Tuesday, February 2, 2016

BDSM and the Law, Ask a Masochist, and more on the PAIN SLUT blog tour!

Hi all! Happy Groundhog Day.

Pain Slut (The Subs Club #2) is now available for purchase from all major distributors. You can buy from RiptideBarnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, and AllRomanceAnd if you'd like a chance to win two of my backlist titles and a $10 gift card, you can comment on any/all of the posts on the Pain Slut blog tour!

This tour covers lots of Subs Club-related topics, from BDSM and U.S. law to how we define "hardcore" kink, to the new characters introduced in Pain Slut. I'd love to have you stop by! And over the next few weeks, I'll be offering some sneak peaks here on the blog of The Subs Club #3, Manties in a Twist.

About Pain Slut

Honestly, I’m ready to take a step back from the Subs Club. Making the kink world a safer place for subs is the sort of bandwagon I’d have boarded as an idealist in my early twenties, but now I’m a pragmatist in my late twenties. I prefer to focus on adopting and raising a child.But unexpected factors inevitably derail my plans. Like Drix Seger—attractive and the first genuine sadist I’ve encountered. If I were not in the process of renouncing my masochistic ways and becoming the normal, responsible potential father the adoption agency wants to see, Drix and I might do well together.

But he has a foolish name and belongs to a cult of vampyres, and I am quitting kink. So why does Drix’s infatuation with blood and biting make me so hot I can’t think straight? And why, when he looks at me, does he seem to see something beyond a basket case with a stick up my ass?

Can I start a new phase in my life without leaving part of myself behind? Please send help.

About The Subs Club Series

After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.
From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

BY HIS RULES to be expanded!

Just a heads up--By His Rules is temporarily off the ebook market. A revised and expanded edition will be released later this winter, and I'll be posting updates once the new cover is finalized and I have a definite re-release date. Plus I'll offer some more info on what sort of bonus scenes you can expect. I believe paperback copies of the original version are still available at Amazon and B&N. I'm excited to present the fancy new version to you soon!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Eulogy for Minivan Halen

Last month, while I was visiting my family in West Virginia, I did something only a true West Virginian could do: I hit a bear with my van on my way home from visiting my grandpa in rehab.

Let me explain: It was the physical therapy kind of rehab, not the kind for substance abuse. I was on the interstate, going about 70, and a bear ran right out in front of me and I hit it. No one was hurt, except probably the bear, though it was dark and I couldn't see. There was some weird stuff on my windshield, so...I don't know.

Anyway, my beloved van made it back to the house, but didn't fare so well after that.

I think writers have a particular tendency to bond with inanimate objects. In the many beautiful years I shared with Minivan Halen, I came to believe he had thoughts and feelings. That he loved me as much as I loved him. So I have prepared a eulogy. It's very long. You might want to pour yourself a drink. Or just skim. Or go visit a more exciting website.

*Holds up papers. Clears throat*

Eulogy for Minivan Halen: God Among Passenger Vans

When I was a kid, my family had one of these: 

That's right. A 1995 Toyota Previa. I thought it was the best thing ever. I didn’t know anything about cars, but I adored the “bubble van,” and I assumed it would always be part of the family. After all, my dad always said “A Toyota will run forever.”

Then, in 2000, the unthinkable happened. My parents traded in the Previa for a brand new Toyota Sienna. It sat on our driveway like a great black eschar, seeming to mock the memory of its predecessor. I didn’t know who this intruder was, but one thing was for sure: It was no bubble van, and while I might ride in it, I would never love it.

Except…the Sienna was a smooth and powerful mechanical beast, with a great sound system and a roomy interior. And it wasn’t rife with the scent-memories of all the times my brother and sister and I had been carsick. Slowly the bubble van faded from my mind.

When I was fifteen, I learned to drive in the Sienna. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to pass my maneuverability test in something so big, but damn if I didn’t maneuver that thing like a pro and ace parallel parking…only to fail my road test.

Such is life.

When I went to college, and my younger sister inherited the van. She started taking it out on West Virginia backroads at night and essentially drag racing it. She said it could go from 0 to 90 in a snap of the fingers. Her exact quote, when I asked her about it recently, was: "Yes, I used to get that baby flying and then I'd jump a hill on this one back road. That van used to get some serious air. Good times." She also hit a deer in it, denting the bumper and losing a hubcap.

A couple of years later, my dad moved to Arizona and took the van with him. For several months, I didn’t see it. When it returned from the West, it had scratches from all the stray dogs on the reservation where my dad worked—the dogs knew my dad always had treats, so they’d jump up against the side of the van when they saw it. I was just happy to see the van again--scratches, dents, and all.

In 2008, I was living in WV post-college, and I drove to Ohio to see my friend in a play. I was having such a good time in Cleveland that suddenly it was midnight, and I needed to be in WV for work at eight. I took off, and should have made it to WV around six a.m....except I took a wrong turn and ended up in Pittsburgh. At two a.m. I called my mom, who gave me directions home, but told me the drive would take six and a half hours—probably more since it was snowing.

But blind acceptance of the facts is what stops people from reaching for the impossible. I had a goddamn Toyota Sienna, the Shadowfax of minivans. And I was gonna make it to work on time or die trying.

All through that snowy night, I drove ten above the speed limit, slowing only when the snow became too heavy or the roads too icy. I listened to Van Halen to distract myself from my terror of skidding off those country roads. But that van never failed me, and I reached my office’s parking lot at seven fifty-eight a.m. No lie.

In 2009, I loaded my belongings into the Sienna and moved back to my home-hometown of Sandusky OH, where I sort of forgot to get an oil change for over a year and almost ruined the engine. I also got a recall notice concerning a corroded spare tire cable, which I ignored. Most of my new adulthood was spent ignoring official-looking things that came to me in the mail. Really, not much has changed.

In 2010, I moved again, this time to Alabama to start grad school. My mother signed the van’s title over to me, and my best nonhuman friend and I were now legally hitched. I dubbed it Minivan Halen, took the seats out, put everything I owned in the back, and drove to Tuscaloosa. By this time, MVH was ten years old and had well over 200,000 miles on him and no AC. But he was still going strong.

In the fall of 2011, I used MVH to transport my new best nonhuman friend home from the animal shelter. Over the next few years, the Professor would coat Minivan Halen's interior in an impenetrable thatch of white dog hair that NASA could probably use for soft, durable space suits. 

In 2013, I left Alabama, taking only what I could fit in the van. I couldn’t see out of any window, and had to make the 10-hour drive to WV without changing lanes or reversing. There was barely room for the Professor.

That winter, I housesat a hillside WV country home, and the van got snowed in at the top of a long, winding driveway that had a drop along one side. At first it was kind of fun, being stuck in the house. But then the heat stopped working. And the snow didn’t melt. My mom figured if we didn’t dig the van out then, I could be trapped at the house indefinitely. So she drove out to the country, climbed the hill armed with snow shovels, and we spent hours digging that van out. Once we had a portion of the driveway cleared, she told me to rev MVH up and take him over the snow, down the rest of the drive. I was too scared we’d slide over the edge and plummet down the hill, so my mom got behind the wheel and slammed the gas, and we careened down that driveway, screaming all the way.

In 2014, I used MVH to move to Chicago, where we collected parking tickets like trick-or-treat candy. He was approaching 300,000 miles. He made a weird grinding noise when I drove him, was missing both front hubcaps, and none of the dash lights worked. I think we both knew the party was almost over.

Three weeks ago, Minivan Halen and I went on what would be our last roadtrip, from Chicago to WV for the holidays. And then came the fateful night. After years of making bear jokes with Lisa Henry a la Mark Cooper versus America, it was quite a coincidence that MVH's final battle would be with a bear. I heard some shattering and crunching, but Minivan Halen didn’t quit. He hit a fucking bear and kept going. Carried me the thirty miles home, smoking and leaking what was probably some pretty important fluid.

Yet when I checked him out the next day, he didn't look that bad, for hitting a bear. I started to dream he'd come out of this okay. Alas, it wasn't to be. 

The mechanic said that despite MVH’s relatively non-obliterated exterior, everything under the hood was badly warped. The cost to fix it all would have been over twice what the van was worth. So I made the tough decision to sell Minivan Halen to the bump shop for scrap metal.

I’m not a big crier. But I did get choked up when I cleaned Minivan Halen out for the last time. When I discovered the emergency medical kits that I'd never known about stashed under the floor mats. When I saw the pretzels wedged between the seats. When I finally found the charger to the the phone I had in 2006. I actually watched MVH through the rearview mirror of my mom’s car as I drove away, a single tear rolling down my face.

There are vans. And then there are vans. Minivan Halen touched many lives, and I've appreciated the memories sent to me by people who've ridden in MVH over the years. If you didn't get to ride in him, just know that it was a magical experience often involving high speeds, dog hair, shuddering stops, and uncomfortable temperatures. And a whole lot of heart.

Goodbye, Minivan Halen. I hope you're getting some serious air in the big parking lot in the sky.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The "Scary Christmas" Holiday Sale

This holiday season, Lisa Henry and I want you to be scared.

Okay, not really.

It just so happens that our dark fiction is the only stuff with prices we control. So we've put it on sale. From now until January 1, you can get our co-written Another Man's Treasure and my solo The Grand Ballast for $2.99 from all major distributors.

And how about this happy coincidence? When All the World Sleeps, another of our co-written darker books, is on sale for 99 cents for three days only! (12/12/15 - 12/14/15).

All links in this post are Amazon links, but if you'd like links to different distributors or to find out more about each book, click the "Books" tab at the top of this blog.

Happy Creepy Holidays!!

-Lisa & J.A.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Subs Club is Here! (Thanks to my editor).

Today is The Subs Club (The Subs Club, #1)'s official release day! You can buy it at Riptide, Amazon, ARe, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. You can also follow the blog tour for a chance to win two backlist ebooks and a $10 Amazon gift card. AND you can learn more about the series from Riptide's site.

Cover art by Kanaxa

I just want to say this: I am hugely grateful to every editor I've ever worked with. I don't know how they turn my word-vomit into something readable, but they do. But for this series in particular, I am ridiculously thankful to Delphine Dryden. I am a slow writer who has no idea how to outline, and if manuscripts are not forcibly removed from my possession, I will tinker with them eternally, and they will never get published. The Subs Club series required me to be faster, to take a stab a planning, and to just get over myself and let the books go out into the world when the time came. Del was super patient while I wrapped my mind around all of that, and when 2015 brought on several unforeseen scheduling conflicts. Plus she, you know, edited the books and made them act like real novels. If it weren't for her, I probably would have thrown my computer out a window a long time ago and just Alex Mack-ed into a puddle of wine. But now The Subs Club exists, and I'm really glad it does. Del is basically this to me:

Also, Alex Whitehall's copyedits are badass. And Sarah Lyons gets a massive thanks for encouraging me to try TSC as a series, rather than the mostly-incoherent standalone book I sent her years ago. So...these people are the reason this series happened. They are a line of tiny costumed ponies.

The end.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The West Coast Finally Kicked Us Out

Lisa Henry and I are back from our West Coast adventures! We had a great time at GRL in San Diego. Thanks so much to anyone who was there and interacted with us. We loved meeting new people, seeing old friends, and waving rubber tentacles around. And super thanks to that burrito place.

Next we headed up to Portland to see my awesome sister. Ate Voodoo Donuts, rocked out at a Hozier concert, and decided we are going to live in the Pittock Mansion.
I'll give you 40 for it! Like, actually $40, not the
$40 bajillion you're probably asking. 

Then, it was LA time. Not gonna lie, we mostly lazed in our apartment and wrote. But we also went to Universal Studios, walked on Rodeo Drive, and thought about doing other things. Obviously, we hit the clubs every single night and got arrested more times than we could count, but during the day, we were pretty relaxed. And then LA got sick of us and our constant "is it okay to wear sweatpants to this restaurant?" attitude, and kicked us out. 

So now we're back to our regular lives. But my regular life is pretty fun right now. Still hard at work on the Subs Club #4. Book 1 comes out in just a few weeks! Also, I have seen early sketches of the new cover for The Silvers, which will be republished this summer, and let me just say...I'm excited. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I Finally Wrote A Book Your Children Can Read.

Minotaur is out now! And you know what Booklist said about it at the end of their review?

YA/Mature Readers:  Teens will relate to Thera’s suspicion, loneliness, and search for identity and restitution as well as the compelling settings, classic young quest theme, and paranormal elements. 

That's right, I wrote a book that is apparently appropriate for young adult readers.

I had a feeling it was, but I didn't want to say anything, because I am terrible at knowing what genres my work fits into. Especially Minotaur, which is a little bit fantasy, a little bit gothic, a tiny bit lesbian romance, and a whole lot of weird. But I've been super excited by the teen response to this book so far, and wanted to provide a little more information about the YA crossover possibilities.

I was asked when I submitted Minotaur if I wanted to put it with Riptide's YA line. We eventually decided against that, largely because it it doesn't have much of a mainstream YA "feel." While the action takes place during the time MC Thera is 16-18, Thera is actually an older narrator looking back on her teenage years. She's also very adamantly not a hero. So if YA readers are looking for a story with characters who are good role models, this is probably not that book.

The story does have some sexual content. It's not graphic the way it is in my romances, but it does go a bit beyond kissing. There's also some sexual imagery in a couple of the book's surreal sequences.

The book also contains violence, but that violence is fairly mild compared to something like The Hunger Games.

While I don't think of Minotaur as YA in the traditional sense, I'm very happy that it's connecting with some younger readers out there. I know I've written a lot of smutty things, but believe it or not, YA was always my dream genre. I would definitely like to write more YA-ish type things in the future.

Minotaur is now available from ​AllRomanceAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and Riptide Publishing.

Know this: I am not a warrior. I am a disease.
When I was six, my parents died.
When I was sixteen, I was locked away in Rock Point Girls’ Home. Nobody wants to deal with a liar. An addict. A thief.
Nobody except Alle. She is pure, and she’s my friend in spite of all the rotten things I am. 
There was once another girl like me—long ago. A cast-off daughter. A lying little beast who left a red stain across the land with her terrible magic. She’s imprisoned now in a maze high up on the cliffs. They say she’s half woman, half bull. They say she dines on human tributes and guards a vast treasure. They say she was born wicked.
But I know her better than the history books or stories do. She and I dream together. Our destinies are twisted up like vines.
Except I’m not going to turn out wicked like she is. I can save myself by destroying her. I’m going to break out of this place, and I’m going to enter the labyrinth and take her heart.
And once I’m redeemed, maybe Alle will love me.