Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guest Blogger - Lex Valentine

I'd like to welcome Lex and help her celebrate her birthday. But let's have Lex tell you about her favorite day of the year and her latest release in time for the Halloween holiday.

It’s kinda weird when your birthday is on Halloween, you work at a cemetery, and you don’t believe in ghosts. I’ve always known I was a freak but to not believe in the creatures of the night when you’re born on Halloween is kinda sacrilegious. I can’t help myself. I’m a non-believer. I think I’d actually have to meet one and talk to him to believe. And even then, I’d prolly think I was being Punk’d.

The hero of my latest release thinks he’s being Punk’d when he meets a ghost. However, Jason has a problem with the ghost he meets. The man makes his dick hard. Yep. Totally turned on by a ghost. Sounds like a country song, doesn’t it?

In Rousing Caine, my novella in the MLR Press anthology Love Me Dead, you will meet a man with no belief in love, no trust, and who thinks everyone has an ulterior motive and is out to use everyone else in some way, shape, or form. Jason’s love life has sucked for years. People used him. As much as he loves kids, he’s resigned to not having any because he doesn’t trust people.
By contrast to my gloomy, disbelieving hero, Caine the ghost is a positive force with a Zen-like attitude. Everything happens for a reason, including his own demise. It’s just like me to do a ghost who’s not in the least scary. Caine is a famous surfer with an open attitude toward sex and a hot body. He just happens to be dead. Not that Caine lets that stop him.

The incongruous couple embark on an affair once Jason is sure he’s not being Punk’d. It’s a pretty steamy affair too! Caine’s completely in love with Jason and determined to turn his skeptical lover’s attitude around. He tries to get Jason to see that giving up on the idea of being happy is wrong. He makes Jason promise to fulfill a childhood dream of learning to surf and to see a surrogate agency about the possibility of having a child. Caine shines light into the darkness that had crept into Jason’s soul.

Of course, anger and betrayal rear their ugly heads within Jason when he finds out all the details of Caine’s death. He sends the ghost away and then has to face the truth within himself, knowing all the while that he will never again know a love as pure as Caine’s. It’s a bittersweet moment in the story and one I hope you all can embrace. Finding the truth when it’s too late is a horrible fate.

Since this is a love story, I will tell you there are twists to the ending. It’s not your usual ghost story for Halloween and the scariest thing in it is when Jason thinks there’s a burglar in his house! Or when you think he’s lost Caine forever. That one even gave me a few chills!

As you can see, I’m just not normal when it comes to Halloween. Whoever heard of a ghost story filled with M/M sex and a twisted happy ending? Ah, I think it’s just the freak in me that enjoys messing with you on this most un-hallowed of holidays. Chalk it all up to the fact that I arrived in this world at 12:41 am… on Halloween.

Many thanks to Jeanne for having me on her blog during my birthday week. Trick-or-Treat everyone!

Released just this week in time for Halloween! LOVE ME DEAD, a ghost anthology from MLR Press featuring stories by the venerable but naughty William Maltese, the awesome and erotic AM Riley, and me! My novella Rousing Caine is right in the center of the book.

Buy Link:

Anthology blurb:
Can ghosts influence the living? Can they make a man fall in love? Help him see things in different lights? William Maltese, AM Riley and Lex Valentine weave four tales that pose these questions and answer the question, LOVE ME DEAD?

Rousing Caine Blurb:
Jason Rockham has lost faith in others and himself. He no longer trusts and doesn’t believe in love. When he escapes to his cliffside home in Northern California, he meets a ghost who is the antithesis of everything he’s come to believe about people. Caine Carruthers fell in love with the laugh of a man he didn’t know. After his unexpected death, he sought out the man and found him bitter and disillusioned with life. With love in his heart, Caine sets out to show Jason that life is worthwhile and love is possible. Two incomparable heroes – a man who has lost hope and a ghost who believes love conquers all, including death. This story will make you laugh and cry and most of all... believe.

They hadn’t had sex again, but the sexual tension between them rose to an almost unbearable level, and as soon as it grew dark, Jason decided he’d had enough of teetering on the edge of a hard-on for hours on end.

They sat in the media room, an old Alfred Hitchcock movie on, and Jason only knew what was happening onscreen because he’d seen the movie so often that he knew the dialog. His hand traced the swell of Caine’s thigh muscle, marveling at the texture of his smooth skin. With his fingers, he teased the hem of Caine’s shorts, brushing his fingers along the sensitive flesh of his inner thigh.

A hiss sounded and Jason smiled. Obviously, the movie no longer held Caine’s attention. Through narrowed eyes, Jason saw Caine’s cock swell beneath the khaki of his shorts.

“You aren’t watching the movie,” he murmured with a chuckle.

“Am t-too,” Caine stuttered as Jason’s fingers brushed his erection.

With a wide grin, Jason leaned over and licked the side of Caine’s jaw. “Are not.”

Caine went rigid in his chair. Jason grinned openly. The ghost’s cock now strained against the front of his shorts. Getting to his feet, Jason pushed Caine’s feet off the ottoman in front of him and sat on it, between Caine’s thighs. He leaned forward and unbuttoned his lover’s shorts.

“Still say you’re watching Rear Window?” he teased, knowing that Caine’s eyes were riveted on him and not the movie.

“Jason.” The name emerged from Caine’s mouth on a groan that made his lover chuckle.

“I thought not.”

Jason’s mouth enveloped Caine’s stiff cock. He licked and sucked the length, letting the salty taste roll over his tongue and fire his own arousal. He loved sucking Caine. The man made such loud, appreciative noises that it drove Jason into a frenzy of lust.

He lifted his head and stared into Caine’s dazed eyes. “Here or the bedroom?” he asked abruptly. Personally, Jason didn’t think he could make it two feet, let alone all the way to the bedroom without just knocking Caine to the floor and taking him.

Caine frowned as he tried to concentrate on the question. “I… I…”

“Aww, fuckit,” Jason muttered and grabbed Caine by the hands, yanking him to the floor. He sprawled atop the ghost, his mouth a hair’s breadth from Caine’s. “Here,” he decided. “Later, the bedroom.”

Lex can be found on the Internet at:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guest Blogger - Xandra Gregory & her guests, Roger and Nigel

Hello, Flaggers!
I'd like to thank Jeanne for hosting me today. Believe it or not, I'm a bit shy, so instead of wasting space on myself, I thought I'd talk about two really interesting characters in my life--Roger and Nigel.

I'm one of those writers who gets an inspiration for a story out of the blue. I very rarely sit down and start consciously thinking, "Gee, I'd like to write about X in this story." Mostly because I don't get the luxury of sitting down and thinking very often (I've got kids, LOL). No, story seeds happen to me the way random rollerblading accidents happen to other people. And usually at the same near-terminal velocity. :)

But the story seed for Jolly Rogered, my October release from Liquid Silver Books, happened a bit differently. Not with a crash, but a whisper. A very soft whisper from a very shy, reserved, innocent-looking young man who for the longest time, refused to even tell me his name. He whispered in my ear that he had a story to tell, and it was a romantic, wonderful, crazy, and falling-off-the-edge-of-a-cliff-into-blue-ocean scary tale.

Well, naturally, I was curious, but the voices in my head, they have to yell to be heard. So I waved him off. But he was nothing if not persistent, so finally, I sat down (or rather, leaned against the wall with my Palm phone in my hand and two thumbs at the ready--no, I don't do anything easy) and said, "Okay, tell me about this great love story of yours. And don't skip the juicy bits."

Well, the shy guy started talking about how he'd been swept off his buttoned-up feet by Something Fabulous. Someone who took no prisoners and made no apologies and lived life to the fullest. Of course my interest was good and piqued now--I have a soft spot for wild-n-crazy meets Brooks Brothers.

I never expected his wild-n-crazy to be another guy. And what a guy he is. Nigel really does make no apologies and lives life to the fullest. He exploded into my head and started talking nonstop, and quite scandalously, too. Prior to this, the closest I'd come to writing M/M (although I've enjoyed the reading of it since some of the earlier days of slash fanfic) was some subtextual, unresolved sensual tension between characters. But Mr. Nigel--sorry, Captain Nigel, God-Emperor and all-around Debauched Pirate Lord of All He Surveys--took an unholy glee in giving me an eye-opening earful about all the juicy, juicy details of his seduction of, and subsequent conquering of--and by (although he won't admit it)--the shy, slightly-freckled Yank that washed up a charity case on his exclusive luxury shore.

After having to check and verify some of his more outrageous claims--and I don't care what he tells you, the island natives do NOT worship him as a god, but they do value him as a well-paying employer--I surrendered. I had to tell their story to someone, even if it just ended up being my critique partner. And happily, the lovely and talented Tina Burns at LSB also enjoyed the story enough to give it a home at Liquid Silver's Molten line.

Now that I've teased you with a little bit about the two main troublemakers, let's not waste any more time in getting right down to a little taste, which you won't find anywhere else but here at the Sweet Flag!

Roger's eyes were blue, Nigel realized. Startling, swimming-pool blue, in the right light. Fairly radiating with toxic innocence as the other man leaned forward and searched his face in an expression Nigel recognized. He was looking for absolution, a blessing. Permission. His knee brushed Nigel's. The warmth of stirring attraction swirled in Nigel's gut and he knew that the Tea House would no longer do. Fuck. I'm invested. He needed to back off. Wait for the other man to come to a conclusion. Make his own decision.

Instead, he moved forward with the swiftness borne of a life lived without regret and pressed his mouth against the Yank's. Roger stiffened, then relaxed almost immediately, and Nigel moved his tongue over the other man's lips, waiting for an invitation that came so quickly it was impossible to think it hadn't been expected. He withdrew almost as quickly as he advanced, mildly shocked at his own behavior, but aware his instincts were honed enough to recognize the need to force the issue.

Roger blinked those baby blues owlishly and dragged in a breath. "Um," he murmured. His chest rose and fell for several seconds before he spoke again. "I need to figure out what is honest," he said. "For me. Can I do that here without judgment? Without consequence?"

Nigel searched the Yank's face. "No," he said bluntly. "You can do anything here without judgment. I make no guarantees about the consequences. I cannot say that you'll leave here unchanged from when you arrived."

Roger's breathing accelerated. Nigel noted the rapid rise and fall of his chest and waited. Finally, the American nodded. "It's worth the risk," he said. "Like I said, I don't have much to lose."
* * * *
I want to thank Xandra for giving us a glimpse into Nigel and Roger's story.
To learn more about Xandra check out her website at:

Historical Research ~ It isn't Always Black and White

I'm blogging at the Rainbow Blog today about historical research. I think writers of gay historical romances have a tougher job than others. And we have to dig deeper. So I've offered an example of some of the research I did for Bend in the Road.

I hope you'll stop by and read and let me know what you think.

The link is:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where Did I Hide that Great Idea?

I'm over at the Shared Wisdom community today talking about organizing those terrific ideas that disappear so easily. Please drop by and share some of yours!
The link is:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Guest Blogger - Devon Rhodes

Devon Rhodes is my guest today and I'm very pleased to have her with us today. First off Devon answers the quickie interview:

Devon Reveals All -- okay, almost all

1. What are your nicknames?
Currently just Mom! Rhody for obvious reasons, Swoop when Dad was still around, Hammer in college...
2. How does your hair look currently?
Extra messy 'Messy Bun', same color I was born with, strawberry blonde. I predict I'm about 6 months from getting impatient with it and donating it for the fifth time.
3. What’s new in your life right now?
Youngest in preschool means I actually get a few chunks of completely kid-free time each week! Gives me more time to devote to my other new thing...writing, which I only started in earnest about 8 months ago.
4. How many colors are you wearing now?
Just two, lavender top and black fleece pants. Okay and brown wool socks, so three. Yeah, I can count. Really.
5. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
An introvert unless I have to be "on." I'd rather observe than be observed.
6. What was the last book you read?
Besides my own for edits, Simply Wicked by Kate Pearce. Currently reading Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning.
7 Who is your favorite super hero?
I was a girl in the 70's. Didn't we all pretend to be Wonder Woman?
8. What has made you happy these days?
I'm four for four on contracting stories I've written in less than two months. What a ride! Have plenty of projects lined up and a cooperative is good!
9. What’s your current obsession?
Autumn! My favorite season. Pumpkins, apples, baking, canning, leaves turning beautiful colors and falling, chill in the air, back to school. ;)
10. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Ready for what? Lol, I'm extremely low maintenance..brush my teeth and fix my coffee and I'm good to go. Five minutes tops.
11. What’s the last thing you laughed about?
I'm a comedian's dream...I would be he one that the camera would stay on in a televised show. I laugh all the time. Probably something that one of my friends said or sent!
12. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
"In and Out" by Katy Perry, my three yr old was singing it all day, so now I am too. The line about PMS'ing is freaking funny coming out of a three yr old's mouth by the way.
13. What’s the last movie you saw?
Watched "Knocked Up" last night, hilarious and light enough to keep me sane. I get enough angst from my writing!
14. What was the last story you wrote?
Rough Riders, which will be published in Total-E-Bound's Gaymes antho in January. Sweaty, athletic guys, locker rooms, and illegal tackles, fun to write. :) I also just today wrapped up revising an old (relatively speaking!) M/M/F futuristic menage novella called Wet Your Whistle.
15. Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about Devon Rhodes?

It was a huge thrill to have my first story come out last month and hold that paperback in my hands. I'm finally doing what I'm suited for...I can't imagine every wanting to "retire" from this.
* * * *

Devon's publishing history:
First pubbed story in Games In The Dark anthology, Dreamspinner Press, came out in September.
Her story is Remarkable Restraint.
M/M, BDSM, Contemporary.

When Chaz finds it impossible to hide his attraction for his straight roommate, he decides that avoiding Justin is the best answer. But Justin is not a man to be ignored, and he takes matters into his own hands by restraining Chaz's hands—and feet—until he gets some answers. It will take remarkable restraint from both to find a way to stay friends... and to grow into something more.
* * * *

Upcoming release is A Pint Light from Total-E-Bound, which comes out on October 26th. Part of their seasonal Voracious Vamps releases.
M/M, Vampire, Contemporary.
Blurb for A Pint Light:
Valerian stole Raine's blood, his magic...and his heart.
What's a vampire to do when every day is the same old dull quest for blood? Head to Maui, of course. But before Valerian can hit the beach, he needs to get rid of the sultry mage seducing him in his sleep. She may have fooled his subconscious, but he doesn't need a mate complicating his life. Imagine Val's shock when he finds out she's a he, yet still has the power to arouse him beyond anything he'd ever imagined.
Raine faints at the sight of blood and isn't looking forward to being a vamp's chew toy. Still, family duty calls, and Valerian turns out to be the hottest, and most powerful, male on two legs. Raine is crushed when the sexy vamp of his dreams runs from their rough play in horror. But his pride can't stand in the way when Valerian accidently steals his magic along with his blood.
Now, with time running out, Raine needs to seduce him one last time to even up the score, and maybe this time, they'll exchange more than blood and power. Magic is in the air, and sometimes love only needs a little nudge.


“This is where things got out of control last time, wouldn’t you agree?”
Val’s eyes flew open at the unexpected and incredibly coherent question. He tried to get his brain to formulate an answer, but couldn’t manage more than, “Uh...”
Raine sighed heavily, “I can see that I’m going to have to have conversations with you before you’re turned on. Obviously, all the blood must leave your big head when you’re aroused or something.”
Val couldn’t agree more. He could barely process what Raine was saying, only revelling in the fact that he was still sitting on top of his pulsing cock. He continued to push up against Raine, now trying in earnest to remove his tight briefs without letting Raine move off his cock, an impossible task, unless he were to rip them...
He turned thought into deed, and three yanks later, the briefs were in tatters and Raine’s erection popped up, slapping against his own belly, leaving a dab of pre-come behind. Before he even consciously decided to, he reached out and rubbed the spot off with the pad of his thumb, bringing it to his mouth for a lick. He watched those celadon eyes darken with desire as Raine focused on Val’s tongue sliding over his thumb, cleaning it of Raine’s come.
The musky, briny taste, with the same notes as Raine’s amazing blood, hit his senses like a shot of adrenaline. Val reacted without thought, flipping Raine over, grinding down against him as he reversed their positions.
“If you’re going to nail me with those teeth again, you’re going to have to let me suck you off first. Take it or leave it.”
* * * *

Devon's December release is Silver & Gold, part of Dreamspinner Press' Mistletoe Madness 2009 Advent Calendar, a collection of 32 stories centered around the holidays.
Blurb for Silver & Gold:
Geoff Radcliffe is having a mid-life crisis just in time for the holidays. He goes into a tailspin after hearing from his first love, picks up a stranger who locks him out of the house in nothing but his pants, and then he gets up the courage to go get rid of his grey, and the colorist refuses to do Geoff's hair!
But Abe Golden, thrilled that the hunky silver-tipped guy has admitted he's gay, does 'do' him, taking him home for the hottest night of Geoff's life. After three heavenly days of smoking hot sex, Abe has done the unimaginable: he's fallen in love. And when he finds out that Geoff has been using him to practice for another man, Abe is at first heartbroken... and then he plots how to show Geoff the value of combining silver and gold.
* * * *
But wait -- there's more!
Devon has a contest for our readers.
Devon is working on a new book starting this week:
To win a free e-book of A Pint Light, give her a name suggestion for each of two characters in her contemporary story - demon and an angel.
At this point, she's about 50/50 on deciding whether to make the demon female or male! (eye roll)
So the demon's name can be male, female, or either...and some good suggestions might help her decide which way to go! The angel is ALL male. ;)

Best suggestion will be considered for her characters and will win the e-book
You can also cast your vote to make the demon male or female at her:

* * * *
I want to thank Devon for joining us today and wish her continued success!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Guest Blogger - Jessica Freely

My guest today is Jessica Freely. Jessica has Detroit in her blood and her books reflect this. If you read her blog's post ~ Unpacking the Case against M/M: part 4, and check out her links embedded in the text you'll find out even more about the writing life of this talented author.
But today, Jessica is going to pimp her latest book: RUST BELT 


Times are tough in the Rust Belt, where once mighty industries now wither and die. As a city struggles for survival, two men find passion, comfort, and redemption in each other’s arms.

Seth is scarred, body and soul, by his experiences in the Pit, an illegal fighting ring where men are brutalized for the entertainment of the crowd. Though he managed to escape, Seth will never forget those he had to leave behind. When he meets David, he is instantly attracted to him but knows that the sexy, bookish blond is far beyond his reach. Then David is attacked on the street and in an eyeblink, Seth alters both of their lives forever.

For lonely, virginal David, Seth comes out of the night like a hero from one of his favorite books, only hotter. Seth’s passion and tenderness pierce the protective shell of isolation David has drawn around himself. In the wake of their shatteringly erotic encounter, David asks Seth to live with him. But just when it seems like happily ever after can happen even in Detroit, Seth’s past comes back to drag them both into the Pit.


“Want some Thai noodles?”

Seth looked up from the trash can he’d been sorting through and into the most beautiful brown eyes he’d ever seen. They belonged to a young man about his own age, on the short side and slight of build, with blond hair and cute, pert features. Seth had seen him around before, had covertly admired his ass as he made his way to and from his job at the little book store across the street. But until now he hadn’t realized how much he looked like the Kid. The resemblance hit Seth like a mallet to the face and he took an involuntary step backward.

“Hey, easy. I’m not going to hurt you. I just saw you and…” He lifted a Styrofoam box. “I couldn’t finish my lunch and I thought you might…”

Seth blushed, though whether it was because this guy actually thought he was afraid or simply because of being caught rummaging through the trash, he didn’t care to examine. He ducked his head and accepted the noodles. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” The guy turned and walked back across the street to the book store. It was a cozy place with a green awning and old-fashioned brass fittings on the door. It stood sandwiched between a bakery and the Thai Restaurant.

Seth watched him go, noting the way his brisk strides made his butt move. Sudden wistfulness overcame him. “Not for you,” he whispered to himself.

The guy, Seth decided to call him Books, really did look a lot like the Kid, but that was a bad thing to dwell on. If he opened those floodgates he’d drown in a tide of bad memories. Instead, he went over to a nearby bench and opened the Styrofoam box. Steam and chili spice wafted up and he lowered his face over the still-hot noodles, breathing in the aroma. The red pepper stung his nostrils and cleared his sinuses. His stomach, ever the pragmatist, rumbled and he dug in, allowing no more thoughts of things he couldn’t have or change.

God the noodles were good. Hot, with strips of chicken and little ground up chunks of peanuts. Seth couldn’t remember the last time he’d had anything as good as this. And there was a lot of it, too. Enough to take back to his little hidey hole under the overpass and finish later.

Mouth bulging and stomach rapidly filling, Seth sat back on the bench and let one of those rare waves of sated ease wash over him. Hunger and remorse were distant things in this moment. Soon they’d be back to keep him company, but for now, he was free to think on other things.

Like Books, for instance. He’d gone out of his way to give Seth this food, literally: the restaurant was on the same side of the street as the book store. Most people wouldn’t do that. Most people were too caught up in their own lives. Even the ones who did notice him usually shied away, uncomfortable or afraid. Seth was tall, rangy, with long unkempt hair and a black beard badly in need of a trim. With his army jacket from Coats for Hope, he resembled a crazy Vietnam vet. It took a fair amount of guts to walk up to a guy like him, who was pawing through a trash can, and offer him your leftovers. But Books had, and he’d crossed the street to do it.

Seth had seen Books walking to work and back every day. He was a book store clerk without enough money for his own car. He probably could have used these leftovers himself.

There weren’t enough brave, kind people in the world. Sitting there on the bench, staring at the book store as he ate, Seth made up his mind to look out for this one. This little business district was surrounded by a lot of not-so-cool neighborhoods and abandoned industrial areas.

The Kid was dead. There was nothing Seth could do about that and maybe there never had been. But keeping Books safe represented a new opportunity for Seth to do something useful with his misbegotten life.


But when Books really needed him, Seth wasn’t there.

It was three weeks since the leftovers incident and every night Seth made sure to be around the book store at closing time. Not wanting to alarm Books, Seth shadowed him from a distance.

The weather that night was typical for November: cold and drizzly. Seth hung back more than usual because the fine mist in the air would carry the sound of his footsteps farther. He desperately did not want Books to notice him, and that made him wonder, was he really protecting him with this nightly secret escort, or just stalking him? The fact that once he got back to his sleeping place under the overpass, he would jerk off to visions of Books as he had done every night for three weeks made a good case for the stalking rap.

So maybe it was these doubts or maybe it was just his ever-demanding hunger that made him go with the trick instead of continuing to shadow Books.

The business district dwindled away past Seventh Street and the next several blocks were dominated by an old derelict stamping plant, its surrounding parking lots, and an abandoned warehouse that now served as a cruising ground. Seth was walking past the warehouse when a car pulled up and some guy leaned out the window. “Hey, I’ll give you a twenty if you blow me.”

Seth turned a trick or two from time to time. Often it was the difference between a meal and another day going hungry. Just like right now. He hadn’t had any luck dumpster diving for the past two days. His stomach was so tight it was wrapped around his spine.

But he’d made a vow, and it’d be kinda hard to protect Books with this closeted suburban queer’s cock down his throat. Seth glanced up and saw Books turning down the street that ran alongside the plant. It was only a few more blocks from there to his apartment.

“Hey, deerhunter, you want the money or not?” The trick waved a twenty at him.

He really did. And Books was almost home. Seth’s hunger took over and he nodded and reached for the money.

He was on his knees in the alley around the corner, clutching the twenty in his fist and about to go down on the trick when he heard the shouting -- angry voices and one frightened one from the direction of the old stamping plant.

Shit! Books!

He stood up and shoved the twenty at the trick. “I’m sorry,” he said, and he took off toward the plant.
* * * *
Although Rust Belt is written to stand alone, there are three previous David and Seth stories. The first two short stories -- Hero and Stay -- are currently out of print but available for a limited time only as free downloads on my Yahoo! newsletter group:
Scars, the third David and Seth book, is still available from Torquere:

Oh, and there's a contest, too:
Seth's a great cook and David loves to read. It's David's birthday and Seth is going to surprise David with a special meal and a new book. What are they? Most inventive answer wins a free copy of Rust Belt.

* * * *
I want to thank the multi-talented, Jessica for sharing her latest story with us today. The lady is as versatile as...John Barrowman! :~D

Friday, October 9, 2009

Short to Long ~ EM Lynley

EM Lynley is my guest today. EM has taken a rather different route than Remmy's and Shannon's.

How did you make the transition from short stories to longer works?
I’ve actually taken the opposite path. My first published work was actually novel length and since that time I’ve had several shorter pieces published. I did have a short story in a Christmas anthology last year, but it was an excerpt from another novel. It’s only since I began writing professionally that I discovered the market for shorter pieces. I wrote two novels before SEX, LIES & WEDDING BELLS but I haven’t revised them yet to submit to a publisher. I’ve learned so much about writing since then and I see a lot of ways to improve them before sending them out. Stay tuned though!
I usually come up with an idea for a story first, generally there’s a conflict that stems from their jobs or positions that brings them into conflict and I do my best to get them together. I’d never really thought much about the length of the piece until I began submitting work to publishers. I discovered novella lengths and specific lengths in publishers’ calls for submissions, and I decided to try my hand at those.

How do you deal with the challenges of writing different lengths:

I discovered I pretty much suck at fitting my stories into a predetermined length. The two novellas I wrote felt rushed and flat, and I knew they needed more space to tell the stories properly. I had a short story released recently: Venus Envy from Cobblestone that began its life as a 7000 word story bound for an anthology. It ended up twice that length before I really liked it and felt it was finished. I’ve therefore decided to go back to my original method of telling the story and once it’s finished I’ll figure out where it belongs.

What length do you enjoy writing most?
My stories tend to end up around 40-50K. It seems to take that amount of space to layer in enough characterization as well as wrap up the story.

I noticed in your bio that you lived in England and Japan. What were you doing?
I’ve always had a huge interest in other countries. I minored in Japanese political economy and my senior year of college I lived in a dorm which was half foreign students, so I knew eventually I’d travel and hopefully live abroad. My background is in financial economics and I did my Masters degree in London, at the London School of Economics. I spent two years there and loved every minute of it. Later I spent five years in Japan working for international banks.

Have you used any of your travels in your writing?
I’m currently finishing up a novel that’s set in Thailand, and I’ve drawn heavily on my experiences there. I spent a couple of months in total in Thailand and I was thrilled to be able to use it in one of my stories. I’m hoping to set one in Japan soon, though I’ve got so many projects on my list, I’m not sure when that might happen.

I hear you just edited your first anthology. What did you get from the experience?
Yes, I just finished working on a m/m fairy tales anthology for Ravenous, called BEDKNOBS & BEANSTALKS. It should be out in a couple of weeks. It was really eye opening to see everything from the opposite perspective. I learned a lot about writing from working on other authors’ work, and I definitely discovered how to best get an editor’s interest (or how not to lose it) which should help me in future submissions! It was a fantastic experience and will be working on a few more anthologies in the near future. Honestly, the hardest part was choosing which stories to include. I had to leave out some good stories that didn’t quite fit in terms of length and theme.

Tell us about publishing your first novel, SEX, LIES & WEDDING BELLS.

I have to admit I’m still walking on air about it! It’s sort of a gay version of "Runaway Bride" though beyond the basic premise it’s quite different. It started out as a story I wrote in about three weeks and then posted online. I got hundreds of really positive comments on it, so it seemed the right time to take a shot at sending it to a publisher. I got a contract offer the day after I sent it off! I was thrilled. It’s been a top seller at my publisher, Ravenous Romance, and they sold the print rights to Alyson Books, which is the oldest GLBT publisher in the US. It’s been great to find that the mainstream GLBT publishing world found it good enough to publish.

What’s coming out next?

I have a novella coming out from Dreamspinner Press near the end of the month. DISGUISES is friends-to-lovers story that takes place during and after a costume party where some very unexpected things happen. This is a theme I really enjoy writing, and most of my stories are about couples getting together rather than about men in established relationships. Readers enjoy series with the same characters but I find getting the guys to realize they belong together is so much fun, I haven’t found any couple that cried out for a sequel, at least not yet.

I'd like to thank EM for joining me today. I love the variety in EM's writing and look forward to the upcoming release of
You can find EM on the web:

Sell link to Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells:

Sell link to Venus Envy

Disguises will be out Oct 28th but it has a page up already:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Short to Long ~ Shannon Frost

I'd like to welcome Shannon Frost today to share her gambit of going from short to long works.
It’s such a pleasure to be here and to celebrate with everyone on this beautiful day of October 7th, because you see, it’s a very special date in my new novel, Conquest. It’s the birthday of main character, singer extraordinaire, Jesse Alexander! To be able to share this day makes it that much more wonderful. But I’m sure some are wondering, who is this Jesse Alexander? Well, as with many good stories, let me begin at the beginning.

I’ve been writing for years, ever since I penned down what I thought would be my greatest piece in the 4th grade, “Forest Fire, the Littlest Racehorse”. While it was a fun tale filled with action and excitement, I believe, and hope, I’ve surpassed that fine story, and let’s just say my work has taken on a more mature aspect. For the past few years, I’ve written mainly m/m erotic romance. I’ve had two m/f short pieces published, but I simply don’t hold the same passion when writing boy meets girl as I do when writing boy meets boy.

I first got rolling into writing m/m back in 2005 when I was still in college. Now, saying that makes me sound younger than I am, so I’ll admit it took me seven years to finish a BA. Hey, it wasn’t all my fault. I had to eat, so that meant working full-time. While I was in school studying writing, I was still trying to uncover my author’s voice and waiting for my muse to find me. Then an assignment came through for writing dialogue, which made me huff in agitation since it couldn’t be taken from any piece already worked on in class and I didn’t know what to write, but it was then my muse came to me. After pondering for less than five minutes on the assignment, Jesse Alexander burst into my mind larger than life. He had a compelling story to tell, and how could I deny him and his partner, Evan Arden, from taking the stage?

While I worked on Conquest, I came to the conclusion for the first time that I wanted to be a published writer, I wanted to share my work with readers with the hope of bringing entertainment and happiness. But to get a novel published with nothing in your portfolio can be a tricky task, so I started researching what I could do to get my name out there and present myself as a serious author. Some authors find themselves an agent, others may go to self-publishing. I took the route of writing short stories as a way of proving I could be marketable to a publisher.

I submitted my first short story in 2006 to the Cleis Press anthology, Best Gay Romance 2007 edition, and to my astonishment, it got accepted. The story, “No More Mirages”, was actually a spin-off of Conquest using one of the secondary characters, Brandon Alexander, Jesse’s older brother. Encouraged by this success, I wrote more short stories, though rather sporadically. I actually find it quite challenging to develop two or more characters and establish a relationship in 5,000 words or less. Though I certainly won’t complain, because I’ve had the good fortune of being featured in some wonderful anthologies, the most recent being Surfer Boys edited by Neil Plakcy and published by Cleis Press. I’ll also be in an upcoming anthology from Ravenous Romance titled Bedknobs and Beanstalks edited by E.M. Lynley, which is a collection of fairytales with a gay erotic spin.

So for me, I went from writing long works, to short, back to long, and now I do both. The short stories were a means to establish myself in the field with the hope of bringing recognition to Conquest, and it looks like it worked. Conquest will soon be joining the ranks of the many other outstanding titles at MLR Press, an honor beyond any dream I could’ve had for it. And so with that, Happy Birthday Jesse!

To keep up on the latest with my writing, please feel welcomed to visit me at

Conquest blurb:

As the vocally gifted lead singer of his band, Conquest, Jesse Alexander refuses to let anything hold him back from achieving his dream of becoming one of the greatest performers to ever hit a stage. Evan Arden was thought of as a musical genius when at the height of his career, he vanished from the spotlight. Together, their relationship is just as intense as their music careers, but with the pressures of success and fame pushing down on them, Jesse must decide what's more important to him, his life of music, or his life with Evan.

Thanks again for joining us, Shannon and Happy Birthday, Jesse!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Short to Long ~ Remmy Duchene

Short to Long
The authors this week all started out writing shorter works before they published their first longer gay fiction. Each has a different story regarding their new journey.
Our first guest is
Remmy Duchene
Remmy's bio:
I am a 26 year old author from Toronto, Canada who loves frigid cold days (why? Because I get to stay in, drink hot chocolate and watch movies!) CFL football, hockey and action movies where things blow up - a lot. I speak English and Spanish.
And write darn good stories!
Q. How did you start out on your writing path?
I got started writing when I was a child, mostly poems then gradually graduated to short romance stories. I didn't start out in MM though as many of you already know. But I figured if two straight people who hate each other can be together why can't two gay people who love each other?
Q. How did your writing change/grow from short stories to long?
Well the truth is I didnt have a choice. It was somewhat of a reluctant progression. I've always written short MM stuff because one, I didn't think I could do anything longer and two, well I just didn't have that much time. But a reader of mine messaged me on facebook and said she loved my stuff but they were too short so I figured why not try for something longer? I've always wanted to write REDEMPTION (my longer piece) but I wasn't sure I could do it. But I got pushed from the talented Mr. John Simpson (Another MM author) He believed I could do it and every night over MSN he would crack his writer's whip lol. I also have a novel that I wrote with Shawn Maxwell coming soon to eXtasy Books titled "The Orchid Murders" but I didn't write that alone lol.
Q. What were the challenges?
The truth is the biggest challenge was the emotions. My story tackled a huge lie (secret) that would rip any regular person apart so I had to make sure I got that right and the reactions and all that. Plus I hate hurting my characters and these two characters went through hell, mentally/emotionally, physically--Apparently I did a very good job because Loose Id saw it and liked it.
"The Orchid Murders" took a little shorter time to write for I had a partner. It was challenging as it took tons of emails and MSN messages back and forth to get everything right. As well as some massive rewrites, certain disagreements but it turned out beautifully.

Q. How did this long work come into being?
REDEMPTION took about a year? lol. Seriously. I had the idea ever since before I wrote Caldwell Effect (another short) but I just didnt have the self esteem or courage rather to write it.

"The Orchid Murders" took about two months - because there were two people, two brains working.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit more about your longer story?
*beams proudly* My longer piece is titled REDEMPTION. I would give you a peek but I can't yet, I have to wait until I get the edited excerpt to release and I don't have a cover yet (that's coming soon) but I can however give you the blurb. Please visit my website to keep up to speed with REDEMPTION -
As a teenager, Rancher Keegan MacLamore was not a very well liked kid in the small town of Thayne. He was a motorcycle riding, longhaired, rebel. At eighteen years old he was sentenced to 25 years to life for a murder he didn't commit. In prison he's hand to stand up for himself and from time to time he was tossed into solitary confinment for months at a time. Fifteen years later he is released on parole and all he wants now is to be left alone. He wants to crawl into a hole and stay there. But his best friend Colter and a long time friend will never let that happen.
Carson Lesley had no family growing up but as soon as he could he leaves Thayne and is quickly picked up for pro baseball. Every year for fifteen years, Carson returns home but for the last five years, he's been fulfilling a promise to a dying old man - to take care of the Rattlesnake ranch on the off-season until Keegan MacLamore could take over. The moment Carson gets to the Rattlesnake and see's the half naked, baseball bat wielding, tattooed hottie with the sad, broken eyes, Carson knows he's in trouble. When he finds out that this man is Keegan, Carson slips deeper and soon he finds himself fighting for this Rancher's love.
But will Carson be the man to completely break Keegan and will love be enough to cure the secrets that are about to be revealed?

Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us, Remmy. You can also find out more about Remmy and Remmy's work at the following places online:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Guest Blogger - Neil Plakcy

I am so pleased to have as my guest today, author, Neil Plakcy
Neil is the author of Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire and Mahu Vice, mystery novels set in Hawaii, as well as the romance novels Three Wrong Turns in the Desert and He edited Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog and the gay erotic anthologies Hard Hats and Surfer Boys.

Plakcy is a journalist and book reviewer as well as an assistant professor of English at Broward College’s south campus in Pembroke Pines. He is vice president of the Florida chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and a frequent contributor to gay anthologies.

My Places in the Sun

“There’s a place in the sun, and before my life is done
Gonna find me a place in the sun.”

When I tell people that my newest romance novel from Loose Id, Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, is set in Tunisia, the first response is usually, “Have you been there?” And I have to admit that sadly, though it’s on my life list of places to go, I have yet to set foot there—or even on the African continent.
So how can I write about it? Simple. I live in a hot place—south Florida—and find myself drawn in fiction to similar locations. With a little research and a little imagination, I use my knowledge of what it’s like to live where I do to create believable places with similar climates.
I have been drawn to places in the sun since I was fourteen, and stepped, bleary-eyed, off an Air France flight at the airport in Nice, France. My high school ran a summer study program in France, and our trip included a few days at the start on the Riviera. I remember being awed by the over-sized tropical plants lining the streets, by the towering palms and the ever-present sun.
Something in me responded viscerally to that place, and I fell in love. I went back again and again as I got older, spending two summers there. During my college and graduate school years I tried, without success, to figure out how I could move there and make a living.
Then I was lucky enough to be offered a job transfer to Miami, and I had that same sense of love at first sight when my airport cab pulled up in front of my new office, and there were palm trees by the sidewalk, and a view of the sparkling water of Biscayne Bay from the office conference room.
That’s when I knew I no longer had to think about moving to Nice; I had found my place in the sun on American soil.
I started writing about Miami almost immediately. There was so much I wanted to learn about my new home, and one of the ways I learn best is to write and research. It took years, though, before I sat down to write, my first M/M romance novel. I had to read a lot in the genre, and spend a few years in the web development business myself, before I was ready.
My inspiration came from a British romance, called an “Aga sagas,” named for a kind of stove, the Aga, that’s common in UK kitchens. A young woman fell in love with her boss, and didn’t realize he had fallen for her, too, until the end of the book. I wondered if I could take that basic plot and give it a gay spin. So I created a young guy, Brian, hired to be the office manager for a start up gay website in Miami Beach. He falls in love with his boss—and the book takes off from there.
Once I sent that book off to MLR Press, I started thinking about writing another romance. One day, as I was driving home from the college where I teach, I was feeling frustrated, by work and my own romance, and thought—what if I just ran away? What would I do? Where would I go? And what kind of hunky guy could I meet there?
That’s how Three Wrong Turns in the Desert began. I teach in an English department that includes a number of ESL instructors (English as a Second Language.) I thought that was a great job to give my new hero, Aidan, because when his boyfriend dumps him, he can go on line and search for a new job several times zones away.
That’s how he ends up in Tunisia, another place in the sun. I was also inspired by a photo I saw years ago, of a naked man showering outdoors. That image jump-started the book. It was lots of fun to research Tunisia, and to apply what I already knew about living in a land of relentless sunshine.
People who read my books often compliment me on the sense of place I’m able to achieve, and assume that I’ve lived in those places for a long time. With the exception of Miami, I have to say no, that I’m writing from my imagination. I think I can do that because I have taken so deeply to my own place in the sun.
* * * * *
I'd like to thank Neil for sharing the inspiration for his latest novel. I completely agree with him: I can't get that vision of that naked man showering outdoors out of my head now! But I think I've got some inspiration of my own with the handsome dude below! ;~D