Lots & LOTS of news! #kindle #mm #bdsm #mma #military

BreakingFree_500x750It’s such a beautiful day here, and promises to be a spectacular weekend, so – what the heck! I decided to drop the hammer early and release Breaking Free today!

Richard Carr has the kind of life most people would envy. Partner in a major Los Angeles law firm, married to the man of his dreams, Richard seems to have it made – except for the lie he’s been living for the past forty-odd years.

On special nights, in the company of kinky friends, Richard disappears inside Renee, his sexy, dominatrix alter-ego. Strong, sassy and flirtatious in her red and black corset, Renee is who Richard truly is on the inside – and who he longs to be outside of the dungeon.

But starting his – her – transition doesn’t provide the relief Renee had hoped for. Her business partners demand that she go back to dressing as a man at the office, while Robert, her husband and fellow Dominant, can’t conceal his shock as the man he married disappears a little bit more every day.

Their one true point of connection remains in the dungeon – in the person of Jase Hewitt, the submissive they both share. But when a devastating tragedy shatters Jase and sends him running to his Masters for comfort, it quickly becomes apparent that Robert’s love for Jase extends far beyond their Dom/sub roles…

And Renee faces a choice – abandon her journey toward becoming the person she truly is inside, or risk losing the man she loves.

Now available at the following e-tailers:

AmazonNook - All Romance ebooksSmashwords

Takedown300And if you’re been waiting for news on what’s next for Bannon’s Gym, wait no longer! Takedown is coming July 29th from Samhain!

An abusive father drove Tom Delaney away from Lincoln Beach. Now that he’s back to settle his family’s affairs, he’s finding that not even the good things he left behind are the same. The old neighborhood is a dangerous slum. Eddie’s diner is on its last legs. Gloria, who looked after him like her own son, is seriously ill.

His only refuge is Bannon’s Gym, where Danny Bannon nurtured his talent for mixed martial arts. Bannon’s also harbors Travis, his ex—as in ex-sparring partner, ex one-night stand. The man who, the last time they faced off in the ring, left Tom with a broken jaw and a concussion.

The sparks are still there, in the ring and out of it. But when Travis’s own troubles quite literally explode, their only chance to build something solid on their broken past could go up in flames.

Warning: Hot guys slugging it out. Heaps of sexual tension and cursing. Fighting. Grappling. Kicking. Throwing elbows. All drenched in buckets of manly sweat.

You can pre-order Takedown here:

AmazonNookSamhainiTunes

UnconditionalSurrender_500x750Annnd last but certainly not least – how about some military manlove?

Join me, L.A. Witt, Keira Andrews, Em Lynley, Brien Michaels, Rhi Etzweiler, Lia Davis, Kerry Adrienne, Cassandra Carr, Sam Schooler, Amelia Gormley, Lucy Felthouse, VJ Summers, Brit Blaise, Sasha Devlin and SE Jakes for stories about hot fighting men with big hearts (and even bigger… *koff*)…

Coming October 2014 from the usual e-tailers. :)

 

Now available for pre-order! #mm #kindle #BDSM #erotica

BreakingFree_500x750I love finding brand, spankin’-new author copies in my inbox! Breaking Free‘s release date is fast approaching (July 15th, in case you still need to mark your calendars!) and it’s now available for pre-order at All Romance ebooks and Smashwords!

Richard Carr has the kind of life most people would envy. Partner in a major Los Angeles law firm, married to the man of his dreams, Richard seems to have it made – except for the lie he’s been living for the past forty-odd years.

On special nights, in the company of kinky friends, Richard disappears inside Renee, his sexy, dominatrix alter-ego. Strong, sassy and flirtatious in her red and black corset, Renee is who Richard truly is on the inside – and who he longs to be outside of the dungeon.

But starting his – her – transition doesn’t provide the relief Renee had hoped for. Her business partners demand that she go back to dressing as a man at the office, while Robert, her husband and fellow Dominant, can’t conceal his shock as the man he married disappears a little bit more every day.

Their one true point of connection remains in the dungeon – in the person of Jase Hewitt, the submissive they both share. But when a devastating tragedy shatters Jase and sends him running to his Masters for comfort, it quickly becomes apparent that Robert’s love for Jase extends far beyond their Dom/sub roles…

And Renee faces a choice – abandon her journey toward becoming the person she truly is inside, or risk losing the man she loves.

More venues coming soon! :)

COVER REVEAL! Breaking Free, coming 7/15! #kindle #BDSM #transgender

BreakingFree_500x750Hey, folks! Sorry I’ve been so scarce lately, but I’ve been busy! I’ve just completed a novella for Cassandra Carr’s Higher Learning: Campus Cravings anthology (due this August), and am now waist-deep in Hardcore Ink, my latest collaboration with the awesome L.A. Witt, and another new novella for the M/M military bundle I’m editing. But the really big news today is…

*drumroll*

Ain’t she purty? That’s Renee, my transgender Domme from my new novel, Breaking Free.

Richard Carr has the kind of life most people would envy. Partner in a major Los Angeles law firm, married to the man of his dreams, Richard seems to have it made – except for the lie he’s been living for the past forty-odd years.

 On special nights, in the company of kinky friends, Richard disappears inside Renee, his sexy, dominatrix alter-ego. Strong, sassy and flirtatious in her red and black corset, Renee is who Richard truly is on the inside – and who he longs to be outside of the dungeon.

 But starting his – her – transition doesn’t provide the relief Renee had hoped for. Her business partners demand that she go back to dressing as a man at the office, while Robert, her husband and fellow Dominant, can’t conceal his shock as the man he married disappears a little bit more every day.

Their one true point of connection remains in the dungeon – in the person of Jase Hewitt, the submissive they both share. But when a devastating tragedy shatters Jase and sends him running to his Masters for comfort, it quickly becomes apparent that Robert’s love for Jase extends far beyond their Dom/sub roles…

And Renee faces a choice – abandon her journey toward becoming the person she truly is inside, or risk losing the man she loves.

Coming July 15th from Cat Grant Books! :)

 

Just because I’m ignoring everyone doesn’t make me anti-social…

1344145918757_9929422I’ve been on a Facebook and Twitter moratorium for the last ten days – the least stressful, most productive ten days I’ve spent since… well, since I joined Facebook and Twitter.

I didn’t realize I’d become such a social media addict until I went to RT in New Orleans a month ago. There I was, among dozens of writers I could’ve easily struck up conversations with, but every time I sat down, out came my phone to check FB and Twitter – and everyone else was doing the same damn thing!

Plus… I have to admit, the whole FB/Twitter experience has been getting me down of late. The mind just can’t help making comparisons between what I’m doing and what everyone else (aka, other writers in my genre) is doing, and finding my own efforts completely inadequate.

Which is silly, since I’ve already had 4 books out this year, two more coming next month, novellas coming in a couple of anthologies, and another novel out next January. Not L.A. Witt-level productivity (damn her! LOL!), but still a pretty respectable output.

Taking a whole week off social media proved to be a highly efficient “palate cleanser” (aka, sanity restorer). As much as I enjoy interacting with readers and other writers, I’ve already got enough voices in my head. It was nice having a little radio silence for a change.

Especially when I saw how much work I got done. In the entire previous month (middle of April through middle of May) I’d written about 30K. During my social media moratorium, I wrote another 30K and finished another book.

I’m back on both venues now, but in the future I’ll be limiting my social media exposure to an hour or so per day. That’s long enough for me to keep in touch with my readers without sacrificing sanity and productivity. Got to keep those books coming, right? :)

Laissez les bon temps roulez! (Aka, off to RT!) #rt14 #NOLA

NO_French_QtrOne and a half more sleeps until I take off for the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans! This will be my third trip to the Big Easy since 2011, and I can’t wait! Cafe du Monde, here I come!

I signed up too late to get on any panels, so you’ll have to do some detective work if you want to find me. My sometime co-author L.A. Witt and I will be hosting a table at Samhain’s Saints and Sinners party Thursday night at 9 PM. I’ll have rainbow Sharpie markers, fridge magnets, a few T-shirts and some paperback copies of Guarded to hand out, so be sure to stop by and say hello!

For the rest of the convention I’ll probably be rather scarce – I haven’t visited NOLA since 2012, so I plan to do a bit of sight-seeing. In fact, I’ll probably spend most of my time hanging out at Cafe du Monde with my laptop! (And probably L.A. and Anna Zabo!)

In other news… I just signed up as a featured author for the Gay Romance Northwest Meetup on September 20th – one month before GayRomLit in Chicago!

Looks like spring and fall are prime traveling times for me. As for this summer… well, since I’m not moving this year (YAY!), I’ll be staying home writing. I just turned in the new Courtland novella, and I’m currently working on a prequel (of sorts) to Guarded, featuring the married Dominant couple Renee and Robert – and the submissive they share, a young musician named Jase Hewitt. In fact, it’s currently giving me fits, but what book doesn’t?

In the works for later this year: a new Courtland novel, another collaboration (or two) with L.A. Witt, that m/m military boxed set I’m editing, and another boxed set I’m currently working up for a submissions call. I’ll be getting back the rights on Once a Marine and my two Amber Quill violinist/teacher May/October romances (Allegro Vivace and Sonata Appassionata) and will be self-publishing new editions of both soon.

So, looks like I’ll have plenty to keep me busy for the foreseeable future. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it me, or…? (Aka, I feel a rant coming on…)

AEDvUhteacher-turn-in-appreciation-week-teacher-week-ecards-someecardsI don’t want to become one of those People Who Turn into Frothing-at-the-Mouth Rage Monsters at regular intervals, but sometimes you just have to let your rant-flag fly.

I just got back from the grocery store, a trip I make several times a week. Most of the time it’s smooth sailing, but today, for some reason, the universe decided to put me in the path of a checker I can only describe as brain-dead.

I didn’t have much in my basket – a bag of Fritos, a carton of milk, three containers of Dannon yogurt. You wouldn’t think that would be so hard to ring up, right? Well, for this checker it was apparently the equivalent of the SAT’s. Don’t get me wrong, she seemed nice – a bit young and inexperienced, but trying to make up for it by being sweet and chatty. Until she couldn’t figure out how to ring up my yogurt.

“They’re on sale, ten for ten dollars,” she chirped.

“That’s nice,” I said. “But I don’t want ten. I want three.”

“But… you can get ten for ten dollars! A dollar apiece!” She still had a smile on her face, but it looked ready to crack.

“Um, can’t you just ring me up for three at a dollar apiece?”

Well, apparently she couldn’t. She pushed a few buttons on her register, but none of them did the trick. So I had to stand there for about ten minutes – no lie! – while she waited for the shift manager to come over and press a button she evidently couldn’t find (despite it being right in front of her perky face), and finally, voila!

By this point I was pretty fucking steamed – not at the checker or her boss, but by the fact that she couldn’t figure out what to do on her own. I worked retail when I was her age. I know it’s a shit job. Working with the public sucks almost as much as working for lawyers, and I’ve done both. In my day (cue old lady yelling at kids to get off her lawn), they taught people in customer-service type jobs how to think on their feet, but apparently that’s not happening anymore.

Honestly, I’m astounded at the lack of initiative and common sense among younger people these days. I chalk a lot of it up to the scarcity of high schools teaching any type of critical thinking. Ignorance, of course, can be corrected with a little education, but we’re raising an entire generation that’s not only ignorant and unmotivated, but content to remain that way.

As I grow older, though, I find myself having less and less patience with those who refuse to correct their ignorance – or who expect the rest of the world to accommodate that ignorance, even to the point of swaddling itself in cotton wool for their benefit.

A couple of weeks ago I was on a panel at Rainbow Con titled, “Ew! I Don’t Like Those Parts.” (About people getting squicked by certain types of subject matter/pairings in their reading material.) We talked about the dreaded “girl cooties” thing (don’t get me started on the whole body-image issue debate, or I’ll be here all night) and the concept of “triggers” – which, IMO, is a word that’s tossed around way too casually these days.

As a veteran of seven years of intensive psychotherapy, I’m well acquainted with emotional triggers. Sometimes the baggage we haul around from our pasts can’t help but get in our way. Sometimes the present – in the form of of books or movies or simple interaction with others – brings up stuff we’d rather keep buried. And y’know what? I get that. I really do. Past trauma is a bitch to deal with.

But real emotional trauma is much, much different from, “OMG, you made me look at something I don’t like!” Which is pretty much the tenor of most of the bad reviews I get these days.

BWAHAHAHA! You knew I’d reach the point eventually, right? Sooner or later, it all comes down to bad reviews.

They used to bother me, until I decided it was best for my mental health not to read them. But, masochist that I am, every now and then I can’t resist having a look at Goodreads. I’ve been raked over the coals for showing bisexual male characters having on-page sex with women. For writing novellas instead of full-length novels. For writing HFN endings instead of “true” HEA’s – whatever the hell that means.

But my favorite dumb review so far this year? The reader who didn’t like Black Dog because she couldn’t figure out who one of my three main protagonists was going to end up sleeping with. (Spoiler for those who haven’t read it – he doesn’t sleep with anyone.)

After five years in this business, I didn’t think there was much left that could astound me, but I just… I have no fucking clue what to say to a remark like this. It probably seems strange for an erotica author to admit she doesn’t plot her books around the sex scenes, but that’s just completely alien to the way I work. For me, whatever sex ends up in the story needs to evolve organically out of the characters and their interactions with each other.

What I find most astounding – and disheartening – is that the person who wrote this review appears to be completely lacking in self-awareness (as well as being, well… stupid), otherwise she would’ve realized she was outing herself as a complete moron.

So, the upshot of this tl;dr ramble? Apparently we’re raising an entire generation that’s clueless, proud of it, and doesn’t give a fuck who knows. Which is a hell of a lot more disturbing to me than a grocery checker who doesn’t know how to operate her own register.

Ah, progress – and hey, a SALE!! #mm #kindle

IASale_bannerIt’s been a semi-insane week here (when is it not?) getting ready for RT while working away on both the new Courtland novella and my transgender dominatrix story – a prequel (of sorts) to Guarded.

Anyway… I’m getting super-excited to spend another week in NOLA, one of my favorite cities. I signed up too late to get on any panels or the book fair, but if you see me around, don’t be afraid to say hi! You might just get some fridge magnets or a rainbow Sharpie!

And can you believe it’s been over a year since Flawless, the fourth and final book in my Irresistible Attraction series was released? To celebrate, Riptide Publishing is having a 30-50% off sale on all four books (and bundles!) now through next Sunday, May 11th.

In other news… my latest obsession (besides Jared Leto, 30 Seconds to Mars and the new X-Men movie) is the NBC series Hannibal. Anybody else watching? I’ll admit, it’s not the type of subject matter I usually enjoy, but the show’s haunting visual style and powerhouse performances have sucked me in. I never really saw the appeal of Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Lecter, but Mads Mikkelson? RAWWWWR! Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne help bring the heat too – and the gravitas. Season Two’s ramping up to a big finish with the addition of Michael Pitt and Katharine Isabelle to the cast. NBC, are you listening? You’d better not cancel it!

 

 

 

 

Cover reveal – TAP OUT, coming soon from Samhain! #boxing #mma #mm

TapOut72lgLou Harper, cover artist extraordinaire, has done it again! Here’s her gorgeous, gritty cover for the third installment in my Bannon’s Gym series, Tap Out, coming next January from Samhain!

And if you’re interested in how Lou works her magic, here’s a look at how she created the cover for the previous book in the series, Takedown.

In other news… no sooner do I get back from Rainbow Con but I have to start gearing up for RT in New Orleans in a couple of weeks! NOLA’s one of my favorite cities, so I’m looking forward to visiting some familiar spots (Cafe du Monde, anyone? Or maybe an excursion to Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo on Bourbon Street?) I’m not participating in any panels or the book fair, but L.A. Witt and I will be hosting a table at Samhain’s Saints and Sinners party – not sure exactly what night that is, though.

If you see me wandering around, don’t be afraid to say hi – I’ll have rainbow Sharpie markers, fridge magnets and maybe even a paperback or two to give away!

In the meantime, I just finished the first draft of the new Courtland novella, and tonight I’m diving back into my trans* dominatrix story – and oh, what plot twists are ahead! *rubs hands together* This one’s gonna be fuuuuuun.

In defense of novellas… & a few other thoughts.

Rottenecards_19976135_yhvtv4gzs6For once I’m not blogging to talk up a new book, or crow about the great time I had at a con. This time, believe it or not, I’m actually going to express an opinion.

Now, I realize it takes most readers a lot less time to read something I wrote than it took for me to write it. And don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered when someone tells me they stayed up all night reading one of my books and “OMG, it was great!”

Then follows the inevitable, “When’s the next one coming out?”

You’ll all have to forgive me for heaving a very heavy sigh here – not because I don’t love it when readers are anxious to get their hands on more of my work, but because… well, the pressure to produce in this business is already staggering. These days any writer – especially indies – with a desire to make a living must release at a minimum five to six new books per year.

If you’re a super-fast, super-productive writer (like my sometime co-author L.A. Witt), this is no problem. But most of us aren’t that prolific, and it’s very, very frustrating to work your butt off publishing a 105,000-word novel (that took four and a half months for you and your co-author to write) and have readers saying, basically, “Not enough! I want more! NOW!”

After a while, it starts to sound a lot like, “Dance, monkey! Dance!”

*siigh*

I’m sure I’ve already offended half of you by now, but no, I’m not apologizing. My creative brain works the way it works, and kicking myself for not producing more can send me into a funk that hangs on for weeks.

Frankly, I think readers have become spoiled by the surfeit of free and cheap reading material out there. You could spend the rest of your life reading all the free books available on Kindle, but y’know what they say about getting what you pay for. And no, I’m not about to drop the price on my self-pubbed books to $2.99 or less in the hopes of attracting readers with no interest in paying an indie author a living wage.

Okay, so that probably came across as a huge kick in the pants, but here’s where I make it up to you – honest.

I love you all, I really do. You’re the reason I’m able to write for a living. You’ve given me so much – every time I attend a con, I feel the love. I hear you when you say you want more, and I get it – I mean, we writers are readers, too. We learned our love of books the same way every other reader in the world did – in the pages of our favorite stories. Only these days, the pages are digital and readers can have a new story in their hands with a click of a button.

But I can’t write five or six 100K+ books per year. I simply can’t. I’ve written over 200K and finished no fewer than three full-length novels since last fall, which is pretty damn good for me. I intend to keep up as much as I can, but inevitably I will need to take a break – sometimes as much as a month – to recharge my batteries. Or to work on something shorter.

Anybody familiar with my backlist knows I’ve published my fair share of novellas. I like the challenge of writing in the shorter format – and yes, it is a challenge. Short stories (less than 10-15K) are an even bigger challenge, and one I’ve never been able to surmount. (I’ve often wished I could take some of the pulp sci-fi writers from the forties out to lunch and ask them how they did it. I worship Ray Bradbury, who had the short story down to a science.)

It’s taking me a while to get to my point, but here it is: I know when you’re reading a book you love, you never want it to end. But some stories don’t require 100K to tell. Or 50K. Or even 30K.

Last night I typed “The End” on the first draft of a brand-new Courtland novella. I wrote it for a boxed set submission call, so I knew ahead of time that it would have to come in around 25K. At first I wasn’t sure I could fit what I wanted to say into such a slim frame, but I think I did a pretty good job. It’s a taste of what’s to come – an intro, if you will, for the new Courtland series percolating at the back of my brain.

Don’t you think it’s time Eric ran for president? I was planning to do it in Triad, until I realized it was way too early for an openly bisexual presidential candidate to be believable. But with all the gay rights/marriage equality victories we’ve achieved recently, I think I’m ready to write it, and Eric’s ready to live it, along with Nick and Ally and their kids, Seth and Lizzie. Your average American family – with one significant difference. :)

This has already veered into tl;dr territory, so I’ll sign off and get back to editing the new novella. In case you’re wondering, this new series will be told largely through the eyes of Nick’s son Seth, who’s now twenty years old and in college. The new novella’s mostly about him, but his dad makes a very special guest appearance as well.

And yes, I know this post is all over the place. Welcome to Saturday evening at my house, curled up on the couch with my laptop, my cat, a bottle of Shiraz and last night’s Hannibal. Believe me, you’d be a little scattered too. ;)

Rainbow Con report!

florida-old-age-postcard-us-postcards-ecards-someecardsYesterday I got back from a fun-filled five days at Rainbow Con. I’d never been to Tampa before, though with its overcast skies and palm trees, the town reminded me a lot of Monterey. (Also known for its beaches and hordes of retirees.)

No pics to prove I was actually there (I’m notoriously bad at being photographed, as anyone who’s tried to get me in a group pic can attest) but believe me, it was a highly enjoyable con – laid back and low-key, just the way I like ‘em.

I had a great time reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. I hadn’t seen fellow author Leta Blake in well over a decade, but we picked up again like no time had passed at all. I enjoyed hanging out with my roomie Storm Grant, Augusta Li, Brenda Cothern, Becky Condit, Kathleen Tudor, VJ Summers, reviewer Lasha and her partner in crime Eleanor Bruce (with whom I bonded over our shared love of Hannibal). I sat on a couple of panels and even hosted one (entitled “Ew! I Don’t Like Those Bits!” Did they get my number or what?). Signed some books, handed out pens, T-shirts and fridge magnets, and generally had a blast.

The food was good and pretty cheap, except for the horrible hotel restaurant. (Why do hotels always seem to be understaffed and overtaxed every time there’s a convention? Guess nobody wanted to work Easter weekend…) I had prime rib at the Longhorn Steakhouse, potato skins at TGIF and some pretty decent cheese cnchiladas at Chili’s, of all places.

Oh, and if anybody wants to bring the Five Guys franchise to California, I’ll be first in line. Best damn burger and fries I’ve had in a long time.

And now, time to rest up for my trip to RT (in NEW ORLEANS!) next month and get some work done on the two projects I let slide while I was quaffing margaritas and Jell-O shots in Tampa. Never let it be said I don’t know how to party, even if the end result is me face-down in my pillow five minutes after the alcohol hits. :-)

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