Saturday, April 18, 2015

#LGBTQ Push Back #Charity #Giveaway

Hi everyone! From now through May 1st, Diverse Reader is hosting an event called the LGBTQ Pushback Charity Giveaway. To counteract the funds that have been raised in Indiana to support a discriminatory bill that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ customers, the writing/reading community is banding together to raise funds in support of LGBTQ charities. Over 200 authors, bloggers, and publishers have contributed to a giveaway, and all you have to do to enter the giveaway is donate $5 (or more!) to an LGBTQ charity and/or help spread the word about the charities.

Visit the post at Diverse Reader for more information. I hope you'll all take a moment to check this out and support the cause!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2015: Year of the Almost-Romance

Confession time: I don’t come from a romance writing--or reading--background. I read my first romance novel in late 2011. It was super hot (thanks, C.B. Conwy), so I read some more, and then I really wanted to try writing one. And now I am so, so glad to be part of this community. The past few years have been some of my happiest as a writer and a reader and a person.

What I’ve always been most interested in as a writer and reader are the ways people hurt each other—intentionally, unintentionally, emotionally, physically, metaphysically... If characters are making poor choices about how to interact with one another, I'm there. So I worried at first that I wouldn't be a good fit for a genre known for HEAs. I'd spent years writing Depressing Realism, Somewhat Depressing Magical Realism, and horror, and wasn't too confident in my ability to play nice with characters. 

There was a bit of a learning curve when I started. For each of the first few novels I submitted, with the exception of WACKY WEDNESDAY, I was asked to tone something down—violence, the ambiguity of endings, or (in the case of a certain enemies-to-lovers book where I apparently had way too much fun with the enemies part) the MCs’ deep and abiding hatred for each other. If there was a Rocky-style montage of my early romance writing efforts, it would mostly show me at my laptop repeating to myself, Don't forget, this is a romance. They're eventually going to have to like each other. Don't forget...while "Eye of the Tiger" plays in the background. 

But one of the coolest things about modern romance is that there isn't a strict formula. There are romances that reflect my favorite view of love: that it's about screwing up and moving past the screwing up and then continuing to screw up but getting a little closer each time to not screwing up as badly. That romance can mean anything from the steamiest erotic fantasy to the grittiest, most nuanced-ly realistic love story. That sometimes, romance means tentacles. (Maybe this was always true, but I'm just sayin', I never saw tentacles in my grandma's Harlequin collection.) I haven't gotten to experience being a romance writer in other eras, but I can't help thinking this is the best time ever to be involved in this genre.

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling a pull toward my nonromantic roots, and I’ve struggled a bit with how to navigate this. Last year, my sort-of-almost-possibly-a-romance, THE SILVERS, was published under a different name, because I figured it was too different stylistically and content-wise from my full-on romance novels to be successfully marketed under this name. But then Lisa Henry and I put out our definitely-not-a-romance, ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE, under our romance names and totally got away with it. Really, I have no idea what qualifies a book to be a romance, or if I'm supposed to be doing something name-wise to separate my books based on genre. I think the conclusion I've reached is that I'm just going to to put a bunch of different stuff out under this name and see what happens.

So 2015 is officially the year of "Is this a romance? I don't know." In January there was TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, which featured romance, but not necessarily as the focus of the novel. In July comes THE GRAND BALLAST, a dark spec novel about art and obsession and a relationship gone horribly wrong. And in October there’s MINOTAUR, an all-female fantasy/horror retelling of the Minotaur legend. The latter two have love stories, but again, not as the main plot.

But here’s the deal—if none of that sounds like your thing, THE SUBS CLUB series (which I blogged about a couple of posts ago) starts releasing in December 2015. It’s a return to more old school romance, I promise. Lisa and I are doing some experimenting with our joint projects as well. We’re working on a dark, nonromantic SF, and a Choose Your Own Adventure horror--but we’ll be balancing it out with book 3 of the Prescott College series and book 3 of the Boy series, where nice things happen and characters end up happy.

So this year's going to be a little Jekyll and Hyde. If you’re down for the Hyde part, awesome. And if not, hopefully I’ll see you at the end of the year for the Jekyll!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tempest is Here!

The PLAYING THE FOOL Trilogy is now complete with the release of TEMPEST on March 9th! Lisa Henry and I had so much fun writing Henry and Mac, and it is certainly possible that we haven't seen the last of them--though first we have to work our way through a long list of projects we've vowed to get done this year. TEMPEST is available from Riptide, Amazon, ARe, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble

And if you like winning things--like, say, a $20 Riptide gift card, an ebook, a pair of donut socks, and a donut pillow that I have definitely not licked, even though it looks real and delicious--there's still time to comment on any or all of our tour posts for a chance to win. Click here to see the stops!

Something wicked this way comes. 

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness and con man Henry Page are on the run again. This time they’re headed back to where it all began: Altona, Indiana. Population: some goats. Henry’s not happy about lying low at the McGuinness family farm, but they’ve got nowhere else to go. 

While Mac fights to clear his name and Henry struggles with whose side he’s really on, a ghost from the past threatens to destroy everything. And those aren’t the only storms on the radar. Cut off from both sides of the law, Mac and Henry must rely on their tenuous partnership to survive. 

If Henry can convince himself to let Mac see the man behind the disguises, they’ll stand a chance of beating the forces that conspire against them. The course of true love never did run smooth, but for the two of them, it might be their only hope. 

Monday, February 23, 2015


So what have I been doing lately that’s kept me from being a responsible blogger? Mostly working on THE SUBS CLUB, a new series for Riptide that starts releasing in December. Also reading MEG 4: HELL’S AQUARIUM. Because sharks.

THE SUBS CLUB is about a group of submissive friends who, after a member of their circle dies in a BDSM scene gone wrong, form a club to publicly expose doms in their community whom they deem unsafe. They’re like the Baby-Sitters Club. Except they like enemas. And vigilante justice. Really the only way they're like the Baby-Sitters Club is that they're a club and the bonds of their friendship can never be broken.

Over the next few months, I’ll post more details about the characters and the four books in the series. But here's a brief overview of the MCs. There's Miles, the socially awkward painslut. Dave, who’s great at role-playing the brat but secretly wants real discipline. Kamen, the overly enthusiastic jock who realizes he’s wayyy into costumes. And Gould, who’s a mystery even to his friends. Plus, lots of side characters. So many that I had to make a chart. It looks like this:

I’m really excited for this series! It’s got all my favorite kinks, from medical to DD to pet play to manties. No glitterkink here, but if you’re interested in the internal politics of a BDSM community and in the silly, sexy, awkward, awesome ways people try to incorporate kink into their lives -- I hope this will be a fun time.

Here are the planned release dates:

Book 1: December 7, 2015
Book 2: February 1, 2016
Book 3: April 4, 2016
Book 4: June 6, 2016

And now I have to get back to work, because…I don’t want to say I’m behind on my deadlines, but… stage whispers I’m behind on my deadlines.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Merchant of Death - Out Now!

I'm only six days late posting this, which I consider an accomplishment. But yes, THE MERCHANT OF DEATH, book two in the PLAYING THE FOOL trilogy, is here! It's available at Riptide, Amazon, ARe, B&N, and Kobo. Thank you to everyone who hung out with Lisa Henry and me on the tour! We had lots of fun getting real about junk food, Pooh, conmen, and drag. We hope you'll join us again for the TEMPEST tour next month. We may be giving away an alarmingly realistic looking donut pillow that has been personally gnawed on by me, and some donut socks.

All’s fair in love and war.
There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.
FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.
But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Take the Long Way Home is Here!

Woot! Take the Long Way Home is now available from Loose Id, and should become available from other distributors shortly. I'm going to be visiting some blogs in the next few days to talk about vegan myths, psychologically troubled MCs, what my sister's dollhouse taught me about my sexual orientation, and more. I'll be giving away a backlist title at each stop, so if you're interested, here's where I'll be:

Jan 19th:
Boys in Our Books - Excerpt
Boy Meets Boy - Excerpt + vegan mythbusters.
Jan 20th:
The Novel Approach - All the stuff I steal from my family and use in writing and only feel a little bad about.
Sinfully Sexy Reviews - I wanna know your favorite songs!
Joyfully Jay - Writing characters who are works in progress.
Jan 21st:
Prism Book Alliance - The Dollhouse Memoirs: Diary of an Amateur Filmmaker. 
Jan 22nd:
On Top Down Under - Interviewed by Kazza.
Jan 28th AND 30th:
Cup O' Porn - Wednesday Whine & Wine and a Friday Free-for-All Giveaway!

Update: You can buy TTLWH from Amazon and ARe now as well.

Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is away at boot camp.

Then Dresden meets Caleb, a judgmental environmentalist who’s hardly Dresden’s fantasy come true. But Caleb seems to understand Dresden’s desire for rough sex, big feelings, and, ultimately, safety. As Dresden becomes embroiled in a farmers market drama involving Caleb, a couple of bullying tomato enthusiasts, and a gang of vigilante vegans, he discovers he might be willing to trade a fantasy relationship with Evan for a shot at something real with Caleb.

But Dresden fears telling quick-to-judge Caleb his secret, and the news that Gunner is coming home sends him fleeing to California for a chance to meet Evan in person and hopefully fall in love. When the encounter doesn’t go as expected, Dresden faces a choice: stay in California and carve out a new life, or take the long road home to his family, Caleb, and a past he must face if he has any hope for a future.

Major thanks to my editor Katriena, Dar Albert for the cover, Lisa Henry and my mom for beta-ing, my friend Brian, to whom this book is dedicated, and with whom I learned a lot of stuff about growing up--*orchestra starts to play me offstage, but I'm still talking*--and to all of you readers out there, even if you don't read this book. I'm just so happy there are people in the world who love books. That is all.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Happy New Year! (Late as Usual)

Hope you all had excellent holidays! Mine were pretty awesome. I went to West Virginia for Christmas, where I continued one of my favorite traditions: secretly collecting rude quotes from my mother. 

Since you don't know her, I should explain. In almost all areas of life, she is an exceptionally kind, generous human being. In fact, she visited this very blog a couple of years ago and proved that she can turn even naughty things nice. Which makes it all the funnier when, during the holidays, she suddenly develops the mouth of a sailor. She doesn’t hate Christmas, exactly—she loves spending time with her family—but, um, she’s not a big fan of all the hullaballoo surrounding it. Still, any coarse things she says at Christmas are said in jest.

We think.

Here were some of this year’s gems:

When I forgot to get shallots at the grocery store, and then later offered to sing her a Christmas carol to make up for it:
 “I have a song. It’s called someone forgot my fucking shallots.”
In the Walmart parking lot, when a car stopped in front of ours to let some people out:           
“They need to get that piece of shit [car] out of the way. Oh my god, the entire fucking Duck Dynasty is getting out.”

Instructing me not to let the pecan pie burn:
“Ruin my pie and I will ruin you.”

On the Christmas concert she had to sit through at the school where she teaches:
“It wasn’t so bad, because I had some Sudoku.”

“The only actual Christmas carol they sang was ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside.’ Which is basically about date rape.”

Beautiful stuff.

I was back in Chicago by New Year’s, where my roommate Chris announced that his resolution was to make up a song every day of 2015 and record it. So far I’ve been treated to such canonical melodies as “The Missing Roommate Blues” and “What’s Kate Winslet Doing These Days?” If I’m soon found dead in the apartment with claw marks on my walls and an open diary outlining my rapid descent into madness…you’ll know why.

He’s also started doing this thing where he pretends that I went missing eight years ago, and that I’m not me but rather a detective assigned to investigate his roommate's disappearance. It’s all very meta, and sometimes genuinely unnerving to be referred to as “detective” for hours on end. Chris is a professional improv performer, so I’m a bit concerned about how indefinitely he might keep this up.

So yes, 2015 is shaping up to be just as weird and wonderful as 2014. And I want to say, very sincerely, that 2014 was one of my favorite years ever. Thank you so much to everyone who helped make it that way. To anyone who read my books and made me feel like a Real Writer Person, or who wrote books that I loved, or recommended great books to me, or helped me with books I was writing, or let me help with books you were writing, or otherwise interacted with me… I’m very grateful, and I’m looking forward to the New Year!