Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whips, and Floggers, and Ball Gags, Oh My!


Well, it's certainly been a while since last I posted to the blog, but I've been a very busy little camper. I went on a week-long, and much-needed cruise with the hubs a couple of weeks ago, where I totally unplugged from the world - no cellphones, no Internet, no nada. It was...nerve-wracking. I thought it would be relaxing, but no...all I could do was think about everything I should be doing - edits, writing, gathering promo for an upcoming convention, and so forth.

We sailed Royal Caribbean on the Oasis of the Sea, one of their largest cruise ships. We visited Haiti, Jamaica (first time we were back there since our honeymoon 31 years ago!), and Cozumel, and had a great time when I wasn't worrying about work. We didn't spend much time on Haiti, since aside from the beach, a roller coaster, and a market, there really wasn't much to do. The island is still hurting severely from the earthquake, and tourists aren't allowed beyond a very tiny portion of the island. On Jamaica we visited a crocodile sanctuary where the famous crocodile-jumping scene in the James Bond flick,  Live or Let Die was filmed. On Cozumel, we visited Mayan ruins and spent a few hours on the beach, although the water was too chilly to swim.

I got to make up for that by taking advantage of the hot tubs aboard ship. Man, if I could've slipped one into my purse, I so would've smuggled it ashore and put it in my yard.

Anyway, once I got home, I dove right into the work I'd worried about while I was gone. It's only now that I have a breather and am able to post here. Even so, I've still got a ton of work on the horizon, including finishing up a couple of novels and shorts I've got in the works.

On that front, the anthology I edited (and wrote a story for), Fifty Gays of Shade, has a cover and a release date! Yay! It'll be released on February 13th, 2013 through Torquere Press. I'll post a buy link as soon as it goes live in a couple of weeks.

Here's the cover:

Hot, huh?

With 17 sizzling stories by some of the most talented writers in the genre, this is a collection I'm very proud of, and excited about! The unique thing about this anthology is that, while every story is a stand alone and features new and unique characters written in each author's distinctive voice, they all take place at a BDSM club called Shady Business, and feature at least a walk-on by my character, the owner of the club, Grey Shade.

Whether you like your BDSM playful or rough, and your stories light or angsty, there's something for everyone in this anthology.

Here's the foreward, written by moi, as an introduction to the club and the book.



You walk in the door.


Music is pounding, the bass thrumming deep in your bones, awakening primal urges you didn't even know you had. Even with the loud music, you imagine you can still hear the more delicate sounds of flesh slapping flesh, of leather striping skin. The lights are pulsing, flashes of color briefly painting the walls, floor, and people with rainbow colors. You take a deep breath to still your jangly nerves, and inhale a lungful of air. Your nose fills with the warm scent of leather mixed with the heady aromas of men and sex. The testosterone in the air is so thick you may need a machete to cut through it to reach the other side of the room.


Welcome to Shady Business, the hottest gay BDSM club in town. 


There's Grey Shade, the owner, standing over by the bar. He's the Dom wearing black leather, his handsome face creased with a smirk that drives a spike of lust deep into your balls. Well-built, in his prime, he's a man whose every move screams sex and dominance. Your ass burns just looking at him, your imagination filling in all the erotic details of your instant fantasy.


Come in, have a drink. Whatever your fancy, whatever you're seeking, whatever your needs may be, you'll find what you're looking for here. Dom or sub, top or bottom, the Yin to your Yang is waiting just beyond the Member's Only door. 


Don't worry. You won't leave unsatisfied. 


At Shady Business, no good deed ever goes unpunished.




Monday, January 28, 2013

Something in the Way He Needs by Cardeno C. is Available for Preorder




Happy Monday! My exciting news today is that my next book, Something in the Way He Needs, has a release date (February 25th) and is now available for preorder. Although this book has much of the same feel as my others, I think it's a bit more intense. At least that was my goal. I hope you'll let me know what you think after you read it.

Here is the ebook link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3599.

Here is the paperback link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3600. (Note that the first 20 copies are autographed.)

Here is the blurb:

Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being the man in charge, and leather bars satisfy his need for dominance—so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs. 

The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, so Asher invites Daniel home. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. With all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. But if Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.

CC
www.cardenoc.com


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Flash Fiction: Death on the Farm



This week's flash fic finds us at a dude ranch - hope you enjoy. Love, Ellis


Theo Stone was… perplexed. "A dude ranch, Shawn? Seriously?"

He looked out from the porch of his little guest cabin, at the idyllic but surreal place his ex owned. While a few small houses dotted the landscape, it was mostly green grass as far as the eye could see. Rolling hills, green freaking grass, and cows. Holee shit the cows. A little lake shimmered in the distance. Quiet. Pretty. Nothing like the view from his Georgetown condo.

He eyed Shawn, whose appearance was also a little hard to reconcile. When last Theo had seen him, he'd been the very model of your stereotypical physical trainer with his muscles and his spandex. Theo’d liked the spandex. They’d had a brief thing, but Shawn was way too sweet and way too young. They’d had little in common outside the gym and the bedroom.

Now, as he frowned and leaned against a wood post on the porch, Shawn was almost a different person. Jeans and a flannel shirt hugged his solid body, and the cowboy hat and tan made the guy look like something out of a movie. His boots were worn and muddy, like he actually worked in them and didn't just prance around with them on because they were stylish.

"I know, and Mama would be rolling in her grave if she only knew, but frankly I need the extra money." The Texas drawl in Shawn's voice wasn't heavy, but clear enough that Theo had to wonder how he'd never noticed it during their time together in DC. "Which is why I called you, Theo. We’re in trouble if word gets out about these deaths."

Theo grimaced and shook his head. "You know I can't investigate in any kind of official capacity."

"Yeah, yeah, you keep saying that." Well, that nasty eye-roll of his hadn't changed. "Look, I already told you the police are investigating. Just hang out and enjoy your stay here like the rest of the folks, and if you happen to notice anything, you know..."

Yeah, Theo got the picture.

"Yeah, well, I'm here." Theo looked down at himself. The jeans and checked shirt weren't too far out in left field, but the boots and massive belt buckle made him cringe. "And I look like a doofus. Anything else is just gravy."

A gentle kiss and soft stubble bruhed across his cheek as Shawn stepped off the porch. “You needed a vacation anyway. You don’t slow down, one of these days, you’re gonna have a heart-attack.” To complete the look of shame, he dropped a straw cowboy hat onto Theo’s head and patted it gently. “Now be sure to wear the hat. You burn easy, and you’re not used to the Texas sun.”

Crimeny. “First vacation in five years I’m in the middle of fixing someone else’s problems,” he muttered to himself. What was he even doing here? As Shawn walked away, strong shoulders and lean hips rolling easily, blond hair shining in the sun, Theo supposed he knew.

-
At the end of his first full day at the Judge’s Bend ranch, Theo couldn’t figure for the life of him why folks did this for fun. His ass hurt from trail riding, and his knees and calves were bruised from one too many failed attempts at roping a wily young goat named Peanut. Apparently goats were what children and dumbass city slickers learned on before moving up to learning how to rope a steer. Lucky for Theo, a couple of Korean ladies – and who the hell flew all the way from another continent to do this shit, anyway? – had managed to thoroughly document his public humiliation on film.

Even the part where Peanut’s flailing hooves had connected squarely with Theo’s balls. Two tours in Afghanistan, couldn’t compete with one lousy goat.

Theo had also taken a tour through the bunkhouse and the main house-turned B&B, but no major clues had jumped out at him regarding the two ranch hands who had turned up dead. The police, apparently, weren’t looking too hard beyond ruling the incidents as a tragic accident. Shawn was convinced that old man Tallart from the next piece of property over was behind it all. Apparently Tallart was looking to expand his commercial operations, and felt that the space occupied by Shawn’s cattle would be perfect.

“So I hooked up with this buckle bunny last night after the rodeo…”

“Ugh.” Theo rushed past the back porch of the main guest house toward his little cabin by the lake. He had met Bruce “A port in every storm” Carson this morning over huevos and cornbread and had nearly lost his will to live, let alone scarf down Shawn’s delicious fried plantains. And why had Shawn never cooked for him like that when they’d dated? Maybe you never asked. Maybe you never offered to cook for him.

“So, how was your first day?” Shawn sidled up quietly on the guest cabin porch. The familiar hand on Theo’s hip and hot breath on his neck was too perfect.

Theo shook his head. “No offense, Shawn, but if I wanted to feel this abused at the end of the day, I coulda done it without the six-hour flight. I think the only thing saving my sanity is I stopped smelling all the fresh air hours ago.”

Shawn bumped Theo’s hip with his own, giving Theo a buzz of arousal. “You poor baby. Maybe tomorrow you can hang out in the barn and help milking the cows.”

“Just keep me the hell away from Peanut. That asshole goat has my number.”

“Peanut’s a girl, Theo.”

“Whatever, we didn’t exactly exchange pleasantries while the little shit was trying to make me sing soprano.”

Shawn’s laugh was soft and husky. Almost enough to lull Theo to sleep right there on his feet, had they not been throbbing like they had their own pulse.

He gestured toward the main guest house. “What’s the deal with that guy, Bruce?”

Shawn rolled his eyes. “I hired him to help me out with getting our computer systems up to date. Mama’s records are a mess and I think that’s how she wound up on the verge of bankruptcy. Just plain wasn’t keeping track of what was spent. I know, he’s a little sleazy, but I think he means well.”

Theo decided to reserve judgment on that one, as he headed in to lay his aching ass down to sleep.

-

Despite his exhaustion, the deafening peace and quiet made it impossible for Theo to sleep. Ordinarily, the solution would have involved a tumbler of whisky and some Internet porn. He opted for a walk, instead.

As he passed through the grove of trees that lead up to the main house, Theo's ears perked up. Through the rustle of wind and crackle of leaves came the kinds of animal sounds that he usually needed his laptop to find.

"Oh, yeah, hotness, I'm gonna do you so good you're gonna see God..." Holy disgusting crap.

On the damp, shadowy ground, there was Bruce flashing his own full moon while one of the two Korean tourist ladies writhed beneath the man, murmuring what Theo could only assume were her own versions of “Oh yeah, right there, oh baby.”

Theo was so stunned that he nearly missed Tourist Number Two sneaking up behind old Bruce, wielding a rock the size of a shot put.

Nearly.

"No!" Theo tackled Tourist Number Two to the ground, knocking the rock from her hands as he did.

"What the fuck??" Bruce and Tourist Number One were scrabbling to pull clothing back into place while Theo held onto the smaller one. Theo had her pinned, but he was wailing like a banhee and seemed intent on finishing what Peanut had stared. Hell.

"What the hell is going on here? What's all this noise?" Shawn. Glory, hallelujah.

"Call the cops, Shawn." Theo grunted. "I think these ladies were trying to take down old Bruce, here. And I think we might find, that they know about what happened to those ranch hands, too."

When the red and blue lights finally faded and a shaky Bruce was bundled off to his quarters, Shawn and Theo were left alone and shaky under the dark cover of Shawn’s covered porch. “I can’t thank you enough,” Shawn said.

“I didn’t do anything,” Theo yawned. “Just luck. And insomnia.” He chuckled. “Which ain’t gonna get any better after what I saw tonight.”

Shawn laced his fingers through Theo’s. “Maybe there’s something I could do tonight. To help you sleep.”

The memory of Shawn’s body next to his… Theo couldn’t say no. Even though he should. They were a long way from the nation’s capital, and Theo wasn’t looking for a fling.

“I hear your gears turning,” Shawn said, tugging on Theo’s arm. “We can worry about the fallout tomorrow.”

Theo hesitated. “I’ve been thinking. Maybe DC is awfully busy. Time to slow down. You interested in renting out that guest cabin?”

“No. But I’ve got a really nice king-sized bed,” Shawn murmured.  “Come inside and I’ll show you.”

Theo tightened his fingers around Shawn’s and followed him through the door.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crazy I am! (And not in the happy, fun way)


Hello, hello, and sincere apologies for posting so late! Also for zoning out (aka letting RL consume me) last week.

Last week was definitely insane, what with loads of driving long distances and family emergencies, both with my own family and my sister's (not a legal sibling an it's a long story, but I think everyone has people who are like family to them, and my sis is that in my world). Sis's mom is very, very, VERY not well and has been in the ICU in upstate NY for a few weeks now. I road-tripped to be there when things looked like "very NOT well" wasn't a strong enough descriptor. (She's still not better but seems to be holding on, so that's good.)

This week, my own mother hasn't been doing so well, and that's not something I'm going to get too deeply into... or at all. Suffice it to say that the New Year has been treating me like a redheaded stepchild and we'll leave it at that.

So the upshot is, I have nothing prepared for this post, so I'm going to offer up a couple recommendations as far as TV shows go. Cuz I'm not feeling tremendously creative right now. Heh.

First, I stumbled across a show on Netflix called "Lost Girl." It's about a succubus who never knew what she was who is thrust into the hidden world of Fae living amongst us. It can seem slightly cheesy at times, but in a way that's amusing rather than annoying (for me. YMMV). I like it and its' currently on SyFy in its third season. Seasons 1 & 2 are available for viewing on Netflix, as I said. *grins*

Second, during my time in Upstate, I came across a DVD set of the first and only season of a show called "Birds of Prey." This show aired in 2002-2003 and actually holds up very well today. There are only 13 episodes and I really wish there had been at least one more season, but it 's well worth taking the time to watch. Also, the premise -- what happens in Gotham when Batman is no longer a player and Batgirl (who is no longer Batgirl but Oracle, due to being confined to a wheelchair) teams up with Huntress (Batman and Catwoman's daughter) and a teenaged clairvoyant/psychometrist/etc. who has run away to the big city -- is both fun and intriguing. This show really should have lasted longer. In fact, I'm not sure why it didn't except the whole superhero thing wasn't that big yet. It likely would have done better if it had aired five or six years later, but what can you do?

Anyway, that's my half-assed post for today. Tune in next Thursday when I'll have something much more interesting to say!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why always the bad guy?













Okay, so obviously this is Richard Armitage who I have been crushing on since I started watching Robin Hood, the BBC version.  And now, he's Thorin in The Hobbit and everybody loves him but my problem is that even when he was playing the worst guy, the bad guy, the guy clad in black leather (that's a whole other issue), I was still wild about him. He was the bad guy. Why on earth am I still attracted to the the bad boy? I'm a grown (cougholdcough) woman now, the love of the bad boy should be over.

But it can't be helped. It's movies, it books, why is the bad guy always so strong and decisive and single-minded? The hero is flawed and all over the place most time, but the villain? Oh no, not him. He has firm purpose, it's the evil he's spreading. Women, and men go wild for the bad boy. Normally he has a lot of style, he's dashing and he really knows how to walk into a room. And I don't mean the evil guy, the one who you want the hero to not only kill, but revive, and then kill again, I mean like Loki in The Avengers. He's bad. He killed people. But it's sort of... forgiven. You just want to rehabilitate him. I guess I have to examine my own psyche and figure it out. But do you find yourself rooting for the bad guy, watching the show not for the hero, but for the hot guy in leather? I swear, that whole time I watched Robin Hood I kept thinking to myself, Marian you fool, Guy's the hot one, Robin is a annoying. But of course she was pining for the wrong guy. Or maybe I was. Hard to say.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Cardeno C.



Cafe Risque was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by SJD Peterson (Jo). Jo is has a degree in History and until a couple years ago never read fiction. Now she writes and reads nothing but gay fiction, gay erotica, and M/M romance. She lives in Michigan, loves hockey, and has a coffee addiction (I can relate). You can see Jo's blog and learn more about her HERE



THE RULES:

Display the award logo on your blog.
Link back to the person who nominated you.
State 7 things about yourself.
Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and link to them.
Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

7 THINGS ABOUT ME (in no particular order):
  1. My writing goals are to make people feel warm and happy, and to portray positive, fulfilling relationships.
  2. Every once in a while, I sneak a soapbox into my books underneath the sugar and spice. (Shhhhh, don't tell.)
  3. I have a day job to pay the bills, but writing is my passion.
  4. Caffeine is critical to my ability to function. Really, really critical.
  5. I love art. Seriously love it. Like in a "no blank walls in my house, would it be weird to start hanging it from the ceilings" way.
  6. I'm a terrible blogger. I keep on trying though, so here's hoping I get better.
  7. Music inspires me. I love lots of different types of music and certain songs keep me company through an entire book. 

15 INSPIRING BLOGS:

Click around and visit some of these blogs. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Flash Fiction: I Didn't Know He Was a Dude!



Alex Benson had a problem.

Five cups of coffee into his workday and he had to piss like a racehorse. But now, here he was, faced with the great "urinal debate." The Inspector General's men’s room contained three urinals, and one stall. Urinal A was occupied by Jarrod Carson, IT guru. Urinal C was blocked by an "Out of Order" sign. So did he take Urinal B and have to take his junk out while Jarrod was in his personal space, or did he take the stall, knowing full-well he'd have to sit down and hang out for awhile just to make it look like he wasn't going in there to avoid taking a leak too close to another guy?

His brain flashed to the pile of folders on his desk. No way did he have the patience for the latter option. Alex stepped over to urinal B.

"Hey man, how's it hanging?"

Alex cringed inside, immediately regretting his decision. How's it hanging? For Pete's sake.

He cleared his throat, and kept his eyes rooted on a spot in from of him. "Fine. Great. You?" Oh, no, no, no. As soon as the polite query was out of his mouth, Alex wanted to call it back.

"Fuckin' awesome, man." Lucky for Alex, Jarrod was able to zip up and talk at the same time. "So I'm banging this chick Debbie last night, yeah?"

Good. Grief. In an attempt to shield himself from the psychological trauma of Jarrod's tales of sexual adventure, Alex went to his happy place: box seats at the Colts / Redskins game. Beer. He managed to get lost enough in thought not to realize that Jarrod had been talking for quite awhile...aaand Alex still had his fly open. He moved so fast to rectify the problem, he nipped himself with his zipper.

“Fuck.”

"Whoa, careful there buddy." Oh, good. Jarrod noticed. "Listen, I don't wanna be nosey or anything…”

And it got even better.

“But you've got a scary lookin' mole on there you might want to get checked out."

Um. "Okay. Thanks." Jee-zus. H. Roosavelt. Christ.

"No sweat." Jarrod paused and used some water from the sink to slick his unruly hair back – what was it with tech guys and refusal to use standard grooming products? The man had dark, deep-set eyes and a strong jaw. He would be handsome if he shaved. "Seriously though, you should get that thing looked at. My mom's a dermatologist. You don't wanna mess around with that shit."

Alex grumbled and adjusted the "thing" in question before heading back to his paperwork.

-

When Alex approached the admin desk a short while later, their secretary was busy chattering away on the phone, regaling the listener with a story of the time she got a bad root canal in the Army.

Now, Jessica was a sweet girl, but not terribly bright. She liked her skirts short, her heels high, and based on the easily visible tattoo across her ferocious sweater kittens, she had once also rather liked a guy named Tony. But the idea of the government handing Jessica an M16 was scarier than the thought of handing one to Lucy Ricardo.

"Agent Benson! Are you here to chip in for Agent Martin's baby shower?"

Um. "Actually." He held out a file folder. "I need this stuff copied for a meeting."

She didn't take the file. "And?"

"And I need you to clear my calendar for this afternoon, I have a doctor appointment."

"And?"

"And...have a nice day?"

Jessica tsked and shook her head slowly. He assumed that when she folded her arms over her massive her chest it was meant to look intimidating, but all it did was provide a platform on which her already lofty breasts could rest. Jesus, look at that cleavage. It was like the Grand Canyon. Did stuff ever get lost down there, like cracker crumbs or car keys? Small animals?

"I already got a gift."

"But this is for the shower." Jessica looked expectant.

"I barely know her."

"Come on, what do you want me to do for incentive, flash you?"

He sighed and placed the folder on her desk. "You're practically doing that already." No, Jess was not a bright girl.

Jessica further proved her true professionalism by sticking her tongue out. Which was pierced. "Come on, agent Benson, if enough people don't chip in I'll have to pay myself for the whole thing. You wouldn't do that to me, would you?" The batting of overly-gunked eyelashes was too much. He had to go.

Alex rubbed his temple. And intense throb had taken up residence behind his left eye. "Fine.” He pulled a twenty from his wallet and dropped it on the folder. "Please copy this stuff, I'll have my Blackberry while I'm out if anyone needs me."

She waved the bill at him. "Thank you for your generous contribution!"

"Shoot me," he murmured as he pushed his way out through the lobby's double doors.

-

Damn Jarrod and his inappropriate boundary crossing all to fricking hell. The doc has decided that the mole on his Johnson was "probably benign" but wanted to biopsy it anyway, and nothing made a man want to run screaming for the hills like somebody coming at his special parts with a scalpel.

"Come on." Alex crumbled and shifted his laptop bag while he waited in line at the Crepaway on 20th and L. Thanks to the doctor visit he'd had to work late to catch up on paperwork, and needed to placate his inner beast in a way that only a hot crepe with Nutella gushing out of it possibly could. Or… something he couldn’t get nearly as easily since he was between relationships.

He had finally gotten his order when some kind of disturbance erupted outside, complete with flashing red and blue, and shouting from a couple of sequin-clad Asian chicks. Hooker roundup, must be. Was it that late? He gripped his styrofoam container carefully, intent on sliding past the whole thing when a he heard a familiar voice:

"Dude, I didn't know she was a hooker!"

"Jarrod?" The head of the man being cuffed snapped around to look at Alex. Jesus, no.

"Agent Benson! You gotta help me out man, I swear I didn't know it was a pro. And I definitely didn't know it was a dude. You have to believe me."

"Oh, he knew all right, you wanted some of this didn't you, baby?" A statuesque vision in heels and a mini-dress flipped her mane of flowing hair and made kissy faces at Jarrod. Alex had to give him/her credit for managing to muster up all that sass while handcuffed.

In one glance everything Jarrod tried to deny was obvious: muscular legs, Adam's apple...flat chest underneath a glittery number that barely would've fit Alex's twelve-year-old niece. So… all the “chicks” Jarrod kept banging, huh?

Huh.

Alex looked longingly at his takeout container, and then over at Jarrod, wondering now about the man’s story. Alex could guess: He’d been raised in a well-off family next door to another well-off family, and he’d gone along for the ride and married that girl next door because the deal came with free college tuition and he hadn’t had the changs at first to rock the boat. He’d never done a pro, thank God, but he’d done plenty of reckless shit. It was hard to hold who you really were inside.

Alex dug into his pocket for his IG badge, and made his way over to the officer holding Jarrod. The look of gratitude on Jarrod’s face was a lot to take.

“Agent Benson, I’m really sorry—”

“Hey.” Alex touched his arm. “No worries. Let’s deal with this, and I’ll buy you a crepe.”

Jarrod smiled. “Thank you. I’d like that.”

Happy Sunday! 
Love, Ellis

Monday, January 14, 2013

Just Some Random Rambling by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday, y'all. If you've read my posts here you know I am the worst blogger in the history of blogging because I have nothing to say. Despite that, I endeavor to keep on trucking so today, I'll share just a bit of rambling nonsense and then stop (hopefully) before I humiliate myself too much.

Okay, so update on what I've been up to lately, in semi-chronological order (which is really not my thing, as you may know from my books):


  • I submitted the 2nd book in the Mates series. This one is called Until Forever Comes and it's about Ethan and Miguel, the vampire/shifter couple I introduced in Wake Me Up Inside
    • While I'm waiting to hear back, I'm tweaking and improving and getting some amazing help along the way from the wonderful Jaime Reese. I am not fretting. Nope. Not at all. Don't believe me? Okay, fine. Fair enough. Can't say I blame you. 
    • Writing this one was extra special fun for me because I felt like I had my own personal sounding board and cheerleader along the way in Ms. Mary Calmes. If you've read Mary's werepanther series then you understand how intimidating/amazing it was to have her in my corner for this book. If you haven't read her series, go now. Click here. Seriously.  
  • Dreamspinner Press has chosen a sports theme for their summer Daily Dose anthology. I tend to write novels, rather than novellas or shorts, but I make exceptions for Dreamspinner's Daily Dose and Advent and I've found that I really like it. I had a great time writing a short novella that was a combination of my favorite theme (friends to lovers) and something new for me that I may explore more in a future book (enemies to lovers). Now I'm just doing the fingers-crossed, hope they like it dance. Again, not fretting.
  • I bought coffee at a convenience store. The cup sprung a leak in my car. I was able to rescue most of the coffee in a handy travel mug so it wasn't a total loss, and I've been calling myself MacGyver ever since. One thing I cannot seem to save, however, is my phone. Coffee dripped on it and no amount of duct tape or rice (thanks for the suggestion, though) is going to bring back the audio. So my task this week is to find a new phone. I've enlisted the help of an expert (thank goodness for techie friends), and hope to be fully operational again soon. 
  • I haven't watched movies and TV in a very long time because I tend to write in my free time or read in my free-free time. But after a strong recommendation I watched the Avengers. This movie was totally and completely lost on me. 
    • I mean, the hawk guy was super hot, but he was a zombie most of the movie and I liked him better in that cop show that got cancelled (I actually used to watch that show, but I can't remember what it's called). 
    • Robert Downy, Jr. is wonderful. I've adored him since we were both young, and the man has aged damn fine but all that sarcasm seemed a bit too much considering the surroundings. 
    • The suit guy I liked a lot. Charming as hell. (SPOILER: But brother got shot and killed so that sucked.) 
    • Now, I'll tell you what didn't suck: Banner. He was a sexy-as-hell homicidal/suicidal mad professor and I was smitten. The man needed way more screen time. I filed him away for a character inspiration. We'll see what happens.
  •  I'm working on a new book now. It's something different for me in lots of ways, but it's already been a joy and hopefully the results will be good. I'll keep you updated. 
Enjoy your week. I'll blabber mindlessly some more next week. Maybe. We'll see.

CC
www.cardenoc.com

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pretty Pictures


Drawing by Reese Dante
Sorry, no flash fic this week. I'm on very limited internet time, and my family is all getting over the plague. But still, I've got something really awesome for you:

I've been on a quest for some time to make new artwork for my web site. And I did mean make, I graduated from college with half an art degree (the other half got lost under my dorm room bunk bed or something) but eventually after some hilarity and a lot of tears, I just totally gave up. I wanted something that captured a particular feel, and I just wasn't finding stock art that worked, and my busy schedule didn't allow for the endless searching and futzing. I nearly lost my scant remaining marbles. Our wonderful Mary Calmes insisted I call Reese Dante. and here is what Reese did:


I'm so in love. Reese was unerringly patient with my rambly stream of consciousness emails and in the end captured the essence of exactly what I was looking for. You can see the full version at my website.  

If you love Reese's work and are in the market for a custom book cover, logo, or a gorgeous banner like this one, get in touch with her at ReeseDante.com


Friday, January 11, 2013

My First Reading Recommendation for 2013 — by BG Thomas




So today I wanted to make my first reading recommendation. I am really excited about this book, and anyone into sailing stories in the past, especially pirate stories, needs to read this book. If you want excellent writing, a non-contemporary setting, obvious exhaustive research, and to be taken to another place and time, keep reading...

The book is “On a Lee Shore,” by Elin Gregory. And here is just a little to whet your appetite...

"Give me a reason to let you live..." 

Beached after losing his ship and crew, and with England finally at peace, Lt Christopher Penrose will take whatever work he can get. A valet? Why not? Escorting an elderly diplomat to the Leeward Islands seems like an easy job, but when their ship is boarded by pirates, Kit's world is turned upside down. Forced aboard the pirate ship, Kit finds himself juggling his honor with his desire to stay alive, not to mention his desire for the alarming--yet enticing--captain, known as La Griffe. 

Kit has always obeyed the rules, but as the pirates plunder their way across the Caribbean, he finds much to admire in their freedom. He deplores their lawlessness but is drawn to their way of life, and begins to think he might just have found a purpose. Dare he dream of finding love too? Or would loving a pirate take him too far down the road to ruin?
 
 


What is it that calls you to write about such faraway times and places?

I was brought up in a house that was built in 1625 in a village that is mentioned in Domesday Book. The past was there - all the time, every day - and seemed more immediate and relevant than the modern world. Astronauts and rock music happened, I knew, but they happened to Americans half a world away. My family and friends endured the Second World War, my grandfather served in the Great War, in Palestine where he once saw T E Lawrence and on the Western Front. I knew men who had ploughed with horses and one who remembered the headmaster of the little school coming in to tell the chidren about the Titanic going down.

Nowadays I work in a museum and on any given day handle objects from the Neolithic to the modern day. I work in a castle on the edge of what used to be a Roman fort. The past is more alive to me, in some ways than the present. It's not as unfamiliar to me as modern urban life is.  I've never been clubbing but the annual round of ploughing, lambing, haymaking, harvest doesn't change and neither does human nature.

                         

How much research do you generally do before you feel you're ready to release a tale to the public?

I don't think you can ever do enough research. Someone will always have done more, have had access to that vital piece of information you either couldn't find or didn't know to look for in the first place. Stirrups! The number of books with a Roman setting that mention stirrups! Stirrups are such an obvious and useful thing that we can't imagine a time when they didn't exist. All one can do is ones best to get as much as possible right and be prepared to take the punches if you get something wrong.

Back to the question - maybe 2 years? But some subjects take a LOT longer.



Why ancient sailing vessels and pirates?

Why not? I like both very much indeed. The sailing vessels of the 17th and 18th century were the Apple Macs of their day. Immensely complex in design, demanding top quality components, but once assembled, simple and efficient in use. Also they are beautiful and the language associated with them has had a profound effect on our everyday English.

Since reading that fully 8% of the pirates during the Golden Age of piracy [1700 to 1720] were Welsh - a terrific number when one considers the tiny population of the country in those days - I was determined to stage an exhibition about pirates at the museum where I work. Once I had a good look at the background material it was too much fun to NOT write a novel about it. Since male male relationships are known and attested amongst them, even to the extent of life-long domestic contracts called 'matelotage', the subject seemed even more appropriate.



Why tell your tales from a MM point of view?

There have always been men who loved other men and I doubt that their number has changed much over the years. Stored in the museum we have more than 100,000 objects - documents, tradesmen's tools, coins, clothing, furniture, photographs - and yet I do not know of one that is definitely associated with anyone who would place themselves on the rainbow. Not a single one. Yet, even assuming that only one percent of the population in the collection area would have described themselves as gay[had the term existed at the time], around 1000 of those objects most probably belonged to, were made by, were owned or cherished by a gay man.

I'm not claiming to be qualified in any way to express the authentic experience of a gay man living as a 17th century pikeman, or a Victorian shopkeeper, or an 18th century gamekeeper, but I feel it's important to try - to try with the care and respect that the subject deserves, while making the story as much fun as possible both for the characters involved and for the readers - and to make it clear that it's not a modern phenomenon, but a natural and important part of human life contributing greatly to the richness of society in all periods.



What can we expect next from your pen?

Let's not count our chickens, shall we? I want to write things with the same kind of feel as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Romping action adventure stories with some plot relevant romance. I was lucky with On A Lee Shore but who's to say that the next book will be acceptable anywhere? I keep my eye on the market, readers polls and what other authors say about the subject and it's pretty clear that any book featuring male male relationships is expected to contain fully described sex scenes, in fact will be considered lacking if it doesn't. I'm not comfortable writing the real grunt and thrust sex scenes [either MM or het] and I think that shows.

But I'm not worrying about what will happen to the stories when I've finished them. I am on the third draft of a short story where I told historical accuracy to take a hike and just wrote knights in armour, unrequited love suddenly requited and lots of violence. It's called A Taste of Copper and I hope to submit it, somewhere, soon. I'm halfway through a novel set in 6th century AD Northumbria, more cavalry and battles with a relationship that grows slowly from convenience bonking to deep and abiding love. That's called A Fierce Reaping. Then at the planning stage there's "Eleventh Hour", spies in 1920s London,  "The Long Secret Summer" set in the 1940s, and "The Hounds of the North", set in first century Rome and Britannia. I hope I live long enough to finish them all.

Many thanks for allowing me to answer your questions.

Many thanks to you for joining us!



Excerpt:

There was no question of standing to fight. Outgunned and outnumbered, the only thing the Hypatia could do was run. So run they did, the crew hurling themselves in all directions in response to the master's shrieked orders.

Kit joined them, kicking off his shoes to scamper up the rigging. The wind tossed his hair across his face and plastered his shirt to his back as he raced Forrest to the top. A quick glance back made his breath catch. The two ships were coming apace, a brigantine much larger than Hypatia and the other, closer, sloop rigged with a huge spread of white sails. The black flags were more apparent now, and Kit's heart raced as he edged along the footrope.

"Have a care, Mr. Penrose, sir," Forrest said as he too reached the yard. "Go back down, sir, do!"

"I know what I'm about, thank you, Forrest," Kit said, and when he leaned to reach the reef lines with as much agility as any of them, the man grinned and left him to it.

The sails filled with a crack, and the Hypatia met the next wave head on. Kit looked back at the pursuing sails, calculating distances and speeds. As he watched, the tan sails of the brigantine were obscured by a puff of white smoke. A relieved curse ripped from Forrest's lips as a spout went up well astern.

"That's it," he said. "Them devils'll not catch us now."

They both whooped their approval, and Forrest shook a fist. "You've no fancy to be a pirate then, Forrest?" Kit said with a laugh.

"Me, sir? No fear, sir," Forrest said. "There's only one way that can end, and I've no desire to be turned off-God a' mercy!"

A gun had boomed again, this time from the sloop. Forrest and Kit stared in horror at the wreckage of blood, flesh, and splinters that had exploded from where the master had been standing at the tiller. Hypatia shuddered and lurched, shaking Kit loose. For a sickening moment his legs swung free over the chaotic deck, before he hooked a toe into the footrope and clung to the yard to get his breath back. Below he could see Captain Dorling wringing his hands while Uttley hung over the stern, either retching or trying to see the damage.

Forrest cursed again. "He's going to strike," he muttered. "The captain's going to strike."

Kit envied Forrest the ease with which he swung hand over hand down the shroud. He followed, muscles protesting at the effort, jumped the last six feet, and ran aft.

The sloop and brigantine were approaching fast.

"Black flag," Dorling shouted as Kit reached him, "so we have a chance. Strike the flag, strike it, I say. It's La Griffe-once he flies the red flag there's no mercy. Get the colors down, damn you."

There was a shout from one of the hands as the tattered rag of black flapping from the brigantine's main mast dipped and began to lower. On deck Kit could see a flash of red and gold, but Dorling was already scrambling to lower the ensign himself.

To find this book, look right here!:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/On-a-Lee-Shore-ebook/dp/B00ANV96ZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356875443&sr=8-1&keywords=on+a+lee+shore

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/On-a-Lee-Shore-ebook/dp/B00ANV96ZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356875081&sr=8-1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/on-a-lee-shore-elin-gregory/1113959452?ean=2940015737042

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/On-a-Lee-Shore/book-Vo0SCSyhtEWxv2KSFrVrrA/page1.html?s=nnGDk90AIEyX2-p9X_3tgQ&r=1

All Romance E-Books: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-onaleeshore-1023270-145.html