Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The return of All My Children

I grew up on ABC soap operas. My mom watched them, a habit she got from my great-grandmother, and I got addicted early on. I vaguely remember Luke Spencer's introduction to General Hospital, but damn if I wasn't there for the whole Luke and Laura ride. There were years when I didn't watch--my college roommate owned our TV and was an avid Santa Barbara fan, much to my chagrin, and I couldn't watch any of them when I lived in the UK (how did we ever survive before we could watch stuff online?!?)--but I was still hooked on All My Children when it was canceled two years ago.

And now it's back!

In what just might be the future of TV watching, AMC is now an online show. It premiered today via Hulu, and I'll admit, I watched it. It picks up five years after the network show's demise, and they've chosen to age a number of the younger characters as well as bring back some old favorites.

Was it great? Um...I'm withholding judgment for the time being. It's an odd amalgamation right now--familiar faces mixed with familiar characters in new faces, as well as missing five years of history. Part of what gets people hooked on soaps is that sense of ongoing history, and right now, there's a void in it. That's frustrating. I'm sure it's going to get filled in, but while it does, I'm left feeling a tad discombobulated.

Did anybody else watch it? I'm curious what your thoughts are.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My staycation from RT

This year marks the first time in a while where I won't be at the RT convention. Since I took most of 2012 off from writing to concentrate on taking care of my family in their time of loss, I figured it probably wasn't fair to incur that kind of expense. I was okay with my decision until the past week or so, but as I see all my writing friends packing up and getting ready to go, I'm all kinds of jealous that I don't get to be there this year.

I'm not just sitting on my hands, though. I'll be guest posting over at Sandra Sookoo's blog this week, but in the meantime, you should go check it out. She'll be giving away goodies and so will the other authors she's hosting.

My kids are probably happy I'm not going anywhere, either. Between baseball, softball, chorus, and band, we barely have time to see each other, let alone get homework done. Plus, my husband has got a ton of stuff going on at his work (including having to dress up as the Incredible Hulk for a team-building scavenger hunt on Thursday, I'm so hoping somebody takes pictures, lol), which means most of the load will fall on me. The glamorous life of a writer, huh? ;)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors

Time for the Weekend Writing Warriors!

For the next couple months, I'm highlighting sentences from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, the m/m action/adventure erotic romance, Aries: Riddle Me Wicked. Last time, Ian and Lucas realized they'd been found and were trying to get out of the hotel parking lot before they were spotted. This segment continues on immediately from the end of last time's...

“Maybe you should just hit him.”


But Ian swerved before the man spotted them. The tires squealed, and the rear jackknifed for a fraction of a second before Ian got it under control again. Lucas twisted to peer out the rear window, searching the front of the hotel.

Their would-be assailant wasn’t there. He ran along the sidewalk, chasing after them with his gun already in hand.

“We’ve got a tail,” Lucas said.

To check out all the other weekend writing warriors, head over to the official website.

Monday, April 22, 2013

New release - Aria of the Eclipse

Yesterday, my m/m sci-fi erotic romance, Aria of the Eclipse, came out at Amber Allure.

I absolutely adore this story. It's one of the most romantic stories I've written lately, even if it gave me fits when I started it.

I'm talking about it today over at the Amber Pax Collection blog. If you comment over there on any post this week, you get into the drawing to win the entire pax. That's five stories. Not too shabby, huh?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Learning from sci-fi

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Hop! 

I have to admit, I find it a little ironic that I have a new story about life in a different world than our own coming out the same weekend I'm doing a blog hop for Earth Day. But then again, if you think about it, the best sci-fi stories are the ones that make you appreciate the world we live in even more.

Look at Dune by Frank Herbert. It's widely recognized as the first novel of its kind to address planetary ecology, doing so with such pristine world-building and characterizations that the book has become a classic. In fact, its publication in 1965 is often credited with contributing to the environmental campaigns from which Earth Day was created in 1970.

By using another planet, Herbert had the freedom to address what a delicate balance ecosystems must keep in order to thrive, a criticism readers could translate into their day-to-day worlds. The best part about it is that he does so without preaching, never sacrificing the story for the message. He presented the question of how to maintain the health of an entire ecosystem and compels readers to search for their own answers.

And isn't this what we need to do as individuals in our quest to save our own planet?

Everybody has different needs, different lifestyles, different abilities. The fact of the matter is, the measures we take for Earth Day have to work for us, or we won't stick with them. We can teach our children what we can, but isn't it nice to know they can find the same lessons in genre literature?

I know I take comfort in that thought. I'm proud to be a genre author, now with a sci-fi romance, too!

In celebration of the hop, I'll be giving away an e-copy of of a title from my backlist, in addition to all the other prizes that are being given away. All the winners will be picked Sunday night. Enjoy the hop!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Aria of the Eclipse

Yesterday, my upcoming release, the 35k novella Aria of the Eclipse, was highlighted at the Amber Pax Collection blog, complete with cover, blurb, and official excerpt. So I'm going to share that with my readers today.

Nothing has ever excited Tylen Merodine more than being invited by the Regent himself to celebrate the first solar eclipse in his planet’s recorded history. It’s the party of the millennium, and if he has to restrain his normal exuberant instincts to fit in, that’s what he’ll do to be a part of it. His good intentions vanish, however, the moment he’s presented to the Regent. Because there, in a gilded cage, playing music unlike anything Tylen’s ever heard, is the most beautiful alien he could imagine.

For more than twenty years, Dek has lived in captivity, performing at the whim of those who see him as an animal. The Regent is just the latest in a long line of owners, and while he’s kind, he’s still blind to Dek’s sentient nature. Only music gives Dek a voice, until Tylen breaks the rules and sneaks in to see and speak to him alone.

The time they have together is stolen and precious, the minutes ticking away until the eclipse is past and they have to go back to the way their lives were before. But when the Regent shows an unexpected interest in Tylen’s future, they begin to wonder if their worlds need to remain so separate... 

* * *

...My attempt to try to defuse my embarrassment was met with a frown and a shake of his head. “I wouldn’t do that. You cannot help your circumstances. You are what you are.”

I snorted. “You need to tell that to Dourack. All he’s done is lecture me since we left home. He especially wasn’t thrilled with our presentation.”

“Because you broke protocol?”

“Even you noticed?” I sighed. “Damn.”

Dek edged off the bench he sat on and crept forward until he knelt as close as he could to me with the bars still between us. “It’s only bad if it harms your time here. If you had behaved as every other notable Johaf presented today, I would not now have the pleasure to call you friend.” He held out my scrambler. “I hope I do have that pleasure.”

“Of course you do,” I rushed to say. But when I took my scrambler back, I couldn’t look away from his hands. The filaments laid flat against the inside of his fingers, tucked away so tight I wondered if it was deliberate.

I must’ve stared too long because he reached farther, turning his wrist so his palm was up, the fingertips grazing the edges of the bar. Slowly, he splayed his hand, and the strands unfurled in finespun splendor.

“On my planet,” he started, his voice soft and hypnotic, “we do not have the advanced technologies you do. Our homes have no walls. We look to the sky as our creator, the water our mistress. These…” He bent his thumb inward, allowing the longest tendril to emit a single, soft note. “The music is secondary, a consequence for their main purpose.”

“Which is?” My query was a whisper, reverence paid due to the honor of learning something I knew few people understood.

“They help us travel on the wind. We can coast across the water’s surface without fear, then.”

I finally looked up. Dek wasn’t looking at his hand, but at me, his nose only inches away, his gaze fathomless. I’d been wrong about the blackness. The same gray marking his skin flecked his eyes, affording them a light that took away the melancholy I don’t think he realized he wore. Part of me understood the Regent’s pride in showing Dek off. He truly was the most magnificent creature I’d ever seen, more than his peerless music could ever be.

“They’re your wings.”

I hadn’t even realized I’d said it out loud until he smiled. “I suppose that’s one way to look at them.”

“But you can control them.”

“Yes.” To prove it, they folded back against his skin, without his flexing a single muscle.

My scrambler seemed so unsophisticated compared to his physiology. As I slipped it back in my pocket, though, Dek touched the back of my hand.

“Can you use that whenever you wish?” he asked.

I don’t know which shocked me more—the fact that he’d reached through the bars or how hot his fingertips were compared to my skin. I felt the slight tickle for long seconds after he withdrew and had to fight the compulsion to rub it deeper into my hand. “As long as I don’t get caught.”

“Perhaps…if there isn’t another event for you to attend…you might come back later tonight? It gets…lonely.”

The words cost him. Pride, or fear, or embarrassment. Maybe all of the above. Even if I did have a party to get to, I couldn’t allow that to count for nothing.

“No might about it. I’ll be here.” I grinned. “I could even sneak down to the cellars and borrow some of the Regent’s wine. We could have our own event.”

“That won’t be necessary. Your company is more than I could ever ask for.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d been kidding. He seemed so grateful for what was essentially a huge honor to me. What person in their right mind wouldn’t embrace a chance like this? To get to know someone like Dek? To give him a few hours of reprieve from a life he’d resigned himself to? I wasn’t passing this up, even if it meant this would remain my secret for the rest of my life.

I met his eyes. The gray was brighter than before. It was probably just a trick of the light, but I decided to believe it was because of me, because of this budding friendship bonding between us.

“I promise you,” I said. “It’ll be a night we’ll never forget...”

Monday, April 15, 2013

Catching Fire trailer

To say I'm excited about the Catching Fire trailer is an understatement. I ADORE the books, and this one is my favorite of the three. I love how damaged everybody is, how decisions are never easy, and how it puts me through the emotional wringer. I pretty much sobbed at the end of every book, lol.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors

Time for the Weekend Writing Warriors!

For the next couple months, I'm highlighting sentences from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, the m/m action/adventure erotic romance, Aries: Riddle Me Wicked. Last week, Lucas told Ian he was picked because of his language skills, while Lucas can find order in chaos, meaning he sees patterns when things are all jumbled up. I'm jumping ahead some again, to a point a couple days later where Sultis has tracked them down in San Francisco. Lucas ran inside to retrieve their research while Ian waited in the car to drive them away from there, and he's now leapt into the front seat and ordered to Ian to go...

...He had to lean forward to make room for the bag, and Ian was taking him at his order, hitting the accelerator so hard the car lurched. Lucas slammed back. His spine jarred, and his teeth rattled, but the door was closed, and Ian had both hands tight on the wheel.

He spun tight around the corner of the hotel. A Jeep Laredo reversed out of a spot, forcing Ian to cut into a row farther away from the lot exit. Lucas dropped the bag to his feet, then reached around for his seat belt. When he looked forward again, he spotted one of Sultis’s men coming out of the lobby doors.

“Bugger,” Ian said under his breath.

To check out all the other weekend writing warriors, head over to the official website.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weekly weigh-in

So yesterday was my weigh-in. I didn't go last week, because Easter week KILLED me. I was finally feeling better this last week, so buckled down hard and managed to lose both the two pounds I'd gained the week before as well as nearly another pound, putting my total weight loss so far at 15.4 pounds in 10 weeks.

I'm considering that a win.

One of the things helping me so much with this is focusing on a lot of healthy vegetable soups. I made a version of this Creamy Cauliflower Soup on Monday that was just delicious. The changes I made were:

1. I cut down on the olive oil. I was able to soften the onions using only 1 tablespoon instead of the 3 the recipe calls for.
2. In step 3, where you add the remaining water, I also added a teaspoon of curry powder and the ground black pepper so the soup would be infused with the flavors. I love curried cauliflower soup, and this worked like a dream. Even my daughter, who doesn't like cauliflower, couldn't stop gushing about how delicious it was.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors

Time for the Weekend Writing Warriors!

For the next couple months, I'm highlighting sentences from my Boys of the Zodiac novel, the m/m action/adventure erotic romance, Aries: Riddle Me Wicked. Last week, Ian and Lucas were working to get out of the cavern they were being held captive in. I've jumped ahead some, after they've managed to get to safety, and they finally have time to discuss why the men were after Ian, as well as what Lucas offers...

“...Or what function I need to serve.”

“That’s what we’re going to do right now.” Holding out the binder, he waited for Ian to take it before settling on the opposite bed. “Sultis wanted you because of your language skills. You’re one of the best translators of obscure Classical texts out there.”

“And what are you so skilled at that they can’t do without you?”

Lucas grinned and leaned back on his hands. “I find order in chaos.”

To check out all the other weekend writing warriors, head over to the official website.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Older heroes in m/m romance

So I'm currently working on my short novella for the upcoming entertainment pax at Amber Allure, and something about it has me thinking.

See, my MC is 77. A spry, active, handsome 77, but an AARP member nonetheless.

And I've decided to make him sexually active. Because hell, he's older but he's not dead. And seriously, he deserves a romance just as much as any 20-year-old.

But I'm not blind. I know that stories about older heroes aren't what a lot of romance readers are looking for. What it boils down to, however, is this:

I love this guy. I want him to have this love affair. So I'm going to write it, even if that means only one other person reads it.

What are your thoughts on older heroes in m/m romance?