Friday, November 21, 2014

New Favorite Things

Greetings friends,

I'm having an Old Dog kind of week. It's the filling-trench time of the fall semester, and I seem to have developed some kind of figurative brain fungus that's preventing me from accomplishing some basic activities of daily living (are we really supposed to wash those dishes?) while allowing an endless slog of grading (the happy professor's price of admission).

So it's with inordinate delight I report that into my Old Dog week some New Tricks have loped, unbidden but most welcome.

One is the Cirque Alphonse. The New York Times recently described this as an artisanal Quebecois circus troupe. They do things like juggle each other while also throwing axes at rough-hewn tree parts. The performers are pretty rough-hewn as well, come to that. Their show Barbu ("bearded") looks like it contains some marvelous gender and sexual edges. Have any of you all seen it? Definitely on my list of things to save up to see (when they get back from their European tour, that is).


My other favorite new thing is Richard K. Morgan. This brilliant, twisted British science fiction author has written a maybe-it's-fantasy trilogy that's about, among other things, what happens when the war is over, impossible legacies, and being fucked with by destiny. A Land Fit for Heroes has three protagonists, two of them gay. What I love (besides everything else about the books) is that the characters' sexualities are integral to character and plot in exactly the ways they are in our own lives, sort of momentous and mundane all at once. The writing is enviable in the extreme, and the humor is dark, dark, dark, arid, and made me laugh aloud. Marvelously, unexpectedly elevating books.

Finally, an old favorite: Ursula K. LeGuin is a hero of mine from (my) pre-pubescence. She recently rocked the National Book Awards ceremony with a balls-out speech in which she accepted a lifetime achievement award, slammed a certain online retailer's craven manipulation of publishers and authors, and championed the power of art and artists to resist the status quo and craft change. Happy tears.

What are your new delights and surprises?

Until next month,
Lee B. xo

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Author Extra: ZA: And the Dead Shall Rise By ID Locke

ZA: And the Dead Shall Rise
By ID Locke

 
Tracey Hedgewood has planned for years with other ZA survivalists what to do in the very unlikely instance of the dead walking. He is the man with a plan now that the ZA has become a frightening reality of the world. Guy Thibaudeau has managed to survive the first week of the ZA through sheer luck and knows that he needs a plan, and soon, if he wants to stay off the zombie menu. Tracey and Guy meet while both foraging in the same store for supplies. Casual and flirty acquaintances for six months before the dead rose to snack on the living, they decide to team up to increase their survival chances as well as see where the strong mutual attraction will lead.

As the men make their way to what they hope is safety following The Plan Tracey has been refining for years, Tracey’s every-man-for-himself Plan slowly morphs into a scheme to make their safe haven on the Toronto Islands a zombie-free zone for themselves as well as the people still living there. While guiding their new group into making their location safe for everyone, the men explore their mutual desires and kinks, finding that they not only work well as a zombie killing team but as lovers, too. Tracey and Guy soon discover that even in the horror of the dead hunting the living, incredible good can come from a hopelessly bad situation.



Author Extra:
I’d always wanted to write a zombie story because I love the genre. I started the novel with the idea that it’d be something small. Maybe 15K. Just snapshots of two guys hooking up under the most trying of circumstances to see where their mutual attraction leads.

 

And then they started talking to me and I knew I was doomed to have a much, much larger project on my hands.

 

My projected 15K story morphed into a 102K novel, a short story, ZA: Run & Gun (with secondary characters) and a collection of ficlets, ZA: Week 1, that’s 15K in size and set right when everything goes to hell in a handbasket. The novel is also the first part of the story I want to tell. There is a second novel, ZA: New World Order, simmering away in my brain where we’ll join up with Tracey, Guy, Konrad, Jase, Eddie and Renji  once again.

 

I had a ton of fun writing this one as a lot of it was based on personal experience and first-hand knowledge. I was able to include quite a few Canadian things, which tickled me silly. The places mentioned are all real and I’ve visited them all multiple times since I’ve lived in the Greater Toronto Area for almost twenty years. The French-Canadian swear words were plucked from my memory growing up in a bilingual household and I actually do use the majority of those swear words on a fairly regular basis. Konrad’s physical limitations and the reasons for them are my own. Even the boat, Cloud 649, is real although the name is purely my invention and I don’t own it. Tracey’s Plan is my plan for surviving the ZA, tweaked a bit to fit the parameters of the story.

 

Like many zombie stories and movies, no mention of just how it got started is given in the novel. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t know how it happened. I plotted that out, too, even though it’ll likely never see the light of day in the story. I’ve always been fascinated by engineered viruses for the purpose of bio-warfare and I’ve modeled my zombie outbreak on a combination of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (the human version of mad cow disease) and the 1918 strain of H1N1 (Spanish Flu). I chose CJD to provide the rapid onset of dementia, personality changes, psychosis, speech impairment and jerky/uncoordinated movements. The1918 H1N1 strain is for its rapid mutation ability, devastating transmission capabilities, high mortality rate and inability to be transmitted/infect non-humans.

 

It’s probably a good thing for everybody I never followed the career path as a virologist working for the government creating new and frightening ways to decimate the enemy unseen.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Release from ID Locke & Julia Talbot - 3 Free Reads as well!!

This week, we have selected titles by Julia Talbot and ID Locke on sale for 20% off. Check 'em out: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=specials


ZA: And the Dead Shall Rise
by ID Locke
297 pages / 102200 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-834-9
$6.99
Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=97&products_id=4317
Blurb:
Tracey Hedgewood has planned for years with other ZA survivalists what to do in the very unlikely instance of the dead walking. He is the man with a plan now that the ZA has become a frightening reality of the world. Guy Thibaudeau has managed to survive the first week of the ZA through sheer luck and knows that he needs a plan, and soon, if he wants to stay off the zombie menu. Tracey and Guy meet while both foraging in the same store for supplies. Casual and flirty acquaintances for six months before the dead rose to snack on the living, they decide to team up to increase their survival chances as well as see where the strong mutual attraction will lead.
As the men make their way to what they hope is safety following The Plan Tracey has been refining for years, Tracey’s every-man-for-himself Plan slowly morphs into a scheme to make their safe haven on the Toronto Islands a zombie-free zone for themselves as well as the people still living there. While guiding their new group into making their location safe for everyone, the men explore their mutual desires and kinks, finding that they not only work well as a zombie killing team but as lovers, too. Tracey and Guy soon discover that even in the horror of the dead hunting the living, incredible good can come from a hopelessly bad situation.


Rough Patches & Happy Endings
by AR Moler
184 pages / 51245 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-831-8
$2.99
Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=4316
Blurb:
From the Old West tale in Nothing but Trouble to the modern worlds of dirt bikes and bullriding in stories such as Crash and Burn and Mind in the Middle, this collection of short stories follows rough and ready adrenaline junkies to their happy endings.
Stories include:
Splitting the Difference
Acting Out
Crash and Burn
Mind in the Middle
Nothing but Trouble
All stories previously published as Torquere Press Sip short stories.


Belladonna
by T. Strange

FREE READ
Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=4318
Blurb:
Max is looking for BDSM action. After complaining to his friend Randy about the lack of kink in his life, Randy gives him an address. Max expects to find a club. Instead, he finds a rough, blue-collar drinking establishment where he seems less than welcome. He’s rescued by Adam, a rough, no-nonsense top who shows him that BDSM is still alive and thriving.


Picking Up the Pieces
by Mychael Black
FREE READ
Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=4320
Blurb:
A couple years have passed and Robbie and Seth (Hearth and Home, Going Home) have everything going for them. Until their beloved tattoo parlor--the one they've worked so hard on--is robbed. Everything's destroyed, and Robbie's temper gets the best of him. Now it's up to Seth to help his lover pick up the pieces and mend a few wounds. If it takes a bit of pain, then so be it.


Coming Out Wolf
by Julia Talbot
FREE READ
Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=4319
Blurb:
The worst thing in the world isn't being gay. Not even close. It's not even being a werewolf. The worst thing in the world is being in love with your roommate and having that love be unrequited. No matter what Steve does, Rick just isn't responding. Will he give up too soon on making Rick his mate?

Coming Soon:
November 26, 2014
Wishing all our US readers and authors a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
December 3, 2014
Mannies, Inc: And Nanny Makes Seven
by Sean Michael

Genre: Contemporary
Cream, a Hammer novel
by Sean Michael

Genre: Contemporary, BDSM
Screwdrivers, a Hammer Club short story collection
by Sean Michael
Want to catch up with what three of the Hammer Club’s most popular couples are getting up to? Then this nine story anthology featuring Marcus and Jim, Billy and Montana, and Simon and Jeremy is for you.
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gratitude, Love in Los Angeles style

Thanksgiving is a funny time of year for us Americans.  It's a high-pressure holiday, where we have to get eating a lot of food and doing absolutely nothing just right.  It also marks the long, but not slow, slide into the winter holidays and the end of the year.  And with all of those things comes a certain obligation to communicate about our experiences in a certain way.

Gratitude is in many ways, easy.  It's easy to say, I'm thankful for my home, my partner, my family, my cats, these really spectacular gluten-free candy cane Oreo-style sandwich cookies I'm eating right now as I write this.

But gratitude is also hard.  Not just because many of us rarely pause in our busy lives to really feel gratitude for all the things we do have, but because having gratitude for what we have now sometimes means having to think about times when we didn't have very much at all.

One of the things Erin & I hear most often about Starling's protagonist, Alex, is that he's a brat. That he's ungrateful about his fame, his opportunities, his wealth.  And our response to that has often been -- and will continue to be -- well, fame is hard, and sort of terrible, and it's not something Alex ever wanted.

All those things are true.  But if we're really honest with you -- if Alex is really honest with you -- gratitude is hard because sometimes you have to think about the times when you had nothing.  For Alex, who comes from some pretty severe poverty, if he thinks too hard about his gratitude for his life in Los Angeles, the overwhelming feeling he's left with is shame.

Shame for being so glad he never has to worry about where his next meal is coming from. Shame he couldn't make things better for his mom and his sister growing up. Shame that no one will ever think he's grateful enough.  Shame that he has no real idea how to navigate the line from his past to his present.

I know many of us choose to read romance for a smoother, happier, easier world -- one with big risks and big rewards -- than the one we live in.  Starling isn't that book.  Starling is about how the hard, messy, difficult lives we're living as imperfect, cranky, and sometimes ungrateful people, can have astounding happily ever afters too.

The holidays are hard.  Sometimes, so is gratitude.  That's okay. Embrace it, not in terms of bah humbug, but in terms of hey, this is what the season looks like for some of us.

Like Alex, gratitude isn't always my strong suit.  I often feel I don't sound convincing enough when I express it, so I don't express it at all.  Basically, gratitude freaks me out.  What if I'm bad at it?  What if I am weird at it?  I'm weird at a lot of stuff.

But I am thankful -- for the home, and the partner, and the cats, and these still really excellent cookies.  I'm also thankful that I get to tell stories, and for the people who allow me to do that -- my co-author, Torquere, other presses we've also published with, and of course you, the readers, who complete most important step in bringing characters to life. Without you, stories don't happen.

So here's what's coming up:

On December 17, 2014, as part of a Torquere holiday anthology, we'll have a new Love in Los Angeles short out (about 12,000 words) that takes place after the end of Starling.  It's called Evergreen and focuses on Liam's Christmas holidays with his childhood best-friend, Charles, although Alex, Paul, Victor, and Carly are also present in the piece. If you haven't read Starling yet, that's okay. Evergreen is designed to be a place you can start even if you don't know the world yet.

Then, on January 21, 2015, Doves, book 2 in the series will clock in at almost 90,000 words.  And in June, you'll be able to pick up book 3, Phoenix.

We hope you'll come along for that ride, as well as for some other, non-LiLA work we have coming out over the next year.  Thank you for letting us write about difficult people and letting us include them in the idea of romance for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, please keep an eye on our blog, Avian30.com for more details and previews of our upcoming releases, as well as guest posts from other authors in our genre and our weekly motivational feature Do the Thing! If you want exclusive treats and peeks from us, be sure to sign up for our newsletter too!

On social media you can find us at:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/racheline_m and http://www.twitter.com/erincmcrae
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/erin.and.racheline
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1015335.Racheline_Maltese and https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8323893.Erin_McRae

As a reminder we are also giving away a paperback copy of Starling via Goodreads at present. We've done so many U.S.-only giveaways, we've decided to branch out a little.  This one is just for U.K. readers!



Monday, November 17, 2014

BDSMonday - Quizzes

It's BDSMonday! Today we have a wonderful bdsm quiz for everyone to take. I took the submissive quiz and my Sir took the Dominant quiz. They were both quite accurate.

Coming This Week...

Coming This Week:
Rough Patches and Happy Endings
by Julia Talbot
A collection of shorts from Julia Talbot with stories including:
Splitting the Difference
Acting Out
Crash and Burn
Mind in the Middle
Nothing but Trouble

ZA & The Dead Shall Rise
by ID Locke
It takes a zombie apocalypse for Tracey to finally get into Guy's pants and while banding together to survive makes perfect tactical sense, Tracey and Guy think there's a bigger pay off for both of them -- each other. 
Genre: Paranormal/Horror

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Coming Soon from Sean Michael

December will be here before you know it and I have a few books coming out just in time for the holiday month.

The next book in the Mannies Incorporated series will be out, a new Hammer novel, and a Hammer Christmas Auction story, as well as a compilation of Hammer short stories featuring Marcus and Jim, Billy and Montana, and Simon and Jeremy.

And Nanny Makes Seven 

When Adam's parents died three years ago, he kept his five younger siblings together, playing parent as best a twenty-one year old could under the circumstances. Now his mentor Helena has passed away from cancer and Adam doesn't know what to do. He's shocked, but grateful when a reading of the will determines that he's not only inherited her beloved shit-zhus, but also the house, a generous trust for everyone's education, and three million dollars, some of it earmarked for hiring a nanny.

Hutch has worked as a nanny since he was nineteen and took over the care of his neighbors children when both parents were killed in separate missions overseas. He's worked with several families since and feels confident he can handle five children aged four through seventeen.

Hutch's arrival is just what Adam needs and as Hutch begins to turn the big house from Helena's place into their home, Adam and his siblings begin to see Hutch as more than just the nanny.

Can a path of tragedy and sorrow turn the corner to happiness and love?

Cream, a Hammer novel 

Storm owns the Beat & Cream bakery, popular with the Hammer Club members for its name, the amazing pastries Storm bakes, and his willingness to make all sorts of naughty creations. Not into the lifestyle himself, Storm loves the punny nature of the name of his establishment and everyone he's met have been nice.

Zeb, an unattached Top and Hammer Club member hears about the bakery and knows he must check it out for himself, given he has the world's biggest sweet tooth. He finds the pastries delicious, but he's even more taken with the owner himself, and sets out to woo Storm.

It's easy to fall in love with someone who makes you laugh and brings your life joy, but what happens when that happens with someone who isn't into the same things you are? Zeb and Storm are about to find out if they can find some mutual ground, or if Zeb's lifestyle keep them apart.

Screwdrivers, a Hammer short story compilation

Want to catch up with what three of the Hammer Club’s most popular couples are getting up to? Then the nine stories this anthology featuring Marcus and Jim, Billy and Montana, and Simon and Jeremy are for you.

The stories in this anthology have been previously published on their own and include: Groceries, Deck the Sub, Water and Steel, Hands Tied, Market Day, Tanny and the Cage, Heaven Sent, Brownies, and New Legs, New Year.


Need for Sale, a Hammer Auction story

It's been two years since Neil's Master Chris passed away unexpectedly and he's ready for someone to touch him again. More than ready. The problem is that everyone is respectfully keeping their distance. Participating in the annual charity Hammer Auction seems like the perfect opportunity to announce his readiness, and to get some of the touches he craves so badly at the same time.

To Neil's surprise, his best friend and neighbor, Master Dalton makes the winning bid, leaving Neil to wonder if he must continue exist alone and untouched. Master Dalton has a secret, though, one that might change Neil's life forever.


Looks for all of these in December!

Sean Michael
smut fixes everything
www.seanmichaelwrites.com
http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca/
https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites
http://twitter.com/seanmichael09