As a musician, music is an extremely important part of my writing process. I couldn’t sit down to write without the appropriate soundtrack. While writing Scardust, I listened to a lot of music that I felt evoked the barren and unforgiving landscape of thirsty Panhandle Texas. Albums by the bands Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, and If These Trees Could Talk played on repeat while I was drafting this book. If you would like to listen to these artists and more, you can access my Scardust playlist below. Even better if you choose to listen to this playlist while reading Scardust 😉
Posts Tagged ‘lgbtq’
I’m right on the fence about warnings on books. Part of me wishes they weren’t there because I like to experience a novel without a list of what might upset me. I rely on the blurb to inform me of what the book is about. The other part of me acknowledges that readers have the right to know beforehand if there is something in a book they won’t be able to stomach. Such as rape, religious persecution, racism, violence, suicide. Plus blurbs aren’t always going to give a reader enough detail for them to make an informed decision.
The warnings on my books seem to have moved from amusing – this is for With or Without Him. Contains a “for hire” bad boy with a filthy mouth, an awkward guy with a penchant for BDSM, a hypochondriac butler who won’t shut up, a dog called Alcide, and a lot of hot and dirty M/M sex.
To serious – this is for my latest Give Yourself Away, out today. This book contains difficult flashbacks of child abduction and sexual violence, but also the incredible perseverance of two men who never give up on love—or each other. Bring your tissues and a heart that believes in the resilience of the human spirit.
So, my husband, Mate, has attempted one home improvement project in the last six months: He has moved my desk from the kitchen table to the dump–I mean what used to be the dump but what is actually the computer desk in the corner of the living room.
He cleaned it out (mostly) and dusted it off (well, there are some nooks and crannies) and set my computer up on it with my chair and everything. He even remembered a coaster for my ever-present drink.
I approached this new setting cautiously and weighed the pros and cons.
Pro? I no longer have mail crushing down upon me as I work. Con? It keeps sliding off the kitchen table anyway because although I do the initial triage, Mate still doesn’t go through the mail often enough.
Pro? I am no longer “the voice from the kitchen” to my family when I am working and they are watching television. Con? If they are watching Bob’s Burgers, say, a show I usually forego watching and just listen for the funniest parts while I’m working, all I have to do to ditch out on work is to turn around.
Pro? If I get up to “think wander” I am no longer in the kitchen and food is no longer right there and hopefully snacking will get a little less commonplace when I’m home alone with the computer. Con? The dogs still need to snack at every hour of every day, so I need a bag of dog treats in my personal space whenever they decide to waddle over and bully me into overfeeding them.
I read a heap of anthologies last year, and while I typically enjoy short stories, going through a whole collection might at times prove to be an exhausting and challenging affair. One demanding quick mindset alternations and, in effect, causing frequent mood swings. Being of a naturally lazy disposition, I secretly vowed to steer clear from anthologies temporarily and indulge in more homogeneous reads.
Ironically, one of the first books I was offered to review in 2016 turned out to be Follow Me into Darkness, a queer anthology containing five tales of carnival romance and oscillating around a common theme of a mask. The resistance was futile, the main convincing factor being the authors, participating in this collaboration. It’s been the second time for this very crew to come together in order to work on a project. The previous fruit of their labour, Lead Me into Darkness, was a successful Halloween inspired collection, which I had the pleasure to review last October.
Let the masquerade begin!
Writing’s a funny sort of business. You sit in a room and tap on the keyboard for hours that stretch to days that stretch to weeks that stretch to months. Maybe you have a day job where you talk to other people—hell, maybe you even enjoy your day job—or maybe you have kids underfoot, and a dog or two.
Maybe you live in a tall apartment building from which you can look out the window and see buildings and cars and people for miles. Or maybe you live in a little cabin in the middle of a field of dry grass, with only a dirt road connecting you to the outside world. Maybe you’re in a suburb and the block party’s tonight and while you should be making your famous dry rub, you’re actually scribbling away at the sex scene you’ve been building up to for weeks.
“Where’s your dish for the pot luck?” one of the neighbors asks.
“So sorry,” you say. “I got completely caught up writing porn. You know how it is.”
No one knows how it is. No one. Except other writers.
I’ve never met any of the other writers in this anthology in person. We’ve never shaken hands. I’ve heard their voices, a few of them, through various audio readings (some under duress; peer pressure works well into adulthood!). But I could pass any of them on the street without recognizing them.
And yet in a different sense I feel closer to them than I did most of my coworkers throughout the years. Sure, we haven’t stood around an employee break room griping about our boss, or found a quiet corner in a retail store where we could gripe about our boss, or waited until our boss’s shift was over at the coffee shop so we could gripe about them in absentia—
Hang on. I’m sure I’ve bonded with coworkers over things other than terrible bosses. I just can’t think of any right now.
This is only the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to virtually hang out with my co-conspirators in the same anthology, and I gotta say, it’s better than any break room. I could whine to any one of them that I was slacking off on something important because I was in the middle of That Scene—you know That Scene—and they’d know exactly what I was talking about. (It’s not porn for everyone, of course. But let’s be honest: for me it’s usually a scene with vulnerability and emotion and intensity, and I love using sex as a medium to get to all those places.)
This is a collection of stories about masks in various forms, and I’d like you to join us by considering some of your own. Maybe you wear a mask to parent-teacher conferences, or to big meetings at work where you’re presenting a project you’ve been working on for weeks. Maybe your mask shields you from small talk at social gatherings, where you insert “mm hm” and “oh yes” at varying intervals to demonstrate you’re paying attention (when in actual fact you’re desperately trying to hear the ball game someone nearby is illicitly streaming just below your hearing range).
Your mask might be the perfect life you show on your Facebook feed when in actual fact it’s all fiction. Then again, late nights on Twitter might be the only time you can drop your mask and truly be yourself.
Join us in celebrating a little bit of carnival—put on a mask, if that makes you feel free, or rip your usual mask off. Whatever you do, take our hands and follow us into darkness.
Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance
Carnivale is a time for decadence, for revelry, and for mischief. A time when we shed the figurative masks we wear in everyday life in favor of new ones… ones that allow us to be a little bolder, a little more adventurous, and perhaps a little truer to ourselves. Follow Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer romance by five of the premier authors of contemporary romance.
Hurricane by Santino Hassell
Interesting things never happened to Zay. He was the wallflower everyone forgot about as soon as the booze began to flow, and Mardi Gras had never been an exception. But after a chance encounter with a devil-may-care grifter, this year’s celebration brings adventure and whirlwind romance.
If We Be Friends by J.C. Lillis
Seventeen-year-old Ven should be flying high—he’s playing the title role in a new TV drama about Hamlet’s teen years, and tonight they’re having a Mardi Gras cast party in a possibly-haunted castle. But Ven’s lost all his mirth since his boyfriend suggested they “take a break,” so he plans to skip the bash and brood in his trailer all night. Then the exasperating guy who plays Horatio challenges him to a Shakespearean soliloquy-off, and Ven knows his actorly honor is at stake. He says yes to the duel, trudges off to the the party to meet his fate–and finds that more awaits him onstage than a battle of wits and words.
Masked by J.R. Gray
Blistering heat and half-naked masked men as far as the eye can see, but Heath runs into the one face it’s taken him fifteen years to forget. Javier is plagued with a life of regret, but when a second chance confronts him, can he let go of his hang-ups and seize the moment?
The Queen’s Reflection by Kris Ripper
Isah plays the role everyone expects: malleable and cautious, a true queen. But what others see as a queen’s appropriate modesty is really just a disguise for what Isah has never told anyone, the thing no one can ever know.
This body, dressed in the queen’s gowns, is a lie.
Once a year, at carnival, Isah dons someone else’s clothes and becomes them for a night. A young cook in stained whites, or a stableboy in worn breeches. As long as no one gets too close the pretense holds.
Until two strangers look past all the characters and Isah finally exposes the person behind the mask.
Touched by Roan Parrish
Sometimes when he touches people Philippe Rondeau sees their future. It’s erratic and inconvenient, but mostly he’s learned to deal with it. Sure he hasn’t found true love yet, but he has friends and lovers, and is kept busy running his family’s jazz club in Prohibition-era New Orleans. But now it’s Mardi Gras and all bets are off. In the space of one night, Philippe falls under the spell of jazz musician Claude and learns a terrible secret about his powers. If Philippe is certain of anything it’s that the future can be tricky, but the chance at love makes it all seem worthwhile.
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
Unquestionably brilliantly written, Sunset Park is the second installment in the Five Boroughs story. It has been the most anticipated autumn release for me. The first book, Sutphin Boulevard, was deliciously angsty and featured darker themes. In comparison, this novel constitutes a much lighter read, filled with sweeter, romantic undertones, repartee, and humor. It also has more of a New Adult feel. Still, there’s an edge to it, and plenty of heat – of the Kindle melting variety.
Recently I wrote a post on the classic tropes I enjoy within the M/M genre. Coincidentally, Sunset Park is cleverly woven around not one, not two, but three of my favorite themes, turning this book into something of my kryptonite.
Twofer by Daisy Harris is out today from Samhain Publishing and we’ve got an exclusive excerpt for you! We hope you enjoy! Be sure and get your copy of Twofer today!
When Frankie got home, Jeremy lay in bed with the covers pulled up to his chest and his laptop propped on the storage cube playing the same Titanic soundtrack he always listened to when he was depressed.
Today we have the second round of our Q&A with Santino Hassell, Karen Stivali, and Damon Suede. They are all on tour together for their newest releases, Sunset Park, Moment of Silence, and Pent Up respectively! Enjoy their answers, and be sure and pick up their books today too!
What are your favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?
Karen’s movie picks:
For romantic NY movies:
Keeping The Faith: Friends to lovers, love triangle, family struggles, and a mind-blowingly accurate portrayal of my own experience where Jewish and Catholic families are involved, all set throughout the city as if the whole movie is a love letter to NY (which I’m guessing is exactly what director (and star) Edward Norton was going for with this film). I love it.
Today L.A. Witt’s new book, Not Safe For Work hit shelves and e-readers! We’ve got a great excerpt for you to enjoy. Be sure and pick up your copy of Not Safe for Work today!
Rick took a few deep swallows of water. I left mine on the table but wrapped my hands around it, letting the cold bring me back to earth.
My body temperature slowly came down, though the same could not be said for my pulse, especially as I whispered, “Why me, Rick?”
“You heard me.”
He tapped his fingers on the sides of his glass. “I did, but…I’m not sure I understand the question. Why not you?”
My Society of Gentlemen trilogy is the story of three interconnected groups of people. The gentlemen: Lord Richard Vane and his well born friends Julius Norreys and Dominic Frey. The radicals: Harry Vane, Richard’s long-lost cousin, brought up in poverty, and Silas Mason, an extremist of the lowest possible class. And the servants, like David Cyprian, Richard’s valet, moving silently around in the background.
What I planned to do was tell the story of each couple in turn. First Julius making Harry into a gentleman and finding himself changed in the process (A Fashionable Indulgence). Then A Seditious Affair, starring Dominic and Silas, whose anonymous sexual encounters turn into a dangerous love. And finally A Gentleman’s Position with Richard and David, who would breach every rule of class and morality if they admitted their feelings for each other.