Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Whether the weather be cold...

...Or whether the weather be hot,
We'll be together, whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

It's bizarre how much influence the weather can have on my creativity and productivity.  Just a few months ago (seriously, I'm talking May), I was desperate for some sunshine and its precious vitamin D to lift me out of my funk and spark a bit of creative energy in me. We finally got some and it did what I needed it to do. I finished a novel that had been stalled out for over two years and started another one that is currently in a holding pattern while I work to finish last year's NaNoWriMo novel before November. That's not too damned bad. And yet today, when I awoke to a low overcast and temperatures back down from the mid-80s to the mid-60s, my little brain went "Oo! Time to sit down and do some writing!" Clearly my creativity has as limited a short-term memory as the rest of my brain does to have forgotten so soon how it needed that sunshine to function.

So tell me, for those who write, does the weather have any effect on your writing habits? Does it inspire you to work more or less, or to work on a specific genre in a specific season? And for you readers, does the temperature, etc., affect your choice of reading material?

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I know the east coast is in dire straits this weekend with the presence of Irene, but those of us here on the west coast are suffering from extreme heat. It'll be about 105F here in southern California today, and we just don't see temps like that very often. It's brush fire season for sure.

My computer is just way too hot to have on my lap today, so I'm making this short and sweet. Here's a picture of one of the only things that kept me cool this weekend. Stay safe, east coasters! Stay cool, west coasters!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Check it out!

Here's a recent news story that caught my eye:

People soon to be on loan at British Columbia library

If you know me, then you'll know my mind went there -- what if you could borrow a hot construction worker? Or maybe a mechanic, CEO, or male stripper? There's an M/M idea just waiting to be written here...

Hot manlove fantasies aside, who would you like to "check out" from the library?

Katrina Strauss

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

What better way to mark the dog days of summer than with some of the boys of summer -- and their canine friends. Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Inspirations and Influences

Where does your creative influence stem from?

This post started with an over-a-latte conversation with the girlfriends this afternoon, where one of them asked me to list five books, movies, or artists that have helped shape me as a creative type. I came up with way more than five for each category, and thought I'd share 'em here and invite you to do the same. :D

1) Influential book: The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. This is a wonderfully written novel set in 1980s London about a young gay man finding himself in society. That may sound a little cliche, but Hollinghurst captures the essence of human need and conflict in his characters, and his writing is, well, beautiful. If you haven't read this book yet, I can't recommend it highly enough.

2) Influential movie: Jurassic Park rocked my world as a child, and I'm listing it here even though I know it's going to draw a lot of groans. The fact is the dinosaur and set designs were/are fantastic, and the movie successfully created a world where creatures extinct for millions of years live again--its the movie that seemed to make my childhood dream come true, and it made me realize consciously for the first time that movies can do that.

3) Influential artist: This is the hardest one for me since there are so many artists out there who have helped shaped my work through their influence. In fact, one of the requirements most professors have you do in art school is make clipping collections of screen shots or photos of work from artists you admire or films you find striking. "Appropriation" isn't a dirty word in art. But if I had to narrow it down to just that one guy, I would have to say Drew Struzan. He's an illustrator god, a master of his medium and a hero at interpretation. He's painted covers and posters for movies, books, advertisements and more, always technically precise and eloquent in his expression. One day I will meet him, and after my intial blubbery durrrr moment I will say, "Thank you for helping me want to be an artist through your beautiful work, and thank you for being among the few and proud who dance on the line between illustration and fine art."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Me, Myself and Bryce

The last time I wrote any fiction in first point of view it was way back a century ago. But I was writing a Christmas novella for Carina, and it just came to me that way. I have to say, it really made life easier. No disconnected body parts, no problems with pronoun referents. It wasn’t just syntax, though, it was fun to get in the head of someone as snarky as my hero Mel. My other hero, Bryce, had a different opinion, and he wanted me to share it with you. It’s your floor, Mr. CEO.

You know why she likes writing without my perspective? That way she gets to cast me as arrogant and controlling without me ever having a chance to tell you my side. All you get is Mel, and yeah, I love the guy, but he can have a seriously skewed way of looking at the world. I still don’t know what made him like that. Growing up here, the whole thing with his first boyfriend, his family, what? We all have shit to deal with. It doesn’t mean we get to be a shit.

See, this way, with the point of view, she makes it so I’m the one who’s got to lay it on the line, actually say something about my feelings since you already know what’s going on with Mel. Guess what? I don’t. I’m good, but I’m no mind reader. So yeah, I get to be the one with my balls hanging in the breeze while he makes up his mind.

Let me tell you this, from me, because if nothing else, you can count on me to tell you exactly the way it is. Mel is something special. I thought so the first time, but now I know it. I couldn’t get him out of my head these past two years. So he’s worth the risk. Worth laying it out there. But I swear to God, if he doesn’t make the same effort this time, I’m not sticking around for another knee to the balls. And he can have this whole damned valley to brood in for the rest of his life.

Jeez, Bryce, maybe I should have given you red hair. Bryce and Mel’s story will be available in December and so will Eli’s (from Bad Company.)

Meanwhile, I think all those people who’ve been asking for a little time with Joey and Aaron while I tell the story of one of the twins could be in luck. I’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New contract!

My brain was so tired last time I was here that I completely forgot to tell you that I have signed the contract for my m/m/f novel Rose & Thorn, and so I now can tell you that it'll be published by Torquere Press. Whee!  Here's a wee bit of blurbage so you can get an idea.

Eamon Quinn is an actor with designs on a position with Rose & Thorn Theatrics. As a new university graduate, he's up to the acting challenge, but he's not so sure he's up to facing life in the big city. Fortunately, he quickly finds a friend in Jasper Davison. Jasper is intrigued by Eamon, sure that he's a fellow mountain-born soul, and that's something Jasper's been missing in coastal Yanuk. When both men are hired by Rose & Thorn, the kindred spirits soon become lovers--and catch the eye of the company's head apprentice, troupe musician, and animal wrangler, the pretty and precocious HJ Greenhills.

Bad luck plagues the theatre--accidents, injuries, and a sudden death--leading to rumors of a curse. Weaving sexual energy with Druid magic, Eamon and Jasper seek the truth behind the rumors. But confirming the curse is only the first hurdle. They need figure out who cast it and how to end it before it causes more harm. Even together, the two men aren't strong enough. Druid magic works best in threes, and so they seek HJ's help to lift the curse. The three put their bodies and energies together to call up the magic they need to set things right.

I don't have a release date yet, but I'll let you know when I do.

Also, if you want smaller and more random postings from me, head over to Facebook, search "Maia Strong, Author" and "like" my page. (I still need some more likes before I get a proper url.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Author Spotlight and Ralston’s Way coming

It's been a busy month. And I have a release coming this month too.

First I'm in the Author Spotlight at my publisher Total-E-Bound. Go on by and check it out - http://www.total-e-bound.com/aspotlight.asp.

Then my upcoming release is a week away.

Ralston’s Way (Prentiss, #1) is now available for Pre-order. You can preorder here.

Ralston’s Way
Total E Bound
Release: Date: August 22, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-85715-629-7
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Prentiss - Book 1
Format: E-Book

When the computer guru meets the rancher who likes things his way, who will have their way?

Blayne Dalton knows from their first introduction he will need all his calm reasonable skills to deal with Morgan Ralston. The rancher is aggravating and determined to avoid him. The calm he is known for goes out the window. He can’t decide if he’d rather deck him or kiss him senseless. How do you rope a cowboy? You teach him that not everything has to be his way.

Morgan Ralston likes things his way. On his ranch - MGR Ranch – he is the one who make the decisions. Well at least he is supposed to be. When his brother decides to hire a new office manager and cook he knows it will lead to nothing but disruptions. What he gets is not what he expected. The man who becomes his office manager is not a problem to the ranch. The trouble is of a more personal one – to his libido. Avoiding him doesn’t work. It’s time to approach this as he does everything else. After all when it comes down to it… there isn’t any other way but Ralston’s Way.

Pre-order here from Total-E-Bound / Read excerpt

Talia Carmichael
Fill Your Cravings

Blog: http://taliacarmichael.com/blog

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cover Art: Make You Sweat

Is it poetic that I broke my foot while running just a couple of short weeks before the release of Make You Sweat? I’ve been mentally climbing up the walls with the effort of keeping my foot propped up and immobile for the past few days. While it’d be nice if I could use this downtime to work on writing projects, running and writing truly go hand in hand. Luckily, the men of Make You Sweat don’t have the same troubles; there is plenty of running, but no broken bones.

I wrote a follow up to that May post about the balance of writing and running, but instead of bemoaning my injuries, I’m thrilled to be able to share the new cover art for Make You Sweat. I’m honored to have the talented PL Nunn recreating a favorite scene for this cover.

 Unofficial blurb:

Ready for change, Tyler Pierce has the whole summer ahead of him when he flies to Sand Piper Beach to turn over a new leaf. Sun, swimming, exercise, he’d return home a new man, sexy and buff. Best of all, several states away from home and college, no one but his dad knows him, so he can muddle through the challenges of getting fit without friends laughing at him.

During his first visit to the gym, Tyler meets the perfectly muscled and fit Cody Dawson, fitness instructor and sexy gay man. Not only does Cody help Tyler learn how to use the strength training equipment, but he crashes Tyler’s sexual fantasies as well.

Just a passing fling, Tyler decides. Cody, after all, could get any number of better looking men without even trying. Besides, the summer doesn’t last forever and, too soon, Tyler will return to campus.

A summer fling can grow into something more, but it’s up to Tyler to recognize if it’s true love or just heated summer lust.

Barring unpredictable and traumatic delays, Make You Sweat will be available from Loose Id on August 16th: http://www.loose-id.com/Make-You-Sweat.aspx

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Join me in Philly August 12 & 13

An Evening of Gay Men’s Romance at Giovanni’s Room

Join myself and other MLR Press authors at Giovanni’s Room for an up close and personal book signing featuring the award winning authors of some of the best in contemporary gay fiction.  The evening will include readings by: Victor Banis, Ally Blue, James Buchanan, Z.A. Maxfield, William Neale, and Rick R. Reed. Selections from their current releases will showcase a variety of heat, from sweet romance to scorching erotica, and genre ranging from horror through mystery, BDSM, humor and more. 

Giovanni’s Room, founded in 1973, is the oldest gay bookstore in the US. Housed in historic buildings from the 1800s, Giovanni’s intimate setting and comfortable ambiance allows readers and authors to connect one-on-one, providing a unique experience. Attendees can mingle with their favorite author or discover new books and authors.

Owned by best-selling, award-winning author Laura Baumbach, MLR Press offers the highest quality stories to readers of gay fiction and erotic romance. MLR Press titles include multiple award-winning and Lambda nominated books such as the Donald Strachey Mystery Series by Richard Stevenson and The Golden Age of Gay Fiction edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn, a Benjamin Franklin Award winner. Books from MLR Press take readers on amazing adventures through the creative minds of a small, select group of bright, uniquely talented authors and artists.

Friday, August 12, 2011
5:30 to 7:00 pm
Giovanni’s Room
345 S. 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Also attending and signing books: Laura Baumbach, Kimberly Gardner, Ethan Day, Jet Mykles, Diana DeRicci, Taylor Donovan, Liz Strange, DH Star, David Juhren, and Karenna Colcroft.

If you can't make it there, I'll also be doing the Book Signing at Author's After Dark, Saturday, August 13, 2011, 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Doubletree Hotel, Philadelphia PA

Join 116 + authors for three hours of awesome books and merriment! The booksigning is free to the public (Ormandy Ballroom). Please see our website for the full list of attending authors!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Busy-bee = Tired brain

We've actually had some proper summer lately. Saturday and Monday were sunny and gorgeous. I got to spend Saturday at the Scottish Highland Games, which is one of my favourite things to do. I know I've blogged about it before. Kilts and bagpipes just make me happy. Getting to hear the bands The Wicked Tinkers and Brother was fabulous, too. (There's music on both those sites, btw. So if you click, be forewarned. It's awesome music. You just might not want bagpipes and didgeridoos blaring from your speakers at work.) They both rocked the fairgrounds multiple times that day. I always feel a little empty when I come home from the Games, though, and not just in that empty wallet way. ;-P My bro summed it up well when he said it was strange to be home and no longer hear the ever-present drone of B-flat. There's nothing quite like 100+ pipers all playing "Scotland the Brave" at the same time.

My July has been completely nuts. I've been in rehearsals for a show (with some of the straightest men I've ever seen--very, very odd in the theatre world) and I was participating in a project to write a minimum of 100 words a day. I cranked out about 15K in just over two weeks. Not exactly NaNoWriMo pace, but it was a really good exercise (in a month that isn't November for a change) in just getting in there and doing it. Amazing what a little discipline can do. On the flip side, though... Brain power? I haz no more to give. Which is a shame because I'm in tech and my show opens Friday. *eep!* Wish me luck.

Oh! I nearly forgot! I blogged about my writing process (what there is of it, at least) last Tuesday over at Nine Naughty Novelists. Swing on over and check it out!
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