Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Releases

This week we have selected titles from Mychael Black, Missouri Dalton, Jon Keys, Nicole McCormick, Julia Talbot, and BA Tortuga on sale for 20% off! Check 'em out here:

Rode Hard Anthology
edited by Elizabeth L. Brooks with stories by BA Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Yolande Kleinn, Nicole McCormick, Mychael Black, Jon Keys, Missouri Dalton and Penn E. Loaffer
172 pages / 39400 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-781-6
Buy Link:
It's time to ride hard for cattle country! In "Where the Men are Men" by Julia Talbot, Skeet's not the brightest guy around, but he still manages to surprise Donnie. In "Sage and Sand" by Yolande Kleinn, when Bram Caldwell's stage route is attacked by bandits, his only hope lies with vigilante Marshall Maddox. In "Devilry Done" by Missouri Dalton, Luke's out to get Ambrose back, but he might just get himself killed in the process. Birch is a champion bull rider who wants to try some of his moves out with bull fighter Lucas in "Eight Seconds" by Nicole McCormick.
In BA Tortuga's "Hoping for a Good Break," Colby left his man, Alan, with harsh words that are made unbearable by the misfortune of a riding mishap. "Asher, James, Glenn, and Gregg" by Penn E. Loaffer introduces us to four SoCal friends: a transplanted Colorado cowboy, two San Diego natives, and a Brit who proves that not all English are "proper." In "Showstring" by Jon Keys, two men with wildly different backgrounds meet at the state fair, but is Jayden's baggage going to spoil everything? In "Come Undone" by Mychael Black, Bryce Caldwell's first impression of Ricky Clements is a whirlwind in black.
Individual Stories:
Hoping for a Good Break by BA Tortuga
Where the Men are Men by Julia Talbot
Sage and Sand by Yolande Kleinn
Eight Seconds by Nicole McCormick
Come Undone by Mychael Black
Showstring by Jon Keys
Devilry Done by Missouri Dalton
Asher, James, Glenn, and Gregg by Penn E. Loaffer

An Auspicious Moon
by Julia Talbot
89 pages / 24600 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-782-3
Buy Link:
From cat shifter to werewolves, An Auspicious Moon collects seven short stories about the animal inside. Sit up and Beg and Sit Pretty features Killian and Evan, the werewolf and the man who saved him from captivity. In Chew Toy, CIA agent Jack thinks being eaten by a tiger is a bad way to go. Good thing the tiger is also a man. Crate Trained sees Gary getting a bite he never expected during casual sex. In Doggie Style, Ray thinks Doc is just a new foster pet. He’s in for a shock. Finally, in Wolfy Resolutions, Cage has no desire to go to his demon friend’s party, but it might be worth his while.
All stories previously published in Torquere Press’ Sip line.
Coming Next Week...

Designated Bottoms
by BA Tortuga, Sean Michael, Julia Talbot, Kiernan Kelly, Shannon West, KC Wells, Katey Hawthorne
Some men are bottoms by birth, others by choice. Whatever the reason, a designated bottom is someone who’s happy to surrender, to submit, or just catch instead of pitch!
by Lee Benoit
Haven is a former Vietnam Army medic working as an ER nurse in Boston when he meets and falls for Tadeo, an Argentine dancer stranded Stateside with a brand-new baby. Evil forces mass on all sides of the pair as they try, with a colorful supporting cast, to figure out how to be together and stay safe.
Genre: Historical, Drama

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On sale this week...

This week we have selected titles from Mychael Black, Missouri Dalton, Jon Keys, Nicole McCormick, Julia Talbot, and BA Tortuga on sale for 20% off! Check 'em out here:

Monday, July 21, 2014

BDSMonday - Negotiation

It's BDSMonday!

Today's topic is negotiation.

Okay--you've found someone you want to play with. Now what?

I know I've mentioned them before, but I can't recommend BDSM checklists highly enough. They're a great way to quickly and easily compare your kinks with your potential playpartner(s)'. (I also recommend them for keeping track of your own BDSM journey. I'm always surprised, when I look back at old ones, how many things I marked as "No" or "Not interested" are now some of my favourites!)

Ask questions. Lots of 'em. It doesn't matter if you plan on topping or bottoming, you want to know as much about your partner as possible. There are many factors that aren't directly related to BDSM that might influence a scene--has your partner been through a traumatic experience that could be triggered by something that might routinely happen as part of a scene? Do they have any old injuries that could be affected? Are there certain spots on their body they don't like to be touched?

Set your safeword(s). The 'default' ones are red, yellow, and green. Green means everything's okay, keep going. Yellow means pause, and red means STOP. You can decide on your own, either for all your BDSM needs, or for the specific partner you're negotiating with. It's a good idea to make it a word that stands out and you're not likely to use during a scene (mine is 'squirrel'.) There are alternatives to spoken safewords, but that's a whole other topic!

There's also nothing wrong with negotiating once you've started a scene. You may have decided you're going to do spanking and bondage, but halfway through one of you might decide you want to add caning, as well. Pause the scene, and ask your partner(s) if it's okay to add an activity. If it is, off you go! If not, you can discuss it later, and maybe try it during another play session.

You can also make the scene shorter. Maybe you really don't feel like wax play after your spanking. Let your partner know. You can always try it another time!

I decided it was high time for the Vanilla Corner to have its own graphic, so...ta da!

Today's Vanilla Corner question: When reading BDSM fiction, do you like the author to include a negotiation scene? How much detail do you like to see?

(Because my little safety hat is always within arms' reach, I like to at least mention that negotiation happened, but I also think writing too much detail could get a little boring for readers.)

Any negotiation questions or tips you'd like to add?


If you have an idea for BDSMonday, please feel free to message me, or email: tq.strange (at)

I'd love to hear from you!

Coming This Week...

Coming This Week...

Rode Hard
edited by Elizabeth L. Brooks
The smell of horse and fresh-mown hay. The cheers of a rodeo crowd and the creak of harness. A gleam of steel and sun-baked skin. It's time to ride hard for cattle country.

Individual Stories:
Hoping for a Good Break by B.A. Tortuga
Where the Men are Men by Julia Talbot
Sage and Sand by Yolande Kleinn
Eight Seconds by Nicole McCormick
Come Undone by Mychael Black
Showstring by Jon Keys
Devilry Done by Missouri Dalton
Asher, James, Glenn, and Gregg by Penn E. Loaffer

Genre: Western, Contemporary, Historical

Talbot Shorts
by Julia Talbot

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chihuahua isn't just a funny word (although it is pretty funny)

For the upcoming, Dawg Days of Summer Anthology, I really needed to stretch myself. I hadn’t written any shifter stories before, although I had read and loved quite a few. In my youth, I had been an avid consumer of werewolf tv shows and many movies, from classic to comedy to horror (okay, some horror, I am easily frightened and often cover my eyes if I don’t outright bolt from the room).

But I also knew that the some of the most compelling shifter stories are ones where pack dynamics are focused upon and much drama can come from the upheaval that ensues when outsiders are introduced into matters that would normally be none of their business. I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to delve deeply into those types of issues.

Plus, the wolf is an amazing, revered animal. It posses great strength, cunning, speed, and ferocity, yet it is part of a larger family structure. It parallels some of our human traits, in a way that makes stories about them endlessly captivating, but is different enough that there’s a definite feeling of the exotic and unusual. Wolves themselves tend to be gorgeous creatures, surviving in the wilderness, areas of which can seem so bleak and difficult that it is hard for us to understand how they manage.

So I doodled about some ideas, and daydreamed, and went for long walks. It seemed to me that perhaps I was not yet ready to take on some a formidable subject, and that I might do best thinking about things in a more domestic way, a smaller way.

And then I started seeing Chihuahuas everywhere. TV commercials and greeting cards (they appear to be the most popular ever) and conversations and celebrity news, and a few dog competitions on tv (breed, and agility). Then I knew, I needed to go the opposite way from sleek, big, powerful wolves. But not just for look-how-tiny-it-is-comedy or big/small juxtaposition. Perhaps it was time to give the apparently diminutive Chihuahua some more respect. Or at least an opportunity to growl, snarl, and snap.

So, dogs.

I really considered man’s best friend. I do love cats, too, and have had many in my home. But cats are different, intoxicating creatures in their own special way. What was it about dogs, if I had to bring it down into a nutshell?

They have an unparalleled ability to bond with people. I will leave ‘love’ to another time and discussion, although I did come across some neurobiology research that suggests what people have claimed, that dogs are capable of love and loving. But dogs are our friends and our companions, they want to be in our family, and do not thrive when they haven’t a home.

More than anything, however, they have been domesticated. They depend on people in ways that wild animals do not, and in turn, we have come to depend on them. Different dog breeds offer different things, from the large German Sheppard that is so suited to police work and exquisitely trainable to many variations of service dogs that are by a person’s side, day to day, helping them through the world.

Maybe all that was a little bigger than a nutshell, but that might be because those concepts are enormous. Friendship and companionship are incredibly important.

Ah, and then I understood a little bit of what I wanted to imbue my story with, when I finally started to work on what the pretty stuff was going to be built upon.

C is for Color, and other dog thoughts

Since I was focusing on the ability to shift into the form of a dog for my story “Nuts, Bolts, and Chihuahuas”, I took the opportunity to spend some time really observing the dogs I had available to me. I have a range of dogs that I see on a semi-regular basis, from small (yes, real Chihuahuas!) to large (a husky-mix with deep, soft fur), and a few ranging in-between (two energetic beagle-mixes). There were a few visits to a nearby dog park, where I could watch various dogs coming and going, playing and not playing. If you have a dog and are near a dog park, definitely give it a go. Dogs have so much fun and they come home tired and happy!

I think one of the things that struck me most during this research portion, was the distinct use of the sense of smell. As humans, even though smell is important to us, and connects to very primitive parts of our brain (smells can bring up memories from a long time ago so very easily), it is nothing to the smelling power of a dog. Not all dogs are alike in their sniffer abilities, some detect odors even more distinctly than others. We use these dogs to accomplish powerful tasks for us, as when they are well-trained, they can sniff out drugs, explosives, remains, and track people, in ways that we haven't yet been able to build machines to duplicate. There's even been work done on dogs that can detect cancer by smell.

I didn’t get to use much of the smelling research in my story as it just wasn’t necessary to tell the tale, but I did use it briefly, and particularly in the short (approx. 500 word) extra that I am also working on.

The other aspect of dogs that I looked into, and got to read some very interesting research on, was their sense of sight. I had always thought dogs were completely color-blind, but apparently that isn’t true! They see color, though they see far fewer colors than people see. They tend mainly to browns, yellows, and blues. They have more rods than people (easy way to remember: c is for color, c is for cones, so that means rods are the black/grey/white sensing structures) in their eyes, so they have better night-vision than people. This has been shown in the past, when I stumbled around in the dim night and my dogs have pranced around my ankles. Again, it ended up being more useful for the extra story bit than the main story, but still, it was fascinating knowledge all the same.

Again, it comes down to this companionship angle -- we have skills and abilities that dogs don't, and they have physical attributes that we don't. Together, as a team, more can be accomplished than separately!

Thank you for pondering with me today. I look forward to future conversations, and to having my story come out -- in the meantime, I'm going to keep researching, and writing.

(Apologies for the terrible spacing! I didn't see it right away, and blogger made it look okay when I was writing it! Fixed now!)

A little night owl music


I'm Tray Ellis, and I’m guest-posting today, and it should be fun. I didn't quite expect to be posting just to the other side of midnight (where I am, of course), but I ended up being a rare night owl, so I thought, why not start a little early? I'll catch some sleep, and come back with a few more posts the rest of the day.

I have an upcoming story in the Summer Anthology called “Nuts, Bolts, and Chihuahuas” coming out in later August, and I will spend a little bit of time talking about my thoughts and directions for that short story, including a lot of musing on about wolves and dogs.

I also have “Gray and Burnished Granite Seas” available here that is a short story I wrote last year for the Charity Sip Blitz. It’s been a whole year since that first published, along with quite a few other talented authors who donated their time (blood, sweat, tears, of course!) to the charity also, for the anthology. I carry around inside my head a core concept (I sort of envision it like a roughly hewn crystal) and even if the details of how I wrote it fall away a little (moving on to other projects fills one’s head with other projects) when I think of that core jewel for that particular story, I always, always beam with pride. It’s sweet and bitter, thrilling and harsh, hopeful and crushing, and unexpected in beautiful ways. In romantic stories, perhaps, we concentrate a lot of the stories on the youthful and handsome, and while my characters are no less handsome, the main character is at the end of his life and has seen nine decades. There’s a gravity to that strength and time of love that can’t be matched, though youthful love burns intensely and brightly in its own way.

So, the midnight oil is burning low, and I'll be back to ramble on a bit more later.