Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Evils of Reality, a guest post by Lynn Townsend

About a year ago, when I was writing down the outline for Blues, I showed it to Elizabeth L. Brooks, who is not only my primary editor here at Torquere Press, but she's been my best friend for more than half my life, she's often my beta reader, my wailing wall, and my all around work-spouse / best girl.

She read through the outline--and while I could not see her, since we were actually talking through Facebook chat, I could clearly visualize her looking up at me over a stack of papers with that fond exasperation in her eyes--and said, "you are going to get so much hate mail, you know that, right?"

I chuckled, agreed, and moved on.

To date, I've gotten the most hate mail for my short story, W.O.L. which came out a few years back in the He Loves Me for my Brainsss anthology. [Buy Links Kindle| Amazon Paperback | Smashwords | All Romance | Torquere| Barnes and Nobles ] If you haven't read it--and I recommend you do, not specifically for my story, but because V.L. Locey's Two Guys series starts there and it's a wonderful series that I love to pieces--than you should know, I meet the technical requirements for a Happily Ever After... but it's like horseshoes and hand grenades. Close counts, but it's messy.

As a note, I don't mind hate mail on the same vein as what I got for W.O.L., it was mail from readers who were truly upset; I'd made them care about characters and then sort of... let reality get in the way. And I love it. (I've also gotten hate mail for being interested in a female Thor; that was... less fun.)

While my beta readers--and let me give a cry out to my wonderful beta readers, Nickie and Kristin, for all their input and hard work--were looking over the rough draft, both of them wrote me some snarky emails. "I can't BELIEVE you did that! What is wrong with you!?" and "Worst. Decision. Ever. I can't decide if I want to hug Vin or slap him!"

People, real people, make bad decisions. They deal with consequences that are completely unlike what they thought would happen. They discover more about themselves from the mistakes they make than they ever do from the accolades they achieve.

One of the reasons I wanted to work in the New Adult genre is that college always seemed like one of the best / worst dichotomy times of my own life. And nowhere, before I got there, did anyone prepare me for it. I still have read very few books that cover those times in your life when you have the most freedom and the least amount of sense, the most potential and the least amount of self-control. College was a time, for me, and for many people, of discovering who we are through trials of fire the kinds of which leave huge scars on the skin of the people we become. And some of the biggest mistakes, the stupidest decisions, the dumbest moves... make for the best stories, later.

In my own college career, I got married and divorced. I learned a thousand different ways to not have a relationship. I made some epic mistakes, spent a lot of time thinking I had ruined my life, and then discovered that things mattered less once I was out of school than I could have possibly imagined at the time.

Beau and Vin may have gotten their happy for now in the end of Roll, but life just keeps on going, you know?

At the end of Roll, Vin's got news about his missing father, Beau's still disowned by his parents. Life doesn't end at the close of the semester. Blues opens up at the beginning of the new semester, for Beau's sophomore year and Vin's senior. In addition to all the problems they had before, Beau and Vin are in for a rough ride...

Keeping in mind that my favorite movie is Empire Strikes Back, which ends in a completely depressing manner--the Empire is winning, Han Solo is frozen in carbonite, Luke's lost his hand and been betrayed by his mentor--and that Blues is the middle book of the series. And the name, Blues, is not accidental. [Classic, book three, has already been accepted by Torquere Press and will be released September 2, 2015]

Please keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times and stay belted in until the ride comes to a complete stop. You are now boarding the Rainbow Connection roller-coaster.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Release Author Extra- Blues by Lynn Townsend


Excerpt for Classic, Chapter One

 

"I don't see why ya gotta call them," Lisa said. She tugged on her hair, dyed a cheap drug-store brand black. She wasn't quite goth, no matter how rebellious Lisa had been as a child, and later in her teen-years, because in backwater Tennessee, there were limits to how far off the deep end a person could go before the neighbors, family, church, and school would get involved. No one, Beau thought, no one wanted the school principal up in their business, no matter how much they wanted to be a unique and special snowflake. He sighed. His baby niece wasn't a baby anymore, but it hurt to look at just how young she was. Sixteen, already a mother, and a runaway.

 

"Believe you me," Beau said, "I don't want to. But you're a minor, Lisa. And I ain't got custody over you. So someone needs to know where you are and that you ain't hurt."

 

Vin glanced up from his sketchbook. "Also, I'm not especially keen on the idea of being arrested for kidnapping, contributing to the delinquency, and depriving lawful custody."

 

"What?" Lisa snuggled her son closer, using the baby as a shield between her and Vin.

 

"Also, I think it would be better if you went back to school," Beau said. "And I cain't register you for around here without parental permission and a change of status."

 

"Uncle Beau," Lisa said, "I had a baby, I ain't goin' back into high school." 

 

Beau raised an eyebrow. "And what did you plan to do for the rest of your life without even a high school diploma? Lisa, honey, I want to help you. But in order to do that, I have to do it proper."

 

"It's called being a responsible adult," Vin said. "And it blows rancid goats."

 

Lisa choked off a laugh. She put Zach into his playpen; her need for a shield was trumped by the fact that the year and a half old child was squirmy. And heavy. Zach picked up one of his stuffed animals and proceeded to chew on its ear.

 

"Not helping, Vin," Beau said.

 

Vin chewed on the end of his Sharpie. "Was I supposed to be? I don't remember reading that in our contract."

 

"That's because we don't got a contract," Beau snapped, "a problem that I intend to remedy with all possible speed."

 

Vin rolled his eyes. "You love me, admit it."

 

Beau swallowed around an uncomfortable tightness in his throat. He did, God only knew he did, for as much as it cost him, as much as he'd sacrificed, it still didn't equal the debt on his side of the equation. "I do," he said, ignoring his cousin's squeal of delighted glee. "But this ain't about us."

 

"Uncle Beau," Lisa said, laying a hesitant hand on his arm, "I cain't go home. I just cain't. I'm sorry to cause you such trouble, and I don't want you to be in trouble, but I don't see how tellin' everybody where I am is gonna do anything but make shit worse."

 

"Lisa, honey," Beau said. He drew the girl into a hug, smelling the cheap strawberry shampoo she used, her slender shoulders shaking under his arms - she was really upset. "What happened? If I'm gonna go to the mat for you, baby girl, I need to know what I'm fighting for. What did your grampa kick you out for?"

 

Beau's father, Lisa's grandfather, had been her guardian for the last year, since her parents had thrown Lisa out for getting pregnant in the first place. A hard man, with stern morals, Gerald Watkins wasn't the easiest man in the world to love. He was hard, and he wasn't fair. Beau had managed to conceal his own faults from his father long enough to get into college before the shit hit the fan, but he couldn't imagine how bad Lisa had been treated. Unmarried and pregnant at fourteen, she was a zealot's favored whipping boy.

 

She sighed. "Jimmy came of age."

 

"What? Your boyfriend."

 

"Ex-boyfriend. He turned eighteen." Lisa pushed Beau away and flumped with great emotion into one of the recliners. The chair squeaked a protest and rocked back. "His momma never did like me. When I got pregnant, she wouldn't sign th' paper that let Jimmy get married younger. Not that I could, not even if my parents signed it, until I turned sixteen."

 

"But you are sixteen now."

 

"Yeah. An' Jimmy come 'round to Grampa's an' he asked me to marry him."

 

"And you said no." Beau sighed. No wonder his father had pitched yet another one of his "you are dead to me" fits. Not marrying a boy after he'd gotten a girl pregnant was tantamount to declaring that she was determined to live in sin. Like Beau, who'd been disowned by his father for his sexual orientation. At the rate Gerald was going, he wasn't going to have any younger relatives left.

 

Lisa probed the inside of her cheek with her tongue. "A course I said no, Uncle Beau. T'weren't right two years ago an' ain't right now. Ain't like he wouldn't - Jimmy ain't stupid."

 

Beau sat down heavily. "Jimmy's not the father, is he?" He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to force a headache away by sheer will.

 

"I never said he was," Lisa said. She looked down at the tips of her over-sized boots. "I tried to tell Momma that, Uncle Beau, I swear I did. She didn' want to hear it, said I's just making trouble for everyone an' to shut my mouth up." She scratched at her arms, her fingernails tearing red lines into her pale skin, dragged over lines and lines of scars. Beau knew she'd been cutting, she'd been in therapy for it when she was eleven or twelve, and maybe she'd given it up, and maybe she hadn't. He understood that, wanting the physical pain to hide all the stuff underneath the flesh, all the baggage and emotions and puss and bad stuff that lingered just under your skin. His stomach turned and clenched.

 

"Who is the father, honey?" He didn't want to hear the answer to that question, really didn't. There was no way that this was going to be a good thing, no matter who it was, there were a limited number of reasons that Beau's half-sister Emmaline, would reject what her daughter had to say.

 

"He's Scooter's son," Lisa said, not looking up. Tears rolled off her chin and into her lap.

 

Beau went cold. "Scooter Davis?"

 

She nodded.

 

"Jesus fuck." Beau dropped his head into his hands. "Oh, my God."

 

"Does this mean something to you?" Vin asked. "Because he's not ringing any bells for me."

 

"Michael Davis owns Bellhammer Trucking and Shipping, where Lisa's father works as a driver. Scooter is his son. He's like forty years old."

 

"Forty-three. And Daddy's best friend," Lisa added, sniffling.

 

"Shit."

 

New Releases & Pre-Orders available!

This week, we have selected titles by Mav Anthony & Lynn Townsend on sale for 20% off. Check 'em out: Specials : Torquere Press, LLC, LGBT Romance at its finest! http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=specials

You can also use coupon code "winter2015" on Torquere or Prizm to get an additional 15% off the entire cart through 1/31/15!!



Blues
by Lynn Townsend
167 pages / 46400 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-867-7
$5.49

Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=4347

Blurb:

Rising sophomore Beau Watkins gave up everything to be with his boyfriend, Vin. Beau is disowned by his father, tormented by his brother, is rapidly running out of money, and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. On top of that, his boyfriend seems to see Beau as little more than a live-in maid. Troubled by word of his missing father and fighting nightmares of his own, Vin Reyes turns to alcohol to drown his pain. What's worse, a handsome transfer student is a little too interested in Beau. Vin throws away everything that's made him happy with both hands, terrified of his own feelings of inadequacy.

When Vin and Beau's happily-ever-after turns into a train wreck of drinking problems, resentment, insecurity, jealousy, and violence, they both try to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives. Their mutual friends, Hector and Ann-Marie, try to help the two young men as best they can, but neither want to listen. Beau accepts a morally questionable job offer to pad his finances and Vin starts a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior that sends him right for rock bottom. Can Vin and Beau win through doubt and guilt, jealousy and recklessness, to find their place in the world?



Sugar Rush
by Dani Myrick
54 pages / 15700 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-863-9
$2.99

Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=4348

Blurb:

Jamie “Redhood” Lassiter leads a quiet life working for Granny’s Goodtime Goodies in Grimmtown. However, after some illegal tinkering with Granny’s recipes, he runs into trouble with a local gang, the Wolves. Their leader, Ren, demands Jamie’s altered recipes and isn’t above kidnapping Jamie into a virtual world to get what he wants. His only hope of rescue lies with Ferro, a member of the cyber-hacker gang, the Hunters.

When the true value of Jamie's altered recipe is revealed, Jamie will have to choose between friendship and his own sense of justice. And that choice will alters not only his own future, but that of the entire world.



Fantasy Collection
by Mav Anthony
49 pages / 14300 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-871-4
$2.99

Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=96&products_id=4349

Blurb:

Submission and kink are explored in these four fantasy tales featuring two couples.

In Willing Fire and Gilded Cage, Simeon gives into his Lord Mikjial’s desires – and his own – falling in love as he serves his master.

While in Floating and Soaring, Aaron learns all sorts of wicked things as he bows to Aime’s desires.

All stories originally published as individual stories.

Available for Pre-Order NOW-Releasing Next Week:

To view all of our current pre-orders: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=200



Ghost's Dilemma
by Morwen Navarre

"Moon shine on me, Ghost. When you look at me like this, how can I even think of anything but making love to you?"

Ghost is content to spend all his free time in bed with Gerry. But scandal and hate surrounding

Ghost's appointment as the first male witch and a deadly epidemic force Ghost to make choices that might cost him Gerry's love.

Spurred on by a message from his mentor, Ghost embarks alone on a journey through mystical underground tunnels and lost civilizations to the frozen lands of his origin, seeking a way to neutralize the threat back home. While he struggles to find a balance between his duties as a witch and his calling as a seer, all Ghost really wants is to return to the haven he has found in Gerry's arms.

Available Pre-Order: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=200&products_id=4351



Beginning to Believe
by Sean Michael

Tyler’s a fun-loving, surfing mechanic who loves his life and lives every day to the fullest. When he meets potential client Kit, he’s immediately attracted and ready to get to know the man better.

Kit’s a music producer who used to do the singing himself. He was quite the star, actually, until an accident in his tour bus took whipped out nearly his entire band. Kit didn’t come out it unscathed, though. Along with emotional scars, he lost both legs and hasn’t sung a note since.

Tyler’s more concerned with how Kit makes him feel than whether or not the man has artificial limbs, and he pursues Kit eagerly. Can Tyler help Kit to believe in love again?

Originally published in the Bus Stories anthology.

Available Pre-Order: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=200&products_id=4352



Letters from Cupid
by Ari McKay

Breaking up with his boyfriend has left English Professor Derek Chandler feeling lonely and down. He begins to think that he just doesn't have the passion to sustain a long-term relationship -- at least until a letter from a mysterious "Cupid" tells him not to lose hope. Intrigued, Derek replies to his anonymous admirer, and they begin a correspondence where Derek discovers he isn't the only one with doubts about his desirability.

Dr. Macon Pinney has admired his colleague from afar for quite a while, but he only intended his initial note to Derek to offer encouragement. Macon doesn't believe that outgoing, sociable Derek could ever be interested in the type of quiet, withdrawn man he knows himself to be. And yet when Derek writes back, admitting his worries about never finding a true partner, Macon can't help but reply, sharing his own feelings from the safety of anonymity.

But will Macon find the courage to step out of the shadows and admit to Derek his identity, or will both men spend the most romantic day of the year alone?

Available Pre-Order: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=200&products_id=4353

Monday, January 26, 2015

BDSMonday - (Kinky) New Year's Resolutions


It's BDSMonday!

Seeing as this is the last Monday of the first month of 2015, I thought it might be fun to see if you have any kinky plans for the coming year--a new area of BDSM you'd like to explore, a fantasy you'd like to bring up with your partner, books you'd like to read, scenes you'd like to write?

For myself, I'd like to play more in 2015. I don't really have anything specific in mind--I've (mostly) figured out what I like, and I want more of it! But I wouldn't say no to finding new activities to try, either.

Coming This Week

Coming This Week & Available for Pre-Order NOW:

Blues
by Lynn Townsend
Rising sophomore Beau Watkins gave up everything to be with his boyfriend, Vin. Beau is disowned by his father, tormented by his brother, is rapidly running out of money, and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. On top of that, his boyfriend seems to see Beau as little more than a live-in maid. Troubled by word of his missing father and fighting nightmares of his own, Vin Reyes turns to alcohol to drown his pain. What's worse, a handsome transfer student is a little too interested in Beau. Vin throws away everything that's made him happy with both hands, terrified of his own feelings of inadequacy.
When Vin and Beau's happily-ever-after turns into a train wreck of drinking problems, resentment, insecurity, jealousy, and violence, they both try to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives. Their mutual friends, Hector and Ann-Marie, try to help the two young men as best they can, but neither want to listen. Beau accepts a morally questionable job offer to pad his finances and Vin starts a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior that sends him right for rock bottom. Can Vin and Beau win through doubt and guilt, jealousy and recklessness, to find their place in the world?
Fantasy Collection
by Mav Anthony
Submission and kink are explored in these four fantasy tales featuring two couples.
In Willing Fire and Gilded Cage, Simeon gives into his Lord Mikjial’s desires – and his own – falling in love as he serves his master.
While in Floating and Soaring, Aaron learns all sorts of wicked things as he bows to Aime’s desires.
All stories originally published as individual stories.
Sugar Rush
by Dani Myrick
Jamie “Redhood” Lassiter leads a quiet life working for Granny’s Goodtime Goodies in Grimmtown. However, after some illegal tinkering with Granny’s recipes, he runs into trouble with a local gang, the Wolves. Their leader, Ren, demands Jamie’s altered recipes and isn’t above kidnapping Jamie into a virtual world to get what he wants. His only hope of rescue lies with Ferro, a member of the cyber-hacker gang, the Hunters.
When the true value of Jamie's altered recipe is revealed, Jamie will have to choose between friendship and his own sense of justice. And that choice will alters not only his own future, but that of the entire world.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Beauty Nearby


January’s nearly over, and it’s been a good month. I’ve been riding the high of something I did New Year’s Day. I went hiking, with my folks and one of my sons. This isn’t unusual, but though I nurture my inner outdoors-person as best I can, I generally only get out for a real hike every couple of months.

Off we went to the North Quabbin Woods not too far from home, where my folks had discovered a Federated Women’s Club State Park that abuts the Quabbin Reservoir. The day was cold but sunny and the hike was short (perhaps 3 miles in one direction) though a bit more vertical than my shamefully indoorsy butt preferred. We hadn’t had much snow so far this season, so the ground was dry and not very icy. About two-thirds of the way up, I began catching glimpses of the Reservoir to the west and experienced something like that feeling of being a kid on the way to the beach. You smell it first, and then you get that first thrilling glimpse of dappled ocean. Do you know what I mean?

I was doing the New-Year thing of reflecting on a pretty good year and planning for a fabulous new one. Actually, that kind of reflection is something that comes pretty naturally on a long walk, isn’t it? Just as I was thinking with some regret on a 2014 that had far less creativity and play in it than I would have liked and pondering how 2015 could be a year for art and light and play, I reached the end of the trail.

I was greeted with a panoramic view of the Reservoir. I even took a picture (see above)! Even before I took the time to look beyond my first impression, the experience – stepping out of the woods and into that view – felt like a consecration. I stood, envying a pair of hikers who had thought to pack a Thermos of something steamy, made the kinds of noises you make over view like that. My son went off down a side trail to see if it went anywhere (he’s 17 and confident on trails), leaving me to bask in that 10,000-year-old feeling the view gave me. Imagining the earliest migrants canoeing those waters, hunting the hills, was easy. And it was a lie.

I haven’t lived near the Quabbin for long, but neither has the Reservoir. It was created from the Swift River Valley in the 1930s to serve the needs of burgeoning Eastern Massachusetts cities and industries. There are four towns at the bottom the Quabbin, flooded to make way for urbanization and industrialization – and, a few weeks ago, a kind of epiphany for me.

What I romanticized as some pristine, even primordial, landscape was in fact less than a decade older than my mom (not that she’s old, mind). It wasn’t what it appeared. It hid stories of struggle and loss, of transmutation. But it was beautiful. Maybe it was that sense of transmutation, of emptying in order to fill, that brought me to my knees. It was a wabi-sabi moment, the first I’ve experienced strongly since learning the term in my coursework for a recent grant project. Noticing the ephemeral nature of something beautiful, the sweet, sharp sadness of that, strikes me as a marvelous way to honor something that can only be what it is fleetingly, before it becomes something else. The sense of great age the Quabbin reservoir gave me, and the piercing realization of all of the ambiguities under the surface, well, that seemed like as good a place as any – literally and figuratively – to start a new year.

Happy-Sad New Year, everyone!