Butt Ninjas Releases! (And Goes on Tour)

Today’s the day, folks! Wilde City Press presents… Butt Ninjas from Hell!

ButtNinjasFromHell_100dpi_cvrThey move like shadows through the night… when they aren’t tripping over the furniture. Porn stars, holy emissaries, demons, and even just plain humans—ninjas come in all forms and from all kinds of Hell in this erotically charged comedic Wilde City anthology. Whether it’s the world of second-rate television, fluttering ninja stars, obsessions over a bronzy-olive toned soldier, or magic backsides, your authorial guides will take you where few readers have ever dared to go… without protection.

Butt Ninjas from Hell: You’ll Never Hear Them Coming!

Featuring…

Clean Up on Aisle Me! by Shae Connor
Sheathing His Sword by JP Barnaby
Twink Ninja Tiger, Flaxen Buns Of Fury by Kage Alan
Twerk It by Ally Blue
Hell Is Where The Heart Is by Eden Winters
Ninja, Vanish! by Kiernan Kelly
The Soldier And The Vagabond by Jevocas Green
A Ninja Walks Into A Bar by T.C. Blue

Buy link

Also today starts our blog tour. Check us out as we visit these great sites:

April 16: Kimi-Chan Experience 
April 17: Joyfully Jay 
April 18: Bookwhores United 
April 19: The Novel Approach 
April 20: Rainbow Gold Reviews 
April 21: Sinfully Sexy 
April 22: Dawn’s Reading Nook 
April 23: Prism Book Alliance

There will be a Rafflecopter giveaway, so be sure to check in! :)

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I’m Going to RainbowCon…

rainbowconslogan

LisaT started a silly little game for those of us going to RainbowCon. I like silly little games, so here you go!

I’m going RainbowCon, and in my suitcase I’m bringing…

ninjacups

Are they not the cutest little ninjas you’ve ever seen?? I’ll have a few to give away, and who knows what you might find inside? ;)

Random Squeefulness

A few things that have made me happy the past few days…

On Friday, USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog featured the Grand Adventures anthology and its authors.

Also on Friday, I finished the first rough draft of my novel Unfortunate Son. Hoping to have it in shape to submit in late May or early June.

I finally got to read Heidi Cullinan’s new release Tough Love, and it was worth every minute of the wait.

Only three more days until Butt Ninjas from Hell releases!

Friday Feedbag: I Get No Kick From Champagne…

fridayfeedbag

Okay, that title isn’t totally true. First of all, I’m talking drinks today, not food. And I do like champagne sometimes. In a mimosa or a bellini, for example. On its own, though? Meh. I’d prefer sparkling grape juice.

My tastes in alcohol are a little… strange, I suppose. (Much like me.) I don’t like beer at all. Something in the hops, I think, that I just have never had a taste for. Things made with beer, though? I’m all about that. Beer bread. Guinness stew. Chili with beer. Brats braised in beer. Same with wine. I’d much rather cook with wine than drink it. (That throws a big monkey wrench into the whole “only cook with a wine you’d drink” advice, but I do know better than to waste money on that crap labeled “cooking wine.” *shudders*)

When it comes to mixed drinks, my go-to choice is vodka cranberry with lime, because it’s something you can nearly always get, and it’s not bad even as a well drink. I’m good with margaritas of nearly any flavor (but not tequila shots), and I like most of the fruity-sweet drinks: daiquiris, Hurricanes, appletinis, things like that. But when I can get it, I like Fireball whisky, which is a very strong, sweet cinnamon flavor, or 3AM vodka, which is sweet and loaded with a lot of the same ingredients as energy drinks. Fireball and Coke, 3AM and Sprite. For shots: Jägermeister. No, really.

This post makes me sound like a lush, doesn’t it? (And a snooty one at that!) In truth, I don’t drink often, and I rarely have more than two drinks. That’s why I can afford to be picky. My alcohol budget for the year is maybe a couple hundred bucks, even counting weekends when my place is full of guests.

When I’m writing, my characters nearly always have drinking habits far different from mine. Most of them drink beer, for starters, and many prefer liquors or mixed drinks that I can’t stand. I’ve written two alcoholic characters (one unpublished), and a character in my current project is a complete teetotaler. But like me, and like most real people, most of my characters are social drinkers, even those who do occasionally overindulge.

Drinking habits are the kind of little character details that I love in a story. One of my all-time favorite books is Marie Sexton’s Strawberries for Dessert, in large part because I fell in love with Cole right along with Jonathan. Cole is a lover of good wine who has a weakness for cheap bottles of Arbor Mist, a fact that seems small but that actually tells you a lot about him. It’s a tidbit of perfection.

So I will leave you with some recommendations. If you haven’t tried Fireball or 3AM, do. And if you haven’t read Strawberries for Dessert, GO. NOW. READ. *taps toe impatiently* WHY AREN’T YOU READING YET??

More Adventures, and Some Ninjas

Prism Book Alliance has posted a lovely review of the Grand Adventures anthology. Thanks, all! Prism also has the final stop in the Grand Adventures blog tour today, with the story behind the anthology’s inception and its cover art.

Also, Amy Lane’s *Kermit flail* Monday includes Butt Ninjas from Hell this morning. Yay! Thanks, Amy! :)

More Grand Adventures!

GrandAdventures_FBbanner_DSPA two-fer today! I’m over at Sid Love’s (along with Amy Lane and Madison Parker) to talk about our contributions to the Grand Adventures anthology. And Rainbow Book Reviews has posted a lovely group review of the anthology and the individual stories.

Thanks, all! :)

Grand Adventures Release Day and Facebook Chat

GrandAdventuresLGToday is the release day for the Dreamspinner Press Grand Adventures anthology, which includes the second edition of my short story “Stripped.” The lineup of authors is amazing, and everyone involved has donated their time and efforts so that 100% of the proceeds will go directly to authors Eric Arvin and T.J. Klune. Prints of the cover art are also available. Here are the buy links:

 

Anthology: Ebook || Paperback

Cover art prints: Large || Small

 

(You can also donate directly to Eric through GoFundMe.)

 

To celebrate release day, a bunch of the anthology authors will be taking turns chatting on the Dreamspinner Facebook page today. I’m up from 9–10 p.m., along with Amy Lane (yay!), so come on over and join us in some shenanigans! (She’s Shenan and I’m Igans.)

 

The full list of stories and authors:

 

Forward by S.A. McAuley

An Unexpected Thing by John Amory
The Twinkie Ignition by J.E. Birk
When Friendship Becomes More by Sophie Bonaste
Isle of Waiting by Sue Brown
The Jogger by KC Burn
Holding Court by Cardeno C.
For Dear Life by Mary Calmes
Under the Full Moon by Ellis Carrington
Stripped by Shae Connor (2nd Edition)
That Place Across the Hall by C.C. Dado
Mistaken MD by Phoenix Emrys
Cops and Comix by Rhys Ford
Last First Kiss by LE Franks
Tomorrow by John Goode
From Fantasy to Friends by CR Guiliano
Witness Protected by Dawn Kimberly Johnson
Water Under the Bridge by Mia Kerick
A Gentle Shove of Human Kindness by Amy Lane
Air (Roads #1.75 million) by Garrett Leigh
An Atheist and a Yoga Instructor Walk into a Bar by Rowan McAllister
Stalking 101 by Moria McCain
Simple Desires by Tempeste O’Riley
Object of Care by Zahra Owens
Kid Confusion by Madison Parker
Fall Train by Jaime Samms
The Exhibition by Andrea Speed
What You Will by Tinnean
Prologue by Brandon Witt

 

Friday Feedbag: A Very Merry Un-Birthday Cake

fridayfeedbag

About once a month, our office has some kind of food-related social event, usually a potluck lunch with a theme. This month, we settled on a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and I signed up to bring an Un-Birthday Cake.

 

unbirthdaycakeAs a general guide, I used the classic Alice in Wonderland cartoon cake design (as in this adorable gif). I wasn’t able to come close to copying it, but I got the color and the general shape right, at least. I used a tube pan and made a 1-2-3-4 cake, which is a little more solid than a typical cake mix cake. I got super lucky and found some hot pink frosting, so I wouldn’t need to deal with food coloring. (It even came with pink sprinkles to make things super glittery!) I also got some cream cheese icing for the trim.

 

I’d never made a tube cake before. I was most concerned about turning the thing over once it was done, since I needed it to be wide-side-up. I made the cake a day ahead, so it would have plenty of time to cool before I took the frosting to it (and also in case it fell apart completely). It came out great! Here’s the cake:

nakedcake

 

And here’s the final frosted version (complete with lettering that looks like it was done by a Mad Hatter):

frostedcake  

Finally, here’s the recipe. This is an easy to make (and easy to remember!) recipe for a basic yellow cake. My grandmother made this for everything when I was growing up, usually with 7-minute icing. Yummy! (This version came out a little dry, so I’m going to play around with things a bit: self-rising White Lily flour, and possibly shortening in place of part of the butter.)

 

1-2-3-4 Cake

 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

3 cups sifted cake flour*

4 eggs

1 cup milk

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans, one 13 by 9 rectangular pan, or one tube or Bundt pan.

 

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing each one in completely. Add flour alternately with milk, blending each addition completely. Add vanilla and mix just until smooth. Do not overbeat.

 

Pour batter into pan(s), spreading with spatula as needed to even out. Bake 20 to 25 minutes for round/rectangular pans, 40 to 45 minutes for tube/Bundt pan, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan(s) for 10 minutes, then remove from pan(s) and set on rack/plate to cool completely before frosting.

 

*Sift the flour before measuring. You can also substitute self-rising flour and omit the baking powder and salt.

I Hate to Get Up In the Morning

wakeupclockI am not a morning person. Anyone who’s tried to carry on a coherent conversation with me before I’ve had coffee, a shower, or both can attest to how slowly I wake up. And oh, how I ever hate the blaring of an alarm clock.

It’s not that the alarm doesn’t wake me up. It’s that it DOES. I can’t sleep through something like that. I am a long-time snooze button master, though. I rarely turn off the alarm and go back to sleep (mostly, I don’t let myself turn it off until I’m sitting up), but I will snooze it forever. And ever.

I’ve tried a lot of tricks to make it easier to wake up. Some years back, my mom gave me a “progressive alarm clock” (from a Christmas wish list). It looks somewhat like a Dalek, but rather than EXTERMINATE, it ALARMINATES. It has settings for the usual buzzer-type alarm, but it also has various nature sounds and offset timing, so you can set it to start playing birds chirping first and then blare a buzzer fifteen minutes later. It also has a light built into it, and another setting will turn the light on a half-hour before the buzzer, starting at dim and gradually increasing in intensity. (There are settings for aromatherapy and to put you to sleep at night, too, but I haven’t used those.)

So for a while, I had my alarm clock set for a light to come on first, then songbirds, and finally the alarm. It worked for a while, too, especially in the winter when I’m waking up in the dark. But then I stopped noticing the light and the nature sounds, so I was back to the alarm blaring me awake. And snoozing it forever.

At the moment, I’m using two alarms on my phone. The first one is set to a soothing melody, at a volume loud enough to rouse me but not to blast me out from under the covers. I usually snooze my way through that one, but at least my brain is waking up. The second alarm, which goes off a half-hour later than the first, is set to something louder; at the moment, it’s a line from Spaceballs. (“I knew it! I’m surrounded by assholes!”) I change the tones occasionally so I don’t get too used to them.

Does any of this make it any easier for me to get up? Nope. The only time I ever wake up easily is when I can sleep until I wake up on my own. And that usually means sleeping until at least 9 a.m., so I only get that chance on weekend and holidays. But I’m waking up when I need to wake up, and as long as I have a day job, that’s going to be a requirement.

What I’ve started having trouble with more recently is making myself go to bed at night. You’d think since I clearly love to sleep that I wouldn’t have to force myself to do it. But alas, here I sit late into most evenings, unable to tear myself away to go burrow under the covers. I’m shooting myself in the foot every time, because the later I’m awake, the less sleep I’ll have by the time my medley of alarms wakes me. But my friends are in my computer! And they’re all saying such fun, interesting things! And if I go to bed, I’ll miss it!

*smacks self*

Ahem.

In truth, it really doesn’t make that much difference. If I go to bed at 10, I tend to wake up at 5, unable to go back to sleep. If I stay up until midnight, I want to kill my alarm when it goes off. Either way, I end up sucking down coffee to get my brain in gear so I can actually, y’know, function.

I think the harsh truth here is that I’m never going to wake up easily, no matter what alarms I set or what time I go to bed at night. I’m just going to have to be an adult and deal with it.

At least until I win the lottery and can sleep whenever I want. ;)

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Coming Soon: Grand Adventures

Eric Arvin and T.J. Klune are two well-known and well-liked authors in the gay romance community who are happily coupled and planning to marry later this year. In December, Eric suddenly had to undergo brain surgery that’s left him mostly paralyzed. It’s been a very hard few months, but through everything, their love has only grown stronger.

GrandAdventuresLGEric and T.J. are both published (in part) by my primary publisher, Dreamspinner Press, which decided to put together an anthology, Grand Adventures, with all proceeds going to help Eric and T.J. pay the many extra costs associated with managing Eric’s condition. I was happy to contribute a second edition of my short story “Stripped,” and when I saw the lineup of other authors, I felt a little giddy. And the cover! OMG. So much love. (You’ll be able to buy prints and maybe even t-shirts of the cover art soon, too!)

The anthology will be released on March 31 and is available for preorder now in ebook or paperback format. It’s a fantastic way to help out two great guys.

(P.S. You can also donate directly to T.J. and Eric through the GoFundMe page set up by friends. Since everything at Dreamspinner is on sale right now, consider donating the difference between the purchase price and the price you pay for your preorder!)