Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday's Muddle Today: What I Have To Say

I don't typically open up about controversial topics, and I have my reasons.


So it's really one reason. I fear incurring general wrath, angering the masses, shooting myself in the foot with an ill-timed tweet.

I have long utilized the Count To Ten rule in social blogging and media. I'll write something out that may or may not incite volatile reaction, count to ten, and if I don't think it's a good idea to post I erase it. I do it a lot, mainly because I identify as a peaceful person and I don't like pissing off people.

I find, though, I probably do that anyway and don't realize it. I may do so through the stories I write or the ones I never finished, or through the fact that I stay silent on a lot of things. I suffer through many "damned if you do/n't" moments, and I know one day I won't remain quiet for much longer. I want to stress, though, anything I say here I say as an individual and not as a representative for any publisher or company with whom I'm associated. I would choose optimism first and hope one day we can come together like John Lennon sang, but we've still a long way to go.

At this point in my writing career, I don't think there's anywhere else to go but up. If you choose to no longer read my stories because of my beliefs I can't help that.

This weekend I saw posts where an author of romance admitted she would shoot a transwoman on sight in a ladies' restroom. I find that disturbing. I am cis, and while there are things I don't fully comprehend about trans life I don't condone violence against people who identify as trans.

I've come to know several transwomen in recent years, and they are people who want to live their lives. They have jobs and families. Their "agendas" involve grocery shopping and making sure the DVR is set properly. Nobody should be shot for the clothes they wear or because they have to use the restroom.

I don't like reading about beautiful children taking their lives because they feel they can't be happy. Blake Brockington and Leelah Alcorn are gone and they didn't have to go. It disturbs me that some parents would rather have a dead son instead of a living daughter, so they can comfortably show their faces at Kroger.

I don't like that law in Indiana, either, and I say this as a Christian. I get this impression business owners who don't like same-sex couples think an orgy is going to break out if gay people walk through their doors. No, they just want to buy sandwiches because they're hungry. People want to use the Bible to justify treating poorly the people they don't like. Well, I've read the Bible, too. Cover to cover - the King James version even though I'm not a Protestant.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Gospel of Mark, 12:31.

You don't have to agree with your neighbor. Do remember, if you observe a certain faith, that whatsoever you do...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


A little over 21k words later, I finally typed THE END on Daring Destiny. It is off to edits and soon to appear in an all FF box set. Some great authors participating in this project, and I can't wait to share details. Speaking of FF, Love Spanks 2015 is now available at All Romance for just 99 cents. If you enjoy a bit of spanking with your ladylove this is the collection to get.

So here is what my publication/writing schedule looks like for the Spring and Summer:

  • MM short in Sexy To Go, Volume 3, out late March
  • MM short in Coming Together Outside the Box, out late May
  • FF novelette, The Sweetest Dare, out early June
  • FF novelette, Daring Destiny, out early June in box set First Lady Love
  • MM short in Mythologically Torqued, out May 13
  • MM collection, Men & Mayhem, out TBA
There are more Sexy To Go stories coming, too. I just have to figure out what's going where and when. Now that my deadlines have been met, I can concentrate on some shelved stories, namely more in my Class in Session universe. Working titles include Class Clown and Touch of Class. While I'm chiseling away there I am scouting cover art for the Men &Mayhem collection. Such a chore (sigh).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Muddle: Here Comes the Cold

My third story in the Sexy to Go series, "He's So Sly," is turned in and awaiting publication. Truly, I'm having fun writing shorts for these collections. It's been a while since I enjoyed writing for the fun of writing - not worrying about sales or money or whatever. Last year had been rough emotionally with various things happening - some in public, others not - but it's my hope the Sexy to Go bundles will springboard me into longer works.

"He's So Sly" is part of an idea I've been brewing for a long time - a series of stories set in the LGBT district of a Mid-Atlantic beach town. With this first short done I can now devote time to longer works in the same setting. Once I'm finished with "Daring Destiny" I'm no longer held to deadlines, so I can write at my leisure.

Only problem is, "Daring Destiny" won't immediately end. I write and write and the story gets longer. This FF story for the bundle was supposed to be about 15k. I predict I'll get past 20k when I finally hit the end. Ah well, more for you to read. :)

I finished The Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen (pre-order: AMZ / BN / KOBO) last night and loved it. Andersen has restyled her books into The Tudor Legacy series, and if you like alternate histories this is great series. You should read her previous Boleyn books before this one, and I'll warn you now: there's another book to follow. I can't wait for it.

I am simultaneously working on A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (ARe /AMZ / BN / KOBO) and Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister (ARe / AMZ / BN / Kobo), both of which I'd like to finish this week. Both are good so far; it's just a matter of finding the time to read. 

I have a stack of books to take with me on Spring Break. I'll be working through much of it, but hopefully from a warmer place than here. More on that reading list soon.

Friday, March 20, 2015

TGIF: Time To Read, Part X - Nemesis

Getting this blatant ad out of the way first. All my Phaze titles are 25% off on the site. What's more, Dare Me is discounted 25% at All Romance and Amazon until next month, too.

NOTICE: I just recently got the rights back to Enter Sandman, Why Why Zed?, and A Winter's Dare, so you might want to hold off on getting those stories. They will be heavily revised and reissued, the M/Ms in a collection and the Dare story as a longer work. The code above is good for eBook and print, so if you want a paperback it's a good deal.

I expect to finish The Virgin's Daughter by Laura Andersen (pre-order: AMZ / BN / KOBO) this weekend. This is a follow-up to Andersen's Boleyn Trilogy, alternate histories where Anne Boleyn had a son and therefore Henry VIII stopped at two marriages. I loved those books and figured the story ended there, but Andersen has billed Virgin as a "Tudor Legacy" novel. It's set in the same universe and is also alternative history. This time Elizabeth I has issue and must ensure the line continues via a good marriage for her daughter and heir. I like the story so far, and I'm curious to see how far Andersen can draw this line. English history is brimming with plenty of "should haves" to keep her writing for a while.

I also plan to read Dorothy Parker Drank Here by Ellen Meister (ARe / AMZ / BN / Kobo). Another instance of where I thought a story ended. The previous book, Farewell, Dorothy Parker, ended with a finality that led me to believe Meister wouldn't revisit this world. But here's a second book, and I liked the first one (didn't love it). I'm intrigued enough to see where the story goes.

My reading challenges are still on the radar. That's the problem with too many books and too little time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Contract, A Pre-Order, An End

Some days feels like an empty desert. You look in any direction and see nothing for miles. Then one day you take a step and BOOM! There's a cactus.

Maybe that's a bad analogy, but over the last month I've been chipping away at different stories, and the other day things snowballed.

A Contract! Remember all those earlier posts about how I was waiting to hear on a submission? Well, I did and it's a done deal. I submitted an MM short, called "Styx and Stone" to Torquere Press's call for their Mythologically Torqued anthology and it's accepted. The story will release as a standalone and be included in the collection. If the word count is high enough, it goes to print. So now I am officially a Torquere Press author. :-)

A Pre-Order! The print version of Coming Together: Outside the Box will debut at Balticon, but you can pre-order the eBook at Amazon and Smashwords now. Proceeds from sales benefit The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. My story in this book is also MM, a short called "Lyon's Den" and it's set in a brothel. :o

An End! I've finished "He's So Sly", yet another MM short that will be included in Sexy to Go, Volume 3. This story will be part of a series I've been tinkering with, set high on the Eastern Shore. It won't be connected to my Bliss series, though. Like "Lyon's" this is contemporary, while "Styx and Stone" is fantasy/myth.

Next up: finish "Dare's Destiny" for the all FF romance box set I'm in this summer. "The Sweetest Dare" is sent to the editor for work, and now on to the next thing.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Muddle: No Title

I'm in a holding pattern writing-wise. Still waiting on news of a submission, still chipping away at my March story for Sexy To Go 3. Still chipping away at my two FF novellas. I have an edit job I haven't started yet. What's that I see, an avalanche?

Some good news, I'm able to post reviews on Amazon again. In the past I'd get dinged, I suppose for being a KDP account holder. It's nice to know I can recommend books there again. So I'll be building up my review count there soon.

I finished The Dowry Bride by Shoban Bantwal (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) in the time since Friday's post. The synopsis drew me in, because I haven't read many romances set in India. I had enjoy The Bollywood Affair and this came up on the search algorithms. On the whole, I liked the story but I wish it had ended differently. It's about a woman escaping what she once thought was a good marriage. Megha discovers her mother-in-law's plot to arrange an "accident" for Megha, thereby freeing up her son for another, more profitable dowry marriage. She finds safety with another in-law, one who's loved her for a while.

The story had the makings for a great book, but the execution was off for me. I don't want to spoil the story, but I had wished for more interaction toward the end between Megha and her detractors, aside from the flashbacks.

I enjoyed Revival by Stephen King (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO), which I also finished as anticipated. This is a slow-churning story about a man coming into contact with a faithless former minister at various points in his life, and how the man's obsession with electricity has messed with a lot of people. The story builds and gives you that stomach pain...you know something WTF horrible is going to happen and when it does you're still shocked. Lot of people are saying King is back to the way he used to write. I think this reminded me a lot of The Green Mile - a touch of magic realism and psychological horror. I look forward to Finders Keepers.

Right now I'm working on A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO). It's $1.99 everywhere but Kobo right now, and it's on the Pulitzer TBR. Really need to whittle down that list. Next up, probably The Yearling.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Blog Hop

Inner Goddess
Welcome to the St. Patrick's Day Blog Hop! Please take a moment to check out the giveaways and feel free to leave a comment. I have set up a Rafflecopter in addition to the main widget for the grand prizes. Good luck!

What a nice segue. Many associate St. Patrick's Day with luck and lucky symbolism - a pot of gold, a rainbow, a four-leaf clover. I have no relevant stories for the season, but I consider myself lucky as far as my career is concerned. I work with books, I have a flexible schedule for writing, and I have access to so many great stories. eBook, print book, whatever - I read like I eat, which is often.

I may have mentioned here before that I first binge-read mysteries. In my hometown of Jacksonville, there's a huge bookstore called Chamblin's Bookmine. I swear, the building takes up a city block. I spent so much money there back in the day and discovered great mystery authors: Dick Francis, Sue Grafton, Val McDermid, Laurien Berenson, etc. When I started publishing stories, I had the great fortune of getting to know authors and editors. Once in a while, I'd get together with Alessia Brio and Bridget Midway and Tilly Greene and others for a signing or conference. With less emphasis on print books, I don't do so many events anymore, so I miss that.

Of course, there are Romantic Times and Authors After Dark cons to look forward to. In 2016. I promised the family a year off while we travel on our own. Now I'm getting off track - we're talking about books.

What are you reading now? I picked up Flapper, which is a microhistory on the age of the flapper and the New Woman in the 1920s. I love stories set in the era, and old Hollywood. If you know a book like that, shout it out in the comments.


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Friday, March 13, 2015

TGIF: Time To Read, Part IX - Insurrection

I may have mentioned this before, but I find when I read more, I am more productive. I plowed through a number of books this past week, and did a fair amount of writing as well. I don't know if other writers see this correlation, but I'll keep chugging away. I had hoped not to have a cookie booth this weekend, but we got called up at the last minute. Ah well. It's for a good cause, and I'm almost done with two stories.

Now for the reading. I've have Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) on my TBR forever and a day. I somehow managed to avoid spoilers, and I finished this in two days. Holy cow. That's pretty much all I have to say. It's billed as a thriller, but I could slip it onto the horror shelf with a good argument. Man...I'm almost spooked to see the movie, and I read a lot of King and Harris.

I picked up The Woman in the Movie Star Dress by Praveen Asthana (AMZ / BN) by virtue of the cover and interesting premise. From my real name review on GR: Genevieve comes to believe that these dresses hold the personalities of those who originally wore them. Throughout the story she chooses attire to correspond with how she wants to act when on dates. The arrival of red dress similar to one Marilyn Monroe wore in a film arouses her interest but is quickly sold, and afterward she learns its true history.

The idea of transference/chi in film wardrobe was an intriguing concept, and the author progressed the story well for the most part. There are a number of factual and spelling errors that are hopefully cleaned up in the final version. The only reason I knocked this down a star was for the side plot - the story of the beleaguered wife who bought the Marilyn dress. Her story just seemed to end without a firm conclusion. Aside from that, a very interesting suspense.

I expect to finish The Dowry Bride by Shoban Bantwal (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) and Revival by Stephen King (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO) this weekend. I chose the former to read to satisfy requirements in a few reading challenges, and I've had the King book in my TBR for a while. I want to read it before his book is out. Each are easy to read. I'll have a clearer view of my overall impressions soon. The King story reads like a slow crawl to something horrid.

After these I want to get some more TBR off the shelf and in my hands. Maybe I can sneak a book to the cookie booth.


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Monday, March 9, 2015

Monday Muddle: The Waiting

It's fifty degrees outside right now. I should be wearing shorts and frolicking in the surf. I can't remember the last time it was This. Broiling. Hot.

"Sarcasm?" asked Sheldon Cooper. "Yes and no," I answer.

This week I remain in a holding pattern for a number of things. I'm waiting for a check for a freelance job (client is often late and evasive, and I should consider moving on). I'm waiting to hear on a submission and, as I've learned, so are other authors who sent work to the same call. I'm waiting for confirmation on a few stories for which I've asked for rights reversal. I'm waiting on a royalty check and wondering what I'll see on the statement...and sadly ask myself if it's accurate. More on that another time, I need to be positive.

Did I mention I have a number of stories available in audio format? A romance blog to which I contribute, Isn't It Romantic, is giving away two Audible codes for a blog hop. If you win, please try one. I believe I've also donated audiobooks to other giveaways happening around here. Just look for the name.


This past week I finished Two Howls by Sean Michael (ARe / AMZ / BN), which I enjoyed. I also realize I have only read Sean's ARe novellas, which should change. There are so many great M/M romance authors out there, and I haven't the time to read everybody. I find when I read more, I write more, so it's a good habit for me.

It took flippin' forever, but I finally finished Children of Dune by Frank Herbert (ARe / AMZ / BN / KOBO). Another reader on GR posed that this series declines in quality with each book. I loved Dune - I'd consider it my favorite science fiction book, and I liked Dune Messiash almost as much. Children, not so much. The story dragged, and most of the characters were unlikable. The absence of Paul for the most part hurt this installment, and at this point I don't think I'll read any more Dune books. I had only pledged to read the original trilogy, and that's finally done.

Right now I'm finally getting into Gone Girl. Never read it, haven't seen the movie, don't know what happens. So don't spoil it for me. :P


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Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Giving Post

I have a bit of extra money this month, and with this being the season of Lent, I wanted to do something to help along another creative person. Many view Lent as a season of sacrifice - giving up meat on Fridays, chocolate for whole 40 days, etc. For years I've vowed to do similar and for years I'm headfirst in the fridge after the first day. This year, I'd like to approach this season as one of spiritual preparation and giving.

Through Patreon, I'm sponsoring Melissa Hunter and her Adult Wednesday Addams minisodes on Youtube:

These are hilarious. I always thought an adult Wednesday spin-off should happen, and Melissa's getting it done. Definitely worthy of a network pickup.

I'm also sponsoring Nobilis Reed's erotica podcast. He's been recording podcasts for several years now, and he produced one of my Coming Together shorts a few years ago. With the sponsorship, he'll be able to pay contributors, and hopefully my story in Coming Together: Outside the Box will be featured in the future.

I have a bit more to spare for one more creative project. So far I have one video and one podcast. I'm thinking maybe a comic strip or graphic novel next?

I'm happy to take suggestions if you know of a good project to support. It doesn't have to be through Patreon. I've donated to Kickstarters and Kiva in the past as well.


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Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Muddle: Do Over

Ah, March. A new month, another opportunity to start over. Seriously. I'm writing off February altogether because 90 percent of it sucked. Kidlet missed half a month of school due to bad weather, I about froze my extremities off indoors, and I capped off the month with a notice that I ran a red light during our holiday weekend. Royalties come in, royalties pay fines. Bleh.

So I need to sell a few bazillion copies of Sexy To Go, Vol. 2 (AMZ / BN / KOBO) to make up for that money spent. I am a good driver, please be assured. This particular violation happened during a stressful time when my GPS decided to take me on a mystery tour of Delaware.

Okay, no more of reliving that unpleasantness. Some good news: I finished the first draft of The Sweetest Dare, which currently clocks in around 27K. It may go longer in the next round of writing, we'll see. Daring Destiny is close to 13K, and while the suggested maximum is 15K for this project it might go a bit longer. No word yet on when Coming Together: Outside the Box will be released, but I expect we'll know soon. Still waiting for word on a submission for a publisher call, but as the deadline was the 15th it's still to early to tell.

My next short for the Sexy To Go series will be another contemporary MM pairing, title TBA. It's about half finished now. While all this is going on I've put in reversion requests for a few stories. No worries with the publisher, but the stories have run their course as is, and I plan to revise and lengthen both for later enjoyment.


Reading? I've done a bit.

I picked up The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg (AMZ / BN / KOBO) as a means of reintroducing myself to George Sand. I've read one of her novels and watched Impromptu, which I didn't really enjoy, but I've longed to see another interpretation of Sand, one done well. Lover was okay, but I didn't go gaga for the book. It seemed like a chore to read at times, and when I get that feeling I'm tempted to DNF. I stuck this one out, though.

I also finished The Awakening by Kally Jo Surbeck (ARe / AMZ / BN), actually my second time around reading it. This had been part of a four-story anthology with each story centering on one of the Greek Fates. Kally Jo's story is touching with the right amount of spice and angst. I enjoy different interpretations of myths (it's why I tried that publisher call), and I'm glad to see this story back in circulation.

I have a few more books open and in progress, check back Friday to see what I've finished. Meanwhile I'll keep my eyes on the road.


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