Comic Rantiness and Upcoming Good Stuff

September 30, 2011

Comic rant incoming -- but I will reward anyone brave enough to read through with hot art links. Promise.

Hey, remember that one time when I got excited about the DC Reboot?

Yeah, me neither. I started out buying Flashpoint and all that good stuff. I mean, I'll probably finish it. Just, my enthusiasm has been dampened, so I haven't gone on buying the other new titles I was initially really excited about. You know how they say there's no such thing as bad publicity? Yeah, I'm not totally convinced.

First, there was the lack of women writers on the New 52. Batgirl spoke up at ComicCon, and she's my hero. Not that the problem is fixed, but DC was at least forced to acknowledge that it exists. And they're rolling out more women-headed projects, which is rad. But, uh, it's gonna take some time to prove intent.

And then there's this week's Starfire and Catwoman debacles. I don't even need to say anything, because it's been said. I particularly liked this response, which is a woman having a conversation with her 7-year-old who was a Starfire fan. (It's been pointed out that this is unlikely to be a real word-for-word conversation, and I agree. It makes the point, though.)

I am all for women characters screwing whomever the hell they like. Obviously. In fact, I like that last panel of Bats and Catwoman. That's not what this is about. Give me repeated close-ups of Bruce Wayne's bulging package while he's giving his lines. Also, take away anything else that makes him badass and make his character description read: "hot and easy". See what happens.

Hilarious/hot examples of such things from awesome artists on my tumblr flist:

Bats and his contorted spine confuses the ladies
Nightwing gets sexy -- oh wait, he's always sexy

(That Nightwing artist, Astro, totally did character portraits for an upcoming project of mine -- I haven't even subbed it to my editor, so I shouldn't talk about it, but OMG the pretty!)

Ahem.Yeah, dude superheroes end up shirtless, but that is so, so not the same as sexualizing a character. Illustration given via twitter by my friend Corinne Duyvis yesterday -- David Kawena's incredible Disney Heroes gallery. That? Sexy. Yeah, I know it's Disney. That's what makes it so head-spinny.

Though seriously, I always had a thing for Prince Eric.

Anyhow, I'm sure this all sounds totally hypocritical coming from me.I write romance novels about superpowered people. Highly sexualized superpowered people. But hey, guess what? That's what I'm supposed to be writing -- and hopefully I'm not sacrificing personality, character development, and/or realism and making the characters into walking genitalia. I also know that I'm playing into a stereotype by making it all about the romance. RIOT BOY is actually a really good example: if I'd written it from Brady's point of view, since he does most of the ass-kicking (being, yanno, the superpowered one), it'd make a badass comic book. But it's from Etienne's point of view, because it's a romance novel.

And ohhhh, of course that's all you want to write, you're a girrrrrrrrrl.

The sexism. It burns us, precious. Let's just ignore the many brilliant men who write romance, first of all. And then, yeah, forgive me for being interested in more than ass-kicking, sometimes. Hell, my first beta is a straight cisgendered white guy, and he doesn't complain. (Well, I do get the odd text bemoaning my wanton use of the word "taint" or ironically thanking me for explaining how to give a killer BJ, but hey.) And apparently girls like to write bloody horror and psychologically damaged fantasy too, since I also do that. Awesome.

Right, done ranting. Thanks!

[ETA: In happy DC news, this preview of Huntress looks friggin goregous.]

Cool stuff coming up:

1. Freebie story. I'm in the final stages with a little EQUILIBRIUM bonus content for y'all. It's a short story called "Jealousy: A Love Story", and it's from Sam's PoV. Just getting a little spit polish right now from The Editrix, to enhance your reading enjoyment. Prepare for adorable smut.
2. RIOT BOY Cover art. Not sure how soon, but not long now. I've seen initial versions and ffffffffuck, man. Guh.
3. RIOT BOY Excerpts. The second line edits are sorted, I'll give a taste of RIOT BOY. It'll be a little different from EQUILIBRIUM, since it's first person, too -- and god knows Etienne and Hansen have zero in common, so yeah. Let's see how this goes!

Riot Boy Blurbage

September 27, 2011

No, not the kind of blurb from People of Note telling you how awesome it's gonna be -- just the kind that gives you some idea what the book is about. Still, it's something! The RIOT BOY page just had a little update, its first of several in the next -- well, it won't be long before it's released into the wild from the good folk at Loose Id. Within a couple of months, let's say. Barring disaster, explosion, etc.

I'll have excerpts for you in a few weeks, but for now you can get the idea and meet Et and Brady, if you're curious.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day

September 23, 2011

So the only bad thing about having two pen names is that, seeing as they're both still me -- as in not manufactured personas that bear no resemblance to one another -- they sometimes overlap. That's usually in the area of queer fictioning, which Katey Hawthorne and KV Taylor both do. A lot. Therefore when I post about queer issues and what have you, I want to do it for both names, but I feel like I'm spamming the internets. So I'm just going to link this year's Celebrate Bisexuality Day post over on my dark fiction authorblog,, and if any of y'all queer fiction types are interested, you got it!

The long and short of it: yay for bi folk! We are awesome! *high five*

Birthday Winners

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the EQUILIBRIUM one month birthday giveaway. As of 11.59 p.m., has spoken. The winners of the two copies are: blog:
**13. Judi (Loveless3173) **


Goodreads blog feed:
**3. Nikyta**

Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy Hansen and Sam's dorky (though occasionally also kinda hot, one hopes) adventures. I'll be in touch very shortly to find out your format preferences and all that good stuff.
Didn't win? Don't worry, I'll definitely do another of these when RIOT BOY hits the virtual stands in, oh, I don't know. A month or two, let's say.

And happy birthday, Hansen and Sam.

Economic Theory x Superpowers + Vegan Gingersnaps = Love

September 20, 2011

I am so easy to please, really. Was at Whole Foods. Saw these. Had a faint Hansenvoice in the back of my head go: Squee!

(Cue the "What's up with the weird chick photographing the bakery case with her iPhone?" looks.)

I've always been a fan, but I think Hansen might be right, y'all. These things are god's gift. If everyone lived in DC, I would totally make the next contest prize a dozen vegan gingersnaps.

But that could be awkward if someone in, say, Australia won. So maybe not the best idea.

Excerpt sneak attack!

He lifted up on his elbow and bore down on me, one hand on my chest, his lips inches from mine. The smell of warm breath—and gingersnaps, since we’d tanked a half dozen before bed. “How you feeling about this equilibrium thing now?”

“Never gonna forgive me for that, are you?”

“Did as soon as you said it. But if I’m gonna fall for an economist, I better learn how to bullshit a bullshitter.”

Equilibrium equation:

Economic Theory x Superpowers + Vegan Gingersnaps = Love

Right, I didn't really come here to talk about cookies. (Did I mention how good these things are? I'm not even a dessert person and still -- okay, I'll stop.) I came to drop a gentle reminder that there are still 2 days left in the birthday contest. Don't forget to enter both here and at Goodreads for double the chances, and thank you and good luck to those who've already dropped a comment in one place or the other!

Equilibrium Mixed Tape, part 4

September 16, 2011

The full version of the EQUILIBRIUM mixed tape has 15 songs, but this will be the last one for the blog. I've been picking out the ones I actually listen to for myself (as opposed to listening to them for Hansen), like I say, and so it seems appropriate to end with one of my longtime obsessions.

Massive Attack: "Teardrop"

Yep, if you watch HOUSE, that's pretty familiar. The album Mezzanine was released when I was, uh, in high school, I think. And I still listen to it regularly. But I think this song was the first one I loved. "Love, love is a verb, love is a do-word. Fearless on my breath." Niiiiiice.

(I also managed to hook my awesome editor, Raven, on Massive Attack. Go me!)

The four blog tracks are here, and the whole set is in the back of...

The RIOT BOY soundtrack is pretty different. And longer. But it's also entirely populated by things I listen to regularly, so I'm really gonna have a hard time picking :D

I'm out of town this week, so apologies if I'm slow getting to responses on the EQUILIBRIUM giveaway thread. As you read this I'm somewhere on a lake in Wisconsin. (People pick the oddest places to get married, really. Oh, these romantics...) But there's still time to enter, so have at it!

Equilibrium Birthday Giveaway

September 11, 2011

EQUILIBRIUM will be one month old on September 23rd! Yeah, I know, one month, woo -- but it's my first, so I'm excited.

Full disclosure: I would be this excited if it was my 200th. That's just an excuse.

To celebrate the advent of Hansen and Sam's adventures with fire, electricity, and, um, each other, I'm giving away two copies -- eBook, in any Loose Id available format your heart desires. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post or the mirror that'll pop up at the GoodReads feed. (It takes a few days to get there, but it will.) I'll number all the comments in order and then count on to choose a winner -- one each from here and from GR.

Cool thing: if you comment on both, you're entered for both drawings. Can't win both, but double the chances, right?

Or you could just get straight to the good bits with the superpowers and hot dudes and grab the book from Loose Id. But nothing wrong with trying your luck!

If you do comment, please leave your email address or email me to let me know how to reach you in case you win. If you're commenting via GR I can always message you there, but definitely feel free to leave me your email, drop me a line, or whatever you like to make sure.

Starts now, and ends at 11.59 pm, September 22.

Happy birthday, boys.

Equilibrium Mixed Tape , part 3 (Now With Bonus Excerpt)

September 6, 2011

Our next to last installment in the blog version of the EQUILIBRIUM mixed tape (the full version is available in the back of EQUILIBRIUM itself, if the dorkiness of the limited selection here doesn't turn you off. Ha!):

Kaiser Chiefs: "Love's Not A Competition, But I'm Winning"

Yeah, I know, I can't embed it here, but it's a short song and extremely good. This is neither a Sam nor a Hansen pick; though the Kaiser Chiefs are a very good Hansen Band, I don't think he'd like to admit that this is kind of, uh, his attitude sometimes. It's not very flattering... yet kinda cute. In an insecure way. Or so Sam seems to think.

I listened to Kaiser Chiefs a ton while writing EQUILIBRIUM. Every book has a mix, but there's always one band or artist that gets more love than others while it's going on. And this time it was these guys. So much so that Sam almost makes a direct reference in the course of an argument.

What? A bonus excerpt illustrating my point -- and Sam's? Great idea! So, "the concept" to which Sammy is about to refer is that of Nash Equilibrium. Which, as you might've guessed, is integral to the plot. In a nerdy "I have no love life so I use fancy theories to explain it away and still feel intellectually superior" kinda way. Hansen is cute like that. (Again, according to Sam.)

He’d stopped smiling. “You seriously think that?”

“It’s not a judgment, Sam. Just, you like pussy. That’s a fact.”

He sat up, throwing his legs over the side of the bed. “There’s no law that says you can’t like it both ways. That makes me a liar?”

“Don’t be like that. It just means, um, you’re straight.”

“Oh, thank god. Because yesterday I kept imagining bending you over my desk, and I got jack shit done at work. Almost thought I wanted to fuck a guy, for a second there. But no, I’m straight, so that’s crazy talk.”

Okay, no one could survive that much porn without inventing a few fantasies. But still, it was so not fair to say that when he was in the act of getting out of bed. Blue balls: awesome way to start the morning. “Sammy—”

He stood, which left me watching an ass straight off of Michelangelo’s David as he collected his scattered clothes off the floor. “You think you’re real fucking smart with your fancy game theory, but it’s not that complicated. The whole concept hinges on successfully calculating the risk and reward for everyone involved so you know what their smartest move is. If you can’t do that, you have no idea when you’re actually in equilibrium, and you make a bad call. Then you lose everything.”

That…was perfectly accurate, yes. I pushed myself up to sitting.

He pulled on his shorts and straightened his pants and undershirt over his arm. “So maybe you should ask what I want and what I’m putting on the line before you make any calls.”

“Sometimes people don’t even know what they want—”

“It’s not a fucking game. It’s not business or politics or any of this pointless bullshit you throw up around yourself to make you feel safe. This is not a competition. We’re on the same side. We were always on the same side, Hansen.”

I closed my mouth with a click—almost bit my tongue in half too.

He looked down at me, standing there all gorgeous and angry with his hair fucked up from last night’s adventures. And then he smiled, suddenly and brilliantly. As if to tell me that I would be forgiven, but I would pay for it first. “Think about that while you’re beating off in the shower this morning, huh? Because you almost didn’t have to, but you made the wrong call, Mr. Smart-Ass Know-It-All Economist.”

And he was out the door.

I fell back into the pillow. Yawned.

I could calculate risk and reward fine, thanks—just a little bit too late.

And For My Next Trick...

September 2, 2011

Punk rock!

Much to my surprise and delight, I've had inquiries about whether or not I'm doing more with the slightly alternate reality first presented in EQUILIBRIUM. For those of you who haven't read it, there's really only one difference between it and our reality: a small subset of humanity has superpowers, and they refer to themselves as "awakened".

The answer is yes, absolutely, there will be more in this vein. Sam and Hansen are sort of a baseline: normal guys who want to live normal lives and happen to have superpowers that alternately help and screw things up for them. But it's clear that there are others who apply their gifts in different ways. For example, I have books in the works dealing with...
  • Law enforcement officers with awakened superpowers. (Police officers, federal agents, oh yeah, being able to taser someone with your hand comes in useful. Who needs a gun?)
  • Vigilante superhero awakened types. (Because you know someone is going to think they can clean up this town on their own... by putting people on ice.)
  • Public-spirited awakened types. (With power comes responsibility? Hey, you can't do a superpowered thing without an Uncle Ben reference.)
  • Insular awakened societies within a given city. (You think nobility is weird about intermarriage? Imagine if they were breeding for powers...)
  • Sleeper witch-hunters. (Conspiracy theories, supposed alien abductions -- fear and hate are powerful, dangerous motivators, man.)
  • Dissent within awakened communities. (Anarchy seems like a great idea when you're the one throwing fire from your hands.)
  • Awakened/sleeper relationships. (Oh, so by the way, honey, I have superpowers.)
  • Awakened scientists. (Science is sexy, but it's also... ethically complicated, let's say. And with so much up in the air about how, exactly, their powers work, it can get messy.)
  • Supervillains. (The heroes are annoying. The villains really make life difficult for everyone.)
My next trick is called RIOT BOY, and will explore at least two of the above. It will also have French poetry, pierogies, tattoos, Poirot reruns, handcuffs, an independent book store, Buzzcocks references, Pittsburgh, and a small town rock star. And by rock star, I mean a guy in a punk band that plays mostly covers in a dive bar, and is happily going nowhere while giving the world the finger.

But let's face it, punks are sexy. Really, really sexy.

This is all to say it will be just as nerdy as EQUILIBRIUM, if in a slightly different way. You can meet the leading men at the shiny new RIOT BOY page, if you're interested. And see what I mean about sexy punks.

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