Friday, September 30, 2011

Flashback Friday! Excerpt.

Babble about An Agreement Among Gentlemen is here.

Want a taste of what sucked me in? Here you go:

Chapter One

It was intended to be an evening's entertainment. How little I knew.

I had, in point of fact, been looking forward to the occasion -- a ball to celebrate a milestone birthday, followed by a week in the country. The diversion came at a welcome point in my life, as I had little to do in London, and the constant reproachful looks my brother cast my way over the dinner table were weighing heavier upon me than usual. He never actually told me to make myself useful and less of a drain on the resources our father had left, or for that matter on society in general, but his opinion was obvious and one I did not share.

It was therefore with anticipation that I had accepted the invitation to Red Oak Hall, looking with a keen eye to the company I would find there. Of course, most of the assemblage would be boring in the extreme, but there was almost always something, or someone, to capture my interest there.

The journey had been easy, as the weather had cooperated for once. The carriage did not break a wheel as it had the previous year, there was no rain, and the horses all seemed to be in splendid health. Even the usual bumps and knocks were more gentle than I had hoped. So pleasant was the travel, I was almost regretful as we arrived in the late afternoon, but that soon passed as I saw a familiar shape in the entry, the light of the open door falling upon him.

Trusting my man Griffith to do his job and make sure my belongings eventually found their way to my rooms, I left the carriage and made my way up the steps. The butler, Dobbs, was as ever in control, managing to greet me, instruct Griffith where to take my cases, and direct the driver to the back of the house. With a few simple words I was made to feel welcome, assured that everything would be handled with ease, and escorted into the Hall to greet my host.

Barrett, the current Earl and master of Red Oak Hall, stepped forward with a smile and clasped my shoulder with one warm hand. "So good to see you, Munrow," he said. "I trust the journey was tolerable?"

"Pleasant," I replied, returning his smile. "Things look well in hand here." They did indeed. The Hall, from what little I could see, was already set to celebrate. There were no servants rushing about, yet the air seemed filled with anticipation, and the scent of summer flowers was strong. Barrett himself looked splendid, his smile genuine and natural, the tension I'd seen in him a few months before, gone. Yes, his hair was still grey and his skin a little slackened with middle age, but he was tall and fit, carrying his years well.

"It will be wonderful, my friend. But now is not the time to bore you with the details -- you'll see them soon enough." He cast his gaze to my left and nodded to Dobbs. "No doubt Mr. Munrow would like to rest after his travel." To me he said, "I'll see you at dinner, Munrow."

And with that, I was handed over to Dobbs, who very politely informed me that due to Lady Sophie's demand for morning light, I would be in the gold room rather than my usual suite, and would I please follow him?

I did not care into which room I was put, honestly. I knew that, as there were many guests for the next two nights -- after all, one cannot throw a ball and expect two hundred guests to make their way back to residences all over Berkshire that same night -- there would be less than a dozen for the week. As such, those of us staying on would get the better rooms.

Dobbs silently led me up the staircase and down the main corridor; I could see ample evidence of the preparations. The Hall gleamed, almost literally. Everything had been polished and cleaned to within an inch of its life, and Dobbs, when I happened to remark on something, informed me that the drawing room would be open for the gentlemen, the morning room for the ladies' cloaks, and the larger parlour was set up for card play. Of course, following him down the hall to the east wing, I was unable to see any of this, but it was good to know where I would be able to find certain people once the music started.

Griffith, for once, was already in my room when we arrived, putting my clothes away and laying out things for dinner and further clothes for the ball. Most of everything else was put away in the cabinet.

"Did you see about the brandy?" I asked, already tugging off my waistcoat, wrinkled from sitting in the carriage.

"Yes, sir. It shall be here when you return from your meal. Would you care to rest before dinner, or shall I send for water?"

I thought about if for a moment and shook my head. "I'll wash and then decide. If there is time I may rest, but I rather doubt I'll need it. A ball is a ball, and I suspect I'll be doing far more talking than dancing."

"Yes, sir," Griffith replied. He hung up the last of my shirts and crossed to the door -- I assumed for the water.

"Griffith?" I asked, a sudden thought occurring. "See what the talk is about this ball. I'd like to know how much truth is in the rumours before I walk into anything."

Griffith, proper for the moment, didn't even blink. It was his job to do just that, and he knew it. That I was telling him the perfectly obvious must have grated, but he gave no sign of it. But, then, it was entirely likely that he simply lacked the imagination to be offended.

When, at long last, Griffith made his way back up with the jug I washed and encouraged him to speak. "Well? Is it true?" I demanded, rinsing soap from my face.

"I'm afraid I don't know, sir," he replied, hastening to add, "No one does. It is, however, known without doubt that the Earl will make an announcement, and it is wildly speculated that it will be about a marriage. No one will admit to knowing as to whom the lady may be, however, and in fact there are many wagers being made on the name. The head footman says that the Earl has been cheerful and happy for almost six weeks and that it has been driving the maids to distraction. There has been nothing overheard, which of course speaks to how well the Earl is guarding his secret."

Interesting. And worrisome, if one were in service at the Hall, but of no use to me. I knew no more than I had the day or the week before.

"Well, it could hardly be a marriage, if the maids don't know," I said. "They know even before the poor lady."

"True," Griffith allowed me. "But there really is nothing else. An announcement will be made; the Earl has invited over two hundred people to hear it. One of the footmen saw him in deep conference with the Duke, and the housekeeper has been seen with lists of the staff -- and you know what that means."

I nodded. When the housekeeper started making lists of staff, there were changes underway. Usually the sort that involved people getting their notice and the promise of references.

I checked the time. "Well," I said, "I have time to read for half an hour, then I'll dress for dinner. Make sure the brandy is here when I want it."

Griffith nodded and withdrew, and I walked to the window and looked out at the wide lawn, the sun setting over the tops of the trees in the distance. "Let the games begin," I said softly.

Flashback Friday!

It's 2 pm here, and I totally didn't forget. REALLY. I'm going to post this in two parts, as it's 5 pages long in my document. I babble. So, talky part here, excerpt in a moment or two. :D

When the ladies asked for people to leap in and grab days for Flashback Friday posts I stuck my hand in the air and did the internet equivalent of "Pick me! Pick me!" because that's the kind of keener I am. Right from nursery school. My mom wishes I was kidding.

I didn't have the faintest idea which book I was going to flashback on, however. My back catalogue is large-ish and there are some personal favourites from back in the day. Shady Ridge and the Neon Sky got a good think, as did my two darlings, Merge and Converge which never really found a home out there in the wild. Gemini is a big crowd pleaser, judging by the e-mail I still get about it. But when I glanced over my pages at Torquere Books I knew without a doubt which story I was going to bring back to light here.

I began writing An Agreement Among Gentlemen as a NaNoWriMo project, but stopped after I'd reached the fifty thousand words mark at three weeks due to what became bronchitis and pneumonia. Then the holidays happened, and travel and family, and it was February before I looked at it again. I'd had a vague idea of it being pretty good in terms of doing what I wanted it to do, so I wasn't terribly worried when I started my read-through to get the voice back and finish it off.

Usually I'm completely a character driven writer. I find a job, find the guy, wait for him to give me a name, and toss him into trouble. Then I take notes. AAAG is a mystery of sorts, however, and had specific plot points that had to come in order and at certain times. It's not whodunnit, but the blackmail plot had to be done with care and the romance flying around had to fit in with assorted locations. It was also a Victorian setting, so I'd spent a lot of time researching and having many, many conversations with English friends and having maps sent to me. I sourced a lot of words etymology -- which, wow is fun. Love it. -- and I got as correct as I could. I had to change a few names around in edits, which always feels weird but I think it worked out for the best.

I'd set out prepared to write a lovely historical romance agains a backdrop of intrigue. Then the third guy showed up without prior notice and things got complicated. I didn't set out to write a threesome, but sometimes these things just happen. I did what I always do -- rolled with it. Then I got sick, hit the word count (in that order. Of course.), and took several months off.

The day I picked it up was one of those amazing February days we sometimes get on the east coast. It was mild, only ten below zero celsius or so, and there was a light snow falling (under a foot accumulated). The children were at school, so I made a pot of tea and curled up under a blanket and started reading the hard copy, redlining as I went. As I said above, I was pretty sure it was an okay story and all I needed to do was find the voice and finish the first draft up so I could start the "make it good" version.

I was not prepared to be upset at the last printed page. I was not prepared to blink rapidly and find myself in a different place and time, and wonder what the heck happened next. I had been sucked into my own story so completely that I'd forgotten where I was, and that the rest of the story was still in me.

That's the sign of a good story, if you ask me. If you can lose yourself in it, let go of a couple hours and drift into the book and its place, that's a good story. And if you happened to write it, that feeling makes you smile for days -- years -- after.

An Agreement Among Gentlemen is available at Torquere Books and in print at Amazon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Folkways as world building blocks

Hi friends!

On my past couple of visits here I've shared a bit of my methods for building fictional worlds. Back in May I talked about functional requisites and how any real or imagined society meets its basic needs.  Then last month I shared some tricks about using elements of social structure to imagine how your world works. I thought I'd make it a hat trick with this post and talk a bit about one of my favorite worldbuilding toolkits: folkways.

Folkways are values, customs, and meanings that drive behavioral expectations in any society. Of course, those expectations themselves vary from time to time and place to place. That historical and cultural relativity is critical in world building, but the values, customs, and meanings that cluster around how we -- and our characters -- live is what gives layered credibility and consistency to our lives and stories.

One of my favorite approaches to folkways comes from historian David Hackett Fischer (his Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America is amazing). I try to know something about all two dozen folkways listed below for any world I write in any sustained way. For example, my Sister City world is an old industrial town where my Haven / Tadeo and Paulo / Preston stories take place. Those stories aren't set in the distant past or in some fantasy setting. In fact, if you've spent time in New England mill towns you can probably picture Sister City pretty accurately! Still, I have a working knowledge about all of these elements of Sister City as a unique system of folkways.

Here's the list:
  • Speech ways
  • Building ways
  • Family ways
  • Marriage ways
  • Gender ways
  • Sex ways
  • Child-rearing ways
  • Naming ways
  • Age ways
  • Death ways
  • Religious ways
  • Magic ways
  • Learning ways
  • Food ways
  • Dress ways
  • Sport ways
  • Work ways
  • Time ways
  • Wealth ways
  • Rank ways
  • Social ways
  • Order ways
  • Power ways
  • Freedom ways
What do you think? Share a favorite example in the comments! (A randomly chosen commenter will win a $5 Torquere gift certificate in a week's time!)

Lee xo

On Call

How many of us have carried a pager? More accurately, how many of us have found ourselves chained to work by a pager? I had fifteen years of it, one or two nights a week, every fourth weekend.

Characters can have that problem, too. (Why should I suffer alone?) A doctor carries a pager in many practices; Keith Hoyer survived his internship and residency, so how bad could call in a family practice be? He finds it has some good in it as well.

There are now four short stories in the On Call setting. On Call: Crossroads was my Charity Sip for 2010, so a big thank you to all who bought it and read it, giving Doctors Without Borders a helping hand in the process. Training Cats is my Charity Sip for 2011, benefiting the "It Gets Better" project. Keith and Dante have a cameo here, helping their friend Brent get his love-life together.

But their story starts earlier...

On Call: Afternoon

A doctor doesn’t have much trouble finding partners, but Keith Hoyer, M.D. questions whether people like him, his credentials, or what they think is in his wallet. Since most of the men he’s meeting are patients and therefore off limits, he goes home to his big gray tabby cat, Harpo, and dreams.

Keith’s ready to relinquish care of Dr. Dante James, just as soon as he’s treated the nasty case of cat scratch fever. He’d love to ask Dante out, but first he needs the vet’s professional expertise for the injured Harpo. There might be trouble ahead for them in the form of mismatched expectations and racial differences, but at least Keith doesn’t have to wonder if Dante likes cats.

“It’s all a prelude to the horizontal tango,” Dante tells Keith, and drags him to the dance club, two left feet or no. Work has a way of chasing this doctor and vet couple down. The victims of a car crash need their help more than they need a night out. But a night in, tending an injured dog, can be filled with landmines… and music.


On Call and more, here.

Flashing Back With PD Singer

Welcome to the PD Singer edition of Flashback Thursday!

As you might suspect from looking at my titles, I like to write in series. Sometimes, okay, a lot of times, my fellas have more to say than fits neatly into one tale. And sometimes, their friends decide they have a story of their own that needs to be told.

That's what happened with the Mountain stories: Jake and Kurt's adventures slopped over onto their friend Mark. Snow on the Mountain took Kurt and Jake from their summer jobs as rangers to the lush Wapiti Creek Ski Resort, where Kurt teaches skiing and Jake runs a lift. Mark, a ski patrol, meets them both in Snow, but at the end of the book, Mark's still pretty unhappy.

Can't let that persist now, can I? A lot of readers thought so, too, and next thing you know, Mark has his own stories. *blinks innocently* I did say that sometimes it doesn't all fit in one tale...

The rich, the famous, and the most serious skiers come to Wapiti Creek, where Jake helps them onto the lifts and Kurt improves their skiing skills. It’s perfect winter work for men who love the outdoors but like the comforts of hot water and a big bed when there is several feet of snow on the ground.

For rangers who have been mostly alone with one another for months, it’s a big change to rejoin civilization. Making friends is tough, especially when a ski patrol finds Jake far too appealing for Kurt’s peace of mind, and why does everyone snicker about the Alpenschlossl Ski School? For two men still finding their way as a couple, it isn’t clear if the biggest danger comes from vicious coworkers, would-be friends, the mountain, or each other.


Ski patrol Mark McAvoy dug Ulf’s body out of the avalanche, and the dead man haunts his dreams. Mark needs someone to wake him from the nightmares as much as he wants someone to share his days. He gave up the fleeting encounters with vacationing skiers who don’t remember his name later, but he’s aghast at the well-meaning friends who are trying to round up potential boyfriends.

Chef Allan Tengerdie cooks dinner for seventy skiers every day, delivers it to their condos, and eats his own meals alone. A chance invitation to a pot-luck at Mark’s home is his perfect opportunity to captivate a hungry, lonely man. Mark’s ready to be there for him, even after he gets hurt on the slopes, until another man’s shadow falls across them.

That man is dead, and now the grand jury wants Mark to explain his role in the avalanche that killed him.


Come to the Mountains -- find them here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On Sale This Week

This week we have books by Syd McGinley, Chris Owen and Tory Temple on sale at 20% off.

Check them out.

New Releases for September 28

By the Numbers by Chris Owen and Tory Temple

The last thing Nathaniel, aka Deuce, expects to see when he gets home from work is his street jammed with fire engines and police cars. When he realizes that it’s his apartment building that’s on fire, Nathaniel can only think of one thing: his pregnant dog, trapped inside.

When firefighter Trey Donovan delivers Nathaniel’s unharmed dog to him, Nathaniel is exceedingly grateful. After all, it isn’t every day that he meets muscular, attractive rescue workers. Nathaniel manages to find out where Trey’s station is with the idea of saying thank you and offering him a puppy, but discovers that he and Trey have something else between them that needs exploring.

Trey, however, has responsibilities that could prove to make that exploration difficult. He has shift work to contend with. His seven year old daughter is a priority, plus he shares custody with his less than friendly ex-wife. Since Nathaniel is the new owner of one dog and six puppies, and doesn’t even have a place to live, he isn’t exactly in an ideal situation to explore a new relationship. Even if it is with a hot, handsome fireman.

Can Trey and Nathaniel find some common ground amid the yapping of puppies and Trey’s complicated family life?

Find out today!

Twice-Caught by Syd McGInley

Tarin's been caught, but can he be civilized?

Despite his wild ways and his keen instincts, Twice-caught Tarin is bonding with his beak-faced captain, Garrick, but not everyone wants their relationship to succeed. Learning civilized skills and living in buildings have their good points, but Tarin struggles to reconcile his yearning for freedom with his desire for Garrick and his loyalty to his friends. His thinking is clouded by his buzzing conscience and the remaining effects of having his memory wiped by the mysterious Mothers.

One thing Tarin is sure of; Major Jadon is a Bad Egg. He's a bitter and jealous man determined to stop any happiness in the community and consolidate power in himself. If Jadon succeeds in his plans, not only will Tarin and Garrick be parted, but Tarin's friend Perry will be in Jadon's clutches.

As if threats to community harmony and the safety of new boys weren't bad enough, Tarin may lose the traditional Candle Day choice between his man and the woods if Garrick is not declared to be whole and healthy. Can Tarin's untamed nature defeat the civilized Jadon's cunning use of the community's rules before Candle Day? As many perils for Tarin lie within the winterbound community as outside, but when library-boy Aran faces a cruel punishment, Tarin is even willing to face the Mothers to save his friend.

Winter may pass, but will Jadon’s malice ever cease?

Find out today!

Rust Red: Galvanized by Meredith Shayne

Adam is used to the adrenaline-filled life of the Royal Flying Doctors Service, so his desk duty due to a broken leg is wearing thin. But coming out in the testosterone-driven environment of a Western Australian nickel mine is no walk in the park either. Six months after the mine cave in that almost killed Adam, he and his mining engineer boyfriend Chris Barker need a break.

A trip to Surfers Paradise to visit Adam's family seems like just the thing, until a chance meeting with an old adversary on the tourist strip makes Chris' private life very, very public. With the nickel mine seething with prejudice, and Chris stubbornly refusing to admit that his safety is in question, it's up to Adam to persuade Chris that the love they share is more important than Adam's love for his job and the rust-red landscape that surrounds them.

Get your copy today!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Your Readers Are Uneducated Morons

So...have I ever mentioned I'm alumna of the same college as Margaret Atwood? We weren't there at the same time, of course, (she's considerably younger than I) but it's still pretty much my only claim to fame.

When I was a kid, the one item that consistently appeared on my Christmas list was "a university education." Hahaha, yes, better than a pony, etc, but my mother would take one look at that and say, "It's all well and good to want a higher education, but I'll not be paying for it." And, true to her word, she didn't. And that probably comes across as bitter, but looking back I'm actually very happy to have been spurred to work hard and pay my own way. I think I probably value and respect my degree more than a lot of people whose parents paid their way.

(By the way, that bit about Margaret Atwood being younger than me was a joke. I'm actually not in my seventies. Thought I should probably clear that up.)

Why am I thinking of education? Well, an industry "professional" recently reminded me that readers of erotica are “uneducated” so I should stay away from big words they’re unlikely to understand. I was kind of like… ‘scuse me? Should I even start deconstructing that statement? Because, seriously, we’ll be here all night. Suffice to say…well, two things:

  1. Education is not a barometer for intelligence. One of the most well-read people I know is my grandmother, who quit school at age 16, when she got knocked up and married her handsome soldier. Even now, well into her 80's and with seriously impaired vision, she reads voraciously and can carry on an intellectually stimulating conversation on any topic. Seriously--we've discussed everything from indie rock to trans issues to world politics, and she always knows far more than I do about everything. Reading gets you everywhere, kids. It does.
  2. The proletariat does not have a monopoly on sexual desire. I actually took a course (don't laugh) called Sex and Sexuality in the Premodern West, and one of the many ideas I took away from it was that we've always sort of "assigned" sex, as one of our "base" instincts, to those "base" people in society. Sex is like anger or sorrow, or any intense emotion: it belongs with the stupid and the poor, people of the lower classes who don't know any better. To me, the concept that only the unwashed masses enjoy and explore sex and all its trappings is really insulting and just...inaccurate.

I’m educated and I write sex for a living. Why? Because I choose to do so. I've worked in other industries, in business and the arts, and I far prefer writing erotica. I've always said I write more for myself than anyone else, so I assume the readers who will most enjoy my work are readers who are somewhat like me.

Actually, I've had other authors disclose to me that they've had industry (un)professionals tell them exactly what I was told: that readers of erotica aren't very smart, aren't very educated, don't know a lot of words. Whatever you're writing, you should dumb it down for them. Don't want to confuse their little peanut brains. Well, here is my educated response: fuck that! Seriously...

Insulting readers by establishing this strange Us vs Them of "We the Educated Creators" and "They the Stupid Consumers" is not going to fly with me. I'm not going to look down on readers. In fact, I'm bowing low and offering the work up, praying to the gods of erotica that they will enjoy what I've created for them.

Like I said, we could be here all night if I let myself go on. So I'll stop now. But, who knows? You might have something to add.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Meme Monday - Fall faves

hey y'al1! Kristi is out of touch due to sudden illness, and I just realized we have no meme!

So, what's your favorite thing about fall?

It if ever gets to be fall here in Texas again, I love shorts and sweatshirts

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Releases for September 24

Just Like Cats and Dogs by BA Tortuga

If there’s one thing Sam knows for sure it’s that you can never go home again. As a feline shifter who grew up in a family of wolves, he’s used to being a freak. He stays in the city and tries to get his family to visit him, but when a loved one passes away, Sam has to go back to the New Mexico desert for a last goodbye.

Gus only comes back to the pack at gathering time, once in a blue moon. He’s usually a wanderer, but he’s with the pack when Sam comes home. Gus and Sam have never gotten along, but this time around Gus is surprised by the attraction he feels for this new, slinky version of his high school nemesis.

Sam and Gus may not be able to resist each other, but finding time to be together and overcome their differences might be too much for them, especially when danger lurks just around the corner, and all around the world. Can cats and dogs live to learn together, or are Gus and Sam destined to fail?

Find out today!

The Kings's Dog by Missiouri Dalton

Morgan lost everything he cared about most during the war: the love of his life, his self respect, and his honor. After killing a man in a barroom brawl he resigned himself to madness and imprisonment until his execution. But it seems his god has another path in mind. War has broken out again in the kingdom, and the army needs every recruit they can get their hands on, including convicts. Morgan will have to fight hard to overcome his inner demons, end the war, and perhaps get a second chance at love.

Get your copy today!

Pushing Limits by Julia Talbot

Dell loves to push Law’s limits, but Law’s surprised when a trip to a friend’s house results in the best kind of show, with Dell’s friend Jimmy staging a spanking for their pleasure. It certainly makes for a night to remember, but will it be too much to ask Law to do some of the same things?

Find out today!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Flashback Friday - "Actions Speak Louder" by DC Juris

Hi there! DC Juris here!  For your Flashback Friday fun today, I've brought you a snipped from my transgender story "Actions Speak Louder," which was featured in the Silence Toybox. This was the first story I'd ever written using foodplay and bondage, and I'm still rather fond of it. I hope you enjoy this little taste! (no pun intended! lol)


Oscar has been with his transgender partner, Derek for a little over a year, and their love life is full of spark and adventure. Then Derek suggests they add blindfolds and gags to their repertoire, and Oscar learns that sometimes, 
actions speak louder than words.


                Derek brought the crop down a few more times, and each time it connected with flesh Oscar felt his cock throb in the confines of the ring. The soft, worn leather strap that had been so flexible and comfortable when he'd snapped it on was now biting into him painfully. Not that he was complaining.

            Derek's fingers began to curl inward again, one by one, a tap from the crop accompanying each movement. Oscar snorted and panted hard -- hard enough that he felt little drops of snot sprinkle his cheeks and chin.

            Suddenly, Derek's weight shifted. His left hand remained buried in Oscar's ass, but it felt as if he had stretched out between Oscar's legs.

            Oscar's body jumped and he mewled into the gag reflexively as Derek's tongue licked up and down the length of his cock.

            "Tut, tut, lover. Weren't you supposed to stay silent?"

            Damn it! Oscar admonished himself mentally, praying Derek wouldn't leave him hanging here on the edge.

            "Do not move," Derek commanded. "Do not make a single, solitary sound."

            Oscar held still, not even daring to breathe as Derek's hot, wet tongue flicked rapidly over the head of his prick. Pressure built inside him and pleasure twisted his mind. Derek's tongue licked and swirled, his fist clenched and unclenched, his other hand rapped the crop down hard on Oscar's nipples.

            Nerves frazzled, Oscar dug deep down into mental reserves he hadn’t known he possessed, but he didn't move and he didn't make a sound.

And then everything stopped. Derek slowly withdrew from Oscar's body.

Find out what happens next - Buy HERE

It's Finally Fall Sale!

It's finally fall! So we're offering 15% off your purchases from now through the end of day Monday! Just put 'finally2011' in the coupon code box any time you check out at Torquere Books before Monday at midnight to get 15% off your order.

Sale good now through Monday September 26 at Midnight (est).

Celebrate Fall with a book from Torquere Press today!

Discount codes are provided as a courtesy to our customers. Torquere Press Inc. cannot be responsible for discounting purchases made before coupons/sales are announced, and cannot issue discounts to customers who fail to use the coupon or discount code during the purchase process.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

some news, some fun, and a peek at what's coming

Hey y'all!

My day on the blog here today! I'm a little wandery, so bear with me.

In the news arena, I'll be at Gayromlit in New Orleans October 13-16. Though my name isn't on the author list for some reason, I'll be signing at the riverboat signing as Julia Talbot as well as representing Torquere at the publisher spotlight. Check out their website here!

I've got a Charity Sip out for the Getting Better 2011 Charity Sip Blitz. It's a fun, growly read about werewolves called Coming Out Wolf. check it out here


The fun part is that I was reading through a sub today to get it ready to go, and found that I was having homonym issues. Piece of mind instead of peace of mind. A peak at the new book, not a peek. What's your worst homonym issue?


What's coming? I have all sorts of things planned, but right now I'm working on a historical. I know, right? So long since I did one of those.

Here's a wee bit:

The wide hall felt exposed, leaving Simon, Viscount Luddon, feeling like a fox in a field full of hounds. He fully expected someone to shout view halloo moments before he was torn apart by sharp teeth.

A thick carpet lined the highly polished floor, muffling his footfalls, but the sconces that lined the wall were well-lit, marking passage for all of the guests who would spend the night at the Earl of Desmond’s home. Simon knew the man’s reputation; a good many of the guests currently at the groaning buffet or in the stuffy ballroom would make their way upstairs and sleep the night on one of the many beds available.

Which was why Simon needed to be well done with his mission and out of sight as soon as possible.

The damned earrings should be in the unused countess’ bedchamber, making Simon work for them. He had to traverse the entire hall, make his way through the locked door, search the room, and make his escape, all the while avoiding the swarm of servants and guests that seemed to be everywhere, popping out when he least expected them.

Really, he should have waited until the Earl closed up his house and went to the country, which was supposed to happen within a fortnight. Still, what if the incriminating earrings made their way to the country with all the other baggage? Simon’s sister would be ruined for good.

Drawing a deep breath, Simon slid across the hall to the countess’ bedchamber door, moving fast and quiet. He knelt before the door and drew his buttonhook and probe out of his waistcoat, working them into the lock. He couldn’t blame the lord of the house for keeping this room locked; it adjoined the master chamber, and a man as private, as damned near mythical as the Earl of Desmond must have a good many secrets to keep.

“Come on, love,” Simon murmured. “Give it to me.”

He probed and pulled and the rim latch clicked open all of a sudden. Simon held his breath for a moment, listening to make sure no one was within and disturbed by his goings on. When he heard no sound, he turned the knob easing into the room. His eyes struggled to adjust to the gloom, but he felt safe waiting now that he was in the room. He locked the door behind him and stood still, letting his heart stop racing.

Thanks for looking in on me today! Hope you have a good day :D

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Sale This Week

This week we have books by Chris Owen, Sapphic Signs and Spice it Ups on sale at 20% off.

Check it out.

New Releases for September 21

The Balancing Act by Ann Cory

Michelle and Gracie became fast friends on the gymnastics team, and were inseparable. That friendship intensified into romance, and they never looked back. More than Gracie’s confidence took a tumble during an important competition, resulting in an injury that has kept her in and out of surgeries, and their once red-hot relationship has never been the same.

But Michelle’s love for Gracie keeps her determined to find balance and revive the passion they had for one another both on and off the beam. She must come clean about where she’s been going during her spare time, while Gracie decides to have one final surgery.

Get your copy today!

Rim Job by Delilah Storm

Jesse is a well respected and highly sought after top who is frustrated with the same old thing night after night. What Jesse really yearns for is a cute little lover he can call his own, someone who wants him with the same fervor he knows he can show.

Sam is a young, innocent, and angelic-looking. He needs someone to take charge and show him what a real relationship can be. After a bad experience, Sam is understandably nervous about meeting someone new, but he really wants to meet Mr. Right.

When Jesse sees Sam across the dance floor, he knows Sam is the one for him. Now Jesse has to convince the skittish young Sam that the two of them together are much better than the two of them apart.

Pick up your copy today!

Night and Day: Jasmine by Chris Owen

Steve Hughes is relatively new to California and in search of connections. A life-long geek and nerd into science fiction, Steampunk costumes, and role play, he takes a shopping suggestion for some items he needs and walks into "This and That". The store blows him away, but not nearly as much as the owner.

Luke Jones makes a living selling oddities, dry goods, and vintage clothing. His shop is full of treasures, so he knows a treasure seeker when he sees one. Before long he finds himself sharing more than just what's in his shop. High on a rooftop, surrounded by night blooming flowers, Luke shares more than mere merchandise with his customer. Will Steve and Luke forge the connection they need, or is it all just role-play?

Find out today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coming Out Wolf - Julia Talbot Charity Sip

Hey y'all!

I'm afraid I didn't get a mini-interview because I was a little late with my story. I wasn't sure I'd get it done, which would have been sad, as I've done a Charity Sip every year, and you know, I own half the company...

Anyhoo, I chose the characters I did for my Sip, Coming Out Wolf, because I like to believe in this day and age, being gay can be the least of your worries. In the case of Steve, he comes out of the closet as gay because he has to hide being a werewolf... he wants honesty in at least part of his life

You can find it here!

As for why the It Gets Better project appeals to me, I'm of the age where all the goth and punk kids banded together in a freak-friendly group, where sexuality was fluid and where were picked on about everything from our hair to who we kissed. I found acceptance there, though, and I feel like everyone deserves that kind of safe place, even if it's online.

Have a good one, y'all!

Julia Talbot
Home of the (not-so) ordinary hero

Bella Leone is running a contest today!

Bella Leone is running a contest for the Charity Sips today. Check out her blog for more details!

It Gets Better. :D

I can remember getting a brick thrown at me in high school while I had lunch with my then-girlfriend, C. I can remember a group of girls spray painting C's car.

I remember her smile and how holding her hand made me stupid and watching John Travolta movies and arguing about whether Staying Alive was better than Urban Cowboy. I remember a lot. ;-)

I can tell you, at some point, if you work at it, you find your life, your loves, your spot in the universe and, if you're lucky, you find your personal joy.

Thank goodness I get to live my joy every day.

My charity Sip is The Best Damn Thing. I hope y'all enjoy.

BA Tortuga
Because sometimes fistfights are foreplay :D

Micro-interview: Giselle Renarde

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
Whenever I write trans lesbian erotic romance, I tend to draw on my life with my girlfriend. Eclipse the Stars is a story about a post-op trans woman, Renata, and her actress-girlfriend Jody. The story grew out of frustration, I must admit. There were a couple weeks this summer when, no matter where we went together, my girl was greeted with open arms and "Great to see you again" while I was greeted with "Oh, hello. It's nice to meet you." I bet a lot of readers can relate to that burning feeling in the pit of your stomach when you're suppressing the words, "We've already met! We've met, like, five times! Why don't you remember me?" Next to my beautiful girlfriend with her full and bubbly personality, I was starting to feel invisible, so I brought that to my fiction. By the way, the scene in the restaurant with the "old ladies" all calling Jody by the wrong name (Josie or Julie or Judy)--that totally happened to me. It's one of those situations that's only funny after the fact. :-)

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
For the past three or four years, I've been donating royalties from my writing to an organization called LGBT Youthline. When the opportunity arose to get onboard with other authors to raise funds for It Gets Better, I was all over that. I love Youthline and will surely continue to give to them (and encourage others to do the same), but they are a local charity serving queer youth in the province I live in. It Gets Better has a larger reach.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
I've really lucked out as a queer woman: I have a family that's not just supportive or open-minded, but very nonchalant about who is gay or straight, or what your gender identity is, etc. I think my aunts and uncles have more lesbian friends than I do, to be honest. When I was a child, I had a strong personality and strong friendships. Calling me a lesbian (which, yes, did happen) tended to result in the name-caller being chastised by the peer group. And then I went to an arts high school with a lesbian principal, and gay was okay all the way. So, while I don't have a poor little queer girl story, I realize my case is so rare it probably sounds like a fantasy to a lot of people. I'm not saying my young life was perfect--I grew up in a household with addiction, where food money was spent on booze and violence was common--but through all that, I was still encouraged to be my most authentic self. Maybe my "It Gets Better" message is that a life of authenticity without apology really can exist.

Giselle Renarde's Eclipse the Stars reviewed by Sally at Bibrary

Micro-interview: PD Singer

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
I had been the uncomfortable witness to a few real-life renditions of Tyler's episodes, and was so angry at the perpetrator that I had to write out the wrath. It struck me that refusing to tolerate this sort of treatment was a real step to life getting better.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
I would have written this story anyway, and I would have participated in the Sip Blitz anyway, so the conjunction of themes was a happy accident. Using fiction to do some good in the world strikes me as a win for everyone involved.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
I think we all know someone, or several someones, who went through varying degrees of hell for being who they were. I come from what could be considered "Matthew Shepherd territory" and two young men who are very dear to me had a very rugged time of it. They are both out and happy now, but they certainly could have used some hope when they were young and couldn't see past getting the hell out of Dodge. It shouldn't be that hard for young people now—I'd like to spread some hope.
Happy reading!

PD Singer's Training Cats reviewed by Sean Michael

Micro-interview: Kathryn Scannell

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
As usual, I started out with too much plot. I had this idea since I wanted to make this a contemporary story of using some recent experiences at my day job as background. Then it became a question of what kind of environmental disaster to inflect on my characters. I decided to go with a man-made one (a falling satellite) because I wanted the story to revolve around people, not around a struggle against something like the aftermath of a flood or a tornado. Originally I was thinking of having some bad guys trying to get their hands on the satellite, but it became quickly obvious that I couldn't do justice to that in 8000 words. I may write a sequel later.... So I cut way back to the single plot line of having to go back to his old home town because it made such a lovely graphic way to demonstrate how much better things *had* gotten for my hero.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
I've done it every year since I sold my first story to Torquere. There are so many good causes, and it's nice to be able to give something back. Also it pushes me a little outside my comfort zone - usually I write fantasy, and for most of the themes, fantasy just doesn't feel appropriate, at least for me. Your mileage may vary. So it ends up being a win for everyone - we give some money to a good cause, I get that little extra push that makes me stretch and grow as a writer, and hopefully the readers get a fun story.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
I feel a little out of place on this one, because I've really been amazingly lucky in my life. I didn't have an awful high school experience - there were some issues here and there, but mostly I didn't care. I participate in much of the social life - perhaps if I had, it would have been messier. I saw high school as a stepping stone, a place where I'd do the right things to get myself into college and walk away from the small minds in the blue collar town where I grew up.

When I finally figured out that I wanted a relationship with another woman, my family were great. When Beth and I got married, both her parents and my Dad were part of the ceremony. I know my Mom would have loved to be, but she'd passed on a couple of years before NH made gay marriage legal. I have great, supportive co-workers, several of whom were at the wedding too.

So I see writing a story for this particular charity as sort of a way to say "Thank you" to whatever providence put me where I am now, and to offer a little something back. Maybe it will make the world a little better place for someone else.

Find Kathryn Scannell's Salvage Operation at Torquere Press or our sponsor, Rainbow Ebooks

Micro-interview: Christopher West

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
A dear friend of mine is a Pagan priest, and a discussion we had on his celebration of Samhain is where the inspiration for "Fierce Love" began. From there the setting developed as thoughts of Pagan rites drew my imagination back to an old, pastoral world where the remnants of Celtic belief endure in a post-Roman era. Erim Owenson, from whose perspective the story is told, is in some ways a character molded after myself. He is an outsider and a non-believer who has fallen unquestionably for the Celtic-born Adair, whose faith is an integral part of his identity. Learning how that love can bridge the divide between them is the focus of "Fierce Love", and will be a continuing thread in their story going forward. (Yes, I've got more planned for these two. Much more.)

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
Shortly after my first sip ("Swapped") was published in July, there was a call for submissions posted on the Torquere LJ Community. When I saw that this year's beneficiary was the It Gets Better project, I knew I had to contribute something for it. It spurred me to write "Fierce Love" in its entirety in a single week (a feat for me, because I tend to take a long time writing) to make the submission deadline.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
This is where I got hung up on whether or not to do this interview. It involves bringing up a time in my life I'm still not completely comfortable talking about, but then perhaps its time to let go of the past a bit more. I've been a supporter of the It Gets Better project from the start because not so long ago I was one of the teens it tries to reach out to. It's been less than a decade since I graduated high school, and the scars still hurt from the teasing and isolation I felt as the only openly gay student in my class. There were a few times that I seriously considered suicide, and my heart breaks for every young person that has chosen that path. What saved me was knowing I was never alone.

I am forever grateful for having gay men to look up to, in my own family, who had the courage to come out and show me that life does get better when you embrace it. I am forever grateful to the family of Matthew Shepherd, who turned their tragedy into a movement that proved love can overcome hatred, and compassion is the greatest tool against ignorance. Today, mandatory regrets aside, I'm happy with the life I've tread and the circle of friends I've found my place in. I have high aspirations for the future -- Still looking for Mr. Right, but hey, that just means more stories about sexy men to sate me, right? ;-)

Christopher West's Fierce Love reviewed by Eden Winters

Mini-interview: Serena Yates

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
Unfortunately, there are so many situations that drive GLBT youths to think about ending their lives. I was looking for one that as many people as possible might be able to identify with. The one I ended up choosing is fairly typical, I think. Sam has been rejected by his family, works very hard to pull his life together, but everything is so fragile that the smallest thing has the potential to destroy it all. Once Sam was 'in my head', so to speak, everything else fell into place for me.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
I think the It Gets Better Project is such a great in initiative! How could I not want to help?

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
Yes, very much so. It means a lot to me that there are people out there, working to make sure more youths know there is a future for them that holds more promise than they can imagine. I hope many, many lives are saved and made better through the work they do.

Serena Yates's Sam's New Family reviewed by Keirnan Kelly

Mini-interview: Nancy M. Griffis

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
I wanted to do something to do with Don't Ask, Don't Tell since it's so timely as well as touch on the subject matter of the charity itself. And I love scifi. It only seemed natural to put the two together in a kind of "flash forward" story.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
It's just a wonderful charity! Even though it's better now, a lot of kids still need to know they have options in life and will have even more when they're adults.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
Yes and no. I didn't have any bullying that had to do specifically with being queer, mine was more just for being socially awkward. But it's hard for any kid at that age, I recognize that now. I was lucky in that I had a really good, if small, support network at the time.

Nancy M. Griffis's Home Fires Burning reviewed by Nicole Wilkinson

Mini-interview: Emily Moreton

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the
Charity Sip Blitz?
Honestly? I cheated - I'd already written the first section and submitted it somewhere else, where it was rejected. When I saw the call for the Charity Sip Blitz, it seemed like the story would fit - except for being about 3000 words too short. Any sensible person would think, "Well, you wrote the end of the story already, why not start from the beginning?" I figured, why not go backwards to the beginning, which was what I ended up doing.

Going Under is about a trans guy meeting, dating, and eventually getting naked with the first man he's been with since transitioning. It's also about being part of the queer community, and I think that was what appealed to me about the getting better theme and this story. I'm an avid slash fanfic reader and writer, and what sometimes annoys me about fic is that the slash couple are the only gay people in their world. The queer community is a big part of being queer for a lot of people, and a big part of things getting better, so I tried to reflect that.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
I participated last year, and ended up loving the story I wrote, as well as getting some lovely reviews for it, so that was part of my motivation. The main thing though was wanting to do something for a good cause. I've participated in a number of fanfic auctions to raise funds for various disaster efforts, and I love being able to use something that I'm good at to support a good cause.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
It does: right after I graduated, I worked for a year as a residential tutor at an international school in the UK. I was responsible for a house of teenage girls, and sometimes also looked after the neighbouring house, when their resident tutor was away. I'll always remember sitting in a residential staff meeting and our head of residential students saying that he wanted to put two of our teenage girls into counselling because "they're still young enough that we might change them." In other words, make them not be gay.

I was the youngest and newest member of the staff, the only gay person on the staff that I knew of, and well aware that the school would not approve if they knew that about me. I remember shaking when I said that we couldn't do that, and being so grateful to be backed up by my fellow teachers. The girls didn't get put into counselling; I don't think they even knew that had been a threat for a while. I don't know where they are now or what they're doing, but they're who I think of when I hear 'it gets better.' And I really hope that, for them, it did.

Emily Moreton's Going Under reviewed by J. Rocci

Micro-interview: Nicole Wilkinson

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
It wasn't easy. I wanted to at least use characters that could be familiar to readers but my one published work wasn't really suited for the theme, so I dove into my free reads and found a pairing that fit the theme perfectly. Once I decided I would work with Jason and Kale, I had to choose between whether I wanted to show Jason or Kale's side of things because I didn't have enough room for both of them. I went with Jason's because Kale's is far more complicated. Jason's story is practically the epitome of Getting Better so I was happy to explore his future.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
I'm a big fan of the It Gets Better project so I was happy to help in the only way I possibly could. My financial means are limited, but I am very capable of writing a fic and hoping that inspires someone else with a bigger purse than mine. I wanted to participate last year, but the muses weren't being helpful for the theme, so I was very happy I could participate this year.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
Very much so. I used to loathe attending school because the bullying was so terrible. I had the triple curse of being different, being poor, and being smart. So I was a scruffy looking teacher's pet and that pretty much painted a target on my back. Children are very unkind to each other. But now, outside of that closed environment, as an adult I've learned that high school is not the entirety of my existence. That things do, indeed, get better.

Nicole Wilkinson's Four Years On reviewed by PD Singer

Micro-Interview: CB Conway

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
Me choosing anything? Ha! I'm absolutely powerless when it comes to Tom and Mischa. So when Mischa decided that Tom should meet his family (well, it was an order; they're about the only people who can order Mischa around), I decided to tag along for the ride. I found out a lot about Russian Midsummer traditions along the way - and a bit about Mischa's romantic nature.

By the way, Tom and Mischa are the kinky ones, as well. I'm completely innocent.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
Well, on a more serious note: I'm ashamed to live in a world where people aren't treated equally. It goes against my sense of justice. And kids being bullied for being who they are? It's about time that stops.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
Yes, but not in the way you might think. My childhood was kind of tough, and I really wish that somebody would have told me back then that things would change, that I would survive and come out on the other side being reasonably whole, much stronger and very capable of pursuing my dreams. Hope is a very powerful tool, and I really think that the It Gets Better project creates hope.

CB Conwy's Of Russian Myth and Lore reviewed by Christopher West

Teammates by M. Durango

My contribution to this year's Charity Sip Blitz is Teammates, which actually started out as a Christmas story several months before we even started talking about the charity sip project. Then Cory told Jeff, "It gets better," and the proverbial light bulb went off in my head. In addition to supporting the It Gets Better Project, I've been a huge Dan Savage fangirl ever since I saw him circa 1995--in drag, wearing a priest's cassock, and performing gay marriages--speaking at my college.

Here's the story blurb: When Cory’s car breaks down just as he’s heading home for winter break, the last thing he expects is Jeff, the school’s star basketball player -- and Cory’s secret crush -- to offer him a ride. Cory’s even more surprised to find out his feelings might be returned, but Jeff’s parents’ angry reaction to Jeff’s coming out may pose an obstacle. Will Cory have the chance to show Jeff that things get better or will Jeff run back into the closet?

You can also buy it here or here.

Micro-interview: Lydia Nix

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
Originally I had another idea in mind, something a bit more fantastical, but it didn't work out, so I just used some of the same characters and themes for a different story. I wanted to write something focusing on the current issues of gay rights and try to portray those issues in a future where things are more positive.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
I think it's a wonderful idea, and a great way for me as an author to contribute my skills to something worthwhile.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
I have a lot of gay friends and I'm so glad to see things really are getting better for them--we still have a long walk to take to get to the civil rights that all human beings deserve no matter their sexuality, but at least we're starting to take the first steps.

Find Lydia Nix's Miracle on LaSalle Street at Torquere Press or our sponsor, Rainbow Ebooks

Micro-interview: Bella Leone

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
I actually came up with Eli, the main character first while watching coverage of the royal wedding and someone caught Prince Harry handing a toy from his pocket to a young flower girl. From there it just bloomed. The plot evolved from watching my husband get hit on at the liquor store as he looked for a new brew and a beautiful, tall man tried to help him/hit on him while I hid around the corner loving every minute of it. Somehow it all melted together into Happy Hour.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
My friend Kerry Freeman brought up the idea to our writing group. It just seemed like the perfect way to start writing professionally and help a great cause.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
I have taught for years and the one thing I can't get used to is hearing about suicide or bullying in young kids. Even when I taught primary school, there were bullies. It is too prevalent. I was teased as a child/adolescent and it truly changes your outlook on life, you can't help but be affected. To be told you aren't good enough or aren't attractive enough, it just happens too often and there needs to be more education and more help to change the way we all react to each other. Bullying isn't just a kid problem sadly. I'm glad I didn't give up and I'm glad I can help others realize the truth that it does get better.

Bella Leone's Happy Hour reviewed by CB Conwy

Micro-interview: M. Raiya

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
This is my thunderstorm story. I wrote it back in June, when Vermont was locked in a pattern of torrential rain, wild thunder and lightning, strong winds, and flooding. It was impossible to think of anything else, when every night I went to bed worried I wouldn't be able to get down our road the next morning, and all day at work, I worried that I wouldn't be able to get home where my pets were waiting. So when I sat down to write this Sip, it was inevitable that a storm was a key element. The characters and plot were born of the storm -- the inner reflecting the outer, so to speak. The day after I finished the first draft, I honestly drove home into the exact scenario my characters faced with water flowing over the road (okay, not quite so deep, but almost). I felt like there was no difference between my life and my fiction while I wrote this, and even right now, as I sit down to answer these questions, there is thunder in the distance. There is really something weird going on here.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
I like to feel like I'm making a difference, somewhere, somehow, with my writing, and this just feels like a good thing to do.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
Hell, yeah. I was bullied one year in middle school, badly. I was taunted, hit, shoved, had my possessions stolen and destroyed, and I was pushed down a flight of stairs. The worst thing that happened was having my stall door in the bathroom kicked open, then having the lights shut out and being left alone in the dark to find my way out. I became absolutely terrified every moment that I was at school. My parent's advice didn't help. The teacher I told only made things worse. Finally, and I am so incredibly grateful to her, a friend took charge and forced me into my guidance councilor's office, where she proceeded to explain what was going on. Fortunately, the guidance councilor acted -- the next day, she got all the girls who'd been bullying me, and their parents, into her office, and that was the end of it. Sort of. Twelve-year-old me didn't know I needed some help getting over it, and schools didn't think about that kind of thing then. I know I still have scars inside from what happened that year. I can't go into the building today without feeling sick. Whenever I go down that flight of stairs, I hang on tightly to the railing and feel the old pain in my ankle, and when I finally made myself go into that bathroom again, thirty years later, I burst into tears. But they were good tears, tears of thankfulness that I survived. Because, without what my friend did for me, I don't think things would have turned out all right.

M. Raiya's My Boyfriend Has a Scar reviewed by Missouri Dalton

Micro-interview: Josephine Myles

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the
Charity Sip Blitz?
Jez and Steve were two characters I wrote about in First Impressions, a Torquere Sip published in January. In that first story I made a few references to Jez's difficult upbringing as the child of very pushy working class parents who wanted him to better himself. Jez had always felt like a failure for not living up to their dreams. This seemed like the ideal topic to explore for the theme of Getting Better, because I truly believed Jez's life was better now - Steve just had to find a way to convince him of that.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
As I can't currently afford to give much in the way of financial donations to charity, this is my way of contributing something. There are many worthwhile causes out there, but this one really speaks to me. I'm an eternal optimist, and I'd love to help in any way I can to let gay teenagers know that life will get easier as they get out in the larger world and make networks of friends who will accept them just the way they are.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for
I've spent my whole life feeling like an oddball who doesn't fit in, but I'm so much happier with that now I'm older. I'm also at ease with my bisexuality, which was something that terrified me when I was a teenager. Life does get better if we have hope, cultivate good friendships and listen to sage advice. With age and wisdom, most of us learn to be comfortable with who we are.

Josephine Myles's Last Chance reviewed by Kathryn Scannell

Micro-interview: Missouri Dalton

Question1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
Well, there was a toss-up in my brain about it. I was initially thinking I would do a short from The Grave Watchers universe, but ended up playing a game of, write stuff on a page, close eyes and point.

I think it turned out pretty well given the method. It was a story I was itching to write.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
The charity is what sold me in the end. If there was any chance that I was going to help the It Gets Better project I was going to take it.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
I’m a pessimistic optimist. That is, I’m insanely certain that some things will turn out perfectly and absolutely sure that other things will bomb horribly. My writing career, for instance, is a constant battle between the two extremes.

I’m always telling myself, “The worst thing they can say is no.” It’s a little mantra I repeat whenever I get an email or letter from a publisher or agent. Rejection is part of the business. Torquere Press was the first place to really say yes to me. They showed me things can get better during a very stressful time in my life. The theme fit so well with my mood at the time there was no way I could not try my hand at putting it all down on paper in some way.

In a snarky, paranormal mish-mash, fun way, of course.

Missouri Dalton's Fiends in Low Places reviewed by Nancy M. Griffis

Micro-interview: JM Cartwright

Question 1: How did you choose the plot and characters of your story for the Charity Sip Blitz?
It was a natural fit for me to go back to Stephen and Con from A Change of Scenery. They were actually the first couple I created, though the publishing was out of sequence to my writing. I had introduced a small secondary character in the Scenery book named Jesse James Callender. When the author group chose the It Gets Better project, Jesse called out, "Pick me! Pick me!" As you'll read, he has questions on some life issues, and he turns to Stephen and Con to provide answers.

Question 2: Why did you decide to participate in the Charity Sip Blitz?
It seems little enough to me to do something I enjoy, writing a story, and have that become a vehicle to raise funds for a worthwhile organization. Folks who volunteer their time are far more dedicated, I would argue, than little ole me contributing a few words in print. Plus, I enjoy contributing to the success of this event for Torquere. It's important that we enrich our communities and our world by giving of ourselves.

Question 3: Does the theme, It Gets Better, have any personal significance for you?
Beyond normal childhood angst (and parents divorcing when I was 12), I was spared the horrors I hear some kids report today. Why does it seem that bullying is all around us? Hopefully, the media is inaccurately stating the instances and the overall numbers. If not, then the IGB Project is needed even more than I thought. Nonetheless, I think all kids do need to hear, no matter what their particular problem is at the moment, that life does indeed get better. And it's usually because someone, somewhere along the way, does something that makes a difference in our lives. We either directly benefit from great advice, wisdom or intervention, or we learn about it through the selflessness of others. Children need someone to tell them, this too shall pass and your life will change. And they need the leadership of caring adults to shepherd them along the way.

JM Cartwright's The Book of Wisdom reviewed by Jane Davitt

Micro-Interview: KIL Kenny

The theme of this year's Blitz intrigued me because it challenges one of my "lies my mother told me." Mom was absolutely great at giving me a window "out" of my small home town--I always knew there was going to be more. When I got out there in that bigger world, though, I didn't get what I'd spent my adolescence dreaming about. I had assumed that the "more" would be "more of what I wanted," and that wasn't necessarily true.

This is part of what went into my characters. Kaz is an amiable and energetic guy. He doesn't have huge disappointments to deal with. He hangs out with people like himself. Rejection and loneliness are not big parts of his psyche. If someone had asked Kaz what his dream man was like, Devin would most certainly not have been it. Devin is defined by his rejection and loneliness, so much so that he often can't get out of his own way. Can Kaz allow himself to be shaken out of his complacencies? Can Devin, against all experience, take a helping hand when it's offered? If the "ever after" is not what you dreamed of, can it still become something you genuinely want? It's a pretty common theme in my stories, when all is said and done, and so the theme was a natural fit for me in that respect.

KIL Kenny's How Does Your Garden Grow reviewed by Lee Benoit

Training Cats, a Torquere Charity Sip

For this year's story, I was inspired to write the story of one of Keith and Dante's friends. Brent is part of the On Call circle, but his path is a bit rockier. Training Cats could be subtitled "The Case of the Missing Spine," but things do indeed get better for him.

The Blurb:

The gloss is off Brent's relationship with Tyler—the real man is showing through and his inside does not match the outside. Tyler's handsome and glamorous, but that's no longer enoughto overcome his selfishness. Brent's got a better chance of teaching a cat tosit and stay than of convincing Tyler to be thoughtful, and it's time to stop trying.

No longer distracted by appearances, a newly single Brent is finally ready to notice the considerate,steadfast man who's been part of the background too long.

The lights were going dim behind them once they got to the check-out. Brent told himself not to flinch at the total -- they were buying what they wanted and needed, it wasn't a problem. In fact, he could have a little indulgence of his own.

"I'll wait in line, and you please grab a bag of M&Ms, plain." Tyler lifted an eyebrow -- Brent didn't like having to cajole Tyler into walking forty feet. "You know what the green ones do…"

Stephen and Con from A Change of Scenery are back in my Charity Sip

Good morning/evening! I'm proud to be part of the 2011 Charity Sip Blitz, and am happy to offer a peek into Stephen and Con's lives, five years after A Change of Scenery. My nod to the It Gets Better Project is a story about staying true to one's dreams and following one's heart.

Stephen and Con are still hot together, but now Con's a tad jealous of Stephen's protege, the young Jesse James Callender. You'll remember him from Scenery. And when Con gets his attitude on, Stephen knows just what to do.

Read an excerpt here...

I hope you enjoy it, and please support our Blitz. Take a look at the It Gets Better Project website - they're doing great work.

Charity Sip: Eclipse the Stars, trans lesbian erotic romance

Trans lesbian erotic romance might not be the hottest ticket on the scene these days, but I've got my fingers crossed that one day it will be. I write it because it most closely reflects the life I lead. I know it, I write it. Hopefully the next step is... you read it?

Well, let's sweeten the deal, shall we? My newest transgender lesbian short, Eclipse the Stars, is part of Torquere's wonderful Getting Better Charity Blitz. What do you have to lose when all funds are going to It Gets Better?

I was lucky enough to get reviewed by Sally at Bibrary Book Lust, and of Eclipse the Stars, she says, "this is a very touching story, and one that demonstrates a kind of understanding and compassion that is so rarely found in erotic fiction." There's plenty more to this blowing review, and you can read the whole thing at

Jody and Renata have been together since the start of Renata's transition, and so much has changed in that time. Jody used to be the beautiful, successful actress, and Renata the mousy, insecure, girlfriend. Ever since Renata's surgery, though, she's gained confidence, stopped worrying about passing as female and, in Jody's eyes, blossomed into an incredibly gorgeous woman. Now Renata's gaining all the attention while Jody's getting less acting work and worrying about fading looks. Can Jody set her jealousy aside to give Renata the love, affection, and commitment she deserves?

You can buy it right now at Torquere Press!