Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I was tagged to participate in this blog hop by Kim Fielding. Be sure to check out her answers about her WIP on her blog!

What is the working title of your book?
Seeking Solace

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Back in 2006, my best friend died in a car accident. To cope with the grief, I started writing. This WIP is a rewrite of that original story.

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary romance and suspense.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
oh gosh. I wish I knew more actors. Andrew Garfield and Matt Bomer are my usual default answers. I just love them both. Andrew Garfield fits Efren, the main character.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
When Efren is drowning in guilt and sorrow, he meets Devlin and learns the solace to his pain is love. (Well, that was super cheesy)

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
I plan to submit it to Dreamspinner Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I honestly don't remember. Maybe a year. Maybe 6 months. It's been a long time since I finished the first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.
I'm terrible at comparisons, so I honestly don't know.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I had an online friend who suggested and encouraged me to write it as a way to vent. I guess she inspired me.

What else about your book might interest the reader?
Aside from the main character, it has a sexy private eye and a gorgeous Irishman.

To read info on more Works In Progress, visit the authors I tagged:
Shira Anthony
Charlie Cochet
J.R. Loveless

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dreamspinner Press - Sales Sales Sales!

Dreamspinner Press is celebrating the end-of-the-year holidays in style! 

Dec 6-12: All holiday eBooks will be 25% off.
Dec. 13-19: All short stories (Daydreams and Nap-size Dreams) will be 20% off.
Dec. 20-25: Everything in the store will be 25% off.
Dec 26-31: All series will be 20% (Which includes Elemental Attraction series!)

In addition to the sales, Dreamspinner Press be giving away some awesome prizes too!

Dec 2-8: a Kindle to one lucky customer
Dec 9-15: a Nook to one lucky customer
Dec 16-22: a Kindle to one lucky customer
Dec 23-29: an iPad Mini to one lucky customer

No matter what you celebrate, I wish you a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

lovely Fire Tango fanart!

My bestie drew Fremont and Leandre! She shared with me a few months ago and I used this image for Fire Tango promotional postcards during GRL. (I didn't have the cover until just before the event.) The background and frame is mine.

Thank you, Sydney, for this lovely piece of art!

You can find more by Sydney on her DeviantArt account.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fire Tango release winners

Winners from the Fire Tango release event have been picked by a random number generator. check your in-boxes  because I've sent the emails out. I want to thank everyone for their comments. ^_^ I hope every enjoyed the teasers. Thank you!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fire Tango excerpt three

Fremont leaned down, removing the pink bowtie from his pocket. He placed it around Fitzgerald’s neck and tied it neatly. “Thank you, Fitz. Will you watch over Leandre for me while I’m not with him?”
“Yes, Monty, sir.”
Fremont smiled and straightened. “Catriel wants Kestrel and I to join the guests dancing.”
Estella turned to Leandre. “Do you know how to tango, Leandre?”
“Fremont had attempted a lesson, but we were rained out.” Leandre placed his attention on his champagne flute.
“Can I teach him, Monty?” Estella gasped excitedly.
“Of course you can.”
“I could teach him,” Victor offered, slipping into their half circle. He looked Leandre over. “Actually, I’d rather not. Forget I asked.”
Fremont inhaled a deep breath. “What do you want?”
“I wanted to say congratulations, Fremont. I’m thrilled to see whether or not an engagement will save you this time as well.”
Fremont scoffed. “Oh, honestly, Victor. What makes you believe there’s any chance of a conviction?”
“What fun would it be if I told you?”
“You were never one for games.”
Victor glanced at Fitzgerald and took a step closer to Fremont. “I’ll make a wager with you, dear brother. If you come out of the hearing unscathed, I’ll simply congratulate you and move on, but if you’re scathed, you’ll lose your faerie.”
Fremont narrowed his eyes. “Lose Fitzgerald how?”
“Deportation, of course. That’s the only thing within my power as a consul.”
“If I’m to be scathed during the trial, I’ll be living in Snowden, so I don’t see how deporting Fitz will force us apart.”
Victor smiled. It wasn’t friendly. “I think what you’ll be up against is a little worse than a simple rejection of citizenship.”
“This sounds like a threat, Victor,” Leandre said, earning a cold stare from Victor.
“More like a warning.” Victor adjusted his waistcoat. “Enjoy the dance, Fremont.” Fitzgerald stepped to the side to avoid Victor as he retreated into the socializing guests.
“I can’t decide who I dislike more: my own little brother or Kestrel’s.” Estella tightened her fingers into fists. “He has no reason to hate you this much.”
“Of course he does.” Fremont tugged off his gloves and handed them to Fitzgerald for safekeeping. “He’s Victor. What more reason does he need?” Estella chuckled in agreement. “I’m sorry, love,” Fremont said to Leandre. “I’ve never wanted to shove you against the wall and kiss you until you beg more than I do in this very moment, but I have to go.”
The straightforward and seemingly boorish honesty Leandre loved so much about Fremont had been dormant for much of their trip. He happily acknowledged the Fremont he knew was still somewhere under the surface.
“If you keep telling me such secrets, I might drag you away early.”
Fremont smiled slyly and took a step away. “Don’t wear him out, Estella,” he requested.

Devil Fremont’s unwillingness to divulge even the smallest details of his past makes building a relationship with his lover, Leandre, a struggle. Doubt and frustration tear at the couple and put their bond to the test when Fremont’s secrets find him after his ten years in exile and force him home to Spezia to face serious charges.

Whatever mysteries Fremont has buried, Leandre does not believe murder is one of them—though his waiting fiancé is a surprise. As Fremont trusts his lover with his past, a second murder throws him deeper into the law’s hands.

Desperate to save Fremont, Leandre searches for the truth. But the conspiracy he uncovers goes deeper than he ever imagined. With Fremont’s time running out, Leandre must act quickly to reveal the true culprit before he loses his bond mate for good.

FireTango and Water Waltz are both available now.

Elemental Attraction: Not your usual devils

There are five races in the Elemental Attraction world: demons, angels, humans, devils, and faeries. The first pages in the novels give a brief explanation of the races. I’ve received reviews and emails from readers surprised that I took creatures with established mythology and changed it. My version of angels is not that from the bible. Demons and devils are different species. Faeries aren’t the ones in any Disney movie.
I took my artistic license and changed the terms to my liking. That’s what’s so great about fantasy. Angels don’t have to be the same creature in every story. Yes, my angels have weaker bones, but that doesn’t make them weak. Demons have horns, faeries have insect-like wings, and devils have tails. Physical characteristics separate the creatures from the humans, but it doesn’t link them to any set law of fantasy creatures.
Initially I wasn’t going to have devils or faeries. But as I wrote Water Waltz and thought to the future of the world I was creating, I knew I needed to have other countries with other races. And Fremont was just too flirtatious to be a demon.
The creature races also have cultures dividing them. In Fire Tango, how devils view sex differs greatly of how demons and angels do. Devils are viewed negatively because of their more accepting nature to sex and physical desires. But devils view how demons and angels hide sexual desires as strange. Neither is in the right or the wrong, but their cultures clash over just the one thing.

Do you prefer reading the known and loved lore of fantasy creatures, or new versions of angels, demons, and the like?

FireTango and Water Waltz are both available now.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fire Tango: Guest Blog

For today's entries, I'm blogging over at Shira Anthony's website.
I talk about the two angels who speak French in Elemental Attraction series, and share another excerpt.

Click here to go to my post on Shira's site. Leave comments there to be entered into the drawing of a paperback or ebook of Fire Tango.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fire Tango: Excerpt Two

“You must mean a lot to Fremont.” Kestrel spoke again, this time more quietly.
Leandre had no idea if Fremont had told Kestrel, but decided to hold his tongue. “Why do you say that?”
“His tail.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Kestrel smiled and offered the bottle of wine to Leandre. He declined. “The tail is not just for balance,” Kestrel said. “Look at Fremont and Estella now.”
Leandre glanced at the siblings. His eyes had adjusted to better see detail in the starlit  evening. They were seated shoulder to shoulder on the dock with their legs dangling off the edge, and their tails were wrapped around one another behind them.
“What about it?”
“A devil doesn’t have complete control over his tail,” Kestrel explained. “It’s a part of us, just like our own heart, but it behaves on a subconscious level as well as conscious. The fact that Fremont’s tail was around your leg when you entered from the hallway is enough evidence to prove to me how close of a friendship you share.”
“Is it friendship if I held his tail during dinner?” Leandre asked carefully, sliding his gaze over Kestrel’s face. The prince silently stared ahead for just long enough for Leandre to regret his question.
“For a demon?” Kestrel finally spoke, raising a curious eyebrow. “I have no idea what that would indicate. Maybe a tail fetish of sorts.”
Leandre chuckled, understanding he had been out of line, and grateful the prince had reacted so well. “I do like how tails look and the attention one gathers in Fenian, but I wouldn’t call it a fetish. I would, however, trade my horns for a tail.”
“A demon with a tail,” Kestrel mused. “Wouldn’t that make you a devil?”
“I guess it would.”

FireTango and Water Waltz are both available now.

Continuing the Fire Tango party


When I get a story idea, parts of the plot are thought out first, and when I feel like I need to write it, I start by naming characters. Sometimes it’s easy, but other times I research names to use. It’s a fun part in the process, and sometimes I rename characters when the name just doesn’t seem to fit as the character grows.

I’ve blogged about the names for Water Waltz before, but I’ll review it here and add to it for the new characters introduced in Fire Tango. 

Fremont is the lead in Fire Tango. He was a side character in Water Waltz but his story begged to be told. His name wasn’t picked for a special reason. It’s just a name I like. I think it fits his personality though.

Leandre is our second lead. He, too, had his debut in Water Waltz. His name is Greek and means “lion man.” He’s a strong but gentle character. In Fire Tango he faces torment of the heart, but stands his ground to protect his lover.

Fitzgerald is the first faerie character. His name came from one of my favorite authors. Fitz is a close friend of Fremont’s. Once upon a time, there were two casinos in downtown Las Vegas. One was Fitzgerald and the other was Fremont. The names have been changed now, but I found the fact amusing.

The wrench (one of many) in Fremont and Leandre’s perfect romance is Kestrel Du Chastain. He’s a devil from Fremont’s past with nothing but good intentions. I really love this name. Kestrel is a small bird of prey. Chastain is from Old French castan for chestnut tree. So Kestrel’s full name means “bird of prey of the chestnut tree.” It wasn’t intentional, but it sure does fit.

The bad guy is Riston. Every story needs a baddie, and this one is out to see Fremont suffer. His name is related to his element—earth.

Another earth demon introduced is Pekelo. His name means “rock.” I simply adore Pekelo. He started out as a love interest to be developed beside Leandre and Fremont’s budding relationship, but it just didn’t fit the murderous plot. So Pekelo’s romance story is saved for the third book. I just need to plan and write it.

We also meet some devils I named after friends—Estella, Moro, Anna, Laura, and even Juxon. The family name, St Aryie, is also a friend’s name. And the Constable Stephen Banks is a tease to a dear friend. When I need to name a bunch of characters, I go to my social media pages. So like or friend me on Facebook, and comment when I do a name call post. I might use your name too.

I’ve posted a guide to the locations for Water Waltz, and it includes all the key places in Fire Tango as well. (Loire in Bretagne, and Foxwood in Spezia) 

Remember to leave a comment to be entered to win a prize during the Fire Tango release event!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fire Tango excerpt one

Fremont rested on his back with his hands folded behind his head, patiently studying the ceiling. He could hear guards speaking to each other, but the discussion didn’t include his fate. He hadn’t been told anything, but he was fed and treated well, which was all he could ask for. Fremont had also been given an empty cell in an empty room. The privacy only gave him a sense of dread. To be separated from others couldn’t be a good sign.
“I had expected an arrest for lewd behavior, Fremont.”
Fremont recognized the voice and sat up. “Varun.” He smiled as relief swept into his being. “What brings you here, doll?”
“I had to see it myself,” Varun teased, approaching the cell. “Did they really restrain your tail?”
Fremont carefully got to his feet and turned to show how the guards had taped the appendage to his leg in three areas. “It’s uncomfortable and throws my balance off. What did they expect me to do with it, steal the keys and flee?”
“Probably.” Varun motioned for Fremont to step closer. He squatted down near the bars and reached inside with a pocketknife to cut the tape away. “I vouched for you, so don’t plan any escape with my honor on the line,” he warned halfheartedly.
Fremont smiled. “Have you been told why I’m here?”
“Murder. Such a ghastly mark, Fremont. You couldn’t have been framed with something with less shock value?”
“You say I was framed?”
Varun closed his pocketknife and put it away. “You’re not the murdering type.”
“What did they tell you about the murder? What evidence is there that I’m to blame here?”
“It looks bad for you, Fremont. They’ve linked this incident to one from Foxwood.”
Fremont backed away from the bars, studying Varun in a manner he hadn’t seen before. He would have guessed Fremont suddenly feared him. “What were you told, exactly?”
“I won’t repeat a word, Fremont. What was told to me is not mine to repeat.”
Fremont’s heart fell. He lowered to his knees and stared at the concrete floor. He had spent ten years hiding, and now the past had found him. He had never wanted Varun, or anyone, to know.
It was a long time before he could lift his gaze back to Varun’s face. “I didn’t do it,” he whispered.

FireTango and Water Waltz are both available now.

Elemental Attraction Series

Water Waltz is a political thriller with countries set against each other. The two lead characters, Varun and Triste, move along with the plot they help shape. Fire Tango is a murder mystery with characters set against each other. The murders and Fremont himself move the plot. The two stories are similar and share the world introduced in Water Waltz, but politics do not come into play for Fire Tango as they do in Water Waltz.

The story starts a year after Water Waltz. The demons are cracking down on human trade, and all crimes against humans are now handled exclusively by STAR. Fremont is accused of murdering a human, and the ordeal forces him to face his past. Despite wanting to see to it himself, Leandre joins Fremont in his journey to the devil country of Spezia where everything falls apart.

I didn’t originally set out to write Fire Tango as a murder mystery. In my first outline, Fremont’s past was going to spur more political movements, but it just didn’t feel right. Stepping away from world building gave me a change to further develop characters and character relations. I also think a murder mystery is a tad more fun than bickering countries.

The romance in Fire Tango is also very different than the one in Water Waltz. Fremont and Leandre have an established relationship that’s put to the test. Fremont struggles with his belief that he’ll lose Leandre if Leandre gets to know him too well. It’s a fear I’m sure a lot of readers understand. Letting another person know you as you know yourself can be terrifying.

They also face outside sources of difficulties. The world plot comes into play when devils and demons are two races not allowed to fall in love. Hard choices come into play for Leandre and Fremont, and bring up the question of whether or not the love will survive. But don’t worry. The question is answered by the end.

What do you like in your fantasy books? Some epic worlds or some epic adventure?

FireTango and Water Waltz are both available now.

Fire Tango Release Event!

Let's get this party started.

I was going to be posting on the Dreamspinner's blog as well, but wordpress hates me. (the feeling is mutual)

I'll be giving away a paperback copy of Fire Tango, and a few ebooks too. The rules are simple! Leave a comment on any one of the posts made during the event, and you'll be added to a random drawing.

Edit: Since wordpress won't let me post to my publisher's blob, I decided to turn this into a multiple day event. So this party is going to happen until Sunday! (November 11th) That'll be plenty of time for people to read excerpts and posts and leave comments.

Good luck and have fun!

Comment on these posts to be entered: (I'll update the list each day)

Available Now: Fire Tango

I will be doing a release event this evening with prizes. Check back for posts! You can pick up Fire Tango and Water Waltz--book one in the Elemental Attraction series--from Dreamspinner Press today!

Devil Fremont’s unwillingness to divulge even the smallest details of his past makes building a relationship with his lover, Leandre, a struggle. Doubt and frustration tear at the couple and put their bond to the test when Fremont’s secrets find him after his ten years in exile and force him home to Spezia to face serious charges.

Whatever mysteries Fremont has buried, Leandre does not believe murder is one of them—though his waiting fiancé is a surprise. As Fremont trusts his lover with his past, a second murder throws him deeper into the law’s hands.

Desperate to save Fremont, Leandre searches for the truth. But the conspiracy he uncovers goes deeper than he ever imagined. With Fremont’s time running out, Leandre must act quickly to reveal the true culprit before he loses his bond mate for good.

Purchase today from Dreamspinner Press or All Romance eBooks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

GRL 2012 = Amazing

GayRomLit was amazing. I met a lot of people and had a blast for four days. I’m already counting the days for the next one. I have no idea what to write about GRL, so I’m posting a few photos instead!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beautiful Cover Art Reveal!

I got my cover art for Fire Tango, done by the wonderful Shobana Appavu! I love it! Shobana has not only captured Fremont and Leandre, but the overall feel of their story. 
Thank you for the amazing cover, Shobana!
Fire Tango is book two in Elemental Attraction series. Check the coming soon page for a small teaser.
Cover art by Shobana Appavu
Devil Fremont’s unwillingness to divulge even the smallest details of his past makes building a relationship with his lover, Leandre, a struggle. Doubt and frustration tear at the couple and put their bond to the test when Fremont’s secrets find him after his ten years in exile and force him home to Spezia to face serious charges.

Whatever mysteries Fremont has buried, Leandre does not believe murder is one of them—though his waiting fiancé is a surprise. As Fremont trusts his lover with his past, a second murder throws him deeper into the law’s hands.

Desperate to save Fremont, Leandre searches for the truth. But the conspiracy he uncovers goes deeper than he ever imagined. With Fremont’s time running out, Leandre must act quickly to reveal the true culprit before he loses his bond mate for good.
Release date: November 7, 2012 through Dreamspinner Press

Friday, October 5, 2012

Author Spotlight at MANtastic!

I'm in the author spotlight today at MANtastic Fiction. Head on over to read my post about why I like to read books in a series. I have two types of series I read and discuss why I like them.
Albuquerque, NM
MANtastic Fiction has a reading challenge for the retreat (with prizes) and I've donated a paperback copy of World on Fire toward the GRL attendee prizes.  Gay Romance Literature Retreat is October 18 - 21 in Albuquerque, NM. I'll be attending with a trusty beta reader. My excitement for GRL only increases as the dates approach. I'm new to this retreat and have only attended anime conventions in the past, so I'm sure I'll find the lack of cosplay unnerving. (Is there cosplay for GRL??)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

GLBT Madness Hop 2012!

Welcome to the GLBT Madness Hop! I’m going to be talking about my series Water Waltz and why I love writing it. Book one, Water Waltz, is available now. The second, Fire Tango, will be released in November.

The type of fantasy novels I love to rear are ones set in alternative universe of the world we all know. (I think that’s the allure of steampunk.) In Water Waltz I created a world using all the bits of history I find appealing. It might be the dress, culture, etiquette, or the lack of certain technology, but it all lumps together to create a new, alternative world to what we already know.

In fantasy I also have the ability to erase the parts in our world I don’t like. In the Water Waltz universe, there’s no prejudice against sexual orientation. In fact, there are no titles for sexual orientation among the creatures. They love any gender freely. Taking out the “am I gay?” aspect to the romance allows the lovers to find each other and fall in love free of the social constraints.

Varun and Triste is the main couple in Water Waltz. Varun is a demon with control over water, and Triste is an angel. Triste’s caring heart weighed down by life was fun to write. He has prejudices against humans created from his culture, and struggles at first to see the lost human, Elden, as more than the lower species the stronger ones must protect. Triste’s inner conflicts drive his decisions and his actions push the plot along its course. Characters developed enough to be the cause of plot movement is what pulls readers into a story. I love writing a story controlled by strong characters because I fall in love with them and let them guide the writing.

There are many side characters as well and each adds their own spice into the mix. Zephyr is Varun’s rival with control over wind. Fremont is a devil living in the country of demons and angels. I fell in love with Fremont and gave him his own love story tucked away at the end which transfers into the second book, Fire Tango.

I had played with the idea of a series but hadn’t convinced myself it was going to happen until the characters drove the idea of a sequel and I got behind it. Water Waltz was set up to continue into another story so Fire Tango was able to pick up where the first book ended. The second novel expands the universe into the devil country and includes a large cast of new characters.

Leave a comment below and tell me why you prefer to read or avoid fantasy novels. Include your email address with your comment, because I’m giving away a signed paperback copy of Water Waltz to one lucky commenter! The contest ends Sunday evening. Good luck!
(Don’t forget to visit the hop’s main page and read other posts about great GLBT romance titles!)

Thank you for your comments. The winner has been picked from random.org number picker. Congratulations, Tracey D!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Picking Location Names to Confuse Everyone!

Water Waltz is an expanding fantasy world. In the first book I introduced the three main locations but focused on only two—the human country and the demon and angel country. In this entry I’ll do a run-down of the location names, offer some pronunciation guides, and explain where each location is on the map. (Also name the faerie country that is introduced in Fire Tango.)

I've been told it was hard to keep the city and country names separate and I understand. I promise I didn't purposely pick difficult words. Maybe if I had named them all with the same starting letter or stick with one language for one country it would have been easier to pair up...too late now. 

 Demon and Angel:
Bretagne (bruh-tah-nyuh): The country of demons and angels. (French  for Brittany—Bretagne is an actual place but has no special meaning to the story: )
Fenian (fee-nee-uhn): The capital city and where most of the action takes place. (An Irish word I pulled from Irish mythology with there’s no special meaning for Water Waltz.)
Loire (lahr): A major city in Bretagne that plays a broader role in Fire Tango as the home to most earth demons. (A French location & river )
Location of Bretagne:
The west borders Spezia—the country of devils.
To the east is Hendola’s border—human country.
The major city Loire is to the south of the capital and through a mountain pass.
To the north and on the other side of a strip of ocean is Northern Bretagne—which is a territory of Bretagne.

Hendola (Hen-dol-a): The country of humans. (It’s a street name in my city. I don't know the origin.)
Senac (Sin-ack): The capital city where the king resides. (It’s another local street name.)
Location of Hendola:
Hendola is up against a mountain range to its east. (On the other side of this mountains is another country of devils which has not been mentioned in the stories yet. The mountains are considered impassable so the two countries do not interact. Yet.)
To Hendola’s north is the ocean and across it is Northern Bretagne territory and a country of angels we’ve yet to meet.
Beneath Hendola to its south is a smaller mountain range separating the south of Hendola from the rest of Bretagne.

Spezia (spe-tsee-ah): The country of devils. (An Italian  area from a favorite book of mine—Catch 22)
Almanor (Al-Manor): the capital of Spezia. (It’s a little place in California with a population of 0.)
Foxwood: a small town visited in Fire Tango. (I picked this name randomly to sound like a small town nestled in the forest.)
Location of Spezia:
To the north and west of Spezia is ocean.
Bretagne lies to the east.
To Spezia’s south is Snowden, the country of faeries. Spezia and Snowden have a strong alliance since both countries are small and ostracized by Bretagne and Hendola.

Snowden (snow-den): The country of faeries. (This is a character from Catch-22)
Dreedle (dree-dle): The capital and major city. (This is also a character from Catch-22. I must have been in a Catch-22 mind-frame when I named these.)
Location of Snowden:
North of Snowden is a boundary of mountains before reaching Spezia.
To the west and south is ocean.
To Snowden’s east is a passable mountain range into Loire, Bretagne.
Snowden’s borders are the ocean and mountains so it’s secluded. The land is rich in minerals densely dominated by forests.

Water Waltz (the first in the Water Waltz Series)
is now available from Dreamspinner Press.  
Fire Tango (The sequel) will be released November 2012.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Awesome Bits of News

I have some updates to share and since none are big enough to be their own post, I'll combine it into one information dump!
  • I finished the manuscript for Paid Leave and sent it off. I'm hoping to know its fate before GayRomLit. More information about this one is listed in the Works in Progress link. (Once a publisher accepts it for publishing, I'll move it over to Coming Soon)
  • The cover for Fire Tango has been assigned to an artist! I should have something to tease you all with by October. I'm super excited about this one. Find more information about Fire Tango in the Coming Soon page and pick up the first in the Water Waltz series if you haven't already.
  • My friend JR Loveless is having a contest with really easy rules. Like her Facebook page and you're entered in a drawing! It's that easy!! Go check out on her blog for more information. 
You can keep up with these little pieces of news via social websites. I use Twitter most frequently. (I try to follow back too) I have a Facebook page you can like and you can become my friend on Facebook as well.
Have a wonderful week, everyone. This Saturday I'm off to Bubonicon and am so excited for it this year!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breaking Down the Submission Process

This is a blog entry for RJ Scott's anniversary blog hop! 
Congrats to RJ Scott for being in the business (and surviving and thriving!) for two years. 
I bet there will be many more years to come. 
Even with three books available, one more on the way, and another at the publisher waiting for an answer, I don’t feel like I should be giving advice to inspiring authors because I still feel like the newbiest of newbs. If there’s a magical number I must achieve before I feel like a professional author, I sure haven’t reached it yet. But I'm still going to try to help a brand new author along.

My start in writing isn’t all too inspiring. I have no long history of writing or literary pursuits outside of casual reading enjoyment. I had an online friend who talked me into role-playing back in or around 2005. When I turned one into a story, she encouraged me to post it on a yaoi forum. (aarinfantasy) There I fed off of the comments left for me to correct my grammar and plot errors. I wrote more stories and got better as I went. Eventually I had readers and friends suggesting I try to get published. So I did. And you can too!
“But Hayley, I don’t even know where commas go.”
It helps to be a grammar, punctuation, and spelling nerd but it isn’t a requirement. I’d be screwed if it was. If you’re going the self-published route, hire a professional editor to correct your work to avoid giving aneurisms to your readers. If you’re going to a publisher, trust in their editor, but spot check your work to the best of your ability before submitting to avoid giving your editor an aneurism. You do not have to be perfect. (But please try real hard at perfection if you self-publish.)

The submission process can be daunting. You visit the publisher’s website and it looks so sleek and professional and suddenly you feel in adequate and close the window without doing what you went there to do. Buck up, little writer. The worst thing you’ll get is a rejection reply which isn’t as bad as it sounds. Rejection will sting, but the problem might not be your writing. Timing is important too. If you submit a vampire story to a publisher who isn’t interested in accepting one more damn vampire story, it will be rejected without being opened. Usually the publisher’s submission page will include a note of wanted genres. Pay attention. But on that note, if one publisher isn’t interested in your story, it doesn’t mean the others will turn it down.

Most publishers will include some sort of explanation with a rejection. If they point out a concern in your story/plot/prose, take that as advice and fix the manuscript before trying again. And do try again. Roll with the blows. Learn from mistakes. But most of all, don’t forget your love for writing—that’s why you’re there emailing publishers at one in the morning anyway.

Finally, write for the love and fun of turning your ideas into a story for others to enjoy too and not for the belief that you’ll make millions of dollars. You probably won’t make enough money to replace a day job and you might not come onto the romance scene with an explosion. You’ll be disappointed if you think you’ll reach stardom or a thick bank account just with one book. (It happens but you might need the Twilight fandom to back you to reach it.)

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll describe how to submit a manuscript. This is an example based off of only ONE publisher’s website requirements at the time of this blog entry. Be sure to read and reread the requirements on your publisher of choice--including the publisher I'm using for my example because things can change.

Step one: Visit the publisher’s site and find the “submissions” area.
Step two: Read. Read it all. Read what genres the publisher has a call for. Read whether or not the publisher wants full or partial manuscripts submitted. Read what auto-rejection the publisher has—if any. (example: incest or rape)
Step three: Find the list of requirements for submission and double check you’re prepared to submit your manuscript.
Example of requirements:
·         Your legal name, pseudonym if applicable, and contact e-mail address.
·         Working title, series name if applicable.
·         Genre and manuscript length.
·         General story description in two paragraphs.
·         Writing credentials.
Step four: Find the submission email address and open your email client.
Step five: Fill out those requirements from step three. Be courteous and professional. Unsure about a pen name? That’s okay. I changed mine after my first manuscript was accepted. I’m sure it’s better to have one picked out so do try to have one ready. Scared about that last question because you lack experience? That’s okay too. Everyone starts at the bottom. Those writing credentials can be left blank, filled out with self-published novels, or previous published works.
This is an example of my latest accepted submission: (only use as an example--I am not an expert here. This is just what I put. I'm using Dreamspinner Press for this example.)
Legal name: Hayley AwesomeLastNameOfAwesome
Pen name: Hayley B. James
Contact email: hayley.b.james

Working title: Water Waltz
Series: Water WaltzGenre: Fantasy (demons & angels)
Length: (do a word count using your program of choice) 79,225 words
General story: Triste is an angel working as a butler for Varun, his ex-lover. Humans are used in the angel and demon countries as sex dolls. Varun is employed by a secret organization to save any smuggled human and punish the one inflicting harm. He's warned a human is set to be killed by his organization so he hides him in his own home. they discover through this human—with ties deep inside the royal family—a conflict is stirring between the two countries, Varun and Triste set out to calm the waters of war.

Triste and Varun are still in love but an unknown event keeps them apart. When the threat of conflict twists into something far worse and Triste's life is threatened, Varun risks everything to protect him and uncovers the reason why Triste had left him heartbroken two years prior. 
Writing credentials: I have 2 published works through Dreamspinner Press.
(Don't forget to attach the full manuscript)
Step six: Send your email and wait. The most stressful part of the submission process is the waiting, so distract yourself by writing your next story!

Good luck submitting your manuscript. I look forward to reading you. Leave a comment with any questions you might have about publishing, or any advice you might have.

Visit the other authors in the blog hop (below) to read more helpful articles! Also!!! Visit the author resources Facebook page for MORE FUN and AWESOME!!! Seriously. Visit it right here~

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Fun behind Character Names

My mom is reading Water Waltz and is having a hard time with many of the names. She's asked me where I got the names from so I figured I’d write it down for my readers as well. (Charlie Cochet blog has a post about naming her characters and I suggest reading that as well. Just don’t compare mine to hers—she’s got the blogging thing down to a smashing success.)

Varun is a water demon so I wanted a water name. I admit I wasn’t too unique with the names of my element demons. I went to my favorite site when looking up names by meanings or words in the description: thinkbabynames. The name Varun is Hindi in origin and means “water god” so I felt it appropriate. Varun has a bit of a god complex...a small one but it’s there. Varun is pronounced vah-run.  (Va-rune is acceptable too, mom.)

Triste is the leading angel in the story. For angels I decided to use French words as names even though it’s a bit odd for them to name their kids French words since some of the angel class also speak French. (It’s equivalent to naming your child Apple, I suppose.) Triste means sad in French. He’s a bit sad in Water Waltz so his name fits the mood.

Side note: Varun has a driver named Amer. In French, Amer means "bitter" and his mate is Sucre which means "sweet." See what I did there? Oh, I try to be clever.

Varun’s rival is a wind element demon named Zephyr, and yes, his name means wind. It’s also a name I particularly like to say. Zeph-fur. It’s just fun. The Greek god of the west wind is Zephyrus and in western tradition, zephyr is a favorable wind from the west. (I think it brings summer...don't hold me to that.) Varun would disagree that this demon is favorable, but Zephyr doesn’t see Varun as a god so they’re even.

Fremont is everyone’s favorite devil in Water Waltz. (Okay, the only devil in Water Waltz) His name has no special meaning to the character and I didn’t pick it based on the name’s meaning. I picked the name from Fremont Street in Las Vegas. The history of Vegas fascinates me and I like the word Fremont. Is the character special to Vegas? No. I think he could fit in and make it big in the glamorous days of old Las Vegas but that's unrelated to the Water Waltz world.

Side note: Fremont’s close friend, Fitzgerald, in Fire Tango is named after a favorite author of mine, but on a 2011 trip to Las Vegas I found the Fitzgerald’s Casino (recently renamed to "The D") on Fremont Street across from the Fremont Casino. Coincidence or my mind connecting knowledge subconsciously...there’s no way to tell. 

Varun’s student’s name, Nolyn, means “champion”—which is what I wanted Nolyn to strive for since he’s a bit of a butt-head. He gets better before the end of Water Waltz and is still heading in the right direction in Fire Tango (book 2).

Leandre is a fire demon but yet his name has nothing to do with fire. (what!) It’s Greek and means “lion man” which is perfect for his lion-heart. He shows little concern when facing down possible death—that’s just not his style. He’s also exceptionally brave in Fire Tango despite the possibility of losing his lover.


Well, that’s the boys from Water Waltz. Next week I’ll post something about those damn country and city names. (I couldn’t have picked harder names, now could I?) The use of capital cities and countries had most readers confused so I’ll explain what city goes to what country and how I keep it straight in my pea-brain (other than with notes). 
Thanks for reading! 
You can purchase Water Waltz from all the usual sites: Dreamspinner Press store, Amazon, Barnes and Noble...etc

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Interview with Starfighter Creator Hamletmachine

There are a lot of webcomics portraying relationships between men. Majority are free to read online and have chapters with bonus content available to purchase.
Support what you love--purchase art you want to encourage.

A few ones I read/love/admire (in alphabetical order):
Demon of the Underground (Wonderful art and intriguing world building)
Less Then Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal (funny, heartwarming, all around enjoyable)
Mahou Shounen Fight (So many colors!)
Sfeer Theory (gorgeous art and a complex, interesting world)
Spacejinx (robot sex bot, wut? Humorous and entertaining)
Spectre (Just got started but the plot building blocks are already interesting)
That Which Wills (a short story from the creators of Sfeet Theory)
Teahouse (as their site says, it's fancy whores)

And lastly, Starfighter. I was able to ask the brains behind Starfighter comic, Hamlet Machine, a few questions for the Manga and Romance blog hop.
Thank you for joining us for the Manga and Romance blog hop. Your comic, Starfighter, falls under the definition I’m using for yaoi. What inspired you to write/draw yaoi and when did you first get into the yaoi genre?
Thank you for having me, it's an honor! I first discovered anime and manga as a young teenager; I loved the style and adult concepts it had to offer and was very much a gawky, embarrassing nerd about Escaflowne and such. One day, using the family computer in search of Gundam Wing images on awesomely 90s anime webrings, I stumbled across an erotic yaoi doujinshi of Heero and Duo- that's when I created Starfighter- I'm kidding! But that was my first introduction to yaoi! Even as a teenager, I was very interested in romance and erotic art. I found that hentai didn't really fulfill the emotional context that I wished for and that the romantic shojo I read never strayed too far into 18+ territory- yaoi had both, so it was like a genre jackpot.

As for what inspired me to write and draw yaoi- I noticed that I had accumulated a fairly large collection of yaoi manga but had never tried my hand at it! Starfighter is my first comic and it started out as an experiment (I recall telling friends it was only going to be "a few pages") I wanted to create a hybrid: a story that pays homage to the genre I enjoyed so much, but also a story that changes some of the conventions that I found reoccurring in yaoi which were not my personal preference.

Starfighter is rated 18+ with some delicious scenes. How long have you been drawing the male anatomy?
Oh, thank you! I have been drawing since I was little, but I would say my study of the human body, in earnest, really started in college when I was taking life drawing. That experience was invaluable.

I’ve been reading Starfighter since the third page was posted. Did you ever imagine the popularity would reach these levels? 
Oh wow! That is so awesome to hear! Haha, thank you so much for sticking with it! And gosh, no- I did not expect any of the attention it garnered. It will forever amazing and humbling to me that so many people enjoy Starfighter. To you and other readers, thank you so much!

What went into creating the website and launching Starfighter comic? 
Before the Starfighter site, I had been posting all of the pages on DeviantArt (perhaps you remember these days!)- this worked until about page 18 or so when things started to get dirty! I knew I wanted the comic to have a lengthy sex scene and uploading pages of all censored panels was not going to fly-- so my partner, Thisbe, created a home for Starfighter! Thisbe is the mastermind for the site and he's done a really wonderful job, if I may say so!

Thank you for joining us. You're such a sweetheart. Could you share links with the readers? 
Thank you so much, it's been great! :)
Starfighter: starfightercomic.com/
Tumblr: hamletmachine.tumblr.com
DeviantArt: hamletmachine.deviantart.com
Twitter: twitter.com/Hamlet_Machine


Check out the rest of the Manga and Romance blog hop! It ends June 24th. 
Don't forget to comment and be entered toward a grand prize!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Have I Been Influenced by Yaoi?

Has yaoi influenced me and my writing voice? Of course it has. Everything I read, watch, or do adds to my voice and influences my ideas, and I’ve read a lot of yaoi novels and manga in my day.

Yaoi for the most part has pretty distinct rules about the boys involved. One is usually more feminine than the other. The gap is wider in some stories. In real life we know this isn’t the case. It’s a bit discriminating and it reinforces gender biases if you think about it, but Japanese yaoi isn’t published to make social comments. As a fan I happily ignore the bits I don’t like and focus on the bubbles, sparkles, and flowers that appear out of nowhere when the two heroes stare at each other and wish real men had disappearing smn too.

I read a yaoi novel series with a cop and yakuza (Japanese mafia) leader. While the cop had his manly moments, he was vastly inferior to his seme (top) in the story. This might be a female writer or female audience preference, but I know I sometimes do this to my characters. While the two are definitely men, one is more aggressive than the other. While this isn’t strictly yaoi, I believe my character dynamics have been influenced by yaoi in this way.

In Water Waltz, Triste is a strong character on his own but he is brought down by his struggle with his love for Varun while Varun seems almost too cold. Varun has the same struggle as Triste but he isn’t weakened by it in the same way. This could be typical reactions for entirely different characters, but looking into my skill set, I’m inclined to believe there’s a bit of yaoi in Water Waltz. And that’s okay.

Every once in a while in the gay romance community a debate over female authors being unable to write gay characters will surface. I find this particularly interesting given my yaoi reading background. In yaoi, male authors are rare. (I can’t even think of one for this post. Leave me a comment with a name, please. So many more males than I thought. Still tipped into females, but thank you for the list, guys!! ^.^) Females dominate the yaoi industry and the novels are written for female readers. Since I’m female, I guess I write for a female audience, but I hope all genders can enjoy my novels regardless of my gender or sexuality. I know men read and enjoy yaoi just as much as I do.

If you want to check out my novels, they’re available on Nook, Kindle, or straight from the publisher. (Also on third party sites) Check out the Available Now section for links. Thank you for joining me on this hop, and remember to leave a comment for a chance to win the grand prize.

Read more from the Manga and Romance blog hop: