Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Hello, my darlings!

I missed last week's post due to some extreme craziness at the Day Job, on top of the expected craziness incumbent with trying to get them all prepared for my absence, since I'm on vacation with the family this week.

But since I neglected you last week, I couldn't let it go this week! So here I am, at a stool in my mother-in-law's kitchen, trying to keep the kids quiet while she and the Hubs are sleeping, and writing to you, my favorite readers!

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas! (Or whatever your favorite winter solstice holiday is. I'm not picky.)

I brought my iPad with me on vacation, and all the stories I'm currently working on, but there's the hustle and bustle of trying to get around to visiting with as much of the Hubs' extended family as possible and the kids staying up late and trying not to make anymore impact on people's spaces and routines than we have to... And all that leaves me really wiped out at the end of the day and not inclined to write. Heck, most nights, I've even been too tired to read, and I bought some really fun-sounding stories to fill up my spare time with!

We fly home on Friday, and then there's Christmas with my family and New Year's with friends, and then we're back to the regular routine by Tuesday...

So in the meantime: leave me a story prompt to help me get back into the swing, tell me what you did for your holidays (were you naughty?), and tell me what kind of New Year's Resolutions you're going to make, if any!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stupid Awesomeness.

Argh. I was about a third of the way through my review/edit of Foxfur this past week when I thought, "Hey, the motivation for [action X] is really shaky and not very well explained. What if there was another force behind it? Like, an [antagonist B], working behind the scenes, who wants [motivation Y]! That would add another 15,000 words to the story, easy, and it would explain [action X] better, and it would let [protagonist B] actually do something big and useful, and then [antagonist B] could turn up in the sequel I've been head-working!"


The only downside is that, even setting aside my lackluster writing performance lately, there's no way I can get all that done before the end of the year. I'll be taking my iPad with me on our holiday trip to visit the Hubs' family, but I'm not expecting to have much time for writing while I'm there -- there maybe one or two quiet evenings, but mostly I expect to be too busy and (congruently) too tired to write.

And then when we get back, I'll be a) exhausted, and b) prepping for the combination Christmas/New Year's celebration with my family and our friends.

So I've got approximately one week before the "end" of the year, writing-wise. And given the way I've been turning into a pumpkin promptly at 10:30 lately, I just don't see managing another 15,000 words, minimum, in that time.

At least this isn't a story on contract, so it's not like I'm missing anyone's deadline but my own. And I'd have been right on target with it, too, if I hadn't had that Awesome Idea.

Last night, reading through the action climax (as opposed to the romantic climax, which follows it) (yes, my inner 14-year-old boy is giggling at the multiple climaxes) it was tempting to just say screw it, skip the Awesome Idea, and keep the story as-is, just so I can be done with it. Lynn and I have been talking about rewriting a story we wrote together about nine years ago, now that we're both published and have a better idea of what we're doing, and so ideas are pinging around in my head for how to approach that project. And I've had an anthology idea I want to consider and then pitch. And there's all the other projects and ideas I've got notes for, just waiting...

But it is an Awesome Idea, it will solve some problems and open some new doors, and I'm not on deadline, here. So I'll probably hold onto it. Wanting to dump it just to finish the story is stupid, it's just exhaustion talking. Once the holidays are through and I'm able to get back on a decent schedule, it should come a lot easier. So I'm thinking end of January, maybe mid-February, now? Heh. Of course. Because early spring is when I always submit my longer stuff.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Making It Happen

We're well into the insanity of the holidays, and it's taking a toll on my writing time. Last weekend, it seemed we had an Event of some sort going at every single minute -- and for those few minutes that weren't Events, I was trying to squeeze in some shopping or wrapping.

I have managed to add a solid 1500 words to Foxfur in the past week or so, though -- a pitiful word count, but I've only managed to get about a quarter of the way through. Knowing that I have at least one scene to add and plenty more fluffing and expanding to do makes me think I can get this to that 50,000 word limit without too much trouble.

And I think the worst of the craziness is actually done for the next couple of weeks. We still have Events on the calendar, but I'm almost done with the shopping and the crafting and the wrapping, so I think I can take a few deep breaths and try to get back into this review. My goal is still to have it ready for my betas by the new year. (Which would have me submitting to the publisher probably around early February? That seems to be my favorite time of year to toss things over the fence.)

One way or another, I'm going to make this happen.

Oh, and! It looks like "Assumption of Desire" is tentatively scheduled for release in March! I'll offer up more details when I have them, I promise!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ebb and Flow

I had my day off from the Day Job yesterday, and so, as usual, I went to Panera, got a coffee mug and a bagel, and settled in to write. I was hoping to break 3000 words again.

Alas, I barely managed 1200. There isn't a lot of blame I can cast, though -- not even on myself. I just finished the story. I wrote the end, and I went back and wrote a fill-in scene that I'd planned. Both of those took longer than I'd expected, because I had to keep reading back to make sure I wasn't contradicting things I'd said earlier. And when I was done, it was after lunch and the story was mostly done. (I need to do a full read-through and write down my timeline, though, because I think I've muddled it once or twice.)

I sat down again last night to work on it, found another spot that could use some expansion, and wrote another 1000 words or so. But I'm definitely into the "reviewing for beta draft" stage and not still in the full-on "getting it out" phase of things, so progress is not going to be measured so much by word count anymore.

But here's my question: It's currently just shy of 40,000 words. 50,000 makes a (small) novel -- but I'm not close to that. I'd have to add a lot more to the story to make it novel-length. I might be able to manage that -- there are a few scenes that could be expanded, one or two new scenes I could write, and with dribs and drabs, I could probably beef it up.

But I'm not sure it needs it. I'm not sure it wants it. I'm not sure that beefing it up wouldn't make the story less robust, rather than more, even though that doesn't sound like it makes sense. And I'd hate to do it just because I want to be able to say I've got something in print, you know?

I think what I'll do is, I'll finish this edit-for-beta stage. Add the scenes that I think will add to the story and the structure. Make things clean. Make it a good story. And then see where I am with the word count. And then, probably, see what my betas think. (Speaking of which, I can always use more betas... anyone want the gig?)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Thanksgiving (for those of us in the US) is tomorrow.

On the surface, it looks like a holiday to deplore -- a paean to gluttony and sloth and greed. Like Valentine's Day, it's a holiday that shouldn't need to exist, because it represents a feeling that we should acknowledge daily, or at least more than once a year.

But like Valentine's Day, I like it, specifically because while I am frequently grateful for my life, I'm also glad to have an opportunity to put that gratitude into the limelight for a while.

I'm glad to say: Sure, I'm not one of the 1%, but I don't need to be. The Day Job, no matter how tedious, more than pays the bills. And in my breaks and evenings, I have the job of my dreams, the job I've longed for since I was younger than my daughter is now. I'm a writer and an editor, and I love it. And I love it for reasons I never even imagined, before it happened.

I love the writing, of course. I've always loved the writing. I love building worlds, I love getting into my characters' heads. I love it when they take over and demand that I tell their stories.

I love knowing other people are reading what I've written. Every time I see one of my stories move to someone's "currently-reading" list in Goodreads, every time I see a new ranking or review, I squeal with excitement. Even the mediocre reviews fill me with delight. (And I'm duly grateful that I haven't seen any unalloyed bad reviews, yet.)

I love working with my editors and seeing their suggestions for improving my writing. I'm not being facetious or tongue-in-cheek there, either. My writing has improved by leaps and bounds since I submitted Of One Mind to Torquere almost two years ago, and every time I re-read a sentence and remove an unnecessary comma or fix an unclear pronoun antecedent, I mentally tip my hat to the editors who showed me those bad habits of mine. I love that I've learned how to separate my work from my self-worth so that a good, harsh (but fair) editing feels cleansing and refreshing rather than like an attack on my person.

I love being an editor and helping other writers stretch themselves from "pretty good" to "great". I love knowing that something I put my hands on -- even if I didn't write it myself -- is going out into the world to entertain people.

And most of all, I love the people that I've met through this second job of mine. I love exchanging ideas and information and bantering with fellow authors and editors. I love the community feeling and the sense of inclusion that transcends gender and race and religion and political orientation. And I love my little blog here, knowing that you're reading my words, even if you don't always answer.

I have my dream job. It doesn't pay my bills, but it doesn't have to -- and that might even be having the best of both worlds, because I can take things at exactly the speed I want (or need) to. I have my dream job, and I have it on my own terms.

And that's something for which no words could ever properly express my gratitude and my thankfulness.

Thank you, for being with me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


"Of Sound Mind" -- the second (standalone) episode in my One Mind universe, has been re-released under a Creative Commons license as a free online OR downloadable book at Goodreads (account may be required)! Check it out! (And while you're at it, check out its awesome new cover, courtesy of my amazing, award-winning artist brother!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I took the day off from the Day Job yesterday.

I spent 5 hours sitting in Panera with my iPad. (Thank goodness for the bottomless mug of coffee.) In that time, I knocked out some 4000 words on Foxfur, bringing it very close to 40,000 words. If I get to 50,000 (which is entirely possible, as I have one whole sex scene left to write, which will probably be a good 3-4K, plus at least two scenes earlier in the story that I need to back up and expand) then it counts as a novel, and if it gets published, then it will also be available in print!

I'm feeling good about this one, too, and I even have a serious plan of attack for it. I'm still thinking that it might be ready for beta by the end of the year or early next. (I just need to come up with a better title, because Foxfur isn't going to cut it.)

Four thousand words in one day.

My schedule doesn't have enough squeeze-time left in it to attempt anything as ambitious as NaNoWriMo, but it's nice having the kind of writing day that makes me think it could be achievable, if I did have time to write every day.

It gives me something to look forward to, when the kids are grown and the house is paid off and I'm ready to retire from the Day Job. Heck, that first year without a "real" job, I might do NaNoWriMo twice.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Whoops, I almost forgot that it was Writing Wednesday! Partly, alas, because this past week was mostly a wash. My daughter was sick, and then just as she was getting better, my son caught it. It's hard to get my brain into a sexy, romantic place when I'm listening for someone to start puking. I'm a pretty open-minded person, but on the list of things that completely kills The Mood (both the sexy one and the writing one), it's a proximity to puke.

But on the plus side, having finished "Assumption of Desire," I decided to go back and re-read what I'd done on Foxfur before I got bored and disgusted and quit. I wanted to see if it was salvageable or if I should just scrap it and work on something else.

As it turned out, it was not only salvageable, but actually not too bad. I've got three major scenes I still need to write, and I noticed a whole host of minor editing quibbles I'll have to work through, but all in all, it's not a bad story. I think I just have a limited attention span for particular stories and need to take breaks from them from time to time.

So I'm back to working on Foxfur, and barring further mishap (*knocks on wood*) I think I might be able to squeak out the first draft before the end of the year, and be ready for beta review sometime in early January. That's the goal, at least.

And as it's already at 31,000 words, I'm considering whether I can manage to pad it out to actual novel length. It'd be nice to publish something I can actually hold in my hands. Well, we'll see where we are when the big gaps are closed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


After last week's Flash Bang quickie story, I felt sufficiently distanced from the original WIP to go back to it and do a read-through. So I read through it Wednesday evening, found a few things to polish, and then I sent it off to my two faithful beta readers.

Lynn shredded it. I mean, it was bleeding by the time I got it back. But most of her shredding was minor and easy to fix -- spots where I'd gotten a little too fond of a word and overused it; places where I started actions instead of just doing them (a bad habit of mine -- you should not say your character "began" or "started" anything unless they're about to have that action interrupted); places where I spent too much time describing where people were looking instead of what they were seeing (another bad habit of mine)... Like that. Cosmetic stuff and habit-breaking, the editor's equivalent of slapping my hands down before I can chew on my nails. Nothing big, like, "this character is completely unlikeable" (which was a risk, because the POV character is a bit of an ass, especially at the beginning) or "cute scene, but does this story have any plot at all?" or "this scene is completely unbelievable; need to reconsider the character's motivation and try again." (And the reason Lynn is my favorite beta reader is that I trust that she would tell me those things.) So it was a good shredding, it felt like putting a good polish on a solid story.

(My other beta reader, lacking Lynn's motivation of needing to work off some stress, was much less critical, though no less appreciated.)

So I spent some time Saturday cleaning and polishing, and then I tossed it over the fence to Torquere. Sunday morning, I got the standard "thank you for your submission" email that they send out just to verify that it was received, and then Sunday night I got an acceptance email.  (Apparently, Sunday is when they read through new manuscripts. So my Saturday submission was well-timed.)

Yesterday morning I signed the e-contract, and I got the completed contract in my email last night, so now it's official! I don't have a publication date yet, but I'll be sure to tell you when I do. It's a contemporary novelette (about half the length of One Mind or Safe Harbor) called "Assumption of Desire" and features the doppelganger of a young man I met at the Roanoke Pride festival.

Now I need to figure out what to do next! The foremost candidates are "Foxfur," a 2/3-finished fantasy novella that needs a lot of polishing; "Next Thursday Night", a barely-started contemporary that's probably a short; and "State of Mind," a plotted but not-yet-started novella in the same world as Of One Mind. Which one would you be most interested in? Let me know in the comments -- and leave me some flash fiction prompts!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Flash Bang

Last Thursday, I had lunch with several good friends, one of whom was Lynn, a fellow writer. While we were chatting, she mentioned that an editor friend of hers had mentioned that she was sorely lacking in submissions for an anthology call and that if Lynn had any other pieces to submit, or writer friends who had pieces to submit, for her to please consider it.

It wasn't my usual thing, being hetero and contemporary with a military theme, but the length requirement was pretty short (less than 4500 words) and I'd just finished the first draft of the other WIP and needed something to redirect my brain a little so I can go back to it with a fresh eye. So I had her send me the link and I checked the requirements and let it stew in my brain overnight.

The next morning was the first day I'd had at the Day Job in a good while where I had any kind of time to breathe, so I sat down to write up a Flash Fic that Lynn had given me the prompts for a while back. And since I'd been mulling over this hetero/contemporary/military theme for a while, that was the direction my brain went when I threw Lynn's prompt words into the mix. I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote.

When I looked up, I had over 800 words and I still wasn't at a stopping point. And I still hadn't posted the fic. So I backed up, made a few changes to tie it off at about 500 words for the flash post, and posted it. And then I kept writing. And writing. And writing.

By the time I went to bed that night, I'd dropped 3000 words and brought it to enough of a conclusion to call it a rough draft. I slept on it, and when I got up the next day, decided that the touch of melodrama I'd added was a little too much melodrama, and that a 3000 word story really didn't need that much drama. It was like putting six tablespoons of ginger into a pumpkin pie (long story, but trust me: way too much). As long as I was going to write against my usual type, I might as well go way against type and make it something light and fluffy and sweet.

So I backed out the melodrama and re-wrote that bit of the scene and by the time I was done, it was 3300 words and I had a beta draft.

I sent it to Lynn Saturday night for the "fastest possible" review, since her editor friend wanted stories fastnowplease. Lynn read it Saturday night and then again Sunday morning and sent me two bits of advice (one word-repetition that jumped out at her as jarring, and an anatomical impossibility, or at least unlikelihood). I fixed those, did one last quick read-through, then re-formatted everything the way the submission call wanted it (I can not write in a double-spaced document) and submitted it.


Three days from hearing about the submission call to submitting the story. Definitely the fastest turn-around I've ever done. It's definitely not my usual kind of story, being a contemporary and sorely lacking in angst, and part of me feels like its sweet and fluffy tone makes it too generic to make the cut for the anthology. But, well, it's probably not a submission call I would have answered if Lynn hadn't told me her editor friend was pressed, and it did do its (to me) primary job of clearing the previous story out of my head so I can come back to it fresh. At worst, Lynn's friend now has a light, fluffy piece to kick to the curb if some better stories come in. At best, it can serve as a sorbet course in the anthology, to put some distance between pieces with more emotional weight.

It would, I have to admit, be really, really cool to see my name in actual print.

I'll let y'all know if anything comes of it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Damn Real Life, Anyway

Last Wednesday, Lynn posted some words for my Flash Fiction Friday challenge, and then Real Life and the Day Job intervened, and things were far too crazy for me to scare up even a 150-word ficlet with them.

Well, I rationalized, I'll use them for my Wednesday post this week!

Except that Real Life and the Day Job were still being stupidcrazy and crazystupid (I've got the convergence of an audit for one project and the rudest customer with the tightest deadline I've ever had the misfortune to encounter on another, and my staff is having personal issues that are being reflected in performance and... like that) so I didn't get to a post on Wednesday, either.

BAD writer. No cookie!

So I'm going to do Lynn's words here now, and abjectly beg your pardon for all the silence around here, lately.

Lynn's words were: Cummerbund, blackberry (fruit or device), deluge, lush

Storybit (possibly part of a submission, if I can finish it in time) after the break!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One Step Forward...

I got some stellar writing done Monday evening. I'd spent all weekend pondering how best to get my characters out of a mire that they'd accidentally wandered into -- it seemed like solid ground at the time, but by the time I'd ground to a halt Thursday night, I'd had to accept the fact that they were off course and that I didn't know how to get them back where I wanted them. They were getting together, as planned, but it wasn't a wholesome relationship; it was one that belonged to anger and resentment.

And while I'm okay with either or both of them feeling those things -- they are only human, and both have made some mistakes in dealing with the other -- I'm not okay with the pivotal sex scene being one that had revenge as its fulcrum. (Am I mixing my metaphors so badly that I can't be followed? I'm running short on sleep this morning, so I really can't tell.)

Anyway, Monday night, I thought, well, what if I try this meeting again, possibly leaning more toward suspicion than open hostility.

That required backing up by some 2000 words, but once I got going, it came out very smooth, and I knocked out a solid 1400 words before I hit my wall again. And unlike the previous wall of "this feels wrong", that was merely a wall of "I think I'm too tired to get through the next scene."

So the WIP continues apace, ebbing and flowing. Currently at a bit of a word-count ebb, but a definite quality flow. So to speak.

Yeah, when I'm this tired, I should probably avoid metaphors entirely, shouldn't I?

At any rate -- yay, progress!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


After several weeks (and weekends!) of Day Job interference, I finally took most of two days off to recuperate, and I spent both mornings sitting at Panera writing. And I wrote some on Monday night, too. I learned that I'm only good for about three hours of writing before I need to take a good long break, which is good information to have.

And in those two days, I busted out nearly 4000 words. It felt great. I left the characters teetering on an edge, and it'll probably be a few days before I get back to them, but that should give me some time to headwork the big argument scene that's looming. And once we get past that, it'll just be a sex scene and then an epilogue for denouement, and it'll be ready to rest and polish! I could have this chippy ready to submit by the end of the month!

Since I'm feeling so happy about it, how about a little taste or two? (Do keep in mind that this is unpolished, unedited writing, and may change significantly before submission, never mind publication.)

And as always, if you leave me a few prompt words in the comments, I'll post flashfic on Friday!



"Hi! I'm Jesse!"

The pronouncement had come from Craig's right, issued from the full lips of a perky blonde twink wearing eyeliner, a shirt so tight it might have been painted on, and -- God help him -- a pink feather boa. The twink was grinning at him, his wide blue eyes lingering on Craig's sculpted arms. "You're new."

Craig snorted. "Know every queer in town, do you?"

"All of 'em that come here," Jesse answered easily. "So are you new to town, or new to the scene?" God help him, the boy actually had a slight affected lisp. He was a walking stereotype.

"Town," Craig admitted. "Here on business for a few weeks."

"Sweet," the twink said, running his fingers through his carefully-groomed dirty-blonde hair.

Craig turned pointedly back to the bar and his beer.

Jesse didn't get the message. He turned toward Craig and leaned against the bar, his lithe body bending in ways that Craig was pretty sure a spine was not meant to allow, one hand petting that ridiculous boa. Those big blue eyes looked down Craig's body, then flickered up to his face. "So, wanna go in the back? You look like a man who could use a blow job."

Craig rolled his eyes. He didn't consider himself particularly picky, but he'd encountered this type before: self-absorbed, vain, and pushy, he was likely a prima donna and a drama queen, obsessed with sex but to focused on his own pleasure to actually be any good at it, and too empty-headed to have any redeeming qualities outside the bedroom. This flashy, pushy, shallow boy was everything Craig was definitely not interested in. "Are you even legal?"


(This next one is a rather heavy R, so I'm putting it behind the jump break. NSFW!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Writing Wednesday

Hey, it's Writing Update Wednesday!

Unfortunately, I don't have much to report, thanks to the depredations of the Day Job... I worked overtime (unpaid, natch) last Thursday and Friday, I worked over the weekend, and I worked until after midnight last night. And those brief, blessed moments when I haven't been working, I've been too braindead to even want to read, much less write.

But I put myself to sleep last night trying to plan out the next scene for my new story, and trying to think about how to de-exposition the other piece so it won't be so damned boring, so I promise I haven't given up! This horrible contract at the Day Job is done at the end of this week, and I swear to every god I've never heard of that I'm taking at least two days off next week, and that at least one of them will be spent in a cozy coffee shop doing the write thing.

In the meantime! If you want to give me some prompts (three or four words -- random or themed, your choice, and/or some character names you'd like me to use) then I'll post flash fics on Friday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Take Pride!

As previously mentioned, I went to the Roanoke Pride festival this past Sunday, and let me say, it was great. There were easily a thousand attendees, ranging in age from babes-in-arms all the way up to a few elderly folk with walkers. They came dressed in casual jeans and flannel shirts, or they were decked out with rainbow flair, or they were in full-on drag. (Favorite t-shirt of the day was a hand-painted one that read, "I <3 men... and so do my 2 sons!")

I got to meet two fellow authors/editors, which was fantastic -- J.M. Snyder, who is both an author and a publisher, and Belea Keeney, who is an author and editor (and, in fact, was my editor for both Of One Mind and Safe Harbor). It was great to put faces with names, and we sat in our camp chairs and between talking to potential customers about the books, we talked about our "favorite" grammatical twitches, and about our assorted pets, and the way some authors don't seem to understand that the editor is on their side, and argued (jokingly) over whether JM could "poach" me from Torquere, and kept up a running commentary on the assorted clothes and costumes that went by.

One young man with a pink feathered boa kept wandering back by our tables with his pretty lesbian friend in tow; he was more than slightly over-the-top with the stereotypes (seriously, he even lisped a bit) and a little bit teenager-obnoxious, but it was all in the spirit of fun -- I found him much less annoying than the more straightlaced guy who must have taken more than a dozen of our freebie lollipops without so much as glancing at the book titles. We even recruited the boa boy and his friend to help us carry our tables and tents back to the cars, and paid them with free books, and I promised to write him into my next story.

That's a promise I should be able to keep, by the way. I had four hours to drive home on Monday with not much to do but story headwork, and I've pretty much got the whole plot worked out. When I sat down to write that night, I knocked out 1400 words without even really trying. Apparently, long drives and Pride festivals are good for my writerbrain.

I had a great time, and I hope I'll be able to go again next year.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flash Friday!

Hey, it's Flash Fiction Friday! Lynn kindly suggested the following words: quarry, mushroom, sublime, and challenger. Let's see what I can come up with, shall we?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All Mine

First and foremost, a reminder: I will be at Roanoke Pride this Sunday, all day! I'll have candy and other goodies to give away, and I might even be wearing my leather corset! Come say hi, and while you're there you can fervently thank my Torquere Press editor who made both Of One Mind and Safe Harbor fit for public consumption. I promise you don't need to actually be gay to enjoy the festivities!


Second, another notice: Torquere's 2010 Charity Sips, benefiting Doctors Without Borders, are in their last week; the 2011 Charity Sips will go up this Saturday morning. So if you'd been meaning to pick up "Of Sound Mind" or any of the other 2010 stories, now is the time and Friday is the last possible day to get these awesome tales!


And in actual writing (as opposed to marketing or publishing) news... Holy shit, I think I finished my (very) rough draft of Foxfur! Except for a couple of scenes that I have marked out as "maybe"s, and the fact that the whole intro needs to be rewritten. But at least I have a skeleton to work from, now. Sometimes that makes the rewrites easier. I did the same thing with Of One Mind -- y'all would not believe the horrible beginning that I had on that one to begin with. Seriously.

So I put Foxfur away for a while, and started a new project, called "Next Thursday Night." I think it's going to be a short instead of a novella, but we'll see. It's a bit of a departure for me -- a contemporary, with no supernatural elements about it at all. Just two regular guys undergoing some growing pains with their uncomplicated, no-nonsense relationship. I'm about 1200 words in already, though I think a lot of what I wrote last night is ramble-y and will need to be sternly pruned.

But it feels good to be writing regularly again. I mean, really good.

I'd had a kind of crap day Monday, and after I'd put the kids to bed and was getting into the shower I thought maybe I would not try to write. Maybe I would just take the evening off and kick back and relax. Vegetate.

But then I thought, Why? I've had a nonstop crazy, crappy day. I deserve to sit on my comfy bed and light a couple of candles and prop my iPad up on my knees and write.

That thought took me by surprise, but it felt real. It felt good. It reminded me that, even published and trying to remember to build a web presence and increase the size of my readership and all... that the whole reason I write... is for me. Just for me.

Don't get me wrong. I love being published. I love you guys. But I'm not really thinking about you, or even about the publisher or the submission call, when I'm writing. I'm writing for me, and the stories I want to know.

But just to show you how much I love you... if you leave some prompts, I'll post flash fics on Friday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back on the Wagon

I did not write while I was on vacation. (Well, I took notes of the things we did and such, but I didn't write anything that was related to anything I'm going to try to publish.)

I did not write while we were living the simple life when Hurricane Irene knocked out our power for five days, largely because we coped with having no power by spending as much time as possible hanging out with friends.

I started reading through the primary WIP last week after our power came back, but it was taking a long time, because I really wasn't liking it that much, so I kept finding better things to do. Like sleep. So I didn't really write last week, either, except for the "flash fic"s that Lynn and I traded (mine is here, and hers is here, if you missed them.)

But Monday was Labor Day, and the Daughter went back to school yesterday, and I declared that it was High Time for me to get back on the several wagons that I'd fallen off over the past few weeks. Time to start eating healthy again. Time to go back to the gym. Time to knuckle under and get my work schedule and to-do lists in order. Time to get back to writing.

So last night after we got the kids to bed, I settled in my chair in the bedroom and picked up where I'd left off with the WIP. And happiness! I didn't hate it. Once the action starts actioning, it's really pretty good. Which means I certainly do not need to throw the whole thing out the window, as I've been moaning I would do for the last week. What I need to do is find a way to compress the entirely-too-expositiony first half and/or add some action to break up all the talky.

So yay for that!

Oh, hey, in the meantime! One of the things on my to-do list is planning for a day-trip to Roanoke in a couple of weeks for the Pride in the Park event. I'll be meeting up with a couple of fellow authors and/or editors to man a table for Torquere and hand out promotional material. If you live anywhere near Roanoke, consider coming to the event and checking us out! (More information when/if I get it!)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Flash Fic Friday

Last night, I was pushing my cart through the grocery store, trying to begin restocking the hurricane-depleted fridge and freezer, when my cell phone trumpeted at me. It was my friend Lynn, who wanted to tell me about a beer she'd spotted that she thinks I should try (I don't like beer, as a rule, but I'm game to try from time to time) and then, apropos of nothing, she sent me four words and demanded a flash fic.

I had to put her off a bit, since I wasn't at my computer and I had some actual work for the Day Job waiting for me at home, but before I went to bed last night, I sent her a tiny story, which she posted on her blog.

I also sent her some words of my own (phone, seashell, caramel, balloon), which she has lovingly crafted into an adorable little steampunk (it's her preferred genre) vignette, which I'm posting here in its turn. It's a fun little exercise -- I love doing flash fiction -- so feel free to offer up additional prompts in the comments, and I'll see what I can do with them!

(Warning: absolutely no sexual content whatsoever, but plenty of steampunky gadget porn...)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Torquere Press 8th Anniversary Press Release

The Eight Ball will help celebrate our eighth anniversary here at Torquere Press! Join us for the celebration!

We're having a reader scavenger hunt with weekly gift basket prizes and a grand prize (this year, a brand-new 3G Kindle along with a CD of stories from each participating author), plus daily prizes of gift certificates to show our appreciation to you -- our readers! Check our blog, where we'll have a number of our authors visiting the whole month. We'll post excerpts, hang out to chat, and talk about our stories.

In addition to the grand prize of the Kindle, we're giving away gift baskets every week! Some are silly, some are smutty, and all are fun. The themed ones are: m/m, ménage, BDSM, and lesbian plus our authors have chipped in with extra goodies.

Here's how to play. Visit our contest page,, and start scavenging for the Eight Ball answers. Visit the author pages and find the graphic somewhere on their site. An online form is set up, and we'll randomly choose a winner for the Kindle from all of the correct entries. Plus, every day, readers will have the chance to win a Torquere gift certificate and a gift basket.

Help us celebrate our eighth anniversary and ask the Eight Ball your question… Like, will I win a prize from Torquere Press?

Thanks, and have fun playing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Assorted Updates

Hah, I almost forgot to post today! It's been a crazy few days -- Hurricane Irene dragged her skirts right over my house. It didn't do any significant damage to my property, thank goodness, but we've been without power since Saturday afternoon. Which really puts a crimp in my ability to write, especially since I was hoarding battery power on my phone and iPad until my office got power back Monday afternoon.

I have some vague hope that we'll see power back today -- the power company's daily list of work sites includes at least four locations near my neighborhood -- so I'm trying to get things back to normal, more or less.

I found myself really itching to write yesterday, in fact, so after everyone was in bed last night, I sat in the dark with my iPad and my flickering candles and did some work on the current WIP. Nothing major -- I was attempting a simple read-through and wound up pausing to fix a few mistakes I'd made and straighten up some awkward spots.

Then I took a break to check my email and discovered an invitation from Torquere to join their editing team (as opposed to simply proofing, which I've been doing for... about a year, now? Ish?). I'm enough of a word-nerd that the offer made me squee with excitement. Editing is a tougher job than merely proofing, with more responsibility and cat-author-herding, but it's something I'd love to do, so of course I said yes. I'm really looking forward to it!

Yes, I may well be slightly insane.

Despite dipping my toes into the WIP last night, I'm still not sure I like it. I can't tell if it's too dry, if I'm telling instead of showing too much, if the characters' emotions are even remotely accessible...

I might need to shelve it (yet again -- this is the third or fourth attempt for this story) and pick up another project. I wonder if I could get one of my old prompt stories to grow legs and stretch to a decent short-story length. Or I could work on any one of a dozen ideas I've jotted down... I just need to pick one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flash Fic Challenge

What, only one taker? But it was J.M. Cartwright, who delights in trying to stump me. J.M. gave me these prompt words:

Pitbull (the rapper!)

Ross knocked, and heard Jesse yell, "It's open!"

Ross opened the door into the apartment's living room and found Jesse watching TV, sitting in the middle of the couch with his arms stretched over the back, a longneck dangling from his fingers. One bare foot was propped up on the coffee table. Jesse was wearing those skin-tight, spattered painting jeans that Ross loved so much, and better still, no shirt. Acting casual was so hard that Ross' face actually hurt from the effort. "Hey," he said. "I brought beer. What you watching?"

Jesse looked up at him with those amazing eyes, black and sparkling like a midnight sky, and then looked back at the TV. "Some music thing." He moved one arm so Ross could sit beside him on the couch. Ross would just as soon Jesse's arm had stayed there so he could pretend it was actually around him, but he just set the six-pack on the table and took the offered seat.

Jesse finished the last swallow from the beer he was holding and leaned forward to snag a new bottle from Ross' offering. He glanced at it, blinked in surprise at the artisan label, and looked more closely, reading its description. Ross was beginning to feel hopeful when Jesse started to laugh. "What the fuck kind of frou-frou beer is this, man? 'Accents of caramel?' Damn, could you possibly be any more gay?"

Ross felt his face flame. "Shut up," he said. "We can't all be cowboys, riding a Mustang into the sunset or whatever. It's good beer." He knew shouldn't get so defensive -- Jesse was every bit as gay as Ross, and they both knew it -- but somehow he couldn't help it. He stared at the TV, painfully aware of Jesse's laughing eyes on him, but on the screen Pitbull was chanting, "I know you want me, want me," and that was almost worse. "Drink it or not, whatever."

"Hey, lighten up," Jesse said. "I'm just fucking around. See? I'll drink your frou-frou gay beer." He twisted the cap off the bottle and took a pull. "...Damn. That's not bad."

The tightness in Ross' throat started to ease. "Told ya." He grabbed a beer of his own, and they both stared at the TV in apparently companionable silence. Every time Jesse lifted the bottle to his lips, though, Ross watched from the corner of his eye, enchanted by the way Jesse's throat rippled with each swallow. "What are we doing tonight?" he asked finally, just to give himself an excuse to look at Jesse. "Shooting pool?"

"We could do that," Jesse said. He set the half-finished beer on the table and turned those eyes on Ross, dark and direct and as hot as the sun. "Or we could just stop dancing around it and go to bed."

There you go, J.M.! One of these days, it'll be my turn...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I have to admit, I haven't done much writing in the last week. My brain has been completely filled up with other things: my daughter's upcoming birthday, my son's stomach virus (thankfully brief), my upcoming vacation, assorted paperwork shuffles at the Day Job, proofing a novel for TQ...

Also, I've been re-reading the first four books of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series so I can dive into the newly-released fifth (I just finished book 2), hanging out with friends, getting pedicures, and acquiring all the alternate blades and backdrops on Fruit Ninja.

I did sit down and try to write a couple of times, but it just wasn't coming out. Aside from all the distraction, I'm also in a state of loathing for the current project, so I either need to pick out a second project to work on while I wait it out, or bull through and finish the damn thing even if I hate it, just so I can give it to my beta reader and let her tell me what the hell is wrong with it, because I'm damned if I can figure it out.

As mentioned -- vacation next week, so unless the exotic locale opens up my brain in new and exciting ways and I end up staying up past midnight every night feverishly writing (o gods please), there probably won't be a post next week. But to make it up to you -- if you leave me some prompt cues in the comments, I'll write some flash fiction when I get back!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Bohemian Life

I think we all know that I'm not a full-time writer. I'd like to be, someday, but I expect that will be in another twenty-five years, when the kids are grown and on their own and the house is paid for and, most tellingly, I'm old enough to retire from the Day Job. Then, I'll convert one of the kids' old bedrooms into an office for myself and write every day.

That's the dream, anyway. But thanks to a convergence of factors, it does look like I'm going to be able to have a taste of the writing life soon. I've set the wheels in motion and am just waiting on the bureaucracy to catch up, but when it does, I'll be working only part time at the Day Job.

It's not a drastic rearrangement, by any stretch -- I'll essentially be taking one day off every two weeks. But the plan is to ensure that at least half of that day will be devoted to writing. I did this just a couple of weeks ago -- dropped the kids off at daycare and summer camp, and then I went to our local Panera and bought a bottomless cup of coffee and a scone (I love me some strawberry scones) and I staked out one of the comfy chairs, propped the iPad on my lap, and wrote for three and a half hours. I paused to refill my coffee and have a wonderful conversation with a nearby woman who had a book I was familiar with, but mostly... I wrote.

It sounds like a cliche, I know. The bohemian lifestyle. And it kind of was, but also? It was a slice of heaven. A perfect day all the way around, really, because after I wrote, I met the Hubs for lunch and then we went to see a movie together. But honestly, spending my morning tapping out a few scenes for a current WIP was quite probably the highlight of the day. And I wanted more. I wanted to do it again.

And I will. Those days off, the mornings will be for writing. I may meet the Hubs or friends for lunch, and I may choose to go back to writing afterward or I may go to the movies or run errands or go to the gym or go home and try to make a dent in the mess or actually cook dinners that take more than twenty minutes to assemble... The real world will probably intrude on those afternoons, is what I'm saying. And that's fine, because I do tend to get burned out and need a mental recharge after three or four hours of writing.

It doesn't sound like very much, I know. Only two days a month. Not even full days -- just half-days, really, most of the time. But it's two days a month more than I have now. It's two days, bought and paid for, that I don't have to feel guilty for taking.

And those two days, they'll belong to me and my iPad and a bottomless cup of coffee... and the words.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Free Read: Contest Ficlet

This was my entry into a ficlet contest on the Torquere social mailing list. Rules: 100-250 words, must include the words chipmunk, squash, and clipboard. My entry, after much trimming and gnashing of teeth, clocked in at 243 words.


Dan paced the hallway, frantically consulting his clipboard. "I told them! How am I supposed to put on a play when my actors can't be bothered to show up!?"

Behind him, a door opened and a six-year-old in a chipmunk costume poked her head out. "Mr. Halston?" she called. "Tommy's zipper is stuck and Savannah's crying 'cause she doesn't want to be broccoli anymore."

Dan looked up at the ceiling. "Give me strength," he muttered, and raised his voice for a chipper, "Be right there!" He turned to attend to his miniature divas -- and found himself abruptly nose-to-nose with the most gorgeous pair of warm brown eyes he'd ever seen.

He stumbled back with an automatic, "Sorry," and his throat went dry as the promise of those eyes was realized in broad shoulders, trim waist and hips, and a mouth-wateringly tight pair of jeans. "Um."

Brown-Eyes had a bright, slightly nervous smile, and was holding the hand of a tiny cherub dressed as a squash. "Hey," he said. "Are you Mr. Halston? I'm really sorry -- Emmy's parents had a little emergency and I told them I'd bring her. They'll catch up soon, I promise. Oh; I'm Emmy's uncle. Rob Brown." He offered a hand.

Dan took Rob's hand and felt his pre-show jitters fade. "Call me Dan. I hope you'll stay."

"For the show?" Rob cocked his head adorably, his hand lingering in Dan's.

Dan smiled. "That's a good start, anyway."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


It's been a good long while since I've done any kind of real status update, hasn't it? Let's take a peek into the WIP (Works In Progress) folder and see what's going on...

Succubus, Inc. - This is a short short story -- only 3000 words (6 pages) -- that I wrote to spec for an anthology submission call and have already tossed over the fence. Unlike most of my other stuff, it's neither m/m nor a romance. Instead, it's m/f erotica and while I wouldn't call it straight-up horror, it leans closer to that than to romance, certainly. Quite the departure for me, I know! I'll let you know if the anthology I wrote it for accepts it, but that won't be until late fall.

Foxfur - In theory, this is my current main project, though it keeps getting sidelined by other things. This is a fantasy story, set in the same world as Safe Harbor, but deals with all-new characters and a completely different culture. I'm about 30,000 words in right now and closing in on the end -- I have about four major scenes left to write before I can call the rough draft done -- so it's probably a longish novella, wrapping up around 40,000. Though part of me wants to come up with a secondary plot to thread through it that will expand it to 70,000 or so and call it a shortish novel, but we'll see if I'm inspired once I finish what's currently in the works. It's equally likely that when I read through the rough draft, I'll edit out a solid 15% of it.

Next Thursday Night - Another departure from the usual for me, this is a contemporary story, probably a longish short or a novelette -- 10-15,000 words or so. I've got most of the plot elements worked out already, but haven't actually started writing it yet. I'm thinking of folding in another plot element that would let me submit it to Torquere's newest (as-yet unreleased) line, which is centered around an online dating service. Which has the advantage of killing two plot bunnies with one story.

A State of Mind - The next (and possibly the last) in the "One Mind" series, this one will deal with the effects of the Awakening on certain religious elements, and is about the conflicts between family, duty, honor, and personal happiness. I've got the plot pretty well mapped out in my head, but I haven't started writing it, mostly because I'm hoping to come up with a better ending than I've currently got.

Sleep Cycle (working title, will probably change) - This one is a sci-fi story borne out of a discussion thread from TQ's LiveJournal a while back -- the host for the day dared us to come up with the strangest pairings we could imagine... So, yeah. It's about a 1950's beat poet and a Han Dynasty court philosopher. It's probably a short story, just because anything longer would require that I spend several months in research. Heh. Anyway, the plot is still a little vague, but I started writing last night, just because the scene where they first meet popped vividly into my head.

There are bunches of other stories on the back burner, and I have a whole notebook full of plot bunnies and ideas, but these are the things that are currently stewing. Which ones most tickle your fancy?

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Hey there! You've found your way to my little authorial web presence -- please feel free to stick around! I'm here to talk about writing and publishing and other stuff related to those things.

If you're not sure who I am: Hi! I'm Elizabeth, and I write romances! If you're curious for more, I urge you to check out the About the Author link toward the top of the page. Also at the top of the page are links that enable you to check out my publications catalog, get some free samples of my writing, see what other people have said about my writing, and check out some other authors and links you might enjoy. Here in the News/Blog area, I'll fill you in on the status of my current projects, talk about my ridiculous stash of unfinished ideas, lament the trials and tribulations of being an author with a Day Job, explore other aspects of publishing (I'm also a proofreader/editor), and generally ramble on about anything and everything even tangentially related to these things.

If you've followed my in the past at my LiveJournal page, consider moving your bookmarks and RSS feed -- the LJ is not going away, but what goes up over there will almost exclusively be crossposts from this page. On the other hand, if you particularly like the LJ Friends page, I promise you won't miss anything important (or even anything unimportant) if that's the route you'd rather take.

In short: Welcome! Kick off your shoes and put your feet up.