About Me

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I've been writing since I could first hold a pencil, and by all accounts I didn't limit myself to paper. Walls, tablecloths and the occasional sibling were all fair game, and it shouldn't be surprising to learn that markers were banned in my home with all due haste. Although I now content myself with inconveniencing electrons, the desire to bring the stories in my mind to life hasn't waned. In my spare time, I read, putter in the kitchen, and relax on my terrace, weather permitting, with my corgi who strives to be part muse, part food disposal. I'm also addicted to coffee and have a close relationship with my Keurig.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thoughts on Torquere Press and its anniversary

It's the 11th anniversary of Torquere Press, and just a little more than the first anniversary of my first novella being published by Torquere. Ghost's Sight was released in August 2013 as part of the Birthstones line, and it was thrilling. I've published online, but this was the first time I'd gotten up the nerve to submit anything to a publisher, and I have P.T. Walden to thank for it, so thank you, P.T.!

So, what's it like? Humbling. Extraordinary. Frustrating. Euphoric. Terrifying.

It's humbling, much like the way being a parent is humbling. It's an exercise in confronting how little you really know about writing, as you look at the first rounds of comments from your editor. My editor was brilliant, but at the time, I whined with all the verve of a frustrated three year old. She marked up the first couple of chapters to show me the common and repeating mistakes I was making, and then told me I could find the rest myself. She did mark the chrono lapses and inconsistencies, with instructions for me to fix those, too. I whined louder, but she was definitely made of sterner stuff.

So I went on to make the changes, and it was extraordinary. What my editor recommended worked. The story was stronger, and better, and I didn't "gut it" as I'd feared I was doing. The second round of edits was not quite so bad, and I threw myself into them with something approaching glee. I could see the story taking shape.

Of course, there was the writing of the dreaded marketing blurb, which was frustrating. I am abysmal at such things. I couldn't sell fur coats in Alaska. Back to the tugging of hair, and moaning as I struggled with condensing a novella into a pithy two hundred words. Alas, no one took pity on me, and I still cringe when I read that blurb to this day.

I was euphoric when I got the cover art, followed by the proofreader's edit. Things were taking shape, and I could barely wait for Release Day to arrive. I was on the edge of my seat when I checked the Torquere page, and there it was. My novella. For sale. For SALE...

I honestly had no idea how terrifying that would be. Was I a flash in the pan? Would I be able to write something else that was worthy of publishing? Would people like it, or would they leave such scathing reviews that I'd feel obliged to change my pen name and pretend to leave the state?


All I can say is keep your eyes peeled for the sequel. My new novel, Ghost's Dilemma, is slated to be published in February 2015. In the meantime, if you haven't read Ghost's Sight, what are you waiting for? Especially since it's on sale right now, along with everything else. Get 25% off at torquerebooks.com and prizmbooks.com/zencart with code TORQUERE2014 through Sunday. And check the specials for selected books on sale for 99¢, books by authors we love: Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga, and Sean Michael.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday the 12th?

So, I've never been the kind of person to be nervous about Friday the 13th, or all that nonsense. I love black cats, think cemeteries can be both beautiful and relaxing, and adore horror movies.

But today? I should have known I was in for a rotten day.

The puppy woke up early, and by early, I mean 6:10am. Now, I was already awake myself, getting the kids ready for school and checking to make sure my husband's flight had landed safely. Because my daughter, the alleged owner of the puppy, was running late, I took the little thing down for the dawn constitutional.

I ran back in with the puppy, in time to see my daughter off and to get my son and head to wait for his bus, with the puppy still in tow. Chilly morning, geese flying in formation overhead, which they announced with extremely loud honks, and a beautiful blue sky overhead. The bus came, my son boarded, and the puppy decided we needed a second constitutional. Fine, I'm a good person. I obliged, and when she was all done, she began to scamper home.

Now this is where it all goes wrong. I am not twenty-one anymore. Even in a dark pub, in candlelight, and half drunk, I am not twenty-one. So why I decided that it would be a good idea to trot a few steps with the puppy is something of a mystery. I managed a single trot. I did. And then my foot decided that it was not going to make that next step, despite the momentum that insisted that my body keep going forward.

Physics rocks, every time. I hit the pavement knees first, then onto my hands, and finished by smacking my left cheekbone off the concrete.

Total sum of injuries: right knee, swollen and scraped; right hand, heel of the palm and pinkie finger scraped; left hand, heel of the palm and top of hand scraped; left cheekbone swollen and sporting a lovely little cut that may or may not scar. Oh, and my dignity has taken a pounding as well. What was left of it, anyway, since I have kids.

*sigh*

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Flash Fiction Free Read: The Scapegoat

All rights reserved by the author, and unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

The Scapegoat

Kdis bared his teeth at the clockwork mongrel that ran across his path. It was an inauspicious start to the day, and he spat to chase off the bad luck.

It was bad enough that Kdis had to play escort to Tehs today. Tehs was round-bellied, ruddy skin greased with an unguent that was rumored to be made from the rendered bodies of the dead. The rumor was false, but persisted. Tehs also had a taste for boys, and although Kdis was no longer a sprog, he had seen Tehs look more than once in his direction.

Tehs was waiting, of course, leering at Kdis as he crossed the Plaza of Justice. The House of the Carnifex was black stone, and the dais out front was rusty with the blood that had spilled across it over the years. The block was nightwood, as black as the stone, even where the axe had chipped away at it. Tehs was fondling the wood, beady eyes dark with things Kdis did not care to name.

"Hello, pretty." Tehs slurred his words, and Kdis tried not to sigh aloud. Tehs had chewed karrak again. Dangerous, given what Tehs knew, and what Kdis was.

"Lord Carnifex." Kdis kept his voice flat, refusing to be baited into reaction. He checked the timekeeper on his belt, the gears whirring quietly as the sun disc moved around the dial. "Is a conveyance desired?"

"You make it sound so interesting, pretty." Tehs tittered, and Kdis struggled not to bare his teeth. The last time, Tehs had insisted Kdis pull the cabriolet, instead of the clockwork dray. Tehs had not spared the crop, and the smell of Kdis' own blood had been maddening. Kdis had been hard pressed not to turn and take the crop from Tehs, and bury it in the creature's ass. Kdis was an assassin, after all.

"But no," Tehs continued. "We do not have far to go." Kdis watched Tehs stroke the brass horns he had gotten implanted in his forehead.

"Where does the Lord Carnifex need to go?" Kdis did his best not to breathe in, but despite his best efforts, his nose wrinkled as he caught a whiff of something rancid. Did the man not bathe?

"Lead us to the Square of Scholars," Tehs said, his voice just a shade too high to be truly imperious. The only royal thing about Tehs was the cancriform symbol of the Seaborn that he was permitted to wear, as the Crown's own executioner.

Kdis nodded, not trusting himself to speak. He could feel the beady eyes as Tehs walked behind him, surprisingly light-footed for such a robust beast. The skin between Kdis' shoulders itched from the weight of that look.

When they arrived at the Square, the Seaborn Crown had assembled in all their majesty. Tehs' step faltered, and Kdis heard the fat man's breath hitch at the sight.

The Father stood, the intricate mask he wore rendering him remote and unknowable.

"Carnifex, you have failed the Crown." The Father's voice was amplified, ringing off the buildings that surrounded the Square. Not Lord, not any longer. Tehs was finished, and Kdis would be free.

"Most Sublime, how have I done so?" Tehs was sweating in earnest now, and Kdis longed for a breeze to clear his nostrils.

"Do you know this sprog?" The Father stepped aside, and one of the Crown stepped forward, masked as was custom. Kdis felt himself shiver when he saw the slight limp.

"Most Sublime, when would I have been permitted to gaze upon glory?" Tehs' voice wavered, and Kdis knew the beast had recognized the youth.

The Father's voice was loud enough to make Kdis' ears ache. "This offspring of our own blood was sent forth, unmasked and unknown, to learn of the world. By what name did you call him?"

Tehs did not answer, and Kdis smelled the acrid tang of the man's urine as he pissed himself in fear.

"Blossom." The masked youth spoke clearly, and in the silence, his voice echoed. "So you called me, as you pulled off the petals of my clothes. Your tongue tasted the nectar of my rosebud, and you filled me with your pollen. Pretty words spoken to hide ugly deeds."

"Most Sublime, it is not so," Tehs protested. "Who can attest to this?"

Kdis stepped forward, baring his teeth in triumph as he lifted the patch that covered his clockwork eye. "I watched you, monster. I saw you rip the clothes from him, and I saw you bury your pathetic cock in his innocent ass. I heard his screams, as you took him. You laughed at him when you were done, and dared him to tell anyone what had transpired."

Kdis pressed the palm of his gauntlet, the blades springing free. It was not the Father he looked to, though. When the masked youth nodded, Kdis buried the blades in Tehs' heart, twisting them savagely. "I am not your pretty, and he is not your blossom."

***

The unmasked youth reached for Kdis' arm, looking at the blood that had spattered above the gauntlet. Kdis shivered as the hot tongue dragged across his skin. "You were magnificent. No one's killed for me before. Will you stay by my side now?"

"Always, Majesty." Kdis looked down at the eight-legged crest of the Seaborn, golden against his skin. It was all he wore.

"If you're going to be my acknowledged lover, you can at least use my name." The youth twisted to look at Kdis, laughter in his voice. "Say it for me. The world won't end."

"Won't it?" Kdis looked at this highborn youth who had wanted him, no matter the consequences. Had he ever had a choice? Tehs had been a convenient scapegoat for innocence abandoned, and freedom was ultimately an illusion. The assassin smiled at his Seaborn master, his heart's desire. "How can I refuse you, sweet Saipio?"


The youth pulled a willing Kdis closer. "That's better, my pretty. Much better." 


(For anyone who cares, the prompt words were: cabriolet, cancriform, and carnifex.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Torquere Press is having an anniversary

It's been 11 years since Torquere Press began offering  some of the very best in LGBT romance.

To help celebrate, Torquere is having a sale on everything on the cart during the week of September 15, 2014. Now, obviously, since they're my publisher, I could be considered a little bit biased, but some of their authors are just amazingly awesome, and I feel very honored to be a part of this.

I'm under contract with Torquere for a sequel to my first novella, Ghost's Sight. If you haven't read it, this might be a good time to go check it out and get a copy, on sale. That way, come February 2015, when Ghost's Dilemma is released, you'll be ahead of the game.

And if you're a fan of another of the incredible Torquere authors, go fill your cart! I know I intend to do just that!