Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Soothsayer Ch. 3, Pt. 2

Notes: Here we go marching on, finally getting a little of the main plot going! I know this one will leave some of your frustrated, but I swear it's getting better. We're closer and closer to our primary conflict every day, and I'm having a huge amount of fun with this. One of the great things about urban fantasy as a genre is the freedom it encourages when thinking about mythology and magic, and I've got some fun ahead. Thanks, Iceland!

Also included this time around: a custom sketch of Marisol, courtesy of the phenomenal Nico Baum, whose art you can find here on Tumblr: http://n4ut.tumblr.com/. Thank you! So, who should I commission next, guys? Phin? Roger? Maybe the mysterious he? Leave a comment and let me know!

Title: Soothsayer, Chapter 3, Part Two.


“Only after disaster can we be resurrected.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Dreams were always a problem for me, but dreaming of him was the worst. I’d made a lot of bad decisions in my life, poor choices that couldn’t just be explained away with youth and stupidity, but the things I did with him were far and away the most shameful moments of my life. I could try and excuse it by saying that I was a captive, trying to escape before the Viking patriarch of that twisted little family lost patience and did away with me. I could say that my mother had failed me by not letting me know about the danger I was about to get into before I was tumbling into it, head over heels. I could say that he should have been the one to bear the shame, since he was technically free while I was the one imprisoned, but all of that would be lies, awful, facetious. The truth is…the truth is, I saw an opportunity in Sören’s eyes, and I took it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Various Cool Things!

Well, damn.

So, last year Caitlin Ricci and I wrote Camellia, a contemporary BDSM novella with Japanese tea ceremonies and spankings. It did...okay, but didn't make a big splash and I was ready to fire off a quick sequel and move on to other things when, just recently, I learned that it earned an Honorable Mention in this year's Rainbow Awards. That doesn't make it a winner, exactly, but it does mean that whoever read it (two different people, I think, since we got two comments) liked it well enough to score it at least 36/40 on the judging scale, and left some lovely observations on it for us:

"Camellia is a beautiful, delicate story that unfolds with the same languid, graceful pacing of a Japanese tea ceremony...and like the ancient art of the ceremony, will engage every one of your senses by the time it concludes. The memory will linger as well, with surprising, subtle strength. And lest you think this story is a snoozefest, I’d best mention the sex was hot enough to leave me wishing for a fan. No fooling."

"I normally do not read lesbian novels or BDSM.  The genres are not my usual preference. However, after reading this book (first in a series), I was genuinely pleased with the dynamic, tight writing style, the beautiful explaination and demonstration of the BDSM lifestyle, and the introduction into the beauty of tea service.  Lucy & Danny are two characters I am willing to visit again & delve deeper into their story."

So wow. Apparently, those who went after this one have really liked it. I'm humbled and pleased, this is my first lesbian story in years, as well as one of my first forays into BDSM, and it seems to resonate. That's awesome, and I'm very happy about it. It's also been nominated for a Golden Crown Literary Society Award, which are awards given solely to lesbian fiction, so...gosh. Guys. Who knew? If you want to give it a try, you can find it on Amazon here: Camellia.

The other cool thing: another co-authored story now has a cover, and it's beautiful. I've got to hand it to LT3 Press, they listen to you when you describe what you want out of a cover and do their best to give it to you. Caitlin and I have a story coming out in an upcoming collection called Hunting A Lady, and here's it's pretty cover:

Oooh, shiny!

Yeah, believe it or not, I do have some new releases coming out in the near future. This story and my Riptide short will be released in the new year, and an M/M science fiction story of mine called Evergreen (which naturally is about the colonization of Mars) will be out in LT3's Missed Connections anthology in November. I've got the serial story, obviously, and several other novels picking at my brain, and a list of calls for submission that I'm set to wrangle. Basically, I'm getting my groove back. I lost it for a while in the crazy rapids of my life, but things are calming down a little bit and so am I.

Friday, September 26, 2014

For The Love Of...Rant Ahead!

Life reels and twists and goes through its crazy turns, and ours has been doing that lately. Like, holy shit, what is this? Readers beware, the following is nothing but a real life rant which has nothing to do with my stories, feel free to skip it, I'm really not that interesting. :)

My man has been a house husband for the past month while waiting for a new contract to come through--we've been living off our savings and my salary (hahahahaha, mostly our savings). He did all the cooking and cleaning and was generally lovely, but he also got stir crazy and his shop started to slowly take over the living room, so when the contract finally turned up we were both happy. Then things at work went hectic: he got a potential new job offer for a real federal position and we weren't sure if he'd be able to sign his brand-new, amazing contract. Cue sleepless night! Then it all worked out, thanks to the fact that the place he works doesn't require him to sign anything because the word "contract" is apparently actually non-binding in their particular circumstances, for both sides.Which means they could screw him over, but they also can't keep him on the hook for the work if he gets a better job offer.

So, mostly yay but also lots of temporary angst. Also, I just did the first round of copy edits on my short story for Riptide and realized I have so, SO much work to still do with myself and my writing. I tend to think I write pretty clean and both my editors agreed, but I didn't go more than 2 paragraphs with this one without a multitude of things to change/improve. It's good for me, but goddamn. I need to be better. I'm trying.

I'm going to go pick up my bridesmaid's dress tomorrow. It's for my sister's wedding, so I will wear this grey (they call it "mercury," I call it "grey"), strapless, frou-frou, frothy dress for her. I literally can't remember the last time I wore a dress, but here I go. I will also fly myself to Chicago to throw her a bachelorette party (with the help of her future sister-in-law who is amazing, I'm such shit at planning parties), I will live in the same house as my parents and brother and sister-in-law and their baby for weeks to accommodate her, and once she's married I am NEVER doing this crap again. Seriously, oh my god, why does this have to be so complicated? Why are there so many traditions to be upheld? I've never been more grateful for my tiny wedding in all my life. My mother actually bought my sister a sixpence, her "something old" for the wedding. Know what my mom bought me for my wedding? Booze for the guests, and flowers for the tables, and that was it. And it was plenty.

I also just had my year-end review at work, which went well as always but has left me so burned out, so...sorry for this rant! I just had to get it all out and I thought a few people might be interested in what I'm up to right now. Happy weekend, guys, go relax and be happy. Have a drink for me, get a massage, go for a hike, be wonderful. I love you. I've had a glass or two of wine. I still love you, but take me with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Soothsayer Ch. 3, Pt. 1

Notes: Onward! And I also get to share the artwork with you, yay! I love this picture of Cillian, done by the exceptional Felixandria/Alex: find her work here: http://felixandria.tumblr.com/  It's obviously Cillian on a better day than the one he just had, but I love the sense of movement she imbued him with.  Next time around I should have another picture done by a different artist. I'm working my way through the cast :)

Title: Soothsayer, Chapter 3, Part 1


“No friendship is an accident.” – O. Henry, Heart of the West

It wasn’t the impact of the bullet that knocked me over; it was me trying to move too quickly on the slippery, glass-covered mess of a floor. My shoes were pretty things, but the tread had worn away long ago. The bullet hit my arm, I jerked and slid and wound up flat on my ass, and after that, well…things got a little hazy for a bit.

I’d never been shot before. Beaten until I was nothing but red blood over purple bruises, burned more than once with the business end of a cigarette, slashed with everything from chicken wire to Bowie knives, I was well acquainted with the sight of my own blood. But being shot was novel, and I stared in surprise at the perfectly round hole in my shirt, just above and outside of my elbow, as it slowly changed from white to red. Gravity pulled the blood down, staining my sleeve in pretty patterns like some perverse Rorschach card, and I just stared and ignored the sudden furor around me, people yelling and Phin bellowing like a bull, and I didn’t feel anything at all until long fingers turned my head and Roger’s blurry face swam into focus.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Movie Review: The Drop, + something fun

Hi there!

So, I think there's something wrong with my fun processor. I got home last night, and there was my man all bouncy and happy to see me, and he said, "Hey, I want to take you to get a massage, then dinner, and we can see a movie!" And my first impulse was to say, "Nooo, I want to stay home and have a bath and read." What kind of person does that?

Oh wait, the kind who was working all day while her husband went stir-crazy on his own. Right! Never mind, I know how to have fun, I just like to plan it around being tuckered out. Anyway, we did go out, everything was nice and then we saw The Drop, a crime movie with Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomie Rapace.

This movie is a lovely demonstration of subtle foreshadowing. It comes out not so much in the script, which dragged in places and threw in some plot devices that just seemed excessive (I mean, I get the umbrella thing, but...really? Kind of clumsy.) but in the excellent acting. Tom Hardy is a really excellent actor--I've seen him in Inception, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and now The Drop, so I don't have the most comprehensive view of his work, but he's been my favorite thing about all of those. He gives you just enough hints about the depths that at first don't really seem to be there that you're transfixed, waiting for confirmation of what you think he's capable of. When the movie's violence comes, which isn't frequently, it's very effective, and the setting is realistic and well-explained. Plus there's a cute dog, so...win!

And the fun thing--I commissioned some original artwork for Soothsayer a few months ago, and I got it yesterday! It's a picture of Cillian, and it's amazing. I'll show you guys on Tuesday, I just wanted to share the happy:)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Soothsayer Ch. 2, Pt. 2

Notes: So, this went in a completely unexpected direction and was getting veeery long. I had to cut it at a cliffhanger moment, but the day isn't over and I swear, explanations are coming! Also, no one is dead! Just, gosh, I got surprised, okay? Very surprised, and I had to run with it. Also, none of the pics are mine, I just felt they fit. The extra two are guys who show up in this part and may feature later on, I'm not entirely sure yet. Anyway, enjoy!

Title: Soothsayer, Chapter Two, Part Two



“It's hard to walk away from a winning streak, even harder to leave the table when you're on a losing one.” 

 Cara Bertoia, Cruise Quarters – A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships

Back in the sixties and seventies, Colfax Avenue was the place to go in this city if you wanted to satisfy the four biological imperatives: feeding, fighting, fucking and, if you played your cards wrong, fleeing. You could do practically all of them at once if you went to the right bars. Those days were mostly gone now, washed away in the bubbly fervor of urban renewal, but there were still a few places around where a person could get in touch with their primitive side. I was jazzed with adrenaline, antsy and keyed up, and the only way I was going to work those bugs out of my system was with some serious exertion.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vignette: The Academy: Artificial Space

Notes: The promised vignette, and oh my god, these boys are so slow...and so dangerous, Ten, seriously! I thought this up and then I couldn't not do it, but very soon--very, very soon, probably the next vignette--we'll have a real physical and emotional breakthrough. Until then it's one step forward, then two steps sideways, spin around three times and try to catch your balance.

Title: Vignette: The Academy: Artificial Space


Some experiments could only be done in zero gravity.

Most of the documented effects of zero-g on biological experiments were child’s play at this point, long ago sourced and verified back when humanity had only been able to send tiny little shuttles into orbit around Old Earth. The basics, like extreme virulence in bacteria and larger, stronger protein growths in bioreactors were so well known as to be ignored for their baseness. Science had incorporated the techniques into canon, and then with the advent of artificial gravity had no need to look for ways around those effects because it just wasn’t an issue any longer.

But Ten wanted to experiment with a new type of biological thin film that might be useful as an implant for a natural, a kind of second skin that would carry a different strain of Regen—ze eyed the container from Admiral Liang yearningly, but decided not to open it yet, not before the delivery mechanism could be proven—and deliver it on a regulated basis. Of course this sort of thing had been done before, of course it had, Ten wasn’t going to reinvent the damn wheel if ze didn’t have to, but there were no stores of thin films on board the ship and it wasn’t all that difficult to grow a protein matrix, especially in zero-g, and it wasn’t like ze had much to do anyway because Grennson’s dads had invited all of them to learn some weirdo martial art and naturally, naturally everyone had jumped on that chance except for Ten, who didn’t need to occupy hir body in order to be happy in hir surroundings. All ze needed was hir lab equipment and a proper hypothesis to test out, and if Cody wanted to spent his mornings kiyaa-ing and hitting people, well, Ten would get some work done.

Ze had to do it in starts, because it wasn’t advisable to keep the gravity off in this small section of the ship all the time, especially when other people were around. Ten had broken into the guts of the room’s control panel and deactivated the alarm, then done a little tinkering and—voila! Perfect and highly specific zero-g circumstances, and no one had figured it out the past two days and there was no discernible change in the power draw, so overall ze was pretty pleased with hirself.

At least, Ten was pleased with hirself until the system ze was using to transfer the mild acid that was thinning the biofilms in their gently-spinning centrifuge suddenly failed. It was ludicrous, nothing ze could have foreseen, that the joint would come apart like that especially after ze’d used the molecular zipper to—

Oh right, Ten thought to hirself as ze watched little globs of acid spill out the joint between the pump and centrifuge. I forgot the molecular zipper. Which was a ridiculous oversight, not the sort of thing ze would generally forget but ze hadn’t had time to write down hir steps for this particular phase of the experiment and ze hadn’t been sleeping very well either, not with Cody being housed in another room for the first time in an entire year, which apparently was bothering hir more than it was him, if his excitement about going and playing with joint locks this morning was any indication.

Ten frowned and shut off the pump, and the flow of acid slowed. Fine. It was a bit of a mess but nothing ze couldn’t handle, ze just had to reattach the tube and—

A floating bubble of acid burst across the back of Ten’s hand, and the sudden pain halted hir in hir tracks, an unconscious rictus of fear twisting hir mouth. Ze stared at hir hand, and it wasn’t a splash of red that ze saw, it was bone and tendon, and hir fingers curling in on themselves, and ze heard someone screaming and another person yelling, and it was all pain pain painpainpain…


Coming out of the fog of…memory? A nightmare? Whatever it was, it was hard, but Ten managed it for Cody’s sake. “Mmm?” ze hummed, the only sound hir vocal cords would make at first. “Mm…wai…don’t, hang on, don’t come in here!” Vision filtered back in, and now hir hand was purple, and the air was filled with tiny globs of yellowish acid. The door to the hall was open, and there was Cody in an old dobak he’d borrowed from Jason, the plain black fabric so worn it was grey now. There was gravity in the hall, but none in the bedroom, and glistening dots of acid splashed to the ground as they reached the barrier. “Don’t come in here,” Ten reiterated. “If this stuff gets in your eyes it could blind you.”

“Couldn’t it blind you?” Cody demanded, his voice somewhere between angry and aghast.

Ten rolled hir eyes. “Which one of us can use Regen, again? Oh that’s right, me, I can use it, so—” Another lobe of acid hit hir exposed neck, and ze winced. “Just…just leave, I can handle this, I just have to get to the control panel.” Which was…on the other side of the room. Brilliant.

Cody grimaced, then abruptly shut the door. Ten blinked. Ze hadn’t expected it to be that easy. It was almost disappointing. Well, no it was definitely disappointing, but ze couldn’t exactly complain about Cody following hir directions for once, even if it would have been nice if he’d…

The door opened again just moments later and Cody came back in, closing the door after himself. He was wearing his full hovercycle gear, including his helmet and gloves. “That was fast,” Ten remarked. “You must have run.”

“Shut up,” Cody said tersely. He made his way over to the control panel, acid splashing fruitlessly against his protective equipment. “Just…what do I need to do here?”

Well…for the sake of covering hir tracks, it would be best to decouple the veering nodes one at a time, doubling back with a scrubber over each one so there was no trace of gravitational anomaly, but that would take more talking than Ten was feeling up to right now. Ze’d have to take hir chances with Jason Kim. “See the thingy stuck to the big blinking cable? Unhook it.” Cody did so, and a second later everything that had been floating, which was only what Ten had intended to be able to float with the exception of the acid, crashed to the ground. The centrifuge was fortunately tethered to the ceiling, so the biofilms didn’t spill everywhere, but there was more than enough mess thanks to the leaky joint.

Cody took his helmet off and came over to the bed, where Ten was still bouncing a bit from the firmness of hir fall. “Are you okay?” he demanded, eyes wide and hands reaching. He didn’t touch though, which was thoughtful since his gloves were smeared with acid and Ten didn’t need any more of that on hir body, thanks so much.

“I’m…yes, of course, why wouldn’t I be okay?” Ten asked, but ze knew hir rebuke wasn’t up to snuff when Cody kept hovering. “I just need to get cleaned up. A shower will take care of the acid, it’s not that strong, and then I’ll get back out here and handle the rest of the bedroom.”

“I’ll take care of that,” Cody said. “You go bathe.”

“Be careful,” Ten warned him, “the pH isn’t that extreme but it will still give you trouble if you—”

“Go get in the damn shower, Ten!”

“Fine,” Ten huffed, getting off the bed and cradling hir hand close to hir chest with as much dignity as ze could muster, which wasn’t as much as ze would have liked. Stupid hand, stupid…head, stupid acid and stupid, stupid mistakes, it was the sort of thing Ten hadn’t had to deal with for years, ze was hardly…it was really…

“Ten.” Cody stepped close and urged Ten toward the tiny bathroom. “Go on. It’s okay, I’ll be right here if you need me.”

 I don’t need you, Ten wanted to say, but the lie—the blatant, blatant lie—stuck in hir throat and ze ended up not saying anything, just getting into the shower. Ze stripped down and left hir clothes on the floor as ze scrubbed hir skin, the soap automatically correcting hir skin's acidity. The burning went away almost instantly and the worst spot, on the back of hir hand, was really the only one that needed attention once ze was rinsed off. Regardless, Ten stayed in the shower longer than ze strictly needed to, trying to follow the vision that had struck hir so vividly earlier.

Ten didn’t remember much about hir parents: they were scientists, they were explorers, and they had left hir behind without a word when they left Solaydor. Ten stared at hir hands for a long time, trying to get the crispness of that vision back, the way hir hands had curled into unwilling fists, the heat and change in color—mottled white and red, so strange, and the way the flesh had just melted away on top, leaving such a grisly view behind. Screaming…high pitched but not hir own, a woman’s…and the yelling…maybe it had been hir parents? Some kind of accident, some way Ten had been injured?

Or maybe it wasn’t a memory at all, just another twist of Ten’s admittedly twisty brain.

“Ten?” The bathroom door opened and Cody stepped inside. He was in casual clothes now, and his arms were bare. “I cleaned your room up, I’m pretty sure I got all of the acid. There wasn’t actually that much, and the walls will actually tell you where something corrosive is going on, so…yeah. Um, are you clean yet? Do you need the medbay?”

“You need to sleep with me,” Ten blurted, then soldiered on once ze realized it would do hir no good to waste time being mortified. “I don’t mean we need to have sex, except we really, really do and I’m going to combust if we don’t actually do that soon,” damn Grennson and his over-watchful parents anyway, “ but I need you to sleep in the same room with me. I can’t concentrate the way I should without you, and honestly what happened out there was almost as much your responsibility as it was mine, because how am I supposed to remember the little things when I’m so tired I can barely see, and I know I’d sleep a lot better if I could have you…here. With me.” Ze waited silently, shifting from foot to foot on the wet floor of the shower and wanting to let hir eyes wander, but not quite able to look away from Cody’s stupid brown eyes and his crazy yellow curls and the way a small, slow smile spread across his face.

“You could just have said that you missed me,” Cody said, his smile becoming a grin. “You didn’t have to make your room into a death trap to get the point across.”

“It was hardly a death trap, I would have taken care of everything in good time, I was just…I just…you know what, nevermind, stay in your own room, it’s not like I need you to function, I can handle things just fine—”

“I get nightmares without you,” Cody said quietly. “Mostly about the bike blowing up, but some of them are of Pam, only instead of choking me to death she’s choking you. Sometimes Grennson.”

“Oh.” Well, that wasn’t exactly good, but there was something darkly gratifying about being a balm against a person’s demons. “So, it’s…mutual?”

“It’s always been mutual.” They stared at each other for a moment before Cody said, “I can leave most of my stuff in the other room, but I’ll move some clothes into your storage, if you’ve left any space at all.”

“Far right corner, there’s at least five inches of free shelf,” Ten said automatically. These rooms were even smaller than the one they'd shared at the Academy, but Ten wasn't going to let that stop hir now. Space was an artificial construct of quantum physics anyway. “I was going to use it for my mini-titration kit, but I guess that can wait to be unpacked until we get to Perelan.”

“How generous,” Cody said dryly, but he was still smiling when he left, and once Ten got out of the shower and started to towel off, ze was a little surprised to see a matching smile still visible on hir own face. Huh. Ridiculous, but hard to keep from happening when ze didn’t even realize it was happening.

“Ten.” The room’s comm suddenly spoke with Jason’s voice. “When you’re done in the shower, meet me in the bridge so we can talk about ship safety protocols while flying through space.”

Ten rolled hir eyes. “Well, shit.”

“My thoughts exactly, Ten. Get out here.”

“I’m coming!” And ze was…once ze made sure Cody found those five inches. Ze wanted him to feel welcome, after all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

RMFW and an upcoming Academy vignette

Hi guys!

Soooo...a few things to discuss. One, I went to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's conference over the weekend, which was pretty awesome. I did a round table critique of the first ten pages of my epic fantasy, which was brutally helpful, helmed by J. Ellen Smith who runs the publishing house Champagne Books. Well, at least she asked to see it once I've made changes. Positive sign!

I met some amazing authors, sat in for classes taught by Carol Berg (who writes her own incredible epic fantasy, look her up if you're at all interested, she's fantastic) and Susan Spann (ninja mysteries set in the 16th century, cool as hell) among others. I also got together with some other members of the Out In Colorado writing group who decided that, fun as these classes are, it would be nice to have a workshop on writing queer characters for authors, because there was no talk at all of LGBTQA people/issues. A lot of the workshops were run by romance authors who by in large had very binary mindsets, ie cis males and cis females. So we've decided to put together our own class and try to get it approved for next year's conference, because this is a contemporary issue and one authors need to be informed on. So, there's that.

Soothsayer is coming along pretty well, but I got a request from one of my favorite people to write a Cody/Ten update, and I think it's about time for one of those. I'll try to get it out by tomorrow. Not sure exactly what it's going to be about, but I will come up with something! Because you guys deserve the best, right? Right.

I did a class on reaching out to new readers and social media and etc. etc. etc., and one of their recommendations was to be free to give without expectation of return. It's a very good karma kind of thing, and I'm feeling like I've got that down. :)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Soothsayer Ch. 2, Pt. 1

Notes: On to Chapter Two, where we meet someone new. Kind of. I'm building to the first big thing, guys, never fear, we'll get to the jumping off point with the next part. Until then, enjoy Cillian and his way of looking at the world, and also the included picture of him because I can't resist and wouldn't want to anyway. Not my pic, no rights, not claiming it, etc.

Title: Soothsayer, Chapter Two, Part One

“Whatever love laws have to be broken, the first few seconds suffice. After that everything is a matter of time and incident.” – Amruta Patil, Kari

The alley behind the store was just wide enough for a decent-sized truck to drive down its cracked concrete, tufted here and there with surprisingly green weeds—it had been a wet summer so far. I leaned against the brick wall, tapped a cigarette out of the pack and pulled my lighter out of my pocket. The burn of the smoke in my lungs soothed me a little, distracting my mind with nicotine and giving my hands something to do that wasn’t crawling after fistfuls of imaginary pennies. I smiled to myself and shut my eyes, tilted my head back and blew the smoke toward the sky. It could have been worse. Once I’d read a murderer who liked to decapitate his victims with a butcher knife; I hadn’t trusted myself in the kitchen for a fucking week after that, cutlery kept finding its way into my hands without me realizing it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Soothsayer Ch. 1, Pt. 2

Notes: Chapter One, Part Two! Damn, this got long, nearly 3k. But some stories just can't be rushed, and this is turning into one of them. Have a picture of Marisol in her fortune-telling getup, and fyi none of the pics except for the one with last week's story belong to me. I hope you enjoy:)

Title: Soothsayer, Chapter One, Part Two

Step into my parlor, said the spider to the fly...

“Nothing prevents us being natural so much as the desire to appear so.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

You know what they say: dress to impress. The way you look has a lot to do with how you’re going to be treated, and at this point in my life I was better than a goddamn boy scout at being prepared. For most of the people in this business, your appearance is just part of the con. You look mysterious, exotic, special and strange, and you’re going to have more credence to the average consumer than a housewife in a terrycloth robe and hair curlers. I’m not saying I believed that, I’d had my ass handed to me by more than one unassuming face, but I did believe in the efficacy of the right presentation.