Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Tens and Resolutions

I don't generally make lists, except of the grocery or things-to-do variety, but since they seem to be everywhere I turn these days, I started thinking about them.

Albeit not too hard, as you'll soon be able to tell.

TOP TEN FAVORITE AUTHORS-AS-PEOPLE (in no particular order):

Jeanne, Clare, Katrina, and everybody at Liquid Silver Books, because they're so darned nice. (That's more than ten, but I just wanted to give a nod to tradition.)


Pull together a band of flying monkeys, because I believe they would come in handy for a variety of tasks.



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Fond Farewell

Concluding a series is never easy. We scribblers become attached to the worlds we've created and the characters who populate those worlds. If we're lucky, readers become invested in them, too. The temptation to keep exploring possibilities becomes nearly irresistible. (Ask Laurell K. Hamilton -- heh.)

I'm going to miss Win and Pablo, Tole and Ridley, Zee and Sebastian, and the host of secondary characters that went into the making of Utopia-X. And I mean really miss them. I'm still curious about Andrew's fate. I'd like to follow Skeep, because I've grown very fond of him. I'm wondering what other creatures and metroplexes lay beyond the ones I've explored, and what challenges lay ahead for this flawed but brave new world.

But there are so many other stories I want to write . . .

So, with real sadness, I have to cut this world loose and let it spin off into space. But at least I can do so knowing that all my boys have found their Happily Ever After, a fact that's reflected in the title of Book 4.

Below is the blurb for Finding Utopia, coming January 5 from Loose Id.

When human-angel-demon hybrids fall in love, it makes them a little crazy. But that's not the worst of it for Regenerie's Coven of Three. Now that Win, Tole, and Zee are involved in passionate relationships, they can't generate enough sex-energy with each other to activate their indispensable oracle, the Celestine.

The Dark Elves of Bildezir couldn't have picked a better time to attempt a takeover of the Utopian Metroplex. Regenerie's leaders have gone off to seek a solution to their quandary. Their employee Pablo, left behind, decides to party with his former coworkers -- a little too hard. There's ample evidence he's committed a serious indiscretion. Both the Coven's headquarters and Pablo's bond with Win end up in shambles. And here come the elvish warriors.

Kicked to the curb, Pablo has his hands full. He must prove he didn't betray Win during his night of drunken revelry with a group of male prostitutes. And he must figure out how to save both the Coven and the Metroplex from a power-hungry and sexually ruthless enemy with magic on its side.

What does Pablo have going for him, aside from his love and devotion? A twink named Skeep, a mongrel humanoid . . . and a shining seraph.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jude Unchained

You may have heard me kvetching over the past month or two about my m/m contemporary Jude in Chains being stalled in cyberspace. Well, I finally retrieved it. And the story now has a home.

Last summer, I submitted Jude to two publishers, Quartet Press and ~~~~~~~. Remember Quartet Press? All the pre-opening hype? All the attention from major bloggers? And then -- blammy! -- QP just folded up its tent and disappeared into the sunset. That left Jude at the other place where I'd simultaneously submitted it.

So I waited. And waited. No word came my way. At the three-month point, I inquired about the status of my submission. Received no response. I inquired again and was told my initial inquiry had been lost. Then I got excuses for the delay. I continued to wait while keeping busy with other projects. Sent another, somewhat more impatient inquiry at the four-month point. Got more excuses and another delay.

To make this really long story short, I finally got the manuscript back.

Writers need to be intrepid and even ruthless when this kind of crap happens. What I should have done was submit the story to a different second and maybe even third publisher immediately after I found out QP was dead in the water. But I foolishly gave ~~~~~~~ every chance to review Jude before I sent it elsewhere.

Shame on me. All I ended up doing was fucking myself over.

Anyway, I wasted no time offering the novella to two other publishers. One of them sent me an acceptance and a contract in less than a day. That's right, less than a freakin' day! What makes the speed of response even more astonishing is that I don't have any books and therefore no assigned editor with this press; from their perspective, my manuscript came drifting in out of nowhere.

Granted, it was a unique confluence of circumstances that got my novella read so quickly. What got it accepted so quickly is another matter entirely and one I can't address, since I obviously wasn't privy to the decision-making process. All I know is that after having been jerked around for nearly five months by ~~~~~~~, there was no way I couldn't be impressed.

In case you're wondering how and where my marathon of frustration ended, Jude in Chains will be published by Dreamspinner in April. I'm very pleased, because I think it's a good fit. (I would've been happy with the other publisher, too, but an acceptance that comes in hours rather than weeks or months is pretty damned hard to beat!)

Here's what my long-neglected novella is about:

* * * * *

Hoping further to expose the fallacy of "reparative therapy" for non-heterosexuals, writer Misha Tzerko has enrolled in a week-long program at the Stronger Wings Camp and Conference Center. He's already lost his long-term boyfriend to the ex-gay movement, and for the sake of his own closure as well as his job at Options magazine, Misha hopes to get an inside look at the nondenominational ministry established by C. Everett Hammer III.

Contentedly gay, Misha has always been a player—except when he committed to his only real relationship. But when Robbie abandoned him for straight life complete with wife, Misha's promiscuity began to peak as his emotional landscape flattened.

That’s all about to change. Misha is shocked and dismayed to see another man from his past at Stronger Wings, a man with whom he’d had two brief but captivating encounters. Although Misha knows he can’t save every registrant in the Stronger Wings program, he becomes determined to save Jude Stone.

No matter what it takes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Most Excellent Weener of 2009!

Bet you thought Kris and I forgot about my contest earlier this month at the DIK blog (you can see what it was about by clicking on the post title).

WRONG. We don't forget anything -- except how to mind our manners on occasion. We both got caught up in other things.

An incredible entry came in -- not merely a dashed-off paragraph, but a whole flippin' short story. It made me laugh! It made me groan! It made me want to celebrate creativity! So I did just that by cracking open a beer. (Oh wait; maybe it was the sun setting that made me crack open a beer. Doesn't take much.)

If Kris isn't too busy doing unmentionable things with battery-operated devices under the Christmas tree, she should have this masterpiece posted at her blog for your enjoyment.

The Most Excellent Weener of 2009 will have her choice of one of my series. However, if she's read my series books or just plain doesn't want to be inundated with three novels/novellas that don't interest her, she can opt to wait for a free download of Utopia-X, Book 4: Finding Utopia, coming January 5 from Loose Id, or she can choose anything from my backlist.

Oh, and that reminds me. I want to slip in a quick apology for not offering something at Wave's Christmas Eve giveaway. I'm afraid I didn't know about it. So I wasn't being Scroogey; I was just uninformed. (Story of my life!)

Now, without further ado, here's the Kris 'n' KZ Most Excellent Weener of 2009!

Few of you know this, but Tam is a woman of many accomplishments. I'm not at liberty to discuss some of them, since they have to do with Canadian government secrets (and we all know how deeply into espionage, intrigue, and widespread international hell-raising the Canadians are), but I can share at least one with you. Based on her experience, savvy, and keen eye for beautiful underage young men, Tam has garnered the much coveted leadership of the CCC or Canadian Cougars Club:

Impressive, eh? Small wonder Tam won our award.

Well, she'd better get here soon. Somebody else is waiting for her . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santas Who Like "Naughty"



Friday, December 18, 2009

Because everybody needs some Christmas romance...

And a nice man-chest doesn't hurt, either.

This is the only Christmas story I've ever written -- actually, it's a category-length novel -- and I like it a lot. Mrs. Claws is sweet and funny. Even the sex is sweet and often funny: no netherlips, no engorged body parts or oozing juices. The hero and heroine are in their forties. A dwarf (as in little person) serves as both nemesis and matchmaker. In addition, the story includes a couple of icky exes, a damned nice son, a bevy of meddlesome girlfriends, an obnoxious kid who gets his comeuppance, and a nifty set of false fingernails.

Just in case I've managed to pique your curiosity, here's a blurb. You can find the book at Cerridwen Press by clicking on the post title.

* * * * *

What’s a female Grinch to do when the holidays are fast approaching, and all she has to celebrate is the fact her husband has left her for a twit and she's dated sixteen -- no, make that seventeen -- losers since her divorce? She can apply for a job playing Mrs. Santa Claus, of course! And what happens when one of those seventeen losers is playing Santa opposite her, at a huge shopping mall no less? Well, it ain't pretty. In Mrs. Claws, or The Nightsweats Before Chirstmas Lauren Elizabeth Rose Snyder Rose struggles to maintain her sanity, do her job, reclaim some Christmas spirit . . . and, just maybe, find love in the process.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Coming to a Pig Near You

TeddyPig of The Naughty Bits blog, an out and outspoken gay man with a pretty remarkable life story, has been running a series of fascinating posts featuring m/m authors and their "Five Faves." These are books the authors particularly admire or works that led up to/influenced their writing of gay fiction. (As all or most of you know, Teddy's also an avid reader and occasional reviewer.)

I was honored when he asked me to contribute. You'll be able to peruse my patchwork of influences on Thursday, December 17. Click on the post title to get there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Of Santa Cheese and Lederhosen

Or, "What KZ Loves About Living in Wisconsin"

First, of course, there's this: ===============>

Just thought I'd get that out of the way before proceeding.

Lately, I've needed something to counteract the snoldrums (doldrums brought on by a superabundance of snow too early in the season), and I found it today on the local news.

Santa Claus got a makeover! Thanks to Sarah Kaufman, a most talented cheese carver, the Jolly Old Elf has been rendered in golden, aromatic detail from a 640-lb. block of cheddar. He's currently spreading his joy at a Milwaukee-area supermarket.

Muppets, make way for Uncle Mike! Decked out in Lederhosen and toting an accordion, this middle-aged pedophile dork gentleman uses polka music to teach children about hygiene, among other things. (Yes, hygiene; that's what he said.) Why wasn't he around when I was growing up? I love polkas! I so would've paid attention.

So here, just for YOU, is Uncle Mike and his sidekick, Lumberjack Doug, teaching children "what it's really like to be a lumberjack" via the "Jolly Lumberjack Polka." (Damn, I didn't know a lumberjack could cut down a massive, ancient oak with a crosscut handsaw. Those are some badass dudes! But don't you kind of like it when he shows his vulnerable side -- I think you know which side I mean -- and falls down on his knees? Then bounces back up with a big ol' smile on his face?)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Blog Tour & the Great Blizzard of '09

Welcome to my stop on Liquid Silver's Holiday Hotties Blog Tour! You should've arrived here via Roscoe James's post.

Whether you're in the Yukon or Yuma, may you enoy the best this magical season has to offer. I realize my tree is a little bare (*ahem*), but I don't like 'em with a lot of tinsel. ;-)

As you all know, snow is a common occurence in the upper reaches of the northern hemisphere. Those of us forced to spend the winter in these places sometimes get socked with a whole big bunch of snow in a short period -- the dreaded blizzard. From Tuesday night through Wednesday, we Wisconsinites got it but good.

Those beautiful white crystals fell with a vengeance and piled as high as two feet. Then came high winds, leading to blowing, massive drifting, and power outages. Then came frigid cold.

We knew it was coming and so could prepare for the blast. But once you're stocked up and hunkered down . . . then what?

Different people do different things on bad-weather days. Some simply proceed with business as usual, or try to. Others like to play in whatever mess Nature is delivering, or immediately set to work cleaning it up (like my SO, out at daybreak with his plow and snowblower, even as the stuff was coming at him horizontally).

But the true and perhaps only joy of a blizzard, I think, is the excuse it gives people to lie around -- with each other, music, a book, a movie, a stock of snackfood. The excuse it gives us just to burrow into a bed or couch or recliner, enjoy the cozy warmth, and drift away . . .

Me? I write. Then I tramp outside to check the birdfeeders, come back in, and write some more. Once my mind begins to yawn, I pop in a movie or turn on a favorite TV show and then lie around, dog at my side. The men in the house, I figure, can keep the woodstove filled.

All in all, it's a sweet retreat.

So how do you like to spend bad-weather days? Are you a sleeper, a reader, an artist or crafter, an adventurer?

And remember, my prize for the blog tour is a free download of any title from any publisher. They're all conveniently and clickably listed farther down the left sidebar. Now hie thee to Ella Drake's blog -- (The nice thing about cyberspace is that you don't have to worry about spinning out and ending up in a ditch!)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

If this is a teenage heart-throb . . .

I'm glad I'm a mature woman. UGH!

Who smashed his nose, carved off most of his upper lip, stitched his eyelids nearly shut, made his lips redder than Castanet's, and crushed his head into the shape of an inverted isoceles triangle? Imagine a writer of romance using this kid as the model for a hero. Seriously, I wouldn't know how to describe him in flattering terms!

Although Tay seemed to be on the mend from an aborted experiment by Victor Frankenstein, he was still the hottest twink in --

No. No, it just wouldn't work!

My fear for the younger generation seems to be more justified by the day. {{{shudder}}}

Edited to add: look at the one Tam found--and she claims he's legal! Now this is a proper fantasy man. (Yay, Tam!)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gorgon Pussy, Cyclops Vagina

Jonathan Littell, an American writer and winner of the Prix Goncourt (France's highest literary honor), has just received a new accolade. His novel The Kindly Ones is the winner of the Literary Review's 2009 Bad Sex in Fiction Award. And how very well deserved, this prize.

Littell compares a woman's privates to "a Gorgon's head" and "a motionless Cyclops whose single eye never blinks." (Guess he's never heard of queefs, which certainly come with some vibration.) Then the fool goes on to make the analogy even more egregious: "If only I could still get hard, I thought, I could use my prick like a stake hardened in the fire, and blind this Polyphemus who made me Nobody. But my cock remained inert; I seemed turned to stone."

Oh ferdachrissakes.

Now, any good editor would have asked (aside from the obvious question, Are you fucking high?) "Don't you realize you're mixing your mythological metaphors? The Gorgon and the Cyclops are two very different creatures. What's more, if the narrator couldn't get it up, how could he feel he'd turned to stone? Doesn't stone imply a really, really HARD dick? And, while we're on the subject, don't use 'get hard' and 'hardened in the fire' in the same sentence; it's an awkward and amateurish instance of repetition."

I suppose it isn't fair to pull these passages out of context, but I can't help wondering if it's typical of male "literary" authors to dream up such strained and repugnant images of female genitalia. I've read similarly weird comparisons before. How can gynecologists do their jobs without fleeing in horror from examining tables?

Nurse: "Doctor, what's wrong? Your patient is waiting with her feet in those cold stirrups!"

Doctor O. D. Seus: "By the gods, I can't bear to go near another pudendum writhing with serpents! And that cunt eye, it keeps staring at me!"

Nurse: "Well, doctor, all you need do is overcome the law of inertia, turn your flaccid weenie into a stake, and poke that eye out. Want me to help?"

Seus: "But what about those damned snakes? The fuckers bite!"

Nurse (sighing): "I can tell you're fresh out of medical school. Don't you keep a mongoose in your instrument cabinet?"

FOOTNOTE: Castanet Feldman served as the model for the Gorgon photo.

Well, well, look who, or what, came through...

Seeing as this cake was handmade by Kris, I believe I shall have to . . . eat it. See y'all later. Much later.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hot Diggity ~ I'm a Bestseller!

Well, this doesn't mean too much, just as most "bestselling author!" claims don't mean diddly once you start getting to the bottom of them, but I've never before had this minor distinction. It appears that for an undoubtedly fleeting while, Bastards and Pretty Boys has been Liquid Silver's bestselling title at ARe (that's All Romance eBooks). LSB doesn't have hundreds and hundreds of books there -- somewhere between 130 and 140, I'd guess -- but at least one of mine temporarily made it to the top of the pile.

You can check on this claim if you want, but it's kind of a pain in the butt. You have to do a "publisher" search by entering Liquid Silver in the box, then, once you get to their listings, click on the "bestselling" tab. But frickin' do it FAST, because I'll probably be bumped from the spot within a day . . . or even hours.

I'm really, really grateful to the readers who gave me this birthday present. Really grateful.

But -- YO! -- what's with this shit? Somebody stole Hosea Booker and put him in a different time and a different place and . . . and . . . saddled him with a woman! No, that's not going to work.

A Very Merry Wet Birthday to Me!

I like men who are nicely put together. I especially like nicely put-together men when they are wearing very little or nothing and get drenched. Not with some gooey, gloppy crap like cocktail sauce or orange marmalade, but with water. It's a sleek, transparent liquid, and that's what The Wetness of Beautiful Men is all about.

So, although I'm a few hours early, here's my gift to me and you, sweeties, as I celebrate being a pervy cougar.

Of course, you-know-who (on the left) just had to appear in this artistic photo study. Imagine those lips slicked with fresh water. The tousled hair and look of arrogance only make him even more seductive, don't you think? Well, it really doesn't matter what you think, because it's my birthday!

Here are some more wet hotties or hot wetties or whatever term you prefer for one of the most eye-pleasing wonders on the planet.

Notice the man in the sink. He's digging it. Head back, nips hard, legs spread. Oh yeah. Nothing like a big baby boy with a sprayer.

Now check out Sir Sopping below. He's trying to mimic Nathan. Not bad, but . . . dream on, sweet twink. You're emulating the king!

I like this last pic a lot.

SIGH (I'm almost too damned weak to crack open a beer. Almost.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Penis Mightier Than the Sword

Who said that?

I'll tell you later.

Now, who said the following?

1. Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken.

2. In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.

3. (This one is from the "Duh, ya think so?" files.) Psychopaths have faulty brain connections, scientists find

4. I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure.

5. Good things come to those who find 'em and shove 'em in their mouth.

6. The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.

7. The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

8. Most editors are failed writers -- but so are most writers.

9. The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.

10. When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.

11. Sex is interesting, but it's not totally important. I mean it's not even as important, physically, as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.

12. Remember, if you smoke after sex, you're doing it too fast.

Have a beer while you don't give these too much thought. Because "beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" (according to Benjamin Franklin, and I tend to agree).


1. Oscar Wilde
2. Mark Twain
3. Reuters news service, 08-07-09
4. Clarence Darrow
5. Templeton the Rat, Charlotte's Web
6. Humphrey Bogart
7. Harlan Ellison (classic sci fi author)
8. T. S. Eliot (no shit!)
9. Robert Bloch (author of Psycho, among many other works)
10. Henny Youngman (American comedian)
11. Charles Bukowski (American poet)
12. Woody Allen

The post title came from none other than Mark Twain, the source of some of my favorite lines EVER, and a far more salacious gent than most people realize.

Share some of your favorites!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two Bright Spots

Not in front of my eyes, thank goodness (I've been plagued by optical migraines since my early twenties -- a weird condition).

So anyway, Mobry's Dick has apparently been accepted by my beloved Loose Id -- a good thing, because I'm about five chapters into the sequel. Now it's a matter of getting the sequel accepted. This duology is primarily a contemporary m/m romance with ambiguous hints of the paranormal. If you've ever watched "Ghost Hunters," you know that hints of the paranormal in life on earth are almost always ambiguous.

On to Bastards and Pretty Boys. I can't say too much about this development just yet, but it has to do with a rather surprising email I got from Tina Burns (Liquid Silver's publisher) and something in the works at All Romance eBooks for December. It kind of floored me, actually, in a good way.

And speaking of ARe, many warm thanks to Val Kovalin of Obsidian Bookshelf for the kind of review that's a help to the author as well as to readers. (Val does an excellent m/m review column for ARe's "Wildfire" newsletter. See? There was a connection there!) You can find her B&PB review HERE.

Wish I had good news to report about Jude in Chains, but holy hot damn, the publisher to which I sent it is slower than a snail with a boner. (You must use your imagination to determine how slow that is.) I hate like hell pestering editors, but this wait is already three months old. That's what I get for venturing beyond the tried and true . . . and quicker.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free at last!

Do I give a crap about what's going on at Harlequin and their new ebook imprint and their new vanity publishing venture? No. Okay, that's out of the way.

I'm free of Norton AntiVirus. FREE! I toughed it out until I got my money's worth out of those thieves at Symantec and then uninstalled the sack of creeping, crawling turdlings that seemed to have invaded every function of my computer. God, what a difference it made in performance!

You can't begin to imagine (or maybe you can, if you've had to deal with Norton AV) how miserable this software made my every waking hour. Each morning when I turned on my desktop, it took at least an hour, a freaking hour, to start running smoothly. Sometimes, it even took an hour and a half.

But wait, there's more! Norton drained my virtual memory on a daily basis, forcing a stall-out as Windows came up with more. Around midday, and then again late in the evening, my PC would start to choke up again -- hung apps, frozen screen, the works. Three or four times a day, I couldn't get anywhere or do anything. And not just for a minute or two, but for twenty or thirty minutes at a time. Norton kept disrupting my Internet browsing; it kept disrupting other installed programs; it even fucked with the simple process of shutting down. It was everywhere, like aliens intent on abduction, doing God-knows-what to the innards of my poor Dell.

How can this be? I still don't know. How can an antivirus program that costs $60 a year be more destructive than the bugs it's supposed to fend off or neutralize? Where does Symantec get its techies from? The lowest 1% of Whatsamattah U's graduating class?


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wings of Flippin' FIRE!

"I fell into those burning wings of fire. I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher. And they burn, burn, burn, those wings of fire . . ." (No, that is not the title I preferred, but who am I?)

So here it is, a mere four months late -- Wings of Fire from Ellora's Cave, 398 dead-tree pages of delectable otherworld fantasy. HORNY men (sometimes together), FEISTY women, REALLY HOT dragons. And more! Like a supercool old witch named Bronwil, who has a talking goat on the sod roof of her cottage and is able to read smoke and steam.

This softcover incorporates my three Galdeshian fantasies, published originally as separate e-books: Wing and Tongue, Cauldron of Keridwen, and Prince of Glacier Glas. They share many of the same settings and characters -- hence, the logic of bundling them together.

Click on the post title if you're nosy. The book is currently on sale. I imagine it will be available sooner or later on Amazon, but it's definitely available now at the EC site. (Guess I'll have to break down and buy at least one copy for myself. Wonder how I should inscribe it?)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Should there be a site that reviews reviewers?


It was a fascinating go-round at Katiebabs' blog (click post title) that tickled my brain with this notion. I'm afraid I don't visit KB's very often, primarily because I've been on extended sabbatical from m/f fiction. That means I don't read reviews of m/f books. But it's a jolly good blog, and I'm glad I came upon it.

Since I'm over a week behind the times, I assume the discussion there is old news to many of you. In a nutshell: an EC author was perturbed because Ms. Babs did not give her book the grade she, the author, thought it deserved -- which, I gathered, was a solid "A" dangling from the ass-end of a rave. Why did she think this? Probably for the same reason I think InDescent has been the most under-appreciated book I've ever written and deserves considerably more accolades than it's received. (There, I've said it.) The woman obviously felt her work was beyond reproach, an attitude that had been bolstered by a certain amount of OH WOW feedback from other sources.

Well, dicked if I know what rating the book deserved; I've never read it and don't intend to, since it's a Puss 'n' Four Boots tale. I did, however, read the review, which had quite a few good things to say about the story (aside from that stretched-out hoohah). Grade: B.

I wouldn't have done an energetic Happy Dance if I were the author, but neither would I have blogged about the review with righteous, pouty indignation. Still, I kind of understand where the author was coming from -- especially if she's newly published and hasn't grown enough calluses yet. Hell, even those of us who are plated like armadillos still get our armor pierced now and then.

I haven't exactly gotten buckets of recognition for my writing. I've never made it to a DIK shelf or an auto-buy list (not that I'm aware of, anyway). I haven't made the finals in any kind of contest since Cemetery Dancer did that in the EPPIEs. My name rarely turns up in "best of" or "favorites" discussions. Invitation-only publishers apparently think I'm a nebbish, if they even know I exist. I'm just sort of . . . there, part of the padding in the m/m genre. A Salieri.

Does it bother me? Sure it does. And when a caustic review comes along, it bothers me even more. Why? Because readers pay attention to these things! Doesn't matter how off-the-wall any given review is or how questionable a reviewer's competence. A lot of people base their book-buying decisions on other people's opinions, plain and simple.

So as I'm reading the comments to KB's post and pondering my mix of exasperation with and empathy for this author, I see another writer enter the fray.

Mr. Lanyon rode in but did not, thank all that is Johnny Cash, switch his black hat for a white one and cry out to authors, "Rise above it! Go back to your work!" Instead, he tried to explain why authors are sensitive to reviews, which rather surprised me. (JL, as we know, hasn't had too terribly much experience in the gutter of criticism.) Still, everything he said made perfect sense. Although we may know, rationally, that we shouldn't take these slings and arrows to heart, they wound us nonetheless. Anybody who believes we should just "rise above it" is pretty mofo-ing ignorant about the fundamentals of human nature.

This is not to say reviewers should modify their opinions based on our feelings. Of course they shouldn't. And it's not to say we don't appreciate the time and effort that goes into their assessments. Of course we do. But this is to say, don't be surprised if we come back at you with our opinions, because we have 'em, too. Who exactly decided we're forever to smile and sit on our hands and play gracious? Did I miss a chapter in Emily Post?

And that's what made me wonder if there should be a blog that reviews reviewers, and how they would react to nitpicking or all-out evisceration.

Hmmm. ;-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Inching Closer

Not quite the final version, but damned good enough to show off.

And so we come full circle, back to thoroughly human Pablo Creed
and the Utopian Metroplex of Regenerie.
The first time around, Win saved him.
Now Pablo returns the favor . . .
and extends it to countless others.
(The final book of the Utopia-X series,
coming January 5, 2010 from Loose Id.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dicking with Publishers

Sometimes publishers are such a joy to work with, they make me thank my lucky stars (at least I would if I had lucky stars -- but I doubt it). Sometimes they make me wonder, WTF are you people thinking? And then there are those other times . . .

I've been waiting for the release of a print collection from you-know-who. Or you should know if you visit this blog with any regularity. First the book was supposed to come out in July. Then late September/early October. Two months ago, my editor was "working on the galleys" (which I, of course, will never get to lay eyes on, since I'm only the author). Now I must try to find out what the hell is going on. I'm actually not too concerned about what's going on, except in principle. Print editions usually result in returns, and returns are deducted from e-book royalties, and that sucks. But I am concerned whenever it appears one of my publishers isn't trustworthy and excels more at making excuses than getting things done.

Then there's this cluster-screw: I'm trying to get an old book back. Its contract will be up next year, and the publisher has disappointed me pretty much from the get-go. The book isn't making either of us any money. However, I didn't know whom to contact. This company has no on-site contact information, just a rather stagnant authors' loop on Yahoo to which I don't belong. So I had to google my original editor -- yes, google the woman! And thank goodness I found her.

"Oh," said she, "I haven't done much there for the past year, but I'll forward your message. When I get back onboard, although not even Jesus Christ knows when that will be, we have all these plans for blah-blah-blah, which will make things ever so much better, and blah-blah-blah." (Dig this. She RUNS the imprint through which my book was published . . . and she hasn't done squat with it in a freakin' year. Huh?) Mm-hm, yup. You've really bolstered my confidence. Just answer my questions, lady. I'm totally fed up with this outfit.

These people haven't sent me a royalty statement in two years. How professional, eh? (Doesn't matter if a statement only contains a big, fat zero, it nevertheless should be sent.) They haven't coughed up any royalties, either, because they have a policy of not paying out unless and until the amount exceeds X-number of dollars. Worse yet, the publisher thinks I'm not owed any royalties, because he obviously hasn't done his homework and looked up all the old statements. And, finally, he doesn't believe a letter granting reversion of rights is necessary.

This is no tiny e-pub, mind you. An e-pub, yes, but a large one that's been around for years and also, I believe, puts out print editions. Their lack of professionalism just makes my brain implode.

I really want to retrieve this novel and rework it. There's a good reason for that. But before I resubmit it, I first need to make a clean and legal break from the first publisher and get my damned money, no matter how small the amount.

Gawd. How do some of these operations get and stay in business?
Oh for the fuck's sake, you wouldn't believe it . . .

Monday, November 09, 2009

When a Fellow Author Is Supportive

Much to my surprise, a fellow author at Liquid Silver -- and one who also happens to write for Samhain -- blogged about "discovering" me via Bastards and Pretty Boys. You can read Hailey Edwards' comments by clicking on the post title. (She does have a nifty blog!) She now plans on reading To Be Where You Are (yup, coming out later today), even though she's wholly unfamiliar with Jackson and Adin and the rather complex history of their relationship.

I haven't published with LSB very long, so I'm still getting to know the writers there. This makes it all the more startling and gratifying to get a wholly unexpected recommendation from one of them. Hailey's not a reviewer, so she was under no obligation to mention one of my books.

Maybe other authors are used to this kind of thing and take it for granted. I'm not, and I don't. Honestly, this kind of generosity bowls me over.

Thank you, thank you, Hailey.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


. . . is a complex belief system brought to the western hemisphere from Africa and given both an old Catholic and a New World spin. In fact, there are a dozen or so similar religions (Cuban Santeria is probably the best known) -- that more or less share the pantheon and tenets of voodoo/vodou.

The symbol above is called a "veve." Each god/dess has his or her own. This one happens to be for a spirit called Erzulie Freda, and you can see a portion of it on Adin Swift's torso on my new book's cover. Erzulie Freda, quite a lovely and vivacious creature, figures heavily in the storyline.

However, voodoo can be turned to dark purposes. Jackson Spey must confront these in To Be Where You Are.

If you'd like to get a sense of the mystery and magic of New Orleans-based voodoo, click on the post title. It will take you to the MySpace page for Dr. John "the Night Tripper." Look on his playlist in the upper right corner, and click on the song "I Walk on Gilded Splinters." (Don't worry if you can't make out some of the lyrics; I believe they're in Creole.)

It was really tempting to expand and even focus on this element of TBWYA, but I had to rein in the impulse lest Jackson's and Adin's story got lost. This is their book, after all.

However . . . I don't think I'm done with voodoo yet.