Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Put a Bow on It


Merry Midwinter Spending Holiday.

(That fits everyone's beliefs and offends as many people as possible.)

I'd say I'm sorry I've been MIA, but I'm not. I spent 10 days in Orlando, Florida, which was excellent, and I'm not sorry about that. Here, have a picture!

The weather was almost ideal the whole time - it was a little chilly and rained a bit one day, but that was it. I had a great time. The husband had a great time. The child had a great time, with only a few tears. She reached MFQ a few times.

As I had to explain this while down in Florida, here's the quick and dirty: MFQ = Maximum Fun Quotient. The time after MFQ is reached, no matter how fun an activity, no matter how much you've been looking forward to it, etc, you just cannot have any more fun. You are tired, or overloaded, or both. Toddlers reach MFQ fairly quickly.

As one of the bout of tears had to do with the fact that we cannot take live baby ducks home, I sort of wrote that off as MFQ.

In the real, non-Disney world: One of my stories returned home to me, unpublished. This is not because it wasn't good; in fact I am assured by the editor that it was, actually, very good and would have been accepted for publication except that the editor is having a hard time of things and just doesn't feel she can get the book out any time soon, so has put the project on permanent hiatus. I'm mildly sad about this, since I really adore this editor, and I would have loved to have a project with her name on it. On the other hand, I'm delighted that she liked my story, even if I can't, in the interest of politeness, tell you who she is. I did some looking around and turned the story around to someone else; hopefully I'll find a home for it. If not, I might offer it up as a free-read or a 99cent Amazon deal. We'll see. Amazon's stuff confuses me.

I'm deep into the "I hate Christmas" part of the year. My hand to god, one year, I'm just gonna snap and there will be Rudolf guts everywhere. My family drives me crazy in the most well-meaning sort of way. I never feel like I've done enough, or can buy enough, and those feelings in and of themselves make me crazy because that's NOT what it's supposed to be. And hell's bells, I'm not even Christian, so why am I doing this anyway? Except that I would feel MORE bad if I didn't, and honestly, I have enough guilt to lug around without deliberately adding to the stack.

My writing schedule is finally Not Whack, which is good.

I have 2 more chapters in Blood Sight to write, and then it'll be time to dig into the re-writes and edits. I have cut 20,000 words out of Marked Man so far, with another 30-45k to go. I am almost done writing Blister Effect (6k out of 9-10k). I have detailed out the plot for Wind Counterclockwise, a B&S Menage piece, expected to run 15 - 20K. I have re-read and started plotting for the rewrite of Circle in the Sand, a co-written Menage novel with my dear friend Elizabeth L. Brooks. I have plotted out the story for a 10 - 15k m/m novelette called Roll. I have plotted out the story for a f/f short 3,500 - 5k words story tentatively called Alive and Kicking. I also have tentatively decided to write a 10-20k novelette for an End of Days antho.

Out in the wild, I have PBEM, Snake Dance, Which Way the Wind Blows, and Ripped, still waiting to hear; and On the Fly has been submitted elsewhere. Lustfully Ever After has achieved cover-art.

I'll see you all next year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Setting Myself Up


I might have bitten off more than I can chew.

To be honest with you, I didn't expect it to be the 29th of November and for me to have anywhere close to 50,000 words.

I rather expected that, much like I've done several times before, I'd start up the NaNoWriMo project with the best of intentions and sputter out somewhere around week 2. I've only once ever completed the project (and then I lost it all in a titanic hard drive failure), even though I've attempted it at least five times previous.

I don't know what happened this year. I have 2 more writing days in the month and I'm currently at 47,400. (I'm not done for today, mind you, just taking a break.)

However, I do have a project I want to do that's due to the editor by December 15th - a 3-6k short erotica with a fantasy theme. Which would probably be doable if (BIG if!) I wasn't going to Florida for a week, starting on Friday. However, I have the outline for Dragon Maiden written up and I'm going to take my laptop with me to Florida. Give my parents some grandchild time and I'll stay one or two mornings in the resort and get some work done. Ha. Ha ha ha. I foresee my writing like a fiend on the 11th and 12th when I get home and then badgering my beta to do a forced review. (Hi, Liz and Greg. You are warned!)

And this one? I'd love to do this project. I even have an idea. But to get it done in less than a month. Well, I might be able to. If I didn't have any other social engagements.

And I promised myself I'd finish Blood Sight, which is my NaNoWriMo project. I'm about 50K words in which will give me a technical "win" for the project, but I'm not actually done. I'm expecting the rough draft needs another 15,000 words to be actually finished.

And I have two old novel projects that I've told myself I will finish and get out the freaking door, A Marked Man is finished. I need to edit a few things in Chapters 9 - 11 and cut out about 50,000 words. (I even know where about 35,000 are going to come from!). Circle in the Sand - a VERY old project - could use some edits, have the sex scenes put back in, and then polished.

And I have the sequels/companion stories for Shadow of Kenfig to work on. I keep changing the titles, but at present they are Blister Effect (10k words estimated, 6k of which are done), Lunar Equations (10k estimated, outline drawn up), Umbral Theories (10k estimated, a one sentence hook written) and Wind Me Counterclockwise (20,000 words, outline drawn up). After Blister Effect, I think I may work on Wind Me Counterclockwise, since that premise has the most excitement for me, at the moment.

I also have a lesbian story in mind, Stealing Third, 3-5k words.

And a boylove story, Roll in the Hay, which will probably be about 10k.

And then there's the novel ideas: Blood Sight is the first of four stories that I have planned for that particular series; Blood Sight, Hunter Moon, Bad Intentions, and Grave Magic. (ish 80k words each!)

Also, I have a steampunk romance idea, The Wormwood Trade.

And that's not even including the fact that I haven't been looking for any more submission calls...



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Answer to the Question

I'm going to divert off topic from the normal blatherings of this blog (namely, writing smut and arranging my life around the smut writing) to a bit of the political.

I don't usually talk much about politics, but if you're paying attention, you've probably guessed that I'm not a conservative. (We don't talk about politics much in my house because we're a mixed household; although my husband has been, lately, deciding that the Right is swinging a little more towards the Religious Right and less toward the financial conservative that he prefers. I don't know if he's quite gotten disgusted enough to vote with me instead of against me, because I don't really want to know.)

But I do want to say that this particular rant has nothing to do with Herman Cain politically. I'm not going off because he's a Republican, I'm going off about this issue...

Sexual harassment. And why it's an issue.

Let me tell you a story:

Quite a long time ago (more than ten years ago) I was the victim of sexual harassment.

About a year before I went to work there, the company was sued for racial discrimination. I heard this story from one of the other employees who was telling me that someone called another co-worker a "fucking nigger." I don't know much more about it than that, but that he attempted to resolve the issue through HR and his manager to no avail and at last sued the company for creating a hostile work environment. The company was found guilty and told to pay him compensation to the tune of $50,000, or about two years his annual salary. While I was hearing about this story, the manager in question who refused to resolve the issue and was still working at the company, came by, happened to overhear the end of the story and had this to say, "Okay, he's 50k richer, but he's still a stupid fucking nigger."

So, when I started having problems with another employee sexually harassing me, I knew complaining to the company would do no good. I mean, if that's the attitude they had about racial discrimination, what were they likely to do about me and this co-worker? Nothing.

To give you some scope of the problem: this guy left sexually explicit letters in my desk. He would come into my office and make crude comments about everything from the way I dressed to how I walked. My manager never asked him to leave, even after hearing some of the comments. A few of my OTHER co-workers, upon learning that this was happening, took it on themselves to "protect" me. If they knew "Larry" was in the office (because he wasn't, always. In fact he was only generally in the office about once every two weeks at the same time that I was) they'd take shifts staying with me up in my office, so that I wouldn't end up being alone with "Larry."

"Larry" backed me into the corner one time in the lunch room and put his hand between my legs. This was the culmination of many weeks in which he would stand in my way when I wanted to get to the copier, the file cabinets, or anything else, forcing me to either not get my work done, or brush past him when I did.

I got so paranoid and terrified about him that I would have one of my co-workers walk me down to the parking lot after work because there were too many places "Larry" could have hidden and attacked me that would have been out of sight of the office. My hours were such that I left two to three hours before most of the other employees and came in at five in the morning, most days.

Twice "Larry" tracked me down outside of work to press his advance. Once when I was meeting a girlfriend for lunch, he called her from my office (I'd already left) to tell her I wouldn't be showing up, that I had to work late and then he showed up in her place. And another time I "ran into" him at the post office when I was delivering some packages for my boss.

"Why didn't you sue?"

For one thing, can you really, seriously, imagine what it would be like to stand up in a court-room full of people and explain what happened? While a bunch of men look at you like you're some cock-tease slattern, and a white male old judge decides whether or not your sexual promiscuity in college "led him on." And if you think that doesn't happen, you clearly have not been paying attention. Slut-shaming is the number one defense technique in rape and sexual harassment trials. Go read comments in any of the articles about Herman Cain's accuser. Somewhere in there, you'll find someone commenting that she's a slut. Because, obviously, if she's ever had sex in her life and enjoyed it, she can't possibly not want sex with someone else.

I'm not saying Herman Cain is guilty of sexual harassment. Not at all. We don't know the facts, he hasn't been tried. What I am saying is that it happens, it is an issue, and no, women don't always go to the police immediately. And even when they do... not a whole hell of a lot happens that's good for the woman.

You know why I didn't file an official complaint? The belief that even if I was believed (doubtful) and even if I could prove anything, and even if, given all that, I was vindicated in a court of law, and given monetary compensation for my distress? I would never work again. I knew that. Who the hell's gonna hire me when they look up my work record and see that I sued a company for sexual harassment? I become an employment risk, even if they think that they don't have anyone in their company "who would do that." They'd doubt that it ever happened and I must be some sue happy slut that they don't want on their payroll.

I was not prepared for the consequences of that action. And that's what keeps a lot of women silent. Fear.

We are afraid. Afraid people will think we're liars. That we're sluts. That we're "trying to get attention." That we're lazy and don't want to work and want to take some hard-working company's money away from them. That we "got ourselves into this situation."

All I wanted was to get away from the situation.

"Well, she had a boyfriend, she says she told him, why didn't he do something? He must not have believed her either." They have a name for that, it's called assault and battery. It doesn't matter if the boyfriend had a reason for beating the shit out of Cain.

All we want is for it to go away.

"So why did she wait until now to bring it up? She's just trying to take him for money now that he's worth something."

Maybe. Or maybe she doesn't think someone like that should be in a position of more power.

I'm not saying Herman Cain did it. I'm not saying Sharon Bialek is telling the truth. What I am saying is that there are reasons for keeping quiet. There are reasons for just getting away from the situation. And those reasons are exactly what is going on now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo Report, Week One

So, I'm running behind.

Not, however, in NaNoWriMo. I'm actually a bit more than a full day's writing ahead of schedule. If I wasn't to write a single word today, I'd still be "on schedule" to finish before the end of the month. As I don't intend to write nothing today - I'm actually looking forward to getting to start today, after I take a shower! - I'll probably continue to be at least a day ahead. If I can continue to push this pace, I might actually get ahead enough to not have to write over the Thanksgiving holiday, which is good, because we're going to North Carolina for Thanksgiving to visit with my husband's best friend.

Our best friend? Not sure really, what words describe this particular friend. We both love him to death, we got to be friends with him independently, and while he was the number one person telling BOTH of us that we should NOT date each other, he was also my husband's Best Man in our wedding. In his best man's toast admitted that he'd been wrong about that particular advice. To his credit, my husband and I had a very bad first meeting, and then entered in the weird process of falling in love while I was dating someone else. As it turned out, the someone else I was dating was having the same problem on the other side (ie, he was falling in love with someone else, my best girlfriend as a matter of fact!) and despite a painfully ugly series of breakups, everything worked out pretty much perfectly for everyone.

Anyway, good friend. And one that we don't see nearly often enough. I also adore his wife, and their daughter is about the same age as ours. And it gets me out of having to spend any family time. I love my family, I do, but I'm already spending a week with my dad in December, and it's frequently for the best that I keep my familial interactions spaced out. My Dad and I get along very well these days; certainly we have a much better relationship now than I would have ever imagined growing up. But this involves certain amounts of shutting the fuck up on both of our parts. My dad and I are a lot alike, personality-wise. Opinion wise? Not so much. If there's an opinion out there, chances are, we're going to argue about it.

That's kinda beside the point; I'm behind in everything else in my life. There are dry-goods groceries on the floor in the kitchen because I haven't taken the time to put them away. Two bags of trash that I haven't taken out. I did laundry on Tuesday, but I still had clean clothes in one basket that hadn't been folded.

So, NaNo is going well.

Life... well, you know how it is.



Monday, November 7, 2011

Blog Tour and Review; Diane Alberts' Kill Me Tomorrow

About the Story

Jasmine Baruch is a jinn—a supernatural being who fights demons with fire. While that’s difficult enough, she’s got bigger problems. She’s a virgin, and in the jinn culture, that is sheer blasphemy. Jinn are supposed to be passionate, promiscuous creatures—everything she isn’t. Due to marry the next day, she takes matters into her own hands by using 1Night Stand. But, like the rest of her life, nothing is easy. The man chosen for her, though incredibly gorgeous, is a demi-sanguine; a half-human, half-demon–her enemy.

Gavin Werbato is looking for an easy night of sex. Nothing more, nothing less. Instead, he gets a gorgeous jinn convinced it is her duty to kill him. He can certainly think of better things to do with her soft hands than murder. He need only convince her of that…

Can the fire sparked when these beings collide be controlled, or will it consume their world as they know it?


Review

Squished in amongst my other myriad duties and desires (ok, so that was a play on words for my most recent submission, which I managed to write in just three days!) I was asked to read and review Kill Me Tomorrow.

I almost didn't take it up; I am what you might call exceptionally busy. However, the premise was intriguing. I read, as you well know, quite a few historical romances. And one of the things that makes me absolutely love them is the moment of sexual awakening on the part of the heroine (I have still been tempted to try to work out a virginal hero in a historic setting, but haven't quite been able to make the idea gel.) Maybe it's because my own awakening took place so long after the loss of my virginity that I romanticize the moment. Wouldn't it be nice if...

I love those moments of first love, the trembling in the stomach and hands, the heat on cheeks, the slow stir of desire as you realize for the first time the power of a kiss.

So I'm glad I took the time to look over this short story; Jasmine is in a bit of bind. She has to be married TOMORROW to a supernatural of her choice, but if she's a virgin on her wedding night, she'll be disgraced. Jinn are supposed to be passionate and sexy, and Jasmine is anything but. She's tried, oh lord, has she tried, but no man has awakened her desires. And now, so far past her prime as to be a laughingstock, no one even looks her way.

Until she meets Gavin, and in her greatest enemy, she might be able to find her greatest desires...

A fascinating little world - and one that I'd love to see more of - with a grand premise behind it, Kill Me Tomorrow has an emotionally satisfying ending, some piquant sex scenes, and witty banter between two characters that was enjoyable from the beginning.

For more about the writer, please visit Diane Alberts website.

From the Author

What’s in a name?

When I name my characters, I do so with precision and care—ha-ha, it almost sounded true! As if I were so well thought out. *snickers*

Although, in all seriousness, if you chose the wrong name, it can throw your whole story off balance. And I often choose names that, for some unknown reason, I have a hard time typing correctly. This was not the case in my paranormal romance, Kill Me Tomorrow.

Jasmine, in Kill Me Tomorrow, was inspired by none other than Jasmine from the classic Disney movie Aladdin. I watched it over, and over, and over again growing up…and when I pictured my heroine, she looked exactly like her. Except, not animated. And a bit more deadly.

Gavin came from personal reasons, as well. For starters, I love the name. I wanted to name my son it, but it got vetoed by the husband. Hah, take that! I’ll just make him up in my head, thank you very much. But, besides that, he is inspired by Gavin DeGraw, the singer. Something about that man crooning sets me on fire.

Just as Gavin does to Jasmine. Or is it the other way around?

Kill Me Tomorrow is a paranormal romance book, in Decadent Publishing’s fabulous 1Night Stand series. The series revolves around the enigmatic Madame Eve who always seems to be able to find the perfect match for that special someone.

Blurb:

Jasmine Baruch is a jinn-a supernatural being who fights demons with fire. While that’s difficult enough, she’s got bigger problems. She’s a virgin, and in the jinn culture, that is sheer blasphemy. Jinn are supposed to be passionate, promiscuous creatures-everything she isn’t. Due to marry the next day, she takes matters into her own hands by using 1NS. But, like the rest of her life, nothing is easy. The man chosen for her, though incredibly gorgeous, is a demi-sanguine; a half-human, half-demon-her enemy.

Gavin Werbato is looking for an easy night of sex. Nothing more, nothing less. Instead, he gets a gorgeous jinn convinced it is her duty to kill him. He can certainly think of better things to do with her soft hands than murder. He need only convince her of that…

Can the fire sparked when these beings collide be controlled, or will it consume their world as they know it?

Excerpt:

She’d accomplished nothing at all.

Nothing.

A weight sank beside her on the bed, and she shrieked. She darted a glance at the door, but it remained locked. Of course it did— portals didn’t hold back demons.

“Good punch.” He laughed and rubbed his nose. “Some men might hold a grudge—but not me. I heal too fast.”

Indeed he did. A glance at his face revealed features as gorgeous as ever. This sucked for the self-pity party she’d been trying to throw.

She preferred him bloody and not so devilishly striking.

She groaned and dropped her head into her hands. “Why won’t you just leave?” He caressed her arm in a lazy, seductive way, and she shivered. “Stop that.”

His hand stopped moving, but he didn’t remove it. “Why do I have to stop?” he murmured. “Why do I have to leave?” He traced an invisible path leading up to her shoulder. From there, he grasped a curl and twirled it between his fingers, as if testing its elasticity. Her scalp tingled at his tender tug, and a jolt of lightning shot straight to her stomach, causing her to bite back a moan.

“Because….” She lifted her head, and turned to face him.

His eyes were so blue they were nearly purple, which, combined with his light blond hair, made him a lethal opponent indeed. How could she resist such a gorgeous creature, knowing that it might be her last chance to rid herself of her virginity? Yet, how could she say yes? “Because you are half demon, and I am a jinn. We are adversaries, you and I.”

“I’m not an evil demi-sanguine,” he assured her calmly. “I don’t rape, kill, or pillage. I’m unremarkably human—plus a few small details. But you are hardly normal yourself,” he drawled with a lazy grin. “And I’d like to make love to you.”

Buy Here:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A review of "Shadow of Kenfig"

Shadow of Kenfig by Lynn Townsend

Lord Seth Maitland needs an expert on gwr (werewolves) and Dr. Poindexter Fitzhugh is the obvious choice. Seth plays his cards close to his chest, in more ways than one, to get Dex to help. A beautifully detailed picture of gas lit London clubs, clockwork prostheses and werewolves. I loved the ‘Steamies’ that have a driver and need a second coachman to shovel coal and maintain the engine. The world is so well built and clearly visualized that I am sure there will be more stories set in it, perhaps more about Seth and Dex.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kiss the Cats Goodbye

I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year.

Personally, I'm convinced I'm deranged. (yeah, I know, I was deranged before... shut up.)

I'm also in the middle of buying a house, moving out of the apartment I've lived in for 8 years, celebrating my best friend's 40th birthday, prepping for a vacation in Orlando in the beginning of December, dunno what my plans are for Thanksgiving yet, and dealing with another friend's failing marriage.

Not that real life ever stops happening.

And I probably won't get time to write on the weekends, so I'm looking at 2,300 words per weekday.

Yeah.

Deranged. You heard it here first.

I've decided to go ahead with Blood Sight, after another dear friend helped me with my outline. I know, I know, NaNo is about vomiting onto the page with no plan, but fuck it, I'd like a better shot at finishing. I want to write this novel, it's been percolating for a few years now and if nothing else, I want Marcus out of my head. My head is a really crowded place.

(Completely aside, I seem to have finally mastered only putting one space at the end of a sentence. Yay learning curve.)

I may not write much here, while I'm working, so if you don't see me, I haven't died yet.

Meanwhile: Steamlust is available for your Kindle or Nook. And Shifting Steam is now available on Kindle and also as a trade paperback. Lustfully Ever After is available for pre-order on Amazon, too, although there's not yet a pretty cover, and will be out in May.

See you on the flipside!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Release

So, Shifting Steam came out today. Right now you can buy it direct from the publisher in an ebook format.

The really bad thing is, I was so wrapped up in my "other stuff" that I COMPLETELY forgot about this. Holy shit! AURGH! What's happening to me? I've gotten so blase about being a published writer? No, no, I'm doing the second most stressful thing on the planet: buying a short-sale house. (the most stressful thing being "get a divorce with kids involved." That's not on my to-do list, however.)

We put in an offer on a really great place on Monday, it's only Wednesday and the seller has accepted our offer. Now we just need to wait for the bank. From what I understand, the seller has gotten a lawyer involved because the last offer they had was withdrawn because the bank couldn't get its collective head out of its ass in order to accept (or deny) the offer. Our Realtor (a very nice lady, Renate Alvarez, who, by the way, has the coolest accent ever and I adore her!) gives me to understand that once a lawyer is involved on behalf of the seller, the bank is often much more receptive to actually doing their paperwork. I envision the lawyer walking in, his official briefcase under his arm, and the bank manager screaming like a 1940's housewife when she spots a mouse. "Oh, no! A lawyer! Please, I'll sign anything, just go away!"

So.... we'll see what happens. We're in the "wait and see" period.

Yikes!

But, in the meanwhile, go buy my book. (If you want a print copy, I understand that the print copies will be available later, but I don't know when that is. Yet.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blah blah fabulous new shoes blah


Just so you know where the title comes from... this is one of my daughter's favorite books. And one of our favorite books to read to her.

There's a bunch of suggestions as to what the child is grumpy about... did you get up on the wrong side of the bed? Did you stub your toe?

And our favorite; did you have to go over to some adults' house where everything was weird and fragile and you couldn't touch anything and the adults all sat around talking about BORING stuff?

In the background picture, you see a bunch of adult torsos and legs (for some reason, kids in stories never seem to look UP) and conversation bubbles which say things like "blah blah furnace filter blah" "blah kidney stones blah blah" "blah blah fabulous new shoes BLAH."

My husband and I have used that phrase "blah blah fabulous new shoes BLAH!" for several years now, usually meaning "we talked about something that was dull" to describe parties, office problems, neighbor problems... For example: "Well, the UBC had a meeting to discuss the CAR and the ISP issue, blah blah fabulous new shoes blah." (No, as a note, I don't understand any of that, either. Something I think the husband doesn't actually understand any of it either, and neither does anyone else, they're just all involved in a massive game of blind man's bluff.)

Which is basically my long-winded way of saying there's not really a theme to today's entry, I'm just babbling. Blah blah furnace filter blah!

I finally got paid for Golden Moment. I know, I know, it's terrible gauche to talk about money, but still... getting a check for the work. BIG DEAL! That's a thing off my list. I am now officially a paid writer. (I've had a few other things published in small literary magazines that I was "paid" in contributor's copies... some of which I never actually GOT, mind you...) So that was exciting. Now, admittedly, selling short stories is the writer's equivalent of working an internship. You're not really getting paid. Not really.

Given the amount of work I put into Golden Moment; probably 8-10 hours of actually writing, an hour or so reading edits and crits, another 3 hours making those changes... I'm making ish about minimum wage. Which wouldn't be terrible if I was doing 10-12 hours a WEEK, but those hours were spread out over a few months. Not to mention the several months of stalking my inbox, but technically speaking, that was my off-time.

Which is not a bad thing, mind. I'm just saying, no one is going to get rich writing short stories unless they are incredibly prolific and in high demand.

What publishing shorts is for is getting your name out there. Getting experience writing in your chosen genre. Hopefully getting some fans. Making sure the publishers know that you've done your time in the trenches. And that someone else has taken a risk on your work, so maybe they can, too.

Like I said, I'm going to do NaNoWriMo this year. And I'm trying to decide what I want to work on. Right now, the two samples I posted (here and here) are the two things screaming loudest in my head to work on. Wormwood Trade a little louder than Blood Sight. I have almost a full head-worked outline for Wormwood Trade (if I can figure out how to show you my notes, I will, because some of it is pretty interesting from a technical perspective, but I don't have a scanner anymore, so... ) altho my characters are still a little hesitant to develop. I have characters for Blood Sight and a couple of key scenes that I want to hit, but no actual story-map.

Yes, I actually make story maps. I think that Hollywood does these too, where they sort of sketch up stick figures and write little dialogue bits next to them, or descriptions, and they move through the story LONG before the script is finalized, the parts are cast, or any of the special effects are developed. I thought it was a good idea, and I do the same thing. Altho I frequently write my scenes on post-it notes and move them around on the "map" as I work through the idea.

Which is to say right now Wormwood trade looks like this: girl and boy follow these GPS turn by turn instructions, which lead them from Point A to Point G and they go to B C D E and F in between. I just have no real idea who Girl and Boy are, as people. They may very well not go anywhere I want them to.

And Blood Sight looks more like this: Marcus and Rachel start here... somewhere they end up in Bad Guy's dungeon... and they have a friend, Raphael, who is an angel. There's a conspiracy and I think the head warlock is leading it? ...and I have no idea where they're going? Do we know where the fuck the hotel is? Why can't we get back on the interstate from Witchduck Road? We don't know where we're gooooooing... (this bad road trip memory brought to you by SciCon '92, VaBeach.)

I was also debating a bit, and writing a bit, about the werewolf urban supernatural romance (which would sequel Blood Sight) and while I did some research today about eliminating heat signatures and sniper rifles (I wonder if I'm on the FBI watch list yet...) I just couldn't seem to get the story flowing, thus you are not seeing it here...

So... my choices right now are:

Blood Sight: An urban supernatural romance. A very old vampire, Marcus, and a woman with the Sight, Rachel. There's a conspiracy to murder her because her abilities. She's not even aware of the extent of Power the Sight grants her. Not only does she get glimpses of the future, but she is also immune to most warlock and vampire abilities; since she Sees things As They Are, she's not vulnerable to the glamour that vampires and some other creatures use to hide themselves from mortals, beguile them, or otherwise harm them. Rachel has a twin brother, Noah, who's a warlock and may or may NOT be involved in the conspiracy to murder his own sister. (Don't ask me, I don't know!)

Or

Wormwood Trade: Steampunk time-travel romance: The Wormwood Trade is a pirate operation; using forbidden technology they travel between parallel universes, each one similar to, but not exactly like, their own. They can move items and people from one dimension to another. For a price. When a noble loses his only child to war, he pays the exorbitant costs to have an almost mirror image of her taken from a universe where she did NOT die... but when the mirror is discovered by her fiancee, who knows she died six years ago, what will happen? Is she an acceptable substitute, or have the years they've been apart (for him) changed him too much? Can she love the man he is now, or will she continue to pine for the man he was before suffering so much grief and loss?

Any opinions?









Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Wormwood Trade, a sample

Time travel is not possible. The experiments failed. No one could travel back in time and prevent untimely deaths.

And yet, Fletcher Kane's fiancee, who died during the French invasion of London, a battle called Blacknight, is returned to him through unexpected means. Cecily claims to have no memory of her death; she only remembers being out, shopping with her sister, when she was kidnapped, a few days before she supposedly was killed. Still nineteen years old, she is bound for delivery to her father, nearly six years later. Can she adapt to a new time? Can she melt the fortress of ice that Kane built around his heart after her own death?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blood Sight

I'm trying to decide what project I want to work on for NaNoWriMo. Here's the opening idea I have for Blood Sight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Heard the News Today, oh boy!

(I'm officially old. Making Beatles references. Nevermind, you all knew that already.)

Soooooo....I got the official word, after several months of Facebook stalking my editor; Garden Variety has been picked up for the Lustfully Ever After collection.

Which is pretty cool. Lustfully Ever After is sort of the sequel (if a collection of loosely related short stories can have a sequel) to the collection released last year, Fairy Tale Lust. I've told you the story of how I met Kristina, my editor, right? Well, part of that meeting involved my introducing her to Amy, the owner of my local coffee shop, so that she could do some book promoting locally. I finally met her face to face the night she did her reading and promotion of Fairy Tale Lust, and for me, that was the moment where we really clicked.

So, it just feels like a nice karmic balance for me that I should get a story into the sequel.

Also, I particularly like Garden Variety, despite all the weirdness surrounding it. (Writing it had its own little drama that I still don't want to talk about because it was weird.) Of the seven or so stories I've written to Spec this year, Garden Variety is my favorite, probably because it covers one of my own personal kinks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Steamlust, Reviewing #1

Obviously, I got my copies of Steamlust a bit ago - not the contributor's copies I have been promised (I'm still stalking my mailbox for those) but when a friend told me Amazon had shipped her copy, I ordered two copies myself. They came in while I was out of town, which just seemed so annoying as to be perfectly in tune with the rest of my life. (Which is not to say my life is horrible, just.. well, my friend said it best. "Murphy is a God and I am his favorite priestess.")

Saturday morning, while I'm on the third of what would be 14 miles for the day, I get a text from a friend; "Hey, I got your book! Can I come over and get it signed?" I spent most of the walk feeling slightly martyred. I was missing my first published work for a charity event. If that's not dedication to the cause, I don't know what is.

I took a few days to read it over and I don't know what the etiquette is for reviewing a book that you're a contributor for; so I probably won't post these on Amazon or Goodreads (or if I do, I'll have to throw in the caveat that I'm in the collection!)

Iron Hard, Sylvia Day - One of the things I really love about steampunk is that it's just a bit on the dirty side. People can die, people are in pain, the characters just seem a little more mature. They all have real life experience. Unlike the Historicals that make up a lot of what I read, there's very few pollyannas. Most of the women aren't virgins, and then men aren't always revoltingly rich. Day's heroine, Annie, is still grieving for the love she lost five years ago in the war; it takes an old friend of her beloved to reawaken the spark of womanhood inside her. Further, the women in steampunk are a lot more independent, able to exist and accomplish without a man. The delicate clockwork lovebirds that make up one of the central devices in Day's story are crafted by the heroine.

Heart of the Daedelus, Saskia Walker - Another female inventor; this one doesn't actually get to create her design. Nina doesn't have the money and someone has stolen her plans. Unfortunately for her - and fortunately for us - Dominic Bartleby wants Nina so badly that he has her designs brought to life. An altogether fascinating little story; I particularly like the Daedelus itself.

Fog, Flight and Moonlight, Sacchi Green - This particular tale is one of my favorites; the airship descriptions are wonderful, the sex is steaming, and the characters spark off each other with a vividness that leaves the reader wondering what happens next. (besides, secret societies are among my favorite plot devices!)

The Undeciphered Heart, Christine d'Abo - What happens when people are remade from parts that can never wear out? As a person transitions from the natural to the cyborg? What does society do? Mandy finds out when her beloved sacrifices himself to save her from an assassin's bullet. From then on, he is dead to society; they can never be together, no matter how they feel. If they resume their relationship, his mechanical parts will be stripped away and he'll die for a second time... can they find a way... a brilliant, emotional piece.

Mr. Hartley's Infernal Device, Charlotte Stein - I'm going to stop here for today, since this piece is my absolute favorite in the book. Written in first person, present tense, we gain entrance into Mr. Hartley's house to view his latest invention. We see Hartley, painstakingly painted and described by the woman who has loved him from the moment she first saw him, and has been unable to bring herself to show it. Mr. Hartley's device gives Elsbeth Havers everything she's always wanted, but never knew. I love this story, I've read it a half-dozen times now. The first time I cried, sniffling into three or four kleenex to get through it. (Ok, I cried the second time, too.) Really, I don't think I can say enough just how evocative and lurid this story is.





Monday, October 10, 2011

Shifting Steam

This morning I got the news that Shifting Steam - an anthology which will contain my longer short story, Shadow of Kenfig - will be released October 26th.

Here's the cover art.

Lovely, yes?

I'm looking forward to seeing what else is in the collection.

Genre: LGBT romance/erotica

Synopsis: The young lord, Seth Maitland, is infected by the gwren, turning him into a ravening monster during the full moon, or when overpowered by anger. Can he convince Dr. Poindexter Fizthugh to help him and possibly find a cure for his condition?






Friday, October 7, 2011

Flash Fiction; The Further Adventures of...

A few weeks back I asked for some Flash Fiction prompts. I did several in one day, and then had some other life stuff happen. Continuing on with that theme, here's Lenora's request: tryst, petticoat, morose and bonded.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pain and Choices

What do you do when all your options suck?

I live with chronic pain. It's like a house guest who came over for a visit and just won't leave. Every morning, I wake up and I pause before getting out of bed. How bad will it be today? Will I stumble when my feet touch the floor because my leg has decided that, no, really, FUCK YOU, I'm not working today?

Understand, it's not crippling pain. I don't usually fall over anymore. Although sometimes I still do, generally after being in the car for several hours.

Over a decade ago, I was in a bad car accident; my gerbil rocket struck a full-sized conversion van. The airbag exploded in my face. My shoes were knocked off my feet so violently that the entire back of my heel was scraped off. My glasses flew into the back seat somewhere. The seat belt forces all the air out of my chest. Bruises flower from my shoulder all the way to my hip. The engine block came through the passenger compartment. I was trying desperately to brake; the force of the impact shattered my ankle in five places. And to cap it all off, my wrist is broken.

I like to tell people that I don't really remember the accident; that's partially true. What I remember isn't coherent. Disjointed flashes of panic, pain. I went into shock almost immediately. My couldn't find my glasses. I had endorsed checks in the passenger seat - it was the day after my birthday and I was on my way to the bank to deposit a few monetary gifts. The radio was still on. Someone was talking to me and I couldn't roll the window down. Why is the radio still playing? I was going to be late for work on the first day of a new job. Someone tries to drag me out of the car. My foot catches up under the mangled brake pedal. I scream. The radio is playing U2's Beautiful Day. It is, it is. The sky is blue and blameless. I can't see without my glasses. The man trying to drag me out of the car leaves to go tell the driver of the other vehicle that I wasn't wearing my glasses when the accident occurred. That's not what happened, I try to tell him. I can't stop crying. My car, oh my god, my car. And oh dear god, did I hurt someone? This was my fault; I remember from driver's ed. The colliding vehicle is always at fault. I don't have collision insurance. My fault. We're in so much trouble.

The EMT's arrive. They humor me. They find my glasses, my shoes, my birthday checks and make sure they're all with me before I'll let them take me out of the car. They cut the seat belt. I'm covered in a strange, odd-smelling white powder. This is from the airbag, they tell me. They're very nice. Reassuring. They won't let me look at my leg, though. This worries me. One of the EMT's covers it with a blanket. I'm not bleeding, I don't think. So maybe it's not torn off. I would know, wouldn't I?

Once I get to the hospital, my memories are even more scatter-shot. There have been nine other car accidents in the last 45 minutes. I'm put on a wheeled cot and left in the hallway. Eventually someone comes around to see if I know how to get in touch with my family. I tell them that the husband works at Gateway, and his supervisor is LaDreena. They go away again. I'm in the hall for a long time. The accident happened around two in the afternoon. It might be four-thirty before they take me in for X-rays.

I remember the X-ray technician. She was calm and gentle and grateful. Grateful? Apparently I'm the first patient she's had to deal with all day that hasn't cursed at her or been belligerent. I know she's not trying to hurt me, even though she is hurting me. I hurt. I cry, but I don't scream. She takes a lot of pictures and I thank her for her care. She pats me on the shoulder very gently. That hurts, too. She nods and thanks me for being a good patient, and wishes me luck.

Do I need luck? Didn't I already have some of that? Wasn't it all bad?

Finally I get a small cubical. A nurse comes by and gives me a shot. I promptly vomit. How lovely.

I argue with the nurse about my dress. It's my favorite dress and I don't want it cut off my body. The entire thing buttons down the front, can't we just unbutton it? I lose the green blouse that goes under it, but they spare my dress. I wonder what I'm going to wear home from the hospital. What the HELL was in that shot? I feel sleepy, and so I rest for a while. No one will tell me what happened. No one will tell me how bad my leg is. I know it must be bad. They set up a blue medical screen so I can't look.

At some point, my husband arrives. They told him I was complaining of slight ankle pain. He looks at my leg and his mouth goes gray. He stops looking, comes up, holds my hand, and talks about nothing important. I try to listen anyway.

A cop comes into the room. He looks angry. I'm terrified. I've hurt someone. My car is wrecked. Someone else's car is wrecked. I'm in so much trouble. Oh god. The pain recedes a bit under the wave of my fear.

"I've come for your statement," he barks. I don't know at the time, but he's just come from talking to the other party in the accident. They've been yelling and cursing at him.

"Can I ask a question?" I try to become one with the bed.

"What?"

"Was anyone else hurt? I didn't - I couldn't see. Did I hurt someone else? Is everyone okay?" My voice breaks several times and I feel that tense prickle in my eyes and nose that means I'm close to tears.

The cop's entire demeanor changes. Somehow, he appears to shrink about three inches, rounding his shoulders a bit, and presenting me with a much less hostile persona.

"This wasn't your fault," he said. I almost get the feeling that he'd have patted my hand if it wouldn't have been entirely unprofessional. "Everyone else is fine. One woman has a slight sprain. You couldn't have avoided the accident; the driver made an illegal left-hand turn across four lanes of traffic."

Relief comes, and with it, more pain. Annoying, that. I wish they'd do something about this pain; this is a hospital isn't it? (I didn't know it at the time, but they already had. That shot that made me throw up? It was morphine.)

Reassured that I have not doomed the Husband and I to life in a cardboard box while we tried to pay someone else's medical bills and that there's a whole box of guilt that I don't need to pick up, I give my statement. I've read that statement in the years since. He wrote down what I said verbatim. While it's all technically true, and mostly follows an accurate timeline, it rambles and is inelegant. I like to think better of myself than that; but apparently morphine and extreme pain renders one a little less than well-spoken.

There's a long, not-quite blank period; a doctor comes in. They're going to set my leg. He doesn't bullshit me about it. "This will hurt," he says, "and quite a lot. We'll get you doped up first." The nurse comes in, gives me another shot. I used to hate needles and whine about them. I offer my arm gratefully. The doctor comes in again, looks at me, asks me how I am. "Better," I say. "Get her some more drugs, she's still coherent."

Oh. Goodie.

Eventually there's this gray mist over my eyes. I can still think - I think - but I don't actually talk anymore. For me, this is never a good sign.

It still hurts. I didn't know there was enough room in my brain for that much pain.

After, I remember hearing some big, forty-something construction worker whining about getting blood drawn. I feel superior. And annoyed.

They send me home. I'll see a bone specialist the next day. At least one surgery. Probably more than one. The Husband is angry, but I don't know why. A friend comes to pick us up. His car only has 2 doors and that's awkward. Getting into the house is a nightmare. I think I throw up again at some point, or maybe I only want to.

I don't sleep.

I feel like I will never sleep again.

I keep hearing the crunch of vehicles. See the brown side of the van I struck filling up my windshield. Every time I relax, I jerk away from these images, these sounds. Jerking away hurts. My wrist hurts and the entire thing is purple from my palm to my elbow. The ER tells me it's not broken. Sure as hell feels broken.

I don't remember how we got to the bone doctor's office. He orders more X-rays. I'm right. My wrist is broken. He looks at the film of my leg. From behind me, where I can't see. What is this, a vast conspiracy? He pulls out a cell phone and makes a call.

"I need an operating theater," he says. "Yes, I'll hold."

The Husband stares at him. Doctors don't wait on hold, they let people call them back. The doctor agrees to do an extra surgery, to bring his own team, and for them to do clean up if the hospital can get him in right away. The doctor hangs up his cell and snarls at the Husband, "She should have been in surgery last night."

"I know."

The doctor gives me some pills for pain. I take them. Everything goes away.

I must have gone to the hospital at some point, but I can't remember. I don't remember being prepped for surgery, although that must have happened too.

I remember a long bout of hallucinating as I came out of the anesthetic. I kept asking to talk to a fictional character; a role-playing character that belonged to a friend of mine. Finally, some form of coherency returned. My throat hurt. I found out later this was because I'd reacted badly to the anesthetic and had to be intubated.

"There's a good chance you may never walk again," the doctor said without preamble. His bedside manner sucks. "At the very best, you'll walk with assistance. And you'll probably be in pain for the rest of your life."

To condense the rest of the story; I did walk again. I don't use a cane.

But I am in pain.

Every. Single. Day.

I have a plate in my leg, several pegs holding it in place, and an anabolic screw right through the middle of the joint. Yes, I set off metal detectors. No, I still don't know what these things look like. Through the whole process, no one would ever let me look at a single x-ray. I didn't even know that the back of my heel had been scraped off until I got stitches out and saw the big black scab, the size of a tennis ball.

It's not bad pain, not all the time. I recognize that. The next time you slam your thumb in a drawer, after you finish cussing and jumping around, wait a few minutes. It'll throb and ache for a while, and eventually it stops. Take note of how you feel, after the sharp, immediate agony fades, but before it goes back to normal. That's how I feel most of the time.

It doesn't prevent me from walking, although sometimes it does make stairs a challenge. Particularly going down stairs, which requires my ankle to flex further than it wants. I regained 95% of my mobility in that joint. But that's 5% that just doesn't anymore. I literally can NOT run. I've tried. I can manage it, if I have to, but I'll have really bad pain that will last for days afterward.

Storms and weather changes make it worse.

Cold is bad. Jumping is right out. I can't catch myself. Impact jolts so bad that I fall.

I'm on pain management medication. Which makes me loopy. Sometimes it makes me vomit. I don't like to take it.

I come from a family with addiction problems. I'm frightened of my medication. I usually tell people when I've had to take a pill because I act... weird when I'm on them. Last winter, the pain was particularly bad and I was popping several pills a week. A friend accused me of being a druggie.

I've been scared of the pills since that happened. I resist taking them, even when I know I should.

The rest of my life.

I didn't understand at the time.

I wish I didn't understand it now.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NaPlUrNoMo

Ok, I think everyone in the writing world knows about NaNoWriMo. I love saying that. Hate typing it, but I love saying it. NaNoWriMo. Just sort of falls off the tongue after being rolled around in your mouth like an everlasting gobstopper. With a trail of multicolored saliva following it. Ok, unattractive mental image. Sorry.

If you don't, go look it up.

I have done NaNoWriMo successfully (well, finished a project, wrote the 50,000 words, etc) once; that Draft Zero crock of steaming crap was so bad I didn't even show it to anyone. And then my hard drive crashed in January and I lost it anyway. Talking about the Bad Novel later with a friend, I got an insight into my hero - I could never quite figure out why he liked the heroine, although he insisted that he did. With my friend's comments, I was able to get a handle on him, figure her - the character, not my friend - out, and I rewrote the whole thing. Since I didn't have the draft to work from, this was a complete revision. And that was a much better story. Took me about five months to write. Marked Man, as I ended up titling it, is now in secondary revisions that I hope to complete by the end of the year.

I've tried a few times since then to do NaNoWriMo and sometimes I go for a week or so, and sometimes I don't even get started!

Well, I'm going to try AGAIN this year. I have several novel-ish projects percolating on back burners. (How is it that my kitchen has 2 back burners and 2 FRONT burners and my brain has 1 front burner and 5,000,000 back burners?) I have a series of urban supernatural romances; Blood Sight, Moon Shadow, Bad Intentions, and Death Magic. I have a steampunk romance, The Wormwood Trade. I have a zombie novel; Zom and the art of Undead Maintenance. I'll pick one and run with it.

Which brings me to the title of this blog entry.

NaPlUrNoMo

NAtional PLan yoUR NOvel MOnth.

I know, NaNoWriMo isn't supposed to be about planning. It's supposed to be about bashing your head in and hoping something useful leaks out.

Well, you know, NaNo is a like an RPG. And the first rule of an RPG is "If you don't like the rules, change 'em."

So, for the rest of October, in between looking for houses, promoting Steamlust, celebrating the fact that I've managed to not kill my child by neglect or accident for 8 whole years, and other crazy shit on my schedule, I'm going to outline and think about what I'm going to write for NaNo.

And I know this is probably a stupid question, but I would LIKE some opinions anyway; what would YOU like to see?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Finding Yourself Somewhere Else

I've always mocked (gently, of course) my friends who have gone "looking for themselves."

Usually they have a pretty good reason for packing their crap and getting away from their various overbearing families, so I'm all in support of that. But finding yourself? How the hell do you LOSE yourself? I mean, here I am. All the time. This is me. I'm not lost.

Except that sometimes, you are.

Way back when, I lived in a town that I hated. I hated everything about the town, I didn't have any friends that I could relate to. I had a good job, and we were making all the ends meet, bills were getting paid and we had lots of extra money to get those things we need and many things that we wanted as well.

It was a good life. Except I hated it. With every fiber in my body, I wanted to be Somewhere Else. ANYWHERE else.

I was discussing this with someone I worked with and he looked at me and said, "Is it really Town that you hate, or will you be packing up your unhappy and taking it with you?"

Sometimes your environment can create clutter. The people who you see on a regular basis influence how you act, what you say, what you wear. The places you go - or can go - decide what your options are. Prevailing attitudes can color your mood - a liberal in a highly conservative work environment can get to feeling hostile, or put upon, or persecuted - or for that matter, an atheist in a highly religious area can start feeling very alone. But it's hard to tell, sometimes, whether those moods and attitudes are coming from within, or from without. Would I still feel alone in a new town where I still had no friends, but I didn't feel this wave of hostility every time I saw a "Only Man + Woman = Family" bumper sticker?

In order to figure out what's truly yours, sometimes you need to get away from all those things that aren't you. Family. Friends. Job. Television. Just be alone.

Where do you go, when you've got no familiar place to go? What do you do when you're the only one who has to be happy with that decision? Do you, for example, only hang out in the coffee shop because you feel like you should, or when you move to a new town, do you seek one out until you find someplace with a palatable espresso?

(As it turns out, it was Town that I hated. We moved. Our financial situation took a nasty downturn from the job switch, and I never did find good full time cubical hive work again... despite that, I was happier. And I still am.)

I'm talking about this because things are about to change for me. Big change.

We're getting a house.

For eight years, I've lived in a tiny apartment with no privacy. I write my stories in the same room with the television, and try to balance my life around two people that I can't help running into (sometimes literally) with every waking moment.

Sure, they're still going to be there. But I will have an office. And it will not be in the same room with the television.

The question is; what parts of me will I pack up and bring along...

And what am I going to leave behind?


Friday, September 30, 2011

56 miles. In the Rain. Uphill. Both Ways.

God, I'm old.

I'm still recovering from my 56 mile walk last weekend. I may have done something to my foot, as it keeps swelling up and hurting a LOT. And I have a busy, busy social weekend staring me in the face.

Recommended read, covers 3 out of 4 kinks: Zombies, Gay/bi men, and blue-haired women. Go check out We Kill Dead Things by Sommer Marsden. I won a free copy, and while I was INTENDING to read it tomorrow on the car ride up to my dad's, I opened it up to make sure it downloaded correctly to my kindle, read the prologue and the next thing I know I was saying, "Shit, is there a sequel?" (Rest assured, there are two sequels! Lunatic Fringe is coming out... soonish?)

I meant to do some more Flash Fiction today, but I got distracted by Sommer's book... so here's a bit I had left over...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Old Trick, New Dog

Or something like that.

Today, I am learning about the wonderful world of story edits. And I don't mean the changes suggested by my betas. I mean actual edits from my soon-to-be publisher.

I got them on Thursday.

By the time I got them, I was already out of town. I was almost three hours away, at my parents' house, after having gotten some incredible news from my parents (more about that later. Much, much later.), and after going out to the porch to attempt to use my cellphone to get directions to the walk. So, from what I could see on my phone, there were some edits, but I couldn't actually look at the comments. So, I could do nothing with the document at all until I got home.

This was incredibly frustrating for me, since I like being able to start on stuff Promptly.

Especially since the edits are due October 1. Given that I wouldn't be home until late Sunday night... well, let's just say my head wasn't in the game this weekend. And the game this weekend was a 60 mile walk. Yes, you read that right. I didn't walk the entire thing this time, I was short 9 miles off the official route, but with camp walking and the like, managed a respectable 56 miles.

So, I get up this morning and open the document.

And now I need to learn how to use Microsoft Word's Track Changes options. Which I've never done before.

So... this has been fun.

Not.

(First off, I'm apparently a heretic and I put two spaces between sentences. When did that stop being correct?)

On the plus side, the editor did say a few very lovely things with the email.

Attached are the edits on your shifting steam story. I really went through and did an edit geared toward suggesting where you might want to examine your writing. Not every house or editor would agree, I imagine, but in general, I found your biggest problems to be sentence fragments, starting sentences with conjunctions and occasional odd word choice. The first two are great when used for emphasis, but I think there are some constructs that you overuse, and you need to read through your work with that in mind.

The reason I was so invested in pointing these areas out was because I found your story incredibly engaging, with a great premise, good flow and intriguing characters. So the few issues that you did have stood out to me as a reader, and I think the kinks could be worked out to make your writing really effortless to read.






Thursday, September 22, 2011

Early Release, Odds and Ends,

Well, it looks like Steamlust is actually now available... you can get it here through Amazon, or here through the publisher. (My story specifically IS mentioned in the blurb at Cleis, so even if you're NOT going to buy it from them, please feel free to go look at the splash page, because you know, it's awesome.)

If you would like a signed copy, I will be setting that up through this website shortly, but I'm going out of town this weekend (of COURSE I am... and my copies of the book will arrive while I'm GONE!) so I don't really have time to do it now. (If you've already BOUGHT a copy and would like to ship it to me to sign, I'm happy to do that, as well. Please send me an email at lynntownsend dot writer at gmail dot com and I'll give you the deets on that. You will have to send me a check or a return pre-paid shipping label, because honestly, I don't get paid that much yet and while I love you for being a fan, I don't love you enough to spend my entire payment on shipping!)

I've also started the process of getting an Author page on Amazon, so I'll show y'all that as soon as I get "approval".

Flash Fiction Friday will be delayed this week; I've got 4 left from last week, so I don't need any new prompts just yet. Sorry about that. I'm going to be in DC walking 60 miles in the hopes of eradicating breast cancer. (Feel free to donate if you want. I've made goal, but it's a good cause. This walk mainly brought to you by Flowers Power; my dear friend Leslie donated quite a lot this year.)

I'll be having a book release party at the Bean There Cafe in Norfolk, Saturday, Oct 15. This is an open event. If you're local, feel free to come by. I'll be signing books, doing a reading, answering questions and talking sex. Should be fun.

I signed my second contract this week; Shadow of Kenfig will be presented to you in print and e-book formats from Torquere Press. More deets on that when I know them. (Torquere is LGBT stories.)

I currently have a few stories out; Garden Variety (which I should hear about Real Soon Now), On the Fly, and Ripped will probably be going out today or Monday. Working hard on P.B.E.M. for Duty & Desire. After I finish that, I'll be working on the sequel to Shadow of Kenfig, The Blister Effect, and editing my novel, A Marked Man. (By the way, I am "hiring" for a few beta readers for Marked Man... this is a full length, ~150,000 word fantasy romance. If you're interested and you will actually DO THE WORK, please contact me.) Then I have a short story for Kingdom of Desire due in December. I have another m/m steampunk novella in the works, too, The Wormwood Trade. Got that partially outlined. So, the rest of the year is looking pretty full.

Hope you guys are doing well and I'll see you after the 3 Day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flash Freaking Fiction Friday

Well, You asked for it, you got it (toyota! Or am I the only one who remembers those commercials? Nevermind, I'm old. I know.)

I asked for some flash fiction prompts. I've only gotten one at a time thus far. Not this week, no, no... this week I get SEVEN! Holy crap!

So... Keep your eyes on the ball, and I'll get back to you!

Dave B asks for: shards, endless, sundering, tree
Kyra gave me: train, cowboy, run, rainy
Rhonda tells me I should do: chimpanzee, pwn (or own), pioneer, sunset
Lenora gives me: tryst, petticoat, morose and bonded
Zac wants to see what I'll do with mysterious, betrayal, war and flee
Liz likes feline, pinned, stalk and frame (with words like that, this one might be NSFW... we'll see)
and Elliot wants to know about chalice, reproach, honor, and pickling.

I'll let you know as I complete them!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Flash Fic Friday, Redux

So, Richard Crawford (one of my best friends that I've never met) gave me this prompt: Water, Adipose, Jellyfish, Pocketknife.

I had some problems with this one at first. Water, no problem. Jellyfish, EASY. Pocketknife. Workable... but Adipose? Fat? Really? I don't like the word "fat". It has a lot of emotional connotations that I'm uncomfortable with. So, I was pondering, and pondering... I finally made this tweet:

tisfan Working on my flash fiction and trying to find a good place to insert a word... aside from in the trash... oh, WAIT! I got it #mywana

So, here you are... a continuation of last week's story... I'm thinking I might make a habit of this, continuing to make my flash fics looking into Scanlon and Landers.

Book Trailer

Sooo... the book trailer for Steamlust is out. It's quite adorable and I'm delighted to see it. And now you can too...


The first book trailer I ever saw was for one of Julia Quinn's novels... (not that one, actually, but I don't remember which one it was...)

Before that, I'd never even heard of the concept. I'm still trying to decide if it's useful advertising, just plain fun to make, or what...

I read a lot of books on my kindle recently, and romance authors are doing a lot of "here, read my backlisted books for 99 cents each!" So I've bought a LOT of them... the problem is, with kindle books, there's no back cover. I don't always know what I'm getting. I've picked up a couple of romance-lite books; all about the love story with no sex. I'm ok with that, really; Pride and Prejudice and Tenant of Wildfell Hall are two of my favorite books and there's no sex scene. But sometimes, I get to reading a romance novel, get involved with the characters, and then I'm just waiting for the sex.

And I feel like I'm on a bad date where he goes home without kissing me goodnight. Did I do something wrong? Am I that unappealing? Where's the payoff?

I'm really much better about these things when I KNOW I'm not getting the payout.

Of course, a book trailer still doesn't tell me if the book's going to sizzle. I wonder if we could get some sort of rating system... a Five Kiss for hot, steamy, plentiful sex and a Peck on the Cheek for "white wedding, no honeymoon."

Hey, give me a prompt, would ya? For Flash Fiction Friday? Four words and I'll write a story. Link me an image? Something.... Or I'll be forced to get creative.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Flash Fic Friday


I love the concept of flash fiction; given a writing prompt and a variable amount of time, write a story. I've done it a few times (ok, twice!) and found it to be fun to write, funny to read, and sometimes pretty amazing.

My friend and fellow writer (I keep wondering if there are just a lot more writers than I might have thought, or if us weird, wordly types are just drawn to each other because it seems like I have a lot of writer friends) did some flash fiction the other week that I enjoyed, but while I'd meant to send her a prompt, I fell face-first into my own work and never quite got around to it.

Here's what she came up with; (content warning, contains strong language, sexual themes, gay themes)

Yesterday, when I was out to dinner, I was idly skimming through the beer menu and came across this:

The first thing you notice when pouring a glass of this seasonal beer is the color. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest has a rich, deep reddish amber hue which itself is reflective of the season. Samuel Adams Octoberfest masterfully blends together five roasts of malt to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee. The malt is complimented by the elegant bitterness imparted by the Bavarian Noble hops. Samuel Adams Octoberfest provides a wonderful transition from the lighter beers of summer to the heartier brews of winter.

I promptly sent her a text; I found your beer!

I was, however, driving, so I didn't sample it. (The husband had a terrible couple days at work and he drank a Long Island Iced Tea that was making my eyes water from across the table!) But I am seriously tempted to go over to the Total Wine and get some. It sounds lovely; and I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've never actually HAD any Sam Adams, despite being told it's one of the best American beers that exist. (I'm bigoted against American beer.)

Anyway...

Having started thinking about her flash fiction, I followed up with yet another text: Write me some flash fiction! Your prompt: airhorn, hockey stick, sushi, guttermouth. (Confession: I took those from four commercials on the radio, one from each commercial. Except for Tread Quarters, which was the "airhorn" one, I can't remember any of the commercials. Advertising semi-fail?)

She gave me a lovely little blurb, and then gave ME a prompt: phone, seashell, caramel, balloon. Tune in - hopefully later today - to see what I come up with (feel free to leave me additional prompts in the comments!). UPDATE! Here is my Flash Fiction...

I give you Liz's flash fic:

(Contains strong language, sexual themes)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Strong Women need Strong Men

public domain photo


I have the personality of a blaze orange locomotive; loud, bright, messy, headed-in-that-direction-damnit, and towing a lot of baggage.

That means I'm apt to run you over - like the proverbial cow by the Lonesome Pine that my grandmother used to sing about - if I've got my eyes set on a goal. (It also means that I have a tendency to get derailed.)

Now, why am I talking about my dominating, obnoxious personality?

Yesterday I won this contest; in order to do so, we had to tweet about what we liked about strong heroines.

I tweeted this: A strong heroine always has to have a man, not a boy, to be equal to her awesomeness. !

I do truly believe that. I know it. Because I'm a strong woman. I know I've been over-fucking-whelming to some of the "nicer" guys in my life.

My husband... is not a nice man. Don't get me wrong, I love him, but nice is not an adjective I'd use to describe him. He's driven. He's obnoxious. And sometimes he's completely fucking clueless. He's very alpha male. He likes to be at the top of the pecking order in a social situation. Better than YOU! (Why yes, people who think they're better are annoying to those of us who ARE!) He also takes pride in doing a good job (not that I don't like to do a good job, mind, but I've never considered corporate America and their obsession with meetings and widgets to be anything worth taking seriously enough to put the effort into a good job. But he does! He works HARD at his cubical hive job. weirdo.) and has a never-quit attitude that sometimes makes me roll my eyes. He's also high-strung and temperamental.

Which is to say; perfect. For me. He'd steam-roller a nice girl.

He is my match, my mate, and my partner in crime. He's better with computers. I can actually cook a meal. He beats my ass at chess and I wipe the floor with him in card games. We're both wickedly intelligent, sarcastic, and occasionally belligerent.

Neither of us is afraid to scream at the other.

I read a lot of romance novels; one of the things I hate more than anything - inevitably I want to transport into the book and slap the HELL out of the heroine whenever this happens - is when the alpha male gets all "you can't ever, ever put yourself at risk! never ever because I would die if something happened to you, so promise me you'll let me put you on the shelf and protect you..."

And inevitably, the heroine is soooooo overwhelmed that he wuuuuuvs her that she bats her eyelashes and agrees to it.

GYAH!

No.

Fuck. No.

Fuck you!

Look, you either love me, with all my bad habits, dangerous passions, and spark of life, or you love an idea.

I have ideas. I am NOT an idea.

(Anyway, I won one of the book packages and not the Ann Aguirre book. So I guess I'll just have to buy that one on my own... me and a girlfriend were just talking about sci-fi romances recently...)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Independent Verification

I've always felt like I was a talented writer.

Well, you know, except for the times when I felt completely worthless, insipid, and generally unable to follow a complex sentence from one end to the other. Days when I scrap everything I've been working on, throw it in the metaphorical trash and start over. Days when I'm convinced that I will never write as well as I want to.

I think we all have those days.

Taking aside those days, I've believed that writing was the one thing I was good at; I might be ugly (re: fat!), a bad housekeeper, a difficult friend, a needy, self-serving, annoying bitch with delusions of adequacy... but writing! That was my talent.

It's nice, however, to have independent verification.

I love my beta readers, I do; however, they're all my friends. They could be just humoring me.

I love Kristina, who accepted my story "Golden Moments." But again, she's my friend. And while my head believes that she wouldn't risk her reputation as an editor on my bad piece of work just because she's my friend... my doubts and concerns...

Well, yesterday, I got an email:

Dear Lynn,

Thank you for your submission to the Shifting Steam anthology. With just a few tweaks, I’d love to accept your story. Payment is $50.00 plus contributor copies of both print and ebook editions. The rights we’re reserving are first paperback and electronic rights for five years.

I'm very, very excited!

So... now to get to tweaking!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Advanced Review!

STEAMLUST
by Kristina Wright, editor

Genre: Erotic Romance, Anthology

RT Rating (4 Stars)

With a foreword by Meljean Brook and an introduction by the editor, this erotic paean to steampunk captures many aspects of the genre. Expect the unexpected, whether it is the baron’s mechanical arm in Sylvia Day’s Regency, “Iron Hard,” or Saskia Walker’s walking insect-like creation in “Heart of the Daedalus,” set after the Crimean war. Each story has its fair share of sex in addition to the invention that is out of place and time.

The owner of a dirigible seduces the pilot of a hot-air balloon in 19th-century San Francisco in Sacchi Green’s “Fog, Flight and Moonlight.” “The Undeciphered Heart” by Christine d’Abo finds two lovers in need of new hearts long before transplants were a possibility. “Mr. Hartley’s Infernal Device” allows Elspeth to act out her darkest fantasies in Charlotte Stein’s tale. Elizabeth Coldwell’s entry, “A Demonstration of Affection,” has an investor demanding presentation of a mechanical man that is human in every way. Other authors include Vida Bailey, Anna Meadows, Lisabet Sarai, Andrea Dale, Lynn Townsend, Mary Borsellino, Nikki Magennis and Anya Richards. (CLEIS, Oct., 256 pp., $14.95)

Reviewed By: Donna M. Brown

Monday, August 22, 2011

SyFy Presents: A Line In the Ice

Cast: (in order by appearance)

Charlie Weller: Felicia Day

Theo Maigny - Andrew Lee Potts

Soren Dahlbeck - Michael Shanks

Lisa Steward - Leah Gibson

Eduard Guliyev - Adam Minarovich

Lysander Davies - Ed Quinn

Julius Hale - Conrad Coates

Summary: The Antarctic. Cold. Alien. Uninhabited. Until now. Strange creatures are appearing from a rift in the ice. An elite military squad stands between civilization and the mysterious invasion of monsters. Out in the ice one mistake is the difference between life and death. Charlie Weller (Day) thinks she’s seen everything—until a man crawls out onto the ice, barely alive and muttering about a place called Illyria.

Made Up Magazine recently got an exclusive interview with the director, Lynn Townsend.

MUM: So what made you decide to get on board with this project?

LT: Well, I read the book - you know I pitched the idea to Craig Engler in the first place - and I thought, what a great piece for SyFy. I mean, it's a really great story; and with such a small cast and confining location - the entire movie except for the last fifteen minutes - takes place in a tiny military base in the antarctic, it's perfect. SyFy does some excellent work, but they honestly just don't have the big budget... And this story is really character driven. That's why I was honestly thrilled to get to work with some of the best genre actors.

MUM: What was it like to work with Felica Day (Red: Werewolf Hunter; Eureka; Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog)?

LT: Oh, she's just a perfect Charlie. I mean, have you seen her? I know she does the quirky nerd frequently, but that girl is just SPUNKY. She literally rescued Wil Wheaten at Comic Con from some rabid sci fi fans, and you know they're the scariest things out there... So when I saw this role, I knew she was a perfect fit.

MUM: What was the worst thing about the set?

LT: Well, we had to use some leftover pieces of the Hoth stage for it - and let me tell you, getting through to Lucas is an exercise in red tape. The man has social secretaries for his social secretaries. And then it wasn't even put together right. We had several incidents on the set where the roof would literally collapse. And the Makeup Director used to grab his Darth Vader mask and stalk through the rubble. Funny, yes, but we lost at least a half day of filming.

MUM: So, who do you think really nailed their role?

LT: I admit, I was a bit dubious about working with Leah Gibson; anyone who's been on the set of Twilight is bound to be just a little flakey; but she was great. We had our moments, but really, she was quite good. And Michael Shanks... he's always throwing himself into his character, really heart and soul. Honestly, honestly, they're all excellent, and they really put a lot of work into this piece. I think viewers will be impressed.

MUM: Well, that's all we have time for today: Make sure to check out A Line in the Ice, a new SyFy original mini-series, set to air in December. Ooooh, I get chills, just thinking about it.



Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Line in the Ice blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

Learn more about this author duo by visiting their website, blog, Facebook or GoodReads pages or by connecting with them on Twitter.