Monday, July 30, 2012

News and stuff

Damn I'm good with blog post headlines...

A few things: First of all, I'm in the process of editing one freebie short story (will be out at some point through Dreamspinner Press, I'll keep you posted) and Finnshifters 2 that now has a brand new title!

Finnshifters 2 was supposed to be called, or rather its working title was, Moving On. Then another book named Moving On was released by DSP last month (I think) and I had to come up with a new name for FS2.

The new name is Tiglon by the Tail. I love the name and I wouldn't have come up with it without some help from the editorial department, so thanks! Also, the release date is in September, which day, I don't know yet.

Secondly, I'm going to start the process of having a new website done! It will be easier to update (thank you for everyone who hasn't emailed me about the lack of updates on my current site...) and it will look really good, I bet. Can't wait to see what AngstyG comes up with!

Thirdly, on August 4th, next Saturday, I'll be hosting a Facebook chat on Dreamspinner's Facebook page. Now, a bunch of stuff will be happening there, but there will be giveaways and even a paperback giveaway (signed and delivered to you wherever you live!) So keep an eye out!

Fourthly (this is getting silly...) in September, there will be an event in Brighton called UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet and I'll be attending with plenty of other authors. So in case you're in Brighton on September 15th, please do come meet us!

That's about it for now!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Writing Sex -- Or Not?

I've been struggling to write recently, and once again someone brought up the "writing sex for the sake of sex" thing in conversation.

I don't know about other authors, but I would never write sex for the sake of sex. To sell more books to those who read M/M books for smut. Nope. Not my thing.

If my characters have sex in my stories, they do it for a reason. But the reason is never because I, the writer, thought "well this is a good spot to insert some smexin'". Even in Technically Dead, in which there's more sex than in say, By Any Other Name, the sex scenes are there to demonstrate the characters'... well, character. The relationships they have.

Let's take Bran, for example. He has sex with several people who are not the love of his life. He has sex to feel connected, for comfort, for control. And because it's fun as hell to have sex with either people you don't know at all or people who know exactly which of your buttons you might want pushed at any given occasion. No, not my personal opinions, but Bran's.

Whenever I see a book reviewed as "PWP" or "PWPish" yet I find the blurb interesting, I give the book a chance. I might actually skim some sex scenes if they're CLEARLY there for the sake of it. But there are plenty of ways to write sex and not all of the "innecessant" sex annoys me. Most of it does, though, I'll tell you that right now.

I want sex in the books I read if it belongs in them. Same with my writing. I've written stories with next to no sex compared to page count (By Any Other Name, Something New) stories where there's a lot of sex compared to page count (Technically Dead, Lucky, Unwind) and something in between. All this is relative, by the way, what is a lot of sex for my stories, might be peanuts for other writers.

This is exactly why I don't believe all the reviews I see that say the story has too much sex. I'd rather take a look myself, because the reviewer might be wrong, they might not agree with the kind of sex the characters are having, or they might just feel like there shouldn't be sex at all or it shouldn't be as graphic as it is. Everything is relative.

For example, not everyone finds handcuffs sexy. That's their quirk, not mine. ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Countdown to Technically Dead, the last day!

Tomorrow, Technically Dead is out! FINALLY!

Trust me when I say I've been waiting to tell this story, write it and then see it published for a long time now. When I wrote the initial version last year, during NaNoWriMo, I was feeling relieved to get it out of my system.

My vampire lore might be different than what you're used to, but give it a chance. And please, let me know what you thought of the book. Email me or send me message on Facebook or Goodreads.

Here's your last treat before you get to read the book. This is part of Heath's ponderings about how he has changed as a vampire over his centuries.

His rental car was a practical something-or-other; he didn’t care much. He had lived for so long that it took more than a fancy machine to make him interested. Actually, he liked horses better than cars, always had.
It had been in England, some three centuries ago, when he’d last had a stable full of horses. Horses were good judges of character, Heath had always thought. One of his horses, an old mare, made him realize he had changed for the worse. The horse had been with him since she was born, almost twenty-five years. It was a long time for a horse, and she was a regal being, very much a lady.
In some ways it surprised Heath that the eventual changes happened so fast when they started for him. It was Lilac that made him see he had become an Elder in the most basic sense. Because the mare was like a mirror, growing from a sensible young horse into an adult horse who seemed to be able to read Heath’s mind, and then into an old mare who was always very correct, not cautious but certainly less keen to show emotion. All those changes happened to Heath, too, in the course of the mare’s twenty-five years.
Some said he got lucky. He knew there were vampires who got into their cold, less human state even before they hit three centuries. For Heath it took six. He lost interest in things like socializing or throwing parties for fun instead of for profit. He started to care less about the human lives he saw taken in wars or by vampires who weren’t that discreet when it came to showing their evil deeds to their own kind.
But the day Heath noticed Lilac giving the cold shoulder to everyone, he realized he was doing the same thing himself. It wasn’t long before the mare gave up and Heath found her dead in her favorite part of the pasture. He vowed he wouldn’t go like that, just because he lost the will to live.
It took three more decades for anything to change enough for him to actually believe in what he could do. Meeting Bran had made an impact. Losing Bran had made another. Now, after the years spent without the young human, he’d come to realize the changes again. He had been more “lively,” but he hadn’t been happy. It was time to change that, if he could.
And there we have it! The countdown is done, and all you have is to sleep one night and the book is out!

Hope you'll enjoy it. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Countdown to Technically Dead, Day 2

I promised you an excerpt and now that the second thunderstorm of the day is gone, I can finally post it!

There's a lot of story to Bran's ivy vine tattoo, and this is from a scene where he goes to get some more ink on it...

The bell jingled above the door when Bran stepped in. It was late, sure, but with vampires wanting tattoos too, the old business hours were history. In fact, Bran couldn’t remember a time when everything wasn’t open all night.
“Hello, Bran. Penny’ll be a minute.” The other regular artist, Penny’s daughter, Rachel, grinned from where she was inking a girl Bran had seen before.
“Sure, I’m in no rush.” He nodded, walking to the wall to look at some of the amazing jobs Penny had done over the years.
Absently, he hung his leather jacket on the coatrack nearby and began to unbutton his shirt; after all, he’d be shirtless in no time, anyway.
“That’s very nice work,” a middle-aged biker-looking guy said as he walked past Bran on his way out and got a peek at the vine crawling around his neck and shoulder.
“Thanks.” Bran nodded, used to getting reactions to it.
The guy seemed to realize Bran didn’t want to chat, or maybe he was just one of those sensible people who understood that sometimes ink was too personal to be discussed with strangers.
“Bran, come on in.” Penny, a robust woman with faded old tattoos all around her body, gestured from the back, where her workspace was set up.
He walked to sit in the chair and sighed contentedly.
“That time of the year again, eh?” Penny smiled as she placed her basket of ink bottles on his lap.
“Oh yes….” Bran began to look through the shades of green and picked a couple. “I trust you with this, just make it your style and…. The idea for this year is a silver lining.”
Penny nodded thoughtfully, then began to squeeze blobs of ink into the small cups that always reminded Bran of the thimble his grandma used to have when he was a little boy, only miniature versions.
“I think I can work with that idea…. Do want me to freehand it?” Penny asked, and Bran nodded. He’d seen her freehand work, and the leaf should form nicely like that and show Penny’s own style. “Where do you want it?”
“Well… since there’s space and I think the theme fits…,” Bran murmured and pointed at his left pec.
The silver lining should be on top of his heart, he reasoned.
“Works for me. Is there a reason for the silver lining, or are you still waiting?” she asked as she picked up a marker and began to sketch.
“Who knows? At least things look good, like about the same as last year this time. It’s a change, having a job and stuff….” Bran let himself sink into the seat.
He had known Penny for a decade, and she was one of the people who knew what the ivy vine was about, and one of those who never judged.

Tomorrow is the last day of our countdown and the day after the book is out! So what should I do for tomorrow? Well, I know what my suggestion is: a little bit from Heath's POV? Sounds good? ^^

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Countdown to Technically Dead, Day 3

Only three more days! Or well, since it's evening here, I'm going to be an optimist for once and say two more days. Anyway, not long now!

So, secondary characters' faces? Yes. While this is a lot of fun, I'm apologizing to those who hate blog posts full of photos and those who want to make their own mind about how someone looks like. These aren't "exactly" faces. These are closest I've come across that fit my mental images of my beloved characters.

Let's get started then! First of all, there are quite a few secondary characters in the story. There are some that don't have faces, even one quite important secondary character only has a description. But here are the ones I've found.

 This is Tony, Bran's best friend. I found another smiley-photo of this model ages ago and when Tony appeared in my head, I knew that this guy was going to be his face. Luckily I found these photos of him later on, and you can see him serious as well. ^^

 This is pretty much how I imagine Kris. He's young and blond and fit and lovely.

 Here's Kris' boyfriend and Bran's ex, Ric. Although Ric doesn't have the tattoo, he's pretty much this type of hot, older man with some salt and pepper going on...

 This girl you might actually recognize. She's actress Eliza Dushku. She's my face for Lilith. Gorgeous, isn't she?

 If you know who this is, you like gay porn. *g* This is a gay porn star Paul Wagner. But he's also the all-American kind of guy that Adam is in Technically Dead.

I came across this guy randomly. I don't know who he is, but he's definitely my face for Tadashi.

How about the ones that don't have faces? Well, Franco, for example doesn't. If I come across someone who "looks like Franco" I'll let you know. :)

Oh and that excerpt? I need to run right now, so you'll get that tomorrow! ;)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Countdown to Technically Dead, Day 4

Alrighty then!

It's time for the next countdown post for Technically Dead.

I promised this would be about places and faces, so let's start with the less exciting, the places, eh?

While there are mentions of the characters' pasts in Chicago, the story itself takes place in Atlanta. Because Technically Dead is a "contemporary vampire fantasy," most of the places I describe in detail are actually real places. There are a few that I made up, like say Gianna's, or the club the boys frequent (but even the club is something I have looked up location-wise).

The combination of made up and real places makes very little sense, but I can tell you that if you go to Google Maps and zoom into downtown Atlanta, there are buildings there I've used. Yes, I was that anal about this story.... Bran and Tony's houses are from real estate sites, the Shelter is on Trinity Ave and you can probably find the building if you follow the description and are interested to find it.

Why Atlanta? Well... honestly I don't know. I went through a mental list of places I've thought of using in my stories, and figured why not! I was also seriously lucky to have help with Atlanta-knowledge. Shae Connor, a fellow Dreamspinner author, has all the knowledge. ;)

Now okay, let's go to the part that REALLY interests you, the faces.

I'm one of those writers who likes to find a face for a character. Either the faces find me or the other way around, but I really did know who Bran looked like quite early.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Jon Kortajarena. He's a model and an actor, and you might have seen him in A Single Man. Now, this is what he looks like without his shirt on...
If you add the ink that's described in the book, you have yourself my dear boy Bran. :)

So what does Heath look like? This is actually a funny story... You might know this actor from Hawaii Five-0 or some of his movie roles, but he's also done a vampire show that lasted for one season, I think.
His name is Alex O'Loughlin, and he's an Aussie (yes, please do add the accent to your mental image for a moment. Now, take it off and replace it with a British accent. That's what Heath sounds like.)
To me, Alex is one of the most handsome men on TV at the moment. That said, when I realized Heath looked awfully lot like him, I honestly didn't remember that Alex had been on Moonlight, the vampire show. There are photos of him with fangs out there *points at the internet* but the hair is wrong... Yeah, Heath is a bit particular about the short hair.

Anyway, that's the main couple. I do have photos of guys (and girls) who make up the secondary characters. In case you want to see them and maybe get a little excerpt from the story, please do join me tomorrow for countdown day 3!