Sunday, October 27, 2013

Looking for a Good Halloween Story?

If you're in the mood for a good Halloween story, check out Same Time Next Year at JMS Books, now on sale! In fact, all their books are currently on sale at 35% savings, so stock up!

Same Time Next Year

Jerome and Greg played on the dirt road halfway between their homes when they were kids, and found much better games to play there when they grew older. It's their special spot, the perfect place for Greg to propose, and the worst place possible for the accident that takes his life.

Devastated by the loss, Jerome visits that lonely road on the anniversary of Greg's death, only to discover that not all endings are permanent.

Start saving here:

The Fur Kid Post

Many of you may have known of my love of pets, and how strange it felt for me to live in a pet-free rental without a fur kid or two around. Well, last month I finally bought my own home, and planned to settle in, then find myself two rescue kitties. I knew exactly what I was looking for: two older cats who were already bonded, who'd were old enough that they wouldn't be upset when I went to work, didn't require all the attention a youngster would, and might, just might, leave my spider plant alone.

Like all well-laid plans, mine went out the window. My son (who has three cats) visited the weekend I moved in, and he and my daughter-in-law visited a local shelter while I was at work. He called me on break and said something like this:

"They have a lot of cats, Mom. A lot of cats. You need to come down here. They're so desperate, they've waived all fees."

Now, I'd fully planned for cat adoption fees, but I'd mistaken this particular shelter for a high kill shelter I'd read about in the news, and worried for this overload of little fur darlings and what might happen to them.

After work I fought cross-town traffic and arrived in a veritable feeding frenzy of pet adoption. Volunteers handed out cardboard pet carriers and adoption forms when you walked through the door. Surely I'd find the two older cats I wanted, right? "It's going well," a volunteer told me as she handed me the carrier my new  fur child would ride home in. "We've adopted a bunch of cats today." She beamed at me. A sincere "Yes, I'm really happy for those kitties!" grin. I grinned back, and prepared to up their score by two.

Pandemonium reigned inside. Folks of all ages peered into cages, or held cats or kittens in their arms. I bypassed the kitten room and headed straight for older cats. It took me a few minutes to work out what color coding on the cages meant: available to adopt now, available on such and such a date, sick cat, already neutered, age, etc.

Being a bit overwhelmed by so much going on, I retreated to a quieter area with only a few cages. "Have you found your cat yet?" another volunteer asked.

"Just waiting for the room to clear a bit," I replied.

She gave me a sympathic smile. "What are you looking for?"

I told her about the two older cats of my dreams.

"While you're waiting, why don't you keep this little girl company?" she asked, reaching into a cage behind me and handing me a half-grown tabby.

Empty carrier at my feet, I cradled the cat to my chest. She crawled right up to my shoulder and snuggled in, purring. It went downhill from there. "Oh, this is a mistake," the woman said, marking out the "1 year old" remark on the cat's cage and replacing it with "six months". We couldn't find her paperwork, and when someone returned it, I read these words: "Sick cat, not responding to (drug name)". My heart fell for this poor little girl.

The volunteer said, "They've started her on a new med, but it's too soon to tell if it will help her respiratory infection. You don't have other cats, do you? She'll need to be isolated until she's better, and given medicine every day."

The purring furball who'd already chosen me would have to be an only cat, at least for a while. She wasn't the older cat I wanted, and because of her illness, she wasn't available for adoption, but putting her back in a cold cage just wasn't something I could do.

"You could foster her," the volunteer said. I found out later that most adoptees only wanted small kittens or older cats. "Teenagers" like this kitty usually went overlooked.

According to her info sheet, her name was "Robin" because she'd been picked up by animal control on Robin Lane. Okay, that last bit of info simply broke my heart. I took her home that day. She wasn't playful like a kitten, since she was ill and malnourished, but she wanted to cuddle a lot. Oh, did you know that giving liquid meds to a cat is a real chore? I had claw marks to prove it, but I persevered.

After seven days of medicine the cat still coughed and sneezed. I despaired of her ever getting better, until trial and error proved she was allergic to the Glade plug-ins the former homeowner had left behind. She made a full recovery. I took her back to the shelter for shots and spaying, and that afternoon, signed adoption papers on Willow. This pretty girl didn't deserve to be named after where she'd been dumped.

So now I have a cat, and not the older cat I thought I wanted, but a cat that chose me. She's full of energy now, and my poor spider plant lost all its tendrils to her playfulness, but she keeps me company, meets me at the door each day when I come home, and plays fetch like a dog.

I'd like you to meet Willow, during a calm moment:

Now, excuse me whle I go check out what just went crash in the living room.

Another Great Review

In the rush to get ready for GRL, I forgot to post this fabulous review for Corruption, from The Book Vixen. 

Here is some of what reviewer J9 had to say:
"I devoured Corruption and have already re-read it. Series fans will be as surprised as I was that our extremely high expectations were exceeded in Bo and Lucky’s third installment. Now how long until book four is out?!"
Read entire review here:

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I've been busy catching up after GayRomLit, and haven't had time to post reviews, but two of my books have had very kind words said about them lately:

The wonderful Lena Grey at Rainbow Book Reviews read and commented on Diversion and Collusion.

She had this to say about Diversion:

"If you'd like to read a story which educates without dumping information, which is also loaded with humor, passion, character development, and intensity, then this may be the book for you. Thanks, Eden, for introducing us to Lucky and Bo. I'm looking forward to seeing them again in the sequel."

Read entire review here: 

Lena followed up the review with one for the sequel, Collusion:
"Although not quite as intense as the first, the second book in this series is every bit as good. Getting to know more about Bo and Lucky is bittersweet at times, but it is enlightening and re-affirming as well. Their jovial banter is still there adding comic relief; but their conversations, for the most part, are of a far more serious nature, as these two complicated men do their best to open up and express their love. Our education of the drug trafficking drama continues along with the appalling heartbreak it brings in its wake. Although it seems like an endless battle, it's a cause that can't be deserted because even if it makes a difference to one person, it's worth the fight. Fans of the first book in this series will not be disappointed with this sequel. I recommend it, not only to those who have read the first book, but to those who might be considering the series. It's full of adventure, intrigue, passion, angst, and a satisfying conclusion. Thank you, Eden, for continuing Bo and Lucky's story. I'm looking forward to book three."
Read full Collusion review here: 

Both books are available from Amber Allure: 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What's in a Word: Little Miss "It"

Today's word is one that is so easy to overuse and yes, I'm guilty myself.

Here's an example, taken from one of my earlier manuscripts, The Pirate's Gamble:

Once again he thanked whatever power had thrust it into his possession as he wrapped his hands around it to shield the glow he knew to expect, visualizing his destination clearly in his mind. 

If you were reading this passage in the story, you'd know that "it" is an artifact that pirate/archaeologist Ian found on dig, that allows him to travel in time. Still, I could definitely spice up these words with a few little changes:

Once again he thanked whatever power had thrust the artifact into his possession as he wrapped his hands around the stone to shield the glow he knew to expect, keeping his destination clearly in mind. 

Now it doesn't matter that you put your book down for a few hours--you still know what "it" is. I've also been touting deep POV lately, though, so let's take this one step further and see if I can create a greater connection between Ian and readers:

"Whoever left this for me to find," he raised the stone aloft, "I give you my thanks." Ian wrapped his hands around the amulet to shield the anticipated glow. He closed his eyes, picturing a white house with black shutters, frothy curtains dancing in the breeze, and David, his sweet David, waiting by the door. 

Does the third example make you feel more a part of story? It also provides a bit of back story. There's a place that Ian loves, and a man he loves. He wants to go there. 

Here's another example in which I've used "it" four times in one sentence:

After working the moisture from it as best he could with the towel, he combed it again so that it fell in soft, auburn waves down his back as it dried. 

I'm speaking of his hair, but how boring would "hair" four times be? Let's try:

After working the moisture from his auburn waves as best he could with the towel, he applied a comb until the the damp strands fell in soft waves down his back. 

"As it dried" isn't really necessary, and now we have a more concise sentence without you, the reader, having to slow down to figure out what "it" is. 

As with all the other words I've written about, sometimes "it" is the best choice. Other times, however, "it" acts as a speed bump, slowing the action when the reader must pause to work out the references. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Special Guest Today: Michael Rupured

Good morning, y'all! I'm having a great time here in Atlanta at GayRomLit, and hope to have pictures for you soon. Also attending GRL is a good friend that I met back when we shared a publishing date. 

I'm very pleased to have Michael Rupured on the site again. Thank you, Michael, for joining us. The blog is yours!


Published: A Year Later
Thanks so much, Eden, for having me back to your lovely blog to talk about After Christmas Eve, my new release from MLR Press. It’s nice to visit with you and your readers again.
My first novel came out the same day as Naked Tails. I wouldn’t say we’ve been joined at the hip ever since, but I certainly count Eden among my inner circle of writer pals. Besides, we’re practically neighbors!
To celebrate the release of my second novel, I’m giving away 10 copies (ebooks) through an 11-stop blog hop. To enter, comment before midnight, October 25, 2013 on this post (#4 in the hop) or any of my posts on the eleven participating blogs. Be sure to include an email address.
Becoming a published author is, hands down, the coolest thing I’ve ever done. The December 2012 release of my first novel kept me on Cloud Nine for months. With the October 11 release of After Christmas Eve by MLR Press, I’m happy to report that the excitement hasn’t diminished one iota.
Publishing my first novel was educational. Writing After Christmas Eve and taking it through the process allowed me to put into practice what I learned about writing and the publishing process the first go around. I’m grateful to my editor, Christie, and everyone at MLR Press for all the tender loving care.
Philip Potter plays an important supporting role in my first novel, Until Thanksgiving. Readers loved him. Me too, so much so I made him the main character in After Christmas Eve, a prequel, set thirty years earlier in 1966. His story came with quite a few surprises, even to me.
Here’s the blurb:
As Philip Potter wraps up his last minute shopping on Christmas Eve, 1966, James Walker, his lover of six years, takes his life. Unaware of what waits for him at home, Philip drops off gifts to the homeless shelter, an act of generosity that later makes him a suspect in the murder of a male prostitute.

Two men drive yellow Continentals. One is a killer, with the blood of at least six hustlers on his hands. Both men have secrets. And as Philip is about to discover, James had kept secrets, too. But James wasn’t trying to frame him for murder…

*This is the fourth of eleven stops on the After Christmas Eve Blog Hop. Excerpts appear in serial form along the hop, beginning with my post at Shira Anthony's.
Excerpt #4 of 11
Philip watched him fill line after line with a feathery script that was without a doubt the most beautiful penmanship he’d ever seen. He cleared his throat to get the boy’s attention. No luck. The pen flew across the page of the spiral notebook so fast, Philip expected to see smoke. He cleared his throat again, adding a little cough for good measure.
The boy looked up, startled. His ash blond hair might have been parted on the side earlier in the day, but now fell over his forehead, almost concealing the violet eyes that anchored his symmetrical face. “Gosh! I’m sorry. I didn’t even see you there.”
 “I admire your focus. What are you writing?”
The boy blushed. “It’s my journal. One day I’m going to cash in on all this pain and suffering with a runaway bestseller about my life on the street.”
“Oh?” Anger at the boy’s ignorant parents rippled through him. Philip wondered what the parents who produced and abandoned the boys who ended up here were thinking. Here was a young man that any parent should be proud to stand beside. How could one small thing provoke such a callous response? “I bet your story will be a fascinating read.”
“Yes, sir. One day you’ll see Daniel Bradbury on the library shelf between Isaac Asimov and Truman Capote. That’s me, Daniel Bradbury.”
Philip extended his hand. “I’m delighted to meet you, Daniel Bradbury. Philip Potter.”
The young man grasped his hand in a strong grip and pumped it twice. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Potter. Can I help you with something?”
Mr. Potter? He winced. The title was appropriate, he supposed, even if he still felt more eighteen than thirty. He placed the shopping bag of transistor radios hidden beneath cheerful wrapping paper and color-coordinated bows on the desk. “For you, and anyone else here tonight. Merry Christmas.”
“Gee thanks, Mr. Potter.” Daniel reached into the bag and pulled out a package. Then he called to the boys playing Chinese checkers, “Hey guys, presents!”
The game broke up in a clamor of falling chairs and bouncing marbles as the young men rushed to grab a gift from the bag. Philip stood back, enjoying the excited ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhs’ the radios elicited from them. Yes, Philip thought. This is shaping up to be the best Christmas ever.
Continued on 10/17 on Andrew Grey's site.  
Buy link: MLR Press 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guest Post by Mickie B. Ashling

Good morning, y'all! Today I have Mickie B. Ashling back with Ride-Off, the follow-up to her phenomenal Fire Horse


Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.
By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.
She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called "gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking." She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.
Mickie loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.
You can contact her at or leave a comment on her website at or her blog at

Polo: Book Two
Sequel to Fire Horse

Finally reunited, Preston Fawkes and Konrad Schnell put family and
obligations aside, preferring to remain in seclusion on Ned’s estate
to get reacquainted. Unfortunately, reality can only be held off for
so long, and they return to Texas to reclaim the life they put on
pause. Trying to strike the right balance between business, family,
and romance requires ongoing effort, and the challenges begin shortly
after they arrive.

At the top of the list is Bandi, Konrad’s son, and his desire to play
polo. A close second is Conrad “Sasha” Fawkes, Preston’s actor son
who’s struggling to succeed on Broadway. And last, but certainly not
least, is Paloma, the fiery Argentinean beauty Preston sired after a
passionate tango.

Blending the interests and needs of three grown children is difficult
at best and almost impossible when agendas collide and old secrets are
unearthed. The situation comes to a head when the family gathers in
San Antonio for Thanksgiving, throwing Preston and Konrad into a
maelstrom they must weather as best they can, or they’ll face a major
ride-off that could throw the game before it even starts.

Links to buy:

Find Ride-Off at Dreamspinner Press. 


When Monica had first broached the subject of their son’s orientation eight years ago, he’d been surprised. Preston hadn’t been around enough to see Con heading in that direction, so he’d assumed, like everyone else, that he was straight. He was certain his own father, John Fawkes, had blamed him for somehow influencing the boy, which was the furthest thing from the truth. Preston wouldn’t wish his lifestyle on anyone, let alone his son, but fate had other plans for the boy. Being a long distance dad hadn’t let him off the hook though, and Monica Dearest had insisted they have “The Talk.” It would go down in the annals of history as one of the worst moments of his life, and considering the kind of life he’d led up to that point, it was momentous, to say the least.

“Mom thinks you and I should have a conversation,” he’d started, stepping into Conrad’s lair when he was barely thirteen. Looking around the untidy room, he noticed the posters of Queer As Folk covering one wall. One character in particular, some brunet with water dripping down his naked chest, looked particularly fuckable and Preston had to admire his son’s taste. He’d do that guy in a minute.

Con looked at him innocently. “What about, Dad?”

Preston pointed at the poster. “You think about him when you jerk off?”


Preston chuckled. “Sorry… that didn’t come out right, did it?”

If Conrad’s eyes had gotten any larger, they’d have fallen out of their sockets. “This is so gay, Dad.”

“Nothing like getting right down to the subject at hand,” he’d replied. “Let’s talk gay, son. How far have you gotten in terms of exploration?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Con replied primly.

“Alright,” Preston said. “If you want to play stupid, I’ll go along. Do you like boys or girls?”

“None of your business!”

“Unfortunately, it is,” Pres sighed. “My job is to make sure you’re playing it safe at all times. Answer me, Con. Boys or girls?”

“Boys,” he’d confessed reluctantly. “But I know everything, Dad. There’s nothing you can say that I don’t already know.”

“Is that right?” Preston said, dismissing the preposterous claim. He stared at the computer on Conrad’s desk and wondered if he’d ventured into the gay websites yet. Hell, he, personally, hadn’t even known they’d existed until recently. The Internet was just starting to change the world, and he knew it would be a while before the connections were up to speed on the ranch, so perhaps the boy was still in the dark. Then again, he might know it all, just as he claimed. So long as one had a credit card, which Conrad did, he had access. Gay sex, or any sex for that matter, was readily available with the click of a mouse. Nonetheless, he’d signed on as his dad, and had sworn to keep him safe, no matter how ridiculous or redundant it might seem. He knew that Konrad would have demanded that he sit the boy down and list in graphic detail every goddamn disease known to man. It was what he’d done when Pres was a young and precocious kid, so he’d closed his eyes and pretended he was Konrad Schnell for the next half hour. By the time he’d finished his dissertation on the perils of bed-hopping, young Conrad looked like he was going to puke.

“Info dump?” he’d asked, feeling rather sick himself. It was always a mystery how he’d managed to stay healthy considering his checkered past.

Con shook his head. “I guess I didn’t know it all,” he admitted. “Thank you for telling me.”

Preston stood to go and kissed his boy on the head. “I may not win the award for Father of the Year, but I know about sex. You come to me anytime you have a question. I don’t care how fucked up or outrageous it might seem to you,” he said. “And don’t worry about Mom finding out. I’d rather have my tongue ripped out then discuss dildos with that woman. Got it?”

Conrad smiled. “’Kay.”

Back in the present, he felt a prickly beard tickling his ear and turned toward Kon, who asked, “What’s troubling you?”

“Parenting,” Preston said derisively. “It’s a bitch, isn’t it?”

“Tell me about it.”

“We should have stuck to Andalusians.”

“We’ll do better next time,” Kon replied, meshing fingers.

They had matching wedding rings made of Spanish sterling silver and the sight of them always reminded Preston that they had been given a second chance and for that he was grateful. “We’re doing much better this time around,” he said softly.

“I know,” Kon replied, lifting Preston’s hand for a kiss. “I wish Sasha had a better role in this play.”

“That makes two of us.”

“Isn’t there anyone you know who could give him the break he needs?”

“Not in this field.”

“Too bad.”

“I think it’s time to issue an ultimatum.”


“Because he’s going nowhere fast.”

“These things take time, Flea. Some people aren’t as lucky as others.”

“That’s bullshit and you know it. He needs to be more aggressive and not expect the plum roles to fall into his lap like magic.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m cutting him off after Christmas. He’s got three months to prove he can do this or he comes back home and starts to earn his keep.”

“Doing what?”


“That’ll go over really well.”

“It’s time, Kon.”

“Let me know when you’re planning to talk to him. I want to be as far away as possible.”

Preston smirked. “Ya think he’ll pitch a fit?”

“He’s your son, isn’t he?”

“He’ll split a gut,” Pres concluded.

“Like I said,” Kon rumbled, “count me out of that conversation.”

“I’ll wait until we’re ’bout ready to board the plane.”

Kon shook his head. “You’re too much, Flea.”

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Tribe Awaits...

Just one more day and I'll leave for GayRomLit in Atlanta. Some folks who'll be attending I know well, others I've chatted with online, and for more this will be an introduction. Yet, this I know with certainty: I'll feel right at home.

There's much to be said for talking openly about books, to have your audience enthusiastically joining the coversation, as apposed to the glazed eyes and vacant stares I may get in other venues. A common bond draws us all to one place--a love of M/M romance.

For six glorious days I can totally be myself, without worrying about what people might say or think, because they're breathing the same sigh of releif that I am. We'll dance, laugh, dance some more, laugh some more, share meaningful book insights, and talk plots, characters, and hot covers. And men. In love.

Next Sunday will be bittersweet, as I leave my tribe to go back out into the world, on a mission to promote acceptance, one softened heart at a time. I'll take with me memories of friends, new and old, comforted in the knowledge that, though I may not see them often, I'm not alone.

If you're attending, I look forward to seeing you there. If you can't make it this year, hugs. Maybe we'll meet up soon at another get together.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Interview with Reviewer/Blogger Chris, from Stumbling Over Chaos

While author interviews are fairly common, there are so many others supporting GLBT fiction: readers, publishers, artists, editors, reviewers, and more. Without them, where would our genre be?

I met blogger/reviewer Chris a few years ago after she’d made some insightful comments on one of my books, and asked her if she’d mind beta reading the next one. Long story short, she’s beta read four or five now, though how she has time I’ll never know, what with her blogging duties at Stumbling Over Chaos. Please welcome Chris, blogger and proud pet parent to Chaos and Mayhem (who have a dedication in my The Match Before Christmas, as they inspired Barry’s cats, Tom I and Tom II).

If you were writing a blurb for your site, how would you describe it?
The strange intersection between m/m romance and cat pictures.

Wanna tell us a bit about Chaos and Mayhem, the kitty “stars” of your site?
Chaos will be 10 in a couple weeks. My friend Jeanne describes him as my psychotic stalker ex-boyfriend who lives with me. He's, um, a little overattached. May's 7 1/2 and not related to Chaos at all. She's got really soft bunnyesque fur.

When and why did you first start blogging? Did Stumbling Over Chaos begin life as a M/M book information site, or did it evolve?
I started blogging at the end of November 2005. It started as a knit blog, although the cat pictures have always been a constant. Back then it was just Chaos. Blogging was quite the thing in knitting land at the time, which I think is what got me going. Everyone else was doing it... ;)

Many blogs start with good intentions with regular posts, but later fizzle. Not yours! I have a blog that I post to fairly regularly, but that can be a chore sometimes. How do you manage to post consistently week after week? Between the lovely captioned pics of the kitties and all your regular installments, plus reviews, plus book giveaways, how much of your time per week does blogging take?
Probably 5-6 hours, with Linkity taking 2+ of that. Sometimes it's hard to be excited about blogging at all and it feels like a huge chore. I definitely took some time off from the Misadventures and Linkity over the summer when I was buying and moving into a new condo.

Advice I give any author who asks me about marketing: arrange a giveaway at Stumbling Over Chaos. (Thanks for that. I know it’s made a tremendous difference for my own books). I’ve never counted, but how many books do you give away, on average, each week, and what’s the normal number of hits for each. (New authors, take note!)
Aww. J On average, three contests/books each week, Tuesday through Thursday. Hits vary widely, depending on how familiar people are with the author and also with the subgenre - scifi has a hard go of it sometimes! I'd say 30 - 80 is a normal range.

I love, love, LOVE your series, Misadventures in Stock Photography. How did that start, how hard is it to amass those weekly covers, and how do you come up with those clever lines to link them all together? (here's an example, for those of you who haven't yet discovered this hilarious weekly post).
Well, if you were go back to the very first Misadventure, it didn't have the, erm, "narrative" structure it has now - I was mostly posting a few covers with the same cover model and discussing them. It's not that hard to amass covers - I have this freaky pattern matching skill that really makes the matches jump out at me. Plus people send me covers they find, although I can get kinda overwhelmed by that. I stash covers by model in a pretty out of control Evernote folder, so that I have stuff on hand. Right now there are 320 notes in that folder, each with multiple covers - some with 30+ covers. I'm not even sure how I come up with the lines - I just pick 8 - 12 covers and then desperately try to connect their titles into a narrative of sorts.

Let’s talk Linkity. Once again you seem to scour the Internet for the choicest bits of news to share. Do you go it alone, or do folks send you links?
Both. During the week, I star things in my feed reader that strike my fancy, then wade through those on Thursday to put together Linkity.

Between reviewing and beta duties, how many books would you say you read in an average week?
Well, I'm not doing much, erm, any reviewing right now and virtually no beta reading. Almost exactly a year ago, I fell into the world of hockey rpf (real person fic) fanfiction and have been mostly (happily) stuck there.

I know you just bought a new home (congratulations!). What’s next for you?  
Thanks! Selling my old home is a big priority right now. J

Outside of your online presence, what’s a normal day like?
MWF I work from home, going into the office on Tu & Th. I'm a senior systems analyst for a telecommunications company and have worked there for over 17 years. There's nothing else I can tell you about my job that won't make everyone's eyes glaze over instantly, but I enjoy it. Most days.

You obviously adore fiction and give a lot of thought to your reviews. Have you ever considered writing your own stories?
LOL! I've jotted down a few random paragraphs here and there, mostly fanfic stuff. But I'm not really that sort of creative. Creative nonfiction would be more my speed, if I got the itch to write.

What words of advice would you give a new writer?
Don't churn out the same things everyone else is churning out. I think there's a lot of frustration among m/m readers about how much m/m follows the same overused formulas.
Oh, and everyone needs an editor, no matter how long they've been writing. Really. It's important.

What is one thing about you that might surprise your fans?
I ran away from home when I was 16 and lived in Florida for a year, working at Burger King and waiting tables at a pizza place.

What other hobbies do you enjoy besides reading and blogging?
I knit, although not much at all over the past few years - I'm almost done with my sister-in-law's Christmas socks... for Christmas 2012. I like walking, but the whole new home/selling old home thing has destroyed my exercise schedule this year.

If I were planning a visit to your city, what recommendations would you make for me to see while I was there?
Mostly things from my neighborhood, other than the Mall of America (because who doesn't enjoy a good spectacle?).The Sculpture Garden. Get on a bike and check out all the trails. Walk around a couple of lakes. Go to a show at First Avenue (made famous by the movie Purple Rain). Have a pizza delivered by a superhero in an electric car.

Where can people find you online?
Besides the blog...
Tumblr -
Booklikes - (we'll see how this one goes)
Goodreads -

Thank you, Chris, for joining us today at Magnolias and Men. 

Folks, for book news, Misadventures, book giveaways, and Chaos and Mayhem, be sure to visit Chris at Stumbling Over Choas. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What's in a Word: The Thoughts in My Head

Hey, y'all! It's been too long since I posted on my series, "What's in a Word", and I'd promised long ago to expound upon my troubles with the word "thought", or other forms of "think".

Now, if you've ever dealt with Autocritter, or other editing programs, you know that certain words are targetted for overuse, all forms of "think" included. I never could figure out what was wrong with that word until I read a book on deep point of view. Deep point of view puts readers closer to the main character, helping them to identify with the people on the page. Words like "thought" or "think" adds distance, particularly in third person, as most books in the M/M genre seem to be written.

Even in third person, you are in the POV character's head. For this exercise, I'll once more use Bo and Lucky from my Diversion series, in honor on my latest release, Corruption, the third installment. Read these two passages below:

Lucky thought that maybe he should apologize to Bo.

Oh shit. Time to apologize.

Imagine you are Lucky. Would your thought processes be, "I thought"? No, you'd simply think the thought. While there's nothing wrong with either form, which of the two examples evokes more kinship with the title character?

 How about:

He thought he saw Bo walking down the hallway. 


Brown hair, spring in his step, morning greeting for everyon he met. Yeah, had to be Bo.

Bear in mind that the word "thought" isn't the problem here, it's just a symptom, showing an author an opportunity to reach a bit deeper into a character's head. And although I've already posted a segment on "feel" and "felt", the same holds true there.

Lucky felt like his leg was on fire.

Oh dear God! Stabbing pain ripped up Lucky's leg. 

Which example is more likely to make you, as a reader, wince in sympathy?

Try an experiment. Search your latest work in progress, or the current novel you're reading, for the word "thought" and see if you can reform the sentence to take you deeper into the action.

More Love for Corruption

Jay, from Joyfully Jay M/M Romance Reviews and More, awarded my latest release, Corruption 4.75 stars and had this to say about the story:

"What I really love most about this series is the way Winters is keeping it so fresh and exciting. The investigations are unique and well developed.  There are some great side characters and folks we are getting to know across the series.  Bo and Lucky are growing and developing in their relationship at a nice pace.  And each new book draws and builds upon previous ones.  As I said, I think this is my favorite so far of this series and I can’t wait for more.  If you are not reading this fabulous series, I definitely urge you to pick it up. It is exciting, sexy, romantic, and a lot of fun."
Thank you, Jay!

Read entire review here: 

Andrea, at Reviews by Jessewave, awarded the continuation of Bo and Lucky's story 4.5 stars.
"Corruption is a perfect mix of investigation, adventure, romance, and hot sex. I loved this book! Recommended."
Thanks, Andrea, and Reviews by Jessewave.

See what else Andrea had to say here:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Woot! Collusion and Naked Tails are Finalists!

What a lovely way to liven up a Tuesday! Today Elisa Rolle at the Rainbow Awards announced this year's finalists. My own Naked Tails and Collusion were among the books so honored, in the catagories of Paranormal Romance and Mystery/Thriller, respectively. I am honored, and also thrilled for the other authors who received similar notices today.

So tonight I'm happy dancing! Dance with me!

Now Available: Corruption

Whoot! The third installment of the Diversion series is here! Corruption is now available at Amazon and All Romance Ebooks. 

Sequel to bestselling novels Diversion and Collusion.

Renegade biker. Drug runner. Recovering addict. Wanted by the Southeastern Narcotics Bureau. But he isn’t a crook, he’s the law. 

SNB Agent Bo Schollenberger’s solved his cases using his brains and not a gun, and with his partner, not alone. Now he’s handed a tough new case involving designer drugs that turn users violent. One false move could end his life as he immerses himself into a motorcycle gang to locate the source. His fate depends on how well he can impersonate someone else. Someone named Cyrus Cooper. 

Cyrus is everything Bo Schollenberger isn’t, including the badass enforcer for a smuggling ring. He establishes pecking order with his fists and doesn’t take shit from anybody, not even the undercover agent who comes to help his case. 

Simon “Lucky” Harrison’s always been the best, whichever side of the law he was on. Former trafficker turned SNB agent, he damned well ought to be undercover in this motorcycle gang, instead of hanging around the office going crazy with new policies, new people, and “inter-departmental cooperation” that sticks him in a classroom. Yet he’s passed over for the SNB’s biggest case in decades in favor of the rookie who shares his bed. A man Lucky thought he knew.

When survival depends on a web of tangled lies, lines blur, worlds collide, and a high stakes game turns friend to foe. Lucky knows the difference between Bo the agent and Cyrus the outlaw, but does Bo?


Another night in Hell.
 Simon “Lucky” Harrison paid the cover charge at Armageddon, or whatever the fuck they called this gussied-up bar. The pretentious crowd the club catered to made the place close enough to Hell in his book. And nobody even frisked him. He shifted the holstered department-issued gun beneath his jacket. Damn, but he missed his own weapon, and damn the son-of-a-bitching bastards who’d swiped his .38.
The bouncer waved him through. Wasn’t much use in finally having an honest-to-goodness Southeastern Narcotics Bureau badge if he didn’t get to flash the shiny gold shield once in a while to get his way, but going high profile would blow the whole undercover thing to kingdom come.
Heavy bass pounded against his skull before he’d even gotten properly inside the door. These assholes called this racket music? If he wanted to bust somebody, he’d definitely come to the right place—they had to be taking some weird-assed shit.
Tonight wasn’t about taking down the bad guys, though. Tonight merely laid groundwork, Lucky showing himself off as another run-of-the-mill club-goer. The better to lull the sheep in the presence of a wolf. A drink or two, some mingling, then home to bed. Alone, damn the luck.
Fuck this off-duty, keep-your-hands-to-yourself recognizance, he could see half a dozen people who needed a tap on the shoulder from the long arm of the law. Was the guy in the holey jeans reaching for his wallet or a baggie? The mullet-haired asshole should be reaching for the door, ‘cause he sure as hell didn’t fit in with a crowd where casual meant lose the tie. What a huge pocketbook on that lady’s arm. A whole kilo would fit in there. And one big-assed alligator gave its life to make the thing.
A trip to the bar yielded a club soda with some kind of green vegetable sticking out of the glass. Seemed a man couldn’t even drink without finding greens. Bad enough they made their way onto dinner plates. The guy standing two feet too close turned away. Lucky took the opportunity to shove the offending stalk into the man’s glass of orange liquid.
To the club’s credit, he’d been in the place a full five minutes and hadn’t witnessed a fight, and no peanut shells littered the floor. His elbows hadn’t stuck to the bar when he’d waited for his drink, either. The bartender’d been hit with a few ugly sticks, but he controlled the booze, giving him an automatic upgrade from a three to an eight. He seemed friendly enough and kept his fingers away from the top of the glass—all Lucky needed in a bartender.
Now to find a vantage point on the second floor, the better to see and be seen. The nooks and crannies near the balcony also provided discreet enough venues for drug dealing. His scouting mission didn’t mean he couldn’t tag someone dumb enough to mistake him for a buyer.
Lucky sipped his drink, staring down at a writhing mass of humanity, folks who didn’t have anything better to do than waste their hard-earned money on watered-down drinks and spine-rattling dance tunes and go home with someone they’d deny knowing the next day. Huh. And to think he’d dressed up for this. He scratched his leg through the unfamiliar stiffness of a pair of dress slacks. Hell, he’d even ironed a shirt for the occasion.
Nothing much seemed to be happening on the main club level, except for one couple hanging on the fringes, pushing the envelope of public decency. A table in the far corner provided entertainment when two women kissed their male dates and disappeared toward the ladies’ room. Their dates waited a full thirty seconds before pouncing on each other like starving wolves. They’d better come up for air before the ladies returned.
A woman’s scream jerked Lucky’s attention away from the two men in need of a room.  “Get away from me!”
Lucky grasped the railing, leaning over for a better view of the packed floor below. There, in the red dress. The woman screamed again, “Go away!” She swatted at the air above her head.
Oh hell. Let the crazy begin. Fighting with shit that wasn’t there was never a good sign.
“’Scuse me,” Lucky muttered, squeezing through the onlookers. “Get the fuck out of my way” worked better, but the department frowned on the direct approach. They should stick with what worked.
The woman’s shouts carried over the throbbing beat from the DJ booth, and Lucky lost sight of her a time or two while struggling to get past a couple who didn’t want to move. A hand landed on his ass from behind. “Wanna keep that hand?” he snapped. The hand disappeared, and the couple jumped out of the way. Fuckers.
He caught sight of the screaming woman again a few yards to the left. Her friends stood back, creating some space. “Can’t you see them?” she shrieked, staring toward the ceiling.
“Move, dammit!” Lucky pushed against a wall of gawkers four or five inches taller than him. They didn’t budge. All hell was about to break loose. “Get the fuck out of my way!” bought Lucky enough space to slither through.
A man grasped the woman’s arm about the time Lucky got within grabbing distance. She pulled back for a swing. Lucky jerked back. Crack! She bypassed Lucky and slammed her knuckles into the man’s jaw. He fell with a thud. Better him than me.
Two uniformed security guards approached, middle-aged men who huffed and puffed by the time they reached the ruckus. Here come Doofus and Dipshit. ‘Bout time the fuckers got here before Lucky blew his cover. Back in his day, clubs employed muscle-bound gym bunnies to work the weekend crowds. They didn’t make bouncers like they used to. “Ma’am, you need to settle down,” the first one said, standing outside the woman’s reach.
Doofus. Was he for real? Settle down? Did he have any fucking idea what he was dealing with? She might appear a sweet young thing in a red dress, but whatever she took/snorted/shot up had definitely taken control of the wheel.
“Make them stop!” The woman ducked beneath her arms, batting away invisible attackers.
“There’s nothing there, ma’am,” Doofus said, while the other guard rolled wary eyes upward.
“Maybe you better come with us.” This time Dipshit spoke. He must have gone to the same training program as his partner. Didn’t they at least watch some outdated training video on the warning signs of drug use and dealing with folks on their way ‘round the bend?
The woman straightened, eyeing the guard. “Ahhh! You’re one of them! Get away, get away!” Flinging another woman to the side, she charged toward the exit, screaming and swatting. The guards trotted behind her.
“They better pay me extra for this.” Lucky stepped on a couple of toes and bumped a drink or two while zigzagging in pursuit.
He burst through the front door and followed the screams down an alley. The ankle he’d broken during an investigation last summer squealed in protest at being forced into a run.
Doofus and Dipshit had the woman cornered by the time Lucky caught up. Damn fucked-up leg. Heal, you sumbitch, heal! Six months should be long enough.
 “Stay back! Stay the fuck back!” the woman squawked. She grabbed a hank of her not-found-in-nature-red hair, and jerked the strands out of her head with nary a wince. Holy shit. That had to hurt. Her breath turned to fog before her face, adding another layer of creepy to the moment.
She took a few wobbly steps back, a high-heeled shoe on one foot and the other bare. A sleeve hung from what had likely been an expensive designer dress. Eyes wide, she pressed against the brick wall of the club.  Lucky shivered, wrapping his jacket tighter around him. Late October, close to midnight, and the woman didn’t appear to feel a lick of cold.
“Easy, ma’am, we don’t want to hurt you,” Dipshit said, empty hands splayed to show he wasn’t armed. With his graying hair and bulging belly, he probably had kids this woman’s age.
Wild eyes stared out from an ashen face, heavy with black and red makeup smears. The woman’s hair hung in strings over her face. She glanced right and left, then focused on the guard nearest her. “I didn’t do anything. Leave me alone.”
“We can’t do that,” Doofus replied, edging closer. “You attacked a man. We need to ask you a few questions.”
Stupid assholes. They ought to know better than to say such shit. Tell her whatever lies were necessary to calm her ass down. 
Lucky held back, cataloguing symptoms: delusional, paranoid, any number of street drugs produced the same effect. The woman quieted, and the guards held their ground. Fat tears rolled down her cheeks. Torn knuckles oozed blood. Her hand would hurt like hell once she came down. “I didn’t mean to, I really didn’t mean to.”
Crazy lived in her eyes. By day she probably drove a fancy car to a high-rise office complex downtown. Tonight, she lived in a hell created by her own mind. And her demons were more real to her than two security guards trying to talk her down off the proverbial ledge.
The guards exchanged worried glances. Between the two of them, they’d probably never dealt with bad drugs to this degree before. And why the hell were their guns still holstered? Didn’t they have a taser? They sure as shit needed one. One hundred and five pounds of unpredictable with superhuman strength, no pain threshold, and no concept of right and wrong made one volatile threat. Little Miss Red Dress might be the most dangerous person they’d ever met.
The guards took a few steps back. Bad move. A split second later, the woman screamed, staring past the first guard’s head. “They’re back! Oh my God, they’re back!” She dove toward Dipshit’s sidearm while Doofus grabbed his gun. “Don’t let them get me!”
She wrestled with the guard while his partner hesitated a moment too long. Lucky raced across the alley on his uncooperative leg. He slammed into both guard and the attacker, knocking them to the ground. The woman snatched the gun from the guard’s holster. Lucky fished his own weapon out from beneath his jacket and took aim.
The tiny assailant gawked at something Lucky couldn’t see. “I can’t let them get me.” She knelt on the pavement, shivering with unknown terrors one minute, and the next she pointed the gun.
Lucky lunged. A shot rang out.

Now available at Amazon and All Romance Ebooks.