Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's My Birthday, Make Me Laugh, I Dare Ya.

Well, it's almost my birthday.  Close enough, as it is on Tuesday of next week and I'll be in Jamaica, drinking colorful beverages with little umbrellas in them.  Probably in the rain, if the weather channel forecast is correct.  But, what are you going to do?  My husband planned this trip, as he thought it best to get me out of here for this "milestone" birthday.  I have a bit of a reputation for hating birthdays and making everyone around me miserable as I wallow.

To try to ward off the bday blues, I'm going to focus a little more on the funny in my life.  Since I read a lot, I thought I'd start there.

I recently re-read Lynn Lorenz's Edward Unconditionally because I recalled that I laughed through a lot of it.  Here's a little bit:
His head pounded, he’d been dog bit, and he’d lost a fight with the gayest man he’d ever seen in his life.
Edward wasn’t sure about going to a ranch or what he’d find there. He had a vision of trying to drive the Miata through a herd of cows. What if there was a stampede? In those old westerns, the cattle always charged right over a cliff.
Edward leaned against the door, his mind racing. If he let Jack in, Jack would probably kill him for what happened tonight. If he didn’t let him in, he would probably kick the door down, kill him, and then who would pay for that? If he let Jack in, at least he wouldn’t have to pay for a broken door. He’d be dead, but debt free. Not quite win-win, but it had its advantages.
And Charlie Cochrane always gets me going, with her Lessons boys. From Lessons in Power:
 Jonty poked out his tongue, although his lover couldn’t be sure whether he was thinking or being insulting. “And what does Orlando mean? Irritating? Insatiable?”
“It’s from Roland.” “Well, I’m none the wiser with that.” “Neither was the book, to tell the truth, although it’s supposed to be something to do with a famous land. I suspect it means ‘he who gains fame throughout the country’.” Jonty turned up his nose. “More likely ‘he who spends hours in the bathroom’. Luckily we have two in this place or I’d never be ready in the morning.”
Jonty’s little nose rose above the newspaper, making him look even more like a small inquisitive mammal than usual.
“For the one-hundred-and-ninety-third time, I don’t snore.” “Don’t you?” Jonty stood up and reached over the table for the marmalade, which his lover had appropriated. “Well, some bloke comes in my bed of a night and reverberates. Perhaps it’s a farmer driving his pigs to market. Ow!” 

So I'm asking you to help me through the big day with laughter.  I'd  love to know what books give you a chuckle (excerpts appreciated), jokes, scenes, pics, songs, etc. 

It doesn't have to be a laugh-out-loud laugh, either.  As Tam says, snorting quietly and smiling broadly will do as well. 

I'll be taking my laptop with me, and criminee if it's raining I expect I'll be on line a lot.  If the sun does shine, then I'll be thinking about you while I lounge by the pool.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Yay Me - A Review from Val. And why reviewers help writers.

I am happy to link you to a really nice review that Val did of Ice Cream on the Side.  Please go to Obsidian Bookshelf to read it!

The cool thing about reading reviews of my writing is the insights I get.  Val writes:
    ...This gives us a gratifyingly realistic level of detail about Dylan's everyday work, more than we m/m romance readers usually receive, while not slowing the pace of the story.
Note that I am just too new at this writing thing to be aware of that "level of detail" thing (or I'm not that meta-cognitive) but gee, now that you mention it, yeah, I did that.  Mostly because I write what I would like to read.  And there's been many a time when I've read something and wished for more.  More details, description, information, story... just...more.

 Jenre, over at Well Read  Well Read, liked the book but noted a niggle:
    ...It was at this point that I began to find the tone a little jarring with the content.  Dylan is connected to the first murdered man, and the witty asides that had seemed so engaging in the first half of the book made Dylan seem a little cold-hearted and unfeeling when placed alongside murder.  As the bodies pile up, I began to lose a little sympathy for Dylan and his sarcastic comments.
Hmmm. Yeah, okay, I can see that.   I didn't take into consideration how these surprising events might alter Dylan's response to things, or I didn't make it clear just how thick his protective walls are.

At Reviews by Jessewave, Wave said:
    The character that I had the greatest difficulty with was Ian who changed drastically from the urbane, creative professional into a man who lost all control over his emotions, and his behaviour was so extreme that I wondered if this was the same man or if he was schizophrenic.
Ian did have problems and most of the time he just made me mad.  But I can see that I could've given him a little more underpinning, though.

Theresa at  E-Book Addict:

Everything was very believable—not farfetched as I sometimes find in stalking type stories.
How gratifying it was to read that! 'Cause I tried hard on that element and wasn't sure if I was entirely successful.

Rainbow Reviews' Lily:
I really enjoyed the mystery/suspense plot in this debut novel, especially the fact that I was surprised by who the culprit was. It's always nice when the author takes time to make the "baddie" not so obvious.

And again, this is because when I read books where I figure out the murderer in Chapter 1 I get cranky.

Tam of Tam's Reads:
Not necessarily laugh out loud but I really liked Dylan's voice. He was kind of a bit random with his brain always rattling around on seemingly wild tangents.
I'll have to try harder next time.  I'd really like to generate some laugh-out-loud goodness.  It is pretty hard to write.  But the scary thing?  Dylan's voice isn't far from my own.

Erotic Horizon:
I am not a lover of books with too many support cast – but I liked the fact that the author made use of every person she introduced me to and the circle of friend she surround the men with – were easy to love and hate in equal measure.
Not everybody felt this way about the secondaries, but I was hoping to make them a little more than stick figures.  I think if the book had been (a lot?) longer they would have been fleshed out even more.

I probably wouldn't be so glib if I'd received a bunch of negative reviews, but I still would have learned a few things.  I am grateful for the folks out there who do this work.  I'm pretty sure none of them get paid for it, so it's a labor of love that not only helps readers, but authors too. On top of that it forms the basis for a growing on-line community of people who would otherwise be wondering, "Is it just me....?"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

M/M Romance Challenge - My So-Called Reviews, part two

Yes, I'm still keeping up with my m/m challenge, reviewing those m/m books that I really rather liked.  You can see more about the challenge at I heart paperbacks.

Blood and Roses, Aislinn Kerry, Samhain Publishing

Arjen is a prostitute in Amsterdam. Not sure of the time period. Vampires are a given in this society.  Maikel is a vampire who comes to the brothel and selects Arjen, but all he wants is to feed and have a safe place to sleep for the night.  Arjen isn’t happy about it but agrees.  This becomes a weekly event.  Until their personalities get in the way - Arjen thinks he doesn’t want the vampire, even though Maikel makes his affection clear.  Maikel accededs to Arjen’s wishes that he go away.  This is beautifully written, emotionally stirring.  Even though it’s first person pov (Arjen) there is much to discover as he doesn’t quite know his own feelings.   And you aren’t ever sure about Maikel, tho’ you can surmise.  Not terribly long (there are 85 pages of story, 20 pages of other books’ excerpts), the story focuses on their meetings in the brothel, so it’s very tightly written that way. No extraneous detail, intensely focused.  Loved it.

An Uncommon Whore, Belinda McBride, Loose Id

Helios Dayspring has been a slave for 5 years.  Griffin Hawke is a soldier, one of many sent to find Helios, who is actually a king.  They'd been friends and lovers.  Helios' memory's been wiped but they get the chip implanted in his brain corrected. They meet up with Carolotta, a displaced princess and Helios' sister-in-law. The three travel back to their planet, a new home their people went to when the first planet had been overtaken in war. Interesting to learn about his life as a slave in rather unemotional telling, instead of living through those years with him.  He has to accept what he's been while he remembers the past that brought him to slavery and comes to grips with being a king. A very intelligent book.  The characters are rich and complex. We come into the story when Helios has been a slave for 5 years, can't remember anything before that, and slowly his history is revealed. Told in first person from Helios's pov. Griffin is his lover, and he is almost heartbreaking in his own right as you learn about what he's been through as well. I would like to have seen a bit more at the end.  It was rather neatly wrapped up. I had been thinking it would lead in to a follow up story, but it doesn't seem so.

Wicked Gentlemen, Ginn Hale, Blind Eye Books

Wow. And Wow again. 
This was a terrific read.  I was caught up immediately and couldn’t let go.  It’s sort of a steampunk combined with paranormal story.  The world-building is incredible, and this story seems as if it is just a small part of a world that the author knows in alarming detail. Belimai Sykes is a Prodigal, which in this world means demon.  William Harper is a Captain with the Inquisition, which is a sort of religious-based policing and governing body that uses torture to get what it wants.  William solicits Belimai’s help when his sister goes missing, and from there we discover their secrets. Both characters are deeply drawn, very imperfect and complex.  While there are a couple of mysteries to be solved and bad guys to be dealt with, the real treasure is that we follow along as the two men grow, sometimes willingly and sometimes not, beyond the constraints their society has set them.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mini Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults - Jaye Wells

Yes, another review for Literary Escapism's New Author Challenge!

Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells, Orbit

Sabina is a mixed-blood, having had a Lilim (vampire) mother and a mage father.  But since she was raised by her grandmother, she only knows the world of the Lilim.  Sabina is an assassin, and her latest assignment has her infiltrating the cult that demon-vampire Clovis has established, with assassination of the leader her ultimate goal.  Along the way she has to deal with a demon sent to kill her and a hottie mage that is determined to follow her and introduce her to the mage side of her family.

I did enjoy this story. It was an interesting take on the vampire world, with the added bonus of including mages, faeries, demons, etc.  I rather liked Adam, the mage sent to follow Sabina, and I liked that she didn’t fall head over heels for him.  I particularly enjoyed the nymph Vinca, who becomes Sabina’s roommate, because she turned out to be more than what she seemed at first.  The big niggle I had about the book include Sabina’s density. It just takes her forever to figure out that which is so obvious, and her thought processes about it got to be tedious.  Still, there was a good amount of humor, and there is a central mystery around Sabina that makes me curious to see what will happen in the next book.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mini Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults - Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge

Here is another review for the New Author Challenge at Literary Escapism.

Black and White, by Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge, Ballantine

Jet and Iridium are mortal enemies now, but they became friends at the Academy when they were 12 and just learning the ways of heroes - people born with genetic differences that give them superpowers.  There’s a lot going on in the telling of the story.  View points that alternate each chapter, and time frames that very every few chapters.  You get the present time, where the story takes place over days.  And interspersed with that you get year one, year two, etc., while the women were at the academy, so their backstory unfolds bit by bit, leading the reader to find out how they got where they are today. There’s a mystery surrounding the ‘heroes’ and their connection to the corporation that handles them. There’s a phobic group that hates and attacks the heroes.  There are a couple of strong secondary characters who may not be what they seem.  And there is one hero - Jet - who is by-the-book, duty-first, save-humanity and interestingly wears black and controls shadows/the dark.  And the other former-hero, Iridium, who breaks the rules, goes rogue and lords over the bad part of town, and wears white and controls the light. 

I can’t say that I’ve ever read anything like this, even in the urban fantasy field.  It was gripping and a fast-moving read.  I would have wanted to smack Jet except that Iridium did it for me (several times) so that balanced out quite nicely.  I did figure out the bad guys fairly early, but not the reason for their existence.  And I do love stories where you get to see the evolution of the characters.  All in all a very good read!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Review at Erotic Horizon

Ice Cream on the Side was recently reviewed at Erotic Horizon.

I particularly liked this line of the review:

A little mystery was there and I will admit for the first third of the book – I felt one person was just a literal waste of space, but as the plot began to unfold I had that “I didn’t see that coming moment” – really good.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Choose Your Own, 5 Angels, and Kisses to all!

Go to Kris 'n' Good Books, click on "There Are No Accidents" and you'll be sent magically thru the webz to Scribd where you can read the Choose Your Own M/M Story I came up.  Let me know what you think, 'kay?

Yay me, I got 5 Angels from Fallen Angels Reviews! You can read the review here.

I'm seeing a lot of hugging and kissing going on out there, in the spirit of Valentine's day.  So here is my contribution -


Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Free Story for Valentine's Day!

If you know me even a little, you know that I was hornswaggled into invited to write a Choose-Your-Own-M/M-Story, by the venerable Kris, of Kris 'n' Good Books fame.  The challenge was presented to her readers here, and the results described here.

Sometime today tomorrow (operator error. mea culpa) Kris will post the story, entitled "There Are No Accidents", or the link to it on her blog.  Since I'm writing this a few days ahead of time, all I can give you is the general link: Kris's Blog.  You're on your own once you get there.  Don't worry.  It's safe.  Mostly.

Anyway, I hope that if you read it, you enjoy it.  It was a challenge that I enjoyed.  But don't tell Kris!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Coming soon to a blog near you!

What happens when you combine this: 

 with this:

and this:

and these: 


There Are No Accidents, a free, Valentine's Day story, available Friday, February 11, at Kris 'n' Good Books.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Out of the Loop...

I'm out of town this week.  Not that it matters to anybody, but it might affect my virtual life.  I'm visiting my sister in Philadelphia - land of the many snows.  She recently had surgery and I'm here to "help out", which means sitting around keeping her company.  She has the interwebz but it doesn't move as fast as at my house, and my schedule is all funked up. 

So here's a cookie...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mini Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults - Kat Richardson

I don't know what I was thinking, I guess I got all caught up in the excitement, etc., but I entered the New Author Mini Challenge: League of Reluctant Adults. I know, I know.  More stuff to read. But I really do like Urban Fantasy and its ilk.  We shall see if I can get more than one of these read this month!  First up:

Greywalker, by Kat Richardson, published by ROC. 
Harper Blaine is a private investigator who gets attacked by a guy she's investigating, and dies momentarily in the process.  As she recovers, she finds that she can see ghosts, vampires and other strange things, things that belong in the Grey.  She has to learn how to deal with and operate in the Grey, which she is quite reluctant to do.  Harper takes on a couple of cases in this first book of the series, that seem to start out normal but end up being quite paranormal.  One is to find the maker of a new vampire so he can be taught the things he needs to know to survive.  The other is to find an antique parlor organ that purportedly belongs to a mysterious client. Harper finds herself in deep and dire circumstances in these cases, and has to ask for help from creatures she would otherwise avoid. 

I really like Harper.  She's the urban fantasy heroine we've come to know and love, the kick-ass woman who occasionally gets her ass kicked.  Her discovery of the Grey is enticing to follow.  We come to understand it along with her, so it's a process.  Harper really does not want to have this ability, doesn't want to learn about this odd zone, but eventually she has no choice if she's going to survive.  The characters in her life are wonderfully drawn and have their own mysteries.  Quinton is the strange electronics guru who seems to have no office or workspace, and likes to be paid in cash.  Mara and Ben are the couple who know about the Grey and try to teach Harper, with Mara being a witch and Ben an academic.  Carlos the vampire is deliciously scary, but helps Harper (for a price). I'm not sure that anyone is what they seem, and I know that their stories will unfold as the series progresses.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday 9: I Started a Joke

 So I was over at Lily's blog.  She sometimes does these meme things.  Today's is the Saturday 9.  I commented, then I realized that I kind of liked this meme, and figured hey, I'll try it out. Here goes nothin'!

To participate in the meme, go here.

1. Tell us a joke that you think is funny. If you don't tell jokes tell us why.
I can never remember jokes, even when I find them incredibly funny.  Except for one, and I don't know why I've remembered it, it's not even that funny, but what the hell -  Q:Why did cavemen drag their women around by the hair? A: Because if they dragged them by their feet, they'd fill up with rocks.

2. Where do you buy most of your clothes?
No one place in particular.  I like Coldwater Creek, Macy's, J.Jill.

3. Which famous person would you like to meet? Why?
Oh, gosh, I can't say that I'd actually like to meet any of them! I would get so tongue-tied and stand there like an idiot.  It's better to just leave the famous folks in my daydreams.

4. What is your ultimate ambition?
I am a person of very little ambition.  

5. Do you like to live in the area of your country or would you prefer something a little different?
I live in a place that's flat, and I'd love to live in a place where there are mountains, or at least rolling hills.

6. Has a newspaper or television reporter ever interviewed you? If so, what were the circumstances and what did you think when you read or saw what you said?
Yes, both.  I did a rather short-term stint as a principal at a private elementary school.  I was interviewed by the paper when we had issues with sewer lines nearby.  They frequently stunk to high heaven, nothing was ever done about it, and finally I'd gotten on the phone to the city engineer, the planner and the mayor's office and when that didn't get me anywhere, I called a reporter. She did a good job, and people noticed.  The sewers were under investigation and repair within a few weeks.  So that was a great experience.  Plus, I got to be the hero of the neighborhood for a few minutes.
I was interviewed for the TV news when our school had a fundraiser with a local celebrity as honorary chairman.  The reporter asked me a lot of questions, but they edit out almost everything so all that remains is basically a sound bite.  And I hated, hated, seeing myself on TV. I looked like such a dork!

7. What was the last CD/mp3 album that you purchased? How did you like it?
The "Glee" cd's.  They are a lot of fun, there's a lot of variety, and I love the show for the musical numbers so it's lovely to have them.  

8. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
Sweet Child of Mine (Guns 'n' Roses)
You Want to Make a Memory (Bon Jovi)
Misty (various artists) - The first song my husband and I danced to, on our first date
It's Raining Men (The Weather Girls)
He's A Pirate (David Garrett)

9. Do you or your partner usually begin intimacy?
Here's how it goes - We're each in our respective "spots" in the family room, reading, or on our laptops, etc. 
He says: "Do you wanna have sex?"
I either say: "Nah." or "OK."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

M/M Rut Challenge - Review of Vintage

So just the other day Kris, of Kris 'n' Good Books fame, was bored. She came up with a challenge, which you can read about if you click on the m/m rut challenge pic over there on the left.  Your left.

When I noted that I have a very large comfort zone as regards my reading, it was recommended that I try a Young Adult novel.  A few members of the fold recommended Vintage, by Steve Berman.  And since I had a code for a free book on ARe (after that weekend buying spree...) I got it.  It took me a few minutes to deal with the odd pdf format of the book but after that it was smooth sailing.  I started it yesterday, finished it today, and here are my random thoughts:

Why it was out of my comfort zone:  I haven't read any YA for a very long time.  And I am pretty sure I never read YA with gay characters.  Now that I've read so much m/m and also Urban Fantasy, etc., I'm not in a place where YA attracts me.

What I liked:  I thought this was a well-told story.  It was about a boy who can see ghosts, but it was told almost like a ghost story.  The main characters were very well-realized, even with the narration in first person. I appreciated the theme of being attracted to the exotic and dangerous, but finding what you need right under your nose. 

Niggles ('cause I had no big dislikes!): I wish the narrator had a name.  I don't think we ever got to know his first name, and his last name is mentioned once.  It's probably a metaphor for something, but it bugged me.  The resolution with the ghost seemed just a little abrupt.

There, I hope this helps the venerable Kris slough off her boredom for a bit!

The pdf version of the book can be purchased here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Handcuffed Hottie in a Hood, part the third

Wolfie cupped Red’s ass cheeks in his large hands and squeezed. Red liked that a lot, and he moaned. Wolfie’s tongue dragged down Red’s hairless chest and abs, and Red’s muscles twitched at every sensitive spot the big man found. He wished his hands were free. He wanted to touch Wolfie, run his fingers through the thick dark hair, and over the big, tight muscles. He pulled at the restraints even though he knew he couldn’t slip out of them.

Red could feel the shape of Wolfie’s smile against his skin.

“I should probably, um…” Red stopped when the other man sucked up a mark on his stomach. “Oh. I should…the burritos…my grandma.” He knew there was a complete thought in his head somewhere; the words were scattered every which way, though.

When the strong fingers popped open the button of his pants and lowered the zipper, Red stopped breathing for a minute. The pants dropped straight to the floor since they were already loose. Wolfie knelt on the floor and ran his hands lightly up and down Red’s thighs and around to his calves. He put just enough pressure in his touch on the back of Red’s knees so that it didn’t tickle; instead, it made Red’s cock push even harder against his boxers.

Wolfie mouthed Red’s cock over the fabric. There were little moany, whimpering sounds and it took a second for Red to realize he was making them. Wolfie’s hands traveled up the back of his legs, under the legs of his boxers and onto his ass. When Wolfie squeezed the round muscles, Red’s whimpers turned into groans.

Wolfie leaned back and looked up at Red through long black lashes. The tip of his tongue traveled back and forth across his lower lip as he slowly - oh so slowly - drew down Red’s boxers. He stretched the waist over Red’s weeping cock and under his balls, then smoothed it down over his ass. He pulled gently on the fabric to bring the shorts down Red’s thighs, over his knees, to rest on the pants already pooled at his feet.

Red let out a shaky breath. “You’re very good at this.”

“Yes. I am.” Wolfie smiled his white-toothed smile. He pressed a kiss to the crease where Red’s thigh met his hip, first one side and then the other. He tongued the balls in their soft sac.

“Please, I can’t.” Red couldn’t think is what he couldn’t.

“Shh.” Wolfie hissed the sound as he mouthed his way up Red’s cock. Red had never seen anything so sexy in his life. As Wolfie’s talented tongue and lips caressed every bit of him, Red’s body melted a little, his arms hung without tension in the cuffs, his back and shoulders rounded a little. When Wolfie took Red’s cock into his mouth and throat, though, Red’s body clenched. Big hands pressed his hips back against the wall, keeping Red still, letting Wolfie do the work of sucking, licking, sliding up and down and generally driving Red crazy.

Red wanted so badly to grab Wolfie’s hair, hold his head still and thrust. He couldn’t do any of those things. Wolfie must have felt the tension of Red’s body, because he sucked harder, slathering Red’s cock with saliva and sliding his tight fist up and down. The pressure he put on the sensitive spot just below the cockhead was what sent Red right over. He came with a shout, spurting into Wolfie’s greedy mouth. The man savored it, licking Red’s shaft until Red shuddered and let out a deep sigh.

Wolfie stood and returned to kissing Red. He could taste himself in Wolfie’s kiss and that made him more eager and open. Wolfie caressed his chest, his abs, his arms. He ran his tongue around Wolfie’s and bit at his lips. Wolfie chuckled deep in his chest. He reached around behind Red.

It took Red a moment to realize the cuff on his right hand had loosened enough that he could pull his arm free. He tried to bring it around so he could touch Wolfie, but the muscles were cramped so he had to move slowly. Wolfie massaged his shoulders and arms and helped him bring them forward, pulling the hoodie off as he did so.

Red was just about to thank the bigger man for releasing him, when he felt the pull of the cuffs on his wrists again, this time in front of his body. He shook his head and looked up at Wolfie.

“Oh, we’re not done yet, little Red,” Wolfie growled. He pulled Red’s shoes off, then tossed aside the pants, boxers, even the sweatshirt that puddled on the floor.

“W-w-what are you doing?” Red asked even though he could guess. He was standing there naked, handcuffed, in front of a very large, very aroused man.

Red had played around quite a bit. He knew about kissing and hand jobs and blow jobs. But there was a lot he didn’t know about. Not up close and personal, anyway.

Wolfie pulled him forward by his cuffed hands. He stood him in front of the picnic table that sat in the center of the gazebo and then pushed him down. Red’s chest hit the table. With his feet still on the floor, his ass made a perfect target.

“Heh,” said Wolfie.

Monday, February 1, 2010


While I was waiting for my toast to toast this morning, this song popped into my head.  I wanted to share. Enjoy.