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.
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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:

Website  ◊ FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

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!)

Sunday Small Talk

Given the first week with our new illustrious (cough) leader in charge has been depressing as fucking hell, not much has gotten written other than a few lines for the flash fic I promised to Lex. Yeah I haven’t been able to write 500 words.

So why even update? Because I DID finish my whole novel revision of Blood Red Roulette! I’m very happy about that since I’m way ahead of my self imposed deadline. However, four things still need doing. I need to go over the first 10 chapters AGAIN (shoot me). I’ve decided to change one more thing which I think will help Arrigo look less like a selfish ass and a bit more intelligent so I have to go fix that. In the process I should double check Luc’s dialogue. He gets more Cajun as we go so I need to make that more consistent.

There are only three sex scenes in this, two short blow jobs (one very awkward one, done purposefully) and the one time they aren’t having a quickie. Problem: I hate that scene. It doesn’t work. It really doesn’t so I’m going to scrub it. I’m half tempted to not redo it but I think it needs to be there so back to the drawing board with that one.

And then I realize there is something missing. There is a scene in the 20-something chapter range where Arrigo goes to help Luc remove his stuff from his dad’s place which was a nice scene because we finally learn something about Luc’s mother and how much he loved her and the few things he kept that were important to him. That scene is now missing. I’ve been through every flash drive and as far back as last April that scene was gone. It doesn’t exist in the chapter break down files either. In fact in me sending my beta readers chapter by chapter files, I totally skipped over the 20s. I caught them up apparently with the full document instead of chapter files and I know this because I just spent a half hour scouring my sent folder for them.

I want to add that in but there’s a problem. What do I remove to do so? In removing Craig’s whole plot line, I only lost barely 2K. This thing is still about 113K. One of the original complaints was it was too long. I could remove Damien but I liked having him there because if nothing else it gave Taabu something to do and I’m NOT removing her. I wanted a few scenes to humanize her so people care when things go sideways.

I’m not sure what to do.

Once I get these things polished, I’m going to work on the finding new beta readers for it. I’m not looking forward to that. I better brace my ego.

Rainbow Snippets

I’m still sharing from There Haunted Hills. I’d better get back to writing it! I’m struggling to write anything right now. I have a rough semester this time out and by the time I get home and do all the work I have to do, I’m too tired to write. Sigh.

This picture is jumping ahead a little to where Brendan will first meet Joshua. This is Ash cave in the Hocking Hills, near Logan, Ohio.

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The snippet continues directly from when he got his coffee and has sat down on the futon to try and settle in (and it finally hints as to why he’s in this cabin in the woods, other than as a potential site to commit suicide in).

Flipping on the TV, he reassured himself there was actually a functioning satellite and ditto the wifi for the computer so there wouldn’t be some Overlook-The Shining isolation driven craziness going on. Brendan powered up his computer, wondering if he should remove the paperweight of a galaxy he had as a wallpaper. Kristen had shared her opinions on it the last time she had seen him, and they had been as negative as they had been loud. He pushed it from his mind. He checked his emails, let Kristen know he’d made it safety. He saw no emails from his agent, his best friend Jonathan nor the man who he’d hired to show him around to the haunted sites in the Hocking Hills and the surrounding towns.

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!

Politics

I’ve been absent the last few Queer Blog Wednesdays because I’m adjusting to my new schedule where I have to be in the lab around 730 AM and leave around 5 and I’m too wasted to think afterward (Maybe I should start these on Tuesday). Not to mention the giant ball of depression that is sitting on the lot of us so I decided to make that the focus this time and hopefully never mention it again.

 photo resistance1_zpswidb9f6c.jpg

You might notice I don’t talk politics on my social media much. It isn’t that I don’t care (someone had suggested that about those who are quiet and I do NOT want anyone thinking I don’t care because I do) or that I’m with that orange jizztrumpet (because god, no!) Politics make me anxious. Chest-pain, heart palpitating, sweating and outright panicking anxious and that has been since LONG before Dumpster fire. It started nearly 25 years ago when I used to have to deal with lobbyists for patient and doctor rights.

I avoid it with a passion, all of it. Right now social media is enough to make me give up all hope and believe me, it doesn’t take me much to drop into suicidal thoughts. I’ve been dealing with those even longer than I have politics.

While it’s true, I am not in the QUILTBAG at all, I still see it as my fight (Hell, I’m a woman scientist with tons of health issues, I have plenty of reasons to join the Resistance). The one thing history has taught me is you can’t just rely on the group directly involved. Are they at more risk than me? Inarguably. But every rights movement (women’s, race, gay, doesn’t matter) needs to bring in people from all walks of life rather than to turn them away with a ‘you aren’t X, you can’t understand.’ Maybe not entirely but everyone can understand basic rights and fight along side others to achieve a goal.

So for me, you’re not going to see endless political posts or outraged ranting even if I agree with you because I have my mental health to protect. My fight will be a quiet one and maybe one where my posts will be about where you can get involved to HELP. And for the activist out there self care for the activist because seriously burn out and mental issues can happen to any of us under this level of stress.

And let me share some good news like this LGBT center for SouthEast Ohio that some of my friends are heavily involved in (and I’m bringing news of this to my students).

And the fact that one of my students immediately decided to spearhead a new experiment on the water supplies in the surrounding four counties to battle the gag order on the EPA and other agencies who should be policing this, looking at lead levels among other things. Proud of her.

Hopefully next time I’ll be back with more writing related material!