfolded in my head, and when I finished it a few hours later, I flipped right back to the beginning to start it all over again.

There’s a lot to get past before you pick it up. The back-cover blurb makes it kind of unpalatable. And I was a little concerned about the age difference between the two main characters: Tommy is fourteen and Mario is twenty-three when they meet. You’d think for me to praise a book this highly it would be steamy, but it’s not. The description of the sex is vaguer than an impressionist watercolor that got left in the rain. But the characters dug right into my brain and their hold hasn’t lessened even twenty years later. The story is absolute magic.

So what is it? Historical fiction? Gay fiction? Family drama? I don’t know. It’s a romance and it isn’t. It’s a coming of age story and it isn’t. It isn’t the best book ever written but it’s my favorite over a lifetime of voracious readership. It’s a part of my head now, and probably pieces of my writing are a breadcrumb trail right back to The Catch Trap.

MZB is gone, I’m sorry to say, but she left us more than one gay-positive story to read. I’m pretty sure The Catch Trap is out of print now, but you can find it at Alibris. I’d love to hear what other fans of our genre think of this classic.

Okay now, class. Let’s get to work.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Romance Formulas

Happy September, everyone! Autumn is approaching (not fast enough for me), the MLB races are heating up, a three-day weekend approaches, and kids will soon be back in school. These are all good things! And speaking of the upcoming holiday weekend, I'm hosting a Blog Party over at "Just add coffee" starting on Saturday to celebrate the release of my new novel, Client Privileges, from Torquere Press. Stop by and check it out!

On to today's topic. I see that Marty and I are on similar thematic wavelengths this week. I've been pondering lately the different formulas for romance stories. There are a lot of them out there. Marty talked about friends-to-lovers. There's also enemies-to-lovers; the forced or accidental marriages where one or both have been duped into it; the slow-burns; the fiery passions; the forbidden love that must overcome; the reunions; the flings that unexpectedly grow into love; and a bunch more that escape me at the moment. There's something to like about each of these, and there's something annoying about each of them, too. I find I like to write flings or dalliances, which over time become something more. (Maybe that's because it means I can get to the "action" that much quicker.) And I find I'm not a big fan of love-at-first sight stories because too often I find that the author's chosen conflict, although necessary to create a complete story, just doesn't fly for me. But the fact is they are all standard formulas because they work. You don't have to be a Barry Manilow fan to recognize that he as a musical formula that just plain works, you know what I mean?

So, how about you? Do you have a favourite, or least favourite, romance formula? Are there authors who write certain formulas particularly well, but you don't necessarily like when they write a different one? (It's okay. You don't have to name names if you don't want to. ;-) ) Are there formulas you always go for or ones you simply won't read? Here's your chance to plug what you love and slam what you hate. I'm curious to hear it all!
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