Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Welcome to Rodney Ross




Trying To Make 'The Cool Pillow' Hot
As a newly-published author, the arena of self-promotion is new to me...and daunting. I labored for twenty-plus years in Advertising and Marketing, but the product was never me. It's also where, ironically, I did very little writing, my time spent mostly calming manic producers and diva directors. But that is another sordid story for another seedy day.
But Dreamspinner Press' publication of 'The Cool Part Of His Pillow' (TCPohP) fulfills a lifelong dream, and so I shall shamelessly flog, blog, gab, blab and don a sandwich board if need be to get my novel into appreciative hands.
I was a creative and brooding child, always writing: little playlets that I would act all of the characters for into a tape recorder; grade school newsletter; then, the high school newspaper. It was within that 4-year chronology that I encountered the worst and best of public education. I had a hateful Journalism teacher who was more denture click and hip pop than willing to provide sound writing advice. She often criticized me for being "wordy". Too verbose, she death rattled, shaking a palsied claw at me, as I scribbled notes about what appeared to be her male pattern baldness. 
In that same high school, I was also fortunate enough to be mentored by an English teacher who plucked me from the soul-sucking classroom of conformity and placed me in independent study. I kept a journal, which I submitted once weekly, and was assigned literature -- everything from Joyce Carol Oates to Tennessee Williams to Judy Blume! -- to write essays on and critiques of. What a forward-thinking man that teacher was, in his jeans-and-no-tie-and-feathered-hair way, and I am still grateful he and his wife are part of my life. 
Yet, when I became the Creative Director at the Midwestern ad agency cited above, I needed outside sustenance. Boy, did I need it! In my off-hours, I wrote screenplays, and later a play. (I won some awards and even got optioned but, alas, none of those ever bore the fruit of actual production.) The challenge then, and now, is always sitting down and writing, while also being depressingly aware that the final polish is so, so distant. Writing is so damned isolated, and isolating. 
I'd like to wax poetic and say that 'TCPohP' drifted gently into my twilight and, after a few copious note-taking sessions, assembled itself during the night with the help of speed-typing elves...but building believable, dimensional characters is hard work. I have to incorporate humor. I'm not talking rimshot jokes nor Neil Simon-ish set-ups…when I began writing 'TCPohP', I intuited this could be either casseroles and snotrags and a lot of breast-beating, or I could mine from this horrendous tragedy a lot of macabre observation, and then spin off into the scatological, the blasphemous, the politically-incorrect.
If there's any counsel I'd offer an aspiring author, it's this: be a voracious reader...digest the words of others and inhabit worlds you may never otherwise visit. For me, it was 'The World According To Garp' by John Irving that opened my eyes to possibilities in literature that didn’t exist to me prior. I can only aspire to his enduring literary prowess. Oh: and always have a damn a notepad and pen (or a mini-cassette recorder) handy. Feel free to soar. Jump-cut to Paris, France...impale a beloved character on a picket fence...make cancer go into remission...I relish that ability because, let's face it, real-life does not offer this liberty. On a more workmanlike level, you have to STAY AT IT. Practice may not make perfect, but it develops muscle.

Of course I am working on a new novel in the midst of this shilling for 'TCPohP'. It’s about bad luck, and good -- the paths chosen when fortune smiles on us, the desperate measures taken when it doesn’t. But, for now, I'm trying to savor the fresh publication, the warmth and friendship and support I’m getting in waves. I mean, fuck! I am a published wordsmith!

The mid-40's are that time in a gay man’s life when the major paradigm shifts from sexy to Sansabelts, from Calvin Klein to caftan. But when Barry Grooms's partner of twenty years is killed on Barry's forty-fifth birthday, his world doesn’t so much evolve as it does explode.

After navigating through the surreal conveyor belt of friends and family, he can't eat another casserole or swallow much more advice, and so, still numb, he escapes to Key West, then New York. He embraces a new mantra: Why the hell not? First, he gets a thankless new job working for a crazy lady in a poncho, then has too many drinks with a narcissistic Broadway actor. Next, it's a nude exercise class that redefines flop sweat, and from there he’s on to a relationship with a man twenty years his junior, so youthfully oblivious he thinks Karen Carpenter is a lesbian woodworker.

Yet no matter how great the retreat from the man he used to be, life's gravity spins Barry back to the town where he grew up for one more ironic twist that teaches him how to say goodbye with grace.
Both the paperback, at $17.99, and e-Book at $6.99 of The Cool Part Of His Pillow are available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, the Dreamspinner Press website  and other e-tailers, plus mainstream and LGBTQ bookstores nationwide.
AUTHOR BLURB
Rodney Ross is a former advertising Creative Director, so he's accustomed to making stuff up.
Past achievements include multiple ADDY Awards and an optioned screenplay and play (both currently unproduced). Other screenplays earned Honorable Mentions or runners-up citations in the Monterey County Film Commission, FADE-IN and the LGBT One-In-Ten Screenwriting Competitions. He and partner Greg Charleston recently won 'Most Creative' citation in the Key West Mystery Fest writing competition.
Rodney lives in Key West Florida.

THE COOL PART OF THE PILLOW

Buylinks: Dreamspinner  Amazon
EXCERPT
I push away the toss pillows plumped horizontally under the duvet to approximate a body alongside my own.
I hate this foam memory mattress. I wish we’d kept our very first lumpy, concave mattress. Andy’s dent would still be in it. I could sink into it, let it swallow me up.
I will never again hear him whisper into my ear, “Sleepy time now.”
I will never again feel his heartbeat when he wakes from nightmares, holding on to a spindle of our headboard.
I will never ever again kidnap the cool part of his pillow. It was just one push/pull in our 23 years of push/pull continuum. When my own was airless and warm, I would find that unoccupied part, I would slowly pull the pillow toward me until his shoulders grazed my breastbone, nestle my head behind his and go to sleep. It didn’t stay cool for long. I’d restlessly return to my own, or he’d wake enough to take it back with a grouchy harumph but two, three times a night my right hand, like a divining rod jerking toward a source of water, would go wandering for fresh, for safe, for cool. It was like winning a prize. I will miss those two big heads full of alpha male dreams sharing one pillow.
Now it’s all mine.
I can have as much cool as I want, can dominate every bit, which is very different.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Influences and Inspiration: Silvia Violet

I have a new series on my blog. I have asked some of my favourite authors what influences and inspires their writing. I'm a curious cat.


My first lovely guest is Silvia Violet.


My writing is influenced by many aspects of my life: topics my children are interested in like the ocean, local wildlife, or astronomy, my belief that our society needs to stop pretending sexual desires are shameful, my desire to see LGBT citizens have the same rights as heterosexual citizens, what I'm reading, what I'm watching, and plenty more. But one influence that affects most of my stories in one way or another is my love of cooking and baking. I'm a foodie and that passion often comes through in my books and in my interactions with readers and other authors.

Most of my stories have at least one character who enjoys preparing food and sharing it with others. In my 2011 Christmas story, One Kiss, Ben owns the bakery where and Jake, the man he's in love with, used to work. I enjoyed writing descriptions of the luscious treats Ben makes, and he and Jake even get to have a little fun with some chocolate ganache.

I'm frequently influenced by recipes I've read, particularly those I become obsessed with like Oreo brownies. In my recent release, Astronomical, Blake makes Oreo brownies for his neighbor Greg. Even if Greg hadn't already been interested in Blake, he would've wanted him after eating those brownies. Blake even inspires Greg to learn his way around the kitchen.

I recently read Cake Ladies, a book of essays and recipes, and I found a caramel cake recipe that I can't wait to try. It's been on my mind so much that as I was writing this week, caramel cake found its way into the Christmas story I'm working on for this December.

For me, the pleasure of eating amazing food is not all that different from sexual pleasure. Eating can be a sensual and hedonistic act when we take time to really enjoy the foods we love. Descriptions of delicious, sexy food, blend well with my erotic writing. In Paws on Me, one of my contributions to the Protect and Serve series, Brandon has the outward appearance of a fun-loving club owner, but he's actually terribly domestic. Once he starts seeing Seth, Brandon shows off his skills in the kitchen. He bakes an apple pie that gets used in…..let's just say creative ways.

Here's a taste of Seth and Brandon…..

Protect and Serve: Paws on Me by Silvia Violet
Changeling Press: http://changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1705
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Protect-Serve-Paws-Me-ebook/dp/B007SO89FO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1339380585&sr=1-1

Blurb:
Lieutenant Seth Morrison loves being a cop, but with budget cuts and crime both on the rise, he’s stopped making time for anything but his job.
On the outside, Brandon Lord is an easy-going, flirtatious club owner. On the inside he’s a man trying to overcome a difficult past.
When a murder investigation brings the two men together, passion roars to life. They’re both willing to break the rules to be together. Because as mismatched as they might seem, each man is exactly what the other needs.
Excerpt:
I’m Seth Morrison. I’m a cop, a police lieutenant to be precise. I’ve been on the force more years than I want to think about. I’ve seen good men get killed, turn dirty, lose themselves in the bottle, lose their fucking minds, but I’m still here doing what I do. I don’t know any other life. People tell me I need a break, a vacation, to relax. I don’t want to fucking relax. I just want to do my job and keep this city from falling apart.
I park my car, grab my coffee from the cup holder, and charge up the front steps of the station. I could take the side door, it’s closer to my office, but I love the chaos of the bullpen. When I open the door, I breathe deeply, enjoying the variety of smells: coffee that’s been on the warmer far too long, the sickeningly sweet smell of candy and doughnuts, pine-scented cleaner from the scrubbing the janitors gave the floors last night, and something unnamable that simply smells like cops and hard work. I shake my head as I try to imagine not being here nearly 24/7. This is where I belong.
My stomach rumbles. I should’ve had dinner, but after pretending an afternoon nap was a night’s sleep, I’m running late. I’ll grab something from the vending machine while I dream about a juicy burger and thick home fries. It sure would be nice to have someone cook for me. I don’t seem to get along with stoves. Years ago, I tried being married. That worked for about 30 seconds. My wife wanted me to work shorter hours. I wanted her to talk less, or maybe never.
Friends tell me I should make an effort to date, but I’m more comfortable at a gruesome homicide scene than making small talk at dinner with a woman or a man. Yeah, I like both. I stopped going out with men when I entered the academy. I just couldn’t deal with the shit the guys would give me. Now, I don’t advertise what I like, but I pick up a guy now and then. I’m discreet, but if somebody finds out, I’ll deal.
One-night stands I can handle, but relationships are beyond me. People think police work is draining, but I’d rather spend all day in the field and all night at my desk filling out fucking paperwork — and often I do — than try to decode relationship signals. I inevitably screw things up and never understand why.
Sex I need. Romance I don’t.
My phone rings. I pull it out of my pocket hoping the call will save me from the mountain of paperwork on my desk. It’s Drew Danvers, detective and vampire. That’s right, a vampire who works for the good guys. We’ve got a werewolf in homicide too. And he’s a damn fine cop.
I remember when the shifters came out of the closet, scaring the hell out of us humans. One by one other monsters made themselves known. Most people assumed they were all assholes who wanted to eat us, but I quickly learned not to judge a man because he sucked blood or turned into a wolf. I judge men based on how they treat others.
I answer the call. “What’s up, Detective?”
“Two dead werewolves found in a closet at Shift. Hacked up pretty bad. The scene’s a circus. Jenkins called in sick. I’m on my own, and –”
“I’ll be there in ten.”
“Thanks, sir.”
“No problem. Murder scene or paperwork, which would you choose?”
* * *
I step inside the club. A crime lab team is there and several uniformed officers are talking with employees. I spot Drew in the entryway of an office. He’s frowning as he questions a tall hairy hunk of a man. I’ve seen this man around the area several times, and just like every other time, he makes my cock sit up and take notice.
Our most recent encounter was a week ago. When I want to grab a beer and be left the fuck alone, I go to Mitch’s, a dive just down the street from Shift. Last time I spent the evening there, he sat next to me at the bar and came on strong. I was in a shitty mood. I wanted him, and it pissed me off. He’s not my type. He’s young, hip, and outrageously flirtatious. I walked away, but I regretted it later that night when I couldn’t stop fantasizing about him.
The man looks my way and catches me staring. His grin says he knows the direction my thoughts are going. Fucking bastard winks at me. Drew scowls.
I turn to face him. He grins down at me, that same cocky-as-fuck little smile he’d given me earlier, making me even more aware of how close we are and how big he is. At 6’2, I’m hardly small, but he’s got several inches on me. And while I’ve got a rather thick pelt, the fur visible above the vee of his t-shirt is astounding.
He smiles mischievously. “You gonna cuff me if you take me in?”
“Impeding a murder investigation will get you thrown in jail.”
He rolls his eyes. “I found two dead guys in my closet when I came to work tonight. My business is shut down, and I’ll be losing money every minute that you’re here. But at least I have a sense of humor.”
“Well, I don’t.”
He shakes his head. “Are you taken too?”
I take another step back. “You’re making a lot of assumptions.”
I look over at Drew and realize he and Jason are grinning like loons. Fuck. All I need is the two of them ragging me.
I glare at Drew. “Detective, do you think you can question this man without killing him?”
“Probably.”
“Fine. Fleetfoot, head back to the lab. Take my car. I’ll get a ride with Danvers.” I throw him my keys, and he snatches them out of the air as he gives Drew’s hand a final squeeze. Jason is better in the lab than any tech we have. We only send him into the field when we’re desperately short-handed. I run a hand through my hair, wishing I knew how I’m going to hold the homicide division together if we don’t get more funds.
He holds out his hand. “I’m Brandon Lord. I own Shift.”
“Lieutenant Morrison.” I shake his hand. His skin is surprisingly smooth, his grip tight and warm. I want to feel those big hands running over me. I want to rub his furry body with my own. Fuck! I should assign someone else to this case right now and get the hell away from him. But some crazy restlessness he’s dredged up in me makes me fight my instincts.
“Nice to meet you, Lieutenant.” His voice is low and rich. And his grin lets me know he’s well aware of my body’s reaction to him.
I need to get away. His smell alone is making me hard. “I’m not here to play games. Drop the act and treat this case seriously, or I’ll find an excuse to throw your ass in jail.”
He grins. Fuck, he knows he’s got me rattled. “I’d never kill anyone, Lieutenant. I’m just a cuddly teddy bear.”
The bear shifter and the bear. Ridiculous. I need to leave now. This man is no cuddly toy. I don’t think he’s our murderer, but he’s far smarter than he wants me to believe and likely far more dangerous. “I know what cuddling leads to.”
Brandon laughs, a deep, infectious sound. I can’t help but respond. Now I want him more than ever. Taking this case was a supremely stupid idea, staying on it now is unprofessional.
But I won’t walk away.
Silvia's Bio:

Silvia Violet writes erotic romance and erotica in a variety of genres including sci fi and paranormal. She can often be found haunting coffee shops looking for the darkest, strongest cup of coffee she can find. Once equipped with the needed fuel, she can happily sit for hours pounding away at her laptop. Silvia typically leaves home disguised as a suburban stay-at-home-mom, and other coffee shop patrons tend to ask her hilarious questions like "Do you write children's books?" She loves watching the looks on their faces when they learn what she's actually up to. When not writing, Silvia enjoys baking sinful chocolate treats, exploring new styles of cooking, and reading children's books to her wickedly smart offspring.

You can find Silvia on the web at silviaviolet.com. She loves chatting with friends on Facebook - facebook.com/silvia.violet - and hearing from fans at silviaviolet@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hot Summer Fun is out

IRM's first anthology wonderfully edited by Sara York, Hot Summer Fun is now available.

Buylinks:
Amazon
ARe


Ten hot stories by ten hot authors.


Summer's Dawn by Sue Brown - Together with his friends, Seth spends his summers watching the high school boys play beach volleyball. His girls are desperate to attract the attention of the hunks on the beach, but they can't complete with the older girls. Seth watches them too, content to let his friends think he's looking at the girls, until one day he realizes one of the boys is watching him back. Summers pass, and Seth and Joel continue to watch each other, yet it's never the right time to acknowledge their attraction.


A Summer Night Fling by Raine Delight- Cal Larson wasn't expecting to find a hot sexy man stuck in a tree as he took his morning walk in the woods. When he meets Alex, sparks fly and these two find that love is waiting to claim them. Except Alex has a secret...one that may bring danger to Cal's doorstep. Can Cal find it in his heart to accept Alex and let this summer fling turn into something much more?


Working Stiff by Sara York- When Josh finds himself out of work he jumps at the job his cousin arranges even though he hasn't done construction in years. His muscles are sore, his body aching but that doesn't keep him from noticing Zane, the hot foreman on the project. But admiring your boss and sleeping with him are two different degrees of stupid. Josh steers clear of Zane until they are thrust together one weekend.


In the Heat of the Night by Lisa Worrall - The heat wave gripping Southern California has driven Nick and Oliver apart—as far as their sleeping arrangements are concerned. Despite Nick’s complaints, the combination of the oppressive heat and the heat Nick himself generates, Oliver heads for the downstairs guest room. In the middle of the night, when Nick is awoken by mumblings and doors opening downstairs, his first thought is for Oliver’s safety. But will he find the burglar he suspects, or something more surprising?


Summer House by Jaxx Steele - Marcus’s twin brother asked him to take his place for the weekend at the summer house they owned in Key Largo. Marcus looked forward to a weekend by the pool, but it’s what he didn’t expect to find at the summer house that made his impromptu vacation one of the best he ever had.


Summer In The Wild by CR Guiliano - Gillian Daleth knew he was a rare breed. Being driven out of his pack proved it. No werewolf wanted a Delta in their pack. Gil spent the next sixteen years researching, getting a degree in European History while he was at it, and finding out exactly why he was not welcome in any wolf pack. Not that it bothered him. He considered himself a loner anyway. Until he met Jeriah Peirson. An Omega that was just as sweet as he could be. But Gil couldn’t mate with Jeriah. Not without an Alpha. And the only Alpha Gil knew was Laramie Cane. An Alpha that had no interest in a mate, or mates in Gil’s case.


One Night in Paradise With You by Rawiya- Peter Galley is a successful businessman taking a well deserved vacation to Hawaii after being overworked. He has one night left before he goes back to New York to fulfill his fantasy of having sex with a man. He meets Cruz Vallejo, resident surfer, party boy, a gorgeous town hunk. Peter immediately wants to make this man his conquest but will Cruz even notice, and if he does will he give Pete the chance?


Air Bear by A.J. Llewellyn - Hawaiian-born Kappy is thrilled to be back in the land of his ancestors with the man of his dreams, Jason, an Air Bear--Military Trooper--stationed at Wheeler Air Force Field.


Kappy is excited to introduce his husband to all his island friends and to show him the sites. When they drive along the once-forbidden H3 Freeway, Jason is amused that Kappy seems so frightened about displeasing the old island gods. Kappy tries to explain the ancient kapu associated with it but his Air Bear is not convinced.


Jason is now determined to prove that the legend about bad things happening if you take the drive with pork in the car is just local superstition. Mumbo jumbo. A silly myth...


Or is it?


Hot Summer Hogs by Patricia Logan - It's a sticky August week in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Every year, bikers from around the world gather in the town of Sturgis for the world's largest bike rally. Partying and fun along with men and women determined to have a good time, are a hot combination. Hook-ups and unadulterated excitement are everywhere. Cade Littlebear, famous custom bike builder and his husband Jake Maxfield join the sexy crowd for their first ever, bike rally. When Cade is challenged by a sexy ex, Jake is there to support his lover and keep his 'spirits' up. How he chooses to keep Cade's 'head' in the game, will leave you breathless and wanting more. When the rubber meets the road, the fun really begins. The heat of the day is cool in comparison to the scorching hot nightly activities of the sweaty, leather-clad lovers. Come and join the sexy heroes and a town bursting with "Hot Summer Hogs".


A Midsummer's Night Pick-up by Ike Rose -Hans Rotmusen is a twenty-five-year-old blond whose socially prominent family kicked him out when they discovered that he was gay after he fell in love with a fellow actor, Jonathan. Living in a small apartment with his lover was great, until Jonathan decided that he needed to marry a woman to hide his gay past. Hans, refusing to continue on the down-low, kicked him out. After two years alone, he's horny as hell, so he decides to go cruising in Central Park on Midsummer's Night of 1978. Under the magical moonlight, Goldilocks encounters Pappa Bear, a hot older bearded man, deep in the woods. Following the most passionate kiss of his young life, Hans is helplessly attracted to the gruff, rugged stud, but when they get to Pappa Bear's Den, he discovers a big surprise. Will Pappa Bear be Goldilocks' true love, or just a Midsummer’s Night Pickup?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Complete Faith book giveaway

Want a signed copy of Complete Faith?


Leave a comment on this post (the blog). First name out of the pink cowboy hat at midday GMT Friday 22nd June wins the prize.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Tia Fielding discusses to shift, or not to shift


To shift, or not to shift....

At some point last year, I realized I'd read quite a few shifter-stories in a short period of time. There was one common factor. I didn't care for them much. Don't get me wrong, some of them were amazing, but of all shifter-stories I've read, I've honestly liked one out of every five or so.

What's my problem with them? Well…. Let's start with the fact that as a writer, I have my own internal "universal head-canon" for shifters. Much like vampires, shifters are certain way in my mind and when another author unknowingly strays too far from that, I go "Just no."

I have too numerous pet peeves to mention them all here, but I suppose for the purpose of making this interesting I need to name a few. One is instant mates. There are whole series of books that concentrate on getting the two (or three, if it's a ménage) main characters into bed in ten pages or less. They don't always know each others' names, but it's all oh-so-perfect because they are mates who just happened to meet each other. Sometimes the "weaker" mate is seduced or just taken by the "stronger" mate before they know what's happening. And that's okay, because well, they're mates.

Second thing, the shifter packs. When did it come plausible that there were a ton of Alphas who were dedicated to keeping their race and their pack alive and well, yet not once thought of reproducing? These "gay packs" with only gay men in them, are just… stupid. Sorry, but that's my opinion. You see this kind of thing surprisingly often, and for me it takes away from the story.

What I've generally noticed is that shifter series follow a pattern. It's not even one pattern per author, it's the same effing pattern for quite a few authors. The usual thing seems to be that the "small mate" is being rescued from the "big bad" by the "larger mate". I swear I've read that same story, usually with the two pet peeves I just mentioned, at least five or six times. After that I gave up on the series, after all I pretty much knew what would happen in the rest of the books.

By now I know what I like as a reader. I also know what I like as a writer. Combining these two gets hard, probably harder than most "non-writer readers" understand. Why? Because you can't necessarily read books for entertainment anymore. There was a time I read the Twilight Saga a few times (yes, each book several times, not even ashamed to admit that) because it was entertaining as hell despite the general crappiness and the more-than-questionable message. I tried to read the first book after I began to write "seriously" and had gone through several rounds of professional editing.

I just couldn't. It's not entertainment anymore. I feel like I should take a red pen and underline every single thing I find that annoys me. Trust me, I'd need a few pens…. And it's not just Twilight, it's all fiction now. Everything.

I don't read fantasy much, because my head-canon, and because the fact that many of these books, especially series, seem so… rushed. I've seen several series that I keep thinking as recycled stories. The author takes a story, possibly realizes it sells, and then repeats it over and over and over and over again, sometimes as much as ten or even twenty times. The names are different, the "shapes" are different, but the story is just the same.

I don't have anything against a wereworm marrying his destined, star-crossed, parakeet lover who literally sweeps in from the sky to save him from the evil squirrel overlord. It's just not my cup of caffeine. If you like that sort of thing, please consider reading the sequel about the seagull and the hedgehog too, I don't care. But I don't read or write that stuff. It's not entertaining for me. I acknowledge a lot of people read those stories and that's just fine, they're just…. Not. For. Me.

This brings me to my shifters. Mine are just "cats and dogs". There are plenty of different kinds of shifters in Chuffed, the first book in my series, Finnshifters. There are wolves, a tiger, a lynx, a jaguar, a red fox…. That's not even all of them. The common factor is that they either bark or meow. That's it. There's plenty to do with "only" those kinds, trust me on this.

In Finnshifters, the story takes place in Finland. That's where I live, like some of you already know. When I began to think about writing a shifter book, I realized that I needed a series instead, just to tell the whole story of the shifter sanctuary I came up with. Not only am I trying to convey some of the weird Finnish things and customs, but I also like to think the series shows my love for where I live.

The first part, Chuffed, is the story of Mikael, who inherited the farm that's a shifter sanctuary, and the shifter he meets, Maxim. It's also part of the story of the "farm family". You'll get more in the next books—right now I think there will be four or five books total—and each of the books deals with not only the main characters, but the rest of the family too.

I hope I manage/d to dodge most of the clichés. Naturally I know not all of them are uh… dodgeable. The ones that are left are there for a reason, though. They are part of my head-canon too. But the bits that are more rare, maybe even just mine, are what truly matters, and what makes my shifters mine.

These are my shifters, exactly the way I like them.


Author Bio: 
Tia Fielding lives in a peaceful little town in a small country in northern Europe. She loves nature, her horses, cats, and even the yappy little thing that occasionally gets called a dog. Tia learned to read before she went to school at the age six and began writing as soon as she figured she had stories to tell around the mature age of seven. Stories about horses, adventures, and ghosts might have turned into hot GLBTQ-romance, but she still has a wicked imagination and, hopefully, more stories to tell


Tia's website http://www.tiafielding.com and FB: http://www.facebook.com/tiafielding


Chuffed:
Here's an Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Chuffed-Finnshifters-ebook/dp/B0089ARZJ2/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1339016017&sr=8-6

An ARE-link: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-chuffed-820730-140.html


And Dreamspinner:   http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2969

Blurb: Mikael Jarvela may only be a half shifter, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be alpha of the eastern Finland farm-turned-sanctuary his father founded. Six wolves, a red fox, a black jaguar, and a lynx all think of him as the head of the family. But Mikael doesn’t have anyone to call his own until he comes across an injured Siberian tiger in the woods.

From the moment the animal recovers and Mikael and Maxim meet face to human face, the attraction between them is undeniable. They strike up a tentative relationship, but they’re both proud men, and their egos keep getting in the way. Just when it looks like their romance is doomed, an outside threat to the family—to Mikael—forces Maxim to choose between the life of solitude he knows and the love and companionship that could be his if he stays.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Sue's Muse: Stop Being So Modest!

A few years ago my friend split up from her musician boyfriend. When I asked why they had separated she said, "There wasn't room for two egos in the family." And it was true. Everything centred around Dave and his music. Their social life consisted of gigs for the band. Their evening were spent with him composing songs for the band. It wasn't that he was famous, the band only played in local pubs, but he was the lead singer of a band, and he was someone.

Much as his ego outweighed his actual success, I always admired Dave for his total belief in himself and the band. I remembered that when I started writing, first in fandom and then as a published writer. 

As I scan over my newsfeed on Facebook I can see two authors, A and B. 

A promotes like this. LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME!! NOW!!! I AM AWESOME!
B promotes like this. Well, I, um, maybe, if you could look, no one loves me but, I, um, my book...

We write in a small genre, and there are hundreds of authors vying for readers but publishers have taken a chance on both those authors. Which one is going to be noticed? 

I may roll my eyes every time I see author A on the feed but she is THERE. She's bloody everywhere. If I'm looking for a book to read, I will remember her name. Will I remember author B? Actually, I do. Because every time I see her blushing or putting herself down I want to shake her and say, "YOU ARE AWESOME! But if you don't believe in yourself I'm damned if I've got the time to prop up your ego."

Is that harsh? Maybe. But author B is better than author A. She just doesn't believe in herself. If she doesn't, who else is going to?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Welcome to Charles Raines


If you are going to read one book this year that is different I urge you to read Stranger in Translation. I adored the book. Alternatively I could just give you my usual order, BUY THIS BOOK! It won't disappoint you.

Now, I've said my piece, I shall hand you over to Charles Raines.

A big thank you to Sue Brown for inviting me over to her blog today. I am really pleased to be here. Some of you may already know me as Richard S. Charles, writer of slightly more mainstream mysteries with ‘a liberal sprinkling of racy romance’, where leading gay and straight characters intermingle in ‘whodunit’ plots which revolve around an island in the sun, its aristocratic residents and enigmatic, bohemian visitors (“Whispering Palms”, “Palms of Persuasion”). Today, I am my alter-ego, Charles Raines, writer of m/m erotic romance.
Why the change of genre and the new nom de plume? Good question! There are several reasons. Principally, I wanted to develop more fully the sensual gay experiences that R.S. Charles touches upon in the ‘Palms’ series. And also, I was itching to tackle a full-on m/m erotic romance, using a different style of writing. I use the two pseudonyms so that my readers know what to expect. (They also remind me which writer I am!)
By birth, I have a European background and have lived in France, a country which I adore. I also studied languages at university and there was little doubt where my first m/m novella would take place. It’s hot in the south of France, and I wanted to generate that heat in both the setting and theme of my story, “Stranger In Translation”, as well as in the characters.

Buylinks:  Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Smashwords

You can find Charles at his Facebook page.


Excerpt from “Stranger In Translation” by Charles Raines. 


Within seconds he stood towering above me, posturing. Clearly excited and well-endowed, he positioned himself level with my face. Oh, God! I was going to have to do something now. I sprang up out of my chair. He flinched, but held his ground. We were now head to head, only inches apart. I slowly pulled off my T shirt. The pain of the sunburn forced me to bite my lip. His eyes sparkled. A shameless stare at my hairy chest brought a deep grunt and a nod of approval.
His fingers fiddled with the button on my jeans. I didn’t respond. He ripped the rest of my fly open and eased my tight denims down to my sneakers. The growing effect he was having on me was becoming more and more obvious. I didn’t resist. I couldn’t resist. His hands and lips were soon everywhere, exploring every inch of my body, lingering in certain more intimate parts longer than others. I gently ruffled his hair and guided his head as it moved into the crotch of my loose-fitting, red cotton boxers. What the hell was I doing? Nuzzling into my groin he tugged down my underpants with his teeth. He’d definitely done that before! In a regular motion which started slowly and became faster and faster, he pandered to my moans and groans  Raising his teasing eyes to gaze into mine, the guy left me just short of the ecstasy I’d been waiting for.
The magic of the masculine oils from his body forced me to surrender as he came back up to look me in the face. He winked, his lips licked mine, and his tongue began to give me a full dental inspection. Lost in the moment, I returned his advances as readily as he gave them.
Pushing me forcefully towards my bedroom there was no doubt what was coming next. 


I (Sue) am adding a review from Amos Lassen for Stranger in Translation.
Amos Lassen is a tireless, respected American reviewer of GLBT books and films. He has his own review site and blogs regularly, making daily contributions to the GLBT community. He heard about 'Stranger In Translation' from another author and asked for a manuscript. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Welcome to Ryan Loveless: Giveaway

So I was thinking of my introduction for Ryan, and I started with... I've known Ryan Loveless for some years now... I laughed my head off when I read her post and realised she started the same way. So yes, we have known each other for years, and I have a HUGE respect for Ryan, both as an author, and a person.


Leave a comment on this post for a copy of Kaden's Colors. Giveaway ends Sunday midday EST.

Over to you, Ryan.


I first want to thank Sue for letting me step into her blog today. We've known each other for a few years, and it's a treat for me to be in her space.

I'm here today with my new release Kaden's Colors. In it, a group of teens come face to face with the truth behind stereotypes they've been told their entire lives when they meet an alien named Kaden. So I want to talk a little about bullying, specifically about why this is an issue for everyone to be active against. I'm going to focus on those people, like me, who were never bullied. Why should we speak up? Why should we reach out and offer help?

Well, compassion for one. Empathy. Heck, sympathy. (If you can't relate, sympethate! Sorry, I made up a word there.) Having been fortunate to grow up in an environment where bullying was rarely a problem for me, (apart from a few instances with one girl in junior high) I might not be a natural anti-bullying advocate. However, I can feel for those kids who are scared to go to school. I want to do something about it. I read a horrible comment last year posted in a response to an article about a young teen who had committed suicide. The poster invoked Darwinism (survival of the fittest) and claimed that bullying was humanity's method of killing off "the weak." I was sickened by this, as I'm sure many of you will be. The fact is, for all that humans can act like instinct-driven beasts, there is a reason human children remain with their parents for, generally, 18 years. It's so we, as adults, be it as a parent or teacher or mentor, can teach children how not to act like jackasses towards each other. Darwin's survival of the fittest doesn't work on a species like us, where we are predisposed to be fragile and unformed in mental maturity for the first two decades of our lives.

It's everyone's responsibility to care about what children and teenagers are experiencing. I recently heard about an interview with Aziz Ansari, one of the stars of Parks & Recreation, who is now an anti-bullying advocate. He said he's never been bullied, but he cared about people. I don't have the interview, but this article gives some indication of why he acted. This is an issue that anyone with an ounce of decency should take a stand in.

Kaden's Colors
Genre: Gay YA/Sci-Fi
Release Date: June 6, 2012
Info: 168pp, $4.99
Dreamspinner Press: Buy Link.


Blurb:

The first alien immigrants arrived on Earth long before Henry Mekes was born. Now they’re policed by the government, forbidden from attending school, and assigned menial jobs to prevent them from becoming drains on human society. Twenty-two-year-old Kaden, for example, was assigned the job of sex worker.

When eighteen-year-old Henry and his friend Ellil meet Kaden in a grotty backroom to avail themselves of his services, alien rights are the furthest thing from their minds. It’s not until afterward, when Henry is trying to remind himself aliens can’t get enough of sex, that he questions his actions and the rules of the world he lives in.

Something about Kaden compels Henry to return again and again—but only as a friend. Soon he and his classmates hatch a plan to free Kaden, but even if they succeed, the world is still full of prejudice against aliens—and those who love them.

Excerpt:

Madsen whistled a soft tune to the alien. It oriented its head toward him. Madsen wiped a cotton ball over its buttocks, which were red from the night’s hand slaps, and injected something into one cheek.

“What’s that for?” Henry said.

“Helps keep him calm when I untie him.”

Henry didn’t see how it could be any calmer, but right then its left ankle twitched as if putting up a mild fight before it stilled. There was something else that struck him as odd about Madsen’s statement, but it was so strange that it took a moment for him to put his finger on it. As he thought about it, Madsen undid all the bonds, taking care to inspect each bit of newly freed skin and rubbing ointment on any red spots. He moved around to Kaden’s ass, and Henry thought that now Madsen would take his turn, but instead of fucking it, he spread more ointment on his fingers and rubbed it inside.

“You called it ‘he’,” Henry said, realizing.

Madsen glanced at him, his expression a mirror of the pained one Professor Duffy used when someone missed an easy answer, and then returned his attention to Kaden. “You got a pet?”

“Yeah.”

“You call it ‘it’?” Madsen patted Kaden’s back as he continued stroking his fingers inside it.

“No.” Lucy was a part of the family. Henry had got the little dog when he was seven. Of course he didn’t think of her as “it”.

“Even though it’s an animal?”

“I guess….” He’d never thought about it like that.

“Well, Kaden is an alien, not an animal. He’s as bright as you and me when he isn’t drugged. So, if you can’t give him the same pronoun you give a pet….”

“But I always heard that aliens…” were lower than beasts, would die off if humans didn’t make sure they took care of themselves…. Henry could rattle off a hundred things he’d heard. There was a reason the government kept them under care and that was that aliens couldn’t care for themselves. If they could, they wouldn’t have turned their planets into barren wastelands. Granted, Earth wasn’t much better, but humankind had come to its senses and stopped the damage before it resulted in its destruction.

“You think I’d stick my fingers up a dog’s ass?” Madsen snapped.

“No, sir,” Henry said, falling into school protocol for behavior around a pissed-off adult.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the men who come in here would—hell, they probably wouldn’t even notice if I switched Kaden out for one—but that’s a reflection on them, not on Kaden. You get it?”

“Yes, sir.”

Madsen grunted an acknowledgment and turned his attention back to Kaden.

With its bonds off, Kaden could wiggle a little, and he—Henry tried out the pronoun—got enough leverage to pull his chest off the table. For the first time, Henry could see the hard cock that had been trapped there all night. It looked as human as the rest of him. With the final question of Kaden’s appearance that might distinguish him from humans gone, Henry had no way of knowing what separated Kaden from himself, except that Kaden spent each night on the table and Henry spent each night on the floor beside it. Madsen reached beneath him and pulled him off in a few strokes, sending streams of ejaculate shooting across the table. He caught Kaden and pulled him backward before he could collapse in it. Thinking of Kaden as “he” instead of “it” was strange, but not as weird as Henry had expected. He could maybe get used to it, given time.

“That’s my good boy.” Madsen talked as if he had forgotten Henry was there, and Kaden acted like it too, his eyes drugged and hazy as he arched backward and stretched his arms up and behind himself to wrap around Madsen’s neck and hold on. Madsen stroked his stomach. Henry saw it for the first time. It was pale beneath the freckles and dusting of reddish-blond hair. Kaden’s nipples were red from rubbing the table all night long. Madsen dabbed ointment over them.

“You called him a boy?” Henry asked.

“What the hell else am I gonna call him?” Madsen’s mood tipped over to exasperation. “You go on back to your school now, before you really get on my nerves.” He picked Kaden up, put his feet on the floor, and guided him toward a door in the back that Henry had never seen opened. He’d assumed it was a supply closet. Standing, Kaden was a head taller than Henry. Madsen unlocked the door with a key from his pocket, and Henry caught a glimpse of a mattress inside and a jug of water beside it. Maybe that was where Madsen fucked Kaden. Henry couldn’t imagine that Madsen didn’t fuck Kaden, but Madsen laid him down and pulled a blanket over him. He turned back to the door and saw Henry still standing there.

“I told you to go on,” he said. There was a book in his hand now, something tattered, the binding broken so much that Henry couldn’t read the title on the spine. Henry opened his mouth to explain himself, but Madsen closed the door on him.

Henry took off. All the while words echoed in his head: “My good boy” and the ones that he now questioned if he’d heard: “Help me.”


Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy.

Thanks again to Sue Brown for hosting me.  :)

If anyone wants to keep track of me, here you go:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ryanloveless
Facebook: http://facebook.com/ryanlovelessbooks
Blog: http://ryanloveless.dreamwidth.org


Chasing the Dream is out in Print


with Lisa Worrall, GA Hauser, SammyJo Hunt, Sue Brown and Patricia Logan


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Welcome to Rebecca Cohen

I'd like to welcome lovely Rebecca Cohen to my blog. Her book, Servitude, was released on 4th June. Rebecca, that is an amazing cover.

Over to you, Rebecca.



When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote at school because I enjoyed it, but stopped when I went to Uni. I began again in my mid-late twenties as a bit of an escape mechanism, and I really believe writing helped me beat depression. Now I write as a stress relief to the day job, and because writing makes me happy (even the editing!)

What inspires you to write and why?
All sorts. I studied biology (and biochemical engineering), and love the fundamental concepts of science. A number of which have wormed themselves into many stories (there is molecular biology and stringy theory in Servitude – but they’re hidden, don’t worry!). I also love people and history… I guess what I’m really saying is I can be inspired by anything – I don’t really have a pattern.

What is the best piece of advice you received before you got published?
Keeping writing! Rejection is part of the game, but even on bad day write something – anything – and don’t give up on your dreams.

Do you have any rituals to start your writing day?
No. I’m no of those people who can write anytime, anyplace, anywhere. And quite often do. I carry emergency pencil and post it notes at all time (and have resulted to backs of receipts in emergencies.)

What are you currently writing?
I recently submitted a historical gay romance novel based in Elizabethan England (nail biting time as I wait to hear!), and I’m currently writing its sequel. I’m also working on a novella which is a contemporary fantasy… about a young man who as a superpower to manipulate plants. Its more about his connection to his home and his first love really, but the original short story didn’t make the cut for an anthology and the publisher asked me to consider extending it, so I am.

How do you find your names?
For Servitude they are Roman (as they original concept is that the Reagalos familiar are a bit Caesar like). If I’m writing in particularly era then I research the historical names of the period. Otherwise, I have a big book of baby names.

What is the most interesting piece of research you’ve done so far?
Oh this is a hard one, as I love to be accurate when I write. But if I have to narrow it to down to just one then it’s what I use for character development when I get a bit stuck – Jungian archetypes. I used them to build my complex characters if I’m trying to get a better insight.

Do you include your life experiences in your books?
Yes, sometimes. My studies of science feature in a number of stories – Servitude especially which the link of biology and his magic. But also for my honeymoon we travelled to a number of cities and these became the cities in Servitude. I salon adore London, lived there for many years, and I think that is pretty obvious from my Elizabeth romp.

Who is your favourite author and why?
I don’t have just one. I love Pratchett for his Discworld and everyday nature of his fantasy writing. P.G. Wodehouse for his sublime wit, and Stephen Fry for his Making History novel (science plus history, plus gay romance… what’s not to love?)
What do you do to relax?
I write. No, seriously, my day job is quite stressful and so I write out my stress. But I love to see friends, eat out and travel. We recently moved to Switzerland so I have a new country and way off life to explore!

Where can we find you on the web?
I’m working on a website but for now:

Author Bio:
Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Rebecca is currently published by Dreamspinner Press.


Link to Dreamspinner website to buy Servitude:
Blurb for Servitude:
Lornyc Reagalos, future High Lord of the city of Katraman, enjoys his life as a student, even if he has to keep his relationship with Methian Hadral, heir to the throne of Xenetra, a secret. Unfortunately, Lornyc isn’t just any royal student—he’s also the grandson of an infamous magic user named Romanus Reagalos, and his grandfather’s wild youth is about to catch up with him. Unknown to anyone else, Romanus saw fit to sign his grandson into the life of a valet. Specifically, Methian’s valet.

The contract—and the strain it puts on his relationship with Methian—is just the start of Lornyc’s troubles. Though the Reagalos family was once famous for its magic, Lornyc’s father never showed any aptitude, and Lornyc hasn’t either—though that doesn’t make the next contract, the one that says Lornyc must learn to use his latent powers, any less binding. When Lornyc learns of a plot to remove his father from power, he finds himself racing against time. If he can’t master his magic and identify the leader of the plot, he stands to lose everything he knows and loves: his parents, his rank, and Methian.


Excerpt from Servitude
1)  Lornyc uses his magic to put a mind block on Methian.
“All I’m suggesting is that young Lornyc here put a block on you opening your big mouth. It won’t affect any of your memories. Just stop you saying something you shouldn’t to the wrong person at the wrong time.”
“Will it hurt?” asked Methian, looking uncomfortable.
“Nothing more than a slight burning sensation in your chest,” said Kat. “Lornyc, you need to get close enough to get good, straight-on eye contact. In the future you’ll probably be able to do this at a distance, but for now I suggest you sit astride his lap.”
“Don’t get any ideas, you,” Lornyc warned Methian as he took his place.
Methian looked at him with mock innocence. “Whatever do you mean by that?”
Kat cleared his throat. “If you’ve quite finished.”
Lornyc stared into Methian’s eyes. Kat continued. “Now, how I would do this would be to mutter a simple spell that would guide me through the memories, but….”
“It’s okay, Kat, I think I know what to do.” Lornyc smiled and winked at Methian. In return he felt a squeeze of encouragement.
Lornyc saw a ray of light enter Methian’s eye. The wave split into rainbow colors as if the act of him focusing on it had created a prism. Riding the spectrum, his powers moved forward through the iris, taking him with them. He was bathed in a reddish glow as he moved through the vitreous humor to the far wall of the eye and out via the optic nerve. The network of blood vessels and capillaries that surrounded him pulsed rhythmically, and he spiraled down the optic nerve and across the optic chasm in a heartbeat. Gliding across ganglia, Lornyc watched spellbound for a moment as the flashes of chemical bursts passed between the synapses.
Lornyc stopped, unsure what direction to take next, waiting to see where his powers would guide him. He was pulled toward a series of neurons and their internal protein complexes that danced and darted around the cortex, spinning and whirring as they processed information. He could hear them whir and click as they changed shape and interacted with each other.
The complex biology morphed into the more familiar form of a library, with filing cabinets full of memories stored under long or short term in alphabetical order. Lornyc’s powers snaked around the cabinets, weaving in and out until one drawer opened and a projection of the meeting about the mage appeared. His powers encased the memory, sealing it away; he retreated.
Lornyc returned to reality grinning, but a wave of exhaustion crashed over him, and he slumped into Methian’s arms.

Excerpt from Servitude … 2) Lornyc explains to Methian about the importance of the Orb and how the Reagalos live so long
“You are aware that we don’t use hydropower for the generation of electricity in Katraman?” Methian nodded, and Lornyc continued. “Instead, through a series of reaction chambers and generators, we use naturally occurring crystals that are found in the caverns under the city. Those are the orbs, but as you have already witnessed, they do more than power light bulbs.”
“The portals?”
“And much more besides. Everyone knows that Reagalos live for centuries. The orbs are the reason we can. They allow us to do something called time harvesting.
“Each individual Reagalos has their own harvesting orb, which they select before they start the procedure,” Lornyc explained. “Not all of us harvest, and there has to be a suitable orb available to do it. The orbs allow us to manipulate certain elements of multiple dimensions—for example, that’s how we travel using the portals. We use a dimensional shortcut; the orbs find a dimension next to where we want to go, and we just step through. But when they are tuned to an individual, the orbs can be used in a different way.”
Lornyc waited a moment to make sure he hadn’t confused Methian. “As you know, there are infinite dimensions. Basically, we harvest one day from each of our dimensional counterparts. As there are an infinite number of Lornycs I could, in theory, add an infinite number of days to my life.”
“Isn’t that a bit rough on whoever’s life you’re stealing? Surely they’d notice?”
“I am not about to offer any moral defense. We don’t take more than one day from each person, and in some cases it might only be a matter of hours,” said Lornyc. “As for them noticing, have you never thought it was Wednesday when really it was Thursday, or had an afternoon seem to go by so fast that one minute you’re having lunch and then the next moment it’s dinnertime?”
“Put like that, I suppose they wouldn’t miss it,” admitted Methian. “So have you started harvesting?”
“No, not yet. I’m not ready, and once you begin, it is a continuous process. It’s not something that can be switched on or off. You look the same age for however long you continue to harvest, and only once you stop do you begin to age gradually, as if you’d never started.”
“I must say, it would be a real treat when I’m a dirty old man to have a lithe twenty-something bouncing on my lap,” said Methian with a leer.
Lornyc half smiled. “Often Reagalos spouses are allowed to harvest,” he answered, well aware of the implications of his words. “As I said, there must be a suitable orb available, so not all of them get the opportunity. I suppose it’s the orbs’ way of vetting a marriage.”
“If a person ends up with one of you lot, they’d better make sure they’re truly compatible. Otherwise infinity with a pain in the ass would be a nightmare.”