Monday, April 30, 2012

Maggie Nash is hosting me today

Hi there!

Today I'm guest blogging for Maggie Nash.  Maggie is an awesome romance writer out of Australia, who graciously lets other people play on her site, so thank you, Maggie!  The topic is the difficulty I experienced wanting to provide too much background info when I wrote Changing Worlds, which if you've followed the blog, you know about.  Remember that post, where I commented on how intensely the edits were kicking my ass...yeah. Pay her a visit here:

I was originally going to do a post about my other May release, Reclaimed, but there's no buy link for it up yet on the publisher's website.  Frustrating!  Because both of the stories are really good, and I don't want to neglect one so that the other can get all the spotlight, but what can I say, Storm Moon Press is one organized mofo.  At any rate, I'll be doing contests for each of them once we get closer to the release dates (which are only one day apart), so hopefully that will spread the love around.  All that messy, sticky love, just waiting to be spread...

I think I'll stop now.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Changing Worlds is coming! (cue Jaws theme)

Sweet news!  My novel Changing Worlds is available for preorder at Storm Moon Press.  There are a couple of cool things about this.  One: the short story Opening Worlds is included for free with the book, which is nice for people coming into this particular setting for the first time.  Two: the book is discounted if you preorder, both in e-format and paperback.  You can even bundle it and get both, if you really love me:)  Find it here:

There's going to be all kinds of promo to go along with this book.  There'll be a blog tour (a first for me, I had to have my publisher explain what one was...because I'm just that savvy) and a contest on my website/here that will include a giveaway, but if you don't like the giveaway odds (and I don't even know what they are yet) preordering is a lovely way to save some money if you plan on buying the book anyway. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Cinders Post #7

Notes:  From no posts to two in one weekend, huzzah!  I think we're over halfway done with Cinders at this point, my dears.  I'll try to stay on top of it in the weeks to come.  I hope you enjoy this part, and know that the action will only ramp up from here.

Title: Cinders

Part Seven: Qĭng, please.


There’s only one way that Asher’s going to get to go this ball, and he knows it.  Yeah, his stepsisters said they’d tell him, but he knows that was just for the horseman’s benefit.  They’d sooner be tarred and feathered than invite him along to an event where they’re clearly counting on being the fairest of them all, and no offense, but when Asher cleans up he cleans up good.  And if the prince really is Ty, well, Asher knows him.  He knows what he likes.  Ty likes girls but Ty likes him more, and he can draw the kid’s eye better than anyone else with a little effort.  He just has to get the chance.

Convincing his stepmother to let him go along is the only way this is going to happen.  The girls like to pretend they run this house, but everyone knows that while you have to kowtow to the daughters, it’s the mother who can order you let go or beaten, or worse.  There’s something about her impenetrable silence that makes it hard for you to breathe in her presence, and such a relief when she starts to speak.  She says more with her eyes than anyone Asher has ever met before, and usually none of its good.  Still, he has to try.  This is about Ty, after all.  This is Asher’s life on the line.

Asher sees his stepmother once a day, at dinner when he serves the table.  He could try to go to her earlier but her room is generally locked, opening only for a maidservant in the morning and the evening.  There’s no way she’ll open it if he just knocks, and this isn’t the sort of thing he wants to ask about with an audience either.  His best bet is to catch her after dinner, once her daughters are gone but before she’s retired to her own rooms.  It’s a plan, at least, and now Asher just has to make it through the rest of the day and build up his courage.  He makes an effort to clean up before dinner, to not smell strongly or look rough or be anything else that his stepmother might take offense at.  She hardly ever speaks to him but when she does, it’s always some sort of comment on his appearance. 

Usually by the time Asher brings them dinner he’s starving, but tonight he’s so on edge that his stomach’s in knots.  He serves quietly, and listens with half an ear to his stepsisters’ raptures over the invitation (never mentioning his own) and their not-so-sly comments about him.

“He looked so elegant, Mama,” Pinky says with a little swoon, one hand pressed to her cleavage.  “So handsome in the dauphin’s regalia.”

“And the dauphin will look even better in it,” Envy adds.  “Of course you’ll give us the carriage to go, won’t you, Mama?”

Their mother is silent for a moment before saying, “I think I’ll go with you myself.  I haven’t laid eyes on the dauphin since he’s grown to manhood, and I want to get a good look at my future son-in-law.”  Both of her daughters beam at their mother’s confidence.

“It’s too bad you didn’t get a look at the gentleman, little piglet, it would have done you good to see a man so suited to his high station in life,” Envy continues, glancing in Asher’s direction.

“Not that we could have borne the embarrassment if you had shown your filthy face,” Pinky says with a snort.

“Actually…”  His stepmother fixes him with her eyes and Asher stops pouring the water, making himself look straight at her.  “I find some improvement in your appearance of late, child.  It seems you’ve been making an effort.  If you continue to do so, I will be most pleased with you.”

“He isn’t making an effort,” Pinky exclaims, wrinkling her nose.  “You should have seen him when he was cleaning the grates today, Mama, he was positively filthy.”

“And yet now, he isn’t,” their mother points out.  Pinky lapses into a sulk and Envy just stares at Asher, contemplative like a viper eyeing a bit of prey.

Dinner is finished in short order, the girls flounce off and Asher manages to catch his stepmother in the hallway outside of her bedroom, having carted the dishes as fast as he could to the kitchen before running like a madman up the stairs.  She hears him coming and stops with her hand on the door, supremely unconcerned in the face of Asher’s discomfort, like a distant, uncaring god.  He forces himself to speak.

“The invitation that came today…it said that all eligible youths are invited to attend the ball.”

“And?” she prompts after a moment.

“And…I’d like to go.”

“You wish to go to the ball.”

“Yes, Madame.”  Madame is her title of choice when he’s the one speaking.  She doesn’t say anything for a long, long time, just looks at him and weighs decisions in her mind and has absolutely no care for the fact that she’s holding the balance of his future in her hands.  “Please,” he adds, and the sudden jolt of memory is almost dizzying as it pushes to the forefront of his mind.

Asher remembered the day his mother left, how he heard closet doors opening and shutting in rapid succession and entered her room and found her stuffing clothes into a suitcase, black tear tracks streaking her face where her makeup had run, her small, fine hands wrung red.  She didn’t notice when he came into the room, too preoccupied with packing to look up.


A stricken face rose to meet his, eyes so puffy that he could barely see her pupils, her nose bright red.  “Ash.”  Her voice sounded clogged and nasal.  “You’re supposed to be at school.”

“I left early.”  He had skipped the second half of the day, tired of solicitous teachers and morbidly curious classmates.  Cassie had just been buried a week ago, but it seemed like everyone had heard about it.  “What are you doing?”

“I…” His mother seemed momentarily at a loss for words.  “I—I’m leaving for a while, honey.  Just to go and see Grandma for a few weeks, she needs me.”

Asher had met his grandmother only once, and that was when she came to visit from Beijing.  It had been an awkward two weeks, with her speaking no English and the rest of them speaking no Mandarin.  She had totally dominated the house while she was there, and all of them had been happy when she’d gone away again. 

“You’re going to China?” Asher asked slowly.

“Yes, but not for long.  Just a few weeks.”

A few weeks.  Asher mentally calculated just how much his father could drink in a few weeks.  Since Cassie’s death he had stopped going to work and only left the house to walk down to the liquor store on the corner and back, or to spend some quality time at the bar.  He alternated between loud, drunken ramblings and bouts of crying, and he had hit Asher twice since the funeral, and hit his mother once.  The twins spent most of their time with friends away from the house, and since his mother had to work, Asher was the only one around.  He hated it, flinching every time his father made a noise, and if his mother went away…

“Take me with you.” 

His mother shut her eyes hard for a moment.  “I can’t take you,” she told him.  “But it will be okay, honey, you’ll see.  I’ll just be gone a few weeks.”

“I don’t want to be here alone,” Asher said desperately.

“You won’t be alone, Daddy will be with you—”

“I don’t want to stay with him!” Asher cried.  Couldn’t she see that he couldn’t stay with him?  “Please, I want to come with you, Mom.  Please.”  He went over to the bed and pushed her suitcase aside, tried to move in close enough for her to hug him, but her hands flew to his shoulders and held him back.  “Mom, please, please don’t leave me here.  I want to come with you!  Please.”  He tried out the one Mandarin word his Grandma had made him learn.  “Qĭng.  Mom, qĭng.  I can go with you, I can learn Mandarin, see?  I can already speak some.”

“Don’t be silly,” his mother said, but her voice was weak and her arms were shaking.  “You have to stay here.  I’ll only be gone a few weeks.  It’s too late to buy you a ticket, Ash, you can’t come with me.  Stay here with Daddy.  I’ll only be gone for a little while.”  She pushed his dark hair away from his forehead and gazed with despair at his face.  “Just a few weeks.”

Asher had pulled away and just looked at her, watched her pack silently.  She wouldn’t meet his eyes again, didn’t even talk to him until she was at the front door.  Then she had finally hugged him, wrapping him so tight with her skinny arms that it hurt.  “Be good for your daddy,” she breathed.  He just held on, held her so securely that she had to pry his hands off and put her suitcase between them, to keep him back.  She ran down to her car, got in and drove away.  It was the last time Asher ever saw her.

He’s so taken by surprise, he almost doesn’t here it when his stepmother says, “Very well.  If,” the emphasis is clear, “if you continue to perform all your chores with diligence, and if you can find something of good quality to wear that won’t embarrass us, and if you maintain an acceptable level of hygiene and decorum…then I suppose that you may attend the prince’s ball.”

Relief is a palpable thing, like a bucket of warm water thrown over his head and soaking down to his feet.  Asher smiles and nods.  “Thank you, Madame.  I’ll try to be my best for you.  You won’t regret this.”

“I never regret anything,” she says coolly before opening the door and entering her chambers.  “But you might, child, if you disappoint me.”

The door closes with decided finality.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I read too, actually...

I've been spending too much time reading lately.  I was so relieved to get my final edits done on Changing Worlds that once they were in, I completely shunned all my own work and started eating up other people's.  Now I know I have to get back on task (yes, I'm constantly thinking about Cinders, it's on its way) but I thought I'd take a moment to mention a few things that appeal to me, personally, in what I read.

There are times when I read a story and it simultaneously fills me with pleasure and depresses me, because it's so good and so different that I know nothing I write could ever compare to it.  And comparison isn't the point, every author is meant to have their own voice and I like the way I write,  but sometimes I read something and I just go, "Oh wow.  Damn."

BTW, these aren't reviews or necessarily recommendations, they're just things I've taken away from some recent reads that I've particularly enjoyed.

One thing I try to be comprehensive with in my own writing is worldbuilding, and it's probably the biggest selling point for me when it comes to other people's stuff.  Before plot, before character, I like a setting and a scene.  I want to smell and taste and hear what's going on.  Descriptions don't have to drone on, but they do have to be relevant and interesting.  I just finished The Time of the Singing by Louise Blaydon, and I absolutely loved her setting.  One of her main characters was a Catholic priest and the way things were described, from his various duties to Latin mass to how he felt about his own homosexuality in the context of church law, was all amazing.  I had to read the Latin parts out loud just so I could feel them roll off my tongue and increase my sense of atmosphere.  This writer was someone who knew Catholicism, or at least did enough research to make it seem like she knew it to me, a non-Catholic.  I loved it. 

Did I love everything else about the book?  No, I thought some of her characterization was rushed, and that she presented an unfeasably mature and forward 17-year old as a bit of a device for action.  But I read it and I will read it again, with pleasure, because of how evocative her setting was.

I appreciate a good action scene.  A lot of people try to write them, but often they come off feeling contrived and sort of "And then they were here" or "And with a feat of heroic ____, he killed his enemy."  One series I follow is Andrea Speed's Infected stories, concerning werecats in modern society, and while I love her writing for the realism she brings to an unreal subject and characters who are memorable and well rounded, her action scenes are great.  Even the ones that aren't meant to be anything special, just the description of someone walking, dancing or picking out their clothes, are all wonderful.  She doesn't overuse words (not everything we do is sexy, not even in a romance), she doesn't overuse angst (I know your life sucks, but seriously, time to get over it or die) and she has a wonderful sense of flow.  Good flow is something I'm working on, and reading her stuff just makes me more determined to get it right.

The last ones I'm going to bring up here are very popular in the genre, and rightfully so, because these books embody a sort of nebulous concept in writing, which often comes down to, "You either have it or you don't."  The Cut and Run series starring FBI agenty Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are some of the most fun you can have while reading.  The characters are delightful, the plots are interesting, the sex is very hot, and nothing is rushed--these are some long books, people.  Very satisfying to read, and satisfaction is important in erotic romance.  Again, are the books perfect?  No.  Because they're written by two authors, Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux, there are two distinct voices in the text.  In the case of dialogue this can work very well, but sometimes it can be jarring.  They're an impressive accomplishment of collaboration, however, and so much fun to read.  In fact, as an author who's never successfully coauthored with anyone, I read them a little wistfully too. 

So!  Just thought I'd throw this out there, since it's been a while since my last post and Cinders isn't ready for you.  Feel free to throw some recs my way if you can think of something that might appeal to me, I love knowing who else is in the library of my readers. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reclaimed cover & snippet

Well yay, more covers for me!  Reclaimed is the third novella in the Treasured series and it's going to be released on May 17th.  Then in August, all three of them will be packaged together and released as one.  I don't have a title for the anthology yet, and it is stumping me hard.  Feel free to offer up suggestions, I will reward you handsomely if I use it.  And by handsomely, I mean with fiction, 'cause that's what I gots, yo.

My boys and the British Museum, sweet!  The British Museum is kind of a secondary setting for the story, but it's still significant.  How so?  Let me give you a story snippet that helps paint a picture.

~* * *~

I fell asleep sometime around dawn. I had been up all night researching and printing out articles, and after a few hours my table was just as messy as it had been when I was in the throes of my dissertation defense. When I woke up, my head wasn’t pillowed on reams of paper, though, it was cushioned on the pillow from my bed. I was laid out on the sofa in the most comfortable way possible, which still wasn’t great, but was better than bent over my ancient laptop. The quilt my mother had made for me before I went to college was draped over me, and the air smelled like fresh coffee and bagels. Someone was holding my feet and rubbing a thumb gently along the curve of my ankle. For a second, I felt nothing but utter contentment. Then reality poured back in, and that light feeling turned to lead in my chest.

“Reese.” I opened my eyes and looked over at him. He was wearing the shell I loved the best, long and lean and gorgeous. He gave me a half-smile and saluted me with his cup of coffee.

“Looks like you didn’t follow my advice, Danny.” He glanced at the mess of papers. “I thought you were going to rest up, get plenty of liquids, so on and so forth. Instead you’re neck-deep in research.”

“It was important,” I mumbled, pulling my feet away and sitting. Reese frowned but let me go.

“Must be,” he said noncommittally. “What’s up, pet?”

I ran a hand through my messy hair and sighed heavily. I could feel Reese shift a little, like he wanted to come closer to me, but something was holding him back. Reese had always been very intuitive, and he could read me like a book.

I shuffled through the papers on the table until I found the one I was looking for. I looked at it one last time, then handed it over to Reese. He took it silently. “Did you do this?”

Reese took a moment to read the first few lines, his lips slightly pursed, like he was considering biting into a lemon. “Old news, Danny.” He put the paper down on the arm of the couch and crossed his legs. “Lisbon was three years ago. Long before I ever met you.”

“I know that,” I said, pretty calmly I thought. “So were these ones.” I passed him the first pages of articles detailing thefts at major museums in Barcelona, Kyoto, Rio de Janiero, Rome. Each one was a high-profile theft going after magical artifacts, and all of them were jobs that had to be done by more than one person. National treasures had been targeted, everything from paintings to jewelry to statuary, each one sure to fetch the highest price on the black market. Reese glanced at the pages and then set them aside as well.

“So they were,” he agreed. He stared at me, totally expressionless. “What’s your point, Danny boy?”

“What about this one?” My hand trembled a little as I passed the articles I’d downloaded on the British Museum theft over to him. I watched him look them over, his face still a perfect blank. “I figure it had to be done with some kind of sympathetic magic,” I said. I’d gone over and over how Reese and his team could have pulled this off in my mind, and that was the only thing that made sense. “Five statues stolen, so five people mobilizing them, one for one. People skilled enough to get their hands on the statues at some point, to leave a piece of themselves behind and create a connection. People detailed enough to set up a perfect replica of each of the statues’ environments and genius enough to design the spells that would connect living, breathing humans to millennia-old marble.

“It’s so brilliant,” I sighed, closing my eyes for a second. “And it would take a lot of money to set up. Money and brilliance are two things that you and your crew have in spades.”

“All conjecture, pet. You don’t have proof of that.”

“I don’t need proof of it,” I told him. God, I felt tired. “I just need you to tell me. Did you do this, Reese?”

It wasn’t as though I didn’t expect it, but it still hurt to have it confirmed when he nodded his head. “Yeah,” he said after a second. “Yeah, we managed it. Not quite like you envisioned, but close enough. And it’s not the first job I’ve taken since you and I got together and you know it. So why the hell have you suddenly started caring about my work, Danny? It didn’t bother you a month ago when the money I make paid our way to Vegas for the weekend, it didn’t bother you three months ago when I sent your mother a baker’s dozen of roses for Valentine’s Day, it didn’t even bother you when you were run into the goddamn canals of Venice when some of my old mates came after me. Why now?”


And that's all I can share for now.  *sigh*  I'll have more info and links and all that stuff up on my website soon.  I hope you enjoyed the snippet, and if you want a sexier one, my post from 3/13/12 has the beginning of the story. 

Happy Saturday:)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cinders Post #6

Notes:  Be advised, this next part is rated R for revelation and, well, for sex too.  I like to be thorough:)  I've got so much fic coming your way in the next couple of months it isn't even funny, but know that I'm not giving up on Cinders--I shall persevere to the HEA or die trying!

Title: Cinders

Part Six: All In Your Head


There is a danger, the narrative knows, of this version of itself burning out.  Anger is second nature to this hero, and it is possible that eventually he will be driven to act in a way that ends in his demise.  Violent or accidental death is almost as common to this narrative as the intended resolution.  Even worse, there could be a transformation into something tepid and banal, the hero losing his spark and resigning himself to a life of unwilling servitude because the plot devices binding him that he’s meant to overcome are too abstract.  It wouldn’t be the first time the story has plodded along for decades until the main character dies of natural causes or has the dignity to kill him or herself.

What the story needs is a way to jumpstart this hero into action.  Occasionally the narrative has allowed a moment of not strictly scripted peripeteia to appear in the mix, and this might be just the place for such a thing.  The backstory is already there, the setting is practically perfect, and if there are flaws in the eventual characterization, well, those can be modified on the fly to suit the hero’s expectations.  It should be interesting, no matter what the result is.

The story changes a picture, and watches what happens next.


The rider has stopped a little ways from the front door, and the girls have gone out to meet him.  Asher hangs back in the shadows of the doorway and waits to see what happens.  As it turns out, it’s a good thing he does, although it takes some serious self-control not to laugh out loud at them at first.

Asher has never seen a transformation quite like the one his stepsisters go through once they’re outside receiving the horseman, and he’s seen some fuckin’ doozies.  He’s been with men who go from burly alphas to teary-eyed pussies as soon as they come in his mouth, he’s gone at it hot and heavy with guys in dirty bathrooms who delight in a stranger’s gaze but squeal and shrivel as soon as the boy they’re cheating on walks in.  He’s seen his own father go from apathetically drunk to furiously drunk in seconds, but these girls…they’re something else. 

They’ve gone from bile spewing bitches to ass kissing socialites in the space of a few short yards.  Asher half expects their lips to be covered with sugar, their tones are so sweet and suggestive.  The rider they’re accosting is wearing a blue and red velvet costume, complete with feathered hat.  It looks kind of ridiculous, but is probably the in look for all rich douchebags. He has full lips and black hair, and his nose is so long and straight you could use it as a hole punch. Whoever this guy is he’s no servant, but he’s not the prince either, which is clear from the pretty pout on Envy’s face as she sidles near the horse, trailing a finger along the stirrup as she looks up at the man. 

“Will you not dismount, my lord?” she asks coyly.  “Rest your horse and share the latest news from court with us?”

“We long to know of the Dauphin’s travels,” Pinky adds, “and you, as his intimate, could surely satisfy our deepest curiosities.”

Envy casts a glare at her sister that clearly screams “Dial it back, ho bag.”  The rider doesn’t give her a chance to mitigate the comment’s impact, though.  In fact, he lets the clue bus roll right by him as he reaches into a saddlebag.  If anything he looks annoyed, hot and tired, which Asher probably would be too if he had to gallop all over the place and talk to bored, horny women desperate for gossip.

“The prince is hosting a ball in one week’s time,” he says briskly as he hands over a thick envelope circled with a ribbon to Envy.  “All the eligible youths of this household are invited to attend.”

“How delightful,” Envy smiles.  “Please thank his highness on our behalf for this gracious and personal invitation.  My sister and I shall certainly attend.”

The rider looks confused for a moment.  “Isn’t there another of you here?  A boy?  A man, I suppose at this point, the son of the landowner…what is his name?”

“We shall convey the invitation,” Envy says coolly, stepping back in a way that clearly indicates that the conversation is over.  “Good day, my lord.”

The man inclines his head, just enough to make it look like he’s staring down his long nose at them instead of bowing.  “Ladies.”  He turns his horse and rides back down the gravel path at top speed.  Asher watches him go and wishes desperately that he was behind him on that horse, leaving this place behind.  He can’t leave the boundaries of the manor house and its nearest lands on his own two feet; he’s tried several times, late at night when no one is around to watch him bounce off an invisible barrier and scream his frustration into the darkness.

Speaking of screaming…it’s all out war as the girls fight for control of the letter.

“Give it to me!”

“Get off!” 

There’s groping and twisting and even some scratching, which just gets a roar of rage and similar treatment in turn before Envy regains dominance over the envelope.  She tears the ribbon off and opens the invitation, Pinky hovering at her shoulder, and they read it together as they reenter the house.  Asher backs into a hallway to prevent them from noticing him, but at this point he doesn’t think anything short of a bomb is gonna rock their boat.

“The paper smells of lilacs,” Pinky gushes as they head up the stairs.

“The edges are lined with gold,” Envy sighs.  They disappear around a corner and Asher feels safe enough to reemerge, a little bemused but also interested.  A ball, and one that he’s technically invited to.  It’s a chance to get away from here, and that means he’s got to take it, however he can.  For a second he smiles, remembering Cassie and her desperate desire to go to a ball. 

He’s about to head back to the kitchen before the sight of the ribbon just lying there on the ground distracts him.  The ribbon is bright blue, almost electric blue, and it looks weird against the dull gravel.  Asher goes to it and picks it up.  One end flutters in the air like a butterfly; the other one is weighed down by a wax seal.  Asher turns it over to look a little closer and—

It’s Ty.  It’s a profile, kind of simple, but that nose, that chin, that stupid shaggy hair…it’s definitely Ty.  Every emotion Asher’s boxed up so well lately sort of splinters and seeps into his chest, and he has to sit down for a second, hunched against the wall of the manor house and hoping that no one comes out to see him like this.  He stares at the circle of wax, so casually tossed aside, and feels his throat start to close up.  Damn it…what the fuck?

Does this mean that Ty is here too, trapped in this freaky reality?  Did he come looking for Asher and get sucked in?  Is it just an imitation Ty, something pulled out of his mind?  Is Asher even seeing this right, or is he really out of his mind and conjuring things up to make himself feel better?  Cause if he is, he’s doing a suck ass job of it.

Does this make Ty a prince?  The prince?  Asher raises his face and shuts his eyes, taking a second, just one second, to get himself back under control.  When he looks down again, the mouse is nibbling on the edge of the wax.

“No, damn it!”  Ty taps the rodent sharply on the head and gets a bite himself for his trouble.  “Bad mouse, shit…”  He makes to put his bleeding fingertip in his mouth, then remembers it was a mouse that bit into it.  Can’t they give you the plague or hantavirus or something?  He doesn’t even bother swearing again, just sighs and presses his bloody finger against his tunic and resolves to get his passenger some food so he won’t eat Ty’s face off.

If Ty is the prince, then there’s no two ways about it.  Asher absolutely has to be at this ball.  Not just because it’s Ty and he needs to see him like he needs to breathe, but also because there’s no way he’s leaving Ty to the nonexistent mercies of his stepsisters.  Not happening.  Ty is way too nice to women, too much of a fucking gentleman to tell them to back off, and it’s burned him before.  It’s not that there are no nice girls out there, it’s just that the ones that tend to be attracted to tall, cute, gangling Ty are complete bitches who expect their every whim to be catered to.  Ty doesn’t need that kind of bullshit.  Asher’s run interference before, and he’s more than ready to do it again.

Asher knew that when Ty got accepted to college, when he started working at the library, that things between them were going to change.  Ty wasn’t going to be hooking anymore; he was done with the streets.  He was going to settle into a normal life, get a degree and a girl and develop some good habits, better than the ones than involved coffee and NoDoz and the occasional Ritalin.  It was no shock to Asher that Ty was attracted to girls; they talked about it all the time, rating the women who worked their part of the neighborhood and groaning about the lack of pussy in their lives.  Not that Asher really cared; he preferred guys, but he had slept with a few women and it had been nice, not anything special but nice.

But Ty…Ty loved women.  He wanted them.  He got all tongue-tied and stuttery around them, even the prostitutes, girls who would probably have given him a freebie if he’d managed to ask, but he couldn’t.  He was cute and shy and easily besotted, and for two years he didn’t date a single girl.  Asher, selfish jerk that he was, liked that.  Then came college, and college girls.

The first time Asher realized it was going to be an issue was when he went to pick Ty up after his first day of classes.   Asher had still had his bike back then, and plenty of college girls, all California tan and long blonde hair, had given him the “come hither” look as he parked in the lot next to the library.  He had basically ignored them, which he knew just made it worse, and went to look for Ty. 

He saw him standing by a coffee cart in the commons area—it was hard to miss such a freakishly tall kid—and headed his way.  Halfway across the commons Asher stopped in his tracks, staring dumbly over at Ty, who it turned out wasn’t alone.  He was talking to a girl about a foot shorter than him, a redhead with curls and denim cut-offs that barely covered her curves.  She was twirling hair around one finger and laughing, and Asher watched in silence as Ty paid for their frou-frou lattes and they sat down on a bench together.  Asher could make out the word “algebra,” followed by a giggle and an “omigod, it’s so hard!”  He watched Ty nod like a puppet, eyes devouring every jiggle, every twist of that coil of hair.  Asher spun on his heel and went to wait on the bike.

That night Ty asked Asher if it would be all right if he had a study group over at the apartment.  All the real reasons Asher hated the idea poured through his mind and strained against his throat, things like, “I don’t want to make the difference between myself and your shiny new friends any more obvious ,” and “If I have to watch you and some chick eye-fuck each other all night, I’ll probably kill myself.”  Instead he said, “I don’t think it’s a great idea for you, man.  Not unless you want them to know you’re living with a prostitute.”

Ty’s face went kind of soft and wounded.  “I’m not ashamed of you,” he said staunchly.

“Sure you’re not,” Asher agreed.  “But what if I come in all bruised up or covered with cum?  You really want your study group to see that?  Cause that doesn’t sound like the best way to fit in.”

Ty was quiet for a long moment.  “Okay,” he said finally, and turned back to his books.

And Asher knew this was the beginning, the moment when Ty would start to pull away, when he’d really start to divorce himself from this world and leave it, and Asher, behind.  Asher wasn’t going to let that happen, not yet—the kid wasn’t ready to be on his own yet, but if Asher didn’t do something to reassure him then things would get weird.  So that night after Ty was asleep, Asher didn’t go out, and he didn’t go to his own bed either.  Instead he got naked, prepped himself, pulled back the sheet that covered Ty’s rangy body and crouched over his groin.  His penis was flaccid, soft and relaxed and beautiful, and Asher leaned over and breathed against it, just breathed, the faintest stroke of air on the tender skin.  Ty shifted and sighed, and Asher grinned and did it again.  His breath was warm and the air was cool, and slowly Ty’s cock began to plump up.  Once it was half-hard he sucked the end into his mouth, keeping his pressure so, so gentle.  Ty needed careful handling; he needed a slow start to really enjoy himself.  Asher knew what he liked, and he’d show him that.  He would show Ty that no one else would be able to make him feel as good as Asher could.

Ty woke up with a start, but just as quickly settled back with a low moan and cupped the sides of Asher’s head, holding him gently.  “Ash…”

Asher pulled back from his cock with a soft “pop.”  “I want you to fuck me,” he said, his voice deep and kind of growly.  He knew how much Ty liked the sound of his voice when they were together like this, how much he liked the direction.  When Ty worked the street he had always kept total control, no matter what the john was willing to pay, but when he was with Asher he could let go.

“Ash, c’mere,” he said, pulling at him until Asher left his cock and straddled his chest instead.  He was half-expecting Ty to blow him, but instead those big, long fingers reached around and pressed against his hole.  Asher pressed back and they slipped smoothly inside of him.

“Oh, fuck,” Ty breathed.  Asher had to smile.  He rocked on Ty’s hand, breath hitching a little when a third finger joined the other two, but he could take it.  He wanted it, wanted Ty in him, wanted this connection.  Wanted Ty to remember that he knew what Asher liked just as well as Asher knew him, and all he wanted was all of Ty to himself, for as long as he could have it.  Jealous?  Hell yes, he was jealous.  That didn’t mean he wasn’t right.

Asher pulled away and grabbed the condom he’d brought in with him, rolled it quickly over Ty’s now very awake and interested dick, drizzled some lube across the top and then reached down, settled against the head and slowly impaled himself.  Ty held Asher’s hips and bent his own knees to offer support, and after a second of getting used to the fucking baseball bat that was inside of him, Asher started to move.  Their rhythm was intense without being frantic.  Both of them were breathing hard but they stayed quiet, and once Asher had Ty’s gaze he held it.  He couldn’t tell Ty what he felt, that would be like a betrayal of everything he’d ever done for his friend, but he could show it in his eyes.

This is where you belong.  This is where you’ll be happy.  Stay.  Stay.  Stay.

Ty’s grip tightened and he fucked Asher a little faster, pressing in as deep as he could get on every thrust.  He was sweating soon, panting, his abs tightening and relaxing and making shapes that Asher just had to taste.  So he did, bending himself in two and licking a line up Ty’s torso.  Ty got his arms under Asher’s shoulders and held him close and started to fuck him harder, hard enough that Ty knew the sound of the bed would wake up their neighbors, hard enough that he could breathe in Ty’s own breaths.  It would be so simple to close that distance between them, to kiss him, but he hadn’t done that since their first time, and he wouldn’t.  It would mean too much, and even though he was jealous, he wasn’t cruel.  He wouldn’t do that to Ty. 

The rub of Ty’s abs against Asher’s trapped cock made him groan, and all it took was a single tight stroke of his own hand to make him erupt, hot and slick all over their chests.  Ty followed fast, finally closing his eyes as his orgasm took over.  They stayed joined for a long time, dirty and smelly and totally blissed out.  When Asher finally rolled away, it was Ty who cleaned them off, and before he could go back to his own bed Ty had grabbed him around the waist, pulled him in close and promptly fallen asleep on his shoulder.  They didn’t usually sleep together, not even when they had sex, but Asher went with it.

The next morning Ty woke up first and made them pancakes.  He never mentioned a study group again.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Most Awkward Holiday Explanation

Hi guys!

The Cinders post is coming asap, swear, but it's been a while since giving you anything and Easter is making me surprisingly nostalgic for Togo.  Easter is the big Christian celebration over there, as opposed to Christmas, and so naturally we were invited to partake.  That meant going to church for 5 hours, but at least their choir's rhythm section was amazing. 

In return, we tried to explain some American Easter traditions.  We got out our egg-dyeing kit (a gift from home), persuaded them to boil and decorate eggs with us, and then to hide them.  The dyeing was okay, but the hiding?  Why on earth would we want to hide perfectly good food?  This led to us trying to explain the Easter bunny and more, which was an utter failure.  Keep in mind, none of us had good French.

"So, there's this rabbit, the Easter Bunny."

"And he delivers Easter baskets, which are mostly full of candy and chocolate--"

"Why would a rabbit do such a thing?"

"Um, I'm not sure of the exact reason, really..."

"Is it a Godly rabbit?"

"I don't think so, no."

"So this is pagan, then?"  (Not that most people cared, they have their own pagan traditions)

"Well, kind of.  Our kids like it."

"Ah.  What else does this rabbit do?"

"Not much.  He delivers the baskets...and chicks are involved somehow..."

"Wait, do they come out of the colored eggs we hide?"


"Resurrected like Jesus Christ?  Are there chicks in these eggs?"

"God, I hope not. know what, just ignore the chicks.  Focus on the bunny."

"The rabbit that gives children chocolate..."

"That's the one."

"You Americans are so strange."

Yeah, the Tooth Fairy concept didn't go over so well either.  At least we tried, although none of the dyed eggs ever got hidden.  They just got eaten.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Snow Day

Ha!  Colorado for the random weather WIN!!!

Two days ago we had record high temperatures, in the 80s.  Today I woke up to an inch of snow on my car and chilly temperatures.  All of our blossoming trees are coated with a layer of white, which is actually kind of beautiful as long as it doesn't freeze for long.  If we don't get more snow, or at least some rain, conditions here will be very dangerous come summer.


Between this and the Lower North Fork fire (which is finally contained), I think what we need next is a tornado to round out the apolcalyptic conditions.  Not that we envy you right now, Dallas.  I personally would settle for a rain of frogs.

Stay safe, people.

*Photo taken from CBS weathercam

Monday, April 2, 2012

Changing Worlds cover and blurb


It's so pretty, isn't it?  The Storm Moon Press cover artist is Nathie, and I think she did a lovely job.  The book's description is included below.

In this sequel to Cari Z's Opening Worlds, former starship captain Jason Kim travels to Perelan, the homeworld of his lover, Ferran, to start a life together. The ruling council of the Perels have allowed this unconventional union to continue in the hopes of strengthening relations between themselves and the humans. And while Ferran's family welcome Jason with open arms, not all of the other major families are as pleased. The arrival of an outsider to their insular, subterranean world challenges the traditions of centuries.

Tensions soar as old rivalries are rekindled in the wake of Jason and Ferran's relationship. Inevitably, something snaps. Jason and Ferran soon find themselves literally fighting for their lives when xenophobic anger pushes things beyond the breaking point. Only their devotion to one another can see them through, but a ghost from Jason's past threatens even that. With Perelan on the brink of civil war, Jason and Ferran must find a way to stand together in the face of chaos and to change the world on their own terms before it tears itself apart.

Sound like something you want to read?  If you enjoyed Opening Worlds I think you'll be really happy with the novel.  If you like queer science fiction, I also think you'll enjoy.  It's due to be released May 17th, both as a paperback and an ebook.

Storm Moon Press as a publishing house has been amazing to work with.  They put out very quality work and care enough about having a good relationship with me to be very supportive and helpful in my writing endeavors.  I recommend looking through their library if you're searching for good GLBT and alternative lifestyle fiction.  Their works get plenty of reviews, so you can read up on almost everything there and decide if it's right for you.  Here's the website:

Am I pimping them?  You bet your ass I'm pimping them!  Because I love them:)