Tags: interviews, promotion, writing
You would think that after more than 10 years of friendship LJ LaBarthe would have run out of things to ask me about, but she has not! So there is an interview with me over on her blog, where I talk about writing, story locations, and my favourite place in the world.
The post is here – feel free to come over and say hi.
Tags: locations, writing
Some could argue that in the age of the internet, with Google Earth, Google street view, Flickr, etc, that you don’t have to visit a place to write about it. I know of authors who have written novels set in cities that they’ve never set foot in, and I’ve done it myself, never having visited Kalgoorlie and its surrounds, where Eyes Wide Shut and Rust Red: Galvanized are set.
No one’s ever picked me up about any location errors in those books; still, set something in a real place and it’s always a risk that there’ll be something you miss. I almost made a location error in Whitewater – there were plenty of photos of Wylie’s Baths, the place where Luke goes for his daily swim, online for me to look at, beautiful, atmospheric photos that showed me that Wylie’s was just what I wanted in a beachside pool for Luke. But what none of the photos I saw online showed me, what I saw when I got there, was that the pool was graduated, less than ankle deep at the land edge and only about 3 feet or so deep at the sea edge. The photos also failed to show me the big “NO DIVING” warnings painted on the concrete along each of the pool’s edges. Originally I did have Luke and Cam diving into that pool, but in the finished book they walk in, because to remain faithful to the reality of that place, they couldn’t dive.
Now, obviously there is room for poetic license, and writers do that all the time; I made up a whole town in Equilibrium, and made space for a bakery and a beachside café in Coogee for Whitewater where there is no space for those things in the real Coogee. Sometimes, if you need something to be there you just plop it down where you need it and all is right with the world.
Having said all that, if you can visit a place, it’s usually an advantage. Lake Pupuke is a freshwater lake in the middle of the North Shore of Auckland, formed in the craters of two volcanoes (yep, volcanoes). A lake in a volcanic crater sounds like a place where some paranormal happenings might take place, does it not? Observe:
OK, admittedly, the bright, sunny day makes it look like the best place ever for a swim, but people have drowned there, so…yes. We will see what happens. :)
Tags: Cutting Out, free fiction, writing
Despite suffering the catastrophic meltdown of my main laptop on Friday night (it died and is dead, never to be backed up again – thank god for Dropbox is all I can say), I have managed to update my Coming Soon page with the news that Cutting Out, the novel-length adaptation of my short story of the same name, will be out mid-year. So yay to having something new out relatively soon!
In the meantime, I will be occupying myself with another freebie, because I accidentally tripped and fell into the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s annual member prompt frenzy. I didn’t mean to, because I do have other things to write, but when you’re confronted with something that looks like this:
how can you possibly resist?
Reader, I couldn’t.
The prompt that goes with the post is this, from the lovely Donna:
This is my life… by day I walk on land and I am as human as the man standing next to me… but by night… the water calls to me and I must return to it… all I have ever wanted is a man who would love me for who I am… both day and night…
I would only ask for a story… as beautiful as this photo
So it gets even better. I have Plans for that young man, is all I can say. If having to survive for the next 2 weeks on my very non-grunty netbook until my replacement computer arrives doesn’t kill me first, anyway.
Tags: books, books I enjoyed, reading
Since 2010, one of my first blog posts of the year has been a list of the books I read in the previous year that I particularly enjoyed (see the tag “books I enjoyed“, natch). I usually go with about ten-ish, but this year I glommed one series in particular, so grouping those books together will probably skew the numbers somewhat. But let’s not get fixated on that! On to the books. These will be presented in the order I read them, because that’s how my Goodreads list is organised and I can’t be bothered changing that.
As always, don’t expect much of a review. For some of these, you should expect incoherent fangirl gushing. And a fair bit of all caps. Buy links are added for your convenience.
Fettered by Lyn Gala
A young man goes to a BDSM club because his brother’s a sadistic rapist and he wants to find out what makes him tick, and lo and behold, his life is changed forever.
BDSM in books often doesn’t work for me because I am such a strong-willed person that the idea of submitting to anyone – or having anyone submit to me – is unfathomable and makes me want to vom (that is not an invitation to explain the lifestyle to me, by the way. I am really not interested, life is short and I don’t care). But circumstances led me to this book, and I started it and it was fine, Miss Dolphinia showed up and that was interesting, Dylan, fine, Vin, fine, whatever, and then BAM! I HAD to know what was going to happen IMMEDIATELY. So I stayed up until ridiculous o’clock to find out, and it was worth it.
Crucifox #1: The Green-eyed Monster by Melanie Tushmore
The trials and tribulations of a British rock band as they make it big throughout the 80s and 90s, doing many idiotic things along the way.
Oh, those boys. Having been heavily involved in the Sydney rock scene in the 90s myself, this was like looking at a reflection of every idiot I ever knew who played in a band back then. Turns out that stupid boys in bands needing their heads banged together is an international phenomenon, so there you go. I enjoyed this heartily, it was very real to me, and I did want to smash their heads together many, many times, but Christ on a bike, how I loved Brandon. He is hilarious.
Cambion: Dark Around the Edges by Cari Z
Originally released as a series, it’s now available in a single volume. This book is extremely difficult to summarise in a single snappy sentence, but holy shit did it hit all my buttons. Angels, demons, main characters who can do their jobs with their eyes closed, one who’s desperate to be loved for himself, and one who loves and is desperate to hide it. Scorchingly hot sex as well. I adored it. I can’t wait for there to be more of it. I will be there ordering the season pass with bells on.
The General and the Horse-Lord by Sarah Black
Two military men who’ve been together for 25 years try to find out where they fit, both in the world and with each other, now they’ve left the service.
This book polarises people, because one of the MCs is married, and has been cheating on his wife with the other MC for the entire span of their marriage. Part of the book deals with the marriage breakup. If that’s not a no-no for you, then this book is a masterpiece. John and Gabriel belong together, and they are fantastic. They are warriors, with so much history together, and all of that comes through. I loved this. And I have to say, I don’t generally have a preference for character age in what I read, but these two were nearing 50, and they dealt with their issues like grown-ups. That was nice to read.
Claimings, Tails and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala
A human called Liam trades with an alien called Ondry. Liam thinks they’re friends, but he discovers that Ondry wants to be a lot more.
I am leery of things set in space. The fact that I’m a scientist puts me off anything that might contain a lot of hard science, because a) fictional science is generally unbelievable and implausible, and b) ugh, boring, might as well be at work. But I had already read and liked other things by Lyn, so I picked it up, and I enjoyed it immensely. Ondry is an alien, and he acts like one. A lot of this book is these two trying to bridge that cultural gap. I loved that. I also loved the tail sex. How often can you say you’ve read a book with tail sex in it? Not very often.
Merman by KZ Snow
The vampire Clancy Marrowbone tries to stay away from Purim province, and a certain Simon Bentcross, but finds he just can’t manage it. Hijinks ensue.
This is the second book in KZ’s Mongrel series, and I have to say that I LOVE both books. LOVE THEM. They are fantastic, the world is interesting and unique, the characters are incredibly likable, I just adore everything about these books. Mongrel made it onto my “books I enjoyed in 2011” post, and I’m sure that the third book, Machine, will make it onto my “books I enjoyed in 2014″ post. LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I love Fan. Every time Fan punches Simon in the mouth is a personal highlight for me.
Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
AKA the Kate and Curran show. Life-sucking, sleep-depriving vortex of addictiveness.
I picked the first book in this series as an audiobook from the library for a lark. I’d been told that it was OK, but that the books got better as the series went along, and that is 100% true. The first book was fine, I enjoyed it, but it was nothing special. I picked up the second in audiobook as well, and had to muffle laughter at several points so as not to look like a lunatic while out in public. I had the third book to listen to when I went to Sydney for the Oz M/M Meet in October, and it was lucky that I had 3 hours of plane flight to occupy myself, because I could not stop listening to it. Could. Not. Stop. It was SO GOOD. And also hilarious. I snort laughed many, many times, in public, like a lunatic. When I got home I snapped all of the books up in ebook form and burned through the last three in the two days afterwards, emerging at 3am at the end of book 6 bleary-eyed and wild-haired, and had to go to work on 3 hours’ sleep and attempt to function. I will be picking up book 7 immediately upon its release WITH BELLS ON.
Hotter than Ever by Elle Kennedy
Bride who just got dumped at the altar accidentally sees her almost-brother-in-law pashing (that’s Australian for kissing, Northern Hemisphere people) his boyfriend. When she finds herself staying with the two men, she discovers they aren’t only interested in men.
This is part of Elle Kennedy’s Out of Uniform series, which don’t really need to be read in order, based on my experience. In short, this is an absolutely scorchingly hot book about the formation of a threesome. SCORCHINGLY HOT. I enjoyed it immensely. I read one of the others in the series as well (Feeling Hot), which I also enjoyed (and not just for the voyeuristic M/M scene either), so at some point I will be reading the rest of them.
Pretty Poison by Kari Gregg
Noah’s a wolf who is permanently disabled by an accident when he was young. Wade is the alpha who claims him as his mate.
Wow, did this book hit all my shifter buttons! The tough “weak” character, the outwardly tough alpha who is secretly awash with insecurities and kindness…this was great. Again it had non-human characters who didn’t just act like humans, and scorchingly hot sex scenes again. There is a sex scene that involves knotting that practically singed my eyebrows off, it was that hot. Holy crap. Highly enjoyable. I loved it.
And that concludes the summary of my 2013 reading journey. Here’s to some equally good books in 2014!
Tags: new year, real life
I think by this point most countries have seen in the new year, so I’d just like to say that I wish everyone health and happiness for 2014. There’s something hopeful about the first few days of January, when the year hasn’t existed long enough to be disappointing yet, haha. Here’s hoping that 2014 continues to not disappoint, for all of us.
Tags: Cutting Out, free fiction
I break my accidental blog hiatus to say that I’ve updated my book pages with some changes. First of all, my novella Rust Red: Galvanized, which is a sequel to my free read Eyes Wide Shut, has now gone out of print. So if you wanted to grab it, you’re out of luck, I’m afraid. At least until I decide what I’m going to do with it.
Second of all, the first M/M meetup in Australia has come and gone. I flew over to Sydney to attend it, and had a fab time, which I will attempt to put into words sometime soon. To commemorate that event, an anthology with six stories from some of the attending authors has been produced. Called Blokes in Love, it’s available for free from Smashwords and All Romance ebooks. All the stories have a common thread, in that they’re all set in either Australia or New Zealand, to showcase life down under. As is fitting for a bunch of bods who love M/M and got together to celebrate being from the southern hemisphere!
Contributing authors were AB Gayle, NJ Nielsen, Jess Buffet, Pelaam, Susan Beck and me. My story is called “Cutting Out”, and it’s the story of Shane Cooper and Lachlan Moore, shearers who work the runs of New Zealand. Serena Yates of Rainbow Book Reviews – who came all the way from the UK to attend the Meet, how good is that? – has reviewed the anthology and loved it.
Of Cutting Out, she said:
“…this story about two sheep shearers, one much older than the other, touched me deeply. Shane so desperately wants more than casual encounters with the much younger Lachie, and is devastated when Lachie rejects him. Shane’s situation had me up in arms, railing against the injustices of fate. That was until I got to see things from Lachie’s side, and his reasons for turning down Shane almost made me cry. Be ready for an intense emotional roller coaster as these two men battle their pride and their circumstances!“
Below is an excerpt, for your reading pleasure. The lovely cover is courtesy of Jess Buffett, who went the extra mile and made all contributing authors individual covers, in addition to the anthology cover.
He’d half expected it, but his heart still jolted when he came face to face with Lachie, his shaggy black hair poking out from under the beanie he wore, his dark brown eyes fixed on Shane’s face.
Lachie offered Shane a tentative smile. “Morning, Coop.”
“Morning,” Shane said gruffly, his heart aching as he stared at Lachie for a few seconds longer before picking up his gear and stowing it in the trailer. When he turned around he didn’t look at Lachie again, directing his gaze somewhere in the vicinity of Lachie’s booted feet. “We’ll be leaving in a minute.”
Lachie said, “Okay…” and Shane stepped around him, heading towards the bus’s sliding door, which was now standing open. Don was there, chatting to the team, and the last-minute instructions he had for Shane were a welcome distraction. Being the first one in the van, Shane folded himself into a seat at the front, slouching down as Jade and Di took the driver and passenger seats and the others piled in behind Shane. Shane’s neck and shoulders loosened just a tiny bit as the new rouseabout—Pania—sat beside him, Lachie casting them a look Shane refused to believe was disappointed as he climbed in after her.
Shane slouched down a bit more as they set off and the others started chatting around him. He knew he wouldn’t be allowed to sit quietly and mind his own business straight away, so he wasn’t surprised when someone grabbed the back of his seat and shook it.
“Coop, did you watch the game over the weekend?” Maaka asked, his voice triumphant. “We thrashed the Wallabies good, didn’t we? We thrashed you good and proper!”
“Didn’t watch it,” Shane said, which wasn’t exactly true. He’d watched it, sitting in the corner of his local pub on his own, surrounded by Kiwis and trying not to let anyone hear him say anything like “six” or “fish and chips” while the Aussies were soundly thrashed by the All Blacks. He’d left at half-time, when all hope was lost. It didn’t matter too much; he’d get his own back when the cricket started, because the Black Caps were the shittiest cricket team in the world, and everyone knew it. He’d let his gang take their victories while they could.
Before Maaka could gloat any more, Pania turned to him. “You from Aussie, then?”
Shane had given up trying to get the Kiwis he knew to call Australia the right nickname—Oz—years ago. It was a losing battle. “Yep. South coast of New South Wales,” he said. “Been here about ten years.” Braced for the question they always asked, he wasn’t disappointed.
“What the hell did you come here for? Isn’t it always the other way around, us going there?”
Shane sighed internally. They never got it. “I’m a shearer,” he said, like he always did, because nobody ever seemed to realise that wasn’t an actual answer before he distracted them with another thing he always said. “I like New Zealand, it’s beautiful. You lot don’t appreciate what you’ve got here. You just focus on the bad things and forget about the good.”
That shut them up for a while, and when they’d all mulled that over and started talking again, the conversation turned from him to other, safer topics. Glancing over his shoulder to find Lachie watching him, he turned back around without acknowledging it. Slumping in his seat some more, Shane settled in to brood for the rest of the trip.
I’ve spent a teeth-grindingly frustrating afternoon formatting Truce for publication through All Romance ebooks for those of you who like to have your freebies in ebook form, and eventually came out victorious. I have now confirmed that section breaks are a tool of Satan. Not that I didn’t know that before.
Anyway! Truce now has a pretty cover, courtesy of my good friend LJ LaBarthe, and is available in PDF, Mobi and ePub formats here, still absolutely 100% free.
I did my best to check all the formatting, but there’s only so many times you can read something and still see the things that are wrong with it, so if there’s any formatting that makes you want to stab your eyes out in any of the file formats, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fix it. Proof of bleeding eyeballs not required.
Tags: free fiction
A little while ago, Ms Melanie Tushmore announced that what she would really love for her birthday was some fic, written by her writerly friends. Because she is a considerate lass, she left us some prompts to choose from, and when one of the prompts is something that looks like this:
how could I possibly resist?
Scraping in under the deadline by the skin of my teeth, here is some rockstar m/m for your reading pleasure. It features new, never before seen characters, but there is a cameo by everyone’s favourite band manager, for those of you who have read Metal Heart. :) Do I need to warn for swearing and sexual situations? There you go, I just did.