Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve

I am not sorry to see the end of 2012. At all. This year bit the big one in way too many ways.

We don't go out for New Year. Instead, I'll be staying in and greeting it with the people who matter to me the most - my husband and kids. It'll be a quiet night, but that's the way we usually like it.

Whatever your plans are, be safe, and be happy. :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The opening of A Simple Charm

Since I posted cover art for it yesterday, I thought I'd post the opening of A Simple Charm today.

-----
There wasn’t a spot in the whole of Brookburn, Indiana where the tiny colored flags on top of the tents pitched outside of town weren’t visible. The red and yellow wisps fluttered whether Levi could feel a breeze or not, captured in a world of their own making, someplace separate and magical where the wind didn’t whip up the dust to get trapped in places it had no business being. He even caught them dancing at night, when he climbed out his window to sneak down to the gulley that cut the carnies off from the rest of town. He’d stretched out on his stomach, as flat to the packed earth as he could get, and drunk it all in until the last light had been extinguished.

Everywhere he looked was an explosion to his senses. Colors rainbows would’ve been jealous of. Laughter and music and hushed whispers as shadows emerged from one tent only to meld into a single entity before disappearing into another. Roasting meat and strong whiskey that made his stomach rumble even though he’d had his fill at suppertime. His fingers curled into the dry grass, because he needed to stay put, not make a run for it like everything inside screamed at him to do.

He crept back home before the night relinquished its hold on the sky. His dreams for the few hours he got before Pap pounded on the door for him to get to his chores left Levi with a hollow longing in his chest.

“Mr. Trumbull’s closing the store tomorrow,” he commented at the supper table, staring at the beef he sawed away at on his plate rather than anyone else at the table.

“Now why would he go and do a fool thing like that? Saturday’s your busiest day of the week.”

Levi had been working at the general store since ’27, when he was twelve and it became increasingly obvious to his burly father that his only son was built more like his wispy mother. He wasn’t short, but he’d always been too scrawny for most of the labor out on Granddad’s farm. Pete Beckerman talked Artie Trumbull into giving Levi a job, in hopes the hours helping with inventory and making deliveries around Brookburn would put some meat on his bones.

It hadn’t, not really, though Levi had always wondered why Mr. Trumbull had kept him on when there were plenty of men in town who could’ve used the extra wages to take care of their families. Money was tight, jobs hard to come by, and yet, the store became his second home, his haven when everywhere else felt wrong.

“He says everyone will be at the carnival tomorrow anyway,” Levi said in response to his mother’s surprised question.

Pap snorted. “And then at church on Sunday like they didn’t throw good money after bad just the day before.”

“You never know, Pete.” Levi and his sister Annie might have cringed a little at the harshness of Pap’s tone, but Mom was unfazed as always. She reached for the mashed potatoes to scoop another spoonful onto Pap’s plate. “I heard someone over in Jagerstown won a brand-new stove in that grand raffle of theirs.”

“A stove.”

“That’s what I heard.”

“Those people don’t even have homes. How would they find the money for a stove?”

“Mr. Trumbull’s going.” Nobody in town really trusted the carnies, so Pap’s reactions were hardly unusual, but Levi wished he could see what else they offered, the dreams they held out with both hands to anybody who wanted them. Those fantasies were all Levi had thought about from the moment the first flyer showed up on the post outside the newspaper office, though his were buried so deep, they’d need more magic than a few pretty flags and some fast words to be set free.

“Well, with the store shut, he doesn’t have much else to keep out of trouble, now does he? Some of us have real work to do.”

Levi stopped trying then. Pap was just like the soil he tilled, practical, unchanging, ultimately immovable.

The night was cooler than its predecessor, the rustle of air coming in through his open bedroom window as bewitching as the not-so-far-away carnival. Levi leaned through the opening, stretching to peer around the Joslin house next door. Common sense said he shouldn’t be able to smell or hear anything, not from this distance, but he would’ve sworn on every Bible in Brookburn that it was right there. All he had to do was reach out and close his eyes and he was back at the edge of the gulley, the ground cold beneath his belly, his blood hot to make up for the chill everywhere else.

A soft rap came at his closed door. He jolted back, barely in the room when Mom let herself in.

Her gaze drifted to the window behind him. She knew. He didn’t have to say a word because she always knew, and that frightened him more than anything else. Some things should remain a secret. Some things had the power to hurt more than he would wish onto his greatest enemy, and the only way to make sure they didn’t was to lock them away from her omniscient eyes.

“Did you have plans tomorrow?” she asked.

Levi shrugged. Anything he’d hoped to do was built on fancies, as implausible as catching a cloud to make it rain when they most needed it at the height of summer. “Read, maybe.”

“Annie wants to go to the carnival. You should take her.”

The sudden lurch inside his chest made it hard to breathe, harder even when his heart took to racing like Scott Joslin’s best horse within the passage of the next moment. “What about Pap?”

She smiled. “I’m not telling you to take him.”

“What’ll you say?”

“You don’t worry about that. Just keep an eye on Annie, get back in time for supper, and if you manage to win me a new stove, well, that certainly wouldn’t hurt.”

She left him to spend the night too excited to sleep, hours lost to imaginings as he tossed and turned until dawn.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New cover art for A Simple Charm

The beginning of 2013 is going to be a busy one for me. I have three releases in the first two months. The first of these is on January 14 at Liquid Silver Books for my mostly sweet, m/m historical, "A Simple Charm."

And look! I have cover art!



In 1934, life in Brookburn, Indiana is quiet, simple, and peaceful, but young dreamer Levi Beckerman yearns for more. When the carnival shows up for the Fourth of July, he’s entranced by its many temptations. None is more seductive than the charismatic barker, Sebastian Gustineau.

Seb’s been a part of the carnival for almost a decade. Once, it provided him the escape he needed from a life he thought he didn’t want, but now, he craves things it can never offer. Flitting from dusty town to dusty town, he loses himself in pretty dalliances. Levi seems like the perfect distraction, until a single conversation convinces him that preserving Levi’s innocence and way of life is more important than his momentary satisfaction.

However, his plan to discourage Levi goes horribly wrong. When Levi’s family is threatened, Levi fights to protect them, doing what he can to hide the secrets he’s sheltered his entire life. The only person he trusts is Seb. He’s just not sure if the growing bond between them is enough to save them all.

I'll be talking a lot more about it in the weeks to come, including sharing an excerpt.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Movies vs. Musicals

Yesterday, I got to see one of the movies I've been dying to this season. Les Miserables. I saw the stage version for the first time in April '88. I was in New York City for spring break my freshman year at college, and as a theatre major, Broadway was my drug of choice. I had nose bleed seats, but that night, I fell in love.

In the years since, I've seen Les Miserables sixteen more times in three different cities. Needless to say, it's my favorite musical ever, so my excitement going into the movie theater? Pretty unparalleled.

I walked out with my brain abuzz. Is it the greatest movie ever? No. But that doesn't mean I didn't cry at certain parts, or that I won't buy it as soon as it's available on Blu-ray.

The movie has definite strengths. The cinematography is sensational, gritty and sweeping as epics are meant to be. Some performances absolutely shine, as well. Anne Hathaway portrays Fantine as an angry, desperate woman, and her one-shot solo of "I Dreamed a Dream" is stunning. Hugh Jackman's transition from the bitter convict to the well-meaning father is clean and realistic, even if his vocals sometime strain to reach the purity the part often demands. As Cosette, Amanda Seyfried gives one of the more sympathetic versions I've ever seen, though her vibrato gets annoying by the end of the long (2 hours and 38 minutes) movie. The Thenardiers - Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter - aren't the comic caricatures that are often seen onstage but instead dark reminders of the seedier side of survival.

A couple performances pretty much fail for me. I've never been a fan of Marius as a young romantic lead, but Eddie Redmayne manages to turn him into an even bigger flake than usual. (On a side note, I just don't understand the physical appeal of him at all. He always reminds me of Cletus the slack-jawed yokel.) I've adored Russell Crowe for decades, but this is a singing role, not an acting one, and his nasally, rock style of singing - sliding into notes - is utterly unsuited to the operatic style Les Miserables requires. Javert is actually my favorite male character of the show, a tragic figure broken by his inability to accept any flexibility, especially his own, but I felt nothing of his inner conflict as played by Crowe.

Some of director Tom Hooper's choices didn't work for me, either. He plays it too heavy-handed sometimes in driving home his symbolism, like Javert's literal walking of edges and the giant eye looking over Valjean's shoulder during "God on High." His decision to change some of Eponine's actions turns her unrequited love from being sympathetic to selfish, and the complete exclusion of her from the final number weakens the theme of selfless love that makes Les Miserables resonate.

Because that is ultimately what this is about. One of my favorite lines from anything ever comes from the final moments. "To love another person is to see the face of God." It's about learning to care more about someone else than yourself. Fantine giving everything for Cosette. Valjean taking steps from accepting the fresh start given to him by the Bishop (a moving performance from Colm Wilkinson himself) all the way to saving Marius at the barricade so Cosette can finally have the future she deserves. Javert's failure to accept his own growth when he breaks his code of ethics. In the stage version, Eponine was part of this cycle, the representation of unrequited love who will do anything for the object of her affection, even at the expense of her own life. It's a shame that Hooper felt that had to be changed for the cinematic release.

I'm not sure I need to see it again in the theater (though after checking imdb and seeing Frances Ruffelle - the original Eponine - credited as one of the whores, I'm insanely curious to go back and watch for her part), but I don't regret going. It's flawed, but there are so many layers to peel away from the experience, it was worth it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The day before Christmas

Twenty-four hours to Christmas. My kids are a tad anxious. Me, I'm enjoying some relaxation this year, as we're keeping things rather low-key. I did get edits yesterday that left me more than a tad anxious, but I'm not letting myself dwell on them.

Instead, I'll dwell on the sweet perfection of this holiday picture...


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Candy cane rice krispie treats

So yesterday was spent doing a lot of baking in preparation for an evening spent with friends. One of the things my daughter and I made were candy cane rice krispie treats. Some of you might turn your nose up at the idea, but trust me on this one. If you like rice krispie treats and candy cane flavors even a little, you'll LOVE this.

I've seen variations of this online, but I've modified the recipe over time to get it the way my family likes it.


INGREDIENTS
1 13 oz box of Rice Krispies (or similar style cereal)
1 10 oz bag of mini marshmallows
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup crushed candy canes
40 candy cane Kisses
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegetable (or canola) oil
3 tbsp crushed candy canes

DIRECTIONS
1. Unwrap all the Kisses. Microwave for 30 seconds to get them to a melty stage. It's okay to have smallish lumps.
2. Melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and melt together.
3. Stir marshmallow mixture into cereal.
4. Add melted Kisses and crushed candy canes.
5. Press into greased 9x13 pan. Refrigerate until set.
6. Over double boiler, melt white chocolate.
7. Add vegetable oil and stir until smooth.
8. Frost uncut Rice Krispie treats with white chocolate.
9. Sprinkle crushed candy canes over frosting.
10. Refrigerate until frosting is firm. Cut into squares at this point.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My life is a to do list

I am surrounded by things to do. Certain times of the year, I can actually get all the things done and then have time for myself. Most of the time, I go to bed, mentally calculating all the things I didn't get around to that day and planning accordingly for the next.

My life is a to do list. There is no satisfaction quite like that achieved when I can cross something off it.

These days, it centers around the holiday, even more so this year because we're on our own for it. This will be the first year we don't have my mother-in-law. My father-in-law chose to stay in the UK and spend the holidays with his other son. My family? Well, I haven't celebrated Christmas with my family in twenty years. We're scattered across the country. I'm in California. My brother is in Michigan. One sister is in Oklahoma and the other is in North Carolina with my mom. Getting together just doesn't happen.

So here I am, doing what I can to make it a memorable Christmas anyway. It's important to me. These are the memories that will guide my children into their futures. These are the signposts they will measure future holidays by. But it's more than that, because these are also the days I will never have with them again. If I've learned anything this year, it's that each day must be treasured for the gift it is. Holidays are no exception to that.

At the periphery of this, stories beg for my attention. I have no pressing demands right now, except for something completely gratis and for fun, but I can't even find the time to chip at that. Writing takes a backseat. Even more frustrating is the fact that ideas crop up more often when I don't have time to write. I keep getting nibbles of, "Oh! That would be fun to do," or "Wouldn't it be great to get back to the story about the prodigy?" 

I can't, though. Not right now. On the to do list of my life, it's just not enough of a priority to ignore everything else.

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Facebook account

Well, I buckled. I've kind of avoided having a professional account on Facebook. Hell, I avoided having a private one for years. But the past couple months, I realized I would have to cave. I meant to do it for the New Year, but I went ahead and created one yesterday.

So for those who are over there, I'm now on Facebook.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Amber Quill pax blog

I've been working recently with Clare London in launching a new blog for Amber Quill, one dedicated solely to promoting the pax collections. This was its first full week, launched with the most recent release, the That Old Gang of Mine collection.

Some of the authors will be contributing posts to talk about their stories, but more importantly, anybody who comments on one of the posts the week after a release - and that's including this week - gets an opportunity to win the entire collection. That's five stories to one lucky person! So head over, take a look, and leave a comment. You just might be the winner!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday movie season

If I had my way, I'd live at the movie theater from mid-December to mid-January. This is the time of year that invariably sees my favorite movies come out. This year will be no exception. I mean...look at it.

Les Miserables - my favorite Broadway show ever, plus Hugh Jackman

Monsters, Inc. in 3D - okay, I've seen this many, many times, but never with my kids on the big screen and it's one of my favorite animated films ever

The Guilt Trip - looks insanely funny, who doesn't love Seth Rogen?

Gangster Squad - Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn, need I say more?

This Is 40 - because who doesn't love Paul Rudd?

And these aren't even counting the movies that are already out that I need yet to see. Skyfall. Lincoln. Life of Pi. Rise of the Guardians. Red Dawn. Hitchcock.

Maybe I should just ask for movie tickets for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

No more SSS

Today is usually the day I sign up for Six Sentence Sunday, but I've decided that I won't be doing it this week. I'm too busy right now to do the rounds like I should, and with the hop ending at the end of January, I'm going to have to find something new for Sundays anyway.

There's talk something might get organized separately from SSS, but I don't know what it might be. I think I'll end up doing something similar on my own, just posting a snippet and highlighting backlist titles on a regular basis. Who knows at this point? Maybe it'll be something completely different.

Right now, I just need to survive Christmas, lol.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Being an introvert

People who have met me in person usually think one of two things. That either I'm incredibly quiet or I'm incredibly talkative. Very rarely is it something in between. But how can that be? It's seems dichotomous at best.

It's easy. I'm an introvert. I am, by nature, a solitary, quiet person. However, put me one on one with someone I trust and a topic I'm passionate about, and I turn into Chatty Cathy. I have a friend who I only ever saw in a single environment when it was only the two of us. We would talk and laugh for hours until someone else reminded us of the time. The first time she invited me to a party at her house? She commented to me afterward that she worried I wasn't having a good time, because I'd been so quiet. She'd literally never seen me like that before, so it took her aback to realize I wasn't so outgoing all the time.

I can be shy, too, but I'm more heartily driven by my introversion. There was an article recently that detailed the differences between the two, complete with a list of signs to see how you fare. I wasn't surprised to hit all the marks. A lot of people don't get it, honestly. My kids don't. They see me social and bubbly with a select few, and then can't understand why I don't choose to be like that everywhere.

But I'm happy with my own company a lot of the time. I like my quiet. I think a lot of writers are like that, though. It helps to hear the voices of all those characters in your head.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash and Maddy are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Maddy and Cash had sex. This is the morning after, when Maddy wakes early and tries to get up without disturbing Cash.

She was stopped from rising by his fingers curling around her arm.

“I already woke up one morning without you in my bed. I don't want to do it again.”

Something warmed in Maddy's stomach, and she leaned to brush a soft kiss across his mouth. His arm snaked around her waist, drawing her back to lie on top of him.

“Stay,” he breathed into the kiss.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

For the booklover

I'm in the throes of Christmas planning, and I thought I had all my gift shopping done when NPR ran a piece this morning on eye-catching reads for the book lover on your list.

Guess who's going to Barnes & Noble this morning?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash and Maddy are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Maddy and Cash had sex, but when Cash fell asleep afterward, he had a nightmare about his past. Maddy woke him out of it, but he refused to talk about it. Instead, he coaxes her into the shower, where she takes control.

“It would kill me if something happened to you and I knew I could've stopped it,” he whispered.

“I know.”

Her mouth dotted kisses along his spine, while her hands continued lathering his chest. Cash lowered his head to protect his body from the shower's torrent, and for what seemed forever, the world vanished, leaving behind only the close quarters of the steam shrouding them in its dusky caress. Tenderness fused them together, his body singing with heat, his mind clearing of the detritus of his nightmare.

And then it was no longer enough.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tell me a story...

Short post today, because I want everybody to go read this article on the science of storytelling. It explains why people remember things better when they're told stories as opposed to seeing bullet points.

I'd guess most writers already knew that, though I still find the science behind it fascinating. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

PBS remixes Reading Rainbow

I was already a teenager when it launched, but any show, children's or otherwise, that promotes books and imagination is a winner in my book. Reading Rainbow was on the air for 23 years, inspiring children and adults alike, and PBS just did one of their infamous remixes with it.

Watch. I dare you not to smile.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Iron Eyes

I have writing progress news! My story for the upcoming steampunk pax at Amber Allure is now in and accounted for, so I can spread the news on what it's about.


My story is called Iron Eyes, and is a 35k m/m erotic romance set in 1922. My return to writing is hallmarked by a lot of nostalgic contemporary fiction, lol. I have one in the 20s, one in the 30s, and one in the 50s, all coming out in a two-month period.

Here's the blurb:

For three years, Cap Kaufman has been trying to make amends to his war buddy’s orphaned daughter. Building her a safe home. Finding her the best nanny. Now, he’s kidnapped the man her doctor says is her best bet for fixing her blindness.
When Hector Lanza wakes up on a boat in the middle of nowhere, he’s confronted by a man determined to get his own way. He has no choice but to play along and wait for his chance to escape. What he doesn’t count on is learning to respect the man who uprooted him from everything he knew, all for the love of a child.
For Hector, it’s a challenge. For Cap, it’s penance. For both of them…a chance for love. All it takes is opening their eyes to see what’s right in front of them.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday



Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash and Maddy are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Since it's taken so long to get Maddy and Cash together, the six today is from the same scene as last week's. Just...later on, after Cash's words have worked their magic on her.

...He pressed her back down into the mattress, his strokes becoming increasingly insistent, but when he unexpectedly let go of her wrists, Maddy hesitated.

“Touch me,” Cash ordered.

It was what she had wanted since they'd walked into the room. Pushing past the red haze that seemed to be slowing her movements, Maddy raked her nails up his arms, to his shoulders, careful to avoid his injury from the previous night as she found the nape of his neck. He shuddered, trembled, moaned as he returned to her mouth.

“You wondrous woman,” he whispered.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Joss speaks out

I've decided I am never going to recover from that session with that trainer. All my aching muscles seem to be affecting my brain, because I was struggling with writing all day.

The perfect day to read Joss Whedon's 10 tips on writing, then. Sure, he's talking about screenplays, but a lot of what he says holds true for other media, too. Go take a look at it. It's totally worth it.

And I don't just say that because Joss is my god, lol.

Friday, November 30, 2012

New cover art for The Low Between

I spent most of the past two days recovering from my first appointment with a personal trainer (ohmigod, so sore, why haven't I ever used these muscles before?!?), so I'm keeping it a little brief today.

I have new cover art!


I'm just about done with my steampunk story, too, so you'll be hearing more about that early next week.

Though I have another appointment with the trainer on Monday. We'll see if I survive a second.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Personal training

Well, I've gone and done it. Tomorrow, I have my first session with a personal trainer at my gym.

She's young. And beautiful. And probably has never had to struggle with her weight her entire life.

I feel judged already. Which I suppose is only fair since apparently I'm judging her from a single meeting, lol.

But still...it's a good thing in attacking health issues. I'm going to learn what exercises are going to help the arthritis and work on making specific muscles stronger to support the weaker joints. Plus, it'll help with the weight loss. I've been going to the gym to work on the treadmill on and off (on for this week so far, after Thanksgiving I really need it), but this will be in addition to that. I want to learn and get in what I can before I have surgery on my foot in January.

I got home tonight and iced my bad foot for an hour. It's stiff, but at least it doesn't hurt as much.

It's all good for me. Eventually, I might even believe that.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash and Maddy are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

I'm skipping ahead a little. Maddy and Cash came a little closer after he got shot by his "ex." This happens the next night, when Maddy has decided she's ready to take the next step in their relationship. This is Cash's response...

“...I've wanted you too long for this to be all raindrops on roses. Not that I can't do the soft touch, because it certainly has its time and place, but if you think that I can pull that off tonight, after how amazing last night was, after how long I've dreamt of you…” Though she could see how he trembled, he reached out and caressed the line of her jaw, so tenderly she wondered yet again about the dichotomy of this man.

“If this happens,” Cash continued, “don't expect that I'll be able to hold back. I have a tendency to take control in bed anyway, but you…the way you fight back…” His long fingers slid around her neck to cup the back of her head, holding her still while he leaned down and ghosted his lips over hers.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving this week, I'm going to be too busy to post regularly, if at all. Our guests arrive early Wednesday and don't leave until Saturday. I plan on enjoying their company as much as possible. Because their friendship is one of the many things I'm grateful for this year.

I'll be back on Sunday with Six Sentence Sunday.

To all my friends who will be celebrating...I hope your week is blessed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Low Between

So that noir story I was working on? All submitted and on the tentative schedule for Amber Allure. It'll either be coming out in January or February as part of the Noir Pax.


My story is called The Low Between and is a 38,000 word gay suspense erotic romance. set in 1952 New York City. Here's the blurb:


It was supposed to be simple.

All struggling actor Carlo Baresi had to do was pick a man up, drive him to the location he specified, then report where he’d taken him. The only problem is, the man isn’t who he says he is…and they both know it.

Bookstore owner Joe Donnelly has a reputation for helping those in need, but this plan has been a bad one from the second he stepped in. Discovering someone has switched out the driver is one more complication he doesn’t want, especially since Carlo is the kind of distraction that can get a man in serious trouble if he’s not careful.

But they have something in common other than their mutual attraction. They’re both loose ends, struggling to find out what is really going on.

And murder is always complicated, even when you’re on the same side.
I love the guys in this story. I'll keep you guys updated on edits, cover art, and release dates as I get them!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash and Maddy are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Once Cash explains to her about his past, that he was part of a magical world where he got in trouble with the wrong people and had to go into hiding to protect the people he loved, Maddy finds it easier to understand him and accept her attraction. Things start getting more complicated when they have a near-death accident with one of their "engagement" presents, but then even more so when one of Cash's so-called exes in this painting world decides to teach him a lesson. Maddy is on the dancefloor with someone else when the six begins...

For a moment, his body blocked her view. By the time Maddy wrenched herself free, the blonde with the pistol had lifted her arm, aiming it at the sole occupant in the doorway.

“Cash!” Maddy shouted.

She didn't wait to see if he heard her. Damning her long skirts, Maddy broke into a dead run, determined to get to the other woman before she could pull the trigger.

She tackled the shooter as the gun's discharge pierced the air, sending the club's occupants scurrying for cover...


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sandwich Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

It's been a baking week. See, I found myself in the magazine section at Barnes & Noble last Friday, flipping through every seasonal periodical they had, about to buy one or two, when I remembered the two-foot stack of cooking magazines I had at home in the cupboard.

Two feet. That's not an exaggeration.

I might've made a handful of recipes out of the entire stack.

So I put the magazines back and decided it was time to go through what I already owned. I took the magazine off the top, opened to the first recipe I thought we'd actually eat, and made my grocery list.

I've done two recipes this week. At this rate, I won't need to buy another magazine until 2014.

The first recipe was a sandwich cookie with buttercream frosting. It consisted of vanilla, chocolate and spice cookies, with five different flavors of buttercream - vanilla, chocolate, coffee, orange, and almond. They turned out pretty damn good. Favorite combination? Spice with orange cream. Yum.


VANILLA ROUNDS

½ cup butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
1½ tsp vanilla
2¾ cups flour

  1. In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese at medium speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Beat in flour.
  5. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness.
  8. Use 1½ - 2” cookie cutter to cut out dough.
  9. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 6-7 minutes.
  11. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool.


SPICY GINGER ROUNDS

½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups flour
1 egg white, beaten

  1. In a large bowl, combine butter and shortening at medium speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined.
  3. Beat in egg and molasses.
  4. Beat in flour.
  5. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness.
  8. Use 1½ - 2” cookie cutter to cut out dough.
  9. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  10. Brush with egg white.
  11. Bake for 6-7 minutes.
  1. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool.


CHOCOLATE ROUNDS

½ cup butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
1½ tsp vanilla
2½ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa

  1. In a large bowl, combine butter and cream cheese at medium speed for 30 seconds.
  2. Add sugar. Beat until combined.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Slowly beat into butter mixture.
  5. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness.
  8. Use 1½ - 2” cookie cutter to cut out dough.
  9. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  10. Bake for 6-7 minutes.
  11. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool.

We had a lot of cookies at this stage. The nice thing is, you can freeze these before you fill them, to keep on hand to fill later. That's where most of these are now. My kids can help themselves over the next few weeks.

But the buttercream is what makes these really yummy. It's just a matter of finding the right combination. 

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

½ cup softened butter
1¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk

  1. Beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar, vanilla, and milk until spreadable consistency.


COFFEE BUTTERCREAM

½ cup softened butter
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp brewed coffee

  1. Beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar and coffee until spreadable consistency.


CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

½ cup softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk

  1. Beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and milk until spreadable consistency.


ALMOND BUTTERCREAM

½ cup softened butter
1¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp milk

  1. Beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar, almond extract, and milk until spreadable consistency.


ORANGE BUTTERCREAM

½ cup softened butter
1¼ cup powdered sugar
Finely grated zest of one orange
1 tbsp orange juice

  1. Beat butter until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar, zest, and juice until spreadable consistency.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Proud of San Francisco

Sometimes, I love where I live so very much.

Last week, San Franciso's Health Commission voted to create a comprehensive program for uninsured transgender residents.

It won't happen right away, of course. They need to figure out costs and parameters first. But the point is, measures are being taken to give rights to individuals who constantly get ignored or forgotten.

I know a lot of people who will be upset by this. Unfortunately, some of them are in my extended family. I've never gotten that. They often use religion as justification, and though I know plenty of religious people who don't do that, it still boggles me when I run into that wall.

Shouldn't it be our priority as human beings to look after those who can't?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sixpence House by Paul Collins


I have been a bibliophile for as long as I remember, though I imagine a lot of writers are like that. Libraries were my sanctuaries. Book sales were my heaven.

The first time I saw Charing Cross Road in London, I had a book-gasm.

So I picked up Sixpence House by Paul Collins because of its subject matter. Part memoir, part travelogue, part love story to the printed form, it tells the story of the author's move to a small town called Hay-on-Wye in Wales, notorious for its many, many, MANY used bookstores. He goes there with his wife and toddler son, with the hopes of settling there. Over the course of the book, we get to know some of its inhabitants, but more so, we learn of the author's love/hate relationship with the books themselves, as well as witness how he struggles finding his place in the world (much like so many of the books in the town that are endlessly forgotten).

Is it a great book? No, I wouldn't say great. Put to the wall, I'd give it four out of five stars. But it's anecdotal sense of style is infectious, especially as he constantly throws out the oddest tidbits of trivia from the most arcane books you can ever imagine. He's often incredibly funny, and with the prose broken into lots of little scenes, it's a very fast read.

If anything, it reminds me of Bill Bryson, an author I fell in love with when I first moved to the UK in '99. It lacks some of Bryson's sophistication, but Collins is young, and honestly, I think he's a little too close to the source material. He gets distracted easily, so the narrative meanders all over the place as he drops in what seem like meaningless asides. It often comes across as more than a little silly, leaving me to wonder what the point actually is.

I had to finish it to get it. Because Collins is one of those unknown books, sitting on a shelf in Hay, constantly getting reordered in an attempt to find meaning.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Doing what I must

I find it ironic that as my internal life comes back to an order I recognize and embrace, my physical is running into walls of pain. It's frustrating, because so much of it seems completely random and out of my control.

See, the women in my family hit their forties and get attacked by arthritis. Though I'm relatively new to that club, my body seems to not care and is throwing a lot at me all at once. I've known I had arthritis in my left hip for two years, but just a couple weeks ago, my rheumatologist announced it's in my toes and hands, too.

Just great.

I've been having problems with my left foot all year, and a trip to the podiatrist decided that the bunion I've tolerated for a decade has now demanded attention. I have surgery for that scheduled in January. Meanwhile, having issues with that foot has affected the other one and my hips, because my gait has changed to accommodate the pain. I strongly suspect I'm developing arthritis in my right hip, now, though I'm holding off on going to the ortho for confirmation until after I've recovered from my surgery. I'm hoping that when things have improved with my left foot, it'll take the pressure off the right side, thus negating any further appointments.

It sucks, because my options are limited. I've been slowly losing weight, or trying to, since I know that it will help relieve the pressure on those joints. This week, I'm headed to the gym to see if they have a personal trainer on staff who's familiar with pain issues so I can start strengthening exercises that will help. I take all the recommended supplements, but because I know I have a lifetime of struggling ahead of me, I avoid painkillers unless I really need them. There will come a day when I won't be able to tolerate it as much as I do now.

Of course, I also have hip replacement surgeries in my future, too. Isn't growing older grand?

Yesterday was a bad day. They've been frequent lately because of the feet issues. But I'm charging through as best I can, because honestly, what alternative is there? Life is too short. I'll hate my body for it all, of course, but that won't change the fact that I will do what I must.

That's the biggest lesson I've learned this year. It can all be taken away from us at a moment's notice. I'm getting as much out of life as I can.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday


Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash and Maddy are trying to make the best of a bad situation. At this point in the story, they've had to spend the night at an engagement party thrown for them, without letting anyone in on the truth. Maddy enjoyed herself more than she thought she would, even able to relax, but when Cash confronts her afterward and demands the truth, she gets scared and explains it away by saying she was just playing to their audience. Cash kisses her. This comes immediate after.

Her swollen mouth begged to be kissed again, but Cash gathered the rest of his resolve and let her go, taking a step away as much for his sake as hers.

“So, where's your audience now?” he asked, gesturing toward the empty apartment. “Real isn't perfect, Maddy. It's passionate, and sometimes cruel, and quite often the last thing you would ever expect. It most certainly doesn't ask that you put on the show that you think others want to see. It's never asked you to be anything but what you are, and in case the champagne is making your thought processes a tad slow tonight, yes, I am referring to how I've always regarded you.”

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Next Big Thing Meme

So Elin Gregory did this meme at her blog a couple days ago, and though she didn't tag me, she challenged those who liked it to have a go. Which I am.

What is the title of the book you’re currently working on?
"Iron Eyes"

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It started as a writing exercise, actually. I do them occasionally where I'll brainstorm on three unrelated words, just to keep the creative juices flowing. In this case, the three words were pilot, doctor, and kidnap. It sounds like a romance already, doesn't it, lol?

What genre does your book fall under?
It's m/m steampunk erotic romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I just blogged about this when I started the story! In cast you missed it, though, my heroes would be played by Jeremy Renner and David Zepeda. I have no idea if Zepeda is a decent actor, but he's where I started when I was envisioning the character.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?
Captain Terrence Kaufman does the unthinkable and kidnaps the one man he believes can assuage his guilty conscience, only to rediscover his humanity in the process.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It'll come out in early 2013 at Amber Allure as part of their steampunk pax, "Days of Future's Past."

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This presumes it's done, which it's not, lol. However, at the rate I'm going, it'll be done by the end of the month, which means it'll be about three weeks for 35,000 words.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I wouldn't. The genre is too young to have a ton of reading material yet. Besides, I think it's kind of egotistical to compare yourself to anyone.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I've wanted to try my hand at steampunk for a while now, so when this opportunity came up, I jumped at it. I've found it difficult to find much steampunk that really satisfies me. Most of the time, there's too much focus on world-building and not enough on the story. I wanted to see if I could get the right balance.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Haha, I don't know. I try to not write the usual most of the time, and I don't think this is any exception to that. It's not set in a usual setting, instead on a remote Canadian island, and doesn't employ the typical gadgets I think are most common in the genre. Instead, my engineer has a career in the budding film industry in Los Angeles that proves vital for my other hero. I'd like to think readers would be piqued by its unique angles.


 I'm not tagging anyone to do this, but if you want to have a go, I say go for it!

Friday, November 9, 2012

New holiday ideas

I'm starting to gather together new ideas for the holidays, both Thanksgiving and Christmas. All right, maybe this is something I should've started sooner, but considering how stressful this year has been, I figure I've got some leeway.

It was sparked by a post I saw on my Facebook feed for a new kind of caramel apple. See?


I am totally in love with this idea. They just hollow out the apple, pour melted caramel in, then slice them up when they're cooled. Yum!

The next thing that made me smile was this simple ornament:


It's a melted snowman! Isn't that adorable? Instructions for how to do it are here, but you know, I highly recommend taking a look around her blog. It's got some absolutely wonderful crafting ideas.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's not California, but at least there's hope.

I tweeted about this yesterday, but I just wanted to post about it again because it fills me with so much glee.

Part of the election process on Tuesday saw two more states granting marriage equality for all. It's so encouraging to see forward steps being taken, especially since I still get sick to my stomach remembering the 2008 elections, and waiting up until nearly 6am watching the results on Prop 8. I tend to avoid discussing politics with anyone (unless we both already know we share the same views), but I got all fired up about that one, largely in part to how misinformation was being so widely disseminated to ignorant people who didn't bother do any fact-checking. I still live in hope that California will go back to doing what's right, allowing anyone who wants to get married, regardless of gender.

In the meantime, I'll be grateful that there are havens in the US for those couples who want the basic rights they deserve.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The state of me

We lost our internet two days this week. Comcast issues. It always shocks me how much I rely on it for everything when it's gone, and then even more so when I get so much other work done instead. I'm still in catch-up mode, so today's post is just a general state of my world thing.

Like...how relieved I am the election is over. We can move on from all the campaigning talk finally.

Like...how nervous I am about this steampunk story I'm writing. It's swinging higher on the "aw" scale than I've done in a while, plus I've never tried my hand at this genre before. It's daunting.

Like...how excited I am about the upcoming holidays. We spent two hours on a conference call with the family we spend the Thanksgiving holiday with, getting things organized. A family of six coming to our house for four days, so we have ten people we're feeding/providing for. There are spreadsheets involved, lol.

Like...how anxious I am when I realize just how much is yet to be done in preparation for said visit.

But life is good and really, I wouldn't change a single bit of this.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Looking the part...at least at first

Yesterday, I started my next project, an m/m steampunk erotic romance that I haven't titled yet. One of the things I always do before I start anything is get mental pictures of all the characters. I need the visual of them before I can put a single word to paper, otherwise, they're not real to me. Most often, I go combing through photos I've found online or I pick an actor-type to model the character on. These physical similarities often change as the story progresses (or there's a physical characteristic I know is necessary for the hero/heroine that isn't present on the model), but there is always a starting point.

With this particular story, there are two heroes. One is an ex-military pilot with a guilt-ridden conscience who sets out to do the right thing the wrong way. He's the center of all my angst in this, so I wanted someone intense, not too big but buff and dangerous anyway. This is how he's starting off:


I've adored Jeremy Renner since he played Penn on Angel, so seeing him finally getting recognition the last five years or so has been great.

The other hero is my engineer. He didn't start out that way, so I wanted to play against physical type by having my brainiac look like he should be beating up the bad guys instead. I also knew his family is originally from Belize, so that helped me pick out...


...David Zepeda. My guy is a little rougher around the edges than this, less clean-cut, definitely dirtier, but he's my springboard for where I start.

I think they're going to be hot together. I can't wait to get into the meat of this story.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash and Maddy are trying to make the best of a bad situation. Last week, he decided to teach her how to dance to make her impersonation easier, but when they reached the last dance, Maddy stumbled for the first time...

Immediately, Cash caught her against his hip, holding her there for what seemed an eternity, but could only have been a fragment of a moment. His unmistakable arousal nudged along her body, and when she turned to more fully face him again, the flicker of desire darkened his eyes.

“Maybe we should stop,” she breathed.

“I think we already have.”

Dimly, she became aware of the stillness of their feet. The thudding elsewhere in her body had completely blocked it out.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Project Runway All-Stars

So...who's watching the new Project Runway All-Stars?

I'll admit, I'm watching again, even though I didn't like most of these designers the first time they were on. But I like the challenges, and there's the occasional cool outfit, and it's only an hour long instead of the ninety minutes we're usually subjected to.

So far, it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

Considering the drama queens they brought back, the show has been remarkably focused on...drum roll...clothes! Even starting with a team challenge didn't seriously derail everything, though the one team's collections was just sad.

This week's disco challenge could've been fun, but I didn't find myself responding to many of the clothes. And the ones I did, ended up in the middle somewhere. Uli's white dress was pretty but I just didn't see what it had to do with the challenge. My favorite was actually the turquoise two-piece pantsuit that Joshua did. Color me surprised, because I seriously dislike that boy. But I like that the judges seem to have genuine critiques, and they're not unanimously agreeing on runway choices. It makes it a little more interesting.

I don't have a favorite so far, though there are more than a few I'd like to see leave. And can Suede please stop referring to himself in third person? It's annoying.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The holidays are a-coming

Halloween is past, which means we're in my favorite two months of the year. I'm one of those Christmas nuts. I love everything about it. You can expect cookie recipes, gushing about food, and general ho-ho-ho-ness over the next eight weeks or so.

To launch it all, I blogged yesterday at Romance Cooks. It's a recipe for Cranberry Sauce Cake, one of my favorites. Go check it out, and while you're there, take a look at all the other great recipes that have been posted this year!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Feeling like a writer again

First of all, my sincerest hope that everyone is safe and well in the aftermath of the worst of the hurricane.

Secondly, I have more writing news. I have a release date for A Simple Charm. It'll be out with Liquid Silver on January 14, 2013. I'm in edits on it right now, and they're going well. I've also been assigned a cover artist, so as soon as that's done, you'll be the first to see.

I also sent in a new submission today. There was a call I've been meaning to write for, and I spent the 16-hour drive back from Albuquerque last week getting it all plotted and done in my head. That's what I've been working on since I got back. I won't jinx it with specifics, but it's a 15k m/m/f story that, if it gets contracted, will end up being the prequel for the full-length novel I want to write to explore this relationship. This short is essentially how these three hook up. I love these characters.

It's kind of nice being back on the wagon. I'm feeling like a writer again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2013 Epic E-book Award Finalists go live

The complete list of the Epic E-book Award finalists is now up. So exciting to see some of the people there, including the fabulous Rick Reed and the talented L.A. Witt.

Go check it out! They've linked to where you can buy the books, too, so you just might find something new to read.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I'm currently at GayRomLit in Albuquerque, and driving back to San Francisco today and tomorrow, so my apologies about being slow to comment this week. If I could find a way to do it from the road, you can bet I would. It would make the long drive more bearable, lol.

For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Maddy and Cash have been sucked into a 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Cash got a drunk Maddy back to their home in this other world, where she woke up with a terrible hangover. He gave her a brief explanation about magic being the cause, a story she has to buy because nothing else comes close to explaining what is going on, and then Cash offered to teach her how to dance so she doesn't have to play barfly at the club all night.


She stood there silently, long enough for the first song to end and the second to begin. Cash never made a move, waiting patiently by the record player, dancing eyes watching her with growing amusement.

“You know this only works if you're actually within touching distance, don't you?” he asked when the second song ended as well.

“I'm still thinking about it.”

“Think a little bit closer then.” With long steps, he marched forward and took her hand, leading her back to the open space in the middle of the room.

To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Epic Award finalists

After a truly horrific day yesterday, I got some great news in my email last night.

Two titles I entered in the Epic Awards this year are finalists!

One is the Jamie Craig title, A Line in the Ice, a romance set in Antarctica. It's a finalist in the Science Fiction Romance category.

The other is one of my own, my Christmas short from MLR last year, 'Tis the Season. It's a finalist in the Short Story category.

Needless to say, it brightened a truly dismal day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

List of hacked B&N stores

Did you hear about the recent PIN hacks that happened at some Barnes & Noble stores? I did, mostly because several of the stores that were affected are near me.

Just in case you haven't, the list of stores have been made public.

I shop a lot at B&N, but luckily, the one I go to wasn't hit. Hopefully, yours wasn't either.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New contract

So while I was away at GRL, I got some fab news. Remember that historical m/m I submitted a couple weeks ago? Well, it got accepted! Liquid Silver Books is going to publish "A Simple Charm," probably some time in early 2013.

Here's the blurb, for those who might be interested...


In 1934, life in Brookburn, Indiana is quiet, simple, and peaceful, but young dreamer Levi Beckerman yearns for more. When the carnival shows up for the Fourth of July, he’s entranced by its many temptations. None is more seductive than the charismatic barker, Sebastian Gustineau.

Seb’s been a part of the carnival for almost a decade. Once, it provided him the escape he needed from a life he thought he didn’t want, but now, he craves things it can never offer. Flitting from dusty town to dusty town, he loses himself in pretty dalliances. Levi seems like the perfect distraction, until a single conversation convinces him that preserving Levi’s innocence and way of life is more important than his momentary satisfaction.

However, his plan to discourage Levi goes horribly wrong. When Levi’s family is threatened, Levi fights to protect them, doing what he can to hide the secrets he’s sheltered his entire life. The only person he trusts is Seb. He’s just not sure if the growing bond between them is enough to save them all.


I love this story to pieces. What's better, it's going to have a sequel, a project I've slated for next year.

But yay! I'm so glad it's going to see the light of day now. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

GRL - Saturday

I meant to get this up yesterday, but I was pretty wasted. See, I did the insane on Sunday. I drove the whole way home from GRL instead of breaking it up over two days. That means a 17-hour drive in 15 hours. I got in at 2am. Yesterday is kind of a blur.

Saturday started out with the french toast breakfast where we got to eat with our wonderful reader friends we'd been hanging out with. I then headed to the Amber Allure spotlight, where I sat on the panel with writer friends and told everybody how great AQP is. They really are, you know. The one thing that was driven home by being around the other AQP writers is just how much freedom we have to write the stories we want, that stories that might not see a home at other houses can find one at AQP. Like Lynn Lorenz's story about 70 y/o gay gentlemen. It's a wonderful story, but because they're not young and pretty, they would be a hard sell anyplace else. AQP trusts us to tell good stories.

After that, I stuck around to support Carolyn as she did the Loose Id spotlight. I had to sneak away at the end to start getting ready for the signing, and skipped lunch for the most part to do that. I was pretty panicked about the whole thing, I'll admit. I get overwhelmed by so many people and having to speak to strangers on the spot, but in the end, it worked out great. Everybody who stopped at my table was so gracious and wonderful. I had a blast getting to talk to so many different people.

Carolyn, Elyan, and I skipped out of the hotel for dinner, but got back in time for the final cocktail party. Though it was crowded, we got to decompress some by hanging out with our four new friends, one of which won one of the giveaways!

I'll admit, though, I was done after that. I just kind of wanted to decompress and relax. That was one reason why I drove straight through on Sunday. I missed my family and my life. GRL was fantastic, but I had so many creative juices flowing that not getting to write as much as I wanted was really bugging me.

Next year it's in Atlanta. Carolyn and Elyan are talking about finding a way to go again. I might, too. It's hard not to get excited about it when we had so much fun.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! I'm currently at GayRomLit in Albuquerque, and driving back to San Francisco today and tomorrow, so my apologies about being slow to comment this week. If I could find a way to do it from the road, you can bet I would. It would make the long drive more bearable, lol.

For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. Last week, Cash and Maddy experienced the alternate world they got sucked into for the first time, the 1940s private club milieu where Maddy's a dancer, Cash is the bouncer, and the whole world thinks they're engaged. Maddy drank a little too much as she struggled to understand what was going on, while a jealous Cash looked on.

This week's six comes very soon after. Cash has managed to get Maddy out of the club, to get her safely home, but as he stands on the street and thinks about what's going on around them, the reader learns their current situation might not have such innocent roots...


It had been a long time since he had witnessed magic powerful enough to create an entire world to this detail. Nothing appeared out of place to the time period, not the forties' fashion, not the architecture, not the sounds of the city around them. Whoever created the painting had even gone as far as to create alternate lives for him and Maddy, and while he certainly wasn't complaining about the idea of being engaged, it reeked of motives far sneakier than made him comfortable. He'd done everything he could to ensure he wasn't found. The last thing he wanted was for an innocent party to get dragged into his own private war. Especially if it was Maddy.


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

GRL - Friday

Friday morning started with a workout.

Yes, you read that right. I got up at 6am so Elyan and I could hit the exercise room at 6:15. Considering how many calories I'm sure I'm consuming here, I know what I did was a drop in the bucket, but I figured it was something, right? And honestly, I felt better after I did. I would've been up anyway, and it worked wonders to get me started.

We weren't originally going to bother with breakfast, but then changed our minds. The three of us headed down to the Samhain Build a Burrito breakfast, and wouldn't you know it, but we ended up eating with the same four readers from Thursday night! They're a fantastic bunch, let me tell you. So nice and funny.

I had my Q&A at 11:20, but I wanted some down time first, so Carolyn and Elyan went to work elsewhere while I escaped to my room. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Thankfully, I had Jet Mykles, Belinda McBride, and Marguerite Labbe on my panel, so they held the whole thing up marvelously. I was so relieved that Carolyn and Elyan were so fantastic to show up and support me.

Lunch was in Albuquerque, but rather than take the bus, we'd already decided we wanted the freedom of driving ourselves in. We got to meet some new readers at the lunch, a pair of sisters from Pennsylvania and an 18 y/o girl who had come to the con all by herself. I was amazed. That's a pretty cool thing, going to something like this at such a young age.

But then, a late bus arrived, and who would walk in right at the moment? Our four reader friends from before! And lo and behold, we had four seats still left at our table so they joined us again.

It happened again at the cocktail party in Albuquerque. And then, when we were back at the hotel, we went down to have drinks, walked in, and there they were again. So we joined them this time. I have to say, they are amazing. Getting to hang out and laugh and chat with them was entertaining, informative, and probably one of the best parts of the con already. Considering how much has gone on, that's saying a lot.

The book signing is today. Carolyn and I are going to get in early to grab a table together. I envision I'll be a lot less stressed about that.

Friday, October 19, 2012

GRL - Thursday

My con reports are going to be short, lol.

Thursday was all about registration and finding faces. After getting our packets in the morning, Carolyn Gray, Elyan Smith, and I hit the swag room to look around first, just like everybody else since it was right next to where we signed in. Tons of people, tons of freebies from pens to chocolates to bull squeeze toys. I got to see a lot of people I rarely get to see in real life, and was excited to chat with Lynn Lorenz, T.A. Chase, Tina Burns, Z.A. Maxfield, and Adrianna Dane, among others.

But you know what was probably the coolest person I got see all morning? Elisa Rolle. I'd known she was going to be coming, but forgotten because I'm a ditz like that. Carolyn was talking to her, and she asked me to sign the Jamie Craig card for her. I said sure, signed it, and it wasn't until I handed it back to her that I saw her nametag and went, "Ohmigod, you're Elisa!" She's done so much for m/m romance. It was an honor to finally get to meet her.

Carolyn, Elyan, and I went and chilled until the Riptide publisher's spot at 1:00, where Carolyn and I hung out in the audience to support Elyan's first real author appearance at GRL. I have to say, I was really impressed by Stephanie Grobes, Riptide's marketing gal. She's literate, knowledgeable, and highly articulate. Clearly a great asset to the company.

Afterward, I went to Z.A.'s Q&A. She was on the panel with Cat Grant, Isabelle Rowan, and Karenna Colcroft. I didn't ask any questions but just hung to listen. Cool stuff, but then I adore Z.A. and knew it would be. She's as warm and funny and nice in real life as her books can be. It's always a delight to see her.

Then, I do what I always tend to do at cons. I escaped to my room for a few hours of quiet and to work. I just get very overloaded being around so many people all the time. Plus, being around creative people makes me hunger to write. So that's what I did until MLR's cocktail party.

I sat with Carolyn and Elyan, and we were joined by four wonderful readers (who were an absolute blast to listen to), as well as Kaje Harper and Edmond Manning (so nice, the both of them). MLR ran a scavenger hunt, where people went around looking for MLR authors and their tattoos, so I ended up signing a lot of cards. Being so quiet usually meant I was one of the last signatures a lot of people needed, lol. Then I'd usually point them out to the few other faces I could help them with, like Kaje, T.A., or Rick Reed.

There was another party after that, but I, being my usual self, went back to my room. I wanted to call home and say good night to my family, as well as get some writing done. I'm a chapter away from finishing my noir story so the urge is strong.

Today, I'm on a Q&A at 11, but after that, the day is pretty wide open. Maybe I can finish it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 2 of driving

I made it all the way to Flagstaff my first day of driving, which means I only have five hours of driving today and can check in right at three if I time it right. Tonight, I'll get my swag out and just hang, though honestly, the idea of sitting in a bar right now is not appealing. I sat on my butt for twelve hours today. It doesn't want to take any more, lol.

Next time I want to drive so long, I need to be smarter about entertainment options. I took my husband's car so he could have mine for getting the kids around, and I forgot it didn't have my music in it. I was scrambling for CDs to take, ending up opting for soundtracks. I figured, I knew all the music, and getting to sing along and maybe replay scenes in my head wouldn't be so bad.

Problem was, I picked depressing soundtracks, lol. Too much sadness. For long, boring drives, bouncy is best.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Off to GayRomLit

I leave this morning for GayRomLit. I'm driving rather than flying, for lots of reasons though one of them is not because it's faster.

Am I ready? Oh, hell no. Will I make it work? I'll try my best. :)

The goal is to blog about GRL this week while I'm away, but that all depends on time and connectivity at the hotel. If I can't, there will still be a Six Sentence Sunday post (because that's not dependent on GRL activities), and I'll do a recap post when I get home next week.

If you're going to be there, please don't be shy about saying hi!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Who's got the X Factor?

Contrary to what it might be about to sound like, I'm not rabid about X Factor. We let them pile up on our DVR over the past few weeks and ended up watching a lot of them all at one go, just to make room for other shows to get recorded.

In the process, I discovered I have favorites. Who knew?

The ONE guy who makes me ache, who gives me goosebumps every time he opens his mouth, is Vino Alan. I liked his blind audition a lot, and he's just gotten better with each subsequent performance. L.A. wonders if he's got the package, if people are going to vote for him or if he's too tough. My answer?

Oh, hell yeah.

Yes, he's got tattoos. Yes, he's got a metal edge to his voice sometimes. But he's riveting. And there's something so hot about that tough exterior around all that pain. He didn't pursue music all this time so he could raise his kid, for goodness sake. If America doesn't react to that, then they just don't deserve him, frankly.

The performance he gave of Pink's "Sober" last week at L.A.'s house was just amazing. So if you didn't see it, here it is.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

Welcome to my SSS! For the next two months, I'm featuring my RT Award Nominee, the het paranormal/time travel-ish erotic romance, Two Lives in Waltz Time. I have a real soft spot for this one. It combines a lot of my favorite elements in romance - time travel, paranormal, snarky banter, and a lot of action. It's the story of Maddy Cardinale, an art restorer at a prestigious NYC museum, her co-worker, the irrepressible Cash Vinci, and what happens to them when Cash receives a mysterious painting.

Last week, we met Maddy at the start of a really bad night at work. A painting of a 1940s nightclub arrived for Cash, and the pair find themselves sucked into it. Cash ends as a bouncer in a tux, Maddy is one of the dancers, and much to their surprise, everyone in the painting world thinks they're engaged. Maddy does not take it well. Cash's reaction to her is a little more mixed.


In this place, she was his. Every guy wanted to be him because they knew, at the end of the night, Madeline Cardinale was going home with him.

Then she'd hit the bar. Three straight shots later, she was laughing too loudly, flirting with an ever-growing circle of men, allowing herself to be led out to the dance floor only occasionally when the band launched into a slow waltz. He had to watch as hands found their way to her ass, as arms held her against bodies that weren't his. It was ridiculous, but every time it happened, Cash's jaw tensed, and the thunder in his gut threatened to ball his hands into fists.


To check out all the other six sentence contributions, head over to the official website.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My contributions to GayRomLit

I leave for GayRomLit in Albuquerque in four days. Too soon! I'm not ready! But I guess at this point, it's too late for any moaning and whining. I'll just learn better for next year.

As the schedule currently stands, I'll be participating in a Q&A, 11:20am-12:15pm on Friday, with Marguerite Labbe, Belinda McBride, and Jet Mykles, as well as the book signing on Saturday from 2:15-4:30pm. Don't hold me to that, though. They keep warning us that the schedule can change all the way until we actually arrive, so double-check it when you get your registration packet.

I'm taking stock of what books I'll be bringing with me for the book signing. I'll have both Vivien Dean and Jamie Craig titles for sale, but for whatever reason, I can't find one of my boxes of books, which means some titles only have a single copy. That doesn't make me happy. However, I will have at least one of each of the following:


In addition, Samhain will have copies of A Hidden Beauty.

I went out today and bought See's krispy's (orange, latte, and mint) and lollipops for my section in the swag room, to go along with the various goodies I'll be giving away there, as well as a box of chocolates and variety pieces for the signing. For everyone who purchases a book from me at the signing, though, I have a special gift. I won't say what just yet. I'll keep that a surprise for the day.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Project Runway Finale, Part 1

If you didn't watch Project Runway last night and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now. I plan on talking about it.

Lalalalalalalala....

Are you gone yet? Good.

Can I just say how pissed I am?!? Believe it or not, I've enjoyed this season. It didn't have a lot of the manufactured drama of recent years, and there were more than a couple designers I really liked. I have a favorite, sure, but I genuinely like a couple of these guys. And some of the designs this year have been stunning.

I only had one hope when I started watching last night. That Dmitry would make the top three. Thanks to Tom & Lorenzo's blog, I'd seen pictures of all the collections, real and mock, that were shown, and while his didn't blow me away, he's been the one I've loved the most throughout the process. I love his drama, I love his structure, I love his tailoring.

And I'm glad his is a final collection. Really. But c'mon, did I really have to sit through ninety minutes (okay, maybe more like seventy since I watched it after it was done and fast-forwarded through all the commercials) to discover the judges were copping out and sending them all to Fashion Week?

Apparently, yes. It's starting to feel like Anya's win all over again. Remember Anya? The one the producers kept changing the rules for every time it looked like she'd be eliminated?

I have never thought Dmitry was going to win. I love him, but to me, it's seemed like their favorite has always been Christopher. Don't get me wrong, he's made some really pretty designs, but based on their mini-collections, he very much should've been the one auf'd. Two generic shorts outfits and the skirt/bustier combo? Boring. The judges knew it, too. Their pet screwed up when it was most crucial he didn't.

So...they changed it up to accommodate him staying in.

I fully expect him to win next week, and as all right as I might have been with it before, it's going to leave a bitter taste in my mouth. Because it'll feel like preferential, undeserved treatment. Unfairness to the extreme. One of my biggest hang-ups ever, because I really loathe that. I want winners to actually deserve their win.

Ha, maybe I should stop thinking about it until the show airs.

Oh, hell, I just realized I'm in Albuquerque for GRL when it's on. Thank god for Slingbox and hotel wifi, lol!