Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Hello, and I hope you all had fantastic holidays, and are planning to enjoy ringing in the New Year! (I had been planning to ring it in on GMT with my kids -- that makes for a convenient after-dinner celebration -- and then turn in early, because we author/editors know how to get down and par-tay. But my circumstances have changed, so I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing, now. Anyone with ideas, post them in the comments!)

One of the delights the last week has brought me is the first tentative schedule for MarsCon and my panel assignments -- about which, I might add, I am extremely excited!

In the past, MarsCon has more or less limited the Adults Only programming to Saturday nights, due mostly to space restrictions, but they're in a new, bigger hotel this year, so there will be adult programming both nights! (And kid-friendly programming all three days, which is why MarsCon kicks ass.)

I'm not posting times and locations here because both of those things are still in flux (check out the latest schedule updates at, but the panel assignments are not likely to change significantly in the next three weeks, so here's where you'll be able to find me, if you happen to be attending MarsCon:

Friday night:
  • Opening Ceremonies - Just as it says, the con's opening ceremonies. I don't think I'll be doing more there than standing up and waving when my name is called. (But I'm pretty sure the time for this is set -- it will be at 6PM.)
  • The Horror, the Horror: The Life of an Erotica Editor - This will be me and four other panelists talking about the seamy underside of erotica editing. I may, in fact, print out some samples of some of the really awful stuff I've had to try to make publishable.
  • An Alien inside Me: Erotica from alien points of view and orientations other than your own - Four panelists (including myself) talking about... well, just what the topic says. There's something compelling about putting yourself in someone else's brain... and having sex with someone else's body.
Saturday night:
  • Afraid of the Dark?: How far is too far for erotic genre romance? - More and more published erotica is skirting closer to subjects that are taboo -- and the sci-fi/horror/fantasy market is often at the forefront when it comes to characters who are in some way outside the mainstream, for good or ill. I and three other panelists will talk about those lines in the sand and the implications of crossing them. 
  • Iron Chef Erotica a la Carte - This is a pubic prompt-fic contest. Selected writers will be presented with a theme and given twenty minutes to write a story, after which they will read it aloud; the chosen judges will decide on the winner, who will go on to compete against the winners from several other small local cons at Balticon! Since I am unable to attend Balticon, I will judging rather than competing at this event.

Are any of you thinking of attending? If so, be sure to look me up, either at my panels or roaming the halls -- I might even get drunk brave enough to attend karaoke!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Ah-ha, it finally happened! Check out my interview with Kristi, general manager of Torquere Press! (for you LJ folk, the link is:

(What an awesome freezeframe of my face YouTube picked for the thumbnail. Good thing I don't look dorky at all, there.)

Kristi and I talk about how I started out as a writer, and what I like to read, and we also discuss the weather, social media, coffee and tea, vacations and travel, shoes, movies and TV, and how I start my mornings.

And as a bonus, in the background behind me, you can see my kitchen and the one plant I've ever owned and not killed!

Slight Delay

Well, I was supposed to have been on a podcast interview with Torquere this past weekend, but we had to reschedule due to technical difficulties.

So this is kind of a placeholder entry; the interview should go live tomorrow, I think, and I'll link it when it does. It should be interesting, and hopefully fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trailer Park

On the off chance you hadn't heard already, I made a book trailer for Brainsss. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out (sorry, LJ folks; the Blogger/LJ crosspost strips out everything but text. But you can find it at

There were some interesting challenges I had to get through to make this trailer.

First and foremost was deciding to do it at all. I really don't like the sound of my own voice that much, and I knew making a trailer like this was going to involve recording myself and then listening to the playback a whole bunch of times. I even thought about trying to find someone else to do the story summaries.

The next (and ongoing) challenge was learning the software. My laptop came with iMovie installed, but this was the first time I'd ever fired it up. (Yeah, seriously.) Though to be honest, this was a pretty minor challenge. I'm not a programmer any more, but a) I am not afraid of screwing around with software to see what it will do, and b) Apple generally makes a pretty tight product. I had some minor issues with figuring out how to do a couple of things, and I was minimally annoyed by a couple of limitations (which is why most really dedicated video bloggers use paid software, like Final Cut Pro). The biggest software challenge I had was when I was exporting the finished movie -- the number of options were enormous, and it took me a while to find a reasonable balance between resolution quality and file size. (My options ranged from a 6G HD-quality movie down to a barely-readable iPhone version for only 150K. The one I settled on is around 20M.)

Then I had to find the pictures. I couldn't just put up the book cover and leave it there the whole time if I was going to be reading all those individual story teasers -- I knew the thing would clock in at over two and a half minutes, and so the viewer would need something to look at. Zombie pictures were the obvious choice, but... well. There's a ton of zombie pictures on the web, but zombie pictures that are in the public domain, or else CC licensed for commercial use? Not so many. But I lucked out and found several that looked great, and in a few cases, were even particularly suited the stories I paired them with.

I was particularly pleased with the images that went with "W.O.L." (which includes a scene with a character getting his first look at a zombie through a thick window), "Delicious Caleb" (just for that tongue sticking out, really -- the zombie seems to be saying, "Mm, delicious!"), and "Two Guys..." (the image is not only silly enough to match the story's irreverent tone, but the main character has this thing about showers, so it was particularly appropriate).

The final challenge was in the music. I was originally going to let it slide without any music at all -- once again, there's this problem of finding something licensed for commercial use, and I'm not an audiophile, so I didn't relish the prospect of spending potential hours listening to public domain tracks so I could find one that would suit.

But then Lynn (yes, the same Lynn who wrote "W.O.L.") invited me to her Christmas party, which featured live music performed by one of Lynn's favorite musicians, Jonah Knight. (Yes, I am in that "groupie" picture.) Jonah writes creepy/horror/sci-fi/fantasy music. And between the two sets, I was chatting with him, and I said, "So I'm editing this book of zombie romance stories, and would you be willing to let me use "The Dead Crawl From the Earth, Alive" as my background music on the trailer, if I credit you?" and somewhat to my surprise, he said yes. So there you have it.

Though I can't take credit for the bit at the end, where I finish talking and the lyrics you hear are, "It seems you can't control the undead." It worked out almost perfectly like that, and I was so happy about it that I futzed with the timing (by no more than about half a second) to make it work out more precisely.

In the end, aside from still not liking the sound of my recorded voice, I'm really happy with the way the video turned out. Almost as happy as I am with the book, which should be released on January 2. Mark your calendars and plan to set aside some of your Christmas money!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Sinner's Star - Release!

It's another release day! My story, "The Sinner's Star", is out in the anthology Ink from Torquere Press!

The anthology is about guys with tattoos -- yummy! -- and my story in particular is about Dope, an ex-con who thought his best friend, Rat, had died as they were fleeing a crime scene... right up until Rat shows up on his doorstep with a new tattoo, a lot of scars, a .45... and a grudge.

I really like this story. I'd had the notion for it almost as soon as the call for it came out, but I couldn't get the characters to gel, couldn't get them to go where I needed them to go. So I shrugged it off and put it away and went on with life. I came back to it about a month after my husband and I separated, only a week before the call deadline, and apparently the spark I'd been missing was a little extra anger to put me in touch with Rat, because once I started, the whole thing came boiling out all at once.

I do believe I promised you some release-day excerpts, did I not? This is the opening, not much changed since the taste I posted back at the end of August:
The knock on his door was staccato and brief, the kind of knock that heralds only bad news. Still, Dope did not expect to open the door and find himself staring straight into the muzzle of a .45.

Dope had stared down more than a few barrels in his life -- he'd come up hard, and things had only served to make him harder over the years -- but it wasn't the kind of thing a man ever got used to. At best, he'd learned to hide the reaction, the way his stomach flopped and his balls curled up tight and his throat suddenly went dry. Dope's outward reaction was pretty good by now. His jaw clenched and he rocked back on his heels, but he managed to avoid actually taking a step.

One thing he'd learned, last time he'd been in the joint, was that it was a mistake to look at the killing end of a weapon pointed at you. You had to look at the man holding it. Look him in the eyes. Sometimes, if you were a big, mean-looking sonuvabitch, like Dope was, if you looked hard enough, it would make them back down. And if not... Well, it showed in their eyes first, before they attacked.

Dope didn't figure any warning would be fast enough to matter when the weapon was a gun instead of a prison shiv, but he looked up anyway, let his gaze follow that cold steel barrel to the hand holding it, along the arm, up the neck to the face. The face had a lot of scars, especially on the left side, which was so pitted and seamed as to be grotesque. But it was the eyes Dope was looking for. These eyes were chocolate brown under the narrowed lids, cold as ice, pitiless as a crack whore on her last fix, and... familiar.

And another one, since you'd probably already read that back in August:

Rat smiled thinly. "You like my ink, Dope? Tats don't set well on scars, but my guy was one of the best." His free hand lifted, his thumb absently brushing over the design.

"God, Rat." Dope's throat was thick. "What the fuck did you do to earn a Sinner's Star?" A Sinner wasn't anyone you wanted to cross, if you were inside. Even the guards gave the Sinners a wide berth. Most of them were lifers, or the kind of repeat offenders who might leave, but you knew they'd be back inside of six months.

"None of your damn business, Dope," Rat snapped.

Amazon and B&N aren't showing the listing yet, but I'll update my assorted links when it shows up. In the meantime, the ebook is available at both Torquere's site and on All Romance Ebooks, and probably some other distributors quicker on their feet than Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And in a few weeks, it'll be available in print as well, from Amazon. I hope you enjoy it!