Category: GayRomLit

Between GRL and Teslacon…

Oct 31, 2013 by

I’ve only been home from GayRomLit in Atlanta a week, and already I’m heading out again, this time to Teslacon in Madison Wisconsin. Teslacon is a Steampunk convention, and if you don’t know what Steampunk is, Google it. Go ahead. I’ll wait. <whistles>

Okay, back? Well, let me explain something. As awesome as Steampunk sounds, it is TWICE as cool as that. Easily. Steampunk marries historical romance and science fiction and fantasy and adventure and mystery and RAY GUNS AND DIRIGIBLES AND AIRSHIP PIRATES. It’s the ultimate geekdom, where all the geekdoms run together and then explode. It’s like Jules Verne married HG Wells and together they popped out Robert A. Heinlein and Umberto Eco. (Totally possible if you buy Warehouse 13’s premise that HG Wells was actually a woman.) And then bought an airship line.

So that’s where I’m spending my weekend, in a total immersion Steampunk convention, where I will arrive in costume and remain so for three full days. In company with my godson and nephew, Joe V., the coolest teenager in the history of teenagers.

GayRomLit was fabulous, as usual, and the organization was even better this year than last year, with set rooms for Q&As and Storyteller Spotlights and Author Readings so you didn’t have to go wandering around looking for them. And every night was a dress-up thing, the traditional Juke Joint Junket being joined by the Some Enchanted Evening formal ball and the rocking Heaven & Hell Masquerade. The costumes were fantastic.

My friend JP Barnaby hosted an event where people got the chance to finger paint on half-nekkid guys: four professional adult models and four authors/regular guys. It was adorable to see that the regular guys actually got painted more than the models did. They raised over $600 for Lost and Found Youth, a gay youth homeless shelter in Atlanta. JP also writes as Jamie Mayfield, and all royalties from her young adult books go to the shelter. JP rocks.

There was also a Dine with the Author event, that was nice, but would have been nicer if it hadn’t been so noisy it was hard to hear what people were saying. Ballrooms have crappy acoustics. I bet someone could make a bajillion dollars if they invented a “cone of silence” thing that could settle over tables for weddings and conferences like these, so that only the people at the table could hear what was being said…

I had lots of people stop by my table at the signing and even sold a few books so I didn’t have to ship anything home. This is a Good Thing.

So I come home to an invitation to host a chat with FRENCH PEOPLE. Seriously! Apparently Kindred Hearts and Finding Zach have been finding some fans in their French incarnations, and DSP is setting up time for a Facebook chat with them. I have to do the posts ahead of time so that the translator can get them done, and then she’ll be riding along to translate their questions and my answers.  That will be November 23rd, so if you speak French, mark your calendars!!

Then, I was also invited to join a blog tour about rock stars, so Adam gets to come out and play for a while. That one should be fairly soon; it’s still in the process of being organized.

So, that’s it for now. In a couple of hours I’ll be hitting the (wet and flooded) roads to Wisconsin. After I get home from that, there will be no more traveling until April. Thank God – my house is a MESS, and my cat thinks I don’t love him any more.

A cowboy, an ex-FBI agent, and a writer walk into a bar

Feb 13, 2013 by

Love, Like Water has been accepted by Dreamspinner Press and will be released in July or August of this year. Yay!  Now it’s just the editing process, which should start in about late April or May.

April is also the DSP writers’ conference in Chicago, for Dreamspinner authors only. It will be nice to not have to travel any great distances; I will be able to work a full day Thursday and just take a cab to the hotel for the opening dinner. I’m staying at the hotel, of course, because that’s just fun and saves me the stress of commuting. Which is stressful, even though I don’t have as bad a commute as some people do. It’s probably the thing I like least about working. The conference last year in New York was a lot of fun, and very interesting; I’m hoping that this year’s will be as productive.

I’ve finished the rewrites on Illumination and sent them to Sarah, my editor at Riptide. Haven’t heard back from her yet, but it was only last week or so, so I’m not fretting… yet. Estimated release date is September, so I’ll have two new books out for GayRomLit this year. That will be nice.

I also got my hotel for this year’s TeslaCon, over Halloween weekend. No roommate yet, but hopefully one of my steampunky friends will step up to the plate. Now it’s just a matter of putting together some nice outfits. Because Steampunk is ALL about the clothes. I’m trying to figure out how I can write off the cost of the con by showcasing my books or something. If I can think up a steampunk book, maybe I could get away with it. Maybe a book set at a steampunk con? Hmmmm….

 

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Jan 2, 2013 by

There is a blog hop going on now, called The Next Big Thing. I’m not sure where it started, but it seems to be a way for writers to talk about what their next work is, and to tag other writers for them to write blog posts. Well, you all know how very much I love writing blog posts (see the date of the last one) but J.P. Barnaby tagged me for it so I guess I’m stuck. (Smooches!!)

Here’s what she has to say about the blog hop. She puts things much more succinctly than I ever could:

There are the books everyone has heard about: Twilight, Hunger Games, & Fifty Shades of…What was that again?. But what about all those books written by people you’ve never heard of or only kind of heard of? Some of them are treasures, just waiting to be found, and that’s what this blog hop is all about: the books you might not have heard about, but that you might end up loving.

I’m supposed to tag five more writers but the few I actually know have already been tagged, so the hop—at least this branch of it—ends here. Fortunately, they do supply the questions, and so I get to talk about my latest brainchild, which I submitted to Dreamspinner yesterday.

I actually have three other things in progress, ranging from Illumination (formerly Going Like Elsie) that’s contracted but needs rewrites, to a science fiction thing with AIs and space pirates and genetically engineered monsters tentatively titled On Ariadne Station, to the New Orleans ghost story that I’ve hauled out of mothballs to see if I can fix. But this one is off my desk, at least for a while, so I can talk about it. And so I do:

What is the working title of your next book?

Love, Like Water. It’s inspired by a song by Tito el Bambino, a salsa/reggaeton singer.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I love New Mexico, and horses, and angst. And as usual, I wrote lots of angst.

I love cowboys, too; at least the classical archetype: quiet, strong, independent. I needed someone like that who could counterbalance a bright star that’s been shattered. So when Joshua started talking to me, I tried to think of someone who could handle him, and that’s where I found Eli.

What genre does your book fall under?

M/M Romance, contemporary. There are cowboys in it, but it’s not strictly a cowboy story.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Um, Tyler Hoechlin for Joshua, the broken FBI agent. He’s got the right dark broody looks. Eli’s more like the young Sam Elliott. I can’t really think of a present-day young actor who fits the quintessential cowboy persona like Sam Elliott did back in the 80’s. And Eli is completely a cowboy.

But possibly if Heath Ledger were still alive, at his age he might have been a good fit for Eli.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Eek. I had a hard enough time keeping the synopsis to two pages. Um…  Horse rescuer rescues broken FBI agent?

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

It’s in the hands of the gods—or at least submitted to Dreamspinner Press. I don’t have an agent, and self publishing is too much work!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Three months—the shortest I’ve ever done a novel. But it also required the most rewriting, so I think I wrote it too fast. For me, anyway. I’m a plodder when it comes to writing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

None, because there are some SERIOUSLY good horse-related stories out there. It does have some similarity to my Finding Zach, because one of the MCs is definitely broken and needs therapy. I seem to have a thing for shrinks.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The stark, austere beauty of the New Mexico desert.  I’d been wanting to set a book there since my first visit in 2010 (the week before Finding Zach came out). Then last year, when they announced that GayRomLit would be held in Albuquerque, I decided that was enough of a sign for me!

What else about your book might interest the reader?

It might have a sequel? Not sure yet, but there are two young characters that I really like, and one of them I met on my first visit to Albuquerque, while visiting Taos. His name is Jesse. He plays a minor role in Love, Like Water.

When I met him, I promised myself a story, and I think I know what it will be about.

And my hair is purple.

Oct 15, 2012 by

Okay, so tomorrow I leave for Albuquerque, one of my favorite places (actually, practically every city I’ve been with the exception of New York is on the list of my favorite places. What can I say? I’m easy) for GayRomLit 2012: Desire in the Desert. Can I just say “eeeeeeeeeeeeeee”?  I’m so nervous. I’m always nervous when I travel, but even though GRL is one of my favorite events (again with the favorites) it still makes me anxious. To wit: hives, zits, a tic in my eye, insomnia, and stomach troubles. Add to that the fact that my boss, who is my backup when I am away, is out on unexpected FMLA, so I’ve been doing two jobs for a week, and they both are going to be uncovered for the nonce. And, of course, I’m dealing with the insurance company to get back our deposit for our cancelled Turkey trip. I hate insurance companies, I really do.

But GRL will be fun. I’m doing a Q&A, the signing, and will be hanging out at the Dreamspinner Press event, so if any of you are going to be in ABQ this week, stop by one of those places and say hello. I’m also doing drawings at each of the Q&A and the signing for a little goodie bag of giveaways, 12 at each event. I’ll also have some pages for the Rainbow Romance Writers scrapbooking event on Thursday afternoon.

On the book end—Love, Like Water, is still in the rewrite process, though I’d hoped to have it submitted before GRL. But I haven’t gotten any feedback yet from my betas, which of course means “OMG THEY HATES IT.” Sigh.

The Novel Formerly Known As Going Like Elsie has a new working title:  Illumination. It’s in my suitcase, waiting for down time at GRL for me to work on it. I’m in negotiations with my favorite Artist, Shannon Valentine, for a cover for it.

So… Albuquerque… here I come…

A sense of accomplishment…

Sep 26, 2012 by

Okay, today at lunch I finished the project that has been occupying my time for the last three months (aside from getting stuff ready for GayRomLit, which is in—gulp—three weeks). Well, that is to say, I finished the first draft of it, and have sent it to my amazing critique partner, JP Barnaby, for her to… um, critique. It’s a book I started June 29th, right after I finished The Book That Will Not Be Titled Going Like Elsie (TBTWNBTGLE), and is as unlike that book as any other book that I’ve written. It’s more serious, for one thing, and has horses in it. I was thinking of calling it The Book With Horses In, but cooler heads prevailed, and its official title, after being named “Joshua” in my working folders, is “Love, Like Water.”

Yes, I finished it in less than three months. New record. Yay, me. First book:  just under six months. Second book: a year. Third book: TWO years. Okay, I was seeing an exponential progression here that, I’ll tell you, scared the hell out of me. It is with great relief that I announce that I appear to have broken that pattern. Fibonacci got nothin’ on me.

What’s it about, you ask? Well, even if you don’t ask, I’m telling you.

Joshua is a former FBI agent who just spent three years deep undercover in a gang in Darwin Park, a dangerous West Side Chicago neighborhood. (Think Humboldt Park, but imaginary.) During his assignment, he’s killed more people than he likes to think about, and ended up hooked on heroin. But the assignment’s over, he’s gone through rehab, and he goes out to his uncle’s New Mexico horse ranch to try and rebuild his shattered life. There he meets Eli, the laid-back former rodeo cowboy who’s his uncle’s foreman, and falls for him. But Josh is a long way from healthy, mentally or physically, and life has a habit of tossing curveballs anyway….

Is it a bad thing that I’m already planning a sequel? It won’t focus on Joshua and Eli, but on Jesse, the son of the ranch’s cook, and Alex, a young nurse at the hospital in Albuquerque Joshua meets when Eli… but that would be giving away the story…. Anyway. That’s percolating in the back of my mind. For now, I’m working on getting this one ready to sub (probably to Dreamspinner) and hope to have it off before I leave for Albuquerque myself in three weeks.

This is Joshua. Isn’t he pretty?

Actually, it’s Nicko Morales, who is probably going to play Joshua on the cover of Love, Like Water, if I can get my ducks in a row. I’ve got a cover artist in mind whose work I’ve been really impressed with… so much so that I had her design this website. Her name is AngstyG, and she’s done all of JP Barnaby’s recent covers, too. Since JP is the one who introduced me on Twitter to Nicko, I figure I’ll keep it all in the family. We’ll see.

Back to TBTWNBTGLE. I’ve got a contract for it with Riptide Publishing, and their editor Sarah Frantz will be working with me to bang it into shape. Since it took two years—with long breaks in between—it needs a lot of tweaking to get there—it’s got a lot of erratic pacing and weird scene placement. I’ll be starting that as soon as I get the critique back from JP and the reworked Love, Like Water out to my betas. So don’t look for TBTWNBTGLE anytime soon; I suspect that Love, Like Water will be out before that.

Busy like a little bee.

Aug 8, 2012 by

 

I’ve been away from jewelry-making for a while, but had a little spare time this past weekend to play around a bit, and this is the result. I love the cover of The Florentine Treasure, so it was nice to have a way of carrying it around with me. <grin>  I’m practicing for a little project associated with GayRomLit (no, you can’t know what it is—if it turns out, I promise I will post pics!) so I need to get my dubious jewelry-making skills back up to par.

GayRomLit is only about 9 weeks away, and I am SO not ready for it. But at least I have a good excuse—I’m deep in the throes of a new novel, and am flabbergasted at how fast the words are coming. I started the story June 29th, and have over 56K written already. I have never written that fast in my life! And I’m liking the story, and the characters. Since I’m writing it this fast, it will probably require some serious editing in the second draft (my beloved critique partner, JP Barnaby, has already been kind enough to point out some serious flaws, but I’m pretty sure I can fix them easily enough), but still, after the painful experiences I’ve had with novels lately, it’s wonderful that something is flowing so well.

Well, since you asked…. Joshua is a young ex-FBI agent who suffered through a beastly assignment, which, though successful, ended up with him addicted to heroin and plagued by dreams of the terrible things he had to do to remain undercover with a gang trafficking drugs. Eli is a horse trainer on Joshua’s uncle’s New Mexico ranch, where Joshua comes to recover and learn the horse-training business. Can Joshua put the past behind him enough to build a relationship with Eli, or, like the wild mustangs Eli trains, is it going to bite him in the ass? <snort>

Speaking of books that took me two freaking years to write, Going Like Elsie has been submitted to the prospective publisher, so I’m at the fingernail-chewing stage of waiting to see if what they asked for is what I’ve provided. They were enthusiastic about the first few chapters, but I had to do quite a bit of beating to get the final draft into shape. The publisher is fairly new and has a reputation for brutal editing, so I’m quite nervous about the response. Of course, part of the reason that I submitted there (aside from them asking me to) was because after two years, I didn’t feel like I had a good handle on the story. I did bring one of my beta readers to tears with it, though, which I count as a success. I’m evil that way.

Come August 24th or thereabouts, I will be participating in a blog tour to celebrate the birth of a new review blog, Rainbow Book Reviews. I will be blogging about what it means to me to write GLBTQ literature. The blog tour will also give away a signed paperback copy of Finding Zach. Stop by and say hi!

Bonus post

Mar 1, 2012 by

My God – two posts in two days?!!  I must be sick. Or something. But I’m not, I’m fine. Well, aside from the upset stomach from taking too many Excedrin yesterday battling a severe case of FMS, but that’s over now, and I’m feeling better. Except for the stomach. But anyway, that’s not what I’m posting about.

     (At least I’m in better shape than my poor Aunt Bunnie, who fell Tuesday and broke her arm and dislocated her shoulder. A normal person would have sat on the concrete and called for an ambulance. Nope, Bunnie is a Finley Girl, and they do not admit to pain. So she went home, and refused a trip to the ER when my brother wanted to take her. Then she went to the Urgent Care place the next day, and they SENT her to the hospital. That’s Bunnie. She’s home now, and allegedly comfortable, although she wouldn’t tell you if she wasn’t.)

     A couple of announcements – I have FINISHED the time travel romance short story that is due the fifteenth, or at least the first draft of it. Sadly, about 3,297 words are going to have to be cut. I will do that this weekend. I’m waiting to see if my beta reader can review the rough draft so I can see if it’s worth working on. I think it will be, with some clean up. It’s a bit art-history heavy, but that’s what it’s ABOUT, so…

     ALSO!  I am officially registered for GayRomLit 2012, to be held in Albuquerque October 18-21st. (I forgot to mention that the other day in discussing my upcoming travels. How could I forget that???) The lovely and delightful JP Barnaby will again be my traveling companion, and we will probably do some kind of author event together. Gay porn stars may be involved. (Hers, not mine, but what the hell.) We have a little time to work something up. There will be lots of stuff going on, and I’m really looking forward to it. Registration is limited to 400 and tickets are going fast!!

     And third, but no less important, I got an email today that said that Kindred Hearts is entering the process of being translated to Italian. This is nice enough news, but it came on the heels of my finishing my story (set in Italy) and reading a CupOPorn post written about living in Rome (also in Italy, for those who have been living under a rock or, you know, were educated in certain public school systems in the U.S.). So there is definitely an Italian theme going on here today…

     Maybe I need to book a trip to Italy, too…