Thursday, August 30, 2012

Join Me In Vegas!

At the Get Booked Booth at Las Vegas Pride! THIS Saturday, September 8, 2012, 5:00pm until 6:30pm

500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV.  ManLove Press authors James Buchannan, the insanely handsome J.P. Bowie, and the Sauveur sophisticated Marshall Thornton will read from their work and sign books at the Get Booked Booth at Las Vegas Pride on Saturday, September 8, 2012 from 5:00 to 6:30 pm.

A FREE Shuttle will run throughout the day of the festival between the Gold Parking Lot at the World Market Center and the PRIDE Festival Main Entrance at the Clark County Government Center.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Off the Clock

As I mentioned in June, I quit ye olde teaching job in favor of not being beat up and getting to write stories of cute guys fucking all day. Props to me. But as Labor Day stares me in the face, I'm getting an odd feeling of being out of time and place. Labor Day has meant the start of a new year to me for a tidy few decades, much more so than January 1. Fall has always been new beginnings, new chances, new clothes and new school supplies. At The Most Awesome Job Ever, all Labor Day means this year is that a book came out, a book is in edits, I have print galleys due and another book due while a trying to keep new characters from trying to escape and take over. All of that is fun (except the print galleys), but they don't have that special connection to this time of year. Still not complaining because, see above, getting to write about guys meeting, fucking and falling in love is absolutely The Most Awesome Job Ever, but it's hard fighting the urge to buy new clothes or a pencil case.

We humans have been coming up with ways to tell time (Stonehenge, New Grange) almost as soon as we could count, so it seems like a pretty basic need to find a rhythm in the cycle of the year. That led me to thinking about finding a similar rhythm in my writing schedule. Does it matter when a book comes out? It seems to me that my books that release in March/April or December/January seem to sell best. May/June is okay. The slowest month for me for new releases seems to be August. Anyone have thoughts on that? Should I beg, borrow and steal to get books to come out December, April...and a month not August to get into a pattern? And how often is good for releases? Every four months? Every six? At what point do readers say, "I forgot she was still writing"?

I may not have semesters to tick off the time for me anymore, but as long as I have the rhythm of write, edit, release, I think I'll be happy living off the clock.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Research Mode

When you write fantasy, one of the most important elements of your universe is reality. ... Wait, what? Let me put it this way: For a fantastical universe to be believable, it must be grounded in real world facts, even if the facts don't play a direct part in the story itself. Where is all this leading, you might ask? Well, I'm working on the origin story for Rhys and Isaac from my short story Play Music, Play Magic. Isaac is a fisherman so what d'you think I'm doing lately? Researching long line fishing practices. I'm also digging up date on storms at sea. (It's been so long since I read A Perfect Storm, there's none of it left in my memory.) I'm guesstimating that about 10% of what I learn will play directly into the story, but that's okay. You don't have to see the roots to enjoy the tree, right? Hmm...I should have a nautical analogy. Let me think... I got nothin'. Better do some more research. ;-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Sunday, Slashers! Here we are at the tail end of August and I'm left once again wondering where the summer has gone. That one commercial where the dad is gleefully throwing school supplies into the cart while the kids try to set him on fire with their eyes makes me laugh. And not because of the dad, it's totally because of the kids. They're the ones I'm identifying with.
Every year when summer ends, I make a promise to myself to try and read more during the fall and winter months. Usually this promise falls by the wayside in favor of staring at the television, but not this year. I have an iPad, which will make it exceptionally easy to finish one book and download another one immediately. So that's my back to school resolution. (Another one is to stop buying every pair of cute fuzzy pajamas I see.) In athletically related news, I finished my first draft of Morgan's story from Tinder, so now I can concentrate on training this week for the Disneyland Half Marathon next Sunday. Let's hope edits don't come back until after I cross the finish line.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vegas Baby!

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Et tu, K.A.?

A painful (and sometimes funny) thing about writing is that it often involves stabbing your imaginary friends in the back, often just when you’ve let them find a moment or two of happiness. Ending a scene in a book on a happy sigh does not inspire a reader to turn to the next chapter. It inspires them to put it down and go to sleep and dream happy, porny things. (Oh, is that just me? Carry on then.)

The fact is, happiness is boring. Even happy couples spar. People often ask me to write more of Joey and Aaron. (Below I have a link to a free short story to whet your appetite for But My Boyfriend Is which will be out next Tuesday, August 21.) The thing is, in order to write a whole novel about them, I’d have to give them a novel worth of conflict, something that couldn’t be resolved with a talking and sex. I’d have to really stab them hard, in the heart. Make them hurt. Break them up.

If I don’t at some point in my book say, “Oh shit, I’ve just totally fucked this up. I can’t fix this for them. I’m not sure it’s ever going to work out!”, how can I keep a reader wondering the same thing. How can I convince you that there’s a reason to stay up and read the next chapter before the aforementioned dreams?

I’ve done horrible things to unsuspecting characters, and in But My Boyfriend Is (which HEY, is available for preorder at Samhain or Amazon  or Barnes & Noble or wherever you like to buy ebooks) I did some pretty mean stabbing. I kicked my characters when they were down, ripped away what they’d always counted on, what they thought they could trust. This being an author thing puts blood on your hands. Sometimes more than figuratively. But you’ll have to read But My Boyfriend Is to find out what I mean.

FREE short featuring Joey and Aaron from Collision Course. It ends just as But My Boyfriend Is starts.   (Hey, don't say I never gave you anything. *winks* It's not even my birthday.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gold Digger versus Special Forces – spinning off from a “cult classic”

As I said on my blog a few days ago, I’ve recently had the urge to write about Vadim Krasnorada’s son, Nikolai. Vadim Krasnorada being one of the two main characters is Special Forces, the work I’m probably best-known for. I’m using the expression “cult classic” with a fair amount of self-irony, though I keep seeing people calling it that.

I know I’d threatened writing about Nikolai before, but this time it actually happened. What intrigues me about him is that he’s a sane Krasnorada. I like misfits in my own writing, but in this case, it’s the one normal guy who sticks out. I mean, his sister Anya is as cold-blooded and precise as Vadim was roughly aged thirty—we’re talking special forces soldier-level lethality. Only, of course, she’s an emergency surgeon, and, in Nikolai’s words “a man-hating lesbian” (which doesn’t do her justice, by a long shot, but our families always know best how to hurt us).

And then his mother, Katya, former Russian Olympic medallist in fencing, who is as surgical and strong as her daughter. Both these women are so hardcore that they make an older, wiser Vadim look . . . well, old and wise.

As at the time of writing, Gold Digger (working title) is 40k and it’s single-POV. All from Nikolai’s perspective, though he’s a good observer overall. I expect to add a few thousand words to that, but I reckon it’s going to stay a longish novella and it wraps up some open questions about Vadim and some of my characters in Special Forces.

Now, Special Forces was written from early 2006 to late 2008—two and a half years for one million words. The enormous pressure that project generated very nearly burned me out of writing in mid-2008; and it killed a number of very good ideas for novels. This online serial became much larger than ever anticipated, much larger than I ever wanted. In some ways, writing the story in the last roughly 12 months of that period was a traumatic experience, and I believe it shows in the rifts inside the story. I still struggle to edit the text to a decent standard (I’d much rather write new stuff than revisit an old mess). For years, the experience has put me completely off the idea of writing another series. After being the hostage of a mammoth project like that (which would amount to ten big paperbacks) for so long, I desperately needed a change.

On the other hand, all that writing in English helped me make the transition from writing in German to writing in English, and it kept me going through a couple boring, repetitive jobs, and I met some terrific readers through the work. So it’s not all bad. Some of it was even pretty damn nice.

But the character, Vadim, was still in my head. I dealt with him for a long, long time, and I resurrected him—a more innocent, idealistic version—in 2010/2011 in Dark Edge of Honor, where he’s clearly Sergei Stolkov.

True to the statement that a good story is like an iceberg—90% will never make it to the surface (or onto paper), there’s a great deal more in Special Forces and in its cast of characters, things that only I know. I know a great deal more about Solange and Jean, for example, and once I feel comfortable writing a romance between a male-to-female transsexual and a philandering bisexual in denial, I might tackle their story. I still think a story about a young Jean could be terrific fun, although people loathe that character. It could be fun to attempt to turn the loathing around. I don’t think he deserves all the bad rep he’s getting.

When I was looking at writing Gold Digger as a spin-off to Special Forces, there were a few questions I had to answer:

1)      How strongly is this connected to Special Forces? Or, in other words: Can this stand alone?
2)      Special Forces being free on the internet, will readers be willing to pay for Gold Digger?
3)      Can I believably avoid characters that I don’t own without the text becoming awkward and the characters unnatural?

I had to answer these questions for myself before launching in earnest into a project that would tie me up for a month or two. With so many projects on the go, deciding what I want to focus on is a fine art, and, for example, “free fiction” takes a backseat by sheer necessity.

So, yes, the idea is that it can stand alone as the contemporary romance of a guy who has big family issues and somewhat weird father. Nikolai had maybe two or three short scenes in Special Forces, so, while established, he’s not really part of the central cast. He’s a natural crossover character.

As it does stand alone and I’m not mentioning any characters I don’t have rights to, making this a commercial story is legally possible. In addition, I want to have it commercially put out, because while my self-editing is decent, I do need a good editor who really tears into my stories. Good editors don’t work for free. I also need a layouter and a cover artist so it looks like something people would want to read.

Teaming up with Riptide Publishing makes sense, because my experiences there have been extremely good. It also means I don’t have to handle all these production steps by myself. I’d much rather write the next thing. Obviously, the hope is that it’ll appeal to my non-SF readers enough that they’ll buy it, and that the SF readers are OK to pay for the end product. It might be a gamble, but I’m pretty positive. My readers are awesome like that.

The last bit—writing around characters I don’t own—wasn’t actually hard. Vadim is incredibly self-contained, as we know from Special Forces. I feel he’s doing all right where he is now, and Nikolai doesn’t have strong relationships to anybody I don’t have the rights to. The only tweak was his younger sister, but she would have been superfluous for the core themes in Gold Digger, so her absence doesn’t even register.

While writing Gold Digger, I’m re-visiting the series that devoured my life (and sanity) for 2-3 years, referencing the text to make sure there are no major inconsistencies. I’m even starting to slowly retrench from my “series – never again!” Just as I’m writing this, I’m making preparations to write three more books in the world of Scorpion.

But that would be a topic for a different blog post.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thanks for your Feedback!

Thank you for your feedback last month, dear Readers. I truly appreciated the feedback. I’ve learned that you guys and gals like to see the same kind of things that I do, and luckily for me, the same kinds of things I like to write in my blog, even though that blog is sadly lacking since I haven’t written much fiction this year, let alone blog posts.

Let’s make that a new resolution.

While I’m still plugging away at the resolution I made back in June(to write more often) it is slow going without much new to share. However, this is an important topic I’ve been meaning to work into my schedule for several months now.

New resolution: blog twice monthly. Something interesting; something besides book reviews and buy links.
Stay tuned over at my regular blog ( for a formal announcement with more details on the fun ideas I have brewing for this resolution. You’re all welcome to hold me to this too. Sometimes I do need to be nagged. You see, I write to-do lists, and then forget that I wrote them, so call me out if I fail to follow up on this one.

As for that June resolution, I did finish the writing event story, and it is posted in that group for those of you who are members. I’ll eventually post it free on Smashwords and ARe too, but no promises on when just yet since I’m very slow and inept at creating cover art.

Maybe you wonderful Readers can help me out again. Do you know of an aspiring cover artist willing to work for free books? Send him or her my way with

Happy August everyone!
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