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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.

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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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Starstuck

I’m very excited to tell you all that I had a story accepted into DreamSpinner Press’ anthology Starstruck. Release date is early September and I’ll have more information for you as the day draws nearer.

In line with my themes of geekery and miscellany, I put a nerdy twist on the anthology’s subject of celebrity romance that I hope you’ll enjoy.  And I put a cat in a story for the first time. (Pretty amazing it took me this long!)

These are not my cats, but don't they look like adorable trouble?

These are not my cats, but don’t they look like adorable trouble?

The summer can be a tough time for writing for me since I’d rather be outside than in front of a computer, but we’ll see.  I’ll definitely give you all another taste of my flash fiction in the near future.

Happy summertime!

Vintage cat image from The Graphics Fairy

Flash Fiction: Moonlight Run

I’m taking a flash fiction course. One of the prompts was “Transformation.”  If you’ve followed my work, you know I have shifters of a couple different species. But for this prompt, I went with the classics:

Transformation Prompt:  Moonlit Run

The moon roared in Anne’s ears like a white noise generator.  Days ago, it was a purr, then a hum, now this disconcerting static as it hovered, full, in the evening sky.

Derek hadn’t wanted to bite her.  Some people who shifted never changed back, he warned.  In the modern era, it was too complicated.

“But if you really loved me, you’d want to run with me,” she’d pouted.

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Another year, Another #porncamp

Hello all, and welcome (more or less) to Spring here in Boston!

Since I last wrote, Owen Franks posted an interview with me about last year’s Coffee: Hot anthology.  And I have a new story coming out, hopefully this summer, in a new Circlet Press anthology, Like a Spell: Erotic Stories of Wizards.  My story in Like a Spell is set in the same world as the story in Coffee: Hot but with all new characters.

To get a preview of the new story, you can hear me reading the first scene as part of the Nobilis Erotica podcast (I’m about 20 minutes in).  As soon I have a release date or any other news, I’ll share it here.

Circlet Press hosts an author/editor retreat every April in Cambridge, MA, and this year I was able to attend the whole thing.  You can search #porncamp on twitter for highlights from my fellow attendees. A few things that stuck in my mind:

  1. I was finally able to play the party card game Slash: Romance without Borders.  Yes, I’m putting the “porniest” of the porncamp activities first.  As a slash fiction fan, I’d wanted to play this game since I heard about it and had a great time.  It was the perfect geeky and romance/sex-positive crowd to play with. (Mr. Spock with Professor Moriarty?  What do you think of that pairing?)
  2.  Got some amazing writing tips from Annabeth Leong and ShariAnn Lewitt.   Annabeth shared her technique for identifying and organizing scenes for a short story or novel and I can’t wait to try it on an upcoming project (imagine index cards all over the rug and cats sniffing them and kicking them around just when I think I’m done).  ShariAnn described how to add description to set the time/place/season to creatively orient the reader. Definitely advice I will keep in mind.
  3. Laura Antoniou, author of The Marketplace series, gave tips on writing a series.  Since I have ideas for an erotic fantasy series, this was very useful and timely information.

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Sci-fi and Spice and… An Interview with Greer Thompson

“His Name was Pumpkin Spice” is Greer Thompson’s contribution to the Coffee: Hot anthology. I loved this science fiction tale in which a spy’s trip to a safe house takes an unexpectedly sexy turn. Greer was kind enough to answer some of my emailed questions. Find out more about him at http://www.humming-rain.com/greer-thompson.

"Pumpkin Latte Art"How did you come up with the idea and the setting?

I’m honestly not too sure, it just came to mind. Which I realize is a terrible answer! I started with the idea of spies undercover, flavoring a drink with fragments of memories and sensations, a night in the rain, threw in the layout of a coffee shop I knew, and just worked from there. I’m a bit of a seat-of-the-pants writer when it comes to plot and worldbuilding, and that was the case here, as well.

Will we see more of Turner’s adventures in the future?  Or Spice’s?

I’ve been toying with the idea. I really enjoyed both characters. They’re fun to write, and I like how they contrast each other. It could make for some interesting stories. But I think part of what works with this story is its implication of the bigger world, of adventures past and future and the interstellar conflict that employs the two main characters. If I wanted to do more stories with Turner and Spice, I’d need to flesh that out a lot, and I’d want to be careful to make it worthy of the implications set up in this story. I think it’d a fun challenge, though, especially if I managed keep the lighthearted tone of Pumpkin Spice, at least somewhat, so maybe I’ll give it a crack someday.

One of the aspects of the world I enjoyed were the deliberate anachronisms.  Nano-technology and brain implants, set against a rather typical coffee shop complete with chipped cups.  How did you decide on these details?

I wanted a setting that felt approachable, like it was, more or less, a coffee shop. Most of the science fiction I write is set on spaceships, or other places where the technology and the futurism of the setting takes front and center. With this story I wanted there to be hints of the sci-fi world beyond the scope of the story, but not to delve into it too much. To that end I decided to include the nano-tech coffee machine and the brain implants, as they’re essential to the action, but to try and keep the rest of it low-key as far as the fancy technology, and see what I could do with those constraints. I also wanted to make a lot of this setting feel like it could be plausible sooner in the future rather than later, which meant I wanted to limit the tech level of the coffee shop a fair bit.

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(Not) Hanging with the Cool Kids

Last Sunday some of the Coffee: Hot authors and editor Victoria Pond took to the internet in a Google Hangout.  Sadly, I couldn’t join them, but here it is for your viewing pleasure.  Among other tidbits, it contains some previews of the information Greer Thompson has shared with me in an interview which will be posted next week.  Enjoy!

Next up on the Blog Tour:  Owen Franks interviews me!  I’ll post the link when it’s available.

The Coffee: Hot blog tour begins

Want more info about the stories in Coffee: Hot?  Want to get to know the authors better?  Six of the contributors to the anthology are interviewing each other over the next several weeks.

First up, K.L. Noone interviews Django Wexler. Topics include the fantasy genre, working in coffeeshops, post-graduation worries, and Andy Weir’s The Martian.  Enjoy!

Coffee:  Hot cover

Coffee: Hot cover

Coffee: Hot News and My Media Reviews

coffee_hot_cover_final_400

Hope you all are having a wonderful summer.  The Coffee: Hot Anthology is due out on August 4th, and here is the cover!  I love it, don’t you?

 I’ll be participating in a blog tour in which six of the authors in the anthology interview each other.  I’m looking forward to that and I’ll be posting more about it as the interviews start coming in.  I’ve never been interviewed about my writing before (or about much of anything – job interviews don’t count).

In between getting ready for the release and working on the first draft of a new story, I’ve been entertaining myself with a couple of things that might be of interest:

Book:  Puxhill by Night:  Lesbian Erotic Urban Fantasy, by Michael M. Jones.  Published by Circlet Press, 2015

I love connected short stories, and Jones’ eight stories all take place in Puxhill, a city where bartenders rub elbows (and other body parts) with goddesses, innkeepers cast spell from ancient books, and comic book shops come with sexy secrets.  The setting is creative, the characters are real, the sex is hot, and you’ll long for more — and a bus ticket to Puxhill.

Digital/Online:  Sense8, created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski. Netflix streaming.

When eight people from around the world are suddenly connected, able to sense each others’ surroundings and utilize each others’ skills, they have to figure out how to use this synergy and stay one step ahead of mysterious forces who want to disable or destroy them.

I want to call this the “queerest show on television,” but it’s not on TV.  The show starts with two characters in same-sex relationships (including a trans woman in a lesbian relationship), and the sensory connections between the eight blur some characters’ sexuality further as the season progresses.

In some ways Sense8 reminds me of the first season of “Heroes,” but it’s much more character focused as each of the eight deal with personal challenges in their lives that are sometimes simplified and sometimes complicated by their new abilities.  If you enjoyed the philosophical and religious musings as much as the action in Babylon 5, or loved the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas film, get yourself a Netflix subscription (there’s a free month trial), and try Sense8. The entire twelve episodes of the first season are available.