Category Archives: WIP

Well, that was unexpected

It’s funny, the things that writing can dredge out of your subconscious. I was sitting there yesterday afternoon working on character outlines for Behind the Iron Cross and listening to The Best of Sade to block out the sound of Ramón chewing on a scone in the kitchen (I love him dearly but my, that man can wake the dead when he eats).

About Sade: I’ve loved their music since I first heard “Smooth Operator” in 1984, and I’ve always associated the song with an individual I met when I was a young and innocent flower (you have my apologies for my vagueness, but I’ve since learned that this individual is somewhat litigious and I don’t wish to poke the bear). Not only did he pretty much crystallize my physical preferences in men, he also carbonated my hormones so badly that I don’t think I shared more than 20 words with him in my lifetime. I literally couldn’t talk to him; the speech center of my brain would go into vapor lock and I’d just stand there blinking at him even as the rest of my brain was screaming at me to do something, you idiot! I’m quite sure he wondered what the hell was wrong with me, but that’s neither here nor there.

So there I was, working on Kat’s backstory and trying to figure out where and how a nice society girl in the late 1910s would get Dominatrix training (a friendly madam-cum-Dominatrix in Paris, as it turns out), listening with half an ear to Sade croon, “Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, Western male,” and suddenly this individual popped into mind while I was thinking of my baby Domme.

And I had the most astounding epiphany about why I had such a hard time talking to him — my young, innocent flower of a self had no idea that she really, really, REALLY wanted to do delightfully debauched things to this smooth operator. Which was somewhat disconcerting to figure out *mumble mumble* years later, but damn, it gave me the key to Kat’s backstory. I swear, writing is way better than having a therapist!

Writer Emergency and the Avoidance Thereof

Phew. THAT was close.

I had just settled in to finish my word quota for the day, which was going to include my very first f/f scene (don’t worry, m/m fans, I’m not abandoning the field, just spreading my horizons a bit).

And then I realized that in order to get my brain in the right mood for bow chika bow bow I needed chocolate of some sort, ideally with a bit of fruit added. Of course, we had nothing in the house as I had a con last weekend and have spent the week trying to catch up with work, cleaning, etc.

I turned to Ramón and said, “I have a Writer Emergency. I need chocolate.”

His eyes lit up. “I’m going to be writing tonight. I need chocolate, too.”

Hint not taken, but never mind. “What kind do you want?”

“Well, are you talking about sharing something, or getting a bag for you and a bag for me?”

My raised eyebrow was my only response.

He grinned. “Yeah, that was a stupid question, wasn’t it? Okay, I’d like Lindt truffles, in mint, coconut, orange, or caramel flavor, or something in those flavor ranges from Ghiardelli. Thank you, sweetie.”

A somewhat complicated trip out later (when the hell did the local CVS stop being 24 hour? Seriously, these people need to notify me before they make changes to my life like that), I returned with a bag of Dark Mint Ghiardelli, carrot cake M&Ms (who knew?), and Lindt caramel truffles for him, and Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Ghiardelli and Brookside Pomegranate Chocolates for me. I may have gone a bit overboard, true, but I now have blessed, blessed chocolate flowing through my veins and can write anything. Bring on the f/f smut!

Whereupon I find myself on the horns of a dilemma

And damn, that’s uncomfortable.

As you know (Bob), Breaker Zone released earlier this week and is selling briskly (oddly enough vis-a-vis Amazon it’s selling much better in Germany and the UK than in the US — go figure). I’ve already started Book Three, Deep Water, and hope to have that finished and turned in to Evernight by the end of January.

Thing is, there is going to be one major difference in Deep Water — I’m adding a female to the main romantic mix. It’s going to be MMF so there will be my usual man-on-man action, but there are going to be some MF and MMF scenes as well (and to be honest, one rather important FF scene). I actually have the series story arc worked out in my head so I’m not randomly adding characters to the mix — all of the romantic action happens for a reason.

But I know I have readers who simply don’t enjoy MF or MMF stories, and I suspect I may wind up losing them for this book, which is kind of a shame because Deep Water 1) is going to be extremely funny in places and 2) will explain why Poseidon has such a huge stick up his ass. And yeah, the fiscally conscious part of my brain is worried about the potential hit to sales — I have five cats I have to keep in kibble, after all.

Ultimately, however, I have to be true to the story in my head, and Deep Water‘s plot is all about Poseidon, his consort Amphitrite, and the agapetos they lost millennia ago. So to the non-MMF fans out there, all I can do is beg your indulgence and ask you to give the story a chance when it finally goes to print. I promise, I’ll do my best not to cock it up.

Works in Progress: Two to Tango

A little snippet from the SF caper novella TWO TO TANGO, starring an irreverent art thief and the grumpy but hot art conservator he accidentally kidnaps during a heist:

When everything started going blurry, Dmitri realized he’d stopped breathing and sucked in air. “That … how?”

Rory smirked. “I’m an art thief. You do the math.”

“No, you fool. How did it get smashed?”

“Oh, that.” Now Rory looked embarrassed. “Um, I hadn’t quite expected the previous owner’s last line of defense, and getting out of her compound meant jumping off a cliff into an ocean. The bowl didn’t quite survive the jump, unfortunately.” His eyes went vague with memory. “I have to admit, importing a black panther all the way from Earth was classy. Insane, but classy—“

Dmitri held up a hand. “Why are you showing me this? I mean, unless you genuinely want me to kill you for destroying a priceless artifact from an alien culture?” He shouted the last bit, fists clenching on the worktable surface.

The taller man shuffled a bit, toeing the deck. “Well, you’re an exoarchaeologist and a conservator, right? So I thought maybe you could put it back together again.”

Dmitri stared at Rory for a long moment, fighting down the urge to wrap his hands around the other man’s throat and squeeze. “Mr. McClellan, this bowl dates from the Third Sooloogo Dynasty,” he said, enunciating every syllable. “When the Saolao carved this, mankind was still poking sticks into termite hills and eating what they pulled out. You don’t just ‘put something like this back together.’”

Go home, May, you’re drunk

I live in the clavicle of Texas, which means that as soon as May rolls around I prepare myself for the oncoming hell that is summer in Texas. My lawn guy (yes, I have a lawn guy — I’m busy and Ramón doesn’t do yardwork) was just mentioning to me yesterday that our city will be going to Stage 3 water restriction as of June 1st, as we stood outside in short sleeves and chatted in the 82°F sunny weather.

So will someone tell me why the temperature outside currently stands at 46°F, the trees are whipping back and forth like Willow Smith’s old hairstyle, and I’ve heard reports of snow? Apparently it’s actually snowing in Kansas City right now, which must come as quite the surprise to all the RT attendees (one woman tweeted that she’d packed a nice summer sundress, and had to go out to buy warmer clothes). Granted, I don’t mind cooler weather, especially if it keeps the triple digit days down to July/August, but this is ridiculous. Not to mention it’s seriously fucking with my budget, since by now the A/C should be on permanently and I’m keeping a nervous eye on the electric bill. Instead, I’m wearing thick socks and a shawl, the heat is on and I have to mentally adjust how much gets paid to the gas company and how much gets paid to the electric company. I’m old — I don’t like surprises. So sue me.

The good thing about the crappy weather is that I feel no need whatsoever to go outside, and indeed am stuck back into Behind the Iron Cross with a vengeance. The goal is to have it done and dusted by May 15, then let it sit for the rest of the month while I crack open Breaker Zone. The only problem with BZ is that I’m still kinda sorta working out the middle of the book — I know how it starts and ends, but hooking those two terminii up is my current mental cud chewing task while doing housework or crafting.

And then there’s Two to Tango, which is also calling for my attention, not to mention the alternate history mystery and the SF novels in my to do queue. There are times I really wish I didn’t have to sleep. Or had minions. Yeah, I could really do with some minions.

In other news, Storm Season continues to rise like a slow tide, which is heartening. I don’t have any “official” reviews yet, but it’s going over a treat at Goodreads, I have a nice 4-star review at Amazon, it’s slowly climbing the Paranormal/Horror bestseller chart at All Romance Ebooks, and it’s currently the highest-rated Evernight book in Bookstrand’s 30 Day Bestseller list for paranormal romance. Plus it’s selling steadily at Amazon, and I’m hoping that I’m close to 25 sales through Evernight’s website or have already cracked that. I figure as I build my backlist the sales will slowly increase and I’ll start developing a name for myself. Granted, that name will probably be, “Oh, that chick who does those weird SF/fantasy/suspense/erotic romance mashups,” but I’ll take what I can get.

Win a gift certificate at Evernight Publishing!

If you head over to the Evernight Reader’s Group on Facebook and like an entry in today’s Flash Fiction Friday competition, you could win a $5 gift certificate from Evernight Publishing and use it to buy some of their splendid erotic romance or urban fantasy. The story with the most likes will win, and the GC winner will be selected from those who liked the winning story. (I do note that my story currently has the most likes — make of that what you will. :-D) You can like as many stories as you want, so come on over!

And if you don’t do contests or Facebook, here’s the snippet for your delectation. And yes, this may well turn into a full-fledged story set in Victorian London about a repressed police inspector who discovers he has a little something extra in his family tree, a dapper vampire/gadgeteer who is determined to draw the inspector deeper into the supernatural underworld of London, and a female American werewolf with her own agenda — whee!

Hester pushed a lock of hair behind her ear, giving Gerard an amused look from those whiskey eyes. “My kind tend to live on the fringe of polite society, Inspector. We don’t like humans all that much.”

“And yet you choose to live in a city full of them,” Gerard said tightly, clinging to the last shreds of his control. He would not turn into a monster, no matter what Luc had done to him. And he would not throw himself on this lush creature and rip her clothes open, feast on those alluring breasts, thrust himself into that tight, welcoming heat like…like…

She stepped closer in a slow, taunting sway. “We’re all animals, Inspector. I would think you’d know that by now. Some of us are just closer to the beast than others.”

He gritted his teeth. “You’re reading my mind.”

“No, your body.” Her hand reached down, cupped and held the now-throbbing bulge at his groin. “It’s a fascinating story. Why don’t you tell me more?”

At her touch, his control shattered. He grabbed her shoulders, his lips coming down on hers in a brutal kiss. He would regret this later, but for now he couldn’t care less.

This is a writer’s brain while trying to get to sleep

Since my brain obviously thinks that I’m spending far too much time on luxurious fripperies such as sleep, it’s come up with another novel for me to write.

So now, in addition to the 6-book ecofantasy erotic romance series, the MMF kinky erotic romance set in 1923 Berlin, and the MMF historical erotic romance set in Roman-occupied Britain (and that’s just the erotic romances) I also have a plot for an MF historical erotic romance novel loosely based (very, VERY loosely, mind you) on the poem “The Highwayman.”

“Big Bess” Warner, the tall, gangly tomboy of an innkeeper’s daughter, reluctantly agrees to marry a rich merchant’s son in exchange for the freehold deed to the land around her father’s inn, and believes her life is doomed to be corseted, dull, and covered in ridiculous frills. But when her fiance’s carriage is stopped by Black Jack Carrington, England’s shortest highwayman, Bess finds herself thrown headlong into adventure, danger, and a most unexpected romance.

Thanks, brain.

90,022 words

And that is, as we say in the biz, a wrap for Storm Season. Query letter goes off tomorrow, and fingers stay crossed until I hear back.

Chapter 17 is now edited like a boss

86K and a bit, and the big-ass hurricane battle sequence between Ian and the big baddie is done, dusted, and damned good. Also, I referenced the First Law of Thermodynamics in an erotic romance. I RULE.

And now that I’ve done 35 minutes on the Treadmill of Musing, I’m going back in for the final sex scene. Cover me, people.

Storm Season is almost done

Sixteen chapters down, two to go, and then I write the query letter and send it off. And it has been a most educational experience, editing a novel. I’ve finished novels before, mind you, but this is the first time I’ve ever managed to get through editing one and whipping it into submission shape. I may have to pull out those two finished novels and put them through the same process, once blood has returned to my butt and my fingers stop screaming at me.

Things what I learned whilst editing my novel:

  1. After realizing that I’d unconsciously followed the three act format, I learned that somehow much of Act Two wound up in Act Three and had to be transplanted. I then had to rewrite a good 40% of Act Three because what was left was so patchy as to be almost unusable. That being said, my Act Two freaking well rocks — no slow middle third of the novel here, nosiree.
  2. If I have a magical tattoo show up on my MCs in Act One, I kinda have to make it do something useful by Act Three.
  3. Not many M/M/M erotic romances also contain references to Greek gods, genetic engineering, nanotech, and Alan Turing. Go me!
  4. One person commented on my short story “Tied With a Bow” that the menage relationship came together too easily and cleanly. That does not happen here by a long shot, hoo boy. If I can put my boys through the wringer, I do. I’m surprised they don’t hate me by now.
  5. If I sit for too long, my middle back muscles knot up like a bitch. There’s a reason why I own a treadmill, and I really need to use it more often.
  6. I need to find better ways to pull my brain out of fifth gear so that I can get to sleep at night instead of staring at the ceiling thinking, “Wait, did I remember to add that backstory? Is that going to work or is it an infodump? Maybe if I just use more character motivation…”

Soon, my precious. Soooooon…