Category Archives: real life

Updates, We’ve Got Updates!

A quick check-in from the midst of the whirlwind. After a dayjob conference in Denver last week, I spent the weekend working on the next novella (due to my editor the first weekend in June) and helping get ready for the roomie’s (JP Barnaby’s) family to come visit. I’ll be spending this coming weekend in Orlando going to Disney, which cuts into my writing time by a lot, but considering I keep doing a lot of writing on airplanes (2,300 words on the flights to and from Denver), I should be able to make some progress anyway.

(For the record, the tentative release date for Tongue & Groove is August 29.)

Rhythm&Blues_webIn the meantime, I’ve sent the final proof corrections for Rhythm & Blues to the formatter. As soon as that’s done, I’ll get the files uploaded to AllRomance and Draft2Digital, so non-Amazon order links should start showing up soon. Less than a month until release now! (And thank you to those who have pre-ordered so far. <3)

I also have a tentative release date for my next Dreamspinner novella, Accidental Fall, which is a re-release of a former Amber Allure title. Look for that on September 21.

Still to come: a third M/M novella, and then probably an F/F one, if life cooperates. That’ll take me into early 2017, and we’ll see where things go from there. 🙂

Currently writing: Tongue & Groove, M/M novella (~66%)

Life or Something Like It

Just a little update on things. I’ll be headed to my parents’ in a few days, when my mom is scheduled to be able to go home from rehab. Her recovery from her broken ankle has been going well, and she’s passed the biggest hurdle: she can move from the bed to the wheelchair (or potty chair) and back, mostly on her own.

My other main projects are finishing my stack of RITA books (and logging the scores), and working on the Hands On novellas. I’m shooting to have all three done by the end of April. Unless something drastic happens, I plan to self-publish these. (More on that later, but just to head off any possible speculation, that has nothing to do with any problem with any publisher!)

Oh yeah… and I have a day job to do, too. 🙂

Currently writing: Rhythm & Blues, M/M novella (~78%)

Coninsanity

I’ve spent the last almost-three weeks in my own personal “con season.” It’s been an amazing time, albeit exhausting. The bulk of the insanity was a 12-day, cross-country excursion to Tampa and Portland. I left home on April 16 and didn’t return until April 27—and then Outlantacon was 5 days after that!

I started my trip in Tampa for RainbowCon, which was pretty awesome. We had some great panel sessions—I sat on panels about author etiquette and stereotypes in fiction—and the vendor room stayed pretty busy. I left with just one book left from the ones I brought, though of course I had a stack of new ones I purchased from others! I shared a table with the fabulous Nicole Dennis, and we were set up right next to Grace R. Duncan, so we had a great time. It was so great to see so many friends again and to meet some new people. Best surprise: Brandon Shire stopping by! (He’s freaking adorable, too. LOL)

Once RainbowCon ended, I went home with cousins who live nearby for a couple of days off. I mostly did as little as possible: soaked in the hot tub, sat by the pool, ate some great food, and slept a lot. I did write a blog post and worked on plotting my next books, but I focused on resting up because I knew I’d need it!

On Wednesday, April 23, after a quick trip to St. Pete beach, I hopped a plane to Portland by way of Detroit, getting to the hotel at 10:30 local time. Naturally, my body felt like it was 1:30 a.m., so after unpacking the absolute bare minimum and drinking a little chocolate milk, I crashed hard. Thursday, I took care of two Portland touristy essentials: lunch from a food truck (a really good gyro) and doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts. When I got back, I started meeting up with people, and if I tried to list them all, I’d leave people out. But I got to see many of my favorite people and meet a bunch more, and that is always awesome.

The workshop itself was fun and interesting. Lots of information about sales and marketing, suggestions for writing specifics, and plenty of laughter. I had a good talk with Elizabeth North, pinning myself down to a three-book series commitment in the process (eep!), and several other Dreamspinner staffers, in addition to a bunch of authors. Nothing like feeling like you’ve found your people. 🙂

I did manage to squeeze in dinner with a local friend, though plans with another fell through just because I was too tired to think by then. I did hit up a couple more food trucks and wander through the Powell’s location at the airport. Portland is a lovely city, and I’d love to go back at some point.

I flew home last Sunday, along with Nessa Warin and Paul Richmond, which led to quite a bit of insanity, some of which might actually make it into a book (pokes Nessa). Of course, by the time I got home, I was dead on my feet and pretty much only had time to collapse into a bed. I did have to work the next day. 🙂

I survived last week, barely, and picked up J.P. Barnaby and Kage Alan from the airport on Thursday to kick things off. I went to the Eagle with J.P. and William Cooper for the Outlantacon kickoff party, had to work briefly Friday morning, and then spent the weekend doing the panels I listed on Friday and the rest of the time in the dealer room, selling books. We had a big pile of print copies of Butt Ninjas from Hell and sold quite a few. And of course we’re already planning for the next anthology or two. 😉

I’m finishing this up Sunday night, and I’m so tired it’s taking me twice as long to parse things as I go. I should probably stop writing and go get some sleep. Back to the EDJ in the morning!

Making a Few Changes

changeI’ve been a bit adrift, writing-wise, in recent months. I finished writing my story for the Butt Ninjas from Hell anthology on time, and I submitted an out-of-print story for re-publication in another anthology. But my WIPs are languishing, with only dribs and drabs being added here and there, and I can’t seem to focus on much of anything.

So, it’s time to make a few changes.

First, I’m dropping word count meters. I deleted the one that used to appear on this site, I’m filing away the spreadsheet I was using to track word counts, and I’m taking those numbers off the top of any story file I update from now on. Word counts aren’t the point. Finishing the story is the point. If that’s the 8,500 words it took to write my ninja story, the 81,000 words in my first novel, or some number higher, lower, or in between, then that’s how long the story will be. I’ve been getting bogged down in watching those numbers and forgetting about what’s really important.

Second, I’m cutting way back on my travel this year. I have two trips planned: Tampa for RainbowCon and Portland for the Dreamspinner author’s workshop in April (one long trip, since they’re back to back), and Chicago for GayRomLit in October. I’ll also be at the usual two local events, Outlantacon and Dragon Con, and there’s another local event I’m considering. Mainly, what this means is no RT and no RWA. The costs are just too high for the return at this point. I need to get more books out before those meetings will be worth the time and money.

Last, I’m going to start setting my own deadlines and rewarding myself when I meet them. When I have external deadlines (all three of my most recently completed stories had publisher-imposed deadlines), I meet them. It might be on the very DAY it’s due, but it gets done. I need to work on developing the discipline to set and meet deadlines of my own. As the first step, I have a self-imposed deadline to finish one of my WIPs by March 31. I don’t care which story; I have three strong contenders, though one is more likely than the others. My reward if I meet the deadline? Well, I might actually get a new story out in time for GRL, for one thing, but the real reward is more direct: a trip. (I have a specific place and date for that, but I’m keeping the details to myself for now.)

Okay. That’s enough navel-gazing for one day. I have things to do, and some of them might even involve writing. Hope you’re all having a good weekend!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Best Laid Plans and You-Never-Knows

So, I’d been planning to try to finish the novel I’m currently working on before Dragon Con, which is Labor Day weekend. Since I’m over halfway through, that should be doable, right? It’s a month away, after all.

Well, Dragon Con came calling early this year. Starting this weekend, I’m helping the publications director with the bazillion things she has to do to get the program book, pocket program, and other con publications out to the printer in time to make it to the con. I’ll still be doing my regular on-site job (or my boss, Eugie Foster, would kill someone and/or die on the spot), but the pre-con editing and such will be filling up a lot of my time before then.

This isn’t a bad thing, you understand. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do. But it does cut into my time, which means the writing needs to take a backseat temporarily. I have edits for two stories that are still in production, so those will get done, but the WIPs will just have to wait their turn.

OTOH, I’ll probably get some writing time during Dragon Con, so that’s always a bonus. 🙂

Life and Other Complications

As those of you who follow me on social media may have noticed, I’ve been off my feet for the past few days after dropping a flute case on my foot from a height of about six feet. (Protip: put on shoes before you start a whirlwind cleaning effort.) Nothing is broken, but I didn’t stay off it for the first few days after it happened, so now I’m on day three of doctor’s orders to do so. Thankfully, it’s much better now, which is good, since I have three days in the office at the EDJ starting tomorrow, and that entails a walk of about a quarter mile from parking deck to cubicle.

rainbowheartsparkleAfter that, though, I have a long weekend for Independence Day, so I’ll be able to rest up more. I can even watch fireworks right from the comfort of my sofa! LOL

I’ll also be able to spend the long weekend writing. I’m working on two main projects right now. One is a best-friends-to-lovers story about high school football players. It would be the first in a trilogy to take them through their senior year of college. All three books are generally planned out, so now all I have to do is write them. The easy part, right? HA. In an attempt to focus, though, I’ve set an initial deadline of July 15 to have a rough draft of book one, so I’ll have something to talk about (if not actually pitch) at RWA. It will probably be VERY rough, but at least it’s something!

The other story is an erotic novella based around fetish play. So since the trilogy is a sweet romance, this is pretty much a 180-degree shift. It’s based on some observations from my trip to IML in Chicago last month, but since it’s not my kink, I’ll definitely be running it by some friends who are involved in that kind of play. (I wrote the first sex scene yesterday, and boy, that thousand words went by FAST.)

Unlike a lot of authors, I always have two (occasionally more) projects going at a time. I just get too bogged down trying to work on one at a time. I try to mix things up, though—in theme, length, style, content, etc.—so they work like palate cleansers for each other. My last two submissions were a sweet contemporary romance novella and an erotic scifi short story, written mostly at the same time.

Speaking of which, those stories are both in the editing/production pipeline. The short is due out later this summer from Wilde City Press, as part of their Charlie Harding Presents line. The novella will be part of a baseball-themed anthology with Kate McMurray, Marguerite Labbe, and Kerry Freeman, coming in the fall from Dreamspinner.

As far as longer-term planning, in addition to RWA, I’ll be in attendance at Dragon*Con (of course) and GayRomLit here in Atlanta, and I plan to be at both North Georgia/Marietta Pride (last weekend in July) and Atlanta Pride (second weekend in October). I’m also on the case for 2014 already, signed up as an author for RainbowCon in Tampa and with a hotel reservation for the RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans next May. I haven’t decided for sure about RT, but it looks very likely at this point. The dates for Outlantacon aren’t final yet, so I’m hoping for no conflicts!

(Speaking of which, I had planned to go to the Folsom Street Fair against this year, because I had an amazing time in 2012. However, a family event may fall on that weekend, so it looks like I might have to miss it.)

Otherwise, well, life goes on. The EDJ is still there (and really, not particularly evil, except as jobs generally are). Family is doing well. Friends visited last weekend and we had a wonderful time. The weather is hot. Our apartment still needs work. My to-read list is extensive, and my book spending too high (not that that’s going to stop me). And it’s the last day of the quarter, so go out and buy stuff from your favorite authors so their royalty checks will be nice and fat, and they’ll keep on writing. 🙂

Sandy Relief Donations

I’ve decided to donate $1 to Sandy relief efforts for each individual sale off my backlist for the fourth quarter of 2012 (October 1–December 31). I’m donating $50 immediately to Feeding America’s Disaster Relief fund, the rest to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund on January 31, 2013.

A few reasons that I’ve gone this route:

  • I don’t have an easy way to track sales by the week or month, so quarterly it is.
  • I can spare the money because I’m lucky enough not to rely on royalties to pay the bills, like a lot of authors do.
  • I’m offering only the stories on the special Sandy relief page because sales links are already there, and I don’t receive royalties for other sales/formats.
  • While many relief agencies are working hard on the ground right now, some (like the Red Cross) are getting much more attention than others. Feeding America is working under the radar, delivering food and water to storm victims, so I chose them for a donation now. And the Red Cross will need to replenish its Disaster Relief fund after Sandy, even if they’re no longer involved directly in providing help by then. There is always another disaster just over the horizon.

If you have questions, feel free to ask. 🙂

Hop Against Homophobia: It’s Personal

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m happy to be participating in the Hop Against Homophobia, and I’m even happier that you’re taking the time to check out my contribution. I’m going to address the serious part of why I’m here first, and then I’ll get to the fun stuff. 🙂

When I started thinking about what I wanted to say in this post, I kept coming back to the same beginning point: Christianity. I’m not trying to start a deep, philosophical discussion. I’m just making a public statement about my personal beliefs.

I’m Christian.

No, wait, don’t leave! That’s the biggest problem I see: as soon as I mention being Christian, a lot of people tune me out, or don’t believe me. Not that I can blame them, but the truth is that I’m Christian, I write same-sex romance, I support marriage equality, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay or with same-sex relationships. And there are a lot more people like me out here than you’d expect.

Yes, I realize it’s the far-right Christians* who get all the press. They’re the ones making all the noise, ignoring every issue on the political spectrum other than homosexuality and abortion. They push laws to ban same-sex marriage, deny civil rights to homosexuals, and rant and rave about how The Evil Gays should be punished and shunned.**

They’re not just homophobic. They’re flat-out wrong, and on several different levels.

Let’s start here: what if they were right, and God did condemn homosexuality? If so, then homosexuality and/or homosexual behaviors would be a sin, but a sin like any other. I’m a big believer that you can’t cherry-pick pieces of the Bible out of context. If you use a passage from Leviticus to condemn homosexuality, then you’d better not be eating pork or wearing a cotton-polyester blend. So, if homosexuality were a sin, then it would be no different from any of the other myriad sins. If homosexuals should be punished and shunned, even killed, then the people who so vocally condemn them would deserve the same.

But as I said, I’m not looking for a deep debate here. This is about me and my beliefs, and I personally do not believe homosexuality or homosexual behaviors are sinful. Sexual orientation is not a choice, it’s not a mistake, and it’s not wrong.

So why don’t you hear more about people like me? It’s hard to be heard over the yelling of the far right, for starters. The squeaky wheels get the press. And the more moderate, progressive Christians have to be very careful what we say and how we say it. We’re already lumped in with the fundamentalists as soon as we open our mouths. Yelling only makes it worse, because then even those who might have been willing to listen turn away.

We do what we can. That usually means working behind the scenes, fighting against unjust laws, fighting for social justice. It means setting a good example, both for other Christians and for non-Christians. It means behaving as much like Christ as we can, which means loving and caring for everyone, not just those who agree with us.

It also means accepting the possibility that we’re wrong, about this or any number of other subjects. None of us is perfect, and none of us has perfect insight. But I don’t believe God condemns love. We aren’t bodies with souls; we’re souls with bodies, and love is between two souls, regardless of the bodies that contain them.

*I won’t qualify this label. Above all else, I don’t believe it’s my place to judge the status of another person’s faith.
**And how women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, but that’s a different subject.

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And now the fun stuff!

In honor of the Hop, I’m offering up the whole kit and kaboodle: one PDF copy of every story I’ve published (full list here). To win, just post a comment below, with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I’ll pick one winner at random from all comments received from now through Sunday, May 20.*** If the winner already owns any of the stories, then I’ll pick another winner for the remaining ones, until all 10 stories are gone.

Good luck, and be sure to check out the other posts over the weekend!

***Based on the timestamp of the comment.

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Whoops!  I neglected to cite the source for a quote I paraphrased in my post: “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” ― C.S. Lewis

Spare Me A Lung?

I’ve been pretty well knocked flat the past week by one of the nastiest colds I can remember having. It came on quickly and settled into my lungs really well before moving north to lay siege to my sinuses, and it hasn’t let go yet. I didn’t leave the house for five days. Not recommended at all.

Feeling that miserable didn’t exactly stoke any creative fires, either. I did some revision work (on the site here and on some writing), but I didn’t get any new words down. (Darn, I should’ve written a character with a nasty cold. LOL)

I’m starting to feel marginally better—at least, I put in a full day at the office today—so I’m hoping it’ll be uphill from now on. And maybe Derrick and Josh and Sam and Ellery and all those other guys I left stranded will get a little more attention again. 🙂

Missing Person, Now Found!

Well, hi there. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? No, I’m not dead or anything. It’s just the holidays! 🙂

I’ve been having a busy December so far. The first weekend was spent in New York, seeing a play and visiting with friends (including fellow Dreamspinner author Rachel West, who is awesome!). Yesterday, my sister/roommate and I had a Christmas party, which was a lot of fun but a LOT of work. The nicest part may end up being that our apartment is now clean and decorated for Christmas, and we still have a couple of weeks to enjoy it!

In writing news, I haven’t been doing much (because: see previous paragraph), but I’m going to be getting back to it this week. I have a fandom project, a new commission project, and a NaNo project to finish. Not to mention a long list of “stories in progress,” and some galley proofs on the next novella coming soon! Plus one of my holiday stories is out and the other comes on the 22nd, and I’ll be doing a couple of blog visits for those.

Now, let’s see if I can manage not to disappear for so long again any time soon… 🙂