By the River

July 31, 2012

New book!

So By the River now exists as a real thing. So far, there are a few ways to get it--and I'll update the lists and stuff as more roll in. One more time, prettycover for the win~

1. Loose Id. Always the best! You may or may not know that LI's server recently went splat, so while they're rebuilding the store, stuff is only available for insta-download as pdf. Never fear, though--there's an email address you get with your purchase. Just send them your info and they'll send you whatever other format you like immediately. I did it with J.A. Rock's Calling the Show last week and it was like 3 minutes flat before I had the ePub. For your trouble, there's a preeeeeetty big discount involved. (It says $4.99; they'll knock off $1.25 when you go to checkout.)

2. All Romance eBooks. Gotta love them, right? They're doing rebate stuff atm too, which is always fun, and matches LI's straight up discount. Everyone wins!

3. ETA: Amazon Kindle Store. Woo!

More coming--I'll update this post if more happens today (Amazon's always pretty fast), but in the meantime, more awesome!

1. Guest post and giveaway at Joyfully Jay: My River Town. All about the little town that inspired Ashton, the setting for By the River. Yeah, that'd be my hometown. I even took pictures of the pretty river when I was home for the Fourth of July. You can leave a comment to win a copy of the book, too.

2. First review! Thanks so, so much to Jay for the best thing ever to wake up to on release day: 4.5 stars for being "a lovely, sweetly romantic story". Eeee, so happy!

3. And don't forget, there's that hot (wet) excerpt at Pants Off--also a chance to comment and win. Yeah, two giveaways. It's on.


Bathtub Love

July 30, 2012

I realize, of course, that taking a bath should leave you squeaky clean. I mean, that's the point.

But Leith, our little By the River waterbug, does not agree. I must bow to his expertise. If you head over to Pants Off Reviews today, you can find one half of a full-on sex scene that, hopefully, will inspire pants-losing. That was the deal: it's her blogoversary, so it's her right.

It's a lot (lot) hotter than the other excerpts that are out there, so don't read it if your boss might walk behind you or something. Unless your boss likes that kind of thing. Still. Here it is:

Stick around and drop a comment, and you can be entered to win a copy. Perfect for those "Oh I want this but I shouldn't be buying things because of reasons!" days.

In other news: book release tomorrow ahhhh! Right. I'm cool. Totally cool. Yeeeeah.

Gold Medal

July 29, 2012

In a day or two, I will probably unleash a fury of "OH HEY I HAVE A NEW BOOK" upon this blog. I sincerely apologize for being so horrible about it, but I am just that excited about By the River on Tuesday. It's so different from my others and so exciting to start a new project--please forgive me for being all, "Oh and I'll be here, and here, and doing a giveaway here, and then there's this thing there, and and and..."

To make up for it, here's another picture of Ryan Lochte, this time from an upcoming Men's Health article, if I'm not mistaken, in celebration of that ridiculous 400 IM yesterday. First US gold in London, wee! Check out that gold metal grill, too. Love him or hate him (I am in the "love" camp--for him, Phelps, Coughlin, Franklin, etc etc), dude has personality.

.... Okay if that's not worth a little forgiveness, I dunno what is, man.

Heads up!

July 26, 2012

Couple of items in today's news around here.

1. Today there's a question that could win you a copy of Nobody's Hero. Check out the big old party over at TRR for details:

Nobody's Hero is on the list today, but there's still a full week of party before it all ends. So if you haven't been playing along at home, oh man. So much awesome.

2. The GR feed version of my last post turned into a hot swimming-and-diving boys fest in the comments. Thought some of y'all might like a heads up, since the Ryan Lochte moment went over so well. You can watch me squee over Quebecois divers while you're at it.

July 28. 400 IM time, baby. Yeeeeeah.

Wet half-naked swimmer boy

July 24, 2012

Now there's a subject line to get someone's attention!

Fun fact: There are few pleasures in life greater than the sight of a wet, half-naked swimmer. Don't believe me? Oh, you've probably never seen Ryan Lochte, then. Let me help.

Man, the summer Olympics make feel so... patriotic. God bless America, amiright?


Annnnnyhow, I've got my own swimmer boy for you. There's different excerpt from By the River up at Honey Bunny's site just now that might interest you, if you like this sort of half-naked dripping wet thing. In which Adam meets Leith properly for the first time.

One week from today, it's on. Eeeee! <3

Superpowered Worlds

July 19, 2012

Hey y'all! No, no, I'm not back to rant some more. Just a heads up that I got to be a part of...

Spectacular Series Week

Spectacular Series Week over at Joyfully Jay. Yeeeeah! My topic is "The Links that Bind", in which I discuss linked series like the superpowered romances I do--the ones nicknamed "superpowered love", yes. Unlike the Fairy Compacts series, the superpowered love books don't continue the same story, but tell different stories that take place in the same world, so it seemed an appropriate topic. Swing by and check it out and you can enter to win a copy of one to see for yourself.

Unless you have them all, in which case thank you. Swing by so I can, like, hug you or something.

But if you're not following Jay's Series Week, definitely check out the whole thing. Jay, Melanie, and Sammy are bringing it--plus Melanie's doing stuff at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words in the same theme this week.

I <3 my groaning to-read list.

In semi-related (at least, for me!) news, there's a write up for Equilibrium over at Pants Off Reviews--Darien gave the book 3.5 stars, mostly because Hansen worked his geek charm. Woohoo, awesome! It's her blogoversary party, so definitely check out all the delicious giveaways and other pants-losing things, because that shit is wild already and it's just getting started. Anyhow, more on that later!

And no, I did not time it so that my blog post at one would actually be relevant to the review at the other. For one, I had no idea they'd be at the same time, and for another, I wrote that blog post like a month ago, I swear. Couldn't have planned it if I'd tried. <3

Thanks, lovely people, for letting me invade your corners of the blogosphere.

The "B" word

July 17, 2012

Here's something that will surprise no one: I like writing bisexual and pansexual characters. Like, a lot.

Here's a count, so far:

Sam* and Hansen
Brady and Etienne
Jamie and Kelly
Aeron* and Tam
Adam* and Leith

The little star of course indicating a bi or pansexual character. No, definitely not trying to imply that they're the same thing, and each character has their own reasons for identifying (or refusing to) as they do, but that's a different post. For the purposes of this one, I'm gonna put that section of spectrum folks together. And yes, that three-out-of-five couples trend continues and intensifies as I get more and more books kicking--y'all have already heard about Malory, and he's under the "B" category too. All the letters in the QUILTBAG are important to me, and I can and will be all-inclusive. But this one is, again, unsurprisingly, kinda my thing.

A lot of the way I've seen bisexual/pansexual/ label-eschewing generally awesome people who are attracted to other awesome people represented in books, TV, and film makes me stabby. I strongly feel that if we had more characters who weren't at the extremes of the spectrum, a lot of hurtful myths--which for the record are as rampant within the LGBTQ community as without--would be that much closer to extinction. Visibility. Representation. All that good stuff. So bearing in mind that I am by no means the expert on anything, here are a handful of absurdities I enjoy having my characters defy:

  • Bi people are slutty. Not that being slutty is bad, because personally I think it's awesome--but it has nothing to do with where you sit on the spectrum. I had this conversation with another bi author recently, but in fact we, and most of our acquaintance, are completely the opposite. Being attracted to those who identify as male, female, and nonbinary is not a matter of greed. It's how we're wired.
  • Hetero attraction goes away after we hook up with a same sex partner, or vice versa. This is not a switch someone flips. While every individual has their own experience and it's of course possible, I've not yet met a person who actually went "gay for you"--which is why that phrase stings a lot of bi and pan people, for the record. We're kinda touchy about the whole bi-erasure thing. I'll let Malory say it for me: "It's not like it wears off if I don't smell pussy every year or something. Always gonna do it for me."
  • On a related note: bisexuals can never be truly happy as one half of a monogamous couple. Sure, some are poly, just like, yanno, straight or gay or asexual--anyone. Ever. But just because someone's bi, it does not mean they must have it all at once any more than liking men means someone needs ALL THE MEN at once. Logic. It's a thing.
  • Bisexuals are gay but can't admit it/straight but faking it. Possibly the most insulting of all potential myths. As another good bi writer-friend of mine (we need a support group, trust me) says, "I love being a mythical creature." We exist, I swear. While human sexuality is often in flux, and a person's identity can change over the course of their life, bi and pan are no different than any other labels in that sense. This isn't a phase. We're real people, and we know who we are.*
  • Variation on a theme: bisexuals are manipulative. I see this one a lot in TV and film and it makes me scream. Guy swears he's straight, then sleeps with some dude to get something he wants and goes back to his girlfriend/wife/whatever. This? This is not a bisexual thing. This is a dickhead thing.
  • Accepting your bisexuality creates huge internal drama. Don't get me wrong, obviously it can. I have some friends for whom it was incredibly difficult. I know this makes for good conflict, and fiction is all about the conflict, but it doesn't always go down like that--not by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes it's just like, "Oh, well, that explains everything, awesome." Then their friends are like, "Oh yeah, saw that coming a mile away." And then their family goes, "Yeah, no shit, you like girls too," and go back to drinking their beer. (Yes, that happened. To me**. My brother's hilarious.) Some of us don't want it to be a big deal, either. I mean, other people make enough of a big deal out of it for us. But, like, we live with it, so it's more likely that we aren't super surprised when we figure it out.

Why is this coming up now? Adam Kavanaugh, who happens in, oh, two weeks. (Yikes!) He is, as my Editrix Raven says, pathologically mellow. Which doesn't always please the people around him, but hey. Gotta keep on keepin' on. He's got me thinking about it, though, so here we are.

I'd be really interested in any bi or pan stereotypes others have noticed, too. (The other me blogs about this a lot, but I'm sure I'll never cover everything.) I do realize that one person writing weird-ass books isn't going to fix anything. But it sure is fun to have at it, all the same.

*Also, questions are good. That's where it starts. I <3 questioning, and would give a lot to live in a world where that was made easier for people. Everyone would be a lot happier and more comfortable in that world. So don't think I'm trying to exclude that concept, please.
**I know I'm not the only one. Not only because of friends, but because of, oddly enough, Equilibrium. For every person who says, "Man, Sam 'went gay' too easily." there are three who say, "Oh thank god, a reasonable bisexual character, geez." Hope. I have it!

Equilibrium/Riot Boy

July 15, 2012

Wahey, look who's going to print in, like, a month or two:

Cover by PL Nunn

Yeah. So, Sam, Hansen, Brady, and Etienne, all in one smashing little book. I am full of glee, lemme tell you.

Happy birthday, Sammy :D

More news as things develop, but I just had to share because... yeah. Rad.

Birthday Stuff

July 12, 2012

No, not my birthday, but Sam MacLeod's. Sam's the dude on the right, has the electricity and the adorable geek of a roommate:

Yeah, I know, it's weird to get excited about a character's birthday, but the thing is, it's actually not just Sam's. It's my best friend, Tara's, and Sam is hers. I wrote Equilibrium for her, and by design Sam has a looooooooot in common with her--birthday being just one of many. Don't worry, I asked, and she was down with it, but that's why the book is dedicated to her. 

Though Equilibrium was something of a departure from the novels I'd written before (see: evil people-skinning Appalachian fae), it bears a striking resemblance to the cracky novels Tara and I used to write in a noteboook we passed back and forth all through high school. So you can see how this is wildly appropriate, then.

Last year I gave her a book for her birthday. This year, I'm gonna give away a couple copies of the book to others. (Hey, she already got her gift: season 2 of Sherlock. See, she has impeccable taste, just like Sam.) So basically, check me out on twitter today, if you do that sort of thing, and there will be chances to win e-copies of Equilibrium by just RT'ing me with the #equilibrium tag.

See how I said e-copies. Why yes, yes I do have reason to believe we'll have dead tree versions in the near future, now you ask...

And before I go, more Sam, just because... pretty!

Did he get that "willing to be tied up" thing, revealed in this particular short, from Tara? I'll just let you wonder. But don't forget, there are two sequel shorts to Equilibrium right here on the Free Reads page, forever and ever.

Happy birthday, Tara.

ETA: Also, I have apparently decided to listen to the soundtrack today. Posting musical things on my tumblr!


July 10, 2012

Cover art by Ruxandra Lache

Yeah. I know, right? How's that for an ice-breaker?

While I'm chillin' over here in the calm before my By the River storm, I've been--well, not chillin' at all. I've been prepping #2 of the Fairy Compacts series, a large part of which has included working with the wonderful Ruxandra on cover and interior illustrations. Ruxandra's style is perfectly suited to the tone of Life as a Fairy Thrall, and I'm so, so happy she was into the project.

And, I mean, Tam. Look at him. SPOILER ALERT:

I totally get why Aeron is always trying to get your clothes off, now, dude.


Anyhow, I finally got my ass in gear and sorted out the Fairy Compacts page to reflect what's going on there. If you want to go a little deeper, there are links to excerpts, music, and even teaser thumbnails of Ruxandra's interior illustrations. Special edition Life as a Fairy Thrall eBooks will ship out to all the people who contributed to the For Raven campaign for free, complete with all three full-page illustrations in their grand glory, next month. Then in September, it'll be available for all via a couple of outlets--minus one of the illustrations, but still quite gorgeous.

#1 in the series, The Dangers of Fairy Compacts, will always be free for all. There are a couple of places to score yourself a copy if you haven't yet, and I'm working on some more even now.

The Amazing Spider-Man Post

July 8, 2012

Okay, so, as previously noted, Spider-Man is kinda my thing. I'm still being pretty tentative about getting back into 616* Spider-Books, though, since Amazing Spider-Man broke my heart with a shitty Gwen Stacy-fucked-Norman-Osborne plot some years back. This is a love-hate cycle I have: Marvel does awesome things, I open my fangirl heart to them again, and then they punch me in it. Heart-bruises, particularly of the Peter Parker induced variety, take time to heal, as we all know.

Cover for Avenging Spider-Man #9 by Terry and Rachel Dodson

But like I say, I've been really enjoying Avenging Spider-Man, which is the fun, ridiculous Spidey team-up book right now. So looking forward to this month's, which starts a 2-part arc with the shiny new Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, written by deConnick and drawn by the Dodsons. Hell yes. [Side note: the first issue of Carol's solo book comes in a week or two eeee! OMG!] Plus, the Spider-Men event has now had its first two issues, and I'm rather loving it.

Teaser in the back of Spider-Men #1 by Bendis and Pichelli
Miles is currently going through that incredibly emo phase that Pete did at first. You know, family drama, getting used tot he powers, etc, so it's cool to see him hooking up with an older, arguably wiser Pete for some cross-verse shenanigans. For one, he gets a chance to be kind of silly. For another, their reactions to each other are so far priceless.

Okay, so why am I telling you this if I'm supposed to be talking about the movie? Because I feel like The Amazing Spider-Man, the movie, is probably not as great as I thought it was, so prefacing this with me doing some general Spidey fangirling is appropriate. How far can you trust my recommendation that you see this film? Well, that far. But for what it's worth, I'm sure it's at least worth the price of a matinee--especially if you can see it in 3D, which I hardly ever say, but really.

So I'm just going to tell you the stuff that I'm positive was super awesome about it, as in not just the result of my being a big enough fangirl to actually have a Spider-Man tattoo. (Yes, you can see it if you want, it's just on my back, but mind the blinding whiteness.) 

Awesome thing #1: Andrew Garfield. You hate to do the comparison, but it's inevitable so I'll just get it over with. I'm not a Tobey Maguire fan anyhow, but thanks to his absurd attempts at Pete!Emo, the original Spider-Man wasn't just funny intentionally, but unintentionally. Other than his horrible attempts at crying and being serious, he was a pretty capable Pete, and definitely dorky enough. But Garfield has something Maguire couldn't pull off: the right amounts of emo, nerdery, self-deprecation, and adorable earnestness. I actually bought him as the kind of kid (in spite him being barely younger than me in real life) who could put on a mask and make ridiculous wisecracks at a supervillain while getting his ass kicked. I totally teared up a few times. And then I laughed my ass off. A lifetime of being a Spidey fan--if what I hear is true--did good by this one. He's officially my Pete.

Awesome thing #2: Emma Stone. Goddamn, how awesome was Gwen Stacy? Stone not only holds her own on screen (and against The Lizard...), but she outshines everyone at many points. They went to great lengths to call up the soul of Gwen Stacy--which those of us who have seen it recently maligned found relieving, for the record--and get her just right when they updated her. Even her clothes echoed old school, self-reliant, oh-god-I'm-in-love-with-her-too Gwen. She pulled off smart and capable teenager with just enough compassion and age-appropriate absurdity to make it utterly believable. Again, one hates to do the comparisons, but if they'd done to her what they did to MJ in the first movies, I would've cried. (Because yes, I love Mary Jane too. So much. And god. damn.)

And these two together, yeah. So awkward and sweet and believable. And so much chemistry, even if I didn't know they were an actual thing, that would've sold me. Seriously, watch interviews with these two. It's absurdly cute. 

Awesome thing #3: Rhys Ifans as Doc Connors. I've always been a big fan of Curt Connors since some of the 60s and 70s books I have from my dad's collection are Lizard-centric. I liked what they did with his Jekyll and Hyde issues with the serum, I like how they kept Oscorp on the backburner, and I like how, in spite of being a cheesy 60s comic book plot, it really managed to hold to the Marvel Comics tradition of the villain being a real, multifaceted character. They had it easier with The Avengers since the plot was much more modern, but here they went full out Stan Lee cheese at times. Good stuff, but yeah. Needs a certain cast of characters and actors to pull it off. 

Awesome thing #4: Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy. Speaking of cheese--well, no spoilers, but at the end there, it starts to feel like a big old plate full of nachos. I'll just say that. BUT, I could tell even from the trailers that I was going to enjoy Leary in this role, and what do you know, I did. It's not complicated or all that interesting, I guess--he's just Captain Stacy. But I enjoyed him. Especially at dinner with Pete. Heh.

Awesome thing #5: The updates to the backstory. Of course some things simply must remain the same, but I liked that they shifted the focus more to Peter's past and his parents in this one. The changes they made to the typical Uncle Ben/Aunt May stuff in particular were both streamlining and far more believable in the best traditions of a reboot. Think the Season One graphic novels I was on about last time I did a comics post. There's nothing new or original to be had here. But what is there is really well pulled off, for sure.

So like I say, chock full o cheese in the best Stan Lee tradition, but also strangely believable in a way we've not really seen from a Spider-Man movie before. There are things that bugged me--like, wow, so many white people, even in terms of just extras--NYPD, even. And while I do think it was a little too soon to do a reboot, I get why they did it: it's Spidey's 50th this summer, so how could they resist? The point is that they did it one better. I'm probably gonna go again, not gonna lie. I might even cry the second time around, too.

Also: best Stan Lee Cameo yet. Trufax.

Do I wish it coulda been Miles? Yeah, actually, I do, in spite of my undying love for Peter Parker. But Miles's first arc is only just wrapping up, so there's just no way. Maybe next time, right?

*Earth 616 = standard marvel universe. Ultimate = Earth 1610. It's a multiverse thing. Don't bother with it, seriously, it's not worth the trouble.

Reviews and Fairy Tales

July 6, 2012

A few fun things happened this week, so here's the deal:

1. The second installation of Fairy Compacts, Life as a Fairy Thrall, is not only written, but is being edited and, yes, illustrated even as I type this. Wee! There are also a few more places to get your totally free copy of the first one now if you're not a GoodReads user, so check out the page if that sounds good to you. Thanks again to the GR m/m group for making it happen--especially Miya Kressin and her inspiration. Our boys <3

2. There was a really wonderful, thoughtful review of Nobody's Hero over at Jessewave's site by Raine. Raine totally gets me. I love it when reviewers talk about their personal gut reactions to things too--check out her troubles with Kellan. For the record, I'm an atheist myself--me and my characters, we so rarely agree on things--so I found her exploration of that aspect of Kelly's prickly-ass personality super awesome. Not just because she gave it 4.5 stars, either.

3. After this weekend, we'll draw winners in the Fae Awareness giveaway. All it takes is a comment to enter, and there are some spectacular prizes that may be of interest. In particular free eBooks from the magnificent Less Than Three Press, courtesy of Megan Derr. Yeah, that just happened. So get in while the getting (and the odds) are good, because I'm going to let at it after the weekend.

4. There's a new excerpt on the By the River page. This one's a little more thinky, and has to do with Leith's ability to defy the laws of physics... 

I feel as if I should note that right before that bit is the Minecraft stuff. Ha! Nerd alert.

I'm traveling back from WV today, hopefully bearing pictures of my hometown, which is directly responsible for By the River. Yep. West Virginia river town. You guessed it! Should make for some, um, weird comparison, anyhow.

Anyhow, here comes the weekend. Yay!

Happy Independence Day!

July 4, 2012 - Let's celebrate America by seeing a blockbuster action sequel that embodies everything appalling about America

Okay, I realize that was about Transformers, but I am totally going to see The Amazing Spider-Man tomorrow with my dad so... sorta relevant? Anyhow, two of Kellan's favorite things: 4th of July family shindig and Spidey. So relevant to this blog, anyhow!

Happy Independence Day to y'all Americans. If you're into that. In honor of it, I have secured a bottle of Kelly's favorite, Powers Irish Whiskey, to get me through it. This heat. I mean. I can't even.

I'm off in Wild Wonderful West Virginia. See ya when I get home <3

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