Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Relaease and Interview

My good friend, Sarah, asked me a few weeks ago, if I would consent to an interview. I didn't see why not, so here it is, on her Blog, Sarah Wagner's Words and Worlds.

Interview with Jaime Samms

This coincides with my new release, out today at Freya's Bower

Buy Poor Boy, Here

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

If you're looking for something Christmas-y and a little spicy, I've got just the thing. Freya's Bower has put together a line of free Christmas stories to say thank you to all the readers who make publishing possible and writing worthwhile. Among the offerings this year is a short love story by yours truly.

Same Difference? is the story of one man trying to find his way out of grief.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In the Temple of Nogged

So, today was a lazy day. It gave me a chance to read a short story that's been on my list for quite a while. It was a nice break from the re-write I've been slaving over, and I recomend you go pick it up if you want a quick, hot read. At $1.49 USD, you can hardly beat the price.

Title: In the Temple of Nogged
Author: Murphy Jacobs
Genre: m/m erotica

Summary: Nory's life changed drastically three years ago, and all she wants now is to have back what was taken from her. To get it, she's ready to promise anything. To keep it, she has to follow through on that promise.

My Review: The beginning of this story really had me wondering. I have to be honest, I was a little sceptical. It's pretty obvious what's going to happen, and I thought I would read through to the end without really caring about what happened in between.
Surprise! Although I was right about what the book had in store, I was wrong about how I would feel about it. Jacobs pulled off a very sweet love story inside a very steamy sex display. This turned out to be a fantastic mix of love, spice, and humour, and while I will never be completely convinced of the merit of the underlying premise, that turned out to be less of an issue than I first thought.

My Recommendation: Even inside a dubious setting, love deserves a chance, and so does this story. I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

For Lovers of Sweet Romance...

...Involving a boy and a girl.

I know, not what I generally rec, but this is a pretty good bang for the buck. I'm not a rabid fan of het romance, this is hardly a secret, so you won't find me touting it very often, but I had to point out the release of One Touch, One Glance. It's an anthology of eighteen short stories harking back to the days before sex filled every other page of contemporary romance novels. Not that I'm against reading sex, quite the contrary, but to find stories that don't rely on it to boost reader interest and still manage to keep me turning pages, especially when there's no man on man action, is something worth recommending.

These authors have gone back to the basics of what makes romance romance. They tell solid stories where the payoff is being transported a world where love really does conquer and make people happy, without all the angst and drama we seem so addicted to these days. Sure, I'll go back to my angst and drama. I'm just as much an addict as the next reader, but there are a few stories I'll come back to in this book, too. Just to remind myself that some people really do believe in Happily Ever After, and I happen to be one of them.

Congrats to the Authors on a job well done. You can find out more about each of them at their websites:

Gwen Hayes
M.E. Ellis (at her many blogs)
Maryann Miller
Adelle Laudan
K. Starling
Trinity Blacio
Debbie Gould
Ava James
Faith Bicknell-Brown
Savannah Chase
Lisa Alexander Griffin
Kensana Darnell
Brieanna Robertson
Nicolette Zamora
Kathleen MacIver
Missy Lyons
Jambrea Jo Jones

Friday, December 5, 2008

Reality in your Romance...

How much is too much? And the corollary, when does the lack of realistic character action, or reaction, send a story into a tailspin of WTF?

Some background: I recently read a story which I loved, even though there was one element that kind of struck me as unrealistic. I let it go, because the rest of the story really appealed to me. I also wrote a story recently that a friend beta'd and commented that the main conflict the character had was unrealistic and squicky. That's fine. Everyone is entitled to their squicks. She also had issues with the story I read and liked. Again, she likes what she likes, I like what I like, and we often have to agree to disagree, usually with her wandering off shaking her head at my wilful blindness to the reality of life. She's not the only one who has that reaction to me and my stubborn ways. Like Popey, I yam what I yam. I make no apologies.

So. Here's what I'm wondering. When you pick up a romance, and it doesn't matter here what you read, be it het, gay, BDSM, whatever your poison, what do you expect? Do you want the gritty reality of the real world? I'll give a bit of context:

A college boy meets a man, the man takes serious, cruel advantage of his innocence and his inexperience in D/s relationships and severely damages his ability to ever trust anyone again. Boy leaves man, even goes so far as to put man behind bars, and tries to move on with his life. Then he meets another man, a too-good-to-be-true man, and falls, head over heels, despite his reservations. It's been a few years, he wants to put his past behind him and try again.

Here's where the reality check comes in. How far should this story go? How much reality do you want at this point? This young man has been horribly hurt, physically, (though that's long healed), mentally, and emotionally. Realistically, there's little chance he'll ever have a truly normal relationship in his life. But do we really want that much reality? Or do we want him to live Happily Ever After?

In the above example, I chose to give him a probable happy outcome. (Better) My reason? Simple. There are enough unhappy endings in the world, and this is a ­story. Why would I chose to make a make-believe world that is no better than the one I live in?

Which leads me to another question: Is it ok to "ignore" such problems in the world as unsafe sex, homophobia (in my genre), dangerous situations like women accepting help from a man? Let's face it, we all know, in the real world, none of us would hop in a man's car and accept a ride home if we just met him. But in the world of romantic fiction, can we get away with pretending the world is a slightly better place than it really is?

Some would say two men walking down the street holding hands, or a woman giving a man she just met too much information about herself, are just asking for trouble, and in the real world, it would never happen. Because of that, such situations in stories just yank them right out of the tale and send them on their way to the next book.

I would say phooey. Sometimes, I just want a world where condoms aren't necessary, where a man actually wants to help and not harm, and where no one bats an eye no matter who's hand you're holding.

What do you say?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Short Christmas Read

So, while I was sitting around watching my daughter cook and my son play video games, I ran across an email I'd been saving for a few days. I know you're asking yourself why you should care about the state of my inbox, but there's a reason I bring it up.

The email was to one of the groups I belong to from Nita Wick. She was announcing a free Christmas story she had on line. I figured I had nothing else to do, so why not? Glad I did. It's short, very sweet, and worth the few minutes of your time to read.

The Christmas Angel

Go. Read. Feel good, and leave her a comment.

While I'm at it, pick up a copy of The Wagonmaster. I haven't read it yet, but I've heard nothing but good things. It's fast approaching the top of my TBR list.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

NaNoWriMo



All I have to say is, at 50,390 words, at least I broke the barrier. Now, all i have to do is actually finish the story. Shouldn't be that hard, right? ...Famous last words...



In any case: An Excerpt, all of which is subject to change. (For instance, neither of the men who are mentioned to be dead actually aren't, and Paitris knows this, but the book was written out of order, and at the time, I thought they were dead. I'm just the author. what do I know?)

Back inside the safe dimness of the cabin once again, Paitris eyed the bed, but couldn't bring himself to lie back down. He'd already spent so much time on his back. He sat at the table instead, picked a few crumbs from the bread, but the thought of eating more made him queasy.

After a few more minutes of enduring the uncanny stillness, he got up and moved to the door where he could at least hear the sound of the water and the wind in the trees. Closing his eyes, he let the sounds of nature and the smell of the pine forest lap over him. It wasn't home. There was no whistle of wind over snow, no long, low groan of pack ice shifting or smell of sea salt, but it was better than the more recent memories of the ship and the men's concrete buildings. He could get used to it, given time.

Lost in the sensation, his hands wandered, trailing over his shin and up his knee, trembling slightly over the scales there. The sensation made him shiver and he almost didn't hear the approach of footsteps on the path from the beach.

"Yer up, then."

Paitris jumped, staggered to his feet, and gripped the door frame as blood rushed to his head and threatened to topple him. Tarn's big hand gripped his arm and steered him back inside to the table.

"You ain't et." The big man's voice rumbled and his face, when Paitris looked up, was clouded. Curly hair dripped in long wet ringlets down his bare chest and his loose pants clung damply to lean leg muscles.

Paitris swallowed and pushed back in his seat. "I wasn't hungry." Tucking his hands into his lap in an attempt to hide the scales and their tell-tale iridescent shimmer he looked at the floor.

Tarn grunted and picked up the bowl of berries. Gently, he set it in front of Paitris. "Don't matter. Get somethin' into you, or you'll never get strong."

"Why do you need me strong?" Paitris took a faceted black berry and put it in his mouth. It was less sweet than tangy, but the taste didn't disagree. He still didn't look at Tarn, and returned his hand to his lap.

"Paitris, you look at me."

Too frightened not to, Paitris looked up. Tarn's eyes smoldered, but Paitris couldn't tell what he was thinking behind the intensity.

"I ain't gonna hurt you. Not ever. You is free to stay, free to go."

Paitris glanced at the door, still standing wide to let in the cool autumn breeze. "Where would I go?"

"Home?" Paitris said nothing. "Do you not hear the sea?"

"Of course I hear it. I hear it every waking minute. I hear it in my dreams." It had been denied him so long. "I have no home to go back to." Maikil was dead. Jaidrin was dead. What would he tell Mairbel? He'd been a coward, run from the only thing he'd ever loved, destroyed the only friend he'd had. He couldn't go back.

Tarn cupped his cheek with his bent, ruined fingers, surprising Paitris too much to pull away. "Then stay." The naked plea in Tarn's eyes was unmistakable and frightening. How long had he been here, living alone in this far place?

"You don't want me, Tarn," Paitris said at last. "I destroy everything I touch."

He got up, having to push past Tarn's bulk to get out the door. It was too close, suddenly, inside the little hut. Pulling off his shirt and tossing it aside, he headed for the lake. He managed to struggle out of the pants, too, by the time he reached the shore, and quickly discarded the splint as well. His arm throbbed but he waded into the cold water. His scales near sizzled with the feel of the liquid caress and he gritted his teeth against the sensation. It wasn't a pleasure any more, but a reminder of everything he's lost, everything that had been taken from him. Splashing through the shallows, he waded thigh deep and dove, pushing off the gravely bottom plunging into the frigid waves.

The water closed over him, and for the briefest of instants, he flirted with the idea of containing the change, staying under until his lungs burst, but the water sang in his ears, caressed his scales, cajoled and he let go. He felt the scales climb up his thighs, across his buttocks, and trail in their languid swirls up his torso and over his chest. His gills opened, drawing in the clear, cold water, and he breathed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On Writing Integrity and Acceptable Compromise

Before I get into this post, and it's a long one, I want to first make my position very clear. This is not a post about slamming publishers. They have the right to publish whatever they want to publish, just as I have the right to write whatever I write, right? Left.

SO this isn't about the publisher, this is about me, and my desisions and choices, as a writer and as a human being, because more and more, I realize what I write is inextricably bound to what I believe to be right as a person.

If you feel the need to comment, and I do sincerely value people's thoughts and opinions, and encourage comment and discussion, be aware I will not tolerate flaming or slamming of publishers in general, or of any specifically.

So on to the point of the post. Today, I saw a post requesting submissions for a print anthology that I thought I might have the perfect, nearly finished story for. As there was no indication on the post who was publishing the anthology, I thought it would be prudent to ask, before I submitted anything, just to make sure my story would be suitable. Turns out, it was a good thing I asked.

The editor of the publication was prompt and polite to my inquiry, and even sent me a copy of the publisher's guidelines. In the guidelines was the following:


What we will NOT accept:


... We do not publish "alternate lifestyle" books;
no matter how "G" rated the author may feel they are. There are plenty of
publishers for such material. We aren't one of them.

That pretty much lets me out.

Which is fine. As I said, to each his own. But it got me thinking. The editor I spoke with, who, from the email exchange I had, seems like a decent kind of guy, did a bit of homework. He must have googled me, because I didn't supply any links to my website, or blogs, but he found out and asked about things I didn't mention in my first email. That's fine. The information is readily available on any of my blogs or my website, and I wouldn't put it there if I didn't expect people to find it. It was a pleasant surprise to find out we had a few things in common, and that he was interested enough in what he found to suggest that if I wanted to remove the allusions to the relationship between my characters, they would be happy to look at the story and consider it. Cool. But.

Always, there is a but.

I have to give this serious thought. The story's integrity would not, in the least, be compromised if I changed a few pronouns. There is nothing even remotely explicit. The two characters are rarely even in the same scenes together. Their love story is alluded to in comments and glimpses of the past. So, in theory, I could easily change the story to allude to a relationship between a man and a woman, or a friendship between two men.

But why should I? Just because it wouldn't compromise the story's integrity, would it compromise mine? Is it just a matter of changing a story to fit the market, or is it something deeper? I didn't ask the reasons behind why they don't publish GLBT stories. That's their choice, and everyone has the right to make those choices. It isn't my place to try and change anyone's mind, just to make up my own and live by it.

So I wonder if I am giving in to something more pervasive if I compromise my writing to fit this particular market. I suppose the issue is closer to my heart because I am a member of a community that grows tired of double standards. It isn't just that I write GLBT stories, but I identify with the label, as much as I try not to apply labels to anyone, including myself. The fact remains, I am part of a minority, I do identify with what I write in a very personal way, and it does matter to me that I not compromise, even in this small thing, because it is so easy to say 'just this once' and slide down that slope.

I'm not trying to change the world with my writing or my opinions, but I don't want anyone else to try and change my life with their opinions, either. I can't say that's what this publisher is trying to do, and I would never accuse them of it. I'm just trying to understand why this issue has struck such a cord with me when there are any number of plot and characterization suggestions editors and beta readers have made to me over the years that I haven't hesitated in taking. Why does this one matter so much?

Authors, what issues come out in your writing that bring out the stubborn in you when someone suggests you change it? Readers, do you choose books to read because they reflect something in your life that you identify with? Tell me what you think.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Progress

Yes, folks, there has been progress. My nano project now sits at 32, 693 words. I like to call that a broken barrier. go me.

I can see the end of the story now. Well, actually, I always could. what I didn't know was all that stuff in between the beginning and the end. Now, I can see that too, and I can tell you, I did not see half this shit coming. My poor mermen. My muse can be a right bastard, sometimes, I tell ya.

But, my friends, the book is written. Well, technically, not written, written. Thought out and planned. The actual typing has yet to happen, but I see it all, and yay! I made it.

Once again, go me.

Also, go all those people who talked me down from my little freak out a few days ago. that helped. Thanks bunches, everyone.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When I'm NOT Writing...

I save trees.

I origionally thought I would save posts like this for my LiveJournal and reserve this blog for writing-related posts, but since lj is down today and I wanted to share, here it is.

The tale actually starts yesterday, when the kids and I walked Hubs to school. They spotted, under a guard rail in a parking lot, a tiny spruce tree, about four or five inches high and determined, between themselves, that it should be saved. They conspired to hide trowels under their jackets today, and Ben took a plastic flower pot from the shed to put the refugee in once they had dug it up. He told me the pot was to collect rocks for the walkway that is slowly winding it's way across the back yard from the door to the composter. I guess their thinking was that once we were there and they started digging, there was no way I would say no to the whole endeavor. I probably wouldn't have said no anyway, but they were just covering their bases.

So, permission granted, we set out to save a tree. A tree.

Two things to note here:
1) It's half way through November, and we live in Northern Ontario. (Can you say frozen ground?)
2) Gravel is notoriously hard to dig through even when it's not frozen.

In the end, we salvaged four trees, between one and eight inches high. I think they are Red Pines and White Spruce, but I don't know. They have poky needles and are sitting in a black plastic garden pot on my kitchen counter. The black plastic pot not only has four trees, but about twelve pounds of sand and gravel. Did I mention we don't own a car? I don't think I mentioned that part. Or that the site from which the trees needed rescuing is about a mile from out home. --insert tired Mama emoticon here--

I can't tell you how much I love my kids, the little tree huggers.

:-D

Did you do something green today?

Friday, November 14, 2008

On writing a novel

NaNoWriMo is an odd thing. I'm working on a story idea I've had for a few months now. I still love the idea, and the characters, and I still think I have a good story here, but the thought of opening up that document and working on it makes me want to walk away from the computer completely.

I have no idea if this is something I should work through and write any way, without worrying how good or bad the material is, or if I should, as I always do, put it away for a while and work on something else.

The trouble with putting it away is that I do that a lot and I have a lot of unfinished work on my hard drive. Things are never going to get finished f I keep doing this. However, is it better to write drek in the hopes that I will actually get to the end, and worry about fixing it later? Will I finish it later if I do put it away?

I have no idea. Thirty or so thousand words, (give or take) seems to be my limit. Short stories around 10 to 15 k the norm. But I do have novel length ideas, and they are good ideas. They are half finished ideas. I thought NaNo would be a good way to take at least one of them to the end. Even if it sucked, I could say I finished it, or at least broke the thirty-thousand-word barrier, and worry about the rest later.

Thoughts? Advice?

For now, I have to keep going, if only because it's the opposite of what I've done in the past, and what I've been doing obviously isn't working for me. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Poor Boy

book cover

I have a contract, I have a cover, and soon, there will be a new release from Freya's Bower. All that's left is the editing. Just that. Heh. As soon as I have a release date, you can bet I'll be shouting it from the rooftops.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Day

Because I needed to expand my presence on the web, and so many people have blogs I want to follow, I decided it was time. For now, the layout remains simple, and the posts may be few and far between, but I will be boasting about my work here, and keeping fellow bloggers up to date on what I'm up to writing wise. I won't abandon my Live Journal, though. you can still find me there, and the Link is to the right. You can also find lots of free reading material on my website, and few things at the Live Journal that aren't at the website, so feel free to poke around. At some point when I feel the strong need to procrastinate, I'll make a list of links. (Please don't hold your breath unless you look really good in blue, and even then...)