Thursday, May 30, 2013

Guest Post: Zoe Adams




I love the big nerdy glasses here. Very sweet!
What are your greatest challenges in your writing career?

I think the greatest challenge in writing is the ability to edit competently. It’s awful seeing your first draft of your manuscript covered in red pen, but it’s something you should do. Not only does it make you better as a writer, but it’s less for an editor or publisher to do, which could potentially mean the book comes out faster.

Personally, I hate editing, but since being at university, I’ve definitely seen the benefits – academically and creatively.

When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to put pen to paper?

Since I was a child, I always loved books and when it came to writing short stories for school, that spurned it further. I remember writing about a superhero rabbit, who lived in an old aircraft hangar with a talking potato…

I decided to become a professional writer when I started a relationship, with my partner. We watched a lot of anime, namely Bleach, which focused on shinigami’s (Death God’s in Japan). I started thinking about the non-canon characters and putting them into ridiculous situations and having love affairs. He spurred my desire to write – to give them as gifts to him  - His passion and drive, along with mine led me to apply for a BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Writing, where I learnt how to harness my own imagination. Since then, I have had success, and my partner has continued to hold onto me and keep me upright throughout.

Of your published works, do you have a favorite? Why? 

Of my short stories, I think my favourite has to be Pawprints on a Heart. It was the first short story that was published, and it was through Crowded Quarantine Publications.

It focused on a young female werewolf, Sophie, who was trying to escape her life.

It was the first werewolf piece I had written, but it had begun life as university assignment, about a mage. I had great fun writing the piece, especially the transformation scene. I felt I could almost be the wolf (silly as that may sound), as she took her anger out on the villainous creatures that surrounded her.

What are your biggest pet peeves for other people's grammar? Are there any mistakes that you find yourself making regularly?

I see it in my own work and others when I’ve looked over drafts for friends. Not only is it a pet peeve, but it’s one of my own issues when writing…
Commas. You get so into writing and you just put commas where there should be full stops. My tutor, Dr Chris Dows, says it’s a problem being comma happy, and the only way to eradicate it is to read your work out loud.

Do you ever want to go back and edit an older story? 

I’ve often thought about going back and extending stories and fleshing them out. I really wanted to do this with Pawprints on a Heart and turn it into a full length paranormal novel, or even a novella. The only reason I haven’t is because I can’t fathom the flow of the story, and where the scene would appear, even after writing a synopsis or two.

How do you decide on character names?

I suppose character names all depend on the genre of what I’m writing. If I’m writing urban fantasy, I find it quite easy to use a popular name. Sometimes if I feel stuck on a character, I browse through my Facebook friends and take inspiration from there.

When I was working on a piece about shinigamis for a university assignment, I put great consideration into names and their meanings. That’s always important in a character. I browsed baby name sites and made a list of various names. I had an outline of what the characters were like and that really helped when it came to choosing the final name.

Tell me about your first publication. Who was it with? How did you feel when you got that acceptance?

Pawprints on a Heart was the first short story that was published, and it was through Crowded Quarantine Publications.

I had heard about a competition that was open to werewolf fiction, so I found their website and checked the submission guidelines. I wrote a polite email, attached my short story, and off it went.

A few months later, I had an email at ten o’clock at night. When I saw that it had been accepted, I squealed! I was completely over the moon, and when the reality had sunk in, I was overcome with emotion and cried my eyes out.

It was the start of a career, a foot on the ladder. That first acceptance has only made me more determined.

What's the worst thing that ever happened to you that you've incorporated into a story?

I struggled with a lot of negativity in my life and really struggled to hold onto reality. I wrote my thoughts on a random word document, and before I knew it, I had written a short story. It’s due to be published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Press in the upcoming Dark Light 3 anthology.

The plot generally wrote itself:

Hayley's life had been great until one fateful night changed all that. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she prepares to end her life. When the musician she idolizes stops her and encourages her to tell her sad story, she gets more than she could ever bargain for.

How much of your life and the people you know end up in your work?

Its surprises me how much of my life and the people around me find their way into my stories. Sometimes its events, sometimes its thoughts. Once I purposely wrote a vile and nasty character and based her upon someone I knew quite well – that was fun to write.

Sometimes I see myself in characters, and it’s happened subconsciously!

What projects are you currently working on? Are you willing to share a small excerpt from a work in progress?

I always have documents from different projects loitering around, but I’m hoping to start the second book of my trilogy soon. The urban fantasy trilogy holds a lot of Japanese mythology, namely the alcohol demon known as a Shōjō.

The following excerpt is from Chapter Five of the upcoming, ‘Best Served Chilled’, published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Press.


Above her, the shōjō began to glow a brilliant red. His skin bubbled, as he pulled her energy into him. He drank in her nightmares, fears, hopes and dreams. Jealousies from childhood rose to the surface.
Stronger and stronger, the shōjō grew. This had to be the most satisfied he had felt in such a long time. True it was a shame her old man had to die, but at least he’d been happy for a short while.
And now to find his affections after all these years… Oh he couldn’t have wished for anything as sweet as this. Father like daughter. And the corruption was ever so easy.
These little humans were his idea of fun. They were the perfect toys; fun for hours and so easy to break. With the right beverage, he just had to seek them out. Other demons might sneer at his profession but he didn’t have a care in the world. Especially right this second.

What's your writing routine?

When it comes to my writing, I don’t set myself a specific time slot. However, I set myself word limits, almost like a deadline. If this is a chapter or a scene, I will try to write at least 1,000 words a day. If I can reach over this mark, it has been time well spent, even if I don’t essentially know where it will eventually take me.

My desk is commonly known in my household as the kitchen table. I prefer to sit in front of the fridge, chair facing the table and door, laptop before me, radio playing, and write (usually surrounded by papers, pens and books).

I work well in the kitchen  - a place where I feel safe and secure in my writing bubble. Even with the washing machine whirring or the radio blaring or my mum to-ing and fro-ing these aren’t distractions. It’s almost like a comfort blanket.

Is there a character or story that's stuck in your head and won't leave, from either your work or someone else's?

My villains often come back to the forefront of my mind when I’m writing. I find that they’re the most interesting characters to write. They’re so dark and haunting, with troubled minds and pasts. Some are more complex than others, some are just straight up evil.

My favourite villain to write was Shoichi, the shōjō of my upcoming novella, Best Served Chilled. I took great fun researching different Japanese fashion in Harajuku and amalgamating some styles into my sexy, yet bad ass character.

What writers or novels do you consider “must reads”?

There are a lot of must read books out there and they spread across the genres.

One book I must say is a must read is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. While a historical novel, it was rich in information. It was a beautifully woven tale, with vibrant details and believable characters. It has stuck with me since reading it on holiday.
To date, it is one of my favourite novels.

Tell us three things about you that are interesting.

1. I idolise the film Labyrinth (1986). I have collected numerous amounts of merchandising over the years. Things range from figurines to books to numerous copies of the film. The most expensive piece was the novelisation of the film and was around £40 online. It’s still in the plastic wrapper on my bookshelf.

2. I met Wil Francis in the summer of 2010. He’s a musician and fronts Aiden and William Control. I met him before and after the gig with a friend before staying overnight at a hotel. When we went downstairs the next morning, he was sat having breakfast! I was so startled, but on the plus side, it meant having breakfast with my idol!

3. My name is Greek for “life”. Since discovering this as a child, I became fascinated with mythology and legends. I’ve travelled to various islands on holiday, taking in all the historic aspects. This fascination led me to write my first full novel based upon the Greek nymphs.

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Twitter: @ZeeZeeDreaming
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Calls for Submission; Pirates!


Because seriously, who doesn't love pirates? This is a several-month away deadline, but that's ok, because these are for longer stories...

Jolly Rogered (Summer 2014)

We want some swashbuckling pirates in our summer collection. ‘Blow me down’ with some seriously sexy booty from bold buccaneers. Avoid a rebellion and have your Cap’n find his proud beauty!

Historical, hot sultry setting, MF only, 15 – 20,000 words please.

Heat Rating: Burning/Melting (the hotter the better)

The submission deadline is January 1st 2014 for release in July 2014.

Submit the full story plus synopsis.

When submitting, (submissions at totalebound dot com) please enter “Jolly Rogered Submission” in the email subject line.


Anthologies

Released throughout the year - each with a distinctive theme.

We will produce a series of anthologies each year, with between five and eight short stories in each.
Royalties are 40% of RRP for eBooks, 30% for audio, and 10% for print, to be divided equally and fairly between the authors of the anthology. Every story in an anthology also gets released as a single story in eBook and Audio book further into the contractual term.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Guest Post: V.L. Locey



 Allow me to introduce the absolutely splendid V.L. Locey. She was first brought to my attention by my editor, Elizabeth L. Brooks, who was talking about our submissions (mine and V.L.'s) for He Loves me For My Brainsss. She (Liz) was having trouble organizing the collection because my story, W.O.L. was a very serious take on the zombie apocalypse and V.L.'s... well, wasn't.

Two Men Walk into an Apocalypse is probably the funniest zombie romance story I've ever read. Should it worry me that there are several stories in that particular genre? No. It should worry you if you haven't read them all! Good stuff!

Anyway, I've gotten to know V.L. a bit since He Loves Me came out, and it's been really wonderful. She writes a lovely series of semi-mythological stories, Of Gods & Goats, and Heroes & Haybales. I cannot tell you how much I love these stories!


What are your greatest challenges in your writing career? 


Finding enough time to get all the ideas into something that resembles a book or novella, that`s the challenge for me. I have several story ideas in files waiting patiently (or impatiently is more accurate) for me to find time to get to them and write them.

When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to put pen to paper? 

I really only discovered this passion about six years ago. I had always had stories bouncing around inside my head but never thought I could put them down on paper, and then ask people to read them. But hey, it seems that I can and folks rather enjoy my silly romantic tales. Who knew?

Of your published works, do you have a favorite? Why? 

Boy that is tough. If I had to choose I would say it`s a tie between three: 1-My Gods & Goats trilogy because it incorporates so many of my loves and is so much a part of me and my life. 2-My Two Guys Walk Into An Apocalypse Zom-Rom-Com books because I adore Paul and Gordon and am thrilled to be able to present two gay men as ass kicking zombie killers. 3-My novel Love of the Hunter which is coming out October 2, 2013 from Torquere Press` Prizm line. Hunter is a powerful tale about the eternally young and beautiful Greek god Apollo, and the how he falls in love with a famed archer. It`s a story that was searching for the right home and it found one at Torquere Press.

Do you ever want to go back and edit an older story? 

Sure! There are a few old ones in my files that I think could be made into something spiffy, but, it`s that darn time constraint issue that keeps the old stories dusty. There`s this one about a sexy female space pirate . . .

How do you decide on character names? 

The characters pick them. I keep suggesting names until he/she finds the one that suits him/her.

Tell me about your first publication. Who was it with? How did you feel when you got that acceptance?

My first contract was with Torquere Press. I had self-published a book before being accepted into a little zombie anthology titled He Loves Me for My Brainsss that our lovely host is familiar with. My reaction was to break into a dance around my kitchen while my family gave me high fives.

What projects are you currently working on? Are you willing to share a small excerpt from a work in progress?

At the moment I`m working on a M/M romantic comedy called Early to Rise that I hope to submit when it`s all polished up. I would love to share an excerpt! It will be quite short since I just started this novella today, but you should get a nice taste of what spurs Simon to leave Philly and move to his uncle`s farm where he meets Gentry who may just be what he needs to get over his broken heart.

The apartment Richard and I shared was on the fourth floor, apartment 4 D to be precise. I was not overly shocked to find the door unlocked. Knowing who was inside I braced myself and stepped into our homey little one bedroom flat. Sambuca came strolling up to me, weaving between my legs and leaving black hair on my rental. I was stunned and reached down to scoop the feline up robotically. I pushed the door closed and walked over to peek into one of several boxes stacked in our living room. It held all of Richard`s sci-fi books. Something happened to my throat looking at his beloved books. I found it hard to swallow. Then I looked up to see the man I had thought was going to marry me standing in the doorway of our bedroom, his arms loaded with his clothes. 
“Now I see why you missed our wedding,” I ground out, hugging my black cat close to my chest, “You were busy packing to move out.”
Richard stood frozen in the doorway, his dress shirts and ties dangling over his arms. “I should have told you about my misgivings earlier,” he said, his brown eyes darting to the boxes cluttering our neat living space. 
“You think?!”
Richard finally got his feet moving. I placed Sambuca on the sofa, not giving any fucks if Richard liked her on the furniture or not. He dropped his clothes into a box then nervously folded the flaps closed. I tossed my black tie at his head. That brought his sinful brown eyes to my face.
“Thanks for looking at me. What`s his name?” I asked bluntly. 
“There is no other man,” he told me. I snorted so loudly my sinuses vibrated. Richard`s long face grew tight at the derisive sound. “Believe what you want, but I`m not leaving you for another man, I`m leaving because I`m slowly suffocating, Simon.”

What's your writing routine?

I get up early, do farm chores and get the teenager on the school bus (no small feat as anyone with teens knows) then I grab a fresh cup of coffee and dive into my WIP.

Tell us something domestic; favorite recipe, all about your kids, pets, flowers, or weird arts-crafts things you do.

Hmm, well, we raise dairy goats and domestic poultry such as chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. My daughter is seventeen, pretty as a picture and smart as whip who plans to go to college and study creative writing. (Don`t know where she gets that from.) I`ve been married to the same man for close to 22 years and I love, love, love Marvel comics and movies.

(Can I just say it's awesome to know someone else who has farm experience? I grew up on a farm with my grandparents in northern New York... chickens, pigs, cows, sheeps... sheeps are dumb. DUMB. I like goats, tho.)

Tell us three things about you that are interesting.

I have a Wolverine tattoo on my left bicep that I`m rather proud of.  Yes, Wolverine from the comic books. I consider myself to be one hell of an angler, and I make the best stuffed cabbage this side of the ridge.


You can find me at Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and here at my blog-

Two Guys Walk into an Apocalypse 2: It Came from Birmingham is scheduled to release on May 22, 2013 from Torquere Press.

I dunno about you, but I'm looking forward to reading Two Guys II... I admit to some severe jealousy that our editor, Liz, has already seen it....  But it's out, so GO BUY IT!



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Call for Submissions: Sexy Librarian


 Please tell editors/publishers you read their guidelines on the
Erotica Readers & Writers Association Website
www.erotica-readers.com
 Call For Submissions
The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica
Editor:  Rose Caraway
Publisher: Cleis Press
Deadline:  August 1st, 2013 (Earlier would be greatly appreciated!)
Payment:  $50.00 USD and 2 copies of the published book upon publication.
Please note that Publisher, (Cleis Press) has final right of refusal on all submissions. Unpublished stories only, no simultaneous submissions. Please do not send me a story that is being considered elsewhere.
Rose Caraway is seeking a “library” of “Hand Picked” authors who write Intelligent, Hot and Engaging Erotica. Highlighting her favorite authors and their wonderful writing talents, as well as discovering new writers and then sharing them with the world, is what Rose Caraway takes great joy in doing.
Your plot must be very well developed, rich in detail and hold the story together but not be so complex that you lose the reader. Characters need life and the eroticism must be hot, hot, hot! The most important thing is to make these stories fun; for you and the reader. Capture their imaginations with your own. Pull the readers into your head and give them the full tour. This book of stories will feature erotica from any of the following sub-categories:
HORROR, MYSTERY, ROMANCE, SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, WESTERN, PARANORMAL, ACTION-ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL
Within these sub-categories, I would be happy to see (but do not require), a variety of added ingredients. Feel free to add any of the following delicious spices:
MÉNAGE, KINK, ROLE PLAYING, SPANKING, BDSM, STEAM PUNK, FUTURISTIC
Rose Caraway will not accept:
Already Published Works, Underage Sex, Non-Consensual Sex, Incest, Scat or Bestiality.
This book is targeted towards hetero stories, but the editor will be delighted to consider f/f, m/m, etc., stories as well. Just remember that believable engagement must occur between characters. Be creative and write from your heart. Make the readers want to come back and read your story again!
How to Submit:
Early submission is strongly encouraged. Please send your submission (one story per author) to:
Email: sexylibrariansbigbookoferotica@gmail.com
TO: Rose Caraway
Subject: The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica ­ Submission
Please submit your work as follows:
• Word document with your name in the heading of each page and all pages numbered. (.doc or RTF)
• Use double spaced, Times New Roman ,12 point, black font
• 2000k to 6000k (strict) word count.
• Indent the first line of each paragraph 1 inch
• Do not add extra lines between paragraphs
• Only submit the final version of your story
• Include your full contact information (legal name/pseudonym, mailing address and phone number) and a bio of 50 words or less written in the third person. If you are using a pseudonym, please make it clear which name you want to be credited as.
The publisher has final approval over the stories included in the manuscript.
Payment will be $50.00 USD and 2 copies of the published book upon publication.
Authors will be notified upon approval of the manuscript from the publisher.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Victoria Blisse, (NSFW edition!)



Introduction to Rob and Lou.

Robert Nimble is thirty-five years old, he’s tech support for a large Internet host, and loves to play computer games to relax. He’s married to Louise Nimble, who’s a child minder, and a year younger than her husband. She bakes to unwind. Taking the old adage that stressed is desserts spelt backwards to heart.

Robert and Louise are more often known by the shortenings of their names—Rob and Lou. They’ve been married for ten years and have two children: Connor, who is six, and Elizabeth, who’s four. They live in a terraced house in a suburban outskirt of Manchester. As a family, they enjoy their yearly week-long holiday to Scarborough, and visits to the cinema to watch films that the kids and adults giggle at in equal measure. In the school holidays, they’ll often be found in museums and parks, enjoying the culture and the beauty of Britain.

They’re a smiley family, although Rob can get grumpy when his tech genius isn’t taken seriously enough, and Lou may have the patience of a saint with children, but more than two hours with her in-laws has her pulling out her hair. The children are mostly well-behaved, with an inclination to the curious, and the mischief that goes hand in hand with that. If they do run into the back of your legs, or scare you with their latest pet insect, they will apologise politely and you’re likely to instantly forgive them.

This book is not about the day-to-day life of this family, but those weekends and rare occasions that Lou and Rob get some time to themselves to indulge their sensual natures. Rob enjoys seeing his darling wife in very little clothing, and likes to indulge in intricate and imaginative role plays. Lou enjoys a bit of spanking, some domination, and bondage. She wouldn’t say she was into BDSM, per se; she just likes to dip a toe in the shallow end of that particularly pervy pond. They both like to flirt with erotic danger, playing about in public places in hopes of possibly being caught.

Rob and Lou’s Wild Weekends are just that, so hold on and enjoy the ride.


Individual Buy links:





Hot Excerpt
Rob and Lou’s Domestic Discipline

It was only a small parcel in a typical brown padded envelope. It wasn’t expected, which is why I spent so long looking it over. The return address didn’t ring a bell, and I really couldn’t imagine what it could be so, finally, I opened it. I grinned to myself as I did. My husband Rob would have laughed at me, spending so long looking at the wrapping and wondering. He doesn’t get why I like to eke out the anticipation in moments like this.

Inside was a square of white with a lacy frill all around it. When I opened it up, I found ties –it was a pinny. Inside the parcel was a sealed envelope. I opened it to find a card covered in small red love hearts.

Wear this tonight and only this xxx

PS Kids are going to my mum’s for tea tonight, so don’t worry.

I recognised my husband’s handwriting immediately and chuckled when I remembered a conversation we’d held in a restaurant once about pinnies and their attractiveness. Well, Rob had been staring at this red-headed waitress (he loves auburn hair) with cute curves and pouty lips, and I had to pull him up on it.

No, Lou, No.” He shook his head. “I am helplessly addicted to pinnies. I can’t help it.”

Pinnies?” I lifted one brow and pinched his thigh under the table. “You’re turned on by tiny little aprons?”

Yes.” He nodded solemnly. “It’s a terrible affliction.”

What’s your favourite kind?”

White ones with lacy bits,” he replied, licking his lips salaciously.

That night, I whispered dirty sweet nothings in his ear while we fucked in the comfort of our hotel room bed. I told a story where I was a simple girl, waiting on tables in a quaint old tea shop, wearing a little lacy pinny. I giggled. He chuckled, but as my tale got hotter, the noises we made became strangled and lust-filled.

You watch me until the end of my shift,” I whispered, hunched over him, my soft thighs stretched around his waist as his hard erection filled me. I moved gently up and down and continued the tale. “Then follow me outside into the alley. Before I can cry out, you clamp your hand over my mouth and push me roughly against the wall. I struggle helplessly but you hold me down and whisper about knowing I want it. How I’d teased you and how I would get what I’d been asking for.”

I still remember how he gripped my hips tightly when I rode him. I continued my story through groans of pleasure.

You spin me around, press me into the harsh brick of the wall, and pull up my skirt. Grabbing hold of my prim pinny, you fuck me. I’m soaking wet, so you slide right in. You fuck me there in an alley, the girl you just met, the girl you hardly know.”

My words turned into unintelligible mumblings at the point where ecstasy took over. And ever since our holiday, with the visit to that restaurant and the evening’s tale of indecency in an apron, we’ve found a mutual fondness for the uniform of waiting staff and hotel workers alike. So, if Rob wanted me naked in nothing but a pinny for Valentine’s, that’s what he could have.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Scoring; Torquere Writer's Call


Tight ends. Rugby calendars. Rodeo riders in leather chaps. Who says sports aren't sexy? Think of all those hard bodies, working for the win. Whether championship winners or local pick-up game heroes, the Scoring anthology is all about guys who play sports, and guys who score.

We're looking for fully realized romantic stories with happy ending on a sports theme. Story length is 5000 words and up, but stories of extreme length will need to be extraordinary to obtain acceptance. Stories will be collected into a paperback volume, for which the payment is $35.00 plus one print copy of the book. Stories will be contracted individually on an ebook basis, and will receive separate royalties for single copy sales.

Send your submissions to submissions @ torquerepress.com with Scoring Anthology in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc.

Deadline, June 1.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Guest Post: John Tomaino


More about me and my books here: www.johntomaino.com
What are your greatest challenges in your writing career?
Finding (read making) the time to write. This is all about priorities. The story ideas are always there for me, so it's more about the discipline of making time and not succumbing to life's distractions.
Of your published works, do you have a favorite? Why?
It seems that my latest works, in this case: 'Saint Menace: The Patron Saint of Terror', are my favorites as my writing improves with every publication. However, as for a story, I think 'The White Room', my first novella published by Karabeth, will always hold a special place for me. It's a uniquely spooky and unsettling piece about a woman who voluntarily admits herself into a psychiatric institution, but struggles to get out.
What are your biggest pet peeves for other people's grammar? Are there any mistakes that you find yourself making regularly?
Social media grammar - or should I say 'gramma' is just atrocious! But I guess there is no turning back from the slipshod, fast-food approach to communicating on these platforms. For me, I always have to double check that I'm using 'past' and 'passed' correctly. To this day I am still unsure, to be honest! Did I pass?
Do you ever want to go back and edit an older story?
If I re-read a story, I invariably want to change something, but it's usually not the editing as I'm fanatical about tightening things up. I'm sure that painters must wish they could carry around a paint brush and re-visit their old exhibitions and apply that missing dab or stroke, just to finish off the painting... but is it ever really finished?
What's your writing routine?
Sporadic, in short furious bursts, then nothing for ages!
What writers or novels do you consider “must reads”?
I learnt a lot from Stephen King's 'On Writing'. Omit needless words is the key. It sharpens your work. Using less words, but more meaningful and effective ones, is a good lesson to learn. It's just like music: simple with less notes generally works best. Simon and Garfunkel are just guitar and vocals and they are mesmerizing, aren't they? Because less is more and cuts closer to the heart.
Talk to us about your domestic life; favorite recipe, pets, children, your house...
I have a newborn that is a tiny terror at night. Ava leaves me plenty of time to write - or at least think about it!
Tell us three things about you that are interesting.
I write original pop/rock music. See www.myspace.com/jttunes.com 
I still work full time in the justice system.
I am a music producer and develop other artists.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writer's Call; Steampunk m/m stories


Steamed Up

Edited by Anne Regan

Dreamspinner Press is seeking romantic short stories with steampunk themes.

Possible examples: Ulysses makes mechanical flowers that bloom to try to catch the eye of the quiet, bookish man who lives next door. Shop owner Abe fell in love with inventor Adolph from afar, but what does he have to offer? Nobleman August holds himself above love until he meets commoner Charlie, a man he can’t have. Bart and Coleson want a family and adopt an orphan who has an uncommon talent.

Editor’s Note: Because of the packaged nature of the anthology, all stories need to stand alone. No sequels to or spin-offs of previously published works, please.

Submission Deadline: July 1, 2013

Publication Date: October 2013

Single-book anthology story length: 3,500 - 12,000 words
Manuscripts shorter or longer will be considered but will have to be extraordinary.
Follow general Submission Guidelines for instructions and formatting.

Send all submissions to anneregan@dreamspinnerpress.com. List the anthology title in the subject line of your e-mail. Ex: STEAMED anthology submission

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unexpected Sexual Predilections

So...

My parental ideals were tested. Again.

I have tried very hard to maintain that I would like my daughter to be able to talk to me about sex. That I'd be open minded and understanding. After all, I was sexually active pretty young and my mom's openness with me about it kept me - well, not from doing anything stupid. I did a lot of stupid shit. But it did keep me from having awful consequences from the stupid; I didn't have any unwanted babies, and I never once got an STD.

(Aside; one of my much less sexually active friends expresses complete astonishment that I never got an STD... sex ed has been using scare tactics for so long that many people assume if you have more than 5 partners - yes, I have more than 5, in fact I have quite a few more than 5 - that you will get herpes or gonorrhea or something.)

Yes, I knew very early what a condom is and how to use it.



Yes, wrap it up. All the time, wrap it. In fact, the one time I ever used my safeword was when a partner threatened to "go in bareback" when we were playing around with bondage. He attempted to refuse and I kicked him in the jaw. Dumbass.

Anyway...

I was cleaning my daughter's room yesterday.


And found this, under her bed.

Oooooookay.

My daughter is nine. NINE. She hasn't even started menstruating yet.

Well, if she's having sex - already! - then she's at least having safe sex. I ponder the situation for a while. She had several friend over this past weekend; at least two of whom brought bags of stuff over. Two of her little friends have older brothers in the 13 - 15 range.

But the child is off at school and I can't ask her questions. So I think of options. K's brother could be having sex. God knows, half of K's shit ends up in my daughter's room. Heck, we have at least 2 pairs of underwear belonging to M's daughters... I'm not entirely sure WHY R leaves her panties in my daughter's laundry basket, but it's happened before.

Also, most of my friends are now sleeping with EACH OTHER. Yay, my weird matchmaking hobbies, but of the couples I've introduced to each other, one pair is engaged, one are planning to move in together, and the third are happily seeing each other exclusively. Honestly, that's not intentional - I introduce people to someone I think they might be sexually compatible with for the purposes of getting them laid... my sexually wound up friends get me slightly stressed out... lack of sex or repression isn't healthy! It's also often pretty noticeable... anyway, it's never been my plan to have people get together and stay that way for over two and a half years. It's nice though. When my friends date each other, I don't have to put up with bullshit crazy-ass sig-others that I cannot stand. Like Billy - not his real name - who was a one night stand for my friend and he just didn't go home in the morning. He stuck around and infuriated me for months. Why yes, I am a little selfish, you hadn't noticed?

That being said, it was possible that the wrapper belonged to one of those couples; two of which have slept on my sofa.

Anyway, finally the child comes home from school and I ask her about it.

"Oh, that? I found it in the box of Legos dad gave me. What is it?"

After explaining what a condom is and how you use it (again. we've actually discussed this before, but I didn't have one around to use for demonstrations - one of the nicest thing about being monogamous is not needing to use them anymore, and I haven't since that horrible year after the child was born and I was breastfeeding and we didn't want to risk getting pregnant again immediately...) I texted my husband.



Turns out it's your condom. Checked the expiration date. It expired in '99.

She found it in the Legos you gave her from when you were a kid.

Did I store a condom in there? I don't remember that. Must be from high school.

Practice safe bricking.

I'm a Legophiliac. I admit it.



Friday, May 3, 2013

My Stupid Mouth

note these are all ones. I'm stupid, not rich.
As a gamer girl, with the added burden of being an acknowledged erotica writer, I'm quite familiar with the "Tits or get the fuck off" attitude. Girls can't play. Girls can't tank. Wife aggro. "Rape" used to mean "I got my ass kicked by a bunch of pixels."

My new motto is "I don't hate myself enough to listen to GenChat tonight."

And every once in a while I get smacked in the head by someone I like with the "girls are horrible/dumb/bitchy and why why won't they fuck me" line. (Gee, Prince Charming, I fucking wonder!)

So, this weekend, I get into an argument with a friend, because I just can't seem to shut up. If you act like a sexist fucknut around me, I am going to call you out. If you act like a privileged white guy rape apologist, I'm going to call you out, and then drop you off my friends list like you're toxic, because, well, you are.

I come downstairs to get coffee and I rant at my husband, "Why is there no way to actually get through to people? Why is it that I ask someone not to use 'rape' to mean 'something didn't go my way' around me, and I end up in a forty-five minute argument that ends when I ban someone from ever talking to me again? Why do they think they need to justify their thoughtless behavior by becoming worse? Is there some genetic code that prevents people from just saying 'Oh, sorry,' and going on to become a better person? Is it that much of a big deal?"

He didn't really have any answers for me, although he did offer to punch the guy in his stupid mouth.

And while I appreciate that my husband stands up for me, sometimes I really wish it wasn't so fucking necessary. I get better, faster answers from mechanics, teachers, repairmen when I ask my husband to talk to them... nice little girl, hesh yo mouth and go make me a sammich.

Gyah!

So that happened.

(apologies for this 'my best friend is black/I'm not racist' paragraph.)

I have quite a number of friends who are QUILTBAG* including quite a few transgender in various stages of transition / gender corrective surgery.

And one of my friends was talking about being MtF and dealing with women who give unsolicited fashion advice, expecting her to be even more feminine than the standards they hold themselves to. Don't wear stripes, don't wear those shoes, why are you walking around without a purse, girl?

I said that I didn't think unsolicited advice was reserved entirely for trans; I've gotten unasked for advice on fashion, my weight, my hair, my hobbies, the men and women I sleep with, being a mom, not being a mom. If there's a subject out there, chances are good I've gotten some unsolicited opinions about how I'm doing it all wrong. Women are, unfortunately, prone to this sort of nitpickery/rung climbing/pecking order/mommy-drive-by behavior. Hell, I've done it myself. And then I opened my mouth and fell in.

"Welcome to the club."

And I got called out for it. My friend is a woman, she's been in the club for years and she's got her jacket already. I was being condescending and it was uncalled for.

I didn't mean it that way - I'm the sort of asshole who says "Welcome to Virginia" to people who complain about the heat around here, to my husband and my best friend who've been living here for decades. I'm not actually welcoming them anywhere, or including them in some exclusive club. I'm saying "yeah, it sucks. it always has. it probably always will."

I almost typed all that up on my friend's page and then I took a deep breath. Defending my thoughtless words. Getting somewhat angry.

Deep breath.

Wait.

Was I not being the sort of privileged asshat that I was just complaining about not three hours ago?

"Thank you for calling me out. I was being an ass without realizing it. I know it's not your job to handhold me though the conversation and assumptions of what's okay with me might not be what's okay with you. I apologize. It wasn't my intention to be an ass, but it happened and I was wrong. I want to learn to be a better person than I am now. Thank you for being understanding as well. The only way for me to get better, check my privilege as it is, is to be open to learning what I do or say that can be taken wrong. I don't think anyone can ever get everything right, but you do the best you can, leaving a criticism as being what it is, the opportunity to learn, share and understand."

It's not possible to never say something stupid without crawling into a hole, or surrounding yourself only with people who are exactly like you, who come from the same point of privilege. And I'm not telling you what I did because I'm trying to earn some sort of  LGBT cookie (see also feminist cookie). I was an ass.

And sometimes, I need to be reminded of it.

Which is exactly how being an ass, being sorry, and obtaining forgiveness should work.


*QUILTBAG is an acronym. It stands for Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer. It is meant to be a more inclusive term than GLBT/LGBT and to be more pronounceable (and memorable) than some of the other variations or extensions on the GLBT/LGBT abbreviation.






Thursday, May 2, 2013

Guest Post, T.M. Scott



T.M Scott loves writing. With passion, drive and a taste for the unusual, she enjoys reading and writing new and different things. Doing her best to always think out of the box, her writing usually starts off as an insane scheme of some sort before she works out the finer aspects and turns it into something great! Her heroines and heroes are never the typical 'beautiful' people, meaning they all have some sort of quirk or oddity about them that makes them unique and refreshing characters everyone can relate to.

Her first novel is Symphoni and her work has been featured in the horror anthology, The Withering Darkness. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her daughter Ariyanna


When did you find out that you wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to put pen to paper?

I started writing about 5 years ago when I got tired of reading about weak female characters. I read a lot about females constantly in need of rescuing and I decided to write something different! That’s how the Idea of Symphoni came along.

Do you ever want to go back and edit an older story? 

There’s a story I once wrote for an online forum titled “Twilight: According To The Criminally Insane” that I would love to go back and rewrite. I enjoyed writing it and with some polishing and tweaking I believe people would enjoy it as well.

Tell me about your first publication. Who was it with? How did you feel when you got that acceptance?

Symphoni is my first publication and it’s with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly (CHBB) publishing. I had convinced myself that it wouldn’t be accepted as I sent it out, preparing myself for letdown so I was absolutely shocked when I received an wonderfully worded acceptance letter! I sent the book out to three different publishers and CHBB was the one to respond the fastest, the other two accepted as well but I was happy with CHBB by that time.

How much of your life and the people you know end up in your work?

Most of my characters, mannerisms and physical appearances, are based on family members or generally attractive people. Personal experiences don’t appear too much aside from very small things. A lot of my favorite foods make appearances though. I LOVE pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream so that shows up in everything.

What projects are you currently working on? Are you willing to share a small excerpt from a work in progress?

At this moment I'm working on an urban fantasy novel titled Dragon’s Revenge. It’s about a dragon princess on a quest to avenge her family.

“Why don’t you visit the pub with the other warriors?” Kaida contemplated this for a moment before replying, almost certain that the real reason wasn’t something she should be discussing with a five year old who couldn’t possibly know what happened in the pub. 
“Because I promised a certain little girl some sweets and princesses always keep their promises.” Ari smiled brightly at her, nodding and letting the subject drop. 
“What did you do to Aiden, Ari?” The little girl paused but the prospect of heading to the sweets shop seemed to win out and she kept walking. 
“I hit him in the neck.” Kaida held back a laugh. 
“Why? Because he took Yaya?” The girl held her doll closer and nodded. 
“He grabbed her from my hand and held her over my head so I hit him.” Kaida nodded as they continued to walk, stopping outside the doors of the sweet shop to wait for the others. She smoothed down Ari’s black locks still nodding. 
“You shouldn’t hit him. I know you were angry but you should never hit others unless it absolutely necessary.” 
“But it was!” A small smile spread across her face. 
“No. You should always try to resolve issues without violence.” The sound of feet running along the sidewalk made Kaida look up to find Aiden and his five brothers running towards them. 
“But princess. What if that doesn’t work?” She laughed. 
“Kick him in the shin and run like heck.” The little one giggled but didn’t say anything as the boys came up. It was odd looking at the Tanner boys in a row. They looked so much alike it was sort of like seeing what Aiden would look like as he got older, each of the 5 brothers two years older that the last. All standing there with curly blonde hair and blue eyes, leaning to the right with an eyebrow raised. 
“Hello Princess.” Aaron, the eldest boy said as he looked her over. He was only 14 years old but already had his eyes on older women, Kaida to be exact. 
“Hello Aaron. Came to get some sweets too?” He grinned at her and she rolled her eyes, knowing where his teen mind went. 
“You know, Princess, I start training with you guys next week. I’ve been practicing on my own.” He stood straight and curled his arms under in an attempt to show of nonexistent muscle.
“Soon enough I’ll be able to hang with the big boys!” She smirked. 
“I’m sure, Aaron. But for now-” 
“OUCH!” Kaida wheeled around to find Aiden jumping around on one leg while rubbing his leg. 
With a sigh, Kaida looked at Ari who merely smiled and said “Absolutely necessary!”

What's your writing routine?

Typically, once I take my daughter to preschool I come home, clean a bit and do writing sprints until I go pick her up. It lets me meet my daily goal of 2-3k in about an hour or two.

Is there a character or story that's stuck in your head and won't leave, from either your work or someone else's?

Yes actually. From my current WIP Dragon’s Revenge. There are two children named Aiden and Ari… I’m DYING to write a story about them when they grow up. Also, There’s a character from another WIP, The Lost Angels, named Ena O’Dochraigh. Her story is very interesting because she was a child serial killer turned werewolf (and more later). She plays a big part in TLA but I really want a chance to write about her past.

What writers or novels do you consider “must reads”?

It depends really. If you’re into steampunk, then pick up anything by Gail Carriger. If you’re into YA weirdness, anything by Dia Reeves. YA Zombies? Lia Habel and Susan Dennard are amazing. Nicole Peeler’s Jane True series is another must read! Dystopians or post apocalyptics? Burning Bridges by Nadege Richards, The Hunger Games, and The Passage by Justin Cronin.




Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Writer Calls, Bisexual Glam Rock


Glam Rock : Storm Moon Press

Submission Deadline: May 30, 2013
Expected Release: September 27, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pairings: Bisexual
HEA or HFN Ending Required? Yes

Glam rock was arguably the most visually outrageous and flamboyant embodiment of rock and pop fusion in history. From the latter half of the sixties to the early seventies, individuals were unafraid to paint bright designs on their faces, strive for sexual androgyny, and enhance their performances with unapologetic theatrics.

In our Glam Rock anthology, we’re looking for short stories that depict at least one character who is a glam rock star, be it the lead singer or part of the band. They can be male or female, but we’re looking for the gender ambiguity, androgyny, and bisexuality aspects that were so indicative of this period in rock and pop. Bring on the costumes, the bright colors, and the droves of glitter-bedecked fans! We want to see your main characters lighting up the stage and weaving a tangled web in their personal lives.

If set in the historical period, we won’t dissuade writers from capitalizing on the unprotected sex, drugs, and glamor that defined the times. We are not looking for RPF (real person fiction), so no pulling real rock stars from history. Feel free to take inspiration from the real thing, but this is your chance to get original and knock our platforms off! Make your rock stars the epitome of the glam rock era: Beautiful, tragic, and all things in excess.

Authors can download our author packet and read it over for detailed information about submitting and being accepted by Storm Moon Press.