Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Excerpt: Gingerbread Men

I've had a few best friends story with Torquere. One of them is a holiday short called 'Gingerbread Men.'

Jonas is a pagan who's been in love with his best friend Keith for a long time. When Yule comes around, Keith wants to spend it with Jonas. Shocked, considering Keith doesn't have a religious bone in his body, Jonas agrees--only to get the shock of his life.



"You working tonight?"

"Hm?" Jonas Riddle looked up to find his best friend, Keith Holloway, standing beside his table. "Oh, hi. Um, yeah. We've got a guest palm reader coming in, so I'm running the counter while everybody else focuses on her."

"Not gonna get your palm read?" Keith asked as he sat down. He stole a French fry off Jonas' plate and sat back while he munched.

Jonas shrugged. "Nah. Not much point in it. Besides, it's Yule -- gonna be busy enough up front to worry about my fortune."

"So what're you doing for Yule?"

Eyebrow lifting, Jonas stared at his friend. "Since when do you make plans for the holidays?"

It was Keith's turn to shrug and he snatched another fry. "Because if I don't, you'll sit at home and be bored."

"I will not be bored," Jonas countered. "I've got plenty to do. Decorating, making gingerbread, ritual--"

"Oh, gingerbread? As in the real thing?"

"Uh, yeah. I don't buy the store stuff, you know that." Jonas eyed him warily. "Why?"

"Want help?"

Jonas just blinked. "You don't know how to cook!"

"So? I can fetch stuff, stir, that kind of thing."

Jonas sat back and folded his arms, giving up on his lunch since half his French fries had vanished anyway. "What happened? Couldn't find a date to take to your folks' place?"

Keith gave him a look that was half-annoyed, half-smirk. "No. I never have trouble finding dates, Mr. I'm-waiting-for-the-right-guy. I just thought you might like company seeing as how you refuse to go with me."

"Your parents think I'm the anti-Christ, Keith."

"Never stopped you from spending the night when we were kids, now, did it?"

Howdy, folks!

First off, I meant to post a lot earlier today, but the Migraine God decided otherwise. Thankfully, though, it's gone. :)

Now, onto goodies...

A friend on Facebook recently shared a picture that sparked a massive plot bunny. It wasn't anything paranormal or kinky--it was just two guys and the most amazing four lines below the pic. (I don't know who the photo originally came from, but if anyone knows, please tell me.)

I immediately thought: these guys need a story.

In my mind, they're best friends, have been for a while. One harbors a love that goes far deeper than friendship, but fear keeps him from saying a word. In the meantime, he watches his friend go through various flings, never once refusing to offer his support when a relationship turns sour. It takes a tragedy for the best friend to realize what he needs has been right in front of him all along.

What is it about best-friends-turned-lovers stories that tugs at the heart?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Farewell with a Tease

Before CB, Syd and I wish you a good night (may it be free from life-altering invasions of any kind) I thought I'd share a snapshot of some of the goodies in the post-apocalyptic gift box:

Here is something that's not in the gift box:
Though perhaps you will agree that painter George Quaintance had the right idea for a survival skill! What skill do you consider indispensable for surviving in a dystopian future?

Remember, all commenters to Syd, CB's, or my posts today (including this one) will be entered in next week's random draw for the gift basket (one entry per commenter per post). Drawing will take place after 2/6/12 and will include everyone who comments by 11:59 p.m. EST on that date.

Thanks for being with us today!

Tarin's World

The end of the world has come and gone in Tarin's World.

Civilization has collapsed and various isolated pockets are picking up the pieces. In one area of what was the United States, a small band of boys lives in the woods. Their main goals in life are to stay warm and fed in winter, and to not be caught by the neighboring men. The men are "civilized" and have a barracks like existence on a crumbling college campus. Tarin can't think of anything worse than having to live inside. But no boy has managed to escape the men past his seventh summer in the woods.

Our hero, Tarin, is twice caught – he's encountered a man by the lake and has barely escaped. His prized knife (win it in the contest!) was left in the beak-faced man's thigh. We can all guess who Tarin is destined to be caught by in that Fall's boy hunt!

No one knows where boys come from -- but every Spring a happy, boisterous band of eleven and twelve year olds arrives in the woods –- and every Fall the oldest boys are caught by the men. The boys' cries to their Lady for help are unheeded -- the men's Mother is more powerful…

Tarin's World (Out of the Woods and Twice Caught) is a place of barely understood old technology and equally confused new superstitions. The men and the boys agree on one thing: women are out there and they're all powerful!

Tarin's World was inspired by an odd mix of the TV show Life After People, Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, old English folk songs, and John Preston's old bdsm classic The Heir. Eclectic is my middle name.


More about the Apocalyptic Gift Basket!

Hi, CB Conwy here desperately trying to make my first blog post look decent. Bear with me!

Lee has already broken the news of The Incredible Apocalyptic Gift Basket (or should that be The Incredibly Apocalyptic Gift Basket?), so let me introduce my reason to take part in it: The Himiko books. To my knowledge the only books ever created in the sub-genre "sigh-fi".

It's not that I don't love my characters; I really do. We have the incredibly annoying Pietr and the foul-tempered Matt, and they're just as terrible (and terribly hot) together as it sounds. Unfortunately, Pietr happens to be an alien, and Matt isn't.

So, aliens - that means sci-fi, right? Except that "Himiko" isn't. The starting point was when I began thinking "what if" (that's how my books almost always begin, by the way). This time I was thinking "what if Plato really was right." 2500 years ago, Plato had a theory that we're all one half of an original whole being - that is, our other half is out there somewhere, and we aren't whole until we find him or her. What fascinated me about Plato is that this theory is still so strong in our culture: Every romance novel deals with finding your other half. Then I thought: What if Plato really was right - but not for the reasons we thought? Add a mysterious object in space, an alien invasion, and one annoying alien in particular, and you have the outline of "Himiko." Here's something about the story:

Have you ever wondered why love stories talk about finding "your better half"? Matt hadn’t, really. Not until humanity got its biggest surprise ever: the arrival of intelligent life from space. When Matt is "harvested" -- kidnapped -- by the Himika, he's terrified. Nothing makes sense until he meets Pietr. Well, he does a lot more than just meet Pietr. Pietr may be the most annoying, smug, sarcastic humanoid Matt has ever met, but it turns out he's also Matt's bonded mate. Because Plato was right. Everybody really does have a better half, a soul mate, and against everyone's better judgment, it seems Pietr belongs with Matt.

But learning how to communicate the Himiko way (preferably without killing himself or Pietr in the process) is hard, and Matt's mentor, Aki, might be even more aggravating than Pietr. It doesn't help when Matt develops powers that not even the Himika understand. Matt isn't sure he's going to make it -- or if he'll have to let Pietr go in order to keep his mate safe and sane.

Giving up isn't an option, though. Even though Matt's pretty sure that Pietr's the most annoying alien in history, he's also sure that his mate is more important to him than anything else. But Matt's mental strength is increasing, and Pietr can no longer hide the one secret he's been desperate to keep. Matt's world falls apart, and he's not sure if he's ever going to be able to put it back together.

But he might not have a choice. The hostility between humans and Himika is increasing, and Matt is forced to face some unwelcome truths about his own nature in order to ensure not only his own survival, but that of his fellow human beings as well.

So, sigh-fi or alternate reality - or just another love story: I hope you'll like my crazy jumble of genres. The Himiko story is in two parts: "Himiko: Bonding" and "Himiko: Warrior".

Did that put you in a sufficiently apocalyptic mood? If so, post a comment and you'll get a chance to win The Incredible Apocalyptic Gift Basket (sorry. I really like saying that).

Meme Monday - Winter Recipes

I keep hearing people talking about foods that are supposed to be eaten during the cold winter months...My opinion if it tastes good eat it whenever but that could be why I'm at the gym so often ;)

So what winter/cold weather recipes/meals do you like?

After World's End

I'm a Cold War baby, so I grew up with the specter of nuclear annihilation as a very present (if unlikely and highly propagandized) danger. My schools had fallout shelters. I knew people -- zealots to be sure -- who had bomb shelters and evacuation plans. Put that feature of my childhood together with a nerdy passion for high fantasy and world building (Tolkein! LeGuin!) and I think I can explain the roots of my interest in future dystopian settings.

 My most sustained effort has been my full-length novel SERVANT OF THE SEASONS. One of my early beta readers described it as a "post-apocalyptic sod-busting yarn" which is pretty accurate. I wanted to write the sort of bucolic pioneering or frontier adventure tales I'd loved as a kid (think Laura Ingalls Wilder or, sheepishly, James Fenimore Cooper), set in a post-apocalyptic landscape where the land has been deliberately ruined in an effort to oblige skilled workers to remain inside hermetic domes. The Maxwell Armfield images on this page get across the tone I sought, I think.

Here's the blurb:
When architect Mèco is turfed, or ejected from his protected but autocratic Dome, he finds himself adrift in a dying and dangerous land. With no choice but to scrape his survival from an abandoned farm, he tries to improve his prospects by acquiring an animal to pull his plow.

What he ends up with instead are two slaves, a bonded pair of Novigi, a strange people Mèco's never heard of. As the land slowly awakens by their combined efforts, so does Mèco's sense of himself as a man and maybe as a lover. But when their fragile home is threatened by brutal gangs of Salters, Mèco and his friends discover being servants of the seasons may not be enough to protect their new way of living and loving. They must become warriors.

It turns out I'm not the only Torquere author who loves imagining what might transpire after the world we're familiar with changes forever. Syd McGinley will be along later to share a bit about OUT OF THE WOODS and CB Conwy will share the HIMIKO series.

The three of us put together a prize package filled with essentials for surviving alien invasions, zombie apocalypses, or pear-shaped camping trips, including books! And duct tape! Comment on any of our posts today to be entered in a random drawing in a week's time. One entry per commenter per post.

I'll post a pic of the package later today. In the mean time, in SERVANT OF THE SEASONS Mèco and his lovers live in a sod house in a riverbank. They call it the turvy. Where would you live after the end?

Coming This Week

Coming on Wednesday:

The Hanged Man's Ghost by Missouri Dalton (Novel, M/M)
Hungry by Glyn Soitino (Short Story, M/M)
Soaring With Hawk, a Velvet Glove story by Sean Michael (Novella, M/M)
When Love Walked In by Charlie Cochet (Short Story, M/M)

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Where of It All

The clock has been my enemy today, so for those in some timezones I've definitely missed my Flashback Friday date with y'all. But for the rest of us (and of course for you all living in tomorrow!) I hope late is better than never.

For today's Flashback, I thought I'd bring back some of my stories with unusual settings. I've been lucky enough to travel, study, and work in some hella awesome places, and the impact they had on me was deep and wide. I try to bring a sense of place -- and an attendant sense of wonder -- to all my fiction.

Why not judge for yourself with these backlist titles set in Cuba, Kenya, and Appalachia?

Commenters to this post will be entered in a random drawing for a $5 Torquere gift certificate, to be drawn over the weekend and announced here and on the Torquere Social Yahoo Group.

My very first published story was THE HUSTLER PRINCE, set in the Cuba of the 1990s.

Martín, an American anthropologist in his early thirties, is settled in his life if still bruised from his latest break up. Then he visits Cuba on a fact-finding mission and discovers Alexei, a charming young man with hidden scars. Alexei introduces Martín to his dangerous and what had begun as an attraction deepens into love. Returning home and leaving Alexei behind nearly kills Martin. 

Then Alexei takes matters into his own hands. Fighting to keep Alexei with him in the States isn't going to be easy but there's nothing Martín won't do to keep Alexei safe, even if it means asking help from a man he despises.

Also set in Cuba was BAILAME, the AZUL Color Box:
A principal dancer with a Havana company, Lola misses his big chance to defect from post-Soviet Cuba because of an injury. Left behind by his faithless lover, Lola finds his health and attitude improving as he develops a friendship with his mysterious doctor, Adán.

Adán has a secret, though, one he's guarded from everyone since he returned from medical training in Mexico. If Adán's secret identity doesn't destroy their relationship, the vicissitudes of Lola's job might. When Lola gets the chance to dance again, will he choose Adán, or his career?

My time in East Africa was a while back, but even so some of the settings and anecdotes in ASKARI (the SMOKE Color Box) are closely based on my own experiences.
Noble is an American medical anthropologist who wants to save the world. His work in Kenya is off to a slow start until he accidentally moves into a brothel. The night guard, Harry, is more than what he seems, and soon he’s helping Noble take his research, and love life, to a whole new level.

Their work among the poorest of Nairobi’s poor is challenging, and they find great comfort in each other until an old crush calls Noble away and sinister forces mass against him and Harry. From slums and whorehouses to game parks and Indian Ocean beaches, this isn’t the tour books’ Kenya, and Harry and Noble aren’t your ordinary couple! Can simple love triumph against the complex forces of corruption, prejudice, and public health crises? Or is it just a curl of smoke, ready to be blown away

Last but not least, I did a lot of research for my story for the anthology SOMEPLACE IN THIS WORLD, partly because I've never lived in Appalachia, but because PACK HORSE was my first historical story, set during the Great Depression.
Wendall’s congressman father exiles him to the hinterland to ‘make himself useful’ after a series of indiscretions. Working as a pack horse librarian, Wendall meets Henry, and the isolated man changes Wen’s mind about getting back home.

Tell me what you think: Do you sometimes choose stories based upon their settings? What settings excite you? What settings do you avoid? What places do you wish your favorite authors would use in a story?

Thanks for having me this evening!  Have a Flashy Friday, everyone!

Lee xo

The Romance Studio Release Party TODAY!

Stop over at the TRS Release Party and join us for some great conversation!


We also welcome Lee Benoit who is hosting the Flashback Friday today on the blog :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Saying goodbye!

I've had a great time hosting the blog today! Remember: anyone who comments on any of my posts today will be put into a random drawing to win one of my full-length novels: winner's choice! Either my contemporary erotic romance From Morocco to Paris or my urban fantasy Black Shore of the White City.

Additionally, anyone who comments to this final post will be put in a drawing for my Halloween sip Ghost Walk--a spooky, sexy, bite-sized bit of fun!

Just because I'm leaving doesn't mean you can't still catch me around: stop by my blog or website and say hi, anytime! I love talking to readers and other authors. I'll also be back for the lovefest on this blog in February!

Have a great day!

Lydia Nyx online: http://www.lydianyx.com/
Lydia's blog: http://lydianyx.blogspot.com/

Short stories: nibbles instead of full meals!

I'm published in several Torquere anthologies, as well as having a couple stand-alone shorts. If you like some of your reads more bite-sized, perhaps I have something that will tempt your palate:

Impasto - Part of the Mine Anthology

Alexander is a vampire and his human lover–and dearest possession–Laurent has finally agreed to be turned. While in London so Laurent can visit his mother one last time as a human, Alexander sits in the darkness of their hotel room contemplating Laurent’s beauty in post-coital slumber. Alexander endeavors to paint a portrait of him in words in his well-weathered notebook, but despite observing all the trappings of their lives together, and Laurent himself, he finds only one word can encapsulate him: mine.

Learn more about and purchase Mine here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2883

Miracle on LaSalle Street - A Getting Better charity short


Illinois has just legalized gay marriage and Danny is about to obtain a license with his partner Eric–a dream come true for both of them. On his way to City Hall in Chicago, Danny meets a curious, quiet young man in the LaSalle Street station. Though a seemingly innocuous meeting, Danny doesn’t realize the encounter will change both their lives, in an even bigger way than Danny’s life is already changing.

Learn more about and purchase Miracle on LaSalle Street here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=79_111&products_id=3349

And learn about Torquere Press' Changing Lives project here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=79_111

Ghost Walk - A Halloween Sip

Cory Phillips is spending a semester studying abroad in London. In need of a job, he lands a position as a clerk in a gift shop that caters to tourists on London’s famous ghost walks. There he meets Alexi Lovegood, a charming and handsome man who plays the ghost of Sir Donovan Cartwright on one of the tours. As romance blossoms amid the campy fun, something spooky in the mist of London’s streets threatens to intervene…

Learn more about and purchase Ghost Walk here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=79_107&products_id=3373

Mr. Black and the Expo - Part of the Shifting Steam Anthology

Gerard Killaly Black is more interested in travel than science, more enticed by adventure than invention. Reluctantly, he returns from exploring the globe to his hometown of Chicago in order to see his father’s invention appear as the highlight of the 1890 New World Scientific Expo. Accompanying Gerard is his lover Jack, on the run after robbing a South African museum and able to transform into a wolf–a clever way to escape the authorities. At the expo, Gerard learns another inventor, the unscrupulous Professor Monahan, is trying to bring Gerard’s father to ruin and steal his invention. Although Gerard would like to be anywhere but in the midst of civilization and caught up in political intrigue, he and Jack must work together to save his father’s life and preserve his hard work.

Learn more about and purchase Shifting Steam here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=3393

I will also be in Torquere's upcoming Po' Boys anthology: a New Orleans-themed anthology that was actually my very own brainchild while at the GayRomLit Retreat in New Orleans! So if you crave something a little more snack-sized, I've got a few treats for you!

Lydia Nyx online: http://www.lydianyx.com/
Lydia's blog: http://lydianyx.blogspot.com/

Sequels, threequels, and more...

As I said in my last post, my urban fantasy Black Shore of the White City is meant to be the first of a series. A trilogy, if my muse cooperates, more than that if it decides to go wild. I'm currently very nearly done with the first draft of the sequel, to be titled Red Rain in the White City. At least I hope it's approaching done since I'm at about 90,000 words currently (don't worry, it won't be that big--I chop off huge amounts in post-production)! I can see the climactic scene looming ahead, though I'm not entirely sure how it's going to play out. I'm going to have to follow the characters and see what exactly they're planning.

Very often I feel like a spectator at my writing--I don't know if that's disturbing or awesome.

The fun thing about sequels is, you get to expand on a world you already built the foundation for. Though the first book could conceivably stand on its own (though it would leave a lot of questions), there's concepts in the first book I'm happy I get to explore in the sequels. A few readers have told me they're looking forward to knowing more about the vampires in my world, which I only touch upon in the first book. I felt the same way and the vampires I've created do play a huge role in the second book, including the introduction of a prominent vampire character. I'm trying to put a different and unique 'spin' on vampires, so I'm excited to show my ideas off to the world.

Of course that means I need to finish the sequel...and the rewrites...and all the editing. But hey, I'm hoping to get it out this year!

I'm also going deeper into some of the relationships presented in the first book. Although Jude and Micha are a sort-of couple at the end of the first book, I've never been entirely sure if they'll stay together, or if there's something hot brewing between Jude and Sam as well. I don't think I could tell you at this point if Jude ends up with Micha, or Sam, or they end up a hugely dysfunctional threesome, because I just don't know. But I've had fun exploring their tensions, emotions, and sexy times in the sequel--as well as shedding some light on another relationship Sam is involved in (if you've read the first book, yes, that means we get to learn more about Muse).

As an author or a reader: how do you feel about sequels? Do you enjoy jumping back into an old familiar world and watching it grow? Do you like to see new characters come in and see the old ones deal with new issues, or find new ways to approach the ones they already had? Let's hear your thoughts!

Lydia Nyx online: http://www.lydianyx.com/
Lydia's blog: http://lydianyx.blogspot.com/

Lydia Nyx taking over the blog today!

Hello everyone! I'm Lydia Nyx and I'll be popping in throughout today. I'm going to tell you about some of the works I have published with Torquere and give a few things away. Torquere has published both of my full-length novels, which are radically different from each other. I tend to write a little bit of everything: from urban fantasy and paranormal, to traditional romance and erotica, to historical and dystopian. I can't seem to settle on one genre. But hey, I like to think that means a little something for everyone!

So without further ado, allow me to show off my two (very different) novels, both available from Torquere Press:

FROM MOROCCO TO PARIS (erotica/romance)
Zane Reed wants to be a movie director, but first he has to learn the ropes by taking every crap job in the industry. Employed as personal assistant to actor Elliot Butler, Zane hopes to further his education when Elliot works with famed director Saul Brennan on an epic movie about Napoleon Bonaparte. However, Zane gets an education in something else entirely when he meets Davey Alexander, one of the production's costumers.
Davey, vivacious and erotically-charged, shakes reluctant, sexually-confused Zane down to his core. The two begin a torrid affair which leaves Zane wrestling with demons from his past as much as wrestling with Davey in the sheets. Zane's feelings for Davey grow beyond base lust but the two can't get it together as Davey is tempestuously strong-willed and Zane is tortuously repressed. During filming, from Morocco, to Cairo, to Paris, the two struggle with desire and muddled emotions. In the end, Zane will have to overcome--and define--himself, if he wants to keep the most intriguing, passionate man he's ever known from walking out of his life.


Jude Coffin enjoys the finer things in life: an exceptional wine, a good whiskey, non-menthol cigarettes, and a cute guy with a great ass. Despite being a Siren—an 'aural captivator' for the supernaturally PC—he doesn't like paranormal politics, paranormal science, and certainly not paranormal activists.

Despite this, Jude and his similarly supernaturally-endowed twin brother Jason are lured to Chicago, to undergo study at the controversial Institute of Supernatural Research. Jude remembers why he stays away from the paranormal world when shortly after their arrival the Institute takes his brother hostage. His only hope of getting him back is enlisting the help of Micha Bellevue, Chicago's leading paranormal advocate, and Sam Haain, fiery, possibly insane paranormal supremacist. Tangled up with these two clashing—but decidedly sexy—personalities, Jude gets a look at Chicago he never wanted: a city at war with itself, full of angry supernatural people, conspiracy, and murder.

I've built a whole world for this book (which is the first in a series), and you can check it out here. There's lots of extras, tidbits, excerpts, character sketches, and even some artwork!

See something you like? Are you all about sexy romance, or do you like things that go bump in the night? I'll be giving away a copy of either book--winner's choice--to someone today. All you have to do is comment on any one of my posts today, that simple! I'll choose a winner from the commenters at random. Good luck!

Lydia Nyx online: http://www.lydianyx.com/
Lydia's blog: http://lydianyx.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Good morning! Happy Hump Day!

(Anyone else snort and think "she said 'hump'"? No, just me? Let's move on.)

I have a short story out today called Ink, starring one Cade Tomlin as our eager tattoo apprentice. All Cade has ever wanted to do is be a tattooer, and thanks to an artist willing to take on an apprentice, Cade gets his chance. It's the clients that turn out to be more interesting than the actual job, though. One client in particular. You'll see what I mean if you hop on over to Torquere Books today and pick it up HERE.

I'll leave you with some lovely visuals of boys with pretty tattoos. Or are they pretty boys with tattoos? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

On Sale This Week

This week we have books by TC Blue, Jenna Jones, Sean Michael and Tory Temple on sale at 20% off.

Check them out.

New Releases for January 25

Berry Blue: Lessons Learned by TC Blue

Peter Jamison has spent half his life believing he betrayed his first love, so when Dex is suddenly back in his life, he's thrilled. Sure, they have their problems. They're not the same young men they were before. They've grown and changed, been molded by their lives and circumstances into completely different people, but there's still the echo of their previous relationship. It might not be enough for some people to build a relationship on, but they're happy.

Leonard Dumfries is a lot of things. School teacher. Martial arts student. Father. He's also thirty-nine and still single. When he finds out that the super-hot hunk he met at his own birthday party is not only involved with someone but is also his friend Riley's uncle, Leonard is disappointed but still willing to be just friends with the man.

Life is pretty good for everyone, right up until it's not. When Peter's world starts to crumble around his ears, it's up to Leonard -- with a little help from friends and family -- to step in with a more-than-friendly shoulder and maybe, possibly, find his own happiness while trying to ensure Peter's, too.

Pick up your copy today!

Ebony Angel by Jenna Jones

When Austin Archer was eighteen, he was attacked by an unknown assailant and rescued by a dark figure who wore ebony armor. Now thirty and a police detective, Austin faces a mystery that is connected to his own attack in ways he never thought possible.

Someone is murdering teenagers in Austin's city. At first Austin suspects a mysterious man named Jude, but Jude is far more than he appears to be, and knows more about Austin than a stranger should. Austin is drawn to Jude and wants to trust him, but Jude's claims about the identity of the murderer and even his own are too fantastic to be believed.

When Austin was a child, his mother sang to him that angels were watching over him. Austin is about to learn that this is more than a lullaby.

Get your copy today!

Ink by Tory Temple

Cade Tomlin wants nothing more than to tattoo people. He’s been drawing on himself with markers since he was little, but it can’t compare to the feel of a tattoo machine in his hand. When he finally discovers an artist who is willing to take him on as an apprentice, Cade learns more secrets and details about tattooing than he thought existed. However, his first real client, Kip Parker, teaches him much more about what a meaningful tattoo can say.

Pick up your copy today!

Love and the Farmer, a Velvet Glove story by Sean Michael

Love is the best, and brattiest, sub at the club. Punishments are fun for Love, as long as he's the center of attention. Then Freddie comes along. Freddie agrees to take Love on, and Love's furious at being taken in hand by this country bumpkin, but he learns soon enough that Freddie is far from a bumbling farmer.

Originally published on Turn of the Screw and in the print volume Velvet Glove, Volume 1

Get your copy today!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

inspiration and ideas

Hello and good morning! I'm Jenna Jones and I'm your host for the blog today.

Let's talk about inspiration. Every writer gets asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" at some point. I know that for me the question is hard to answer because there is no one answer. Below is just a partial list of things that have led to stories for me.

  • Song lyrics. I've got a vast music collection and enjoy the challenge of taking a song and letting its mood or subject inspire me. There's a meme I like to play of asking my friends list to name 2 to 9 actors, and then I use the next song to come up on shuffle to give me a plot. I've created over half a dozen plots that way that will eventually, knock wood, be screenplays or books.
  • Tarot cards. Aside from my three contributions to Torquere's Arcana line, I've also used plotting methods from Tarot For Writers to help me develop plots and characters. Sometimes I start completely from scratch; sometimes I use them to help me give existing ideas shape and structure.
  • Prompts. On Livejournal there are many communities where you can request a "bingo" card to give you ideas. Most of these are geared toward fanfic, but there's at least one geared toward original fiction, and you can request a card of all romance prompts or one with romance mixed with other subjects. While I've yet to complete a card (too many ideas, not enough time) my original-fic bingo card inspired an idea that I hope to complete later this year, on a subject that scares me a little to tackle: homelessness. We'll see if I can pull it off.
  • Names. I like to go through my name books and write lists of the names I like, and sometimes two names beside each other are enough to make me think, Hm, that looks like a couple. I wonder what their story is...
  • Pictures. The idea for The King's Diamond was born from two sources: the traditional meaning of the diamond birthstone, and the final page of my Treasures of Ancient Egypt calendar that hung in my kitchen that year: King Tutankhamen death mask. Ever since I was small I've found the story of King Tut to be very moving and sad, and while I was brainstorming for a plot I thought, What if I had a young king in a similiar situation, only this time he had something to protect himself with? What if that something wasn't an object, but a person? The theory of King Tut's murder has since been disproven, but I'm still pretty happy with the story it inspired.
  • Characters. Sometimes characters just sneak in and demand their story be told. Something Beautiful came about because while I was editing Chiaroscuro for submission I realized I wanted to tell Micah's story, and he would need someone for himself: thus Dune (a name I'd had for a character for years with no idea who he was or what story could be told about him) was worked into the plot.
There's really no one way a single story comes together, though with many of mine I can say what the main building point was. My story that comes out tomorrow, Ebony Angel, was born of several things. The names of the main couple, Jude and Austin, I'd had written down for a long time without any idea of who they were or what story they had to tell. I've had a print of an angel with dark wings on a deserted road hanging in my living room for a few years. There's a scene inspired by a dive bar I often drive past; there's another that came from a nightmare I had once. 

(And sometimes you just start writing, and the ideas come because your mind is open to them. That happens, too.)

Writers, where do you get your ideas? Readers, are there ideas you'd like to see developed or want to know more about?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Coming this Week

Coming on Wednesday:
Berry Blue: Lessons Learned by TC Blue (Novel, M/M)
Ebony Angel by Jenna Jones (Novella, M/M)
Ink by Tory Temple (Short Story, M/M)
Love and the Farmer by Sean Michael (Short Story, M/M)

Meme Monday - White Lies?

Are "little white lies" okay if no harm is done?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Year of the Dragon Sale!

It's the Chinese New Year of the Dragon! We're celebrating with 15% off your purchases from now through the end of day Tuesday! Just put 'dragon2012' in the coupon code box any time you check out at Torquere Books before Tuesday at midnight to get 15% off your order.

Sale good now through Tuesday, January 24 at Midnight (est).

Celebrate the year of the Dragon 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.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ermine & Bougainvillea came about when I was asked by a writer friend if I'd do a short story in one of his worlds. I said I'd think about it and my little writer brain started ticking over on what I could write. I wanted something a little different and came up with Etireh, a half-dryad. He needed a lover and since I'd been toying with another one of my stories at the time (a shifter piece), I decided to go with a shifter. But what kind?

I like to do the unusual and to be honest, I don't think I've ever written a straight up wolf shifter. While poking around, I saw a picture of an ermine and had a little eureka moment. I'm not entirely sure where the BDSM element came into play with Etireh and Wynn, but I can't imagine them without it. After I finished writing Ermine & Bogainvillea, I immediately started Claiming Rights and submitted the two within a few days of each other.

Technically speaking, E&B takes place in the same city as Blind Desire and there is even a razor thin connection between Etireh and Quin. The tattoo artist who did Etireh's tattoo is the same woman who did the Eye of Ra and Thoth on Quin's back when he was a kid. Her son, Aaron, is also the... friends-with-benefits partner to Sam, one of Ryzel's spawn. Further to that, Sam has a connection to Adrial.

Why yes, I like playing in this world quite a lot. And for the people who are curious, the city in question is Toronto, Ontario and the park that Etireh's tree is in is called High Park.

I would like to write more of Etireh and Wynn as they were a blast. I don't have anything planned for them at the moment though beyond some cameos in the story that will be about the leader and his two lovers of the cackle Wynn belongs to. Those shifters, in case anyone is curious, are Kaleb (jackal), Nico (fox) and Sebastian (honey badger) and the story (which is at 50K+ but requires massive re-writing *sigh*) is called Tasting Transcendence.
Promenade A Deux features a rather unusual main character in the form of El-Ashir. I can't with 100% certainty say that it's never been done before, but I also can't recall seeing anyone else give their main love interest anything quite so different as 4 arms and a scorpion tail. I actually came up with the idea of him from a random comment that a fellow writer made about the mains in a story always being hot, fit, studly examples of manhood and how they were slightly disappointed that so few writers ever made their men less than ultimate wet dream material.

Naturally, I felt this was a challenge (even though it wasn't).

I already had the Gen-Mod world created (and a story started) and figured, what the hell, let's go for broke and really give readers something unusual. I also thought I'd really ramp up the not standard looking aspect of the story by making Dr. Bertram plain by anyone's standards and an uber geek (because geek is the new sexy). While I liked the story and characters a lot, I didn't have high hopes in getting it accepted because El-Ashir was so... not standard. Imagine my surprise when Torquere accepted it.

Plug & Play is a little 500 word ficlet I wrote for the release of PaD. It is rated a soft R, so I've linked to my author LJ just in case anybody is reading this from someplace that requires a little discretion.

I have been pleasantly surprised when people tell me that they really liked the pairing and would even like to read more of not only El-Ashir and Bertram, but of the other Gen-Mods I have in the wings. One of the Gen-Mod stories I'm working on is a novella with Cephian. He's a Gen-Mod with blue-ring octopus, viper fish and human DNA. He has octopus arms from the hips down. Yep, there'd be a little tentacle action going on with him and like all the Gen-Mods, he's got a bit of a thing for BDSM and boy are those octopus arms handy for that *leers*.

But my question to readers is this... would you be interested/curious to read something with tentacle sex or would that have you hitting the back button so fast you'd get whiplash?
Hello ad good morning all (or at least it's morning where I am, which is Ontario, Canada, BTW). First time poster here so be patient/gentle, okay? Unfortunately for me, 2011 was a year in which I couldn't get off my butt and get something new out there. That being the case and as how Fridays are flashback Fridays around here, I'll be talking about stuff I've already got out there. And maybe I'll slip in a mention of what  have planned for this year *crosses fingers*.

So, right now, I have the following things available from TQ:
Blind Desire This novel is about Ryzel, an Incubus, who finds much more than just a meal in Quinlin. Quinlin is a blind studio musician with one hell of an attitude. While Ryzel is all for getting something started with Quin, Quin isn't so sure that a relationship with a demon is a smart move even if his Gran predicted it would happen and that he'd be happy in such a relationship.
Slave To The Blood  This novella features Jareth, a man who requires not only blood to survive but sex, too, and Liron, a man capable of changing his form to many different animals. Jareth needs a new bodyguard (his last one meeting an unfortunate end) and Liron is just the man for the job.
Ermine & Bougainvillea & Claiming Rights E&B is a novella and Claiming Rights is a short. They both feature Etireh, a half-dryad, and Wynn, an ermine shifter. These two meet by accident/hapenstance and it's the best thing that ever happened to either of them. There is BDSM in this. That's actually one of the things that make these two so perfect for each other.
Promenade A Deux This short story has a main that is a little bit different from your typical guy. El-Ashir is a Gen-Mod (genetically modified) soldier in a future Earth. The bulk of his DNA comes from the deathstalker scorpion with some fire ant and human tossed in the mix just for fun. He's got 4 arms and a scorpion tail and Dr. Bertram Noojimanidooshiwe thinks El-Ashir is the hottest man he's ever seen but is sure a stunning creature like El-Ashir would never want to have anything to do with a dishwater dull virgin like himself.

So that's what's currently available  from me. I have more stuffed planned, but that will require my actually getting something finished *rolls eyes at self*. So, I'm opening the floor to questions/discussions of the above or if you wanna ask me when I'll get my butt in gear and write the sequels I've been threatening, have at. I will respond, but might be a little slow as I must hie off to the day job now. But I'll be back later with possibly some excerpts.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keeping It Clean This New Year

Well, I took a vacation from pretty much everything late December and then another one just last week, and I'm still tingling with the benefits.

Over the holidays, I went to my mother's house, spent time with family, and hardly accomplished anything at all. I watched movies with my sisters, did a lot of knitting, and I... ate turkey? Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

And last week? Well, I swept my girl off to Niagara Falls for the full monty of romantic getaway-ness. Yuppers, the red roses, the jacuzzi suite overlooking the falls, the how-the-hell-am-I-going-to-pay-for-this? dinner, the fireworks... all the sweet and sensual (and sexy) romance you can imagine.

I needed to get away. I spend every day in front of a computer. Finally, I gave myself an opportunity to NOT sit in front of a computer, and it was wonderfully relaxing.

So, now it's late January and people are pretty much past thinking about New Years resolutions, but you know what? I'm going to talk about them anyway.

I'm actually not much of a resolutions person, but this year I'd like to live cleaner. Wait... no, that's not what I meant. I don't smoke or drink, and my drug of choice is caffeine, so I'm not sure I could live much cleaner if I tried.

No, what I meant to say is I want to live in a cleaner apartment. When I look back on 2011, all I see is clutter. I've become one of those artists types who can't pull herself away from her writing to eat, let alone vacuum. That's going to be a hard habit to break, because writing can be like a drug in itself, but I don't want to live in disarray anymore.

I want clean.

So that's my semi-resolution. I'm going to keep it clean this year.

Oh, but not my work. That'll stay dirty. In fact, I have some work planned for 2012 that stands to be the dirtiest smut I've ever written. It's going to be so much fun....

For now, how about a naughty little snippet from my newest Torquere release, Naughty: Full to Bursting? It's a lesbian strap-on story. *smile*


Janelle sat up in the middle of the mattress, cradling the covers in both hands. Her back was bare, chilled not by the temperature of Wanda’s cozy home, but by her apprehension. The house was too quiet.


There was a squeak on the stairs and then a creak on the landing before Wanda appeared in the doorway. Janelle struggled with where to look first: she glanced at her woman’s face, but she couldn’t glean any emotion from that stony expression before her gaze shot down between Wanda’s thighs. Should she laugh or should she gasp? It was…wow, it was huge!

“Lost for words, little girl?” Wanda strutted into the bedroom, and that mammoth dildo bounced with every step. “Hey, you said you wanted more. I figured I'd give you part of your Christmas present a little early. Doubt you’ll be calling out for more after I fuck you with this monster.”

Janelle could feel saliva collecting under her tongue, and she forced herself to swallow. She couldn’t even remember what she’d been thinking about before. Now that she’d laid eyes on that big, veiny cock, she only wanted one thing.

“It’s new,” Janelle stammered, feeling like an idiot. Of course it was new, it was her Christmas gift!

The strap-on they usually used belonged to Janelle, but it was cheap, hard to wrangle, and the dildo that came with it was nothing to write home about. This new one was less a harness than a sleek pair of jockey shorts with a reinforced waistband and O-ring. Janelle had only ever seen them online, but that stretchy black fabric fit Wanda’s round ass like a wet dream.

Wanda crept up next to the bed, proud as punch, letting the new toy sway side to side. “Wanna touch it?”

Naughty: Full to Bursting is now available from Torquere Press


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Evening

I really ought to check my schedules more often, as I was given the blog today and completely forgot. I blame it on over-scheduling, I do.

In any case, seeing as The Hanged Man's Ghost is upcoming for February, I shall treat you all to a teaser.

To be thorough, once we got back to Jack’s apartment and sent Shannon on her way (after supper), I retrieved my newest asset. A deck of cards. These weren’t tarot cards like Amanda had used, but regular playing cards. They were old, dirty, and I’d picked them up for a dime at a thrift store in South Hollow.
Tarot cards felt too…preposterous. I could read the playing cards just as well as the tarot cards and they didn’t make me feel like a gypsy.
"What are you doing?" Jack asked, cleaning up the dishes while Tara played in her room.
"I’m trying to confirm Voight’s story."
"With playing cards?"
"Fortunetelling," I said, "is an ancient art. Well respected."
"Uh-huh. So, mighty fortuneteller, what do the cards say?"
"They say…you are in great danger." I made a spooky sort of noise. "And that your meat was under-seasoned."
"Oh really?"
"Really." Truthfully, I was certain the cards were confirming Voight’s tale. The Jack of Spades (Eustace) was being overpowered by the Jack of Clubs (definitely Voight) while the Jack of Diamonds was stuck in a maze built of spades, clubs and hearts.
Yeah, I had no idea who the Jack of Diamonds represented, not at all.
Jack slipped out of the kitchen and to me, slipping his arms over my shoulders and peering down at the table. "That’s a mess."
"I know."
"I can tell you your future better than those cards can."
"Oh really?"
His lips brushed over my neck with obvious intent. "Really." His voice went slightly husky, and it felt like electricity ran over my skin. "Let me put Tara to bed and then…I’ll put you to bed."
If that wasn’t enough to make a man’s knees weak, I wasn’t sure what was.
"You are a bad man," I whispered back.
"Let me prove it to you."
He moved off to put Tara to bed, and I exhaled loudly. This was going to be an evening. I gathered up the cards and put them away while Jack put Tara to bed.
When he came back into the living room, he pulled me out of my chair and into the bedroom.
"I thought you were straight," I protested softly as he pushed me onto the bed.
"I was married, there’s a difference."
"Oh really?"
He leaned over me, knee on the bed. "Really. Fynn, just because I’m attracted to someone, doesn’t mean I have to show it. I was married, and I don’t have it in me to cheat…no matter how much I wanted to."
That was information I wasn’t sure what to do with. But Jack certainly knew what he was doing. He pushed me down with one hand, climbing up on top of me with that feral grin that set my heart racing.
"And I wanted to, Fynn."
He pressed his lips against mine, and I closed my eyes for just a moment. "Jack."
"Yeah?" his hands trailed down my stomach, lifting up my shirt.
"I love you."
"I know." He smiled. "I heard you the first time."
"Yeah. I should’ve said it then."
"Said what?"
"I love you, too."
With that established, I found it in myself to lean up, and kiss him. This man, this amazing, brave man…he was all mine and I was all his.
It was about damn time.

And that's the end. If you want to read more of Fynn and Jack's exploits, you'll have to pick up a copy when it comes out. And for those curious yes, that is the same Fynn from Fiends in Low Places.