A Little Bit About Me

Maybe this should have been my very first post for #queerblogwed. Not everyone knows about me and with the latest round of catfishing scandals (and people being accused of catfishing just because they have a pseudonym) I thought maybe now was a good time to introduce myself. Of course most of us know that many authors use pen names for a whole variety of reasons from simply keeping their brands separate (witness Nora Roberts for romance but J.D. Robb when she writes mysteries), to worries about identity issues and a whole lot of people being unforgiving about genres. Honestly I would have thought this went without saying yet I’ve seen some on social media screaming anyone who has a pen name is a catfishing liar. Um, yeah, no, seriously no.

Jana Denardo is a pen name. It’s one of my great grandmother’s first names and the last name of another of great grand. I thought it would be a nice way for them to live on. I’ve never pretended to be anything other than what I am, a woman (though I’m old enough to remember when it was nearly mandatory to have a male pen name to write m/m fiction back in the 90s). I accept there are people who think I have no business writing this genre because of my own gender and I can understand the backlash. For a long time gays (along with non-whites) were used in fiction as comedy relief or villains in cruel stereotypes. Who wouldn’t be mistrustful of those outside the group? I know there isn’t much I can do to change the the minds of those who think women shouldn’t write gay fiction because we aren’t gay men and don’t understand (for that matter would I understand a straight man any better?) but you know what? Since fourth grade, there has always been someone there to tell me I can’t do something because of my gender: women can’t be smart (this by the 4-6th science teacher who would point to the Ascent of Man chart and say ‘man’ and point to Australopithecus and call it woman.’), women can’t be doctors, it’s a waste of education, they only get a degree because they HAVE to let them in (any number of patients, family members and men who I beat out for my chair in medical school), women can’t be scientists (you know so says that Nobel prize winner last year). It’s not new to me. It hurts but I go on and try my best for accuracy.

So yes I am smart. I am a doctor and I’m now a scientist. I was a podiatrist specializing in wound care so I’ve done a lot of gross things and tons of amputations and I’m a daub hand at wounding characters if you want to ask me about it. I was injured. A patient kicked me and ruptured the nerves in my hand (Not gonna lie, it was painful seeing Doctor Strange this past year and I stumbled at the opening of Anna Butler’s The Gilded Scarab because I KNOW what it’s like to study your brains out, sacrifice a lot to become something and lose it to an accident. And oh btw, loving Anna’s book!).

I retrained (sadly not gaining any mystical powers). I’m now a professor and scientist at a rural Appalachian college in the south of Ohio. I’m doing research at the moment that I hope will be published soon (so apparently a uterus is not a detriment to being good in science).

So back to that pen name of mine. Why did I chose to use one? For two reasons, one the other genre I’m mostly trying to get published is YA urban fantasy/fantasy. I didn’t think it would be great for a 13 year old to follow my backlist and end up with something erotic, which most of Jana’s fiction has a little of. Secondly, my university is conservative, well not so much the professors but there are some of those too but the board is highly conservative. I wasn’t yet tenured and teaching jobs are scarce. I have to admit I was afraid to have someone find out I wrote LGBT friendly fiction. I know of only three LGBT professors and two of them hide it hard core because they share that fear. It’s saddening and maddening that this is still an issue but it is. And actually only one of those professors is still here. The one who was loud and proud about it was fired (not for that of course but they found a tiny excuse and dropped her fast) and the other quit but that was more of not liking it here than related to her sexuality.

Given that, I thought a pen name was wise and I still think so.

A little more about me in case you haven’t figured it out, I am the queen of geeks. SF/F/UF are my jam (along with mysteries, love mysteries). I read comic books and manga and once I get better internet out here in the sticks I plan to mainline my favorite drug: anime. I don’t just write steampunk, I live it. I’m active with a local steampunk group. I play clarinet and sax and I’m teaching myself Native American flute.

I’m unhealthy as holy hell. Diabetic, arthritis in every joint, fibromyalgia and more but no one wants to hear me whine.

I go ghosthunting (for real). I hike (as much as I’m able). I used to spelunk. I love animals but I only own cats (well just one at the moment). I do love dogs but my lifestyle isn’t great for them. I like to talk and talk and talk and read more than I talk. I garden and I wish I could travel more than I do.

So that is me. I hope you stick with me. If not, I still wish you well.

Rainbow Snippets

It’s been another long week of not getting nearly enough writing done but at least I made a wee bit of progress but not much on These Haunted Hills. I’ll be picking up right where I left off last week but I think next week I’ll jump a little ahead to Joshua.

But first another picture of Brendan’s first destination in the Hocking Hills, Ash Cave.
 photo hocking-hills-state-park_zpsvsrkevlg.jpg

We’re picking up with Brendan going to the titular website to check out local haunted locales and the man who runs the ghost hunting site. I went a couple lines over this time because it helped firm up who Brendan is and why he’s in a lonely cabin in the woods.

Brendan brought up the These Haunted Hills website to see what he should look at first. Dr. Joshua Zimmerman’s picture was in the upper corner. One sign that Brendan wasn’t completely dead inside was how cute he thought Joshua was. Almost too boyish to be believable as an accomplished PhD. teaching ecology at a local university, his picture looked more like he was an undergrad. It could be an old one or that bright smile belied the amount of years behind it.

What Brendan wanted to see most was Crooked Pines, a former lodge that was now abandoned and theoretically too haunted to be reclaimed. There was a story in that, Brendan needed to dig it out. His agent still wasn’t sold on him writing a more adult ghost story but it had been three years since the end of his young adult series. He’d written nothing, though the adventures of Selena and Will had generated more than enough money to live his life out a couple times over.

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!

Cover Reveal – Three Hearts by Grace R. Duncan

three-hearts_450X674Three Hearts
By Grace R. Duncan
Cover by Jess Small
72k words
M/M Paranormal/shifters

Pre-order available 2/3/2017

Release date: 3/3/2017

 

Liam Scott is sick. That’s not supposed to be possible. As a wolf shifter, he’s supposed to be able to heal. The omega gene he was born with means he’s capable of carrying shifter young and Liam is worried that whatever is wrong will mean his one-day hope of having pups will be dashed. But despite the fears keeping him away from the doctor until now, he knows he needs to go.

It turns out the sickness is temporary, but the treatment causes a whole other problem.

Mason’s alpha gene means he’s one of very few wolves who can impregnate an omega male. For two years, he’d been watching Liam, but things kept getting in the way. When Liam shows up in heat, Mason recognizes the opportunity he needs and doesn’t hesitate make to Liam his mate and the father of his pups.

But Liam has old wounds and fears to work through which the pregnancy is only making worse, and Mason isn’t sure how to get past them to show he’s serious about making a life together as loving mates. It’s not until a female wolf decides Mason should be hers that Liam makes his biggest worry known—and Mason can finally put the fears to rest.

 

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Liam

When the alarm went off, I smacked it into submission, then burrowed farther into my pillow. The last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed. Despite knowing I had to have slept, I had absolutely zero energy. I didn’t remember waking up overnight at all, and I knew I’d lain down by ten and fallen asleep pretty fast.

I gave in to a moment of self-pity. As a wolf shifter, I wasn’t supposed to be sick. I wasn’t supposed to be able to get sick with common things. And if I got sick, I was supposed to be able to recover within a day or two. Our injuries never lasted more than a day or two, and that was only if it was severe. We didn’t get diseases, especially human ones. And if we did manage to contract some kind of bug that attacked wolf immunity, our bodies killed it quickly.

There were rumors that a form of cancer had started hitting the wolf population. That scared me more than a little, especially recently, with whatever was wrong with me. It was one reason why I hadn’t yet gone to the doctor. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear what they’d tell me.

Because I was also not a typical male shifter. I was one of a rare type the Idiots That Be named “omega.” I didn’t know if they found it ironic or what when they borrowed the name from the humans’ faulty knowledge of wild wolves. But omega was definitely a misnomer. It used to mean “weak.” The bottom of the totem pole, as it were, in a wolf pack. I was on the smaller side, but that was no more indicative of my strength than my light brown hair was.

Omegas are as strong as most other wolves, as fast as any of them. We’re not looked down on—for the most part—by other wolves, or made to be the last to do or get anything. Sure, there are always some who insist we’re inferior. I suspect it’s mostly jealousy, though that wasn’t always easy to remember when I was the one being picked on.

No, what made us unique was that omegas could carry and give birth to our young.

Like the female wolves, omegas went into heat once a month, usually for four days around the new moon. Sometimes more or less; it was as individual as human females were. We wolves, omega and female alike, took a form of birth control that suppressed our heat. I had no idea how it worked with our metabolism, but apparently the shifter scientists knew a lot more than me. So, as the new moon approached, I took a pill twice a day and voila—no heat.

Which was good because going through heat sucked.

It was the worst horniness imaginable. I could jack off constantly for that four-day period and it didn’t relieve me. I could stuff my ass full of dildos and nothing helped. The only thing that would was the one thing I hadn’t let myself do—find an alpha male to breed me.

Yes, we had alphas. It was a genetic marker in their blood, not much else. Most of them were a bit bigger than the rest of us, some a bit stronger. But it wasn’t a huge difference. And I hadn’t yet met an alpha with the kind of asshole attitude that’s so frequently portrayed in fiction. They got named alpha because they were discovered first. Alpha males were the only ones who could impregnate an omega, which was probably because of that genetic marker. And while the scientists understood it, I didn’t.

The rest of the wolf population didn’t have a specific designation. If you weren’t an alpha or omega, you were just a plain ol’ wolf.

But even though I wasn’t ready to mate yet, I did want to have pups someday. So I was scared to death of what a doctor would tell me. What if something was wrong and I couldn’t have them?

I was going to have to put aside my fear, though. It’d been going on for two months now. Despite shifting on the full moon—we had no choice; we were forced through the shift—and exercising when I could, running at other times, I hadn’t gotten better.

I was exhausted. All the time. I got cold at the drop of a hat.

And I’d been forgetting shit. Stupid little details, that were driving me crazy. It had to stop.

 

Pre-order Links

Amazon

Createspace

About Grace

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many
of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into grace_nohateless troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

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Drive by posting

I got about 3 hours sleep last night (because my brain woke me up singing Sisters of Mercy…) so this isn’t going to be a great Queer Blog Wednesday post. I’m not even promising coherent.

So as the bacon bits tossed on the suck salad 2017 is shaping up to be, I had a death of a long time friend followed by the death of my great aunt and a family friend both on the same day followed today by the death of one of my best friend’s uncle so I needed something GOOD to concentrate on.

That’s when I found this in my twitter feed (Thanks to Kim Fielding), a great review of Once Upon a Time in the Weird West Love Bytes Review. I’m so glad it’s being well received, especially when I keep seeing spec fic being knocked as ‘hard to sell’ (I’m not sure if this one is flying off the shelf either because I haven’t been poking around in the sales data but I hope it’s doing well). I wish there was a bigger audience for fantasy and SF. I know so many of us love to write it, me especially.

And since I have no coherent on point discussion this week, let me toss this out there. I have a couple characters going ghost hunting in an abandoned hotel. One is professional ghost hunter, the other an author wanting to write about ghosts. I’ve been wondering what would people like to see in a ghost story. And no, they won’t be yelling at the ghosts ala Ghost Adventures because nothing good can come of that. Some of the places in the story will be places I’ve gone ghost hunting. (read the closest I can come to contemporary fiction is writing about ghost hunting….not for the first time!)

Maybe next week I’ll remember on Tuesday night to schedule these Wednesdays posts so they’re more coherent (I have too many hours in lab then more in front of the class on Wed!)