Friday, January 30, 2015

TGIF: Time To Read Part VII - Generations

I got word that A Taste of Vanilla (ARe / AMZ / BN / AUDIO) has been released to the delight of erotic audiophiles. Well, it's at Audible, and I believe it's the last story of mine in production for the time being. I still have auditions in the queue for other stories, but lately I've been distracted by other things. I will make a point, however, to revisit audio in the near future.

Speaking of, I think the audio rights held by a publisher for a few of my books expires soon. I should look into that. In fact, I'll have a number of decisions to make in the coming months with regards to rights and writing. I still find it difficult to believe I've been at this for more than a decade, and I'm nowhere close to finished.

~

If I can trust my Goodreads tally, I've read 17 books this month. I'd like to squeeze in one more before February, but if I keep up the pace I'll have exceeded my goal for the year. Some books are shorter, yes, but if it has a beginning and end I'm counting it.

This morning I finished The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) and I'm sad I did because it was a delightful book. I hated to leave that world of friendship and life-affirmation. I enjoyed this more than Mallery's Fool's Gold books (though I've liked those), and I hope to see more stories like this from her.

This week I also devoured Ghost Love by Nelli Rees (ARe / AMZ / BN), which is a hybrid suspense and "retro-historical" romance, for lack of better terminology. The story weaves between modern day England and 1990s Russia, right when glasnost has taken effect yet the last clutching fingers of Soviet power haven't surrendered. Toni has fallen for an English student named Peter, and the story follows her into a surprise inheritance and conflicts with Peter's family. Also, ghosts. It's a very good story from one of my publishers, a nice change of pace.

Presently I'm reading The Marriage Game by Alison Weir (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO), a novel of Elizabeth I. I've read many of Weir's books, but this is my first fiction of hers. As I've read so much about the Tudors there's nothing here I don't already know, but I like to read different interpretations of the story. Never gets old.

Slowly but surely I try to whittle down my TBR, but I keep adding more books. Wonder what we'll see in the next week.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Now Available! Sexy to Go, Volume 1


So I've talked about this new thing I'm doing with a group of authors. Sexy To Go is a series of anthology/box sets which will feature anywhere from 8-12 authors a month, with stories featuring various genres and pairings. It's not a sampler, but rather a mixed collection for readers who enjoy erotica and will read everything. 

Volume 1 (ARe / AMZ / BN) is now available. My contribution is "Skin", an expanded version of the flash I wrote for Sci Spanks. MF pairing, spanking, and HFN ending. I'm finishing my second story for Volume 2, which is an MM contemporary and (Glob be praised) never before published.

Yay, something original! Actually, I have been writing regularly these last few months. I have two MM stories out on submission to anthology calls. If accepted, great. If not, I may put together a second MM collection. Anyway, the buy links are above, the summaries below. Hope you enjoy!

~

Sample romance in all its flavors in Sexy to Go. From paranormal to contemporary, you’ll find your fix here. Look for a brand new collection every month.

Assistant Seduction by Jocelyn Dex
When the temp agency sends Kyla a hunky male assistant, who looks as if he stepped out of one of her erotic stories, will she keep the relationship professional or give in to her deepest desires?

Skin by Leigh Ellwood
Skin – One needs a tough skin to endure an unpleasant situation. When Lt. Andromeda Kurn is sentenced for damaging property during a shore leave, the skin suit she must wear enhances the pleasure of her punishment. (MF pairing, kink, HFN)


Faking It by Sofia Grey
Lucy can’t believe her luck. Upgrade to 1st class flight and a hot hunk in the next seat. He’d never be interested in a geek, so maybe it’s time to reinvent herself? Faking it has never been such fun.

Dancing in the Flame by Ann Gimpel
Keira’s an indentured hooker. Mired in the hopelessness of her dreams, she longs for more and finds it in Barrett. He’s not what he seems, but neither is she—except she doesn’t know it yet.

Unconventional Spark by Allyson Lindt
If Jade can’t learn to balance business and pleasure, she’ll lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her—the unconventional spark she shares with her boyfriend, Brandon.

Trio Concerto by Eva Lefoy
Casi suffers a scheduling mishap, but finds impromptu sex in the forest fulfills more than one personal fantasy. When the sexy shifters vanish, she’s left with an invitation to return. Does she dare?

Dreamwalker: Key to Paradise by Pamela Moran
Pulled together through a world of dreams, Lena and Davis might have found the Key to Paradise. Can he convince her to take a chance, to believe in impossible possibilities, to hold on to their dream?

Meant to Be by Nerika Parke
A rock concert, a chance meeting with a sexy musician and a night on the beach turn Jessica’s unremarkable life upside down when she takes a weekend away for her birthday.

To Love Again by Allie Ritch
Kara is a reincarnated sorceress who has cheated death to return to her vampire lover again and again. She always comes back to Griffin. And she always leaves him, too. Now the anniversary of her first death has arrived, and she’s fated to die. Will she finally let Griffin turn her so they can be together forever? Or will she love him again in the next life?

Punishing the Messenger by Tara Quan
When her flighty cousin bails hours before the wedding, Kailee Chan is forced to deliver the news. The dominant groom punishes her instead, and her submission leads to a far more serious commitment.

For His Pleasure by Shiloh Saddler
A black slave and white plantation owner’s son narrowly avoid being separated when the estate is sold. Forced into poverty they must work hard to survive. But through the hardship their love endures.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Muddle: I Hate Winter

Seriously, I'm done with winter. Every day I report to work in long sleeves and pants, my hoodie, and my robe on top of that. When my feet turn to ice in their thick socks, I add another blanket. I live in the South. How effed up is this? I see notes in my social feeds from relatives enjoying the Florida and SoCal sunshine and I just want to &$%(#^@^$@(@!!!

To keep my mind off the miserable weather and to keep my fingers warm, I'm preparing to pull another trigger. I've finished a 5K-plus word submission to an anthology call. It is M/M fantasy, a slow but satisfying smolder, and purposefully funny. I hope for acceptance, but if not I have a Plan B for it. Crossed fingers appreciated.

If you're wondering why I'm working on so many anthology calls lately, I'll label it as therapy. I could ramble on for pages about my feelings and anxieties, but really I want to laugh again. There's some real-world sh!t that could prevent that for a while, but I won't say anything just yet. I'll say right now that I'm in a rebuilding phase at the moment. I want to have fun because I need it front and center. The idea of short fiction keeps my brain functioning, but at the same time I set aside a block to work on something longer.

My previous submission hasn't been decided yet - that call will close soon, so it could be a few weeks.

~

I finally finished Unfaded Glory by Sara Arden (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO). Here's what I wrote in my RN Goodreads account:

Wavering between 3 and 3.5 stars on the follow-up to Return to Glory. Where Return well blended the feel of a small-town contemporary romance with the inner conflict of war-disabled hero, Unfaded reads more like an action adventure with bit of small-town sewn in. I have to admit I wasn't expecting to read a story like this. Byron has suffered emotional and physical trauma after a mission with his Ranger team, yet he's duty-bound to serve his country once more by rescuing the princess of a small, Mediterranean nation in the throes of political unrest. Reluctantly he enters a government-arranged marriage of convenience to protect Damara and eventually help her establish democracy in her homeland.

About a third or so of the story actually takes in Glory, AK, with the couple jetting from Damara's homeland to Spain and back again. It's well-written and Byron and Damara make for an engaging couple when not battling over love versus lust in their situation. I think the heaviness of the story caught me a bit off guard, but if you liked the first book in the series it's worth a read.


When I picked up the first book, what caught my eye was the heroine's profession, a baker. I like a nice small-town contemporary set near a diner or bakery or similar focal point. It wasn't the focus of the story, though. Unfaded's cover has the look of a quiet small town romance but you get an action adventure. Not a bad book, but not what I had expected.

During the Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event at Katiebabs's blog, Paisley Smith wrote a nice piece on female soldiers in the US Civil War. I found it timely because I had started High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO), a novel tackling that exact topic. This is one of the few remaining non-mysteries of Rita's I have read, one that I DNF'd in college. I had been reluctant to pick it up again since some of Rita's more recent efforts disappointed me. However, I chose to include this into my 2015 reading challenges, and I'm glad I did. 

High Hearts is classic-era Rita, a great story with moments of conflict and humor, tragedy and hope. I'm encouraged to pick up her Dolley now, though I'm still burned out on mysteries in general so we'll see about those.


Presently, I'm into The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO). I've only read one of Mallery's Fool's Gold books, but this is something different. It's more general fiction than romance, though the triad-plot has elements of romance threaded into it. The "girls" represent a specific decade and marital situation (thirties and struggling in marriage; forties and dating; fifties and facing the future), and it's engrossing so far.

While this is all going on, I have a novella to write for an imprint invitation. More on that later.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Muddle: Sexy To Go

First up, my post at the Lesbian Appreciation Event 2015 at Katiebabs's blog is now live.

Starting in February, you can get some Sexy To Go - hot, erotic reads for your on the go lifestyle. Volume One is coming soon to Kindle, NOOK, All Romance, and everywhere Excessica Publishing titles are sold. Here's the first lickable cover:



My contribution to the first box set is an extension of a short written for last year's Sci Spanks event. Skin is a futuristic romp with spanking elements, MF pairing and happy for now. No cliffhanger, though the ending might seem left open for future romps. To be honest I won't rule it out. I had written Skin specifically for the Sci Spanks thing and never intended to revisit it, but when Eva Lefoy offered to bring authors together for regular releases of these collections I revisited the story and realized one could have more fun with it. I have ideas set for future Sexy To Go volumes, and I wouldn't mind another trip with Andromeda and her DILF of a Captain.

As I understand it, the Sexy To Go series will feature any number of authors. Some may appear in every set, some may take a month off to regroup and write more. Luckily I do have some content to go for a while and I am chiseling away at other projects. I like the idea of a regular series like Sexy To Go because it puts focus on a deadline to meet, a challenge to conquer. A few months I was a bit down, but when I work I don't have time to let the blue drag me.

For Volume Two I am thinking of a follow-up to ...And Lily Makes Three, which appeared in Coming Together: Through the Storm. That is also MF, but the following story would go in a very different direction, so while I ponder that I'm well into a submission WIP for an anthology call. Also, I've received an invitation to write a novella for a LGBT imprint coming this summer. More on that when it's official.

Turns out I'm busier than planned this winter. Back to chiseling.

Friday, January 16, 2015

TGIF: Time to Read Part VI - The Undiscovered Country

Lately I've become more dependent on my CVS-bought reading glasses. It may be time for an eye exam to determine if glasses become a permanent fixture in my future. If yes, so be it, as long as I have a way to read. It's not that I don't enjoy audio books, but it's difficult to listen to one unless I am completely alone. Earbuds go in, husband starts talking, and I can't enjoy having a book read to me. Add the jet noise from the nearby base, and it's a wonder I haven't blown my ears out yet.

When I set out to try the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I expected to stray from the list I initially set. Some books there don't come out until the summer, and in the meantime I'll read books that qualify for various categories. It doesn't mean I won't read the books chosen first, just that I'll be reading more than anticipated. Case in point, I had wanted to read Brown Girl Dreaming as my YA choice, but I couldn't wait and finished it before January, when the challenge began. Not to worry, R.J. Palacio's Wonder (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) happened to come up for sale on Kindle and I grabbed it. I'd only heard good things about the book and I wasn't disappointed by readability and story. Yeah, you could argue it's more an MG than a YA, but the market is younger readers so I'm counting it. I'm sure I'll have read another YA by year's end.

I finished Sherryl Woods's Dogwood Hill (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO)  and enjoyed it. It's a sweeter romance than others I've read of late, and as I haven't read the other eleven books in the series I can't speak for heat levels on others. I'm on the fence over whether or not to backtrack. Eleven books is asking a bit, especially when my TBR is already sliding to the floor. I may seek out one or two as the synopses grab me.

I'll give Woods credit, I didn't feel lost going into a series this far. It's not written as a serial where you're expected to remember past events and character quirks. On a similar train of thought, I'm reluctant to look into Marissa Meyer's Cress though I loved the first two books in her Lunar Chronicles, mainly because I fear running into trouble following the story. Of course, this could me unfounded worry. I may start Cress and have things come back to me. Anyway...


Also on my Book Riot list is "book published originally in another language." My original choice is not yet available in the US on Kindle, so I moved my original choice for "book written by author under 25" to this slot. Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen (AMZ / BN) is short and I expect to finish it this weekend.

After this I'm prepping for another box set release, but more on that Monday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Muddle: Who Do We Appreciate?

For the fourth consecutive year, I have contributed a piece to KT Grant's Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event. For 2015, I talk about some of the books I consider my personal gateways into works on the pairing. Not all are romance or erotica, but some present a romantic sensuality that I recall even after twenty years. You might have a guess as to which books I picked, but some titles might surprise you. See for yourself in a week or so.

Speaking of F/F, I've received three calls for shorts that I intend to fulfill in the next few months. Right now, I'm about to send in an extended version of my story, "Skin" to a new anthology tentatively called Sexy To Go, Vol. 1. This is an M/F futuristic with BDSM elements. After that, I have two more stories in the works for future volumes if I'm asked back. One is a first person POV. I've written first person for a few mysteries under my other name, and I'm thinking I might do more with it. Some people like it, some don't, but I find I'm comfortable with it if it suits the story.

All the while I'm still waiting to hear about another submission. Been waiting for a number of things lately, and it's been quiet. I am thinking I may experiment with new writing space next week by logging an hour a day at a nearby library. They have a quiet room which is really nice, and the jet noise isn't as prominent as it is in my home.

~

I started Unfaded Glory (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) last night and am already a third of the way through. I am enjoying it so far, though I'll say the story isn't quite what I expected having read book one. The cover implies a small-town contemporary romance, and it gets there, but the first third of the book is more action/adventure and romantic suspense. I put the book down for bed right when the story changed gears, so we'll see how the rest of the story play out. I had enjoy the first story, Return to Glory, and that book is quite different. For one, Return is set almost entirely in Glory, Kansas, but I see a recurring theme in Unfaded (i.e. damaged military hero).

I also started one by Sherryl Woods, Dogwood Hill (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO), which is the twelfth Chesapeake Shores novel. I hadn't realized the series went that long - this is actually my first Woods read. I picked it up mainly because of the setting. I've toyed with the idea of writing a Chesapeake Bay set story because I live in the area, and from what I've read so far this town has the feel of a place I'd visit on the Eastern Shore. Bit early to tell for me how I'll like this book, but it's reading quickly.

After this, I have a few reading challenge books I want to finish, perhaps a sci-fi.







Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday Muddle: Tick-Tock

I have a few weeks to complete a short piece for the upcoming Love Spanks event. I'll be honest, I haven't started yet. Typically when I volunteer for things like this I get things done ASAP so I don't have to worry. Lately, though, my head's a mess. Today everybody finally goes back to school/work after a lengthy holiday, and I'm hoping the fog lifts soon. I haven't written anything beyond blog posts and book reviews in the last month.

It's not unusual for me to go on a writing hiatus - sometimes I do it after I've finished a long work. This time, though, the inner demons have tempted me to go longer. It's not that I don't have any ideas, I have plenty. I'm compelled, though, to want to write them all at once. You can imagine what happens - you get confused and frustrated, and you find it's easier to not write at all. I fear often that will happen to me, that I'll lose the joy of writing. However, the pain that comes from not writing overwhelms me, too.

If this doesn't make sense, sorry about that. It's not my nature to come off like a whiner. I'm just tired, but I don't worry. I'll get the Love Spanks piece done - it isn't supposed to be more than a few thousand words. I don't want to recycle something from a current or abandoned WIP, either. I need to write original to stay fresh. I'll do this while I await news of a submission sent to Coming Together. I've decided if it doesn't make the cut, I'll write a follow-up to the story and self-pub both together. I've also found a call for F/F erotica for another anthology, so I'm cooking up ideas for that as well.

Onto reading now.

I squealed when I saw A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott (ARE / AMZ / BN / KOBO) on NetGalley, louder so when I got cleared to read it. This is from the review on my real-name account at GR:

Stardust doesn't focus on just one conflict, and anybody up on their GWTW history knows the making of the film alone could fill many books. Author Kate Alcott balances the tensions behind filming the American Civil War with the looming war in Europe, which filmmakers are discouraged from touching. As Carole's assistant, Julie deals with scandalous Gable/Lombard publicity while diving headfirst into a relationship with an older, Jewish man determined to do his part for the cause.

Each of the stories (the movie, the relationships, the struggle to work in film) overlap and fit like a secure braid. I enjoyed Stardust, especially when Carole Lombard had control. If you're a fan, you'll enjoy the story. If you've not heard of her, Stardust may make you a fan.

As part of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, I chose Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (AMZ / BN) as my graphic novel. Finished it last night. You might know Alison's name from the Bechdel Test of movies. Home is a graphic novel memoir, specifically about Bechdel's relationship with her father. I liked it, but as I'd read her strip Dykes to Watch Out For for years I find I enjoyed her fiction comics more.

I'm down to three books in the NetGalley queue, and after that I'll concentrate on some books I purchased over the holiday. With the house back in my possession, though, it's time to write again.