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!

Friday, June 22, 2007

On Mantasy and Possession

Book Trailers

The audio clips from A Soldier's Choice were causing bandwidth bedlam on the website. Thus, I pulled them, made them into booktrailers and put them on Youtube, where they have plenty of bandwidth. I only kept the ones that were spicy. Here are the links:





This is an early blog. Our weekend plans are completely in the air, so I thought I'd post tonight. The subject this time are what certain words mean in the realm of romantic ficiton and in real life. The term possession and possessiveness has been coming up a lot, because of the Soldier's sequel, A Soldier's Fate and the Surrender Three-quel, Legacy of Surrender (yes, it is a title change - we thought we could keep the blank of Surrender theme going). The description of this blog even uses the term possession.

Possession is a tricky business. In fiction, especially the romances that I write, a possesive lover is a wonderful thing. My men are never overbearing or jealous (they have absolute confidence in their lover's fidelity and devotion), but they are focused in their attention on their beloved. And they don't like their beloved touched unduly by others. Their gazes are intent. They are ever ready to claim what is theirs. In A Soldier's Choice and the upcoming sequel, Rik and Vincent are loathed to be separated from one another. They are happiest within arms length of each other. And woe is he (or in the case of the sequel, she) who has the foolish notion of coming between them. The key to writing these characters as romantically possessive and not psychotically so is a matter of degrees of intensity. It helps that the lover is willing to be so intensely possessed (that's part of the whole surrender notion in all of my erotica). Then, there is the degree of fierceness. Nikulainen may not want Sarianna's servant bathing her, but he would never try to skewer his Grandfather for embracing her. During The Price of Surrender, Nikulainen's realtionship with older brother, Armas is such that he allows him to protect Sarianna in his absence. Yet, he still quietly bristles at all the attention she receives during daily royal audiences. Vincent and Rik are very possessive of each other after going through so much to have their relationship, but each has many people they are close to. There are even more that are attracted to them for various reasons. Rik came up with the notion of reclaiming one another from outside touches as a way to cope without getting violent. It's a fun way for them to cope.

Now mind, gentle readers, that this is possession in the fantasy world where the owning is mutual and benign. I could never stand a smothering boyfriend, and I always thought the song 'I'll Be Watching You' was creepy and scary. I do not advocate possessiveness other than in between the covers of a book.


No, dear ones, I'm not misspelling again. It's a term Stephen Colbert used this week to describe the life of Matthew McConaughey. I also thought it was a whimsical term for m/m fiction. It's also the name of a gay porn movie (Mantasy Island). If that doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will. We like Mr. Colbert so much that Sybaritic Press offered him a contract for his erotic sci-fi novel, Stephen Colbert’s Alpha Squad 7: Lady Nocturne: A Tek Jansen Adventure. It would have been our longest title. As yet, he has not accepted.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Damsels, Teasers and Excerpts

First, let me do a little cross publicity. Sybpress’ newest author, Brenda Petrakos has a website up complete with performances of one of the stories from Stories from the Inside Edge. Go to: http://sybpress.blogspot.com/ for the details and links.

The fiction is proceeding at a good pace. I’m better than a third of the way through writing A Soldier’s Fate on paper. I’m more than half way through the novel in my head. My non-genre short story is going well though more slowly. I have a deadline of sorts now. Marie is looking for short stories for the end of July. I hope it’ll be in good enough shape by then to submit.

I’m really jazzed about the inspiration I found for Surrender’s Destiny, the third of the Surrender novels. I was watching a show called Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives . In the one on damsels in distress, I heard a story of a Scottish Princess who noticed a good looking man on her property while out riding. She scooped him up and carried him off. No one knows what happened between them, but two weeks later, they were married.

Since the Surrender books deal with possessing and owning men by lovely royal women, this gave me a wicked idea for how Princess Kirsi snares her man. That notion has also given me some white-hot ideas for love scenes. Makes me long to warm up the old riding crop. But, I digress. I’ve also figured out what big brother Alkarin has been up to, and even how to end the story. It won’t be done in time for the fall book fairs and conventions, but I will have a release date and some excerpts for a promotional CD. Of course, I post excerpts here.

I’m learning from the promos that have resulted in the most sales. My personal author’s page is getting a make-over. And I’m going to have separate pages made for each title or series of titles, so I can advertise them in their niche market without hassle. Separating A Soldier’s Choice to its own site has enabled me to advertise it on yaoi sites and gay erotica sites. The ad campaign is a few dollars a month, but has resulted in the best sales I’ve ever had for a title. I’m going to do a page for the Surrender Titles and advertise them on mainstream romance and fantasy sites in the same fashion and see what happens.

Speaking of excerpts, I’m finally posting a taste from A Soldier’s Fate. The book is still on notepads, so I’m typing from notes. This is really rough and unbeta’d.

So what’s with all the books?” Vincent asked.

“It’s your employee handbook,” Remak replied. “You should each have a copy.”

I placed mine on the large pile of papers accumulating at my elbow while Vincent leafed through his. My focus was on the schedule.

“After the spar tomorrow, Vincent will meet with Chef Jean. We’ll meet with the generals and brief them on the parameters of the study,” I said. “Vincent, do you think you can join us at some point?”

Vincent glanced up from the book. “Dunno. I have a lot to cover, and I don’t know what chef Jean has in mind. Who wrote this section on interacting with Altereds?”

“That would be Dr. Auerbach,” Remak replied.

My lover’s irritated tone prompted me to pick up my copy and look for the apparently offensive passage. In the Dos and Don’ts section under Sudden or Unwelcome physical contact was a caution that such actions could insult in one’s face being melted off.

“I think the book has to cover the worst case scenario,” I offered.

“I have never melted...”

“There was that sergeant’s glasses,” I countered.

“He got them off in time.”

“True, but a civilian in similar circumstances could sue,” I said.

“And that’s not the worst I could do,” he muttered.

“Hardcase,” Remak said patiently. “The language in that section was chosen to disabuse civilians who may be tempted to touch either of you or any Altered.”

“Secretaries who want to pet your hair,” I suggested because that was what I was thinking about.

“Oh,” he frowned. “Well, bollocks to that.”

Sonja Becker entered the room as Vincent slammed the book shut. Her cool, efficient demeanor had returned. She smiled as she took a seat. Vincent still glared at her. He moved closer to me as we began the meeting.


All through the evening, I attempted to remove my suit jacket or tie to get comfortable. Each time, Vincent glowered at me with clear disapproval. Thus, we put everything away in the new apartment, ate then cleaned up still buttoned up in our suits. Bobby noticed this. He rolled his eyes before heading off to his room for the evening. I heard him say something about soundproofing in the new place. Vincent was putting away his knives as Bobby’s door closed. He looked at me intently.

“I’m going to reclaim you from her,” he said softly. “Come with me, now.”

More to come next week! Yes, I am aware that I am evil.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Familiarity and Potential for Contempt

The first rule of every writing class is to write what you know. That makes perfect sense. The characters drawn from reality have more depth and complexity than ones formed solely from the imagination. Long time readers of mine have been given cause to wonder about the extreme adventures I’ve written about in my erotica. My male readers wonder how I know so much about men to write in a characters head. Well, I admit to having some escapades that give me a thorough grounding in the wilder side of erotic relationships. And I do know a lot about men. For a long time in my twenties, my circle of friends was mostly guys. I was the gal pal of the group. I had a ringside seat to their dating and their friendships and how they viewed life and the world. I listened very carefully and was given a lot of insight. Consequently, I remain friends with most of my exes. And I learned to write male characters who are very real. As for the gay men, I’m a long time fag hag. I have close friendships with gay men. And they talk a lot, too.

As for the settings in my novels, I certainly didn’t spend any time in any of them. However, I went to Journalism school as an undergrad. I was trained to research a subject thoroughly in order to write about it with authority. That’s an easy skill to transfer to fiction. Much of the fiction I write springs from reality. I read a lot of histories and biographies before I wrote ‘the Privateers.’ Even though it is set in space, I had the script read by a leading expert in pirate lore. In the Gunslinger, the heroine is reading a dime novel about a real life gunslinger. I drew that from the real life of Kit Carson who came to the rescue of a woman kidnapped by Apaches. He found her body, unfortunately, and amongst her belongings was a dime novel about him. The research gives reality to the story and often helps fuel the plot.

I’ve been having a blast with the research for A Soldier’s Choice sequel, A Soldier’s Fate. That has included everything from military cooking and nutrition to historic resistance movements and undercover espionage techniques. It’s quite a lot of fun, and the novel is coming together nicely.

But writing what you know can be a minefield when it is a story about one’s own family. I’m working my way through a story about my mother. Though it is fictional, the events are real. And with any family based story, history can be revisionist and feelings can be hurt easily. It’s really hard to explain the notions of creative license and artistic vision to irate relatives at a reunion. In many ways, this story will be my most controversial work where they are concerned. They flat-out don’t understand the erotica. Aside from worries over the reaction looming over the story, the writing is hard. Grief never really leaves. Though the story itself is not sad, I find myself crying a lot. That makes for slow going. But I’m pleased to finally tell her story.

I’ve cried enough today for lost Mothers. I’m off to roast some garlic.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Big Fun Concludes -- More on New Novels

Month of Fun Concludes

It has been a great month celebrating the 47th birthday. Most of the Moth of fun involved consuming a wide variety of my favorite foods and beverages. There was the amazing chocolate truffle cake that was also a work of art, and the cinnamon cream cake from the Corner Bakery. We even made a batch of wonderful ginger spiced cookies and chocolate chips to end the month. But I didn’t gorge myself on sweets alone. I am a carnivore who had a really fun month. I made my own Carpaccio to share with Marie. I steamed Alaskan King crab claws to have with champagne on the night of the actual birthday. I like to think that the crab came from Sig Hansen and his crew on the Northwestern. The odds are pretty good that it did. Wherever it hailed from, it was delicious. I really like those crazy Norsemen on The Deadliest Catch. I also like the Norsemen on New Scandinavian Cooking, but that’s because one of them looks like Sean Bean. But I’m digressing.

Back to the food. I also had a papusa from the local El Salvadoran bakery café. I got hooked on that tasty snack while temping at a factory where a lot of Salvadorans worked. I also learned to make Hungarian Goulash there, but that’s another story. Finally, we managed to visit the French Bakery Café a few times for their wonderful breakfasts and sandwiches. I’m surprised that I didn’t gain thirty pounds for 31 days of fun, but there is a long walk as part of most of my commute during the week and also on the weekends. I haven’t made headway in the wait loss area, but I’m not losing ground. There were some big fun events like the movie screening and audition I wrote about earlier. I became an anime character with a great figure! But I also had some really fun quiet moments with friends watching old movies on TV at home. Considering how upset I was at the beginning of the year, May was a really fun month.

Writing Updates

We were really tied up with a new title release this week. Our author, Rachel Kann, has a hard deadline she has to meet. Her book was part of that deadline, so we had to focus on getting the galleys corrected and to the printer. I haven’t had time to input any of the Soldier’s Choice sequel, so no new excerpt this week. I hope to have the time this week. Meanwhile, I was confirmed for panels at Dragoncon. One of them happened largely because of Richard Hatch. I wrote about him in the Dragoncon blog last year. That panel would be an ideal place to talk up the Surrender novels. Thus, the third installment is underway along with everything else. It has no title yet, but I have half the plot worked out. It’s Kirsi’s story, but her brother Alkarin will be prominent. There will be more fantasy magic in the story as well. I’ll share the story when it’s fully fleshed out. May has been great for writing as well. The Muse attack has not relented, but somehow the stories are advancing at a respectable clip. This makes me very happy.

It’s time to do my cooking for the week. If I can, I will post excerpts mid-week.