Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky Day

Happy Hallowe'en, my dears!

Check out this gorgeous, perfect Hallowe'en moon that was waiting for me when I got up this morning:

What shall we do to celebrate the day? How about another excerpt from my spookiest story, "Succubus, Inc."?
Lucy turns one final sheet. "And sign here, and date... Thank you, Mr. Field." Lucy takes the pen from Field's unresisting fingers and schools her expression to hide her sense of triumph as she adds her own signature to the page. "Now then, let's get started." She takes his hand and draws him toward the bedroom.

He follows, but now that he has signed, his feet drag. "I don't recall a no-harm clause," he hedges.

Lucy laughs. "Well, you have been a very naughty boy," she says. "Don't you think you deserve a little punishment?"

"I... I guess so."

"That's one," Lucy warns. "You will address me as Ms. Morgenstern, or Mistress. Do you understand?"

Field's expression is uncertain, but his eyes are dilated and Lucy can see the bulge of his cock pressing against his pants. "Yes, ma'am."

"Mistress. Not ma'am. That's two."

"Mistress!" Field corrects himself quickly.

Lucy smiles and positions him at the foot of the enormous bed. "Better. But for speaking without permission, that's three."

Field opens his mouth to protest, but realizes the trap and closes it again quickly.

"Clever boy," Lucy purrs. "Now take off your clothes."

Oh, Mr. Field, just what have you gotten yourself into?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Doctor Tentacle's Release

Carter Jenkins has been with the cult hit show, Power Man, for eight seasons now, amassing a small but dedicated following as Power Man's nefarious (if slightly campy) mad scientist nemesis, Doctor Tentacle. On screen, Doctor Tentacle and the hunky Power Man sizzle with an undercurrent of sexual tension, but when the cameras stop rolling, it's the quiet, geeky intern/gopher, David, that Carter wouldn't mind getting his tentacles on. There's something about David that's captured Carter's attention like no one else ever has -- is it simple chemistry, or is Carter about to encounter a real mad scientist?


That's what my blurb would be for "Doctor Tentacle and the Pheromone Incident" if there was space for it on the back of Weird Science, an anthology of mad scientist m/m romances from Torquere Press released today! Not only am I in the anthology, but "Doctor Tentacle" is the very first story in the book!

In celebration, let's have a nice big excerpt, shall we?

Sploosh! Power Man, strength sapped by the venom of the guardian giant squid, leapt through the moon pool to land on the decking.

Doctor Tentacle, ready for the appearance of his nemesis, triggered the release of a net. "Power Man! So nice of you to stop by!"

"Doctor Tentacle! I should have known you were behind this nefarious scheme." Power Man fought to free himself of the netting's tangles, but the more he struggled, the more it tightened. "You can tie me up as tight as you like," Power Man said, "but it won't do you any good."

"We'll see about that, Power Man," sneered the evil scientist. "You may feel differently after a few rounds with my Tentacles of Terror!"

"Two can play at that game, Doctor. Set one foot outside this cozy little bubble of yours, and you'll find yourself dancing with my Power Eel!"

"Cut! And scene!" yelled Joey. "Don't go too far!" He immediately hunched into conference with the camera crew, reviewing the scene to make sure they'd caught all the angles they needed.

Carter Jenkins, a.k.a. Doctor Tentacle, dropped his leering pose and offered a hand to help Lance Day, a.k.a. Power Man, up from the floor. "I must be twelve," Carter chuckled. "That 'Power Eel' line gets me every time."

Lance smirked. "Good thing you don't have to say the line. There's no way you'd be able to avoid camping it up even more."

"Too true," Carter sniggered. "God, I'm starving. How many more takes do you think --" He broke off to watch David, the new intern/gopher/researcher, dance nimbly over the cables and props strewn on the floor to offer the actors their water bottles. David was almost as hot as Lance, though in a wiry, geeky way, in contrast to Lance's all-American square jaw and sculpted muscles. And Carter was pretty sure that, unlike Carter's co-star, David wasn't straight. Carter smiled gratefully and squirted a long stream into his mouth, careful to avoid mussing his makeup, while David waited to take the bottles back.

Carter sighed -- it was hot, under all the lights and makeup -- and then drew another deep breath in surprise, because David smelled amazing. Carter didn't usually care for cologne; he had even talked Lance into using unscented deodorant whenever the script called for Power Man to have Doctor Tentacle in a headlock. But whatever David was wearing was going straight from Carter's nose to his groin, bypassing his brain completely. He'd always thought David's tousled student look was sexy, but suddenly he wanted nothing more than to shove the younger man into a dark corner -- or better yet, a well-lit bedroom -- and devour him. Holy fuck, Carter thought, and, Down, boy, we're still shooting. Then, with wry humor, Well, you wanted to add more sexual tension to your performance.

Joey was coming back from his conference with the camera crew. Carter handed the water bottle back to David as he tried to shake off the sexual daze and regain his focus. But his eyes met David's as he was mumbling his thanks and, Oh, shit, I am so fucked. Was he imagining the echoed desire he saw in David's warm brown gaze? Carter took another slow breath, luxuriating in David's scent.

Weird Science is available direct from Torquere and All Romance, and it should eventually show up on Amazon and the other usual distributors as well. It will also be available in print from Amazon, if you prefer physical books.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cool Stuff

Today, apparently, was the day of extremely cool stuff happening to me as a writer and editor.

The first thing that happened was that I logged into Facebook and saw a post from the editor of the forthcoming Duty and Desire, which includes my short story, "Dead on Her Feet" (not to mention Lynn's "Snake Dance"), noting that freaking Publishers Weekly had a review of the anthology -- which is awesome -- and that they called it "highly recommended" -- which is beyond awesome. It might only have been awesomer (shut up, spellcheck, I'm a writer; I'm allowed to make up words) if one of the mentioned stories had been mine, but I'll be honest: my story in this anthology serves as more of an aperitif or a sorbet to cleanse the palate between meatier selections than as a featured course in its own right. Don't get me wrong, "Dead on Her Feet" is a very sweet little story and I quite like both the writing and the characters, but it doesn't contain a whole lot of punch.

Then I did some more work on editing the stories for the zombie anthology I'm editing, He Loves Me For My Brainsss. Which only served to remind me how frakking amazing and talented the authors are in this book. Seriously, I'm editing my little heart out, but mostly what I'm telling my authors is that they need to go to family therapy with commas and semicolons, which is honestly a ridiculously minimal problem to be having at the initial editing round. These stories are fun or funny or touching, the characters bicker and snipe and love each other deeply (sometimes all at the same time), the plots are witty and engaging and even surprising. And the authors themselves are remarkably responsive; I don't think I've yet written one of them and not at least gotten an acknowledging email back within a couple of hours. Tops. It's possible that this is going to spoil me for all future anthologies.

And finally, while I was working on that, I got an email inviting me to come to MarsCon in January. When the email notification popped up in the corner of my screen, I nearly ignored it. I saw "MarsCon" in the title and figured I'd gotten on the email list -- I've been going to this con for several years in a row -- and I assumed this was an email to remind me to register. But that little "new mail" icon burns at my soul and I can't leave it alone for long, so I went to open it, just to clear the notification icon... and it wasn't a mass mailing. It was an email inviting me to come to MarsCon as a guest, to participate in some of the late-night, adults-only panels. Last year, I attended a few late-night discussion panels as part of the audience, and I had a blast. The late hour (and age-restricted attendance) lent itself to some spicy, intimate, downright fun discussions. And this year, they want me to sit on the other side of the table? Holy eff, yes. I waited long enough to be sure that my kids would be safely stashed somewhere (the Almost-Ex agreed to swap custody weekends with me) before I sent back my barely-suppressed squee of agreement and made my hotel reservations.

(Funny but true: as the crow flies, it's less than a mile from my house to the convention hotel. But because of the wonky way the streets are laid out here, it's more like a five-mile drive. It's still very close by, and it seems ridiculous to get a hotel room when it's that close... but the last couple of years have taught me that if I have to get in the car to go somewhere I can change clothes or drop off my purchases, then it's not close enough. Especially if I'm going to be helping to moderate the late-night panels, I want to be able to just stagger back to my room and collapse rather than have to go out into the cold and drive home afterward.)

Add to that my continuing excitement over Seductress' release last week, and my anticipation for the release of Weird Science in two days (stay tuned for the usual Wednesday post, which will feature buy links and some celebratory excerpts!), and today was just a very, extremely fantastic day to be a writer/editor.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall For A Seductress

Yesterday was the official release for Seductress: Erotic Tales of Immortal Desire, available in both print and Kindle formats from Amazon.Com and other resellers. The print book is up at Barnes and Noble, but they don't have a listing for it on the Nook yet. I assume that will happen eventually.

The book contains my story, "Succubus, Inc.", about Lucy, CEO of a highly successful adult entertainment service, and Richard Field, a client who's fallen behind on his payments. In celebration of the release, here's an excerpt:

"But... what do you expect me to do? I just told you, there's nothing left!" Field's anger has drained in the face of his sudden hopelessness.

Lucy lets the moment stretch, wanting Field to absorb every nuance of his damnation. She flips slowly through his file without actually reading it, watching him sidelong as the quiet rustle of the turning pages urges him to despair. Finally, when she can see he is verging on true desperation, she says, "Because you have been such an exemplary client in the past, Mr. Field, we are prepared to offer certain... nonmonetary payment options."

Field looks up, wary. "What kind of options?"

Lucy smiles. "Employment, of a sort. Jasmine, please take Mr. Field to the Executive Suite while I put the release package together for him to sign."

"Of course, Ms. Morgenstern."

"What kind of release package?" Field is struggling to stand again.

Lucy comes smoothly to her feet. In her heels, she is taller than him by an inch or so, and Field shrinks into himself a little, unconsciously, as he looks up at her. "It's all very standard," she assures him. "Succubus has a highly successful video line of 'real-life' encounters. Go on with Jasmine, and when I join you shortly, we can go over it in as much detail as you like."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Got My Hands On A Hard Co-

-py. Hard Copy. Where did you think that title was going? (I hope it was somewhere naughty.)

I got a package (heh) in the mail yesterday containing my two contributor copies of Seductress. That makes it the second time I've actually held a volume in my hands and seen my name in honest-to-gosh print! (And two more yet to come before the year is out!)

Oh, my goodness, this is a pretty book. And while the official release date isn't until next week, it looks like the print paperback is available now -- and is only one dollar more than the Kindle or Nook versions, in any case.

And for those of you who are following me here because you're loyal friends, but not really into the "gay romance" thing -- Seductress has no m/m stories in it (though I think there's one or two f/f), and leans far more on the "erotica" than the "romance" part of the genre. In fact, many of its stories (including my own "Succubus, Inc") are closer to erotic horror than erotic romance.

If you're intrigued, but not sure, come back next week -- I'll be posting some choice snippets from the story in celebration of the official release.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stepping Out

I don't know how much of this is meant to be kept under wraps, so I'm erring on the side of caution. I'm sorry if this ends up being confusing or vague; I'll fill in the blanks when I'm sure I can.

I got an email yesterday from one of the publishers that I'm working with, offering me what is, in essence, a pretty significant promotion as an editor. It would mean more responsibility and more work -- lots more work.

Just reading the offer dropped me onto that trembling line between euphoria and terror. It's a feeling I've had before, a sign that something wonderful is within my grasp, if only I can be brave enough to reach for it, and strong enough to hold it. I feel like a young bird, balanced on the edge of the nest, dreaming of flight but uncertain of my wings.

But as I was reminded, in talking to my friends, sometimes you can't let the cost of failure rule you. Sometimes, you have to just let go, and trust in yourself.
I accepted the offer. I stepped over the edge.

Just now, in the time before the full weight of the responsibility is handed over, I feel a little like I'm falling. But I refuse to look down, because I am trusting my wings to unfurl before I land.