Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Jam Disasters, Book Updates and the Summer of Fun Heats Up

This week, I planned on finishing my cover and making headway on the next installment of Ensnared. However, I found myself suddenly prepping to interview a mangaka whose work I once edited on a panel at Anime Expo and prepping to speak at a different panel on Fan Service aimed at Yaoi fans on another panel. Okay, I can adjust on the fly. This is a great opportunity. I hadn't expected to speak at this convention for a long time. I was excited. And then, I get another cool request. I was asked to do a video introduction for Ori Cosplay International, a group at a convention in Belgrade, Serbia. That was great, but I had to do my hair and find my make up and put on said make up. I am so out of practice with makeup that it seemed to take forever. This video was only 17 second, mind you. Of course, Jon did some directing. It wasn't much. Here is a screenshot from the video. I sent everything where it needed to go by a little after mid-day on Monday. Now, I need to get back to the other pile of work.

Jammin' Out of Tune

Keep in mind that I have quite a bit of experience in canning in general and making jam in particular. This year, I have a fancy new pressure cooker with a canning function. I thought I was going to really get down with some jam making. There were a few flaws in that assumption. First, fruit seems to ripen into rot within hours of purchase when one plans on canning. I bought three pounds of apricots on Friday. They were firm to the touch. There wasn't a bruise on any one of them. By Saturday evening, half of them were rotten. That doesn't make much of a yield. I had to cook them down asap and buy more later. When I finally got to try my new equipment, the entire batch was ruined. I think I was too timid in tightening the rings on the lids. It is said being too tight can be explosive. I erred in the other direction. Most of the jam was forced out under pressure. The only thing that saved any of it was I couldn't fit all of the jars in the pressure cooker. I had one jar that hadn't been sealed under pressure. It sealed from the jar cooling on its own.  That would keep in the fridge for a good long while. And I had leftover jam that I put in a Rubbermaid container. But a whole lot of work had been for nothing. Luckily, the summer is just beginning. There is still plenty of time to try again. I plan on doing that later this week. Note – The refrigerator jam is delicious. Of course, I had to make some brioche bread (it's really easy. I use a no knead recipe from this awesome book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day). The recipe makes four loaves in a batch. The dough can be frozen. It also makes epic donuts!

New Multi-Author Blog!

We're re-activating the Sybaritic Press Blog next week. We realized that we have some very interesting authors with new print books coming out soon. We think readers would like to hear about how they work and what they are working on. I will introduce each blog and contribute something about the editing and marketing of the books. We are really excited to join an author program with Amazon that will link our new titles with bestsellers in the same category. We're hopeful that will mean a surge in sales for past volumes and titles in our catalog. I'll make sure the link is in the next blog!

Learning New Tricks

Jon was working on a drawing for the cover of his new book. That work prompted him to try one of those 3D modeling programs to get his proportions right on the figures. Since it was free, I decided to try it as well. Proportion and perspective have been an issue for me in the last covers. Oy, the cursing. Did I mention that free software tends to have a steep leaning curve? I managed to get the poses I needed after two solid hours to get and elbow to bend in toward the chest. Hopefully, my new neighbors didn't hear that language. I usually don't like to let them know that side of my vocabulary until football season. I also got some help from two lovely artists who are far better versed in these programs than I. Saya Unique and Candy were really essential in helping me get past some problems with this cover. I will reward them both. Readers should see a real improvement in my skills with this print cover and the next ebook. It's even made me faster in the actual drawing part. The posing part was a nightmare, but the drawing is much easier. I'm also going to take an online course on web page development. It isn't anything like coding. This course teaches artists how to customize website templates to suit needs. Jon and I want to revamp our web pages, so that I can host my webcomic there and take advantage of the amazing traffic I have on my Facebook pages. We're hoping to create a viable way to monetize the page and provide an advertising platform for Sybpress and other Indie presses.

Zorthrast The Invincible Gets a Haircut

No, I haven't blown a gasket. That is a title from one of the short stories in Jon's first fiction Life on the Periphery. It is an astonishingly good work. I say that with great pride and equal annoyance. The stories are a combination of Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror and comedy at times. They do not fit easily in a genre niche. Thus, I believe (as a publisher) they will have a broad appeal. We've already gotten some very exciting people to have a look at it! The cover art is to your right. Here is the synopsis:

This astonishing collection of delightfully disparate short stories answers many of the universe's most difficult questions. Like what was life like for a city guard during the Hyborean Age battling the greatest Barbarian of all time? What does a boy find when he wanders into the woods…and beyond the realm of human senses? How does a Midwest farm girl become a pawn in an intergalactic power struggle? How does one negotiate with aliens who have an extremely invasive means of communication? What happens when a Wehrmacht soldier volunteers for a bold and dangerous experiment? Why would the defender of the universe take time off to visit a small town in Ohio? What are the unintended consequences of wish granting genies? What happens to an office worker who has a ringside seat to the end of the world? Can two immortal brothers who pursue very different paths find common ground? Life on the Periphery takes the reader on a journey that is joyful, hilarious and terrifying in turns while searching for many kinds of truths.

Look for the announcement next week!

Book Updates – Warning! There Be Erotica Ahead

One of my stalwart proofreaders had a brilliant idea for the Ensnared books that I was already working on for the Soldiers Books – I'm going to write a guide to the universe in which they are set as well as the characters and their relationships. I'm likely to do a cookbook for Ensnared as I am for the Soldiers books. For now, I'm going to do a basic guide that I will illustrate at some point. The basic guide will be added to all the print and ebooks as soon as it's finished. It will help me a lot to have one. Right now, I keep track of everything on post-it notes. That's not very efficient.

I'm glad to finally get to the desert and what's been waiting for my characters for so long. I've had this encounter in my head from the beginning of the first volume. Some aspects of the scene changed as the characters veered from how I originally planned on them developing. I believe all the changes are for the better as they happened organically with the way the characters grew. There is magic in the way these creations grew in a different though completely logical way from what I planned. I used to wonder where these developments sprang from and how I couldn't see them from the start. Sometimes, this happens because I'm focused on the moment at hand and don't see that the character's arc had changed trajectory. Sometimes, a clever reader will point out what should be obvious. I am most fortunate to be in contact with some very clever readers. These changes don't change the outcome of the long anticipated scene, but the dynamic is quite different. This shift will impact the fallout of that encounter in ways that shift relationships for some time to come. I am very excited about writing it though it is turning out to be really emotional for me. I always get that when when my guys are going through a traumatic event.

Summer of Fun Update

The 4th of July is on a Monday this year. Jon gets a three day weekend! Along with the panels at Anime Expo, we get to meet Phil Mizuno, one of our gorgeous calendar guys who is also an absolute sweetie. And hopefully, we'll get to hang out with some terrific writers and artists while I enjoy craft beers. We have to bring in beers we like to share. I got hooked on Red Irish Ales during my last trip to Paris (I do things like that). These are really neat people that I usually interact with only on Facebook. It's an exciting addition for the Summer of Fun.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer of Fun, Sleeping with Shatner and Book Updates

The Month of Fun was not as fun as I'd planned due to some interference from the Feds. It wasn't bad as last year, but the stress over fears that it would be caused a bout of insomnia. That threw me off schedule with my writing deadlines which as causes depression. It's a cascade of no fun. Thus, I am declaring the next three months the Summer of Fun. The plan is the same. The time span is longer in case there are further hiccups. During the SoF, I want to ride the new extension to the LA Metro Expo Line to Santa Monica and make my semi-annual pilgrimage to Penzeys Spices. I am out of French Thyme, and I'm really low on many other dried herbs and spices including peppercorns. I'm also very keen on snagging my good buddy Craig for lunch in the beautiful town of Pacific Palisades where the chin waves to Ray Liotta continue. The lack of fun isn't the only reason the blog disappeared again. I haven't written any blogs recently, because of being behind schedule on the story. I felt like I couldn't write anything that wasn't fiction. I have so many things pulling me in different directions on any given week, I had to pick something to delay for a bit.

It's not all doom and gloom. Some of the Month of Fun was quite delightful indeed. I made some souffle. One was chocolate. One was the make ahead and freeze goat cheese that I love. They are a little bit of work, but the results are absolutely heavenly. I'll have delightful lunches and elegant desserts for some time to come. Also, my workouts and making those blasted salads have begun to pay off. I've lost 15 pounds. I'm not sure of the amount of time it took. It was a while. I hate weighing myself, so I didn't even check until I noticed a substantial change in how my clothes fit. That was a real mood elevator. I was feeling a bit down about failing to work out three times a week no matter how hard I try. But the two days a week and the 10,000 step walks during the Friday errands is working.

I've taken to making my own salad dressings. I'm making a vinaigrette style that has sesame oil along with some vegetable oil, soil sauce, garlic, and ginger. And the creamy dressing involves ground sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce and a little bit of mayo. I use only enough of either one to lightly coat my salad greens. The calories are minimal while the sesame oil and seeds pack a nutritional punch. The dressings are also very, very tasty! Oh, to get around the arduous salad making process, I make a big salad and save half for another day. I really hate making salads. I plan on doing some involved cooking in the next few days and making videos of the processes. I have a few friends who really must be careful about what they eat for various reasons. That means that processed foods are something to be avoided due to salt and fat content. I'll be posting those on Youtube and sharing them in an upcoming blog.

Sleep Study

I have insomnia, so my primary care doc ordered a sleep study. She seemed to think I had Sleep Century City, a vast office complex on land that was once the backlot of 20 Century Fox. You may have seen the most famous of these office buildings on such TV shows as Remington Steel or Starsky and Hutch. The clinic wasn't in one of those. It has very close by. The room was set up like a higher end hotel room. Among the famous people who had slept there was William Shatner. I don't think it was the same bed as it seemed that the mattress was new, but I think it was the same room. I wonder what TV show he may have watched while waiting to nod off. Would he have watched Star Trek if it was on? I watched what I usually watch in hotel rooms, HLN. Long ago, it was Headline News. That night, it was a true crime show called Forensic Files. Falling asleep was a challenge mainly because of all the electrodes in my hair, on my face and legs Somehow, I slept. I won't know how much or how deeply until my doctor's appointment. They can tell all of that from brain waves and eye blink rates. I still have insomnia, but it was an interesting experience.
Apnea. I'm not sure what that has to do with not being able to fall asleep at all – sometimes for days, but she's the doc. The clinic is in an office tower in

Writing Update – Warning There Be Erotica Ahead!

The next installment of the Ensnared Saga is huge. It's over 50,000 words and is 84 standard typed pages. I didn't feel I could break until something major occurred. The first installment was as long as it was because it's setting up all of the huge events coming in parts two and three. I've had a lot of questions about what will happen. Without spoiling anything, I can tell readers that they will learn exactly what is in the desert in the second installment. By the end of the book, readers will visit the Cosi Compound and meet the Keepers. They will also meet the female Cosi and find out the role they play in the hierarchy. I can also tell you that Andreas and Darius' story will not end with this volume. There is the Winter Festival story that I couldn't finish last year. And there will be some short works published online with illustrations after this volume is finished. I plan to have some snippet stories turn up at the end of chapters of the webcomic, too. I love those characters, so I know I'll never really let them go. There will probably be a fourth volume sooner than later.

I can also tell readers that there aren't many more stories left for Vampire Rent Boy. I'll probably wrap it up before the end of the year. I will have a Christmas story for Tristan as well. And I do expect to do the occasional snippet that I'll post online. What will I fill my time with? The Soldiers books are due for a new volume. I have a Het Fantasy Romance to finish and a BDSM opus to pen. I also have ideas for other one shot, yaoi stories. I'll be busy writing fiction along with doing the webcomic, no worries.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 08, 2016

MoF 2016 Week One, Popcorn Additives and Pantless Guys

Month of Fun Update

The first part of the Month of Fun is a tad alcohol intensive. There is Cinco de Mayo (margaritas) and the Kentucky Derby (Mint Juleps) two days later. And then there is Mother's Day when I must toast my lovely, late mother. In fact, she was a big reason I celebrate Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby. Mom loved a party. Of course, I don't do nearly as much imbibing as I once did on those days. I pretty much only have one of the cocktails as they are quite strong when made properly. I tended bar through Grad School, so I make a very nice cocktail. No mixes for me. I use fresh fruit juices, fresh fruit and herbs and such. I haven't made any fun foods yet. Tomorrow, I'll make some fried chicken to go with the potato salad. Those foods were kind of a spring tradition with my family. I think I want to have some sort of fun seafood on my birthday. That will be something really simple. The big baking will be the cake. Last year, I tried to make fondant for a polished cake. It was somewhat successful. This year, I'm sticking to what I'm good at - buttercream rosettes! The cake will likely be devil's food.

[Photos of the Month of Fun so far are at the bottom of the blog.]

As I said in the last blog, I've been doing a lot of studying on Youtube in order to do some of the procedures that are part of the rest of the MoF. There sure are a lot of videos for manicures, pedicures, and facials. It looked to be at least hundreds of each type. My favorites thus far are from some New Zealand. Along with the procedures, I really like the accent of the narrator. She's very soothing to listen to. I have my products for all three processes, so I'll begin trying out the routines sometime this week. Perhaps, if I am efficient enough, I will adopt them as something I do a few times every month. Maybe. I'll see after I do the pedicure tomorrow.

Writing Updates – Warning, there be erotica ahead!

As some of you may know, we've published a stunning 18-month calendar to help raise money for
convention appearances and extra help for the Press. I look at my Calendar guys the way I look at my actors - highly talented individuals that I am looking after on this project and who will become colleagues and friends for a long time to come. I am very ethical in these relationships despite my very naughty nature. I never cross that line even mentally with these men. Often, my friends have asked how I could be with a pantless actor and only worry about hemming a pants leg (Karl Urban), or how I could be worried about ironing a straight seam in another pair of pants while an actor is pantless in the wardrobe trailer (Garett Maggart). Or how I just put that drunk actor to bed after finding him nearly naked in my living room? (I won't name him. He's much better behaved now). In short, I am a professional. However, when I'm writing hot male characters, I am 100% pervy. I have to be that way to make the books work.

When I work on my sketches, I play with paper dolls first. I have characters whose builds closely match Andreas that I use over and over. I won't name the character models because I don't want readers to see anyone else when they look at him. Darius has had a few models since I started drawing covers. I haven't been really happy with any of them. But recently, I saw a photo-realistic sketch of Thranduil from The Hobbit. It was something about the elegance and power in the pose while being utterly relaxed that spoke to me. So, I thought I would use the film version of Thranduil for Darius' build while keeping the design I have for his face as I rather like the last version of that. There must be thousands of images of Thranduil in every pose imaginable, right? Yes and no. There are a lot of images to be sure, but I kept gravitating toward photos that were not of the actor, Lee Pace, in that role. I kept finding photos of my own Calendar guy, Ori, cosplaying Thranduil. That was weird for me as I am trying to put a lot of sex appeal in those covers, and I found it really awkward to be looking at one of my guys with my pervy eye. It began to get frustrating. But then, I thought about how amused Ori would be about being a paper doll. I can see that sly smirk of his as I write this. So, I decided to stop wasting time with the search and watching the extras from The Hobbit and just get on with it. Knowing my big, blond Serbian, he'll say 'why not just have me pose for you and get it over with?' That certainly would save me a lot of effort. So while I am thinking lecherous things while sketching, it's all very professional!

Research Fun

No matter where my stories are set, there are realities that stem from research. In the last Rent Boy, I was using all my bartending experience in what Tristan was making. Muttley's is based on a dive I frequented when I lived near Hoboken, NJ. In the Soldiers books, I used real military tactics for the battle scenes. Even the biology behind the genetic mutations in that series is based on actual research on how viruses work and can alter genes. The same is true for the Ensnared universe. From small things about how the household staff interacts with Royals in real life to how a regular guy would react to a facial and manicure to the structure of the three main strata of society, there is a basis in reality in those books. I've been doing a great deal of research for the shelters that will turn up on the next expedition. A friend of mine has been sending me photos of all manner of shelters based on Yurts and domed earthen shelters. The design that Hector comes up with is based on real shelters. I won't reveal those as there are some very fun things that will be happening in the desert when the Cosi and his entire household shows up. However, I can talk about a vehicle that will have a minor Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, I found the vehicle in the Philippines. It's called a Jeepney. They are individually owned and operated and individually decorated and tricked out. They were even better than those horrid little buses in AC as their individuality will work well with the rest of the book. It's always delightful to find exactly what I need for a book. It's especially fun when it happens while watching something I find enjoyable on its own. Sometimes, I find useful information while totally wasting time – like when I was watching those video extras from The Hobbit films. I saw something in one that I hadn't thought about for the current Ensnared volume. I've already included some foreshadowing on that bit of fun. I even have real life models for things like the layout of the Penthouse, Cosimo Tower, and the vehicles in the book long before I decided to actually draw them. I needed to see something similar to describe these things realistically.
role in the upcoming volume. When I thought about it, I recalled a terrible, tiny bus that used to run on the main streets in Atlantic City. I couldn't find any good photos of those. However, while watching the first new episode of

Progress Report

I'm working on the covers diligently. I've got all my paper dolls and a rough sketch for the print book. The next ebook cover is proving elusive for me. I haven't found a pose that I like yet. But then, I've really been focused on the print cover. I think once that one is off to be inked and colored, I'll find what I need for the next ebook – which I'm still writing. I haven't found a suitable place for an end to the installment. This whole volume is going to be a monster length-wise.

Week two of the MoF is nigh. Stay tuned!

Photos for the MoF 2016 Week One

Mint Julep and Sweet Tea,

Mint Julep fixings.

Anime Swag bags.

Anime teaser.

Anime fun.


Margarita makings.

A present from nature.

A reward for swimming 10 laps.

Pretty things to look at.

Greek style Pizza much like that from out home neighborhood.

Instructions and advert for popcorn additive.
Popcorn addidtive. Not at all like butter.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Month of Fun Musings on Groupons, Insane Hobos, and Novel Updates

The Month of Fun begins on Sunday! We have some plans for films to see (the BL film, Doukysei http://doukyuseimovie.com/) and Ratchet and Clank. Where's Captain America: Civil Wars, you ask. I'm not sure I want to see it. The reasons are very personal and reflect how I tend to write stories. I may see it after I read every single plot twist (spoilers do not bother me).I watched Jon play the first four Ratchet and Clank games. They had a really twisted sense of humor. I laughed during all of the trailers, so we should have a pretty good time. I don't have any major plans like some of the MoFs of the past. I'm also not physically up for any major trips or fabulous events.

I do, however, have some plans for having a present every day. A lot of them revolve around physical maintenance. I've let a lot of things go over the years. I think I have my hair regimen down well enough to get the other routines back up to snuff. You wouldn't believe how much is involved in the 'natural' hair look (photo). I have the minimum amount of supplies, mind you. Seriously, there are a lot more I could – some would argue should – be using. One of the problems with pitch meetings or any of the other Industry encounters is putting a bit of polish to my look. Even the least bit seems to take hours longer than it once did. And women can't get away without being polished in these meetings – even if she never plans on being anywhere near the front end of a camera. Guys can look like insane hobos. They often do. Usually, I turn to Groupon for my massage, facial or manicure needs. Sadly, that service isn't showing any love for May. And that is odd as there are usually a whole lot of Mother's Day deals to be found. I'm not a Mom, but I've seen a lot of little ones through to adulthood as an Auntie (both officially and not). So, why not?

At any rate, with no decent Groupons in my immediate area, I will have to rely on my own devices. I can then spend the money on supplies for the future instead of on services that are one time only. It will also take less time for me to do the facial and mani-pedi at home. There will be no travel and waiting involved. I do enjoy researching new procedures. I already have some dandy ones for facials that I haven't used in far too long. My favorite involves looking very much like Claude Rains in The Invisible Man. It's a very good treatment to remove blackheads and whiteheads. It ends with a very nice moisturizing masque. I must find some good instructions for the mani-pedi. I'm not sure what I can do about the massage. The spinal stimulator may make that a problem. I will have to consult my manual. My back now comes with a manual!

Speaking of physical things, I really need to figure out what I did to strain my shin muscles. Shins!

Writing Updates! - Warning course language and erotica ahead!

The new Vampire Rent Boy, Sex Ninjas Must Die, is out. You can buy the book here:  http://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Rent-Boy-Ninjas-Must-ebook/dp/B01EQMKUZW This story includes a link to the recipes Tristan uses for cocktails, infused vodka and orange bitters. You can find those at this link: http://fuckarealvampire.com/recipes.htm.

This coming week is all about Ensnared. The plan is to finish the next installment along with its cover. I've done a rough for the cover of the print book for Ensnared Volume 3. This is more difficult than the installment covers as it is a full wrap around cover. I plan to finish it for color and ink this week. Since the calendar will be leaving for the printers tomorrow, Jon will have the time for the cover.

That's it for now. The Month of Fun is nigh! Stay Tuned!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Strange Baking and Clever Concoctions

This weekend was about strange baking and creating concoctions. The baking involved helping a
middle-schooler create a cookie in the shape of Washington State. He came up with the ideas on how to geographically decorate the cookie with the mountains and rivers, etc. But the young lad was at a loss on making a cookie big enough for a school demo. I've had him as a cooking student before. We made a variety of wings for his Grandfather's Super Bowl party. We were happy to help. Jon is the kind of foam core templates. Meanwhile, I had a lot of cookie recipes. All he needed was a sugar cookie dough that was formulated for heavy decorations. I had some that I've used for Christmas cookies. The big problem was rolling it to an even thickness on the back of a cookie sheet (we needed a baking surface that we could slide the end product from onto a cooling rack then into a box. He was lucky to not have gotten a harder shaped state. Strangely, that isn't the oddest thing Jon and I have ever created in a kitchen. It takes a lot of food to get through a scene involving actors eating. And you should never let the owner of the location permit her dog to be in the vicinity of food props.

Clever Concoctions

In the upcoming title for Vampire Rent Boy, my lead character makes a number of tasty cocktails. I've always been one to share recipes I find. I'm especially fond of cocktail recipes as I was a bartender through graduate school. The setup and breakdown of a commercial bar came back as easily as if I had done it yesterday. My feet and back ache from the memories. Anyway, the two of the four recipes I did (they will appear on the book's webpage tomorrow) are liquids I never made when I tended bar. It was not fashionable at the time. One was an infused vodka (cucumber) and the others was a flavored bitters (orange). One of the drinks I made and consumed was a green tea hot toddy. It was really delightful. I've made many a toddy with hot water, but the tea gave the drink a really mellow taste that was quite lovely. The simple syrups used behind the bar aren't nearly as interesting as recipes, so I didn't bother making those – for now. They are integral to making sweet tea and lemonade, and Summer is coming soon!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Insomnia, MoF Preview, Bi-Lingual Shopping and Updates

It's clear that I'm not in the habit of writing the blog. The big issue has been that I'm not in the habit of being consistent about anything. It's still something that I'm struggling with as we come up on five years since the MOAS and chemo. I don't write on a regular basis...or cook or swim. It's all very distressing. And it's nothing new. I'm muddling along as best I can but never as well as I'd like. I suppose I can take some solace that the momentum is generally forward.

Life in our tiny, luxury adjacent (though far from luxurious) abode has been a bit too exciting of late. Jon had a bad health scare (he's fine) that launched me into the most serious bout of insomnia I've had since the early days of my illness. I went for three straight days without sleep at the worst part of it. Fortunately, I have friends on the interwebs in all time zones to chat with though mostly I was up trying to be productive. Then, I was feeling terrible for not being very productive at all. This is nothing unusual for these sorts of bouts. The TV options are better, but that's about it. I have a sleep study scheduled for the first week in June.

Speaking of my illness, Friday, April 22nd will be the sixth anniversary of the MOAS (Mother of All Surgeries), the only known treatment for the kind of Appendix Cancer I had. As always, I will celebrate. I'd love to kick my heels up with a certain group of gorgeous Cosplayers I know, but that will have to wait for September. Cosplay Bishies, you all owe me a dance!

Month of Fun 2016

As this is April, next month will be the annual Month of Fun. For those new to the blog, I celebrate my birthday for a month. I don't do anything extravagant. I try to give myself – in the words of Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks – a little present every day. That can be as small as a 'damn fine cup of coffee.' The plan is to continue the practice throughout the year. I've been less than successful with that, but the Month of Fun has always been a grand time. My usual plan involves seeing what Groupon has to offer as far as facials or massages go. Perhaps, I can grab and early discount seating at a restaurant I've had my eye on for a while. There is usually a big new film coming out during the month. I know for sure there will be a special screening of an Anime Film that we have tickets for. I almost always try some sort of new recipe. Hopefully, there will be presents from kind friends. Last year, I didn't celebrate the Month of Fun. I was in the midst of a fight with Social Security and that depressed me quite deeply. This year, I plan to make up for that. Nothing will keep me from my enjoyment this year. I'll try to keep you posted on how that goes.

Bi-Lingual Shopping

Speaking of recipes, I was doing a bit of shopping at Mitsuwa Marketplace. I like to keep my pantry
stocked with proper Japanese ingredients. I really enjoy shopping there for produce there. Only Gelson's has prettier fruits and veggies, but the ones at Mistuwa are priced for normal people. ($5 for a bunch of collards my rear end. I don't care how beautiful the leaves are). I'm strangely attracted to the vast array of mushrooms. The mixture of varieties really tastes great as a duxelles or a coup. The enoki (long, thin white ones are awesome in a Ramen soup. And then, there was the mackerel. I was so excited to see it, I sent the photo to my father. He's a big fisherman of mackerel. He uses it for fertilizer in his vegetable gardens and loves to eat it. I enjoy it broiled with onions on top the way he makes it. The cooking isn't helping with my Japanese language skills as much as interacting with the market staff, but it is helping me understand the culture.

Erotica will be discussed. Fair warning!


Now that I've finished the latest Vampire Rent Boy, Hopefully, that will publish this week. I will move onto sketching the covers for the print Version of Ensnared Volume Three and the ebook version of the first installment of Ensnared Volume Four. I now know what I want to do for both of them. I'll start work on that as soon as I get back from swimming tomorrow. I made sure that I got all of my errands done over the weekend, so I just have to head home afterward...and state at a large, white piece of paper instead of a laptop screen. It's a similar creative process.

I've also finished an online course in creating comics in preparation for the webcomic I'm planning. It will be a prequel to my Soldiers novels. I've been acquiring images for backgrounds to various locations. At some point after finishing the next two covers, I plan on doing the model sheets for the characters. My hope is to begin publishing it on or shortly before Yaoicon, but that all hangs on my being able to do something more consistently than I am now. Hope springs eternal.

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cupcakes, Hot Guys and Writing with Insomnia

At five forty-five Saturday morning, I was making zucchini cupcakes. They are a lot like carrot cake cupcakes save for the central vegetable. The spices are similar. I was making them for our film partner, Ralph, to pick up around 11 am to pass along to the food show producers. He would be in the area. I was awake anyway having defied all of the meds that warned of making me drowsy. So, instead of watching another true crime show, I started grating zucchini. Believe it or not, I've never made cream cheese frosting. That was a tasty experiment – even at that early hour. What an evil thing veggie based cupcakes are – full of fiber, vitamins. They almost off set the fat and sugar! There is a trend toward sweet treats that aren't horrendous for health. I'm giving them a try to get more veggies in the Hubs. There aren't many circumstances that I could see him asking for a big ol' handful of shredded vegetables save for in cupcake form. I wanted to try using avocado as a replacement for butter in the frosting, but I don't have a lot of experience with using that as a fat. I didn't want everything to go wrong and spoil all of that baking.

Bishounen Joys

This past week was full of minutia. Lots of paperwork filled last week related to the next magazine and some government issues that are personal. There is still much to do with all of that. There is some fun though. I am working with a group of incredibly good looking and talented young men whilst putting together the calendar for our fundraiser.

I am guaranteed at least a smile and most likely a belly laugh from one of them. I haven't had such fun with a creative collaboration since I last worked on a film. Creative and humorous interactions really can propel a person through the worst kind of day. And upbeat connections like these can  have a ripple effect, I believe. Wonderful and achievable plans have developed since we began the calendar project. It all keeps me upbeat – and that has not been an easy feat. I did say these guys are very talented?! I will be talking about them a lot in the next few weeks. If you want to get in on all the news for our 2016 Bishie Cosplay Calendar (Including the launch party and prizes), you can sign up for the Newsletter here: http://yaoiagogo.com/Calendar.htm

Writing Updates! Warning!! Erotic Content!!

Rent Boy Magic

Writing is never the kind of magic where things are conjured from thin air. The magic comes from thoroughly figuring out the characters and the journey they will take through the story. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. (tee hee) I've been living with Tristan and writing about his mishaps and love affairs for months now. I have a basic outline in my mind for where the story will wind up. And I know the characters really well now. When Jon and I started spit-balling the latest volume, the ideas were coming a mile a minute. The jokes were sharper. The sexual tension was high long before anyone got near a bedroom. For a while, I was channeling the fun I had when I was bartending. It was magic. Joyful, gleeful magic. Jon is a great sounding board for sharpening the plots in general. For Rent Boy, he's awesome for the uber rude joke or a sexy set up that is organic but surprising. Just a few hours on Sunday afternoon last week set me off writing at such speed that I'm barely keeping up with what's coming out on the screen. The cover photo that features one of our Calendar guys is also adorable. So exciting!

For those readers who wonder, I have the same kind of magic with Ensnared. I've written so much more with those characters that I know them and their journeys very well. Currently, Darius is on the sideline muttering about why I'm paying attention to the vampire AGAIN while Andreas is trying to calm him and get him to be more patient. He's not patient. I'll be sketching the cover of the print version while working on this Rent Boy.

Library News

I was checking out available ebooks in the LA Public Library system. Along with a score of cookbook titles I want to explore, I discovered a few hundred Yaoi Manga titles! That was exciting enough. I also discovered that two of the titles I worked on are among those manga! My name is in library meta data! Here they are:

I had a meeting with the head librarian at my branch about submitting some of the yaoi novels and story collections for consideration in the system. That would be sweet!

Book Sales

Don't forget that Ensnared Volume 1& 2 are available on ALL formats and at half price on Smashwords.com. Clcik the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95691

For those who are not familiar with this epic erotic fantasy, here are the details:
In this world, even the most powerful are captives

Lord Darius Galatea seems to have all the power in the world. He is Leader of the Cosimo or Cosi,
those who keep order in an advanced civilization built upon a strict caste system. He could have a city razed with one call or have the most high born citizen put to death for the slightest transgression. Andreas Hesper comes from the lowest caste. He used an agile mind and just the right amount of muscle to become the most successful leader of an underworld gang. A chance encounter between the two men not only upends both of their worlds, but also ultimately puts their lives in jeopardy. It is custom that some of the Elite citizens of the world class city of Amara owned their lovers as playthings for a time. But those trained playthings or Damis were from a specific caste bred for their obedience and loyalty. Never had a gang leader become a Dami and thus privy to the secrets of an all powerful Lord. But there is more to the streetwise young man who agreed to be a plaything despite the objections from his caste and those from his Master's world. Andreas felt bound to the Cosi from the moment they met. He sees and hears more than even Darius himself. Andreas knows that they must tread very carefully in both of their worlds or the attraction that so closely binds them together will cause their destruction.

An incredible twist of fate means a drastic change in fortune for Andreas. This change also tears Darius
and Andreas apart. While they both cope with being apart, Andreas is faced with all manner of unexpected dilemmas. He has to find a way to be a success in his new role to have a chance at returning to Darius. Andreas also must fend off sexual advances from all manner of surprising people -- including another, very determined Cosi. He must also watch with dread as those close to Darius once again seek his favor, including an infamous ex-lover. Meanwhile, Darius has found that not only is any future relationship with Andreas in jeopardy, his rule as a Cosi may also be in peril. Both men’s freedom and their lives are at stake. Neither can afford the slightest misstep. Passion, however, will not be denied. Darius and Andreas are determined to find a way back to each other no matter what the cost.

At this point, I have not slept since Sunday morning and I only had a few hours then. I'm hoping to stay awake while swimming. Stay tuned!