Saturday, January 31, 2015

2014 Best Debut Author


For me, 2014 goes down in the record books.  It was the year I released my first book.  And second.  And third.  And fourth.

Loving Jay was released not even 12 months ago, and really, that’s scary for me.  All the things that have happened in that small period of time!

And Loving Jay…  I had such small hopes for that book.  Really.  I mean, no one ever knows how it is going to go, but I was hoping that I would sell around 500 copies of the book, over the period of five years.   I thought I was aiming high, but you need to have a goal to reach for, don’t you?  I hoped for a couple of three star reviews, just to tell me that I didn’t suck too badly, and I would be happy.

So, when wonderful things happen regarding my book, I am completely blown away.  I thought I was aiming high, but, thanks to my wonderful readers, my little book about two guys who met on a train has won this wonderful award:



And this one:




Yes – that is correct.  The MM Romance community has voted this the best debut book for 2014.  When I look around at all the other brilliant books that debuted, I’m thrilled to have won this.  But then to be voted 3rd on Best Humorous?  Whoo hee – I’m off to buy a lotto ticket!


Then just last week Sinfully… Addicted to All Male Romance (previously Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews) announced the winners of their Reader’s Choice awards for 2014.  And something wonderful happened again:


Yes, my debut year has been phenomenal!  With four full length novel releases and one short story, I was hoping that I would “not suck”, but the love, encouragement and friendships that have grown from this year are fabulous.

So I wish to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who picked up one of my books.  YOU are the brilliant ones, and I hope you had fun.



NEXT WEEK – COVER REVEAL – Shawn’s Law.

How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ask Andrew - Challenges


Dear Andrew

What advantages or Challenges does a writer in your genre face in today's market place.

Dawn

Hey Dawn

The advantages have been around for a while.  The market for MM romance has grown considerably over the past few years and continued to do so.  That is both amazing and wonderful.  More readers discover the genre and once they do, those readers buy more and more books.  (One they go to the dark side, they never return)  :)

However, with that growth, along with reader maturity, the expectations on our stories also grow.  As writers we have to discover new ideas and new sources of inspiration.  For example, for a number of years, lack of acceptance has been a major source of conflict in many stories.  This source of conflict is being eroded by the changing attitudes of society.  So it doesn't ring as true as it once did.  DATD is gone, so military based stories need to change.  Etc.  In a way we are victims of our own success because gay romance is part of the reason for those changing attitudes.  If you change readers hearts and minds, then you change society as a whole. 

The challenge going forward in my opinion is to develop stories with amazing characters and original and interesting sources of conflict without necessarily falling back on the old standards. 

Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to
andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Visit Andrew's web site:  www,andrewgreybooks.com


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

14 Penises


<sean> good evening
 <BA> boo
 <julia> hola peeps
 <julia> which I originally typed as hola pepes
 <sean> heeee
 <BA> *cackles*
 <BA> dork
 <julia> and this is the laaptop where the keyboard works
 <BA> So Julia introduced me to Instagram
 <julia> my old one had a stuck F key
 <BA> and I love it!
 <sean> more social media!
 <BA> I know, everyone else probably already loves it
 <julia> can you imagine with as many times as I use the F bomb
 <sean> LOL Julia
 <BA> and I'm late to the party
 <BA> yeah, she's typed uck a lot
 <julia> grins
 <julia> yes but you love it now
 <julia> which is all that matters
 <BA> I do!
 <BA> I love pictures
 <BA> I love taking pictures of Julia
 <julia> sleeping julia
 <sean> ba's in looooooove
 <julia> frowning julia
 <julia> burping julia
 <sean> lol
 <BA> well, duh
 <BA> are you getting the huge snow deal, Sean?
 <sean> no
 <sean> damn it
 <sean> no snow
 <BA> it's going to be 60 here tomorrow
 <BA> O.O
 <sean> none
 <sean> no flurries
 <sean> no storm
 <sean> no dusting
 <sean> NO SNOW
 <BA> weird
 <sean> I am displeased
 <BA> are you stressed?
 <sean> about the no snow?
 <sean> just pouting
 <BA> heeeee
 * BA leans
 <BA> oh, y'all
 <BA> I am writing to a deadline
 <BA> and it's going gangbusters
 <julia> heee
 <julia> she is
 <BA> but I'm *tired*
 <julia> and the boys just got loud
 <julia> O.O
 <BA> nods
 <sean> loud is better than oh I have a deadline and they've gone quiet
 <BA> oh, no shit on that
 <BA> I'm not complaining
 <BA> just working working working
 <sean> nods
 <julia> chug
 <julia> chug
 <BA> nods
 <BA> am I a bad person for considering rubbing Pride and LaSalle from NCIS: NOLA together?
 <sean> well if you are, then so am I ;)
 <BA> because I totally am
 <BA> well, we knew you were a bad person, honey
 <sean> go learn things
 <BA> I still have a chance ;-)
 <sean> LOL
 <BA> I liked, "Christopher, get in the car."
 <BA> SPARKLE
 <julia> uhn
 <sean> heee
 <BA> I mean, it's not Sherlock
 <BA> but it's fun
 <julia> it does give a girl ideas
 <sean> heeee
 <julia> I am working on deadline, too, but my boys are basking in their first sex scene
 <julia> and not wanting to move on
 <sean> heeee
 <julia> I keep telling them
 <BA> would you ever write a hero with ED?
 <sean> I have a few deadlines
 <julia> this is an erection lasting more than 4 hnours
 <julia> but they don't listen
 <sean> but of course the loudest boys are not on deadline ;)
 <sean> a hero with ED?
 <sean> not permanent ED
 <BA> you've probably written that
 <julia> only if it was a sci fi/fantasy where he had a magic pill
 <BA> you've written what?
 <BA> 45928347850239468720349857209837019875 books
 <julia> LOL
 <sean> give or take ;)
 <BA> you could write a guy with 14 penises
 <BA> oh
 <BA> oh, how much would that suck?
 <BA> more cocks than hands
 <sean> LOLOL
 <sean> he'd have to have a lot of slaves
 <BA> leave it to you to bring up slaves
 <sean> beams
 <sean> yep
 <julia> eek
 <julia> no
 <sean> let's, see 14 penises would require, well at last 7
 <BA> where would you grow them?
 <BA> and
 <sean> although 14 would be better
 <julia> I mean, I wrote a barbarian once who worshipped a hippo god with  penises
 <julia> 9
 <BA> what makes them penises and not arm-thingies?
 <julia> my numbers lock was off
 <BA> and how many balls would you need?
 <BA> I mean, 28 balls is a lot
 <BA> and lumpy
 <julia> ew
 <BA> and lots of places to get racked
 <julia> that's a lot of wiry hair
 <BA> (is it racked or wracked)
 <julia> racked I think
 <BA> not if you're Sean -- then it's a lot of shaving or waxing
 <sean> nods
 <sean> a LOT
 <BA> can you imagine how bow legged you'd be with 28 testicles?
 <BA> talk about not being able to hem a hog in a ditch...
 <sean> hem a hog in a ditch?
 <sean> that's a new one
 <julia> no it's not
 <julia> it's oooold
 <sean> new to me ;)
 <BA> it's an OLD one
 <julia> means bowlegged
 <julia> siiiings
 <julia> don't ever go swimming
 <BA> with bowlegged wimmin
 * BA high fives Julia
 <julia> dances about the front room
 <BA> what is with the scary clowns and that stalker show?
 <BA> NO
 <BA> SCARY
 <BA> CLOWNS
 <BA> *ahem*
 <BA> we were bad and had chips and dip for supper
 <sean> bad ba and julia, no doughnuts!
 <sean> ;)
 <BA> now I need coffee
 <BA> doughnuts....
 <julia> mmm
 <julia> you have cookies
 <BA> I think there are donuts in the freezer
 <BA> so you know how you talked us into those fit tracker deals?
 <BA> I've lost 17 pounds
 <BA> O.o
 <sean> go you!
 <BA> well, I haven't actually *done* anything
 <sean> except move
 <julia> yep
 <julia> just sit on the couch and wave our arms some days
 <BA> most days
 <BA> I have arm waving weights
 <julia> yes!
 <julia> mine are 3  pounds
 <julia> hers are
 <julia> 5
 <sean> lord
 <BA> grins
 <BA> okay, I have a deadline
 <BA> Troy
 <BA> Eric
 <BA> hurt/comfort
 <BA> go!
 <sean> have fun!
 <BA> nods
 <BA> and smooches
 <sean> I have a story with 14 penises to write
 <BA> heeeeeee!
 <BA> underarm!penii
 <sean> lol
 * BA waves and poofs
 <BA> love you!
 <julia> hugs
 <julia> night

If you have a topic you’d like us to chat about (or any other favorite things you'd like us to share), please let us know. We’re totally up for that.

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot and @batortuga.

Sean’s website is http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com
Julia’s is http://www.juliatalbot.com
BA’s is http://www.batortuga.com

Facebook:
Sean -- https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites
Julia -- https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor
BA -- https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Monday, January 26, 2015

Home Collection Re-Release by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday, y'all. I have an exciting announcement: In a couple of weeks, I'll be re-releasing all of my Home books, including the "bonus chapters" that were separately included in the Marriage anthology. The wonderful Jae Ashley has been working her tail off editing them and Kelly Shorten made me beautiful new covers! Under the Covers Book Blog is hosting a reveal for all seven covers next Monday (February 2nd) so please keep an eye out for it. For now, here are the blurbs for the books.

He Completes Me
(2nd Edition)

Not even his mother’s funeral can convince self-proclaimed party boy Zach Johnson to tone down his snark or think about settling down. He is who he is, and he refuses to change for anyone. When straight-laced, compassionate Aaron Paulson claims he’s falling for him, Zach is certain Aaron sees him as another project, one more lost soul for the idealistic Aaron to save. But Zach doesn't need to be fixed and he refuses to be with someone who sees him as broken.

Patience is one of Aaron’s many virtues. He has waited years for a man who can share his heart and complete his life and he insists Zach is the one. Pride, fear, and old hurts wither in the wake of Aaron’s adoring loyalty and as Zach reevaluates his perceptions of love and family, he finds himself tempted to believe in the impossible: a happily-ever-after.

Home Again
(2nd Edition)

Imposing, temperamental Noah Forman wakes up in a hospital and can't remember how he got there. He holds it together, taking comfort in the fact that the man he has loved since childhood is on the way. But when his one and only finally arrives, Noah is horrified to discover that he doesn't remember anything from the past three years.

Loyal, serious Clark Lehman built a life around the person who insisted from their first meeting that they were meant to be together. Now, years later, two men whose love has never faltered must relive their most treasured and most painful moments in order to recover lost memories and secure their future.

Just What the Truth Is
(2nd Edition)

People-pleaser Ben Forman has been in the closet so long he has almost convinced himself he is straight, but his denial train gets derailed when hotshot lawyer Micah Trains walks into his life. Micah is brilliant, funny, driven…and he assumes Ben is gay and starts dating him. Finding himself truly happy for the first time, Ben doesn't have the willpower to resist Micah’s affection.

When his relationship with Micah heats up, Ben realizes has a problem: his parents won’t tolerate a gay son and self-confident Micah isn’t the type to hide. If Ben wants to maintain his hold on his happiness, he'll have to decide what’s important and own up to the truth of who he is. The trouble is figuring out just what that truth is.

Love at First Sight 
(2nd Edition)

The moment naïve, optimistic Jonathan Doyle glimpses a gorgeous blue-eyed stranger from afar, he believes in love at first sight. Unfortunately, he loses sight of the man before they meet and then spends years desperately trying to find him. Just as he is about to give up, Jonathan gets a break and finally encounters David Miller face to face.

Successful, confident David turns Jonathan's previously lonely life into a fairy tale, giving him more than he ever imagined. But the years spent searching were hard on Jonathan, and he's terrified his young son and scandalous past will destroy his blossoming relationship. For David and Jonathan to build a future together, they'll both have to dig deep: David for the courage to share himself in a way he's never considered and Jonathan for the strength to tell the truth.

The One Who Saves Me 
(2nd Edition)

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, learning and experimenting, and they talk each other through countless dates and breakups.

Decades of trust and loyalty build a deep and abiding friendship, one that surpasses any relationship in their lives. But when the parameters of their unique friendship change, neither man knows how to break out of their established roles to build something new. After all, boyfriends come and go, but best friends are forever.

Where He Ends and I Begin
(2nd Edition)

Aggressive, physical, and brave, Jake Owens is a small town football hero turned big city cop who passes his time with meaningless encounters believing he can’t have who he really wants: Nate Richardson, his best friend since before forever. Thoughtful, quiet, and kind, Nate is a brilliant doctor who has always known who he is and has never been able to shake his crush on loyal, courageous, straight Jake.

After a passionate night together, Nate realizes Jake isn’t as straight as he assumed, but he worries that what they shared was a fluke, a result of too much closeness for too long. For Jake, the question isn't how they ended up in bed together because he has always known that Nate holds his heart, it's how he’ll convince Nate that he wants and needs to stay there.

Walk With Me 
(2nd Edition)

When Eli Block steps into his parents' living room and sees his childhood crush sitting on the couch, he starts a shameless campaign to seduce the young rabbi. Unfortunately, Seth Cohen barely remembers Eli and he resolutely shuts down all his advances. As a tenuous and then binding friendship forms between the two men, Eli must find a way to move past his unrequited love while still keeping his best friend in his life. Not an easy feat when the same person occupies both roles.

Professional, proper Seth is shocked by Eli's brashness, overt sexuality, and easy defiance of societal norms. But he's also drawn to the happy, funny, light-filled man. As their friendship deepens over the years, Seth watches Eli mature into a man he admires and respects. When Seth finds himself longing for what Eli had so easily offered, he has to decide whether he's willing to veer from his safe life-plan to build a future with Eli.

Have a great week.

CC
www.cardenoc.com

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy Australia Day



(I’ve pulled some facts from a news article, just to entertain us all)

So it’s the Australia Day weekend.  Yippee!  That means hot weather, bbqs, sunburn and cricket.  It was rather fortuitous that the First Fleet arrived during summer.  If they’d arrived in the middle of winter, then Australia Day would be something entirely different.

Australia Day falls on the 26th of January each year and marks the anniversary of the landing of a group of ships from England (The First Fleet), sent to set up a penal colony.  After 252 days at sea, the group of eleven ships carrying more than 1000 people (750 of whom were convicts) arrived at what we now know as Sydney.  It was January 26, 1788.

The First Fleet Convicts
According to the first census of 1788 as reported by Governor Phillip to Lord Sydney, the white population of the colony was 1,030 and the colony also consisted of 7 horses, 29 sheep, 74 swine, 6 rabbits, and 7 cattle. 

Fact One: The first police force in Australia was made up of the best-behaved convicts when, in 1789, the Night Watch and the Row Boat Guard were appointed by Governor Arthur Phillip.


I’m not sure how these people celebrated the first Australia Day – perhaps they slaughtered one of the sheep to celebrate – but I do know that those people were extremely brave.  (And they should’ve never brought the damn rabbits!)

Now 227 years later we still celebrate by slaughtering sheep.  Lamb chops are one of our favourite foods to consume on Australia Day.  I’ll probably make a nice coleslaw and a tossed salad to go with it.

Watch Youtube Clip:  STRAYA 


Fact Two: Mt Kosciuszko, at 2228m, is Australia’s highest mountain. But the Mt Kosciuszko we know today is not the peak originally called Mt Kosciuszko. The Year Book Australia 1910 explains: “Various measurements of the peak originally called by that name showed it to be slightly lower than its neighbour, Mount Townsend, and the names were thereupon transposed by the New South Wales Lands Department, so that Mount Kosciusko still remains the highest peak of Australia”.

Australians celebrate our national day with a lot of fun.  It usually involves swimming in some form, cooking meat on an open grill and flying our flag with pride.  These days you can find hats, shirts, bikinis, thongs (shoes people - thongs are shoes!!), shorts, sunglasses, earrings and all manner of clothing plastered with the Australian flag (and all made in China).  We chuck on the suncream and the zinc cream, and head outdoors, listening to the radio play all our favourite Aussie artists.

In my younger days (ie before kids) we would head for the river in Perth.  We would stake out our pozzie (slang for position) on the grass and spend the day playing cricket and swimming in the river.  At sundown, a fireworks spectacular goes off from barges centred in the river – so we would lie back on our blankets and enjoy.

Last year (ie with kids) I spent the day on the beach in a gorgeous place called Dunsborough.  The shallow inlet allowed the kids to swim and play on the beach all day.  I lazed around in the beach tent, only arising to paddle out on the kayak to watch the fish swim by.


Fact Three: The world’s first “flash mob” occurred at a Tasmanian prison in 1832 when 300 women convicts stood as one and bared their buttocks at the visiting Governor during an assembly. The convicts at the Cascades Female Factory collectively spun around, lifted their skirts and slapped their bottoms at the Governor, Sir John Franklin, his wife and the reverend William Bedford “making a not very musical noise’’.

Cottesloe Beach - The Havana Thong Challenge
Am I a proud Aussie?  You betcha!  I hauled out my giant flag a couple of days ago and stuck it on a stick out the front of my house.  Come Monday I’ll be listening to Midnight Oil, AC/DC and Kylie. 

In my novel Safe In His Arms, Casey celebrates Australia Day by heading to Cottesloe Beach (see pic to see how beautiful this is).  This is a popular hang out with the young crowd, although the cops will be cracking down on drinking, since it’s illegal to drink on the beach.

However, my newest novel (Shawn’s Law, coming March 6th) focuses on a different aspect of Australia.  After writing Safe I needed some cheering up from all that darkness.  So I wrote a comedy.  Usually I like to portray Perth as a beautiful place to visit with wonderful beaches and lovely people (because this isn’t lying), but for Shawn’s Law I decided to freak out the tourists.  As I started the novel, I idly wondered how many Australian animals I could get to attack my MC before the end of the book.

Turns out that I couldn’t get all the animals, but I managed to get some good ones in. **wink**


Fact Four:
The humble platypus has venom strong enough to kill a small dog. The poison is delivered via small spurs on their back legs. In one case report, a 57-year-old man who grabbed one of the small mammals while fishing said the pain was “so bad I started to become incoherent”

Fact Five: Of the world’s deadliest snakes, numbers 1 to 11 come from Australia, and 20 of the top 25. The inland taipan is the world’s deadliest snake at No. 1.

So I hope you enjoy Shawn’s Law.  It’s a story of how the unluckiest man in Perth (Shawn) got lucky by falling love with Harley.  And of course, how could it be a Renae Kaye novel without some great secondary characters.  And two dogs named Benny. Doesn’t every book have two dogs named Benny?


Fact Six: The dingo fence, which stretches from the Great Australian Bight in South Australia to central Queensland, is the longest fence in the world (5530km). It is about twice as long as the Great Wall of China.


And while I’m reading all these facts about Australia, I really didn’t need to know this last one:

Fact Seven: Australia has notoriously slow internet download speeds. According to NetIndex, in 2014 we were ranked 58th in the world, slower than Kazakhstan, Madagascar and Vanuatu.

So happy Australia Day to you all.  If you can decipher the following terms and phrases, then you are True Blue.




Check out this site for some more aussie humour:  http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2015/01/22/30-reasons-to-love-australia/


How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Love Means.... The End


Last Friday was the release of Love Means... Endurance, the last story in the Farm series.  It was a difficult decision to say goodbye to characters I have loved so very much, but its time.  Geoff and Eli along with all their friends at Laughton Farms will live on in my heart, but its time to let them have their happy endings as one bug family.  I wrote the first story Love Means... No Shame in early 2009 and for all that time whenever I needed peace in my writing, I went back to the farm.  In a way I probably always will. 

I think Geoff and Eli each represent a part of myself that I hope will live on for a along time.  These two men, filled with compassion, love, and guts are what I hope is the best of who I am.  So I'm sure you'll see pieces of them in my writing, just like there is a piece of me in every story.  So spend a final time on the farm and find out what Love Means... 


Blurb:
Together for over ten years, Geoff and Eli built a fulfilling life. Their love and support helped raise their adopted son. Their hard work and dedication grew their farm from raising cattle and boarding horses to expanding into therapy riding sessions. Surrounded by a loving circle of friends, Geoff and Eli couldn’t ask for more. Until driven Eli loses his energy, and the doctor gives them the dire diagnosis of cancer.

Caught up in never-ending doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and treatments, their world turns upside down. With so many people dependent on them, they must pull together to put on a brave face, continue living as best they can, and care for their family. Geoff fears Eli, the love of his life, while a fighter, may not endure this battle, but neither is willing to consider succumbing as an option.




Excerpt:


“Papa, I got Strawberry’s stall cleaned out,” Jakey called.
“I’ll look at it and help him with the rest of his chores. You do what you need to.” Geoff knew Robbie would take care of what he could in the office. The rest could wait. He kissed Eli quickly and walked to Strawberry’s stall. Jakey had done a good job of clearing away the soiled bedding. They had him do that stall because it was the smallest and didn’t take too long. “Okay. That looks good.” He turned to smile at his son, resting his hand lightly on his shoulder. “I’ll bring in the sawdust, and you can spread it for him. Then you and I can feed and water all the horses.”
They got busy. Geoff hauled, and Jakey spread. Then Geoff helped him carry water and fill all the troughs. He also explained to Jakey how much hay each horse got, and they cleaned out mangers and refilled them with fresh hay.
“What else do I have to do, Dad?”
“You need to sweep the center aisle of the barn, and do a good job. Then you can go inside to finish your homework at the kitchen table. Once that’s done, you can call your friends.” Geoff checked around the barn. “When they’re over, you remember the rules?”
Jakey nodded seriously. “No playing around the horses. Stay out of the paddocks, and no one is to go up in the hayloft.” He paused. “And don’t let them ride Grace—she is not a pony.”
“Very good.” The last time they had been up in the loft, he’d found opened bales and piles of hay that had been used to make forts. That wasn’t going to happen again. “They can come over after Papa is done with his therapy riding, so you’ll need to ask him what time he thinks is good. But you have to have your homework done first. So the sooner you sweep and get it done, the sooner you can call your friends.” Geoff was firm with Jakey, though he always made sure chores and homework were rewarded in the end.
“I will, Dad,” Jakey said, rushing to the tack room. He came out with the broom and walked to the far end of the barn, then started to sweep with a vengeance. Geoff grinned at his energy and figured it was best to help him get some of it out constructively.
“And watch out for the horses as Papa’s students arrive.”
“I will,” Jakey said without looking up. He was heads-down sweeping. Geoff knew that would last about ten minutes, so he checked all the stalls, spot-cleaned the worst spots, and hauled out the mulch. The great thing about spring was that the horses spent more time outside, so there was less cleaning to do. By the time he was done, students had started arriving, and Jakey was reaching the front door of the barn. Geoff checked on his work and helped Jakey pick up the sweepings. They never just swept it outside. It was best to pick it up in case anything got swept up that shouldn’t be there. They had found tacks, bits of plastic, and other debris that was best gone forever and not tracked back inside.
“You did very well. Go see Robbie after your homework and he’ll pay you.” Geoff believed in paying Jakey for his work, just like everyone else who worked for him. His father had done the same, and it had helped Geoff learn the value of work. It also meant that as he got older he didn’t feel like an indentured servant, the way some of his classmates in school had. His work had been valued, just like Jakey’s was.
Jakey hurried to put the broom away and then ran toward the barn door.
“Jakey,” Geoff said, and he slowed to a walk without stopping. Once he was outside, he took off toward the house and immediately disappeared from sight.
Eli’s students began to arrive, and the barn filled with their voices as they saddled their horses. Geoff checked that Eli didn’t need anything before going to his office. The one thing about a farm was that the work was never done, even office work. There were books to be done, herd records to be updated, invoices to pay, and money received and payments to follow up on as well as plans to be developed and updated.
Jakey was at the kitchen table with his math book open, working on his problems, when Geoff came in. He looked over Jakey’s shoulders as he worked. Since Eli had freed him of the burden of showing his work, Jakey was filling in the answers one after the other, and they were all correct. They definitely needed to speak to his teacher. It didn’t take Jakey long before he held up the page for Geoff to look over. It looked good to him. He nodded, and Jakey closed his book and put it in his school pack.
Geoff went to his office. It wasn’t necessary for him to listen as Jakey called Mark and Juan to ask them over.
Robbie was busy working at his desk, headphones over his ears. Geoff knew he was listening as a computer voice guided him. There was also an embosser attached to the computer so Robbie could print out what he needed in Braille. He and Robbie had worked together for years, and Robbie had a real knack for coordination and detail. Most people, when they arranged for lessons or classes, had no idea that Robbie couldn’t see. Geoff went to his desk and got to work. He sent Robbie a message to tell him that Jakey would be in to be paid and how much. It seemed dumb to text when they were in the same room, but it allowed Robbie to stay focused, and he’d listen to it when he got a chance.
On weekends he tried to be done in the early afternoons so he would have time with the family. He’d been working about an hour when Jakey rushed in, breathless.
“Robbie has your money,” Geoff said.
“Daddy,” Jakey gasped. “Papa fell in the barn. Uncle Joey said to get you.”
“Is he hurt?” Geoff asked as he stood and came around the desk. Robbie had taken off his headphones and was listening.
“He fell and isn’t getting up,” Jakey said, and Geoff heard the panic in his voice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Few of our Favorite Things


<BA> boooo
 [sean] eeeek!
 [sean] ;)
 [sean] so, favorite things!
 [sean] Favorite Color?
 <BA> heee!
 <BA> PINK
 [sean] purple
 <julia> uh
 <julia> turquoise
 [sean] Favorite Song?
 [sean] I know this one is unfair, but choose anyway ;)
 <BA> oh... I have lots.
 <julia> Real Good Man by Tim McGraw
 <BA> The Cowboy In Me by Tim McGraw. I sang it to Julia for our wedding.
 <julia> heee
 <julia> she did
 <julia> and that is overall btw
 [sean] that's the best answer
 <julia> today my favorite is Ain't Worth the Whiskey
 [sean] one of my all time favorites is Lighting Crashes by Live
 <julia> oh I like that one
 <julia> hee
 <julia> as long as it's not Nickelback
 <BA> my current favorite is Take Me to Church
 [sean] oh, yes, that's a new favorite
 [sean] Favorite Season?
 <BA> Spring
 <julia> Fall
 [sean] anyone who knows me, knows my answer to this one *grins*
 [sean] WINTER!!!!!!
 <BA> yes, weirdo
 <julia> weirdo
 [sean] yep ;)
 [sean] Favorite Comfort Food?
 <julia> pizza
 [sean] grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup
 [sean] and I mean the kraft singles cheese in the sandwiches -- I like all types of grilled cheese, but the kraft singles ones are the comfort food
 <julia> lol
 <julia> I haven't had those in years
 <BA> hamburgers and fries
 <julia> I think they have wheat in them
 [sean] yum
 [sean] is anyone else getting hungry?
 <BA> we're cooking bacon
 <BA> so yes
 <BA> the house smells SO GOOD
 [sean] put a couple slices on for me!
 [sean] Favorite "Fancy" Food?
 [sean] Scallops
 <BA> hrm
 <BA> Risotto, I think
 <julia> lobster
 [sean] Favorite Fairy Tale?
 <BA> I'm not particularly fancy food-wise, just give me something yummy
 <julia> well this breaks into 2 parts
 [sean] are you saying you're easy, BA?
 <julia> Disney and not
 <BA> Always. :D
 <julia> Disney-wise my favorite is the Little Mermaid
 [sean] LOL
 <julia> literature wise, Cinderella
 [sean] julia, non-disney wise my favourite it the Little Mermaid
 [sean] I love Hans Christian Anderson's version
 [sean] and no, I lie
 [sean] The Little Matchgirl (also a Hans Christian Anderson)
 <BA> for Disney (and I'm a HUGE Disney fan), my favorite is Beauty and the Beast
 <BA> and I love Paul Bunyan
 [sean] Tangled was probably my favorite Disney version fairly tale
 <BA> oh, that grossed me out
 <BA> with the whole hair thing
 <julia> she can't even watch it
 [sean] didn't like the hair?
 [sean] heeee
 <BA> I couldn't watch it
 <julia> it's like Japanese horror
 <BA> the commercials made me gag
 <BA> YES
 [sean] lol
 [sean] Favorite Timewaster?
 <julia> Facebook
 [sean] I have a jigsaw puzzle ap...
 <BA> I love that silly jigsaw puzzle thing!
 <BA> I love puzzles
 <BA> full stop
 <julia> I read magazines, too
 <BA> I play a crossword with Julia every night
 <julia> heee
 <julia> nods
 [sean] oh cool
 <BA> and a fill in puzzle
 <BA> and a jigsaw puzzle
 [sean] Favoite Time of Day?
 <BA> and a hidden object puzzle
 <BA> I'm a morning person, assuming morning starts at 8ish
 <julia> 6pm
 [sean] I'm a night owl and even if I'm sick, I start feeling better around 8pm
 <julia> just after supper when we settle in with no deadlines
 <julia> no work
 <julia> just us and the TV and some chatting
 <BA> and snuggly puppies
 <julia> yes!
 <BA> Favorite Book
 [sean] oh lord
 <julia> ack
 <julia> Borrower of the Night, by Elizabeth Peters
 [sean] Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje
 <BA> Little Women by Alcott
 [sean] Favorite Junk Food?
 <julia> ahhhhhh
 <julia> so many
 <julia> so little time
 [sean] heeeee
 <julia> chocolate
 <julia> in all forms
 [sean] for me it used to be a coke and a bag of salt and vinegar chips
 <julia> cake, pie, cookies, raisins
 [sean] but I don't drink coke anymore and the chips just aren't the same without it
 <julia> lol
 [sean] the answer is probably still chips, though
 [sean] BA either cannot choose or is not swayed by junk food ;)
 <BA> popcorn
 <BA> just plain old popcorn
 [sean] Favorite Wierd Food?
 <BA> peanut butter and pickle sandwiches
 [sean] I don't think it's weird, but I know most of the world does -- poutine - which is fries, cheese curds and gravy
 [sean] okay, BA,you win
 <julia> LOL
 <julia> man now I want to come up with something bizarre
 [sean] I mean, you haven't given yours yet, Julia, but I'm not sure you can top that
 <julia> but I used to love Texas Toast with ketchup
 <julia> like at the steak house
 [sean] I used to make ketchup sandwiches when I was a kid
 [sean] of course, I also used to pour vinegar in a glass and drink it
 <julia> pickle juice
 <julia> BA makes me drink it when queasy
 [sean] and it helps?
 <julia> yep
 [sean] neat
 [sean] okay, my to do list is getting longer by the minute
 <julia> okay honey
 <julia> hugs
 [sean] don't do anything I wouldn't do!
 [sean] ;)
 <BA> LOL
 <BA> I was cooking eggs to go with bacon
 [sean] I would do that, so you're safe
 <BA> LOL
 <BA> dork
 [sean] always :)
 <BA> happy birthday week, btw
 [sean] thank you!
 <julia> waves and yes
 <julia> hippo birdie week
 [sean] ciao
 <julia> laters
 <BA> Love you!
 <BA> *waves*

If you have a topic you’d like us to chat about (or any other favorite things you'd like us to share), please let us know. We’re totally up for that.

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot and @batortuga.

Sean’s website is http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com
Julia’s is http://www.juliatalbot.com
BA’s is http://www.batortuga.com

Facebook:
Sean -- https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites
Julia -- https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor
BA -- https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Monday, January 19, 2015

I Tried It At Home - Peeling Garlic by Cardeno C.


Happy Monday! Last week, I saw this intriguing video about a simple, clean, fast way to peel garlic. Basically you put the whole bulb in a small jar, shake, and magically the peel just falls right off. Easy, breezy, and your hands don't smell like garlic. Want to see how this went for me?

Step one: Here was my bulb of garlic:

Step two: The video said I could just toss the whole thing in the jar, but I thought I'd increase my chances of success by cutting off the base, rubbing off the flaky skin, and putting the rest in the jar. That didn't take long and I was hoping for a cleaner more successful outcome. 



Step three is the jar part. Bit of a hick-up here. Apparently my shaking was too vigorous and my hands were too slippery. (Sidenote: I'm in the midst of writing a sex scene right now so maybe it's just me, but this whole description is sounding a tad smutty.) Anyway, here's what happened to the first jar.
  
Step four was unexpected clean up. This step alone took this whole project out of the "time saving" realm.

Step five: New jar, garlic placed.



Step six: Shook and shook and this is what happened (note the mostly still intact, though likely bruised, garlic cloves).

Step seven: I took out the "peeled" garlic and the excess skin. The peeled garlic wasn't fully peeled so I had to finish it by hand and ended up doing the knife smash, which worked as usual.

Step eight: More shaking and maybe a bit more peeled garlic.


Step nine: I gave up, took out the garlic, did the knife smash, and put it in a jar with olive oil.



Bottom line: I broke a jar, had to sweep my kitchen, bruised my garlic, and ended up doing the same knife smash I always do. On the plus side, I got some arm exercise in late at night and I like the smell of garlic so garlic hands aren't a bad thing.

If you try this at home, share your stories, successes, and pictures in the comments. Also, if you see a kitchen idea video that claims to make life easier and you want to know if it works, send it my way. I'm game for another experiment.

I hope you have a great week.

CC
www.cardenoc.com

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Proverbs for the new world


What’s your favourite saying or proverb?  “All’s fair in love and war”?  “Don’t blow your own trumpet”?  “Easy come, easy go”?

My mother’s favourite saying is “Reap what you sow.”

I have to admit I like that one and I try to live by it, treating others as I would like them to treat me.  It took me a long time to understand what my mother was saying with this one when I was a child.  I knew that if my father planted seeds in the paddock, then he reaped hay.  I tried to work out how you would plant one type of seed, but reap another.  Or perhaps, my young brain tried to figure, it was about stealing and reaping other people’s hay.

Perhaps we need to rewrite these proverbs into a language that kids in the 21st century would understand.  At university (all those years ago) I was introduced to the concept of “Garbage in, garbage out.”  They were referring to computer programming, but it has grown since then.  I think a lot of kids have heard this and understand it.  It can be applied to programming, but also for things like healthy eating, friendships and watching TV.  If all the kids watch is violence on TV (garbage in), then what are they going to do in life (garbage out)?

A couple of days ago I posted on FB my 21st century translation of “You catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.”  My translation is, "You will get more achieved with a polite email, than a rant on social media.

My husband’s favourite saying is “Measure twice, cut once.”  Sage advice when it comes to wood-working, but very true when it comes to life too.  Maybe we should be saying in the 21st century “Check your facts before you post.”  Or given the explosion of twitter, “Check your spelling before you post.”   **facepalm**


Two proverbs that I used to get me through those awkward teen years came from two unlikely sources.  The first one was on a badge that someone gave me when I was a little girl.  It said “The smile you send will be returned to you.”  Even as I think about it now, it is true on so many levels.  From the simple smiling at a stranger who automatically smiles back at you, to the more complex thought of how you live your life will rebound on you.

The other saying that helped me as a teen came from the musical The Sound Of Music.  In one scene, Maria says, “When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”  Now, you don’t have to believe in God to believe in the meaning of this proverb.  Don’t sit there and stare at the door that is closed to you, because you could be missing out on the windows of life.  I clung to this as a teen.  As an adult, I still do.

Recently a friendship of mine ended abruptly.  I stared at that closed door for a while.  I wandered around in the darkness of the room for a while.  Then I looked up and noticed the open windows.  I peeked into one of those windows.  I said hello, and found a new friend.  Shirley Ozment (writing under the name of SA Ozment) is a new author at Dreamspinner whose first book Illusions is released on the 13th of February.  In saying hello, I was staying true to a number of my personal beliefs.

When I stepped out into the social media world last year to whisper that I had a book coming out, several people welcomed me.  Authors were sooo goddamn nice (and I’m lookin’ at you Cardeno!), helping me and telling me it was going to all be okay.  I welcomed their advice and have tried to follow it.  Their friendship has helped me through five releases.  So now I hope to pay it forward and help the new author who is in the exact position I was in ten months ago.  So welcome Shirley – we’re happy to have you around.

It is also funny as to where help comes from in this world.  Several months back Anna Sikorska was contracted by Dreamspinner to give me a cover for Safe In His Arms.  (And goshdamn, didn’t she do a great job?).  From there I contacted her on social media and thanked her.  Even though she was on the other side of the world, she in turn introduced me to a friend of hers, a fabulous author in my own city, Pia Foxhall.  Pia is a wonderful person, and through our chats she’s now introduced me to an editor she knows.

As a result I’ve taken my first step along the path to get my m/f book published – which is enquiring about editing fees.  Oh, I know I am a huge way off, but I stepped out on that path.  I’m holding Pia’s hand as she waits for the answer on her book submission, and maybe, Pia will just end up holding my hand. 


There are lots of proverbs and sayings.  Some ring true.  Some, perhaps, more than others:

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”  - Okay!  (And please tell me I’m not the only one who put a sexual spin on that…)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ask Andrew - Writing Education


Dear Andrew,
 
The French writer Emile Zola said "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."
 
You definitely have a gift, but how did you learn your craft? Did you take writing lessons or are you an autodidact?
 
Cordially,
Madeleine
 
Dear Madeleine
 
My education consisted of American High School followed by 4 years of college where I studied business.  I did my post graduate work in Management Information Systems.    I know that seems about as exciting as reading a telephone book.  At the time I thought that was where my passion was.  I've always been a good student and I did well.  But other than composition classes where they taught us how to write papers, letters, and all that sort of thing, I never took any other type of writing class. 
 
I discovered my gift for storytelling quite by accident.  I got an idea in early 2007 and sat down to see if I could write the story.  My first draft read more like a research paper than a narrative, but I had actually done it.  I wrote an entire novel length story and it was reasonably cohesive.  The thing was, I had actually done it and of course, right after that I wrote another and then a third.  Dominic worked with me a lot to help refine my language skills.  (That's a nice way of saying he pointed out what I was doing wrong so all my sentences didn't sound the same.)  And we talked over story ideas and plots. 
 
At the beginning I wrote very slowly and it wasn't until a few years later that the stories began to pile up inside and then sort of fall out of me.  I have attended craft talks as well as given a few, I've spoken to other writers in order to get their insight, but mostly when it comes to honing my craft, I owe a great deal to my editors and the people I work with a Dreamspinner.  They published my early work and took a chance on me. 
 
So for anyone out there with the urge to give story telling a try, I say got for it.  You never know what you're capable of until you try!!!!
 
Hugs and Love
Andrew
 
Ask Andrew is your chance to ask questions of a gay romance author.  The questions can be about the writing process in general, writing sex scenes, gay men, sex, characters in romance, characters having sex... okay you probably get the picture.    I promise to answer your questions as frankly and with as much humor as I possibly can.

So if you have a question, please send it to
andrewgreybooks@comcast.net.  This is different from my usual email so your questions don't get lost.  I will answer one question a week.

Please remember this is meant to be all in fun.  (I was going to say good, clean fun, but who wants that.)    So send me your questions and let's see what mischief we can get into.

Visit Andrew on Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks  and you can join Andrew's fan group All The Way With Andrew Grey.

Follow him on Twitter:  @andrewgreybooks

Visit Andrew's web site:  www,andrewgreybooks.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

books written, books in progress


<Sean> evening all
 <BA> Hail hail, the gang's all here!
 <julia> waves
 <julia> hey y'all
 <Sean> so how was your birthday, BA?
 <julia> sleepy tonight
 <Sean> now I have the lion sleeps tonight stuck in my head, Julia
 <BA> it was nice, barring the whole being sick thing.
 <julia> heee
 <julia> sorry
 <BA> You get to have the next birthday :D
 <Sean> yeah
 <Sean> I'm almost old ;)
 <Sean> I have a banner release week this week
 <Sean> Drawing Straws: Tork on Wednesday from resplendence
 <Sean> Winter's Gift on Wednesday from torquere
 <Sean> Love Matters on Friday from totally bound
 <BA> damn, you overachiever
 <Sean> nods
 <Sean> it always seems to work like that
 <julia> and your biker thingee is number 2 on All Romance
 <Sean> if I have three releases in a month they are all the same week
 <Sean> I know!
 <Sean> hashtag my readers rock
 <julia> LOL
 <julia> I get that
 <julia> mine have made my dragon books at changeling press very popular
 <Sean> dragons!
 <BA> heeee
 <BA> wooo!
 <Sean> how many books are there in that series now, Julia?
 <julia> Four.
 <julia> Vanished is the newest
 <Sean> cool
 <julia> and then I'll start the Desert Dragon series
 <Sean> that's great :)
 <BA> I'm hoping I'll have release dates soon.
 <julia> nodnod
 <julia> you will
 <Sean> what are you waiting on release dates for, BA?
 <BA> I have a f/f YA coing out as Anne Key
 <BA> and Ever the Same from Dreamspinner
 <Sean> awesome
 <BA> and I just subbed a new paranormal to Resplendence
 <Sean> what flavor of paranormal?
 <BA> and I'm just waiting to spill my secret news about Roughstock
 <BA> this one is the start of a new series -- an alternate universe in Colorado where shifters flourish
 <BA> the first one is werewolves
 <Sean> yum werewolves
 <BA> the second will be a werebear and a wolf
 <julia> oooh
 <BA> the third is a wereraven and a weremountain lion
 <julia> I do love me some werebears
 <Sean> oh there's some fun and unusual ones there
 <julia> tell!
 <BA> nods -- this universe has an old granny wereowl
 <BA> a weremarmot
 <Sean> LOL
 <BA> a pair of twin werefoxes
 <julia> LOL
 <BA> a werecoyote
 <julia> no kitties?
 <BA> it's a goofy little world
 <BA> there's a weremountain lion
 * BA points up
 <julia> oh oops
 <BA> see?
 <julia> told you I was sleepy
 <BA> wereraven
 * BA chuckles
 <Sean> sounds like it's going to be fun
 <BA> it was fun to write
 <Sean> that's great
 * BA leans
 <BA> nods
 <julia> blinks slow
 <BA> so, have you had a decent new year?
 <Sean> I have
 <Sean> I've already blown all my resolutions
 <BA> LOL
 <Sean> so I got that over with and can go on with the rest of the year ;)
 <BA> there you go
 <BA> I haven't blown one yet
 <BA> ;-)
 <julia> nope
 <julia> me either
 <julia> yay
 <Sean> good for you guys
 <BA> well, I haven't taken over the world yet
 <BA> but it's a work in progress
 <Sean> lol
 <julia> nope
 <julia> but she's hatching plans
 <Sean> beware!
 <Sean> that's dangerous
 <BA> nods
 <BA> indeed
 <BA> I need chocolate
 <julia> okay
 <julia> where
 <BA> heeeee
 <BA> I'll just grab a handful of chocolate chips
 <Sean> I want something crunchy
 <BA> mmm...chips
 <Sean> or nuts
 <BA> we actually have leftover apple pie in there
 <Sean> that's not crunchy
 <Sean> yes, I'm stuck on crunchy
 <BA> have you ever noticed that everything on TV is just odd
 <julia> BA must be feeling better
 <julia> she said everything in the house was crunchy the other day when her throat hurt so bad
 <julia> and burst into teatd
 <Sean> awwww
 <BA> nods
 <julia> tears
 <julia> O.o
 <BA> I did not burst into teatd
 <Sean> lol
 <BA> I don't think I'm sure what teatd is
 <BA> it sounds obscene, though
 <Sean> yep
 <julia> T-E-A-R-S
 <Sean> so what makes everything on TV odd?
 <BA> I assume there's a hypnotize everyone into stupidity section in the government
 <BA> it's their job to provide 'quality programming'
 <Sean> lolol
 <BA> it's easier to control us when we're brain dead
 <BA> BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS
 <Sean> heeeee
 <BA> *grins*
 <BA> yeah, I know
 <BA> I'm a grumpy old goat
 <BA> it's one of my more appealing qualities
 <BA> ;)
 <Sean> cackles
 <BA> so, what are you working on right now, oh prolific one?
 <Sean> well I'm jumping on the dragon band wagon
 <Sean> I've got a millionaire and man who owes him a looooot of money
 <Sean> another one with a bdsm newbie
 <Sean> a shibari and a swak
 <BA> jesus
 <Sean> I like to have several on the go
 <BA> nods
 <BA> your several and mine are...
 <BA> vastly different
 <julia> lol
 <Sean> heeee
 <julia> yes
 <julia> sorry i think I dozed off
 <Sean> it must be that time, then
 <BA> the comatose!Julia time?
 <Sean> yep, that's the one
 <julia> yes
 <Sean> I'm gonna sign off and find my crunchy
 <julia> I'm sorry y'all
 <julia> no sparkly wit tonight
 <Sean> you'll wow us next week
  <Sean> ;)
 * BA smooches
 <Sean> waves
 <BA> love you, honey
 <Sean> night you two
 <BA> night
 <BA> :D

If you have a topic you’d like us to chat about, please let us know. We’re totally up for that.

You can find us on Twitter at @seanmichael09, @juliatalbot and @batortuga.

Sean’s website is http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com
Julia’s is http://www.juliatalbot.com
BA’s is http://www.batortuga.com

Facebook:
Sean -- https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites
Julia -- https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor
BA -- https://www.facebook.com/batortuga

Sean
smut fixes everything