Friday, December 31, 2010
And what a year it’s been. Lots of my writer friends had terrible years. People laid off, illnesses, houses got flooded, and the wretched economy in the US, UK and most of Europe doesn’t make things any easier.
Against that, though, many bright spots for readers and writers: ebook sales are up. We learned the shocking/exciting number that Amazon sold more ebooks than hardcovers (granted, who buys hardcovers anyway?). The Kindle 3 launched and shifted a huge amount of units all year, and most at Christmas. Every day, hundreds and thousands of readers join the e-reading part of the population.
And there’s more fun on the horizon.There’s the iPad (I’m foregoing one until it becomes a writing machine – proper software to do some heavy lifting in terms of getting words out), but that’s only one of many tablets. Five years from now, we’ll have a lot more interesting shiny gadgets on which to read and write. Part of why I want to grow really, really old? I want to see what technology comes out and goes mainstream. I’m a gadget hound. I love technology.
Going over my own last year’s resolutions, I got 80% of the important stuff (I didn’t go to the gym as much as I’d planned, though). I finally bought my house. I moved in and got all the bits and pieces into place. I left a job that bored me to tears and got a great job that paid a little more and taught me a huge amount of valuable skills. As the year turns, I’m leaving that job and go work for an investment bank for a lot more moolah.
Creatively speaking, 2010 was awesome. Last year at this time, I had one story out, “Deliverance” in “Forbidden Love”. Now it’s twelve. Yes. Eleven more. I had almost one release per month (I slacked off in December, I admit). Five of those are novellas, four are short stories, two are full-sized novels. Two more novels slated for 2011 (“Scorpion” with Dreamspinner Press and “Father of all Things” with Carina Press).
In 2010, I was dragged, almost kicking and screaming, onto Facebook. I blogged. I got this guest blogging gig here, and I just started another guest blogging gig at Savvy Authors.
More importantly, I met people. Loads and loads of people. Now, I can get people fatigue. I am, believe it or not, an introvert. I’m probably the most extroverted introvert you’ll ever meet, but it was great to meet so many readers (Amora and Marcie and Tina and Britta and Karen and Arzu and Kate and all the others over at Goodreads), new authors (life’s good when there’s talent out there like Rachel Haimowitz, A M Tuomala and Rhianon Etzweiler), and I’ve been reading and reviewing and generally found my rhythm. I write more and better than ever before in my life – unless I’m blocked 6-7 weeks, which happens, but it’s no big drama.
I’ve gathered the strength to look at all my failed novels (aka, I now have the courage to open that big drawer with all the HORROR inside). The financial thriller trainwreck. The menage that isn’t quite an espionage story. I feel I can tackle all that now and fix it.
As the year turns, I’m nervous about starting work at the bank (writer meets financial industry. I think it might be hilarious - or painful).
I’m working on the edits of “Break and Enter”, which I co-wrote in a couple days (find an excerpt here).
I’m working on two novels at the same time. Still the WWII novel and the sequel to “Scorpion”. I’m heading off in a few minutes to have breakfast with my partner at a very nice, non-chain cafe that recently opened in my city.
When my partner asked what I wanted to do for New Year, I said I am completely happy to write all day, then pause at midnight, get a vodka orange, stand at the window that looks out over the park (or street), watch the fireworks, toast to the new year, and then sit back down to write.
As to 2011, I just expect more of the same, only better.
Happy New Year!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Lucas McKenzie figures spending the holidays with his annoying roommate's family is better than being alone on campus. The last thing he expects is to lust over Sam's brother -- or for Nate to actually want him back.
They hide their attraction during Hanukkah celebrations, but behind closed doors, Lucas and Nate can't keep their hands (or mouths) off each other. Nate's only looking for a bit of holiday fun, and amazing sex with a hot virgin definitely fits the bill.
Yet as the candles burn, Nate and Lucas begin to realize eight nights will never be enough.
Hope everyone has enjoyed the holiday season! Wishing you all a very happy 2011.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Deleted prologue from Chicken Ranch: Hunger
Declan Mayo shivered in the dimming light of evening. Although it was warm, he felt chilled to the bone. Huddling against the unyielding back of a park bench, his mind spun with the implications of what it meant to be homeless.
The day had started out much like every other had since he'd graduated high school the previous June. He'd gotten up, and taken a shower. After breakfast, he dragged his tired ass outside to mow the lawn so his father wouldn't shit a brick when he came home from work. All the while, with the scorching July sun beating down on his shoulders and the self-propelled lawn mower vibrating under his palms, Declan made plans for the future. In three weeks, he would finally leave for college and he couldn't wait. The fear of a single misstep around his old man, and suffering the subsequent consequences, was beginning to wear on him.
His father hadn't always been such a hard ass. Declan had more good memories than bad about his childhood. However, following the death of Declan's mom the year before, Abe Mayo had grown cold and distant. More often than not, he was drunk or well on his way to intoxicated.
For Declan, it like living with a stranger. He walked on eggshells, waiting for his father to blow up in response to any one of many perceived wrongs that had never bothered the man before. Bidding his time and dreaming of the freedom he would have at college was the only thing that kept Declan's mouth shut and his demeanor respectful. Since he was depending on his father to pay his tuition, Declan knew better than to piss him off.
All that came to a head when his father came home from work and riffled through Declan's things in search of a fresh set of batteries for the remote control. Declan came inside to find his father sitting in the recliner facing the door with a beer in one hand and a handful of Declan's dirty magazines in the other.
The screaming match that followed caused their nearest neighbors to call the police. A cruiser pulled up just as Declan was leaving. His cheek stung with the evidence of his father's disapproval. With his father's accusations ringing in his ears, Declan slipped off the property and walked toward town. He didn't know where he was going or what he would do, but he couldn't stay home. His father had made his feelings on homosexuality quite clear.
Declan clutched to the backpack containing everything he owned. A blast of wind ruffled his hair and sent a shiver down his spine. His gaze darted around the abandoned park, seeking answers he wasn't likely to find in the curve of a solid oak tree or the sway of a deserted playground. Shadows closed in on him; the rapidly dwindling light made them appear larger and menacing.
Thunder rumbled, followed by a bright flash of light across the inky night sky. Fat beads of rain tumbled from above, splattering Declan with tear drops as clammy as the ones spilling down his cheeks.
What am I supposed to do now?
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Someday I should learn to shut my fucking mouth. It’s almost Christmas and, dude, Joe’s place just seems so sad without a tree. So, I’d been bugging him about getting one.
With Joe sometimes you have to push him to get him moving. But I have to push without pushing too much. ‘Cause, like, if he digs his heels in, the subject is done. So the other day I was bugging him again without being too obvious.
We’re up early…since I’d spent the night and Joe hates it when I sleep in. So I was standing in front of the big window drinking my coffee and staring out at the snow that fell during the night. I kinda turned around, looked over my shoulder at him. “A tree would look great right here.”
That thick country drawl hit me. “What do I need a tree for, Kabe?” He mumbled over his oatmeal. Glared at me across the room. “I ain’t got nothing to put under it.”
Holy shit, no fucking presents? I didn’t say that out loud, ‘cause then he’d have gotten pissed. “Doesn’t your family exchange gifts?”
“Naw, most cain’t hardly afford to.” He shrugged like it didn’t mean anything. “They got kids, they rightly spend the money on them.”
“You don’t do anything with your family?”
“Cards.” Joe pushed back from the table and crossed his arms over that big chest of his. “If my folks were ‘round, if I weren’t working, I’d go over there on Christmas Day.”
“Go to church with them, huh?”
He looked at me weird, “Not unless’n Christmas fell on a Sunday.” After he scraped the last bit out of his bowl, Joe added. “My momma usually get’s me a shirt or something.”
I wandered back to the kitchen. “That’s depressing.” As I passed the table I got his dishes too. “Really, depressing.” I mumbled while I washed his bowl and my mug. I figured at that point I ought to just drop the subject.
“It ain’t but what it is.” He shrugged as he got ready to head out to the station.
And that’s how it got left. Until yesterday that is. I’m at the ranch, in bed with half a dozen blankets on ‘cause it’s fucking cold up here. Woke up to someone pounding on my bedroom door. When I checked the clock it said four in the morning. I was about ready to yell something about if the house wasn’t on fire when T called out. “Kabe,” T cracked the door open and leaned in as I sat up, “Joe’s here. Says you got somewhere to be today.”
“Better dress warm.” Joe added from somewhere down the hall.
Anybody else, I’d have told them to go fuck themselves. Not Joe. I bitched, but I got up and dressed. Came out carrying my boots and caught one of those sights. Joe has no clue how goddamn hot he is. Big country boy in tight blue jeans, thermal undershirt and plaid shirt tucked in and belted. His buzz cut just gives him a stern air. I liked it. Almost wished we were at his place so I could show him how much I liked it.
So he hauls me out and hauls me up the mountain. When I’d asked him where we were going, I got, “If’n you’re gonna make me do a tree then I might as well do it right.”
Now, it snows up here. Like three, four feet deep in some places. And we’re slogging through the snow, our breath freezing in mist clouds around us. Joe’s carrying this big old ax across his shoulders and I’m hauling rope. Looked like Paul Bunyan, or something, in his old style field coat and broken in cowboy hat.
I’ve never cut down a Christmas tree before. To me, getting a tree means drive over to the lot, pick out nice one, strap it to the top of your car and drive home. No. We cut the damn thing down. With a fucking ax. Do you know how hard it is without a chain saw? But you can’t carry a decent sized one on a five mile hike. I worked up a sweat like you wouldn’t believe. Then we tied ropes around the base and drug it all the way back to his truck. He didn’t even get on me for swearing on the way back.
“Well, it does look right fine there.” He’d admitted when we got it all set up. Not a big tree, but nice. There wasn’t much but some lights we picked up at the local hardware store and a few ornaments Nadia brought over. She was in the kitchen popping some corn so we could make a garland. As long as no one made me spray paint pinecones, I could deal with that bit of country.
“So.” He wrapped his big hand around the back of my neck. “There gonna be something under it, come Christmas?”
“Sure.” I leaned into him. God, it’s like snuggling with a cuddly brick wall. “What do you want Santa to bring you?” I mean, I’d gotten him something already…naughty bought on-line. Big old leather paddle that I figured he’d enjoy. Well, I’d got it for myself too. That’s what Christmas was about: sharing the fun.
Joe snorted then moved close and rubbed his dick up against my ass as he whispered. “If I gotta tell you, you’re dumb as a stump.”
I am certainly not dumb.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Happy Holidays to everyone!
Monday, December 20, 2010
I hope these pictures add some inspiration to your life and holiday season.
I've got a couple more decorative men on my blog: http://martyrayne.blogspot.com/
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Torquere Press is having a 12 Days of Smutfest Sale! And not only that, each day there are authors who are posting snippets of their books depending on the theme of the day. So far they've had BDSM, menage, vampires, shapeshifters, cowboys, uniforms.... you do not want to miss this, trust me. I posted on cowboys day and uniforms day. That is a surprise to no one, I'm sure. Go check it out and buy yourself something nice!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Passing this along to any interested writers of M/M.
Now in our sixth year of providing quality erotic romance and women's erotica to discerning readers, Phaze Books is working to build our presence at Mid-Atlantic Pride events. In the past, our authors have attended Roanoke Pride, the Gay and Lesbian Book Festival in New York City, and Saints and Sinners in New Orleans. Our books have been shelved in GLBT bookstores around the US, and our editors have sat on GLBT panels at Authors After Dark.
We invite authors of gay and lesbian erotic romance and erotica to submit works of 15K words and higher for inclusion in our growing catalog. We want characters who provoke the reader and each other, romance and conflict that turn pages, and explicit sex that forces readers to wear oven mitts while holding their e-readers!
We definitely welcome sub-genres, too! In 2011 we will release our first steampunk M/M anthology, and we are definitely interested in more of this genre. We'd also love to see more historical, BDSM, same-sex menage, futuristic and shape-shifters...even interracial! Take your HEA couple on a wild ride and show us your best work.
The standard no-nos apply (no incest, pedophilia, positive rape, bodily waste fetishes) and interested authors are invited to visit our guidelines at http://www.Phaze.com for formatting details.
When you're ready, submit your cover letter, completed novel, and synopsis/marketing history to email@example.com. Thank you!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Hot holiday romance available now from Loose Id!
With a birthday near Christmas, Ryan’s learned to compromise. He loves a straight friend who won’t reciprocate his feelings, and holds a boring job to afford college. At the end of the week, he vents his frustrations through his webcast Alone Time with Ryan. He’s careful not to name names - particularly since each webisode ends with a mock masturbation session.
Greg seeks a fresh start in a new home, but wasn't counting on the holidays being lonely. When gorgeous, young Ryan shows up on Greg’s doorstep, it's a warm ray of light on a cold winter’s day. Greg's attracted, and tempted, but as youth director at the local recreation center, he must conduct his private life carefully. Seducing a college student seven years his junior isn’t the wisest choice, no matter how hot Greg's fantasies are growing by the day - or night.
When Ryan's ode to December birthdays goes viral, his show becomes an overnight sensation, but with exposure comes consequence, and Ryan’s Sagittarian wits won’t get him out of this one. When he turns to Greg in a moment of need, both men must face the consequence of their passion, making for one steamy winter.
A "Not Quite Christmas" story from Loose Id!
Read an excerpt and buy the e-book at:
Monday, December 13, 2010
Book III in the Reckless series
Beau Bradbury has it all. He’s good looking, owns a lucrative business, and has an endless supply of hunks vying for his attention. His skinny, uptight personal assistant shouldn’t rate a bleep on his radar. Nevertheless, there’s just something about Adam that Beau can’t resist.
One night of drunken passion leads to nearly a year of secret trysts during office hours. Adam keeps his private life confidential, while Beau pretends to want nothing more than a good time. It’s a good arrangement, until a simple phone call ruins the status quo and makes Beau green with envy.
Frustrated that Adam might be seeing someone else, Beau tries to put his attraction to the younger man behind him. However, all that changes with the introduction of Adam’s son. Instantly smitten with the sweet little boy, Beau is all the more driven to claim Adam for his own. All he has to do is convince his wary lover to open his heart and trust that there’s more to Beau than his playboy persona suggests.
The story whose removal sparked the discussion was an erotica title called Wicked Lovely by author Jess C. Scott. The tale dealt with incest, and involved a love scene between a 17- and an 18-year-old. However, Amazon would not tell Scott specifically what caused the removal of her novel. The only response she has received, after repeatedly trying to contact Amazon for more information, is a form letter.
In addition to Jess Scott, Selena Kitt and Esmerelda Green have also had books with an incest theme recently banned from the site. All of them, incidentally, high in the rankings and in visibility. Selena even reports a print book missing, a title which she published through Amazon-owned Createspace.
To be perfectly honest, I'm now waiting to see how long it takes Amazon to yank down a few of my stories. I'm sure those of you reading this know exactly which stories I'm referring to. Frankly, I'm just wondering what's next. Will all erotica books be removed or just though published through small press? I'm sure they won't touch the mainstream erotica. *rolls eyes*
You can read more by clicking HERE and HERE.
Or if you'd like to help spread the word, file a complaint, or request a refund for one of the books that have been yanked with no explanation from your Kindle archive, here's a little pertinent information to help you achieve your task.
You can post on Amazon's board about it here (as long as they don't delete the thread):
You can tweet about it using this tag: #amazoncensors
Utilize whatever you can - Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Jeff's Bezos direct address (head of Amazon)
1200 12th Ave, Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98122
Executive Customer Relations:
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Yay! My tenth book is out. And here it is, all shiny! Not Knowing Jack
I'd tell you about it, but the blurb and the excerpt are better at that than I am in a rambling blog post. It's an angst-fest with hot sex and an HEA, what more could you ask for.
So, I suck at this celebration thing. I couldn't even get this blog up in time because my netbook is having a nervous breakdown and trying to get me to have one in sympathy. I thought of doing some kind of cool contest, but I suck at those because I have no organizational skills. Over at jessewave's blog on Friday, she plans to have a review and I'll be giving away a copy of Not Knowing Jack but that's because she'll be organizing it, thank heavens.
The only thing I can do that I know some of you like is to write stories. So to thank you all for making it possible for me to say things like, "Yay, look at my tenth book release" I've put up another chapter of my WIP which is under contract and a smidge away from turned in. Chapter 2 of Bad Company
And now, I'm going to go finish number eleven.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Which is your favorite Bond man?
Sunday, December 5, 2010
There's been a recent resurgence in the Queer as Folk fandom over on Livejournal. QaF(US) is ten years old this month! Man, I sure wrote a lot of fanfiction in those days. There's a meme going around over there that I decided to participate in. Well, mostly participate, since pretending I'll be able to complete a 30-day meme is ridiculous. In any case, I answered the first question today.
QaF 30 Day Meme
Day 1 - How did you come to Queer as Folk and the fandom?
I thought "WELL WELL SHE MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING HERE."
I watched, I cried, I cheered, I loved. Then I read some fanfic - maybe DeAnna Zankich's? - and I thought, "I can write that."
So I did. (Urk, please excuse all awkward POV changes and OOC moments. I got better.)
Any other Queer as Folk fans out there?
Friday, December 3, 2010
So. Giveaways. Amora/Amara over at her blog sponsors a giveaway of "Transit". I'm sponsoring a second copy, so there's the chance to win two. Just read the excerpt and answer the question.
Here's some more info on "Transit".
Next one on the list. I'm giving away HARD COPIES (yes, actual paper/print books) of "First Blood".
I got five copies, nobody needs that many, so I'll sign them, wrap them in Christmassy paper and off they go. I ship globally, even though that might end up costing an arm and a leg, but hey, it's Christmas and I don't believe in being cheap. So all readers from Ulan Batar to the remote villages of Canada are more than welcome to enter.
If you're not a member of Goodreads, you can still post there, but I'll need an email address. After all, I'll have to get in touch to get your real world address so I can post the book.
Contest ends MONDAY.
That's it from me this time. See you in two weeks. :)
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The official homepage for DADT The Film can be found here:
And if you'd like to pledge funds to help get the film off the ground, go here:
Best of luck to you, Naomi!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
by Zoe Nichols
It’s been two months since Asher’s boyfriend, Derek, lost his bar to a fire and Derek only seems to be slipping further away into a private hell. Lost and watching his boyfriend fade away, Asher fights helplessness while Dean tries to keep them all from falling apart.
The threesome has been sliding south since Derek slipped a promise ring on Asher’s finger, drawing a line in the sand no one can miss. Tension erupts, and Asher and Derek are left to fit the pieces back together, scared that they no longer fit without Dean. Guilt-ridden, Asher and Derek fight like hell, pushing each other to the breaking point. Can they find a way to keep love from sliding into something like hate?
"What?" I could feel myself gaping at him. "What the hell are you talking about?"
He shot forward, startling me into a backward run, but his hands closed around my arms, almost hard enough to hurt, and jerked me to a stop. "You idiot, it was never just about my bar." He shook me gently, despite his fierce grasp. "It's about you. It's always been about you."
I stared. I could hear Dean in my head, on a cold winter night forever ago, saying much the same. But I fought anyway. "You're confusing me. None of this is about me. You're the one who said you weren't ready to open another bar."
Derek snorted, dropping my arms. "Because I'm scared shitless that it'll happen again. I almost lost you. You, not my bar. Fuck, yes, I miss it, but you're so much more important." His hand shoved through those haphazard blond spikes. "If you'd died, I'd have died right fucking with you."
My brain still couldn't wrap around it. I mean, I knew he'd worried, but still... "But I'm right here." I frowned, waved a hand. "See? Alive."
"Yeah, but you almost weren't." I stalled at that, but I guess he didn't see because he started pacing, hands moving. Drilling his point home. "I sat in that hospital for three days, watching you fade in and out. Knocked out clean, God knows how you managed to avoid a fucking concussion. Going out of my mind because it happened in my bar, my bar and I didn't stop it in time."
My heart thundered in my ears, and a huge chunk of me was calling myself nine kinds of a jackass. I groaned, covering my face with my hands. "Shit, Derek. I didn't even think of that." Made perfect fucking sense. Put in his shoes, with him the one recovering, I'd be a mess,too.
"Of course you didn't. Because I'm a selfish fuck, right?"
I jerked my hands away from my face only to have my glare shut down by the tired look in his eyes. I sighed, dropping my hands and bowing my head. My hair spilled forward and created a curtain, blocking me from him. The silence that fell between us was tense but fragile, like a glass sculpture with a crushing weight hanging above it.
What could I say to that? I'd all but accused him of it, hadn't I? My stomach twisted around that jagged bit of truth.
Holy shit, I was such a dumbass.
Monday, November 29, 2010
So, yeah... Enough rambling from me. I just didn't want you guys to think I'd forgotten about you. :D
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I'm happy to announce I have a new release out - finally:) I am one of four authors participating in an anthology of stories relating to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell military policy against gay service. My fellow authors are William Maltese, George Seaton and Lex Valentine and I think we have an interesting anthology to offer. I really like the fact that all of us kept our focus less on the politics and our own feelings and more on how it affects the lives of those serving under it.
You can buy the ebook from MLR's website or Amazon for the Kindle. I'm sure it will appear in paper and in other venues soon.
Our men and women in uniform sacrifice daily to serve our country. But what about the additional, voluntary sacrifice that each gay person in the military makes daily when they don their uniform? We ask these men and women to not only serve their country but serve in silence and denial, sacrificing not only their physical lives but their emotional ones too by denying them their right to love. Four talented authors weave tales that describe how living a lie pulls at the hearts and souls of good servicemen, whose only desire is to do their duty to their country…honorably. In AFTERBURNER, two fighter pilots let their hearts soar despite regulations. THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE STORE provides a glimpse into the U.S. Army prior to the institutionalization of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A sniper and infantryman find that love eases the pain of being forsaken in FORSAKE NOT. And STRATEGIC MANEUVERS reveals the intricate steps that can lead to love while in uniform.
EXCERPT (from my story, Forsake Not)
(c) 2010 Maura Anderson
Leo jolted awake, bolted upright and reached out for his gun only to realize it wasn’t there. Hell, he wasn’t in his hootch at all. He wasn’t in Iraq anymore or even his base barracks. He rubbed his dry, scratchy eyes and forced them to focus on the sterile hotel room he’d rented, as his pulse slowed to a less panicked rate. A quick scan of the room showed nothing amiss. Why had he woken up?
He was in the hotel near Arlington he’d checked into yesterday when he’d decided to stay in Virginia instead of doing what he usually did on leave; hanging about on base. At least it was one of the longer-stay hotels, so he had a small kitchen and sitting room as well as a bedroom. It made it seem a little more like a home, however temporary— not that he’d really had one of those since the day after his high school graduation. The same day he’d enlisted in the Army. The same day he’d come out to his father who’d immediately disowned him, and hadn’t spoken or communicated with him since. As far as his father was concerned now, he had never existed, and if he had other relatives, he didn’t know them.
A wave of loneliness swept through him. The Army had become his focus and it seemed strange to be off-base and out of his normal life. The life he’d sacrificed a lot for, but the life that gave him a purpose and a feeling that he could make a difference. The life that might be ripped away because of one stupid loss of control. He needed to get his head on straight and he wanted to be near Terry until he had some idea of what was going to happen after his attack on Barker, and his announcement that he was gay. To hell with getting tricked into violating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; no one had even had to trick him or ask, he’d nearly screamed his secret out instead. It seemed like a smart idea to not be near the base, or his fellow soldiers, right now.
God, he was a fucking moron.
Leo dropped his head into his hands and groaned. How could he have been so stupid? His cell phone chirped from across the room, and Leo’s head jerked upright. What the hell? No one ever seemed to call him—no one that was still living, anyway. Maybe the battery was low or something.
He tossed the covers off his legs and eased out of bed, stiff despite spending the night on a bed more comfortable than he’d even seen in six months, let alone slept in. The rough skin of his boot-worn bare feet caught on the commercial grade carpet as he walked over to retrieve his phone. The display showed one missed call and a message, but he didn’t recognize the phone number listed. Maybe it was a wrong number.
Leo pressed the button to retrieve his voicemail and stretched a bit while he waited through the stock voicemail greeting. When prompted, he pressed the button to play the recorded message.
“Lion, it’s Star. Sorry to interrupt your leave but I wanted to let you know I overheard Barker saying he reported the bar incident and what you said about being a fag to the CO today.” A long pause and Star continued, sounding a bit hesitant. “The team is behind you, you know. We have your six. Barker is a worthless ‘git and should be shot by someone— not necessarily the enemy either. I’ll let you know more as I get any intel. Later.”
Oh, crap. It had happened. What the fuck was he supposed to do now? Maybe he could just lie and say he wasn’t gay at all; that he’d just said it to piss off Barker because he’d insulted a dead friend and teammate. It would be his word against Barker’s then, and the team would probably back him. No one trusted Barker anyway. God, but he hated lying, and he hated making other people lie for him even more.
But if he admitted he was gay, his career was down the crapper. He’d get discharged and not only would he be alone, he wouldn’t have the Army or the job he loved either.
Why the fuck had he been so stupid?
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Now, don't get me wrong, I love writing the middle of my romances. I love the building a relationship moments, but when your characters are in a holding pattern and you just want to show the passage of time, nothing beats a montage. You can't shift settings and time and make two sentences of dialogue work like that for you in text, you just can't. Plus, like I said, the soundtrack is an amazing bonus.
I can see a dozen scenes quick cut right here in this WIP, set to the jaunty beat of "Bohemian Like You" by the Dandy Warhols. Trust me, it would be perfect. Instead, I'll spend the next two days ripping out my hair as I try to figure out how to condense what I see in my head into the right two or three scenes to convey all that passage of time and incremental shifts in intimacy until I get to this next big show down. See, look at that bald spot. Man, screenwriters have all the luck.
Of course, when it comes to that next big scene, I don't have to pull a fade out, use tricky camera angles, or worry that my actors are going to lose their privacy socks. (See what kind of scene I'm eager to montage my way through to?) Hmmm. I'm thinking maybe being able to get extremely up close and personal—without a cheesy bow-chicka-wow-wow for the soundtrack—is a big point in an author's favor. And in keeping with the season, something I'm thankful for. What say you? Any screenwriters care to tell me I've got it all wrong?
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Okay, what did I tell you before? ::goes to check:: [muttering] Compass Hearts; first novella; same universe as... Got it. [/mutter]
Here's a bit of blurbage for starters:
When Ash Thearon meets Matthew Morgan, he finds him handsome and more than a little puzzling. To solve that puzzle, he has to first collect all the pieces—something more easily said than done.
As the fourth son of merchant parents, Matthew has always been superfluous. The only guidance he ever received was to behave and to stay out of the way. Now at a new university half a world away from home, he must discover who he is and what he wants. The only trouble is, he's never made a decision in his life.
The new friends quickly become lovers, but Matthew's limited experience has taught him only how to be dependent. Ash wants more than that; he wants a partner. As the holiday of Afan Valen approaches, Matthew tries too hard to please his new lover and Ash wonders how to teach him independence without losing him.
I said it's set in the same world as Client Privileges, which it is. But it's a different country, in fact a different continent, than that book. When I say "world," I mean it literally, not just literarily. I have maps and everything. Not of the whole planet, but of a good chunk of it. It's a pretty big planet, to be honest, and it doesn't have frozen poles so there's a lot more habitable land than there might otherwise be.
Compass Hearts is a quiet romance, if you know what I mean. And if you don't know, well, you're smart. I'm sure if you think about it for a minute you'll come up with your own idea what that means, and I bet you'll be spot on. It's quiet, but it's steamy, too. You put two sexy college boys together in the middle of winter and they're bound to find ways to keep each other warm, right?
I don't have any dates yet, but I'll let you know when I do. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating it this week. I'll be most thankful if the snow melts before I have to drive to my folks' house on Thursday!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Now through December 17, I'm taking entries for a drawing. Winner gets a $25 gift certificate to All Romance, my favorite eBook vendor! You'll find all of my titles there, plus some of the hottest M/M romance from other bloggers at Slash and Burn.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Warsaw is a haunted city, a city of ghosts. I'm not sure November is the best time to visit it. I missed both the National Museum and the Warsaw Uprising Museum. But the scars of history run deep in this odd place, full of classisist facades meant to impress and then the crooked, aged, fading Old Town. Where the taxi driver points out the war memorial, saying "voina, voina", and I'm the only guest in the taxi who knows voina is war. Not that it was ambivalent when the taxi driver added "Hitler, Hitler". I certainly want to go back and explore the history of the place and see it in daylight. In a foggy late November evening, Warsaw only showed two faces, and that clearly wasn't all there was to it.
Not that I'm going anywhere near Poland with my current World War II novel. Maybe I should. Maybe I should write another, a different story, dealing with the things that happened there. The sheer amount of suffering almost demands it, and also adds a "stay away", if we're talking romance. You need huge amounts of skill and mental fortitude to cut fiction from the bleeding wounds of history - respecting your material (and the people who died and suffered) on one hand, and at the same time telling the story.
I'm deeply ambivalent about touching anything relating to the Third Reich. I can't delude myself I'm doing it for art, for one, like the literary writers. I aim to entertain, primarly. But I'm aware I'm treading ground where only a thin layer of time covers the millions of skeletons under my feet. Rarely am I more aware of my nationality and birth language/mother tongue than where my ancestors have spilled blood, and within living memory.
While immersing myself into the history of the Third Reich and its people (in many ways, it's a foreign culture and a different planet), I'm fallow as a writer. I haven't written any meaningful quantities for three weeks now, partially because I've just finished a couple novels, partially because I've been away on business, and strangely, I struggle to write while sitting in a hotel in a foreign country.
It's disconcerting in that "oh ye gods, I'll never write again!" kind of way, but I know stuff is going on in my subconsciousness. Thoughts, feelings, energy. Much of the stuff writers work with is intangible. As a famous writer said, writers and spiders make a living from their guts. I know things are going on, I can feel the current pull and move, but the surface is untroubled. I'll have to trust that things will begin emerging when they are ready.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube, I found this Top of the Pops appearance I hadn't seen before. The guys had to keep things tame for the BBC, but the audience still seemed to enjoy it:
Love it. Look for Man 2 Man on Amazon or iTunes.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
But now: back!
I'm working on the proof of a new story as I type this so the timing is pretty phenomenal. I wish I could give y'all a date to expect it but that's where that pesky lack of internet thing kicks in. But I do believe it's supposed to be out this month but it may be pushed back later.
Either way, I'm crossing my fingers that you'll get something for me before the New Year arrives.
Jeez, is it me or does it seem kind of way too soon to be saying that? 2011 is literally a month away! Oh how the year has gone. Sorry to cut this short but I should have been in bed hours ago. I'm too young for this late night business :P
*studiously avoiding looking at the clock that is pointedly telling me it's not even 8 yet*
And how are you?
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
First, I have a new book to talk about. Bad Company has been contracted by Samhain Publishing and is going to be a June release. It's been a lot of fun to write—not too angsty so far, though there's angst to come. I put a WIP excerpt up on my live journal here.
I've got a new book coming out December 7, Not Knowing Jack. It's a book about Tony and Jack, the couple who appeared as Sean and Kyle's friends in Regularly Scheduled Life. Like RSL, Not Knowing Jack was a hard story to tell, because it dealt with problems in an established relationship. At least, no one got shot. While I was writing it, people asked me a question I get a lot as a writer. Why? When it's hard, why do you do it? (Okay. The erotic side of my brain is having a field day with that question.) But I really struggled while writing Not Knowing Jack and it wasn't just because I had a contract that I kept at that book. It was because I couldn't not write it.
I love to write. Lots of times it's easy and fun and sometimes I swear the pixies come in overnight and do some amazing stuff on my computer because I know there's no way I was that clever. (The crap is always me, though.) But even when it's not fun and it doesn't flow and I want to reach through my computer and smack one—or both—of my characters, I can't stop. It's like my other job, teaching. I can't seem to stop it. I like figuring things out, and then I have to explain them to people. My students are stuck with me, but miracle of miracles, people actually pay to hear me tell them stories which, I guess, is another way of explaining things.
I hope that wonderful part of the equation never fades away.
Good news! I just sold another novella to Torquere Press. I can announce this now because I just signed the contract so it's official. Woo-hoo! It's called Compass Hearts; it's the first novella I wrote; and it's set in the universe of Client Privileges. I'll tell you more about it another day. I gotta run before K.A. catches me. ;-)
::vanishes into the ether::
Sunday, November 7, 2010
It is much easier to show you what I mean. Language alert! NSFW.
I love watching this straight white guy transform himself into the Lovemaster. Call my sense of humor childish, I don't care. He's really damn funny.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Most of the trip was devoted to business, but I did manage to get some writing research in. See, there are things in the US that we don't have in the UK. I've eaten some terrific bagels, shopped at Walgreens (I needed a couple protein bars), and yeah, Starbucks in the same around the world. I met contacts in Caribou Coffee (a shameless Starbucks clone - ad why not clone something *good*?), and went into a Barnes & Noble and a Borders (we do have Borders, but yours is nicer).
I got a feel for Chicago, I hope, or at least the business area, and downtown, and the Gold Coast. All of that is not what my company paid for (well, they did, I'll make them pay for the protein bars), but it's all research. One of my Russian characters is relocating here to live with a couple Americans, so I walked the street with “Russian eyes”, remembering Moscow and how he'd see the city. I made some photos too to jog the memory.
Needless to say, I didn't write a word, and I even “missed” the launch of my latest book, “Transit”, which I wrote with Raev Gray and was published by Dreamspinner. It's a seriously busy day when a writer is surprised by a book launch.
Things are germinating, however. The “guys in the basement”, as Stephen King calls the muses, are moving furniture. And all the lucky accidents are working in my favour, too.
I walked down Michigan Avenue at around noon, and there was a Borders. Now, writers and bookshops are like moths and flames, but I did have this feeling of “I should look for Jewish soldiers in WWII while I'm here.” Not exactly the kind of topic that is on the bestseller lists, but Borders had the perfect book.
The need to come to grips with David was overwhelming, and that was one of the things that has been worrying me a lot lately. What do I know about Jewishness in war? Well, there it was, eye-witness accounts of Jewish GIs. I believe in that kind of lucky accident. Very often, when I define a problem (“I know nothing about horsebreeding in Eastern Prussia in the 1940ies”) and then go into a random bookstore, I tend to find the exact book that answers that exact question. Just like I get quartered in the exact area where my character would end up living – out of the whole wide US of A.
Writing is very often just lucky accidents, or a series of small miracles, or a chaotic brain seeing patterns where none exist. You decide, but it works very well for me.
Far be it for me to just throw some eye candy at my favorite peeps, but I recently discovered the phenomenon known as Roberto Bolle. Not only is this Italian native completely and utterly gorgeous, he's a fantastic ballet dancer. I almost had the chance to see him perform this summer, and I'm extremly envious of anyone who's had the chance to attend one of his performances. Not only does he move with the requisite grace befitting those in ballet, he has the stage presence (and beauty!) to captivate audiences. He's run away with my imagination, along with that of most other gals...and guys!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Why yes, I'm quoting Billy Idol in the subject line. Surely you know what "Dancing With Myself" is really about? Oh, and the above photo isn't an ad for hand lotion. Well, okay, maybe in a way it is...
For my upcoming Christmas novel Sagittarius Blues, I needed creative euphemisms for dancing with oneself, or what one character refers to as "the art of self-pleasure." My, um, research turned up this most excellent and extensive list of slang terms for male masturbation, even if the actual word itself is misspelled in the URL. (Write this stuff for a living, and you remember how to spell all manner of interesting terms!)
So many amusing ways to describe a simple yet gratifying act. My favorite has to be "tuning the organ", which I used in my book. Speaking of playing one's, erm, instrument, I also came across this list of 10 songs about masturbation:
Nice list, but they left out Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop". (Surely you knew what that one was about, too?)
What's your favorite slang term and/or song about pumping gas at the self-service island? Do you find it hot to imagine Han Solo stroking his own Wookie? Humor aside, I find it not only sexy but beautiful to describe a man in the throes of pleasure at his own hand. So while two guys are better than one, readers will definitely encounter the topic of self-loving at least a few times in my male/male stories. Hey, as Ms. Lauper sang, there "ain't no law against it yet"!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
That's right, folks, Samhain is re-releasing the Bay City Paranormal Investigations series! The first five books, anyway, the main series arc :) The books haven't been re-written or anything, but the first three have new blurbs and all of them have gorgeous new cover art. You can check it all out on the Samhain Coming Soon page; just scroll down a bit. You'll notice that Willow Bend and Love's Evolution are being re-released with new blurbs and cover art as well. Cool, huh?
All the re-releases are coming out November 12th so the old buy links are dead for now. I'm excited about the re-release. I loved my old covers, but these new ones are just beautiful and I'm extremely happy. I just adore my new Bo in particular *g*
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I'm gearing up for the party on Saturday. It's always fun and I'm just having a ball with the menu this year (since the spawn are old enough that we can go super creepy!)
So what is James having you ask?
Well, as you can see by the picture, A Meat Head. You'll also find a Brain on the table. This summer salmon mold actually works very, very effectively in the brain mold. It's the right constancy and the right color -- that good pinky-grey. You can get at most halloween supply shops Ialso will have a some min cheese brains as well. I have a few 1/2 cup sized molds and they work well for that.
Rounding out the table you'll find Fried Fingers (Fried Mozzerella Sticks from Cost-Co) with congeled blood dipping sauce (good old Ragu), Baked witches toes (mini hotdogs in crecent dough -- also from Cost-Co), Moon Bites (mini pizzas -- guess from where? Cost-Co), Puss with crackers (hummus and pita chips) and eyeball salad --gotta sneak some fruit in there somehow.
On the sweet side, they'll be the regular round of cookies and brownies, but we're also supplying Baked grasshoppers (a variation of the candy called White-Trash, but you make it with butterscotch chips) that is if I can keep SG from eating them all. My cake this year will be a cauldron.
So, who's trick-or-treating my house this year?
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Jimmy’s path to that finals match has also been memorialized, to the point that the family can recite the names, schools and match scores from his other opponents. And of course we remember that final match score: 8-7 in favor of Jimmy’s opponent. What I remember best about that match was that Jimmy was putting the other kid on his back at the end, in four or five seconds more seconds he would have won, but time ran out. What my dad remembers best is that he told Jimmy not to try that arm drag a third time, that the other kid would be ready for it. Whatever led to the loss, I still couldn’t believe how happy my dad was to find that match. He had it playing the whole time he talked to me on the phone. To me, reliving that moment like that, albeit in a fuzzy black and white, was like picking a scab so that it can’t heal. Why would someone want to relive that?
Okay, I admit it. I have a serious weakness for reunion romances. Most of my characters, including those in my WIP, are driven by an opportunity at a second chance to make things right.
But that’s fiction. And what I love angsting over in fiction is not quite what I enjoy experiencing first hand in real life. Revisiting a crushing disappointment, like that finals match, or missing out on college honors by two one-hundredths of a point (if I’d known, I’d have done that extra paper in that basket-weaving course) or perusing a three-inch high stack of rejection letters is not fun for me. I run from unpleasant realities into fiction as fast as my imagination can carry me. After all, that’s what fiction is for. Escape. I don’t even mind fiction that makes me sob, as long as I get my happy ending.
I should add that my dad couldn’t be prouder of Jimmy if he had won the States. Despite a serious disadvantage in size and height, Jimmy went on to realize his dream of becoming a Navy Seal. My dad measured his accomplishments as a coach not in the hardware of awards, but in molding boys into strong, responsible men.
But although I’ll help my dad store his video, I won’t be watching it. Knowing that you can’t rewrite real history, that second chances in real life don’t come along very often, is why I would always prefer to take my reality with a big healthy slice of imagination.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Another autumn tradition I enjoy is roasting pumpkins. I'll do that next week. It makes the whole house smell pumpkiny good! I'm a freak for autumn foods, you see. Last night it was butternut squash enchiladas. Last week it was pasta with mushroom sauce. The week before was sweet potato and chick pea stew. Mmmm! The flavours of fall!
Let's not forget the tradition of watching Kenneth Branagh's Henry V on St. Crispin's Day. (That was yesterday, in case you didn't know. This year is the 595th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt.)
And last but far from least, there's the autumn--or more specifically November--tradition of NaNoWriMo. I'm participating again this year. This is year five for me. I've "won" every year, but this time I'm not so sure I'll make it. I'm even less prepared than usual, I'm afraid. We'll see. I am a competitive person, even when I'm just competing with myself, so perhaps I'll bring in another one. ::fingers crossed::
So, what about you? What autumnal traditions do you most enjoy?
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I have the plague, or something. I wish my tissues would walk around like that, though. It would make being sick much more fun.
My last blog day (that I missed) was also spent like that, in between bouts of panic that I now have a deadline for the novel my partner and I swore we wouldn't have a deadline for. I guess passing the 25k mark means "time to shop it around", which we did, and then BOOM! Deadline.
However, this means that our novel about the highs and lows of working in a very large, very well known theme park will be released sometime in late March of 2011. I am SO. EXCITED. about this one, partly because the book is hilarious, partly because I had so much fun working on it with a co-writer. Things seem to move along so much faster.
In any case, I have to brave the wilds of Costco today (ugh, the people who want free samples will be out in force) and then I plan to ensconce myself in bed with football on tv and possibly a cat by my side.
I love Sundays.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
This September, I had the honor of attending Authors After Dark as a featured author and panelist, and I had a great time. I enjoyed meeting people with whom I'd previously communicated online, and it's always a pleasure hooking up with Bridget Midway, Yvette Hines, and Denise Jeffries. We were the Golden Girls of Erotica and hosted an 80s cheesecake bash. Not sure what's on tap for next year, but I'm in.
For October, I'm planning two different giveaways, so read the whole post!
This year, I brought home from AAD a bulging goody bag of books, promo, and all sorts of neat stuff, and I'm giving it away to one lucky reader. Here are the titles you'll get:
Wild Blue Under - Judi Fennell
Queene of Light - Jennifer Armintrout
Dark Days & Wicked Nights - sampler of excerpts from Allyson James, Devyn Quinn, Meljean Book and others
The Tease Dark Tarot: Death - Dorlana Vann
Tigers and Devils - Sean Kennedy (M/M)
The Beast Within - Erin McCarthy, Bianca D'Arc, and Jennifer Lyon
plus two freebies by me: a print version of Dareville After Dark (with M/M stories) and a proof of She Loves Me, my F/F collection.
To enter for the above giveaway, simply click on http://bit.ly/LeighsAADBag and fill out the form. US winner gets the bag, International winner gets free downloads from DLP Books.
Deadline to enter is October 31st, midnight EST.
My second giveaway will tie in with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My mom is doing the walk for the third year in a row, and as I can't take the time off to do it I will use my Facebook Page as a month-long tribute to the great women we have lost to this disease. Every day will feature a different woman and hopefully create awareness that self-detection and early detection is the key.
For this giveaway, I'll send one US winner a gift from the Republic of Tea (a Sip for the Cure selection) and a print book from my backlist, reader's choice. One International winner gets a $15 gift certificate to Phaze Books. To enter this giveaway, you only have to like my Facebook page! Deadline to enter the second giveaway is October 31, midnight EST.