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Friday, March 29, 2013

Truckee Wolves: Toxic! Coming April 23!

Coming to Loose Id on April 23! The first "official" book in the Truckee Wolves series! 

Did you love Educating Evangeline and Hunting Holly in the Doms of Dark Haven series? Here's the book that first introduced the Truckee Wolves!

There are three things that Dr. Briony Theale loves. Her job as a veterinarian, a good bar of rich, dark chocolate, and Rico, the ranger in charge of the Wildlife Rescue center. When a casual dinner with Rico turns surprisingly intimate, Briony realizes that she might just have a chance with him after all, if only she could lose a few pounds. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, but Briony goes cold turkey, and swears off chocolate forever.
Rico Montgomery fell hard for Briony the first time he set eyes on the curvy little doctor. Her rich brown hair and cocoa skin trigger cravings that he can barely control, and her fragrance is like the sweetest, richest chocolate he’s ever scented in his life. That’s a bad thing for Rico, because to a werewolf like him, chocolate is literally a toxin. After his pack warns him off the very human doctor, Rico finds himself even more drawn to Briony.
Rico can’t live with it, and Briony can’t live without it. And when a certain wandering wolf finds a bag of chocolate in the trash near Briony’s clinic, these two will find out just how toxic love can be.

This is a substantially expanded and revised version of the short story Sex and Chocolate: Toxic which was previously published. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Living in the Past

In 1997, my first job as a college graduate was to manage a brand, spanking new comic book store. Moving from academia to Wolverine was an interesting experience. I loved my new job, I dove into comics and manga and pop culture with complete abandon.

While I was at the store, I encountered two very different, yet personally significant genres. One was the older cult martial arts films...specifically the Venoms. They were a gifted group of young men who worked for Hong Kong's Shaw studios. Their director was Chang Cheh, who changed the face of the martial arts flick forever, giving us the hero in black, red blood on white clothing and homoerotica so thick it was impossible to ignore. Chang's movies featuring the Venoms and the team of Ti Lung and David Chiang spawned hundreds of m/m slash fiction stories that were written largely by women...we shared them in secret forums and eventually on blogs and websites.

The other important event of that time was the slow peeking from the closet of superheros of alternate sexuality. During that time, Supergirl/Linda Danvers had a brief (and very weird) romantic entanglement with a super named Comet. (yes, in the past Comet was her superhorse. This guy was horsey too.) Like Supergirl and Linda Danvers, Comet was fused to a human...a woman. And as much as Supergirl and Comet had the hots for each other, Linda just wasn't into girls. That storyline vanished into the mist with nary a whinney. (I thought it odd that the horse/woman pairing was okay, but the woman/woman pairing was a no-go.)

Northstar was fairly high profile over at Marvel, but not in a good way. He was kind of an asshole, and his unpleasant personality was attributed to the fact that he was "different." Even when he was outed, it was because he was "different." Not gay. While DC and Marvel were tripping over their feet on this topic, the Wildstorm (of DC) imprint jumped in with both feet over in their Stormwatch/The Authority comics. They introduced Midnighter and Apollo, two operatives who'd been operating out on their own for years. They were big, scary, badass and in Love. I will never forget reading issue 8 and being floored over that revelation. In between crushing ribs and tearing the arms off their enemies, these two had the most simple, heartfelt romance imaginable.

These old passions of mine came back to visit this past week. In May, Lynn Lorenz, Treva Harte, ZA Maxfield and I will be at Houston Comicpalooza doing a LGBTQ track in their literature/writing program, and so I started going back in time a bit, gathering up some of the old stories. Once again, I was blown away by the creativity and genius of Warren Ellis and other writers and artists on the characters of Midnighter and Apollo. It's been a delight returning to comics.

And I got an email.

Back when I was watching those Venoms movies, I got pulled into that world, helping to organize an event to bring them to the US for a convention. The event got scrapped because of SARS but I met most of the survivors of that team and to my surprise, became friends with a couple of them. The letter I received was from another fan and she started asking questions about the actors. Specifically, she was digging for gossip. I found myself in an interesting position...I knew the answers to her more lurid questions and found that I simply couldn't share, because their private lives are private. I did check in on a couple of the guys to see if they were okay, but the whole thing pulled me back to the past and the magic of those lithe, skilled martial arts actors and their films.

The relevance here is that the Chinese movies introduced me to homoerotic writing, and while I didn't know it at the time, Midnighter and Apollo became a loose template for the heroes in my m/m romances, even though I never really intended to venture into the genre. Looking back, I see it all so clearly, Blacque and Bleu, Helios and Griffin, Jasper and Brutal...all men with certain levels of badassery that were rooted in my love of the Venoms films and my infatuation with a pair of gay superheroes.

While it doesn't serve to exist in the past, it certainly doesn't hurt to take a walk back and revisit our old loves. After all, that's where we come from...the past. :)

Which sounds like a plot bunny...

Happy Tails!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Its Day Seven, and...

I'm having computer problems! Just got onto Blogger, so I think maybe Day Seven will just run all the way through the weekend!
I'll post the names of all the winners Sunday.

So what am I giving away for my birthday? Well, its pretty much the kitchen sink! Swag, e-books, paperbacks...just whatever strikes my fancy!

So, if you commented this week, you are entered. If you haven't yet, please leave a comment and let me know if you like:

m/m romance
het romance
anything I write. 

Happy Tails!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

BelindaPalooza Day Six! Belle Starr!

There were two things I vowed not to write when I first started writing for publication: werewolves and vampires. At the time, I was really overdosed on vampires from having adapted a version of Dracula for a play. As for werewolves, well, there were just SO many of them out there. And so many of those books are just really, really good. So I decided to stick to sci fi and fantasy.

Well. That obviously didn’t last.

You see, from the time I was four years old, I’ve had a dog at my side. And in 1990 I bought my first Siberian Husky, Nikita. From there, Summer came along, then Bell, Echo and my beloved Logan. I love animals but I really love my Siberians. 

Anyhow, I was working on a sci fi story that just wasn’t really gelling for me, the heroine was great but I couldn’t get a handle on her hero. He was quite a mystery and he had me stumped.
 It was very late at night that I had an epiphany that changed the course of my writing. It was mid-spring and we were having non-stop, drizzling rain. There was a commotion outside, and the sound of a dog screaming…that kinda scream. The sound that tells you a couple dogs are doing the dirty deed. 

I ran outside into the rain and found that several of the dogs had escaped from their respective kennels and were in one of the yards, circling a pair that were clearly in a tie. I got out there and to my amusement, it was Echo and Logan…they were my alpha male and female at the time, and both were well past being able to make puppies. I guess they were just having fun.

But the fun shifted to danger, because the jealous females were darting in and taking nips out of Echo’s hide. One of the males was threatening Logan. Interestingly enough, young Hu Fe, who was Echo and Logan’s son, was patrolling, keeping the other dogs at bay. He was protecting them. 

I grabbed Logan to keep them steady then sat there in the mud and rain, watching the whole thing play out. When they were finished and all the dogs were bedded again, I went in, cleaned up and went back to bed, but not to sleep.

How many other writers sit in the rain in the middle of the night, taking care of breeding dogs? I’ve spent hours watching Siberians interact. I’ve hung around wolf sanctuaries and evaluated hybrids for relocation to habitats. I’ve ridden on racing dog teams and as an apprentice, helped dozens of dogs whelp countless puppies.  

I am a freakin’ expert. 

That night, I visualized this outrageous sex scene where a beta wolf protects an alpha and his mate. It morphed into a silly ménage that made me laugh, and suddenly the pieces of my science fiction story fell into place. Belle’s mysterious lover Armand was a wolf shifter from Earth. And I decided to break that rule about not writing wolf shifters because I know the behavior of canids; they are probably the one constant love in my life.  

So. Belle Starr. :)  Werewolves in space. That was just the first of many shifter books for me, but Belle is  still my favorite. 

Today, I’m giving away a signed copy of Belle Starr. Just leave a comment to enter.

Happy tails!

BelindaPalooza Day 5: Blacque/Bleu...Signed!

For Day Five, I'm giving away a print copy of Blacque/Bleu. :) You know the drill, leave a comment for a chance to win.

I am a very spoiled, self-indulgent writer. I like to write what I feel like writing, rather than go by calls for submission or requests from my editor or publisher. So when Loose Id put out a call for Coming Out, 2010, I sort of blew it off. I had no ideas on a coming out theme. Its kind of angsty and a little hard on the heart to write. Besides, I tend to write more paranormal and fantasy, and in my magic worlds, sexuality is just another facet of a character's personality. Besides, most of my characters are either bisexual or pansexual. Coming out is never really an issue.

But, I remember one Sunday that Treva Harte put a note on Facebook, saying that proposals were closing on Wednesday. I left a comment saying that I wished I could have come up with something, but just had no ideas. Treva responded by saying, "You have three days to send me a proposal."

Well. Challenge on.

I laid in bed that night letting ideas and characters run through my head, keeping me up all night. By Monday, I had remembered my little Arcada universe, I'd written a couple shorts over at Changeling Press that were set in this magical town. And I remembered a brief scenario I'd sketched and abandoned: A vampire with insomnia. It was meant to be humorous but in Arcada, with a coming out theme, it became tragic. I saw a photo that set the tone and the title of the book; it was a black, blue and white image of two powerful men in an embrace, one resting his forehead on the other man's chest.

Oliver Bleu came to me quickly; he was a fusion of my sweet, charming Grandpa Shields and the poet Robert Graves, who wrote an eloquent history of World War I. Oliver was a dash of Old World romance and a pinch of ennui, all mixed in with a strain of libertine. When I saw a photo of the model Donny Lewis, Oliver suddenly came to life.

For his hero Lukas Blacque, I wanted a butch, blue collar character. Someone strong, taciturn and a little frightening. I imagined the actor Dominic Purcell and knew Blacque was a shifter. I was worried, I shy away from tropes like a vampire/werewolf pairing, but in this case, the two heroes rapidly grew and shaped the story around them.

Instead of one character coming out about his sexuality, every character in the book reveals a deeply kept secret. Some people say that Lukas Blacque's outing came as a bit of an anti-climax, and it was meant to be that way. Every character has a secret that comes out; Dane Blacque abandoned his mate, April Bleu was turned by Oliver's maker. Dierdre is afraid having children will ruin her career.

Considering Blacque/Bleu was nearly an assignment, I think it turned out pretty well. In some ways the book is deeply personal; my favorite music is mentioned, Oliver wears Dickies work clothes and Lukas wears steel-toed boots and cleans his hands with Goop. :) These are memories of growing up around my father, who was a truck driver and mechanic. It was fun drawing on the familiar for a paranormal romance.

Blacque and Bleu are two characters that lingered on with me. Even when the book was finished and I'd moved on to other projects, they flit through my mind and I know I'm not finished with them. The show up in Silver/Steel and I know what's coming next for them. There will be some trials and pain, but in the end, they will know joy. Because they've earned it. :)

Happy Tails!


Monday, March 4, 2013

BelindaPalooza Day 4: SWAG!!!

You thought I forgot, didn't you! Well, its been a busy day, what with making hotel reservations and ordering stuff for events...hehehe...

So to keep it simple today, leave a comment to win a nice little box of swag. I haven't been to any events yet so I have a LOT!

If you've read my books, tell me which one is your favorite. And if you haven't read any of my books, what are your favorite genres to read?

Don't forget to leave your email address!

Happy Tails!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

BelindaPalooza Day 3! Some Series Madness!

When I write for Changeling Press, its all for fun. I can throw most of the rules out the window and just write something hot, sassy and outrageous. When the call came out for the multi-author "Last Call, Europe" series, I was so on it! The premise is this: someone goes into the Last Call and they can order a drink from the specialty menu. The drink is a code for a sex when Genie unknowingly orders a Siberian Husky, and asks for a double, well...that's what she gets. Two Siberian Husky shifters, along with all the mayhem they can bring.

I love writing offbeat shifters. In Devil's Advocate, they're tigers, and in Black Wolf, its Siberian Husky meets Wolf, with some interesting consequences. (trivia: while I'd written m/m before, Brutal Ballentine is possibly the first gay character I've written, most of my characters identify as bisexual.)

The series ended at Changeling but some of the characters moved on; you'll find Jasper and Jedidiah in  Come, Go With Me, and Genie from Siberian Husky makes a cameo appearance in Voodoo You Love?.

Someday I'll step back into this crazy, wild world of magic and shifters. I know they're waiting for me, with more silliness to share.

NOTE: Siberian Husky and Devil's Advocate are m/m/f menage, Black Wolf is m/m. Also, if you have the books and still want to participate, you can enter for swag instead. :) 

Today's giveaway is all three "Last Call, Europe" books. Just leave a comment and I'll draw a winner at midnight Sunday. You can check out all three books here:

BelindaPalooza Day 2: An Uncommon Way to Compose

When I began to write for publication, my first contract was for a bi-menage called 'Imperative: Missing You.' I still adore that lovely little story and its still for sale over at Changeling Press. Anyhow, I started with a m/m/f story because in my RL world, I have a lot of bisexual friends and they often feel that they're kind of the red-headed stepchild...not gay, not straight and generally not taken seriously. (Its a phase, you're in denial, you're still in the closet...etc) So when I started writing, I wasn't unfamiliar with writing manlove. I also wasn't really planning to write m/m. In fact, I was reluctant to because it was the hot new thing and many writers were jumping on it for a quick buck. I vowed not to write it because I didn't want to be perceived as someone who would do that. 

Well, I make a lot of werewolves, no vampires...we can see how that worked out. Bottom line is, I'm a writer and I write the story that's aching to be told. The gender of my characters is relevant only within the context of the story. If my hero is gay, he's gay and I will tell his story the best I can. Otherwise, I am not happy within my writing.

So one summer, I decided to hone my skills writing first person and I'm busy with this little story I'd been playing with. My heroine is a spoiled priestess/princess and her hero is a one-eyed, one-balled rapscallion with a lot of secrets. The thing was, this hero was supposed to be a bit snarky and talkative, but when I'd write from his POV, he just clammed up. And when I tried to write from the heroine's POV, she babbled. It wasn't pretty.

Instead of abandoning the whole thing, I took the "turn it upside down" approach to writing and decided to shake up the story. I turned the princess into a prince. The first line that hit the paper was,

"A Whore is a whore is a whore. Unless he's something else completely."

And Helios Dayspring was born.
And Griffin Hawke was very happy. 
And I'd just written my first m/m romance.

I can honestly say, I've never written a character who spoke so easily, and took over the story so completely as Helios. I just gave him the reins and went with it, stepping in only to nudge him in the direction of a plot. Griffin was a more challenging character because things are always more complicated with humorous rapscallion was really a dark, rather tragic character and is the anchor of the story. They were a beautiful pair of opposites and no sooner had I written "The End" than I was working on the next book because I knew their story was much bigger than the simple "Boy meets Boy" scenario in the first book.

In case you're wondering...yes, they'll be back.

Today's BelindaPalooza drawing is for two PL Nunn Uncommon posters! (signed by me) Leave me a comment and you will be entered in the drawing. 

Happy Tails!


Day One Winner is....

Fichen 1!

Fichen, I'll email you to get the details of where to send the book.

To everyone, thank you so much for participating and for your kind words! Keep coming back, I'll be at this till March 7.

Happy Tails!