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!

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.