Friday, August 10, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

So, my dear 33 followers...in an attempt to streamline my life a little bit, I think it is time to say goodbye to Blogger. At least, to my personal blog. I'll still be around on Four Strong Women. That won't change. But rather than continually double post to my website blog over on WordPress and to this blog, I have decided it is time to close this blog. It just makes sense from a time-saving and practical perspective. One site to maintain, especially since this is simply a mirror to the other. If you find my posts via Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook or Amazon, that won't change. The lovely Lex Valentine of Winterheart Design has magicked my WordPress blog to post automatically to those venues, so that won't change.

At this point, I invite you all to come on over and join me on my website blog, and continue to follow my shenanigans. I'll be closing this blog at the end of August, 2012.

Thank you all for following, and thank you Blogger for making this experience a relatively painless one.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Submissive Snog


 This kiss is from one of my current WIPs, a Rainbow Alley story featuring Jacob, who had a very brief fling with Cliff in Fix This, Sir, and his new love interest, Aaron. Aaron is a skateboarder hoping to make it onto the pro circuit,  but with a lot of issues from his past and his current life to overcome first.
"God. I want—" Aaron actually let out a small grunt from the effort of stopping his own words. He couldn't say it. Didn't deserve it. In the circle of his embrace, Jacob's body stiffened. Hands that looked more delicate than they actually were pressed against the small of Aaron's back.
"Want what?" Jacob asked.
You. Nothing else. Just you.
He didn't consciously move. His hands slid up Jacob's back as he leaned slightly away, holding his small, compact prize close while he moved enough to look at him. And there it was. That look. That supreme confidence that this submission to his will, to what Aaron wanted, would get him a kiss.
And again before he thought, Aaron was granting the unasked, bending, closing the space between them until hot breath poured from one mouth into the other through parted lips. So close. Aaron could count the passage of time in heartbeats, just as he could when he was in the air. All that existed was the perfection of the moment between take off and freefall. Each heartbeat was a lifetime, a blink of an eye, an eternity.
And Jacob remained perfectly still, willing, patient.
The first touch, lip to lip, wasn't a kiss. It was just a touch, a shared breath. Aaron explored the softness of the moment, tested Jacob's fragility and found only more strength to wait and accept.
More. His arms tightened, his head bent that last millimetre, and life rushed up at him in a kiss. Jacob was the parachute, the landing gear, the perfectly executed trick, Aaron's guarantee of a safe landing. Only he never wanted to come down. He wanted the soft moans he was hearing as they trickled into his mouth and the compliance, the utter and absolute acceptance that Jacob believed this gift was Aaron's due.
Don't forget to join the other authors in today's Snog-fest by visiting Victoria's blog and clicking the links! Happy Snog-day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Friend Release: The Statue by Zathyn Priest


So don't know how many of you know about my pal Zathyn. I 'met' him years ago in a chat room somewhere and he quickly revealed himself to be one of the nicest, most talent authors and artist I know. He's also generous to the point of insanity. Plus, he saved my sanity helping me out with this very website, and I could go on and on about how great he is, but I'm pretty sure he's already turning eight shades of red and cursing me for going on about him. He just doesn't know the impact he has on people, the glow he exudes, even over the net.

That and I love his writing and his art.

(And in case you didn't recognize it, that, right there, was a big ol' fangirl moment)

So, on to the point: The Statue:

Blurb: Freelance journalist, Tristan Church, wants to expose Galloway Mental Hospital’s dirty secrets. Teaming up with broody photographer, Mark, promises other perks. A ten year relationship with high school sweetheart, Eli, no longer offers Tristan the excitement he craves. Mark made his intentions clear and Tristan is close to giving in to his advances.

One morning at ‘The Gallows’ leaves Tristan reeling. He wasn’t prepared for the hell he witnessed and certainly wasn’t prepared to meet Zane. Disarmed by Zane’s angelic manner, Tristan can’t believe anyone would stand him up. He soon realises the tardy boyfriend only exists in Zane’s mind and the beautiful young man is not a visitor to The Gallows but a patient.

Eli walks out and Tristan’s life falls apart. A decision to meet with Mark almost ends in tragedy and Tristan finds solace in Zane’s company. Before long Zane’s delusions begin terrorising him again. While Tristan fights to save his own sanity and get Eli back, he knows someone must fight for Zane’s right to love a man no one else can see. A man who scares away violent hallucinations, takes away Zane’s fear, keeps him safe, and is trapped inside a stone statue.

Can I just say: I'm excited!!!

And here the purchase links:




or




Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Before I get into the prize, I just want to give my heartfelt thanks to all the organizers, bloggers and participants who took the time to visit all these blogs and speak up. It's like my new hero, Vic, says on his blog: One voice matters. Every voice matters. Your's might be the voice that changes a life. Or saves one. You do have that much power. Use it for good. :) 

 How often do we hear that story, like mine, even, where one voice, one answer to one question, would have made all the difference? Or the heartbreaking stories where one person's derision, intolernance, ignorance, or hurtful comment killed a person's spirit? Caused them to despair? Why do we think we have any less power because we speak a message of love and acceptance? We don't. 

We have as much capacity to do good, to help and lift up just by speaking up at the right time, and you know what? You might never know when the thing you said to the right person at the right time changed their lives forever. You probably will never know. And you don't have to. Because that isn't the point. Believe that what you say and do matters. For good or ill, we all leave our impact on the world, and it's up to every one of us to decide what our footprints look like.  

Not too long ago, I realized I was still waiting for that long ago answer to my question "Where does Ray sleep?" Even then, somewhere in the depths of my young mind, I knew the answer to that very simple question. What I wanted was someone to tell me it was okay. 

 No one did. No one could. Because there were four adults in that room, and no matter how much they all loved me, or each other, they could not say it was okay. Not even Uncle Cliff and Uncle Ray, who knew in their hearts and souls what they had was good and right, could tell a little girl it would be okay to grow up this way.

I don't for one second think they regretted loving each other, or being the people they were. But somewhere along the way, someone said something, did something, that changed their lives, and made it impossible for them to say it out loud. And more than anything I've gone through in my own life, more than any struggle I've had trying to figure my own truth out, that is the thing that breaks my heart. 

 So. Be the change you want to see in the world. I can't think of any better way to put it. It's the only way it will work.

And also, William Prater, you win, dude! Pick a book, let me know which one, and I'll send it along. I'll need your email address, though. I don't think I have it.
 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Talk: Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling

I'm having a nervous break down. seriously. I'm thinking I can't exactly explain the details of why that is without spoiling the book some, so I will give some fairly general reasons. 

First off, I know I started out with the Goodreads updates on the first book lamenting the perfection of the characters. If any of you noticed that, well, book two fleshes them out considerably, so I take all that back.

Alec is the perfect combination of smart and capable vs. naive and innocent that makes me want to sit down and have a serious chat about life, love and the universe with the lad. He is one reason I'm freaking out as I near the end of book two of this series.

Sergil is another reason. He's far more seasoned, so I have no illusions about his innocence. I do fear greatly for his stability, though. He's highly intense. Everything matters so much to him and he takes such great pains to show only that nothing means anything. Only he's cracked. Breaking apart at this point, and it's doubtful he can survive the emotional impact of what's happening to Alec.

Micum is their rock, and I fear for him the most because I have my suspicions who the Vanguard really is, and that does not bode well for Micum's survival. At. All. but he's such a *nice* guy. Stable, strong, level-headed. In short, the perfect authorial sacrifice. The one who least deserves to die, and therefore, probably the most likely one not to see the end of the quest. Sucktastic.

And finally, Nysander. On death's door, so you know he's going to survive. But in the end, I fear I might not like the old guy so much. He kept so many secrets. Even lied to people who trusted him. Maybe he really did believe he had reasons, but I don't know if I'll be able to forgive him when it's time for the body count. Plus, he was weak as far as his assistant Thero was concerned and either Thero will be the next series blackened wizard of evil doom (I forget what they're called, but they aren't pretty) or he died a horrible death because his mentor failed him.

Or, and here's where the nervous breakdown comes in, I've got everything wrong and the surprises will kill me. Or, I got it all right and it will rip my heart out to read it. I'm already broken over Alec, and I'm pretty sure he hasn't seen the worst of it yet.

So, well done Lynn. You win this round. You've made me hate on you and admire the crap out of you all at once. This book is killing me. (Which means it's some of the best writing I've come across in quite some time, because if I didn't care, I wouldn't be lamenting it on my blog)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yes, it's random "Friend Release" day. Today, Michele L. Montgomery is up, and I'm pretty excited about it because this woman has been a big influence on me and my writing lately. She's always been a support with her reviews  and her cheery outlook, but more recently, I'm happy to say she's become a friend and given me loads of inspiration and encouragement to keep going. 

 So imagine my glee that today I get to reciprocate and plug her efforts. Her new release, Damnit! came out a few weeks ago, and while I haven't read it yet, I do have it in the quay, and it's looking like it's going to be a great read.

Damnit! The Blurb

Escaping the past isn’t easy, especially when the scars left behind are a constant reminder that trust and love can hurt.

Michael McKnight knows what it means to be on the run from memories. Years ago, after fleeing an abusive relationship, he was brutally stabbed and left for dead. His only savior had been a  compassionate stranger he’d only gotten a glimpse of before slipping into the blackness that claimed him.

 For Michael, recovery was an arduous and hard fought return to some semblance of normalcy. He rebuilds his life, spending his waking hours buried in work and fighting to forget the past. And his life seems to be going well until he finds out that his cousin Wayne is being held captive in a mental asylum for being gay.

So he buys a plane ticket and flies out to rescue his cousin. But the weather is against Michael, keeping him grounded and talking to a man who claims that he’d once saved his life and is willing to help him rescue his cousin. Can this man be for real or is something more sinister in the works?

Damnit! The Buy link

Damnit! The Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE


“Do you think it’s at all possible to make this yellow thing go any faster than it already is? I have a flight to catch and it’s one I can’t afford to miss. It’s not like we’re stuck in traffic here. Its three a.m., there’s no one in front of you.”

“No, no. Not possible. Snow make it hard to drive. Why you leave before sun shine? Maybe it make snow go away, eh?”

Michael groaned and slid down further in the backseat. His fingers tapped on the door, showing his impatience. He looked out all of the windows and cursed the falling snow. And it wasn’t just falling. Oh no, that would be putting it lightly. It was coming down in blizzard fashion, and he had to fly in this? 

Michael exhaled. God, how he hated to travel; it was like a train wreck waiting to happen. Or a plane wreck. Whatever. Turbulence that felt as if the damn plane were attached to a bungee cord that could snap at any moment, lost luggage, then an engine failure that caused an emergency landing had just about sworn him off flying for good. Just the thought of it made him shudder. The lost luggage thing hadn’t been so bad, though. He did get to shop for some replacement clothes and found a pair of jeans that made his ass look fabulous, if he did say so himself, so there was that sparkly plus to an otherwise crappy experience. But still.

Flights after that had somehow managed to go smoothly, but now this mess. First, his alarm clock had malfunctioned, waking him up to Ozzy at two o’clock in the morning. And who in their right mind plays Ozzy at that time of the day? Damn alarm clock. It was supposed to go off at four. He’d lain in bed glaring at the evil thing, trying to decide if he should just get up, get his shower, and have his coffee, or go back to sleep. Getting up had won out because he couldn’t trust the alarm would go off again at four. Needless to say, the damn thing was 
now in the incinerator. 

To make matters worse, the snow had continued to fall, all the way to the airport, “making” the cab driver proceed cautiously, as in driving twenty miles an hour all the way down the freeway. This lovely ride was now coming up on an hour long, and he lived not twenty minutes from the massive circus tent the people in Colorado called D.I.A. The cab driver, who drove like it was a Sunday morning with nowhere to go, was doing his damndest to make him late, but somehow, someway, they were finally pulling up to the departures curb. 

Michael let the cab slow to a rolling stop, then threw open the door, prompting an angry outburst from the driver, in a language Michael couldn’t hope to understand. If he had to guess, he was pretty sure the guy wasn’t thanking him for the great conversation and charming company. 

He checked in with the skycap and then ran to the security gate, arriving breathless, ticket and ID in hand, only to come to a parking lot of people of all shapes, sizes, and colors, none of them moving or looking at all happy. Everyone and their mother had decided to travel at the same damn time as him, just his luck, and here he’d thought that by taking the early flight, the airport would be quieter, certainly less busy than this. Somberly, he stood in line and tried to ignore the couple behind him with their two screaming kids. Who in their right mind traveled with kids? The poor things had to get up early, probably missed breakfast, and then got dumped into this madness.

Time ticked on. And on. And on. Then finally, after twenty minutes of thanking God he was gay and would never reproduce, it was his turn. Like a well seasoned traveler, he had his shoes off, his pockets emptied, and his belt and laptop in the plastic bin, ready to go. He walked through the machine, then heard a noise that sounded a lot like, Ahhh! That same noise his aunt had made at him when he was little and doing something he wasn’t supposed to. He froze in place and stared at the security guard on the other side of the yellow line, motioning for him to come hither. Fear took hold like a fist in his belly, his heart thumping, and he stood there, paralyzed, because everyone was staring at him as though he were public enemy number one on the US government’s No-Fly List. Oh God, he knew he’d done something wrong or that guy wouldn’t be signaling to him, pointing him out and making his face heat up and break out in a sweat.

“Sir, please step this way. You’re holding up the line.”

“Oh, good Christ, why me?” he said, wishing he could disappear right at that very moment. He moved toward the guard, the cold tile floor making his bare feet all the more uncomfortable, his eyes wide and unblinking.

“Arms out to your sides, sir,” the guard said. He sounded annoyed, at that.

“Yes, sir,” Michael said, doing as he was told. Like this, of all things, was exactly what he needed to have happen, and right now? Why was it every time he traveled, shit happened to him? 

Up one side and down the other went the wand as he stood there sweating from embarrassment, but it was amazingly quiet. He cocked his head to the side and snickered as if to ask, now what?

“Please step to your left and the next available guard will be right with you.”

Michael groaned and looked at the man. “But…why? Your wand thingy didn’t beep.”

The guard raised his left eyebrow, lowered his head. “You’ll want to Step to your left now, sir.”

“But, what about my stuff? My laptop cost me a…”

“It’s safe and sound. Please, step to your left. Next.”

And with that, Michael was dismissed. He fought the urge to growl again and did as he was told. Did he look like a terrorist? And, for that matter, what did they even look like? He moaned inwardly, sighed and rolled his eyes. Why had he even agreed to do this? Oh, that’s right, he hadn’t. He was being forced to do this. Well, not exactly forced, but if he didn’t do it, he’d be worse for the wear, and a shitty cousin, on top of it. Then he saw what the man in front of him was being put through, and his dick suddenly woke up. Perfect. Just perfect.

“Frisk? They frisk you now?” he said to no one in particular.

“I’m putting it up to a free feel, personally. Perverted bastards. I swear, if a man touches me, I’m throwing down on him. Nasty creatures, groping paws all over this hot body. I want a woman!”

Michael looked to his right, and a laugh escaped before he had a chance to swallow it down. The girl standing next to him had red and orange hair and eye makeup so thick he was sure if he’d scraped his nail across it, no one would’ve been able to tell, bright pink eye makeup, at that; the girl must have been color blind. “What are they looking for?” he asked.

“Fuck if I know. What do they think, that we’re all armed and hiding said weapons in our bodily orifices? Not very sanitary!”

Michael grew lightheaded as a wave of panic shot through his body. He swallowed hard a few times, his throat like sandpaper scraping against rock. “Oh shit, do they actually check those open ports? Here, in front of God and everyone?”

“Hell if I know. This is my first ride since all the bullshit started with those insane, flying acrobat wannabe’s. All I know is that no man is touching me. Do you hear that?” she yelled, raising her voice with every syllable. 

One look at Mr. Gorgeous—tall, muscular, blond, and blue-as-sky eyes—frisking everyone, and Michael’s dick started dancing about in his pants. He was a goner, just wonderful. Six months without any action, whatsoever, and little man down below starts his happy dancing at the mere idea of being groped by a beefy, blonde TSA agent. “This is so not my day.”

“Next!”

“Good luck, Mister. Don’t let them shove their fingers up you, unless they have a glove and lube!”

He swayed with dizziness. “What?”

“Cavity search. Haven’t you ever watched Lifetime?”

He was pretty sure his heart was going to go ahead and explode from stress. Or maybe he’d just have a nice aneurism and escape this humiliation altogether. When he walked up to the rather large man standing near the… “I have to undress?”

“Sir. Please raise your arms out to the side and spread your legs.”

“With my clothes on, right?” Though the guard was all kinds of hot and muscular, Michael wasn’t good with having a stranger’s digits entering his body, at any time. 

“Yes, sir.” 

Once Michael did as he was instructed, he saw the man slip a pair of latex gloves on, and he yelped, “Oh my God! What are those for?”

“I’m only going to frisk you.”

“Can I ask why?”

“Random search, that’s all. Do you have something to hide? You seem a little nervous.”

“No! No, nothing to hide. I emptied my pockets and took off my shoes and belt, so I don’t understand why I’m being… Oh!”

“Sorry, sir. It’s part of my job.”

“Touching a man’s penis is part of your job?”

“No, sir, that was a slip. I apologize. Please turn around.”

Michael turned, as he was instructed, and jumped as that big hand had made its way up the inside of his thigh and back down again. As far as his dick was concerned, this was foreplay, and it made him achingly hard. 

Add sexual frustration to his already overdone day. And it hadn’t even hit seven o’clock in the morning yet.

“Okay, sir. You’re free to go.”

“I’m clear?”

“Yes,” the man answered with a gleam in his eye Michael took as lust.

“Right, so you didn’t find anything?”

“Well, yes, as a matter of fact I did find…something. But it’s not a danger to anyone other than you if you don’t get it taken care of.”

The man grinned, patted Michael’s shoulder, and said, “You’re just fine. Next!”

Michael didn’t miss the other man’s suggestive look or what he’d been looking for. Random search, indeed. He offered a slight nod, cleared his throat, resumed his regular breathing pattern, and concentrated on walking to his personal items, with a hard on he was doing his best to hide.

“Oh man, that looks painful. If I was into dudes, I’d sure take you into the restroom and help you out with that.”

Michael couldn’t have been any more embarrassed if he tried. Make-up girl again. “Have you no couth?”

She laughed and sauntered over to her items, then came back to sit beside him. “None. Not at all, whatsoever. What’s the point? If you hide your true self from the world, they’ll never know you were here. It’s not like I’m ever going to see these snobs again, and if I do, they’ll remember me. You? I’ll remember you cuz when Mr. Sexy back there felt you up, you popped a woody and he, while you were turned around, grinned like a schoolboy. He liked it.”

“Oh, you’re bad. Shameless is what you are. And for your information, men have no control over how their penises react to certain situations. It’s a normal reaction.”

Damnit! The Buy link
(again, just in case you missed it the first time :D )

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Talk: Her Two Dads by Ariel Tachna



It's no secret I love this author. I've talked about her work often enough that it should be pretty clear she's one of my absolute favorites. Still, I wasn't sure I was going to read this book, because, well, she's so prolific that I just don't have time to read them all, and I have a whole list of her other titles I still want to get to.

Well, what decided me was Audible. It was available there and I had a credit, so I picked it up and besides, I was curious how it would be to listen to a m/m book read by a woman. I don't remember the reader's name, but I have to say, she does a spectacular job. (although, I'm not sure if the ipad is glitching, or if there are a few spots where the editing is off, and some short bits of narrative are repeated. It's happened a couple of times, but I can live with that.)

I'm not sure how close to the end I am, but probably pretty close, because things seem to be wrapping up nicely, the lives of this little family coming together, and everything. I admit, there were times I wanted to slap Jaime upside the head for his...well...typical man behavior, but I never outright didn't like him. He has issues with letting people around him feel how they're going to feel, and he kind of defaults to assuming they'll feel the worst, but still, he does give Sri a strong foundation, and I think towards the end of the book, there's hope he'll begin to be a little more open minded about the people who love him.

As for Sri, Sophi's biological dad, well...if a man more suited to fatherhood exists...obviously, this is fiction, and even giving him his insecurities and his ignorance, Ms. Tachna created a man who was simply born to be a father. There's really nothing to not like about him.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm glad I picked this book up. It's been a wonderful break from all the angst I'm writing at the moment, and a bright spot in my days as I listen to it.

Thanks, Ariel. (And sorry if I spelled character names wrong. Hard to know how you spell them in audio)

Buy it: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1891

Monday, April 2, 2012

Friend Release: Aleix Bekins

As I promised yesterday, here is more information about Alix's new release Written in the Stars. (And the cover again, because I just think it's pretty. I can be shallow that way :D  (I think it's his lips...))


 Blurb: 
 Bailey McMillan’s life is a mess. The general public blames him for his former employer’s nuclear pollution, resulting in professional disgrace. Humiliated, he takes a job as an editor at a science magazine run by his best friend, John. That part isn’t so bad; Bailey is fond of John, who seems to find Bailey’s abrasive nature amusing.
  Unfortunately, working for John also leads to writing an astrology column in exchange for getting free rein in some op-ed articles—and then being sued over one. The (totally coincidental) accuracy of the column offers opportunity for further professional disgrace if anyone discovers its author—and then Bailey digs himself a little deeper.
  In an attempt to prove astrology is bogus, he agrees to an experiment to date someone from each star sign. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bailey’s got a stupid crush on John, who stubbornly insists on a detailed breakdown of every date—bad and otherwise. Bailey’s luck has to improve sometime… right?


And an excerpt. She sent me a nice sized one, and I was only going to use part of it, but it was too much fun not to share it all, so here ya go!!

Chapter 1 - Heavens Above
 “NO. NO, no, no, and no!”

“Yes,” John said, not even looking away from his computer screen.

“You can’t possibly be serious,” Bailey insisted. He slammed his hands down on John’s desk, finally getting the attention of the magazine’s editor in chief.

“Serious as a funeral,” John said.

“This will ruin our credibility! Everything we’ve been working for over the last year, ever since we started! You’re going to destroy it all just to pander to the masses? They don’t need any more pandering! I refuse to be a part of it,” Bailey said definitively. “I won’t do it. I’ll quit first.”

John’s attention had shifted back to his computer, irritating Bailey. He’d probably done it on purpose. “You won’t quit.”

The sound of sputtering frustration filled the office for several minutes until Bailey managed to get ahold of himself. His boss was many things, all of them annoying, but stupid wasn’t one of them. “Why won’t I?”

“One, because you’ve seen the numbers and know that we need to make some changes to keep afloat. Two, because appealing to a broader, more mainstream audience is the best way to do that. And three, because I have a bribe for you: I’ll let you write the review column you’ve been bugging me about.”

“But an article like you’re suggesting is going to dumb down the whole magazine!”

Baaaaaileeeeey,” John said, the name sounding about three syllables longer that it actually was, each brimming with John’s world-weary suffering of his senior science editor.

Bailey closed his eyes for a moment, thinking. “So you’re proposing that I get to write a scathing commentary of my former peers’ latest research developments every month?”

John nodded.

“I get to be rude to people, in print, every month—for at least twelve issues?” he clarified.

John nodded again, a smile starting to creep onto his face, starting in the fine lines around his eyes.

“And in return, you’re going to make me—over my most vehement objections—write an astrology column?” Bailey managed to load an impressive amount of scorn into the word.

“Yes.”

Huffing in justified frustration, Bailey thought for a moment again and then jerked his chin in a quick nod. “Fine. I’ll do it. But!” he hurried to add before John’s grin became overly smug, “I want you to guarantee the twelve-month minimum for the review column, and I insist that That Other Thing be completely anonymous. No byline, John, and no one else at Spark knows about it who doesn’t have to. If word got out, it would destroy my remaining credibility.”

“Oh, you still have some left?” John asked, eyes twinkling with laughter.

“Bite me.” It was always going to smart, how the idiots at Stellar Energy had cost Bailey his reputation by refusing to listen to his advice. Well, him and the other scientists on the research team, but still.

John reached into a tray on his desk and pulled out a sheet of paper. “Here; I knew you’d want it in writing.”

Bailey took the agreement back to his desk to look over thoroughly. John Forrester might be his good friend, maybe even his best friend, but he wasn’t signing anything without reading the fine print. He and John had known each other too long and given each other far too much shit for him to be quite that trusting.

The two had met nearly a decade ago, when John had still been enlisted and Bailey was contracting with the military. He’d been working on a still-classified project which would one day revolutionize energy production, and John had been one of a small team of soldiers assigned to keep the scientists somewhat grounded in reality. It had turned out that John was actually quite intelligent, even had an MA in mathematics—something Bailey found difficult to believe of someone who had voluntarily signed up to be shot at—and despite the constant arguing and insults, they became friends.

They hadn’t stayed in touch once the project had been completed and they were both reassigned. Bailey had finished out his contract and then gone to work for those fools at Stellar Energy. While he was grateful that John had sought him out and offered him a job at Spark, his gratitude only went so far. To Bailey’s eternal mortification, John instinctively knew the right buttons to push, the same way he had all those years ago, to prod Bailey into doing whatever he wanted. Just like with this ridiculous astrology column.

Bailey reviewed the proposal carefully and tried not to get too upset that John had been able to predict his demands that the editorial be for a year minimum and that the astrology column remain anonymous. He signed his usual assertive scrawl and took the agreement over to Lauren, John’s assistant, detouring to make himself a photocopy first.

John popped his head out the door. “Buy you a beer after work to wash away the bitter taste of defeat?” he offered.

“Go to hell. But yes, buy me a beer first.”

John grinned. “So long as I know I’ve got company for the trip.”

Bailey shook his head, flapping his hand dismissively as he headed back toward his desk. Damn John for always knowing how to get under Bailey’s skin. Bailey sat down at his desk and shuddered as he started typing in search phrases to learn how to predict horoscopes.


*****


THREE months later, John was back at the bar down the street, buying Bailey yet another in a very long—endless, maybe—string of conciliatory beers.

“I still can’t believe you are making me do this.”

John shrugged, bored by the same dialogue they’d had a million times but willing to recite his lines once again if that was what Bailey wanted. “People want to read about sex and romance. It’s not my fault.”

Bailey sat hunched over in misery, staring hopelessly at his half-empty pint glass. “This has to be punishment for something I did.”

“Buck up. If you want to write the editorial column, then you have to write this one too. You’re the only one who’s qualified,” John said, resting a consoling hand on Bailey’s shoulder.

The reaction was explosive; Bailey sat up sharply, turning on John with a vengeance. “You take that back!” he spat. “I am not qualified to write such blatant drivel and quackery. I am so far overqualified, so far beyond qualified—”

“Whatever; you’re the one who is writing it. It’s your assignment; I’m your boss. Write the goddamned column,” John said, rolling his eyes. Bailey’s melodramatic outbursts, which had lost him most of his potential friends and pretty much all of his dates in the last five years, had never had very much effect on John.

“I hate you,” Bailey grumbled.

“And yet somehow I manage not to cry myself to sleep at night.” John smirked as he raised his glass and then drained it. “Only you would have a meltdown because your column—in an obscure new scientific journal—got praised on a morning talk show.”

“That’s exactly it! My astrology column—the one with no scientific merit whatsoever—has gained national attention, and I can’t even decide if I’m more appalled that people think this bullshit is real, or that people finally approve of my work but it’s this, or that I’m apparently shallow enough to somewhat wish I was actually getting recognition for this drivel. What am I saying—I absolutely do not want my name associated with this crap! John, under no circumstances are you allowed to ever reveal that I write this column. On pain of death,” he said, giving John the most threatening look he could manage, which wasn’t very.

John laughed. “Do you honestly think anyone would believe me anyway? Bailey McMillan, the double-PhD genius, mastermind behind Stellar Energy, writing Spark’s astrology column?”

Bailey signaled to the bartender for another round. “I know; you’re right, of course. But seriously, John, promise me—not even in your memoirs.”

John rolled his eyes but nodded.

“I just don’t get it. I mean, I tried—I honestly tried—to find some scientific basis for this garbage. Some way to use the latest research of, oh, the last two centuries of space exploration to find patterns in radiation or magnetic shifts, or anything at all that had the tiniest hint of a possibility of correlation between astronomical phenomena and human behavior, and aside from some very minor reports of a higher incidence of homicides during lunar eclipses, there is nothing. Nothing!

John dared another pat on the shoulder as Bailey buried his face in his hands on the table. “It’s the fact that it kind of works that really gets your goat, isn’t it?”

“Yes! It’s driving me insane that so many people are reporting how accurate the random crap I make up is turning out to be!”

“Only you would be so upset. Most normal people would simply stop worrying about it and enjoy the ride. It must suck being a genius.”

Hate you.”

“Love you too, buddy.” John laughed.


*****


A WEEK later found them back at the same bar. It was getting to be a regular habit for them. Any time Bailey’s—or rather Spark’s—astrology column was mentioned in the news, John added an hour or two at the bar with Bailey to his evening plans. The column was turning out to be shockingly popular, and it was a good thing Bailey had insisted on keeping his agreement a secret from the rest of the staff at Spark, because the media had started questioning anyone they could find when neither John nor Lauren would give up the writer’s name.

It seemed as if Bailey’s inability to simply make up the column without doing some sort of research—mostly to prove that astrology was totally bogus—had backfired. He was running numbers, correlating everything from the levels of radiation the sun was emitting on a particular day, to meteor showers, to the slight wobble of the earth’s axis and comparing it to behavioral studies, lottery winners, crime statistics, and data from suicide prevention hotlines. He remained absolutely convinced that there wasn’t a shred of evidence to support any sort of relationship between the two… and yet the magazine was being flooded with e-mails from people who claimed Bailey’s predictions were spot-on, including some from well-known astrologers who wanted to know his secret.

It almost made Bailey want to weep over the sheer stupidity of their readers.

“It boggles my mind that people would rather believe their lives are influenced by the movements of big chunks of rock and enormous clouds of gas two kiloparsecs away than simply accept that chaos theory makes far more sense.”

“People don’t want logic, Bailey, they want a sense of order in their lives.” John sighed. This was becoming a very familiar conversation.

Bailey made a face. “People don’t make sense! There are no numbers that are ‘luckier’ for a Taurus on a particular Wednesday, and there’s no specific cosmological configuration that means Virgos should be careful with money or that Geminis should watch out for tall, dark strangers. And don’t even get me started on the nonsense about ‘love matches’. These idiots might as well be reading sheep entrails for all the ‘science’ involved.”

“The romance stuff pisses you off the most, doesn’t it?” John asked, grinning. “It’s like a personal insult to your finely tuned sense of the utter randomness of love, which of course is why you haven’t found the right person yet: sheer chance.”

“It’s a better answer than looking to the stars to find my soulmate,” Bailey answered, tone full of distaste. “Part of it is my fault, sure, but most of it is just life—not ever meeting the right person at the right time under the right conditions. It doesn’t have a damn thing to do with where Venus is in my chart.”

John shook his head and finished his beer. “So prove it.”

Bailey looked at John like he was nuts, which clearly John was, and this was simply more evidence. “Prove what, how?”

“Prove that the romance crap is wrong. Wow me,” John challenged him, grinning.

“Of all the idiotic, pointless, futile theories to waste my time on…. You might as well ask me to disprove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

“Praise His Noodly Appendage,” John said, raising his glass in a toast.

“Oh for….” Bailey sighed but raised his glass to clink against John’s. “Seriously. The only way to ‘prove’ that something doesn’t work is to try it and see what happens. But anything involving human behavior is so subjective that trying to apply the scientific method is just asking for skewed results.” He glanced across the room at a particularly attractive young woman seated at the bar. “I could go over to that woman and be charming and wonderful, ask her out, and then attribute her rejection to the month she happened to be born in not meshing well with the month I happened to be born in. Or I could give the same attribution to something slightly more logical, like the fact that she’s got a tan line on her hand where a ring used to be and she might not be ready to date again yet. Or maybe she had a crappy day, or maybe her goldfish died, or maybe she hates men with blue eyes!”

“So try just the basics, like a general compatibility test,” John suggested. “See which signs you’re supposed to get along with the best and then date them and see if it’s true.”

Bailey gave him a look. “Oh please. What, you think that if I go out on a few dates and somehow magically end up getting along best with the one I’m ‘supposed to’,” he said, complete with air quotes, “then that will prove anything?”

“Maybe not, but you’ll have a handful of dates out of it, at the very least.” John smirked.

“I weep for your college professors if that’s what you consider logic.”

John kicked him under the table. “What do you have to lose? You go out on twelve dates, and you get to have a tiny bit of proof—”

“Flawed, subjective proof,” Bailey interrupted.

“—that astrological love matches are bogus,” John continued, ignoring Bailey. “Maybe you’ll even get laid,” he added, wiggling his eyebrows in what was probably supposed to be a suggestive way but instead looked like he had a facial tic.

“In order for an ‘experiment’ like that to work, I’d need to date at least one person of each sign. And I couldn’t know who was who or I’d bring my own biases into it—which is going to be difficult enough to ignore, given that there is no way in hell this can work, because, and let me say this very clearly since you seem to be missing my point, astrology is completely bogus.”

John ignored him, as usual. “So you go out with one person of each sign within a close enough time period that you can realistically make comparisons. It’s like you’ll suddenly be popular,” John teased. “Twelve dates in a few months; I bet that’s more action than you’ve had in years.”

Bailey made a face at him. “Why are we friends?” he asked, trying to sound genuinely curious. “I’m pretty sure I loathe you.”

It wasn’t as if he needed John to rub it in that Bailey didn’t date much—or at all—and that the idea of finding even two dates in one month made his palms sweat. Not everyone could have the looks John had: tallish, fit, runner’s body, tanned skin, hazel eyes. His hair was a perpetual disaster of cowlicks that tended to make him look sort of goofy, but even though he was nearing his midforties, John had a grace and self-confidence that drew women to him like bees to honey. He’d always been able to charm his way into any pants he’d wanted.

Bailey never even tried to compete. Sure, he was a genius and he had money, but he simply wasn’t good with people and had given up in his late teens, when he’d realized that being super-intelligent didn’t seem to make people want to sleep with him. He had huge blue eyes, which were his best feature by far, a stocky body that tended to look more pudgy than strong, and hair that had sadly started thinning in his midthirties. He liked sex—loved sex—but rarely found dealing with other people’s emotions worth the effort involved.

“What have you got to lose?” John asked, a smile beginning to tug at the corners of his mouth. “Maybe you’ll even find Miss—or Mister—Right.”

Bailey shook his head, knowing he’d already given in the moment he’d begun thinking about all the variables involved. “I’ll bet you a steak dinner that at the end of this pseudo-scientific farce, I’m still sitting here in this bar with you.”

John grinned. “You’re on.”

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Entertainment April 1, 2012

For your Reading Enjoyment (free and otherwise):

Lords of Aether:  We've been going strong on this, though I have been remiss in letting folks know because I've been otherwise occupied for a while. The latest post is up and it has Nash flying off in his air ship into the wild blue yonder with his current squeeze, Jack, Jack's old flame, Anthony, and Anthony's crush and local courtesan, Shelly. If that isn't a going to be a mash up of steamy sexual tension and angst, I don't know what is. Enjoy :D

http://lordsofaether.com/the-story/

New Releases:

From me and Sarah Masters, I give you Tools of Justice



One cop. One killer. Both dreamwalkers. Not every dream should see the light of day...

Three very different people have one thing in common-a dreamscape steeped in horror. Barry has had dreams of violent death all his life, and as a cop, he now works to solve the crimes his dreams tell him about in hopes he can save at least one victim from suffering the fate he faces every time he lays his head on his pillow. His ex-lover, Tag—now his boss—has no idea how to help him cope other than to protect his job...and try to protect their hearts from the dreams that could end up killing them both.

Layton welcomes the dream state that shows him his next victim. He's been a killer for as long as he can remember, and the land where he walks in shadow beside the horn-headed man who guides him feels more like home than the waking world. Now, in addition to seeking out those who would kill the innocent and ending their lives in his own special reign of terror, Layton is promised a bride—someone to love him forever. It seems everything he's ever dreamed is about to come true.

Jessica just wants to get her life back after her boyfriend is murdered and she is abducted. Twice. Finding herself at Leyton's mercy is a nightmare she soon finds is only the very beginning. When the horn-headed man visits her, she knows nothing will ever be the same again.

The four of them now have to find a way to navigate the real world while the dream state dictates their very lives and threatens everything they hold dear. If they manage catch a few killers and save a few innocent lives along the way, that will have to be their compensation for the "gifts" given by The Dreaming.
And coming soon from my friend, Alix Bekins, Written in the Stars
Bailey McMillan’s life is a mess. The general public blames him for his former employer’s nuclear pollution, resulting in professional disgrace. Humiliated, he takes a job as an editor at a science magazine run by his best friend, John. That part isn’t so bad; Bailey is fond of John, who seems to find Bailey’s abrasive nature amusing.
Unfortunately, working for John also leads to writing an astrology column in exchange for getting free rein in some op-ed articles—and then being sued over one. The (totally coincidental) accuracy of the column offers opportunity for further professional disgrace if anyone discovers its author—and then Bailey digs himself a little deeper.


In an attempt to prove astrology is bogus, he agrees to an experiment to date someone from each star sign. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bailey’s got a stupid crush on John, who stubbornly insists on a detailed breakdown of every date—bad and otherwise. Bailey’s luck has to improve sometime… right?

I'll be back tomorrow with buy links and an excerpt, because this looks like it's going to be lots of fun :D

Movies:

I watched Different for Girls over the past week, and I have to say, aside form the poor sound quality of the copy I had, I really, really enjoyed it. I'll talk more about it another day, but here's the info on it, if you're interested in something with a little bit of a difference.

I also watched Cowboys and Angels, which was also interesting and enjoyable, about a couple of college kids getting into and out of trouble.  There some nice  broken stereotypes, and I liked that about this film. The acting was decent and the film was, overall, pretty fun, if not life changing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tools of Justice --- Total-E-Bound Erotic Romance Ebooks

Tools of Justice --- Total-E-Bound Erotic Romance Ebooks

One cop. One killer. Both dreamwalkers. Not every dream should see the light of day...


Let's talk about comfort zones. Mine is set far back from anything that looks like it might be a horror film or book. I've never read Steven King, nor do I ever intend to. (Well, except for his book on writing, but that's almost a prerequisite for anyone who thinks they're going to try and get published, and it's not really that scary.)


So what ever possessed me to write in this genre? Well, that answer is simple. Srah Masters. She said let's...and I said....Okay. Is the story warped? Maybe a bit, but she's known for that. Is it angsty? Hell yes, but that's my shtick. The beauty is in how well the two styles mesh. Even our editor had to ask who wrote what and that's a huge compliment to how well we worked together on this.


So while book two is in the offing, have yourse;f a read of this first book in The Dreaming universe and the good news, you probably won't need tissues this time around. 



Blurb:
Three very different people have one thing in common-a dreamscape steeped in horror. Barry has had dreams of violent death all his life, and as a cop, he now works to solve the crimes his dreams tell him about in hopes he can save at least one victim from suffering the fate he faces every time he lays his head on his pillow. His ex-lover, Tag—now his boss—has no idea how to help him cope other than to protect his job...and try to protect their hearts from the dreams that could end up killing them both.
Layton welcomes the dream state that shows him his next victim. He's been a killer for as long as he can remember, and the land where he walks in shadow beside the horn-headed man who guides him feels more like home than the waking world. Now, in addition to seeking out those who would kill the innocent and ending their lives in his own special reign of terror, Layton is promised a bride—someone to love him forever. It seems everything he's ever dreamed is about to come true.
Jessica just wants to get her life back after her boyfriend is murdered and she is abducted. Twice. Finding herself at Leyton's mercy is a nightmare she soon finds is only the very beginning. When the horn-headed man visits her, she knows nothing will ever be the same again.
The four of them now have to find a way to navigate the real world while the dream state dictates their very lives and threatens everything they hold dear. If they manage catch a few killers and save a few innocent lives along the way, that will have to be their compensation for the "gifts" given by The Dreaming.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunday Entertainment March 4, 2012 (ish)


On Monday. I know. I was editing all weekend, so hopefully, that's some consolation. It means Tools of Justice, co-written by me with Sarah Masters is one step closer t it's release in May WOOT!!!

So, the News:

From the Web:

I haven't spoken up much about the PayPal fiasco. Not because I'm not following or don't have an opinion, but more because I don't know all the facts and I don't wish to spread mis-information. Suffice to say, I think the whole issue is a frightening and dangerous one and we should not let it slide lest we get buried in the resultant debris of lost freedoms. On that note, read this blog by one of my publishers, Loveyoudivine, and think about it. Learn the ins and outs of what's going on, and take a stand. It's important.

From My Publishers:

Read up on their new releases and free stories: Hot Shots, written by some of your favorite TEB authors.

And What About me?

Like I said, been neck deep in edits for Tools of Justice, but that is done and off to Sarah to work on. Next up, I will be working on Lace, another TEB offering being fixed before they make their final decision. I'll keep you posted.

I also spent a good deal of last week reading Bear Otter 
and the Kid. Wow. Monster book. I remember why I had been putting it off. It's looong!! But to me, the character development required that length. I loved the ocean/drowning theme Mr. Klune used throughout the story. The way he built it up to the point where the main character, Bear was feeling helplessly washed out to sea and lost was extremely effective.

I'll admit, the book had me in tears by that point. I also need to point out by the time I got to there, it was well past midnight and I was...overtired....yes. That's just it. Overtired. ;~)

I know I say quite often not many books can actually make me cry, and then every other book I talk about, I end up saying it mademe cry. Keep in mind, I don't talk about the books that didn't really touch me in some way. I read a lot of books. I don't talk about them all. I talk about the ones that matter to me, and this one matters. Why?

Because it's an excellently written book. It explores the very potent world of the family you chose over the family you were born into. It explores responsibility, trust, honesty and forgiveness. And on another level, it will outlive controversy and it has proven to me that all those things that are central themes in the book are alive and well in the real world that published it.

I can only recommend this as a fine book about rising above everything and holding onto the things that matter with both hands and all your heart.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunday Entertainment: February 26, 2012

Stuff from the Web:

Jamie Fessenden found these blogs and shared them on one of the loops we mutually belong to. I thought they were fun blogs about stuff all writers sould think about now and then, so if you're a writer, and you've got a few minutes, have a gander.

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/02/you-are-what-you-love-a-numeri.html

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/02/between-the-perfect-and-the-re.html

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/02/operating-narrative-machinery-.html

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/02/not-enough-credit-not-enough-t.html


GayRomLit: The schedule of events is up and ready. Looks like a full roster of publishers: Loose _d, Total e-Bound, Dreamspinner, Samhain, MLR, Torquere, Resplendance, and Silver Publishing are all sponsoring events, along with all teh author readings and other activities. I'f it's anything like last year, there will be no time for getting board!









Appearances:

I'll be poking my head in at Ethan Day's Yahoo group today for Gay Day to talk about my latest release: Better, and just generally hang out and chat. I'm sure, as always, there will be tons of other readers adn writers there to play. It's always great fun and all those books down there will be available to win just for stopping by. So dooo it!

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Lords of Aether:

Of course. This week, Beare has made another log post of his and the club's history. Drop by and have a read. this character has more disdain for his Lords than you can shake a tail at, but he'll protect them just the same. Plus, he's entertaining when he goes on about the Lordlings of his self-imposed  charge.