Thursday, November 29, 2012

Precognition! (T.C. Blue sees the future!) and a preview of a WIP!


Okay, so this post has two parts that are related to the header.

#1- I predict that my post for the Thursday before X-mas will be comprised of things to do with your leftover X-mas dinner foods! How do I know this? It's a mystery! (Queue spooky OOO-ooo-OOO-oooo music!) Or it may be that I intended to post that on Thanksgiving day and went to prepare some stuff on Wednesday and ended up staying away from home (meaning without 'puter and no access to my docs) until Friday. Just sayin'.

#2- I predict that the WIP I'm currently working on (NOT the Butt Pirates In Spaaaaaaaaace story) will contain a passage that I'm going to include below.

That's right, this is a preview of an unedited, unbetaed, possibly-gonna-be-excised part of my rock star book!

First, a bit of set-up. *grins*

The MCs (main characters):

Andrew Lyon: Mid-to-late 20s, brown hair, brown eyes, sings "like a fucking bird or whatever" (according to Tony Delacourt who was in a band with him back in New Orleans (Sexual Frankenstein from the "Po' Boys" anthology). This is six or so years after his appearance in that story. A year or so after his last mention. Andy is also mentioned in 'Unconventional,' appearing during the scenes where Lucas and Trent are attending a couple awards shows.

Joss Hartwell: Late 20s, blond hair, blue eyes, plays numerous instruments, writes songs, and has done drag. Joss is the younger brother of Jamie Hartwell, and the son of Russell Hartwell. (Jamie and Russell are heroes of 'The One That Was Lost' and 'The One That Stayed', respectively. Joss has been mentioned throughout the One & One series but is only briefly seen towards the end of 'The One That Stayed'.)

There are many secondary characters, some of whom have appeared in other books of mine. Notably Alan, who was a main character in 'Making It Up' (though not one of the main pairing), and was a secondary character in 'Unconventional' as well.

Also as secondary characters, we have the band: Carolan & Killian, who are wicked-hot twins and play guitar and drums, respectively. Mitch, who plays keyboards. They are Andrew Lyon's band, and all of them are gay. Joss was brought in to replace the former bass player who was trying to work a ploy for more money right before a tour. With Joss suddenly on board, the record label, owned by Rob Elgin (also a character from 'Unconventional'), has called a press conference immediately following the first show of the new tour!

And now... on with the preview!

* * *

Andy's entire body was still ringing, buzzing hard enough for at least fifty colonies of bees, vibrating from the sensation of that fucking magic again. The magic Joss had told him not to expect. The magic Andy had been wishing for, even after he'd given up.

But he'd given up too easily, he realized. Given up just because it hadn't happened every time. Given up because he'd really thought it had been Kill-kill stopping it from happening, and he totally owed Killian an apology, though not just for that.

The magic had happened again, was the point, both times with Joss there. Never before, and that had to mean something. Or else it was his suddenly over-active libido telling him that, because Andy had for damned sure never been as hard for anyone, even someone he'd touched before, as he was for Joss right then. It had been bad enough when Joss had hugged him before the show, but after feeling that fucking… Shit, he still couldn't find any word other than magic.

After the magic of the show they'd just finished, Andy couldn't quite manage to look away from Joss. Couldn't stop himself from finding reasons that his own damned rule of not getting involved with band mates was wrong. He wanted Joss, for fuck's sake, and wanted him enough that it felt more like need.

His fingers plucked nervously at the front of his jacket, making sure it was staying closed. If it didn't, he'd be displaying a raging boner for all to see, and there were more than enough cameras in the room, both video and still, that at least one of them would catch sight of Andy's interest. It wouldn't be the first time, granted, but those occasions had been about performing rather than performing with Joss, and there was a difference. To Andy, anyway.

"I was between projects and it was just too good an opportunity to pass up," Andy heard Joss saying. The man's next words had him paying attention, though. "I mean, how could I say no when I was being offered the chance to play with Andrew? He has an amazing voice and he's written some really good songs. I'd have to be a fool to say no to that, right? Besides, I like to travel."

The reporter who'd asked the question laughed and then there was another voice, another query. For Joss again, and while Andy would ordinarily have been surprised by that -- he, Mitch, and the Wonder Twins were all there, as well -- he wasn't right then. Joss was fascinating. It didn't surprise him that the press thought so too.

"We've already addressed the Tad and Merl thing," Joss said to whatever had been asked. Then another question, and "Well, you never know, right? It's not entirely impossible. It isn't likely, though. I'm pretty sure Elgin Records is already putting together a list of bass players to audition. I doubt I'll be a permanent part of Andrew's band." And "No, it's my personal bass. I've had it for years. The heart-shaped one, I mean. Not the others. Those ones are new. I prefer mine, to be honest, but it's just not possible to keep any sort of stringed instrument in tune for the length of an entire concert. We have great staff, though, so keeping things in tune should be doable."

The questions went on and on, though after the first fifteen minutes or so, a fair number of them were directed to Andy and the other guys. That was a good thing, really, because Andy thought he might come in his spandex if he'd had nothing to do but stand there for the whole forty minutes, just watching Joss charm the entire room.

"Dude," Caro said when they were finally able to leave the green room -- and whoever had decided to stage the media blitz there needed to be fired in the worst way. "That was fucking boring. But did you see that one guy's face when Joss introduced himself? Seriously, it was like he wasn't even here for the show, he looked so fucking shocked. Then he was all 'how did you get Joss Hartwell' twenty minutes later, when he finally got to speak. Like we're crap and can't have someone even better than that fucker Tad. Shithead."

"Stop it." Mitch didn't seem upset as they stopped to collect their things from the wardrobe room, but he sounded tired, which was weird. Andy felt like he could run a marathon, then build a house out of popsicle sticks and duct tape, right then. "It's been a really long day and I'd rather not have to deal with a bunch of complaining right now. Can it wait until we're all cleaned up and on the bus? Please, Caro?"

Kill-kill, who Andy was finally noticing had been sticking much too close to Mitch for comfort -- for Andy's comfort -- chimed in. "Yeah, come on, bro. We just had a kick-ass show, and… what the fuck was that? It never felt like that when we played before, but tonight it was… I don't know how to say it. We need to be like that all the time! It was so good! Can we talk about that instead of George Westfield? He's a hack, anyway. If his dad didn't own Chords and Bars magazine, he wouldn't even be here tonight."

Okay, Andy was starting to think Joss was right about Kill-kill. Well, he'd started to think that earlier, but now that he was actually paying attention to the things Kill-kill said, Andy was much closer to believing Joss over the doctors who had taken care of Killian. Hell, those were the same doctors who'd theorized that Kill-kill would never play drums again, and they'd been completely off base about that, so screw them.

"It was a great show," Joss said, and Andy thought his own heart might have skipped a beat because Joss looked over his shoulder right then and Andy felt the moment when their eyes met. Felt it in his throat, his chest, his groin. "It was amazing. But Mitch is right." Andy was suddenly jealous of Mitch, damn it. "We're sweaty and gross and I need a shower and comfortable clothes for the ride up to San Francisco. If we really want to compare notes on the various media types we just escaped from, we can do it while we're trapped on the tour bus later, right?"

There was a silent moment as they all stopped, then Mitch and the Wonder Twins agreed before continuing down the hall to the outside, doubtless heading for their vehicles. Andy stood still for another few seconds, then bit his lip, released it, and threw caution to the wind.

"So, Richie's waiting for me outside. We could give you a ride back to the Chateau if you don't have a car coming." He knew Joss didn't have a car on order, but Andrew also suspected Joss knew what he was thinking. Feeling. Whatever. "We'd have two and a half hours before we'd need to be on the bus, and Richie can go get my bags from my place while we're at your hotel," he added quickly, just in case it wasn't clear enough.

Joss turned fully, those pale blue eyes intense as they continued to bore into Andy's own. "I'm not sure that's a good idea, Andrew," he said, but there was something in Joss' tone -- a slight shiver that Andy interpreted as uncertainty -- that had him hopeful. "I thought we were on the same page about… interpersonal relations within the band." Still shaky, thank fuck. And strained enough that Andy was fairly sure it wasn't only him feeling the attraction.

"Really?" he asked, instead of snorting or laughing or anything else that would announce exactly what he thought of that argument. "Did you really just say 'interpersonal relations' like we're some kind of corporation or something? Because I'm not feeling very corporate right now, Joss. Are you? Honestly. Are you?"

Joss took a moment. Andy assumed he was thinking about it. Then Joss stepped closer, after taking a deep breath and releasing it.

"I feel like I could explode without a single touch, Andrew," Joss whispered, and the next thing Andy knew, he was pressed up against the painted cinderblock wall just inside the theater's back door. "I feel like I want to fuck you so long and so hard, you'll be screaming my name every time you open your mouth for the next month, even when it's to sing. I feel like whatever the fuck that was when we were on stage tonight isn't even close to how good it'll be when I bury myself balls-deep inside you. That's how I'm feeling, if you really want to know."

Andy didn't have a chance to respond to Joss' words, and that was probably a good thing because he had no idea about what he would have said. He didn't need to say anything, though, because Joss' voice was still lingering on the few inches of air between them when Joss' red-stained mouth closed over Andy's, and Andy… lost himself in the rough, insistent push and pull, the demanding intrusion of Joss' tongue, the undeniable heat that flared within his own body at the first touch of Joss' mouth to his.

Yes. It was thought rather than speech, but that was fine. Joss turned up the intensity somehow, and Andy knew the man could hear him anyway. Hell, he could hardly wait to get to the Chateau, where Joss would actually fulfill the promises Andy really hoped Joss had made.
* * *
 
Again, keep in mind that this is still a work in progress. It has not been beta-read and is entirely unedited. It may not even remain in the final manuscript, assuming the story is even accepted. *grins*
But you've had a sneak peek. That makes you special! :)
Until next week... be excellent to each other and always find the sexy in everything you do! *mwahs*

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Influences


I know what you're thinking. What in the world are the guys from JAWS doing on this blog? Well I plan to post for a bit about influences and this, more than a lot of things, defined my view of the world when I was young.

My Dad took me and my sister to see the movie when it first came out in the theater. I was nine, she was seven, so that gives you an idea of the fossil that I am. But the point is is that from that time to now, me and the water have not been close. I lived in Hawaii for goodness sakes, it's sort of counter-productive to be afraid to swim if you live there. But while everyone else was out splashing around, I thought of Hooper and him talking about people swimming lining up to be a hot lunch. These are the things that stick with you.When I was older I watched the movie again and then again and while I will never be near the number of times my husband saw Star Wars (heehee) I have seen it enough times to get it.

There is, in the movie, the kind of showing versus telling and subtle male bonding that I am working to get better at. Not so much with Quint, he is shaped by experiences too horrifying to come back from, he's really not capable of bonding, but between Brody and Hooper. They are so different, the big city cop running away from crime and corruption to a picturesque life and the very rich save-the-planet guy who came to help when he was called. I love Hooper's arrival because he gives the chief factual back-up and the chief gives him muscle. I like the idea of the characters each building up the other. There's a scene later on on the boat when Quint and Hooper are comparing scars. They both have bite marks and at one point Brody lifts his shirt to look at the mark on his stomach. Without any back story we get it, it's a bullet wound and that story of life and death would make all the others pale in comparison. And later Quint tells a horrible true story and its important to the movie but in that moment where the chief says nothing, we learn a lot about his character. He's the show not tell guy, he's the one who makes his heart known through his actions not his words. Hooper appreciates the strength in the silence and they become friends because of that. All the subtleties of the movie are what makes it great. Its as amazing as much for what you don't see as what you do. I love movies like that but even more, I love books like that.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Friday Ranting


I really hate shopping on Black Friday.

My dislike begins with the modern day version of jousting that masquerades as parking as ten vehicles vie for the single spot left in the lot (even though my indicator is on, and I've been sitting there waiting for an hour for the little blue-haired old lady currently in the spot to get her scrawny, wrinkled ass in gear and back out), and steadily grows stronger through the elbow-jabbing, foot-stomping, vulgarity-spewing tantrums in the store aisles (Get your hands off my Furby, you monosyllabic neanderthal in stretch pants! I had it first!).

This year, I was particularly annoyed, not by the rude consumers (although, okay, yes, they annoyed me, too), but by the shrewdly worded sales ads. It occurred to me as I read them that consumers must've caught on to the games advertisers play with Black Friday sales ads in previous years - you know, advertising a fabulous price for an item but only have three of those items in stock.This year, the ads were positively cunning in their wording.

For example, one store touted that certain items would "be in stock for one hour, guaranteed." Right. Except what they didn't tell you was that you had to get in a mega-line  that twisted and winded its way out of the store and into the next county in order to get a ticket to purchase the item. So, if the item went on sale at 8:00, and you were in line but didn't get your ticket until 9:00, guess what? No item for you. The hour guarantee was up.

That same store began piling Black Friday merchandise on pallets and stacking them in the aisles on Wednesday, with polite little signs that read, "Black Friday Sale Items: Please Do Not Open." Yeah, that's like dangling raw steak in a tiger's cage and asking the tiger to eat fucking cabbage instead.  Not gonna happen. No sooner did the pallet hit the ground than consumers were ripping them open with their teeth and nails and fighting over the contents. The winners shoved their prizes into their carts and went in search of a "hiding place" where they felt their could stash the item safely for now, then retrieve it on Friday when the sale started. Sheesh.

Another store advertised terrific prices on items "after special savings." Special savings? Oh...you mean rebates. Oh, you clever, clever advertisers! You see, consumers don't like the word "rebate." They don't like to be forced to write all their personal information, familial history, and blood types down on a tiny piece of paper, making sure nothing is misspelled and all the i's are dotted and t's crossed, then staple it to a receipt along with proof of purchase, birth certificate, and quite possibly the little finger of your first born child, and, after affixing enough postage to pay the national debt of a small country, mailing it to AssEnd, Antarctica, then waiting either six to eight weeks or Armageddon, whichever comes first, in order to get a check for ten bucks. Knowing this, advertisers shrewdly changed the word "rebate" to "special savings." Because we consumers are morons and won't catch on until it's too late and we're painstakingly writing the address to AssEnd, Antarctica on an envelope.

Then, another store started putting  items up at the sale price online before the Black Friday sale began! Oh, and they didn't tell anyone they were going to do it until just before they did it, and then they only told their Savings Club members via email. So here were all the rest of the shoppers, shivering in line instead of eating their Thanksgiving turkey, sharpening their elbows and practicing clotheslining each other, hoping to fight their way through the crowd to get the one special item little Timmy most wanted for Christmas, when all they really had to do was go online, point, and click.

Don't even get me started on the Black-Friday-Now-Starts-On-Freaking-Thanksgiving thing. Although I'm not bitching about the sales people who have to work the holiday. Nope. Sorry. As someone who worked years in the themeparks, and who has family members that still work there, and who has other family members who work as waiters, waitresses, and bartenders, I'm totally used to working  or having my family work ALL the holidays. Nobody's ever boycotted DisneyWorld because the castmembers are forced to work on Thanksgiving. Or Christmas, Or New Years, or...you get the idea.

I do think it's horrid of the stores to stick their big, fat, greedy fingers in our Thanksgiving Day turkey, though. Really, is nothing sacred anymore? Not even our national day of gluttony, football, and belching on the sofa?

Ugh. I really detest Black Friday.







 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Show Me the Funny


someecards.com
I like to write dark. I like to write a little angsty. A man ends an abusive relationship and thinks about ending himself, as well (Amor Prohibido). The last remaining vampire on earth is not just starving for blood, but for love and companionship (Immortal Valentine). There's a little humor thrown in so that God willing nobody gets mired too deep in the muck, and everyone kisses and makes up at the end, but still... Chuck Wendig (wanna be an author? Read him.) advises pouring all of your fears, your insecurities, and of course your pain into your writing...and in the spirit of NaNo I've been doing that shit hard-core, at the speed of many thousands of words per day. Not my usual tortoise-like output. At the end of the evening, I can have a mental mess on my hands.

So today I share with you some of the ways I get my giggle on:

  • Husbands - Written by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson (and featuring the insanely hot Sean Hemeon), this bite-sized web comedy features fresh humor and heart-warming romance. It is now also available in comic book form. Find out more at LoveHusbands.com and the GoCheeksGo YouTube channel. You can also find my recent Husbands comic review, at I smell Sheep
  • College Humor - This humorous video site is all kinds of wrong. Wrong in the good way. The Batman riffs are pretty damn entertaining, and of course there's that one about how gay men will marry straight guys' girlfriends
  • SomeECards - I shudder to think how much I've procrastinated on this site. You know you've got a solid friendship with someone when you can take the leap of sending them one (or more than one) of these babies with the subject heading "Saw this and thought of you."
  • Clumsy Thumsy - The Ellen Show's Clumsy Thumbsy segments and Damn You AutoCorrect are possibly my favorite guilty pleasures. I like the show better because it's edited for maximum hilarity and I can (ha!)  multitask while I listen. I haven't laughed so hard since that time I accidentally grabbed a computer nerd's crotch in the middle of a crowded hallway. 
There are more, many more, but those are my big, favorite ways to break out out of my funk and get silly. Sometimes you gotta, and they say laughter is good for the soul. What are yours? No, wait. Don't tell me, I have to get back to work. Mary Calmes is cracking the whip at me...

by Ellis Carrington

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Crazy is for Writers and Serial Killers


This should come as no surprise to anyone, but I'm a little crazy.

I need to be in order to write, and I doubt I'm the only one. Think about it - writers spend most of their time lost in fictional worlds made up inside their heads. They hear voices, and see people and places that don't exist outside the confines of their medulla oblongata.

When I write, it's as if someone else is taking over my body, using my fingers to type. I go into an almost fugue state, where time ceases to have meaning. Hours will pass without my notice. I don't hear anything except the action going on inside my head. Seriously, Channing Tatum could be spinning naked from my ceiling fan and I probably wouldn't notice.

Probably. I'd like to test that theory, actually.

But I digress.

Do you know who else uses mental fugue states in order to get a job done? Who else listens to the voices in their heads? Who else feels as if someone is taking over their bodies?

Serial killers.

Scary, huh? The parallels between crazy-writer and crazy-hockey-mask-wearing-fiend are interesting, in a disturbing, urban legend kind of way.You know, like the one about the person who had a spider lay eggs in her ear and never knew until they hatched, and a bajillion baby spiders came swarming out. Creepy.

We, as in serial killers and writers, both compartmentalize. We can seem like pleasant, sweet, perfectly normal people when we need to be, but when the "fiend" takes over, when we're working, we will snarl and howl and possibly throw things if you dare interrupt our process. 

We both don't like to take responsibility for our actions. When we miss a deadline, we blame the characters in our story, not ourselves. "He refused to talk to me," or "My guys are not cooperating."  How many editors have heard that one?  

We don't like to have our fantasies challenged either. "What do you mean, no rational human being would run naked through the mall on Christmas Eve with a sprig of holly hanging out of his ass? What do you mean, no two men would have wild, kinky sex on a carousel during the Zombie Apocalypse? It makes perfect sense to me. You just don't have my vision, that's all."

Yeah, how many editors have heard that one, too?

Anyway, if you happen to see me staring at my keyboard with a blank, vacant look in my eyes, my fingers flying over the keys, you might not want to disturb me. Not without riot gear and a taser, that is.

I'm crazy that way. 










Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday! And I'm so not prepared! Haha!


That's right, guys. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I am, once again, SO not ready with a coherent blog post.

Instead, I'm going to share something I saw in my parking lot the other day, just because it amuses me. (I'll not be averse to discussion, just so you know!) *grins*

Oh, and for the record? I do want one of these.

 
For those interested in this bumper sticker or a variety of other snarky/sarcastically toned items, pls check out http://www.carryabigsticker.com/index.htm Just sayin'. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

New Release: The One Who Saves Me by Cardeno C.



Happy Monday, y'all. Today is the release day for The One Who Saves Me so I'll use this blog post to tell you a bit about the book and where you can find it.
Here's the blurb:
At fourteen, Andrew Thompson and Caleb Lakes become best friends. As the years pass, they stand by each other through family trauma, school, and the start of their careers. They share their first sexual experiences as friends, learning and experimenting. And they talk each other through countless dates and breakups. Decades of trust and loyalty build a deep and abiding friendship —until Andrew suffers a tragedy. Caleb moves in with him, and the parameters of their unique relationship blur. 
Wrestling with feelings he can’t articulate, Andrew spirals into self-loathing. Caleb struggles to help his friend heal, but he longs for more than Andrew can give him. After so many years, neither man knows how to break out of his established role. After all, boyfriends come and go, but best friends are forever.


Click here for the paperback. (The first 20 copies are autographed.)

Click here for the ebook. (If you use a Kindle, you can send the .mobi or .prc version to your Kindle and it'll be compatible or you can use the send-to-Kindle button once the book is on your bookshelf.)

I also want to let you know that the rest of the books in my Home series are now available as audiobooks. You can find them all here (along with my other books).

Finally, I want to take the opportunity to thank you very much for supporting my writing. You purchases and recommendations to friends and positive reviews/ratings have given me the opportunity to do something I truly love and I'm immensely grateful. Thank you.
CC
www.cardenoc.com

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Serious Business!!! (says T.C. Blue - haha!)


Hey there, everyone, and thanks for stopping by! *grins*

First let me say thank you to the lovely Kiernan Kelly for posting today to share information about the Torquere Charity Sip Blitz. As she said, the organization reaping the benefits of this years charity endeavor is the NOH8 Campaign. This organization is very near and dear to my heart, and I fully encourage anyone and everyone to go to the Torquere web site and buy the stories! Here's the info on the sip blitz, copied from Torquere:

For 2012-2013, Torquere's authors have chosen the theme "Leather Bound" in honor of Torquere’s ninth anniversary. The ninth is traditionally the leather anniversary, what better theme to let GLBTQ writers go wild. The charity which will benefit from this year’s Charity Blitz is NOH8, whose mission is to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest. More than twenty five authors have written short fiction pieces and have agreed to donate all proceeds of the sales of these stories to this year's charitable organization. Torquere Press Inc. will match the authors' donations completely.

And the link, just in case: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=79_111

Okay, so now to move on to the 'serious business' portion of this post (not that the sip blitz isn't serious business, of course).

This past Tuesday was election day here in the US. I'm sure everyone reading this blog already knows which way I voted and how happy I am to say that this wonderful country's citizens elected the man who *I* believe to have been the right choice. (Okay, could that sentence have been any more awkward? *ponders* No... no, I think not.) Tuesday also saw the majority of voters of my home state, Maryland, support marriage equality, and that makes me just as happy. So on the whole, Tuesday night (more like Wednesday morning, crazy early) was a good one. It seems as though the United States is moving forward, and that's something that makes me smile.

Now, I'm not going to go on and on about politics or the election (I do have some fairly wachy conspiracy theories that I might share at a later date, but that would be then and this is definitely now). Instead, I'm going to link to a few youtube videos that I found amusing this past week or so. I hope you guys will like them, and I'll see you next week! :D

Chris Rock on Obama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDxOSjgl5Z4

Joss Whedon speaks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TiXUF9xbTo

Will Ferrell makes you an offer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rGaE5je7vE

Aaaaaannndddd... just because this makes me giggle, Romney Bad Lip Reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5i3F0YnkP0&feature=related

Have a good day, guys, and thanks for visiting the Cafe! :)

Torquere Charity Sip Blog Hop - Counting Down by Kiernan Kelly


First, thank you to the incomparable Tc Blue, who generously allowed me to blog on her day (since I had a brain freeze and forgot to on Tuesday, my day on the blog). Thanks, Tc!

Every year Torquere Press puts together a collection of short stories to benefit a charity. The authors donate their royalties, and both Torquere and Rainbow Ebooks match the donation. Thanks to the generosity of our readers, we've raised thousands of dollars for several very worthy charities.

  • This year, the charity chosen was NoH8, and the story I wrote for it was called "Counting Down." In it, my hero, Jackson, suffers discrimination and bullying in the workplace because of his sexual orientation. Here's an excerpt from "Counting Down.

EXCERPT:

Well, fuck!

Jackson slammed his fist onto the top of his desk. He was sick of this shit - tired, and fed right the fuck up with it! He was tired of office politics, of always being the last man on the corporate totem pole. He was tired of wearing suits every fucking day, the conservative haircut, the leather briefcase, but he was particularly sick of Simpson and his petty tyranny. Tears burned at the corners of his eyes as he stared at the phone. He had a call to make, and the thought of doing it was making him feel physically ill. After five years together, Alex deserved better than this.

"Hey, hon!" Alex sounded so damned cheerful, so full of excitement and love and happiness, he just might burst from the internal pressure of it all. "I picked up your blue suit from the dry cleaners. Oh, and I asked Melly-Next-Door to watch Whizzer and Pizzer for us tonight."

Melly-Next-Door was their pet name for Melinda Carson, the bubbly fourteen year-old daughter of their next-door neighbors, Jim and Lucy, and Alex and Jackson's favorite sitter. Whizzer and Pizzer were their six-year old pet schnauzers, so named for their habit of peeing on everything and everyone in sight as puppies.

"Oh, okay. Um, listen, Alex, I've got some bad news."

There was a moment of frozen silence. "Please don't tell me you have to work tonight!"

"I'm really sorry--"

"But it's Valentine's Day! We have reservations..."

"I know, I know! I tried to get out of it. I swear I did." His voice cracked with shame and guilt, and the tears slipped his control. He was only glad no one remained in the office to see them. It would've only made things worse. He balled a fist and pressed it to the center of his forehead, hating himself for letting his boss get to him again.

"That bastard, Simpson, again?"

"Yeah."

"What did he call us this time?" The exasperation Alex felt was clear in his voice, and matched Jackson's to perfection.

"Fudgepackers."

"Funny guy. I'd like to pack something up his ass that involves explosives and a short fuse."

"I'll light the match."

Alex snorted. "What time do you think you'll get out of there?"

"I'll probably be stuck here until eight, at least."

Jackson felt Alex's long, deep sigh as another arrow of guilt straight to his heart. "Okay. It'll be too late to make Le Cirque, but I'll whip up something for us to eat here, and we can have a nice, quiet evening together. I've got a bottle of that good Cabernet I've been saving."

"You are too good for me. Seriously, your halo is blinding me right now, angel."

Alex chuckled. "Aw, shut up and get to work."

"See you later?"

"I'll be the naked guy holding the glass of Cabernet at the front door."


***

You can find "Counting Down" and the rest of the Torquere Charity Sips here!



Monday, November 5, 2012

Contests by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday, y'all. Today I want to let you know about a couple of opportunities to win my books. 

Lasha's Reviews is giving away several paranormal books, including a copy of Wake Me Up Inside: http://lashasreviews.blogspot.com/.




Stumbling Over Chaos is going to give away a copy of my upcoming release, The One Who Saves Me. The contest information will go live tomorrow here: http://www.stumblingoverchaos.com/archives/21874.



The Romance Reviews is having a huge event starting in a couple of weeks with hundreds of giveaways, including one of my books. You can see the list of participating authors, etc. here: http://www.theromancereviews.com/event.php.




www.cardenoc.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

One Star Out of Five – Part One – by BG Thomas



We've all seen it, and a bunch of us have experienced it. A bad review.
Now I am not here to tell you that my writing is so excellent that it is comparable only to Twain, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Fitzgerald. Not at all! God, no! 
As a matter of fact, I've learned some valuable lessons on writing from mediocre reviews. They can be valuable, teaching me and helping me refine my craft. For instance, a story that I just knew had a great twist ending was seen coming from a mile off by every reader who has read it. It taught me to be more subtle. A character that I thought was sad was considered whiney by a lot of readers. It taught me to be more careful when creating a character who's been through tough times. No one wants to write a whiney character! 

I am not somehow above a less than spectacular review and I try and learn from them. 
On the other hand, a reviewer once knocked me down on her review because they had an "aversion to toe sucking." I was like, WTF? 
That is NOT why you knock off points on a review. You knock it down because of bad characterization or loose plotting or bad research. Not because you don’t like the way two characters have sex. And toe sucking? I wasn’t writing scat play for goodness sake! 
Now understand, my heroes had cleaned out a stable earlier in the story--but it was much earlier! And they didn’t do it barefoot. And they’d showered since then. I implied they showered only hours before making love. These weren't rank, nasty, gross feet. And anyone who has ever had their toes actually sucked on would heartily disagree with the reviewer! LOL! And yes, I do love to suck toes.

Another thing that often confuses me, and has been something else that has had my stories get knocked down lots of stars, is when my heroes fuck without a condom. 
Let me tell you something you might not know. Men are not whiney when they say they don't want to wear one. Condoms suck, and not in a good way. They really are like wearing a raincoat in a shower. Even the best of them block so much of the feeling and unless you are turned on to the nines, it's hard to cum with one on.  

This doesn't mean I don't wear them when I've had sex. In this day and age they are a sad necessity. I've managed to get to this ripe old age without contracting HIV and I want to keep it that way. But my husband and I don't use them with each other. A great thing about commitment. We will have been together twelve years next week and we test once or twice a year. We don't have to use them with each other. Thank God. Because condoms are worse than sand in your underwear, a tornado on your wedding day, or accidentally picnicking on a hill of fire ants.  

They suck Blue Whale dick.

When I read a romance, I am reading for fantasy. I am reading to escape. I am reading to watch first love or new love for someone who stopped believing in romance. And when I finally get to the sex scene, the LAST thing I want to read is the two of them stopping some beautiful and hot love making to find a condom, open it, and put it on. Something awful has happened. Real life has interfered with these two men and now they are separated by a piece of latex.  

What is one of the best things about love making? For me it is skin against skin. lips touching, fingers entwining or running the length of their lover's body. Legs rubbing against legs, chests crushing up against each other. Imagine your body covered in latex before you make love. Would you like it? Of course not. 

In real life, until you KNOW the status of your lover and unless you are monogamous, we must wear condoms.

But in fantasy? Hey! I already know you don't get shot dead and then wake up in another man's body in 1942 and finally find the man of your dreams. You don’t get abducted by a sexy humanoid alien. You don’t get captured by red Indians and rescued by a hot cowboy. It is fantasy. And in fantasy I don't want my heroes to have to wear a condom. It brings the story to a HALT for me.
I want to believe there are worlds where we all find the perfect man, we are always sexually compatible, we can take a vampire or a werewolf as a lover, we can travel through space and time, we can make love with a clean and fit pirate AND we don't have to wear condoms!
Sometimes my characters don’t wear condoms. As a matter of fact, whenever I can think of a way so they don’t have to wear them, they don’t.
Surprisingly I’ve been told the not-wearing-of-condoms yanks a person out of a story as much as the wearing of them yanks me out of a story.
To tell you the truth, I have no idea why. I’ve asked too.
Maybe one day, I’ll find out why this issue is so important to the other side of the issue.
Namaste,
BG Thomas,
Next Week:  Cheating

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Welcome to the Weird (T.C. Blue's week in review)


Well, as most of you know, I live in Maryland, which was right in the path of the lovely *rolls eyes* Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. What you may not know is just how incredibly hysterical people around here get over weather. (To be fair, we don't get hurricanes often, so consider, if you will, that the threat of this sort of weather here is like telling the state of Florida or Louisiana that they're about to get a foot of snow.)

There was much rushing about for many in my neighborhood. Groceries, water, gasoline, batteries. Me? I bought some coke and hot pockets and called it a day. I don't think there will ever be a storm so bad I'll need to have 80 rolls of toilet paper. Just saying.

So Sandy came... sort of. We got a bunch of wind and a few days of truly depressing rainy/drizzly/steady wetness. My power went out for about two minutes. No big, right? In fact, it was so little big, I was inclined to start with the inappropriate humor (cuz that's just how I roll). Then I started seeing stories about people who'd died and other horrible effects of the storm and decided it was WAY too soon to start being a smart ass. Smart-assery will come, and when it does it will likely involve Grease in some way. Heh.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering how this qualifies as weird, and perhaps it doesn't in any way other than the most important one. I'm restaining my automatic impulse to be irreverent and crass. That might actually be a sign of the apocalypse.

There's actually a whole bunch of other strange things I could mention, but I'm not sure those things are weird to anyone but me. Haha!

Hope you all, wherever you are, survived the week relatively unscathed.

Until next time, Love and stuff!