Sunday Small Talk

Just another quick post because outside of nano I’m not doing a darned thing! I am however, almost done with nano. I wouldn’t have guessed that a week ago. I wasn’t doing so good.

And I wanted to put a few things in writing so to speak about the ideas that came to me driving back from Pittsburgh after the holiday (which was thankfully politics free which I didn’t bet on as many of my family are conservatives). I knew that the ending had to have the villains getting Cam back because that’s sort of the plot of the whole book. I didn’t, however, want to do what SO MANY books do: have the protagonist do something stupid and the bad guys put him in danger. I loathe that so much.

So it occurred to me there had to be a traitor that helps the villains out. That way the protagonist doesn’t look like a dumb ass and I get the dangerous ending I need.

Now of course I have to go retcon the whole beginning to create that character. And I decided it needs to be one of the guards for the prince. That way I can move Nerium into his position since her role could be eliminated at this point since I changed the outline radically from what I envisioned in October. For that matter, I better find out something better to do with Prince Malas’s sister, Ceras because her part is so small and insignificant that I could eliminate her without losing a thing which is never good.

Here’s hoping to be finished in the next few days as that’s all I have!

Rainbow Snippets

I’ve been out visiting the relatives since I came home for the holiday (heading back to OH tomorrow) so I’m late with this and probably can’t read til Monday.)

In December I’ll be in two anthologies and since Love Wins from DSP drops first I thought I’d do the next couple of snippets from that one first. This is from my Kept Tears universe (You can find the novel here.).

This snippet is on the Exterminator, a dark coaster in Kennywood park where they’ve taken Aaron to help boost his spirits.

He shrieked as Aaron whooped. The royal prince of fairies sure can scream like a little girl, Aaron thought, almost feeling bad for Rhys.

The ride ended all too quickly, and Rhys staggered out onto the platform before extending a hand to help Aaron out of the car. “That was terrifying.”

“The word you’re looking for is fun,” Aaron countered.

“Crazy person. I’m in love with a crazy person,” Rhys panted.

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

And if you’re interested in the anthology (the money goes to LGBT charities to help the Orlando Pulse victims) you can find the pre-order link here.

Rainbow Snippets

Running like mad as I’m presenting at a seminar today. I’ll be reading tonight. In December I’ll be in two anthologies and since Love Wins from DSP drops first I thought I’d do the next couple of snippets from that one first. This is from my Kept Tears universe (You can find the novel here.). Actually the snippet summarizes the plot. Aaron is having a rough time and Rhys and Corrine are there to support him. And for any Pittsburghers in the group, this is set there and highlights one of my favorite things in the area, the historic Kennywood Park.

Snippet: “Next week, it’ll be the anniversary of the day he lost his arm. Aaron withdraws. His mom usually is here to help, but her sister broke her leg and needs help. She wants us to keep him safe.” Corrine’s voice shook. She paused to take a deep breath. “Rhys, Aaron is one of my best friends, but it’s you he loves. Tell me you’re going to be around this week.”

If you’d like to play along, Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook community where we post up 6 sentences of one of our LGBT stories every Saturday. It’s been fun and you can find it here. Be sure to check out all the offers! It’s been a great supportive group!

And if you’re interested in the anthology (the money goes to LGBT charities to help the Orlando Pulse victims) you can find the pre-order link here.

Guest Blogger – EAB

Let’s welcome EAB and check out this new offering!

Title: Black Snow

Author: EAB

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Dreamspinner

Publication Date: 11/7/16

Word Count: 162,045

 photo BlackSnow_postcard_front_DSP_zps5hik8cf7.jpg

Hello,

I’d like to thank Dreamspinner Press and Jana for hosting me today. Throughout my career I’ve had quite a few people message me about my writing process, so I decided to share my secrets here! I figure I’ve got about 500 words to kill, so why not. Step 1. Brainstorm- Just letting the ideas glob and gel together in my brain. A good way to do this is to read a ton. It oils the gears in your head and gets the story juices flowing.

Step 2. Organize- Getting all the research stuff I need. Looking up words, cultures, histories. Creating character names, charts, profiles. Figuring out whether it’s going to be a novella, novel or short story!

Step 3. Outline- Creating a basic outline for the story. Later I expand this outline to include specific dates and major scenes. I also figure out what the climax of my story is.

Step 4. Write it!!!- And I try not to just stare at the computer. I don’t worry too much about editing. I just write the story as it comes to me, and pray I don’t fall asleep in front of the laptop! If I have writers block I take a break and read a book, but that rarely happens once the engines are revved.

Step 5. Writing induced stress- It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. Just accept it and deal with it! I deal with it by taking a hot bath and reading some good old fashioned smut.

Step 6. Edit- Editing is hard work, but it’s necessary! This is the fun part where you go back and get to ask yourself a million times, “What the f%*k did I just write?”

Step 7. Submit- This is the part where you get to freak out about whether or not your manuscript will be accepted!

Step 8. Self- loathing- Congratulations, you wrote a book. Too bad you’re rereading it for the seventh time and realize it’s terrible.

Step 9. Acceptance- Holy crap they actually want my book?!

Step 10. Contracts- Holy crap they really DO want my book!

Congratulations. You’ve now completed my writing steps. Relax, rinse, and repeat! Thanks for reading my silly blog! I hope that you’ll follow me along my tour for excerpts of Black Snow, giveaways and the special alternate ending at the end of the blog tour! Thanks again!

Blurb: Prince Brier Snow has lived in the shadow of King Snow’s exalted memory. However, his fate changes when he nears his majority and Lirend’s steward queen attempts to dethrone him by exploiting an obscure requirement in the late king’s will: a yearlong sabbatical.

Brier travels to the desolate land of Aire to train under the Ceve guild, scorned refugees of war, including their guarded leader, Roland. Brier’s skillful master unlocks hidden potential, and what begins as a dutiful bond turns into ill-fated affection. When Brier returns to the capital, he’s carrying proof of his indiscretions with Roland—and his condition grows more apparent with each passing day. An affair with the huntsman is a scandal Brier’s enemies can use against him, but the birth of an heir is a burden even Brier is not sure he can bear.

Roland Archer, a man with a murky past, is skeptical of the contract to train the prince but willing to do anything for the guild’s freedom. Despite his best intentions, he is smitten by Lirend’s future king. Roland has resigned himself to solitude, but fate has other plans—for him, for Brier, and for Lirend’s oppressed subjects. Can Roland help Brier face a power-hungry queen and a country torn asunder? Either they will bring equality to a land that desperately needs it, or they’ll be thwarted by cunning enemies and an illusory curse.

Buy link: Dreamspinner // Amazon // Barnes & Noble’s

EAB’s BIO: EAB is an airline steward/stewardess—depending on the day—who loves writing erotic fiction. This translates to serving Wild Turkey bourbon at 38,000 feet and writing smut at 3:00 a.m. EAB spends free-time role-playing and reading. While EAB’s true passion is writing, EAB also enjoys reaching high scores in nerdism, spending time with family (cats included), and watching anime. An East Coaster at heart, EAB loves New York’s Broadway and greasy, heartburn-inducing pizza. Feel free to drop a line or recommend some good reads! Always looking for a new book to devour!

Contact information: email Facebook Goodreads

Cover Reveals

This is a first for me two stories hitting the coming soon page on the same day. Both are in anthologies.

 photo WeirdWestORIG_zpskpd6r0lp.jpg

I have a new short story available in the upcoming steampunk/weird west anthology, Once Upon a Time in the Weird West coming this December 16 from Dreamspinner!

Mine is Corpse Powder and I’m very excited to be in this anthology with a ton of excellent authors such as Kim Fielding, Shira Anthony, Lex Chase, Venona Keyes, Jamie Fessenden, Carroll S Poe, Astrid Amara, Andrew Gordon, Tali Spencer, Nicole Kimberling, Ginn Hale, & Langley Hyde. How fun is this topic? And that cover! I’m aso excited to read the rest of the stories myself. I mean I’m always excited to be in an anthology but this one has a topic that I just can’t wait to get a whole of.

Corpse Powder‘s Blurb: Doctor Isaac Adler came to Virginia City, Nevada, to escape the horrors he witnessed during the War Between the States. Despite a living in a thriving Jewish community, Isaac’s having trouble finding his faith and finding work. Just when he’s contemplating leaving the desert, life takes an unexpected turn when the airship Aurora is attacked by pirates and Isaac is called upon to help the wounded.

The ship’s first mate, Tsela “Alexander” Zhani, is also trying to outrun a nightmare, his in the form of the powerful skinwalker who drove him from his Navajo village. Tsela’s friendship with the handsome doctor responsible for saving the lives of his friends gives both men a fragile hope for a better future. But their demons aren’t as far behind them as they thought.

preorder it here!

And because it’s so pretty I have to share this too!  photo corpsepowder_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeed_zpsqvyjpes4.jpg

And the second anthology Love Wins is the second DSP anthology that supports the charities for the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting. I think that’s needed now more than ever.

 photo LoveWinsFS_v1_zpser3u0erb.jpg

My story from the Kept Tears universe is included in this, More Than His Scars. There are other great stories by some amazing authors, including Kathryn Grace Duncan Bone, Nicole Dennis, Alicia Nordwell, and many more.

Blurb – More Than His Scars : Facing the anniversary of the day he lost his arm while serving in the Middle East, Aaron is understandably depressed. It’s up to his lover, Rhys, to plan a special day to help Aaron see how amazing he really is.

preorder it here!

Sunday Small Talk

 photo be-kind-whenever-possible_zpsiysvktch.jpg

Happy World Kindness Day.

I wanted to talk a little bit about something I need to inject more into my current nano: raising the stakes for the character, giving them something to overcome.

I was thinking on two manga in particular I thought did this very well. A lot of manga I like for the art and the fun characters but many are just ‘beach reads.’ Some however are much deeper than that (not that there is anything wrong with entertaining beach reads). Some are truly transformative and their stories truly stand out (and it’s a shame in a way that the younger manga reading crowd jump from one thing to another so fast that stories are often quickly forgotten before they’re even finished).

Fullmetal Alchemist is one such read. Not only does it have the fantastic art and fun characters, it’s storyline is so very well done. I would prop it up against any fantasy novel as one of my favorite all time reads. We have several characters for whom the character stakes keep getting raised. Ed and Al start out trying to recover their bodies from the alchemical mistake they’ve made. This draws them in Roy Mustang’s military world and into a huge drama that threatens their entire country, if not the world, and has roots in their father’s past. Worse, Al’s soul is showing signs of becoming unanchored from his metal body so there in the stakes are upped. They must reach their goal before the last remnants of Alphonse are lost.

Roy has his own goals of becoming the leader of the country because he sees the corruption and wants it gone. He doesn’t want to ever be forced into another war like the one he was in in his youth. But this is no ordinary corruption and the alchemical monsters he’s fighting think nothing of threatening his ‘queen’ and his family and have already cost him his best friend. Then there is young Ling, one of the potential heirs to the throne in Xing. He wants something to make him the best emperor he can be but when he gets it, he faces the loss of all that makes him human. All the way to the end of the manga you felt there was a chance that not all of them would make it (and some did not).

 photo postcard21 2_zpssqiklgnm.jpg

And there is one I’m reading now Noragami: Stray God that is shaping up to be equally good story wise (with very good art too), which surprising story arcs and huge stakes for the characters. In a nutshell Hiyori is a school girl who has a problem, her soul keeps slipping free, leaving her comatose. Her path crosses Yato’s, the titular stray god. He’s a war god (in reality a calamity god) who is struggling to keep his name in the consciousness of the people by doing odd jobs for them. His most desperate wish is to have his own shrine. He agrees to help Hiyori with her problem and soon they meet the soul a dead boy, Yukine who becomes Yato’s shiki, sort of a spiritual weapon and together they fight corrupt spirits. Simple enough, not even really unique in the world of manga.

But quickly the stakes begin to rise. Hiyori faces being lost in the world of spirits if she doesn’t find a way to keep her soul in place but she always wants so much to help Yato and Yukine that she’s putting herself at risk. Yato wants to help her but knows if he does, he could be forgotten entirely and if that happens, Yato will fade from existence. Yukine doesn’t want to be with Yato but his path quickly changes, escalates and has very high stakes indeed. And as if fading his own death, Yato wants something more. He wants to switch from being a god of calamity and destruction to one of happiness. It’s these sorts of stories that drag you in because it’s not a sure thing that all three of them will be happy or even survive.

 photo nora_zpsvilngggp.jpg

Then I have my story and yes it is a nano and will of course require much revision but the stakes are slow in coming and that’s not really a good thing.

For Cam, this is somewhat clear. He wants his freedom. He’s been in thrall to the war goddess for so long he can’t remember (it’s been centuries). Equally important to him is to keep free of those who have had him imprisoned for nearly that long (a cabal of mages but he doesn’t know that as his mind is clouded with magic). He’s at risk of being lost both back to the cabal, someone who wants to replace the cabal and to the goddess herself. His stakes are fairly high.

For Tenaldi there really aren’t any stakes yet. He’s happy as a journeyman poison gardener for the queen, content to make poisons and healing potions for his ruler. His only real ambition is to take over the garden as a master gardener some day but he’s too young for that. So…not the most compelling of stakes in what should be one of the three main characters. However, his stakes will come and I know that. Caught up with Cam and the drama, he’ll be fighting for his life.

It’s Solan who is giving me fights. She’s supposed to be the third main character and so far she’s not really holding up her own end. All I really know about her is that she wants to be a general (or whatever I’ll be calling them) in the Queen’s cadre of warrior mages and she’s well on her way. I know she’ll be caught up with Cam and Tenaldi but I really have no separate stakes for her and that is a problem. It’s something I need to work on.

The nano is going slowly too between depression and a lack of time. I have learned something rather depressing about my writing. If I have no competition, no goal to beat no stakes of my own I just wander about. Give me a word war against friends and I’ll crank out 2K in an hour. I don’t like this about myself. It’s something I need to work on. I’m closing in on 18K though.

No news on any of my other projects other than we’ll have the links for Once Upon a Time in the Weird West soon.