Like a Spell – Fire — and Building a contemporary fantasy world

Passage, Performance, Passion,” out now in the Like a Spell 2 — Fire — anthology, is my third story set in the same urban/contemporary fantasy world.  It’s been a lot of fun building a world where the species and rules are consistent, even though each story stands on its own.

A note on terminology:  People are more familiar with the term “urban fantasy”, but my stories aren’t focused on a particular city so technically they don’t fit into that sub-genre.  Contemporary fantasy, as they are fantasy stories in the contemporary world, is more accurate.  

 

I digress. On the occasion of the third story published in this world, I thought I’d share a little bit about the history of the world’s creation, what ties the stories together, and some ideas for the future.  

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Like a Spell 2 Out October 12th — and a Circlet Press Kickstarter!

I just heard the news and had to share it:  Like A Spell 2, containing my story “Passage, Performance, Passion”  is due out in less than two weeks.

Publication date is October 12th! 

It’s been a long journey for this story, but I really love it!  It’s also set in the same universe as “Drink to Seal the Bond” from the Coffee: Hot anthology.  Will the characters in these two stories ever meet?  Time will tell!

To keep the diverse and sexy stories like those in Like a Spell going, Circlet Press is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund it’s 2018 run of anthologies, including a 25th Anniversary anthology.  Please check it out:

The Building Magic of “Like a Spell”

By Celine Nadeau, https://www.flickr.com/photos/celinet/52894295/ Used under Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0)Magic and eroticism go hand in hand, don’t they?  In late 2015, Circlet Press put out a call for submissions for Like a Spell, erotic tales of magic.

Is anyone surprised that they got a lot of submissions?  They got so many submissions, they decided to publish them as four books.  Like a Spell: Earth, covers lesbian (f/f) encounters, and it’s out now!

My story, “Passage, Performance, Passion,” will be in the Like a Spell: Fire volume covering gay (m/m) stories, and should be out in October.  I read the first scene for the Nobilis Erotica podcast when he covered Circlet’s #porncamp in 2016 (my reading is about 20 minutes in).  The remaining two volumes, Air (heterosexual encounters) and Water (multiple partners) will be out at the end of 2017 and in early 2018.

I’ll tease more as the Fire release gets closer, but a reminder that supporters of Circlet Press through their Patreon campaign will get the books early!

 

Photo credit:  “Fire” by Celine Nadeau
Used under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Misunderstood Monster: A Meditation and a Giveaway

Happy Spring-ish time!  In honor of the Beauty and the Beast movie, I’m giving away a paperback of Forgotten Menagerie. Skip to the end of the entry on how to enter.

Disney’s live action “Beauty and the Beast” opened on March 17th to mixed reviews but a strong showing at the box office and it’s still doing very well. I haven’t seen it yet, so take my thoughts in that context. A review I read balked at the added exposition and at giving more back story to the characters. I’ll leave it up to those who’ve seen it to decide if Disney’s approach worked. But it’s vital that the Beast be not just a monster, but a misunderstood monster, so that we can better accept Belle’s affection for him.

There are many applications for the concept of the “misunderstood monster.” Labeling the “other” a monster has a long history (is perhaps older than history). Recognizing that stereotypes and propaganda don’t paint a reliable picture inspires us to understand the monster — usually recognizing that they’re not really a monster at all.

On the flip side, the misunderstood monster could be someone who appears legitimately evil from our vantage point but who considers their motives or purpose to be noble, to be misunderstood. Learning about their purpose doesn’t mean we have to accept or agree with their actions, but understanding them may help predict their actions or be useful in understanding them in other ways. Again, taking away the monstrous and understanding the human workings beneath is required to form a rational analysis.

Wait, am I adding political subtexts to Beauty and the Beast? Why shouldn’t I? Fairy tales often included lessons, and probably had more subtext than was realized even at the time.

In researching Beauty and the Beast for Circlet’s A Beastly Affair anthology, I learned that some of the pre-cursor tales were cautionary tales warning women about abusive relationships — and offering hope that they could survive and rise above their circumstances. (Others, and other interpretations, suggest these stories were offered as hope to young women destined for arranged marriages.) The personal and political have always been entwined, and love has never been as uncomplicated as Disney’s tales would have you believe. Understand the monsters around you; reject the stereotype; never fear to speak your own truth so that other may understand you.

I don’t have more information on A Beastly Affair yet, but I’m offering a giveaway of a paperback of Forgotten Menagerie to tide you over. In this book you’ll find tales of unusual shifters. In my story, “Mirrors, the Moon and the Boy,” the protagonist thinks himself a monster, and it takes a very special young man to show him he may have misunderstood everything.

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway. On April 20th I’ll put all the email addresses in a hat and I’ll pick one. I’ll contact the winner to get your mailing address. Until then, look out for — and seek to understand — the monsters around you.

Images from The Graphics Fairy

Resist by supporting GLBTQ authors (and other news from my life)

So, Trump…  I can’t even…

This isn’t a political blog per se, except in so far as writing, writing about sexuality, and writing LGBTQ characters are inherently political acts.  Sadly, they may become even more so if the current administration has its way.

Which makes this as good a time as any to announce that I’ll have a story in the Circlet Press anthology A Beastly Affair (erotic retellings of Beauty and the Beast).  I just found out so I don’t have a publication date yet, but this might be my favorite of all my stories.  I’ll let you know the details when I have them.

Last month was my annual attendance at local science fiction convention, Arisia. Friday night included a panel on the genius and creativity of gay erotica author and satirist Chuck Tingle. While he started with gay dinosaur porn and erotica featuring animated inanimate objects, Tingle has branched out into erotic political satire (for example, Pounded by the Pound: Turned Gay by the Socioeconomic Implications of Britain Leaving the European Union.) U.S. politics are also subjected to his unique style as well. In online forums, Tingle spreads a message of love and inclusion to his internet followers. This entertaining panel discussion included the reading of an email from “Dr. Chuck” himself, and I was left feeling the love and appreciating this unique talent even more.

Saturday, I had a wonderful afternoon hanging out with other Circlet Press authors and then attended an amazing panel on “LGBTQ  SF/F/H Authors You Should be Reading.”  Read on for the extensive list of publishers, authors and other resources that will keep your reading list full.

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Post-Halloween Post

nasa_spooky_sunHappy Post-Halloween! I hope you had all the tricking and treating you desired. If you’re still lusting for hot, spooky stories, head on over to Circlet Press’ website where they ran a series of erotic Halloween microfictions.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to submit anything. I’m planning some fun for this winter though:

  • I’m writing up my review of Starstruck. I’d love to read yours, too!
  • I’ll be interviewing the talented and amazing Annabeth Leong about MakerSex, the anthology she edited for Circlet Press earlier this year
  • I’m working on an experiment: a crazy little story where you get to choose the ending

luna_jubillee_image

Also, I don’t have a publication date yet but I do have a story accepted into Circlet Press’ Like A Spell Volume 2: Fire. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, and I look forward to sharing more details
with you soon.

photo credits:
1. Sun photo: Boo! by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center  . Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/15498245665/
2. whatcha think? by Luna Jubllee. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license –
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lunajubilee/22498591525/

The Ruby is available!

The Starstruck anthology is available, including my story, the Ruby.  I wrote about some 5702026863_7b3ceb87fe_zof the inspiration for the story in a guest post on Annabeth Leong’s blog.  (Thank you to the talented and generous Annabeth for posting it!)

Here’s a snippet from the story:

Already seated, chestnut hair falling over his face like a pony’s forelock, was Toby Rodriguez. He rose as they approached, eyeing Ezra from behind his fringe.

“Pleasure to meet you, Ezra, holder of the Ruby of Radiance. Please call me Toby.”

Toby’s fingers were warm and slightly sweaty. His eyes were a friendly light brown, framed with thick dark lashes over sharp cheekbones and full lips. A few improbable freckles broke out against his light brown skin. He wore khakis and an orange T-shirt showing a mountain goat riding an old-fashioned bicycle. The shirt had shrunk until it clung to him.

“Pleasure is all mine,” Ezra said, letting go a bit too quickly. His palms were sweating again.

“I ordered some bruschetta to start,” Toby added as they sat down. “Patti said you were okay with gluten and all that.”

Patti had arranged everything with ruthless efficiency. Ezra wondered if she was lurking somewhere nearby, ready to rescue her normally reclusive boss if things got too weird.

“Bruschetta is great. I was so excited when the Gremlin Mines expansion came out. I’ll try not to get all ‘fanboy’ on you, but I was determined to get the ruby so I could tell you how much I love it. The attention to detail—I swear I could smell the stale underground air.”

“Yeah. Ahh. Great.” Toby squirmed. His cheeks flushed, nearly matching his T-shirt. “I’ve been instructed to not talk about the game until the main course is served. So maybe, umm, tell me about yourself?”

Ezra felt his cheeks warm in response. “Me—um. Me?” He took a deep breath. “I work as a graphic designer at Hawes College. I have an ancient tabby cat named Sasha. I play Weird West a lot—why aren’t you supposed to talk about it?”

“I’m supposed to pretend to be well-rounded.” Toby’s cheeks were still red, but he sat up straighter, tossing his hair out of his eyes. “Fuck it.”

 

Photo credit: Rubies by John Morgan https://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/5702026863/.  Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

End of Summer Media Reviews and more News

whispering-at-school-picture-graphicsfairy

The college students are back rambling across the street without looking and crowding the subway cars.  That’s life in Boston.

It’s also election season.  Don’t forget to vote and register to vote if you haven’t already.

Whew. Got the serious stuff out of the way.  Starstruck comes out September 12th! You can buy it through the link above, through my Amazon author page, or at other e-book sites.

And if you liked Coffee: Hot (or just the idea of it), Circlet press is running a Patreon campaign.  Help support unique and creative science fiction and fantasy erotica!

After you’ve read Starstruck and all the Circlet Press you can handle, what else is out there to read or watch?  Read on for some capsule reviews.

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Starstruck, sales and cats

Happy End of Summer, readers!  I know, I shouldn’t sound so happy about it.  I’ll miss the long hot days.  But the approach of September means the publication of Starstruck is just around the corner – September 12th to be exact. It is available for pre-order and I’m thrilled to share the sexy cover art:

Starstruck_postcard_front_DSP

I’m really looking forward to this collection.  My contribution is called “The Ruby” and features one of my favorite things – geeks finding love.  Oh, and cats!  I finally took the plunge and gave my characters cats.

Speaking of cats, my sweet girl Sonnet was featured as part of the Cats of Circlet series on Circlet Press‘ web site.  You can check out the whole series as well as their current promotions and sales – including the huge collection Fantastic Erotica for only $0.99!

The sale on this great anthology is in celebration of N.K. Jemisin’s win at the Hugo Awards.  She has a story in the anthology, so snatch it up as great introduction to her work.

If you like gay romance and sales, I’m also giving a shout out to Dreamspinner Press. Their newsletter regularly has $0.99 sales on books in a variety of genres.  You can sign up at their website.

My Steamy Review of Coffee: Hot

coffee-diva

This vintage sign is sadly out of stock at the moment.

My contributor copy of the paperback version of Coffee: Hot arrived in the mail a few weeks ago.

E-books are great for traveling, but there’s nothing like a “real book” to me. Leafing through it, I realized to my chagrin that I hadn’t read all of the other stories. I devoured it and feel even more honored to be part of such an amazing collection.

On the one hand, coffee signifies addiction, a perfect match for an erotic anthology. But coffee and coffee shops are refuges and places of comfort for many, leading to stories about romance and connection along with the passion. Add the many varieties and approximations of coffee that can be devised by the human imagination and you have the ingredients for an amazing anthology.

One of my favorites was “The Closing Shift” by JJ Poulos, in which an unexpected visitor interrupts Raymona’s fantasies as she cleans the coffee shop:

Finally the hopper was sparkling, and she turned to the new bag of beans. It was made of rough burlap, covered in writing she couldn’t even begin to read, and beautiful, colorful swirling lines.

She grabbed a scissors and sliced the bag open.

The scent that burst out was unlike anything she’d smelled. It was dark and rich and flowery. The beans were glossy with oil and slid about as if they were alive. Ramona closed her eyes and breathed in the smell. She opened her eyes and, leaving the bag on the ground, turned to grab the hopper.
There was a water-like patter as the bag tipped over, as the beans danced across the floor.

“Shit,” Ramona said, before turning around.

Far too large for the bag, like a coffee bean that sprouted into a tree and then grew until it burst from the bag’s darkness, and then grew some more, a woman lay. She was dark like the espresso beans and she gleamed glossily, like they did. They spilled around her like rose petals.

“Thank you for letting me out,” she said, smiling a brilliant smile.

The comfort aspect of coffee was most on display in K.L. Noone’s “One Mocha, With Enchantment”

 
Behind the counter, skillful hands busy dusting a frothy confection with nutmeg, Gavin paused to radiate worry in his direction.Nate made a face at him, because that was the only appropriate response to overt concern from one’s retired-deity present-day boyfriend, and although Gavin didn’t say anything the coffee-mug warmed up again in its spot on the table.

Little things. Heat suffusing unbreakable ceramic, pouring into his palms. The way Gavin smiled at him sometimes, sideways and astonished, which was ridiculous because only one of them had once crafted bronze and silver weapons for fellow gods, and that one of them certainly wasn’t Nate.

When he took a sip, the renewed warmth felt like a kiss.

 
The world-building and connection between Nate and Gavin suffused this story with a rush like a great cup of coffee on a cold night.

There were several stories adding a lighter blend to the mix with their use of humor. “…And Friday is Formal Day” by Owen James Franks is set at a pair of roadside “bikini” coffee drive-ins, where the narrator learns the secret behind Sexy Devils’ Coffee.

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