Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FUGLY now available at . . .

the Kindle Store
ARe (All Romance eBooks).

Sorry it took so long -- SBAC (situation beyond author's control)!
In another respect, the timing was perfect. Val Kovalin of Obsidian Bookshelf designated Fugly a Recommended Read in her "Man to Man" gay-romance reviews feature for ARe's "Wild Fire" newsletter. Thank you, Val!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

OMFG...with a cherry on top!

Anne Cain
scores again!
(Coming in January
from Dreamspinner Press.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

See some of my true colors.

If you dare. Michele and Jeff, of the excellent Michele 'n' Jeff Reviews, just posted an interview with me. (Click on post title to get there.)

I just realized something about interviews: I sound like a different person in each one. Don't know why this is, exactly, but it must have something to do with how certain questions strike me at certain times.

Anyway, you'll be bloody sick of me by mid-winter. I'll be doing a guest blog at Dawn's Reading Nook (that's Dawn Roberto of the Love Romances Cafe group) on December 10, opining at Reviews by Jessewave on December 21, showing up as a featured author at Rainbow eBooks sometime in January (I think), and doing another featured-author gig at the Goodreads m/m group in February (I think). I'll provide more details in the future -- if, that is, my delusions of grandeur aren't making me imagine all this stuff. :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The First Chapter of MONGREL

Now up at LiveJournal. Click on the post title to read it (except you, Chris).

Visible Friend is finished. Abercrombie Zombie is next. Damn, I wish I had a beer right now. Writers from Milwaukee don't need no Dom Perignon. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Title From an Old Aversion

Except for vampires, which I love, I'm not big on undead heroes. But a title sprang into my head that begs for a story. I also have a few character names. Will a plot unfurl? I can only hope.

Keep your digits crossed. The title is Abercrombie Zombie. I can't let it pass.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bed Writing

Pay attention. The post title does not read "bed wetting" or "bad writing." ;-) Now that we've cleared that up . . .

Bed writing is how I often come up with titles, character names, development of and solutions to plot points, and entire paragraphs and sections. It isn't something that happens while I'm sleeping (that would be dream writing) and it isn't something that happens while I'm awake and alert (that would be normal writing). Bed writing happens when I'm tired and want to sleep but can't sleep. It's tied to the insomnia that's plagued me for years (and, since I don't trust drugs and don't have health insurance, will probably continue to plague me).

Last night, as I lay awake and sandwiched between JLA and Luna, and Cody was on the floor passing gas . . .

Okay, wait. Let me clear up this scenario, because right now it sounds like a Roman orgy. JLA is my SO, Luna is a sleek little terrier-lab mix rescue dog, and Cody is a not-so-sleek, dumber-than-dirt, shepherd-something mix rescue dog. (Maybe pit bull, but you'd never know it considering what a wussy sweetheart he is.)

So anyway, they were all asleep. I wasn't. My mind was churning. I don't know if this mental restlessness is the cause or result of my insomnia but suspect it's both. I'd been stressing a little over how to end my WIP, Visible Friend, because it's a strange story about a recovering heroin addict, the pitfalls he encounters, and his often unwanted companion. The HFN was there, but something was missing. The missing something came to me between rounds of wriggling from my right side onto my left side and back again in a futile attempt to get comfortable. I expanded and typed it out today, and like it very much.

Bed writing has also led to character names and a core idea for my next story. Maybe the title will come to me tonight.

This isn't any kind of technique. It can't be taught. I haven't cultivated bed writing; it just happens. It also has a tendency to interfere with my paltry attempts at working from an outline. Sometimes, in fact, it destroys those attempts.

Other than that and the fact it keeps sleep at bay, the biggest drawback to bed writing is that it isn't on paper or computer. Its output must be stored in one's mind -- a process that's iffy at best. (Oy, how many times I've wished there was some device I could just clamp comfortably onto my skull, like an electronic, thought-transcribing yarmulke, and transfer these words and ideas directly onto my computer! It's a little maddening when a whole section writes itself out in my mind and I can only hope it will be there the next day!)

So what's the point of this post? Only this: if you ever doubted that writers are weird creatures, doubt no more.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


People on Facebook suggesting what I should "like." Politicians (and Fox NoNews) telling me what I should and shouldn't believe. Corporations telling me what I should buy. The PC Police telling me how I should live.

Damn, I'm sick of being told shit. I like opinions (value them, in fact), and I cherish shared wisdom (like author Victor Banis's, bless 'im), and I don't mind in the least hearing about good and just causes (those should be publicized). But I'm really sick of preachments. I'm sick of people ascending the Mount and giving me The Word.

I'll tell you what the Word is: the Bird is the Word.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Words You Need to Know

The august Washington Post runs a weekly feature known as the Style Invitational, in which readers are given a chance to do clever things with words. (Click on post title to see some recent contests.) I found one from 2003 that involved altering words by one letter and assigning them new definitions.

I like these very much. :-)

  • Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to begin with.
  • Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
  • Foreploy: Any misrepresentation of yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
  • Giraffiti: Vandalism painted very, very high.
  • Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
  • Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
  • Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
  • Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.
  • Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's a serious bummer.
  • Glibido: All talk and no action.
  • Dopeer Effect: The tendency for stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly. [Lookin' at you, Glenn Beck.]

And the winner --

  • Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Monday, November 01, 2010

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts - UPDATE

From the "Wha...?" file: Mongrel already has a page at Goodreads. Publication date is December 8. You can read about it here. (By the way, this is more a category-length novel than a novella. The book is several thousand words shy of Dreamspinner's minimum for their novel category -- hence the designation "novella.")

The cover for Fugly has made it into the ELEVENTH ROUND of voting at Elisa Rolle's Rainbow Awards Cover Art Competition. It's been up against some stiff competition, so I'm really, really proud of Christine Griffin.

Still working on Visible Friend (or Keeping Tink Alive -- a title that may or may not stick, depending on what turns the story takes).

I've been getting in some reading lately -- heaven! -- and discovering chapter by chapter what I like and don't like in terms of style. (It's amazing how stuff jumps out at me when I've had little or no time to read for an extended period. I also seem to pay closer attention when I have a print book in front of me rather than a desktop monitor.) So my reading jag hasn't just been a treat, it's been something of an education.

It really bugs me like a swarm of flies when characters continually speak the names of the people they're addressing, especially when the dialogue involves only two individuals.

"You might not want to go there, Bob."

"I can take care of myself, Dick."

"Bob, don't make me call you stupid."

"Don't make me call you stupider, Dick . . . head."

I never thought I'd be particularly bothered by quirky constructions or modes of expression--I'm not a slave to grammatical convention--but when they're used repeatedly, I am indeed bothered. This one, for example, drives me crazy. Batty. Insane. Encountering it once in a while is okay. Tolerable. Acceptable. But overuse renders it annoying. In the extreme. To say the least. (Kid you not, I'm ready to tear at my hair just thinking about it!)

I've noticed, too, that character exposition and development sometimes suffer in stories that are heavy on action sequences. I've read a couple of books in which moving about is described in meticulous detail, down to the last slapping footfall, yet the characters' motivations and psycho-emotional makeups leave me puzzled. What's this guy about? Why does he have that attitude? What exactly is the nature of these men's relationship, and how did it get to this stage? If I don't grasp the dynamic between the heroes, I don't find the story satisfying.

Sex in the midst of or right after trauma, terror, or trouble serious enough to provoke scrotum sweat also has me mystified. I appreciate resilient characters, but not the ones who can sprout wood during or immediately following one hell of a scary and/or tragic event. Leaves me feeling kind of cold.

Then there are stories that seem to start in the middle rather than at the beginning, and stories that end so abruptly, I keep wanting to turn pages that aren't there.

I've come upon some delights, too -- smartly, sharply written fiction in which the authors' creativity, language skill, intelligence, wit, and sensitivity shine through. I just wish I could find more. (Oh, for another Wicked Gentlemen. It had me in readerly rapture after the first two pages.) But I have a mile-long TBB list, so there's hope!