Monday, July 30, 2012

Priceless -- A guest blog by MA Church


* Airfare from Memphis to Las Vegas: $500
* Meals, Room, Entertainment: $2000
* Falling in love: Priceless 



Money makes the world go round, and can buy the best things life has to offer. Pricey clothes, expensive cars, luxury toys, insanely high priced meals, the best rooms in hotels… and people who’ll jump to do your bidding. Money speaks—wealth and power go hand in hand. And when you have money, hey, why not throw it around like it grows on trees? There’s more of where that came from.

Right?



So what if the men you date are more interested in your money than your private thoughts? Does it really matter if all they see you as is a bag of money? It’s certainly safer. After all, they’ll tell you what you want to hear. They wouldn’t dare tell you the truth. If you have money, you don’t need anything else.

Right?

But… what if that’s not right? What then? Wealth can buy you security, provide comfort, and surround you with ‘yes’ men. Sure, money can buy a lot of things, but do those things really mean anything if there’s no one special to share them with? What about a lover’s touch, a simple smile, or the feeling of being near the one you love? Money can’t buy that—it can’t buy you a sense of completeness.


As the old saying goes… ‘You can’t take it with you.’




Can you buy love?

Not the love I’m talking about. There have been all kind of shows on TV about this subject—saying yes money can and no it can’t. Frankly, I don’t think money can buy love. Not soul-touching, deep, give your life love. It can buy a warm body, but that’s not the same.

Money may be able to buy a lot of things… except true love. And true love is…




Sparks ignite when Cupid takes aim at two mortals in Las Vegas: Randy Jones, an average guy on a company vacation, looks into Garrett’s eyes at a craps table and time stands still. Throwing aside everything he believes, Randy engages in a torrid two-night affair with Garrett—only to panic when he realizes he’s fallen in love.

Cynical billionaire Garrett Shiffler has everything money can buy, and most of his dates can’t see past the dollar signs. Life has taught him that innocence and love are figments of the imagination. But when Randy disappears, taking with him feelings Garrett thought he’d never know, Garrett wages the most important battle of his life to win Randy's love—but this time he fights with his heart, not his bank account.

Meanwhile, Cupid wonders what happened. His golden arrows never fail unless the Fates interfere. If Garrett wants to win Randy back, he’s going to have to do it on his own, because the Fates have other plans for Cupid.

Excerpt:

They stepped closer and Randy’s body was as tense as a drawn bow. What would a suave, sophisticated guy do in this situation? Suave, right. Randy just hoped he didn’t make an idiot out of himself.

Randy’s breathing increased as he chewed his lip. His heart sped up as Garrett leaned into him. Would the kiss be hard and brutal, his mouth claimed by an onslaught of passion that would leave him breathless and bruised? He moaned in surprise as Garrett’s mouth sweetly moved on his.

From one heartbeat to the next, pleasure exploded in Randy’s mind. He hadn’t expected such gentleness. Throwing caution to the wind, he grasped Garrett’s hips and pulled him closer. Garrett’s tongue explored his mouth, that sinful goatee tickling his chin. When Garrett nudged his head to the side and nibbled a path down Randy’s neck, he willingly bared his throat. And moaned again when Garrett sucked hard on the tender skin near his collarbone.

Randy, squirming from the sensations, rubbed his leg up and down Garrett’s thigh. One of Garrett’s hands drifted down and lifted Randy’s leg higher, palming his ass as he kneaded the firm flesh. The electricity that jumped between them had Randy shaking.

“Garrett,” Randy gasped as Garrett found a particularly good spot, “there’s gotta be cameras in here.”

Garrett held Randy tightly for a moment, their bodies crushed together, before he released him and moved away. He mumbled under his breath about how could Randy think, much less clearly, at that moment. Randy leaned against the elevator wall, eyes closed, and tried to bring his rampaging body under control.


 The elevator dinged and lurched to a stop, causing Randy to stumble into Garrett.

He slid his arm around Randy to steady him and didn’t let go when the doors parted. Garrett pulled Randy toward his suite, throwing the door open. Once inside he slammed the door shut, spun Randy around, and trapped him against the back of the door. He slammed his mouth over Randy’s, picking up where he left off in the elevator until Randy was gasping for air.

“Let me be very clear,” Garrett panted into his mouth. “I want you in my bed. I want you desperate, wild, and begging.”

“I’m to the desperate phase now.” Randy trembled, trapped between him and the door. “Wild is right around the corner, and begging isn’t far behind.”

Garrett’s thumb traced over Randy’s swollen bottom lip. “That’s what I like about you, Randy, you speak your mind and don’t play games. I can’t tell you what a turn on that is for me.”

“I don’t have the first clue how to play games like you’re talking about, nor do I want to.”

“And thank God for it.” That jaded little devil on Garrett’s shoulder rolled his eyes. This guy either was very good, or very innocent. “Now, let me show you my bedroom. I can’t wait much longer to have you in my bed.”

Garrett ushered him through the living area, not giving him time to admire the softly lit main area. He opened a door to a large room that held a beautifully made bed with a sinfully black silk bedspread. The room was done in dark woods and masculine tones with paintings and photography from some extremely well-known artists. It shrieked authority, money, and power. The curtains were open, letting in the light from the city.

Garrett stepped behind Randy and turned him toward the mirrored closet. Garrett unbuttoned his shirt, parted the fabric, and placed his hands on Randy’s stomach. Taking his time, he ran his hands up Randy’s chest, dragging the pleasure out until he reached those perky nipples that begged for attention. Garrett flicked both hard peaks, making Randy arch in his arms. Then he rolled them between his thumb and forefinger as they both watched their reflection.

“So very hot,” Garrett whispered in Randy’s ear as his fingers teased the nubs until Randy moaned.

Randy reached behind him and wrapped his arm around Garrett’s neck, dragging him closer. That bulge that pressed against Randy’s ass was huge and had his imagination sitting up, tail thumping. It had been a long time since a lover affected him this way. Randy leaned his head back against Garrett’s shoulder and watched, heavy-eyed, as Garrett’s hands drifted down and undid his belt.



M.A. Church

M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.

But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.

By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

Visit M.A. at her blog: http://machurch00.blogspot.com
Twitter: @nomoretears00



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Double-Barrel, a guest blog by Marshall Payne


First, I’d like to thank Tali for having me here today. She has more than one Happy Book Day coming up soon, so I know how busy she is.

Over the past month I published two novels, each the first book in a series. Petrol Queen is a secondary-world industrial fantasy, while Jimmy-Don and the Texas Hill Country Ordeal is an urban fantasy set—where else?—in Texas. Both novels are available for Kindle and in trade paperback on Amazon.com. My author page is here.

Recently, someone asked me if I thought it was wise publishing both novels so close together. Might the combined efforts of promotion hurt each book, one canceling the other out? After a bit of thought, I decided that it wouldn’t.

There are big differences between being an indie author and a writer going the more traditional route. With the traditional route, when your book comes out and hits the brick-and-mortal stores, you typically have just a few weeks to make a splash or your book is removed from the racks for new releases coming along. With indie publishing—ebooks especially—there really is no shelf life. In fact, many up-and-coming indie authors benefit from the “slow boil” marketing strategy and the additional time to find an audience. Therefore, it made sense to me to go ahead and get both first novels out there, and then over the next year or two release further books in each series. Hopefully, as new readers find each series, sales will grow through word of mouth. The fact that these two books came out two weeks apart has little bearing on their future.

As to the actually writing, both novels, Petrol Queen and Jimmy-Don and the Texas Hill Country Ordeal, are completely different. Petrol Queen is a more dire book, where the kingdom of Amel-Gar undergoes a revolution as the have-nots attempt to overthrow the powers that be of a decadent society. Still, there is a lot of humor amid the industrial pollution and corruption. Jimmy-Don is more of a humorous urban fantasy about how magic keeps getting in the way of an aspiring musician’s career. Jimmy-Don is the most unlikely hero I think one can find. This book works more because of the characters, where Petrol Queen relies a bit more on the ideas and worldbuilding.

While bringing the characters to life is always my primary goal, there was one thing I tried to do in both books—something that many fantasy novels are sadly lacking. It has to do with how the speculative elements are employed.

Often in an SF/F novel, all the main tropes are laid out in the beginning, and as the conflict develops those tropes are used to achieve an end. But with Petrol Queen and Jimmy-Don, I didn’t want to shoot my wad of invention all at the beginning. My goal when writing these was to have the speculative invention grow throughout both books. To sustain the sensawunder, if nothing else. So just when you think you’ve seen it all, another mind-blowing trope pops up to outdo the one before. As both series progress, I hope to continue this trend, so there’s always something to amaze the reader just beyond the next page.

I hope you’ll check out Petrol Queen and Jimmy-Don and the Texas Hill Country Ordeal. I had a lot of fun writing them and I hope readers enjoy them, as well.

 Buy Links:


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Captive Heart Cover

Captive Heart will be released by Resplendence Publishing next month, and my editor just showed me the final cover. Look at what the artist came up with!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Snake Demons and Devil's Nights

Amaru, by Genzoman
A while back I mentioned I was writing a m/m erotic horror short story about a young Spaniard in search of revenge who crosses paths with a sorcerer/snake demon in the high Andes. Because snake demons are cool, the story ended up being all kinds of nasty fun. I submitted it to Storm Moon Press for its "Devil's Night" anthology, and they just told me they want it. The anthology will be published in October.

Here's an unedited excerpt from "The Seventh Sacrifice":

The door at the top opened onto a vista that belonged to another, more fantastic world. The tile roof spread to every side, robbed of color but seeming to undulate in the moonlight, creating serpentine patterns. It looked crazy and pebbled, a mosaic of catenary curves such as Gaudi might have envisioned.

“Amazing,” Beltran said. 

Katari led him along a narrow ledge of bricks, taking him deeper into the astonishing tableau of cupolas and arches. Taller buildings surrounded the church, their windows occasionally spilling light, but Katari knew where to find shadows and Beltran found himself maneuvered into a corner of rough brick. His back pressed against the cold surface.

“I will show you things of beauty, Spaniard.” Katari’s hand shot out, wrapped around the back of his head, and pulled him near.

Beltran had never been coy. He’d spent his adult life pursuing pleasure with attractive, available men. Just because he was in a country to which he might never return was no reason to pass on it now. At the moment, his cock stood straight up against the placket of his trousers, begging for this. He parted his lips to the kiss.

Katari tasted dark. His full, firm lips claimed Beltran’s with a muscular certainty that made him gasp. Desire had never felt like this before... cold, controlling, consuming him like something already owned. He opened to the sorcerer’s insistent tongue, savored how it pushed into his hungry, willing mouth. Wanting more, he sucked on it with abandon. When Katari at last pulled back, he placed a hand on Beltran’s groin, laying claim to his erection.

“You are going to give this to me, aren’t you, caballero?” The sorcerer licked beside his ear and he moaned. When Beltran opened his eyes, he gazed into the slivered moon reflected in Katari’s lust-filled orbs.

“Yes,” he breathed.   

This time when Katari kissed him, Beltran kissed him back. The other man’s mouth was generous, and his lips as Beltran sucked on them were mobile and smooth. He had never kissed a man without facial hair before and he explored the new sensation, the top lip first, then the full bottom, succulent and pliable and ravenous as they left him gasping for air. Those lips burned as they sucked down the column of his throat, hot tongue pressed flat against his pulse. He dipped his head so his open mouth skimmed that wonderful midnight hair, stirring the fine strands and breathing its scent. Musky, clean... smoke and earth.

His hands roamed the sorcerer’s broad shoulders, caressing the soft, dense fabric of his tunic. When did the man do anything physical enough to have muscles like these, thick and corded, moving like a giant’s beneath his hands? He wanted to feel that hard body, see it... but it was Katari who had somehow undone the buttons of Beltran’s shirt and was tugging it and his leather jacket off his shoulders, revealing his bare torso. He gasped aloud with pleasure as Katari’s hot mouth pressed more kisses to his flesh.

“You are so pale, Spaniard,” Katari said, punctuating each suck and lick, “your pretty skin glows against the night.”

Moonglow, he wanted to say. He’d been told his skin glowed in the dark like the moon. Already he envisioned his pale limbs entwined with Katari’s dark ones. The sorcerer flicked the hot tip of his tongue across a jutting nipple and Beltran squirmed, his throat barely holding back a groan.

“Every part of you is begging for me,” Katari said, doing it again. His hand once more cupped Beltran’s erection, rubbing it and driving him mad.

“God, I want you.  Katari, stop, I mean it... I won’t last.”

With feral speed, Katari grabbed him by the upper arms and spun him around so that now it was the sorcerer who leaned against the wall. Shirt hanging from his arms, Beltran stood in the mountain cold and watched the other man tug up his tunic to release the drawstring of his trousers, freeing his cock. Engorged and sleek, limned by moonlight, the organ pointed straight at him. Like the man, it was dark and angry. Mesmerized, Beltran touched it, his fingertips caressing smooth hot skin and a hardness that thrilled him, while Katari’s moon-kissed eyes slitted with pleasure. 

“Show yourself to me, caballero.”

Beltran shivered from more than bare skin and night chill. Something sensual and forbidden lurked in that command; he imagined the sorcerer fucking him while he begged, completely robbed of any dignity, for more. Just as well, then, that he and this man would have only one night.

But, of course, Beltran's wrong... 

I had a blast writing this story. There's great fun to be had with devils and demons, and I can't wait to read the other stories in this anthology come October.


Friday, July 13, 2012

How to Sign an eBook

So I got to talking with my good friend M about a fan of hers who wanted a signed copy of her new book. Which is great, because signed copies are an old and much loved literary tradition. But what if the book is an eBook?

Book signings used to involve actual contact. Even today, it's common to see the author sitting at a table with a stack of her books at a convention or in a brick and mortar store (been there, done both), wearing her most approachable smile and hoping some kind soul would stop by to chat or buy one of her books, which she will then happily personalize. Sometimes the only contact is by way of pen on paper, such as when the author will drop off pre-signed books for local stores to sell, or sign inserts to be included with print books sold through online outlets.

Most authors enjoy personal contact with readers. I know I do. For all my crippling shyness, there's something magical about putting a real person to one of my stories, to seeing a smile, or receiving a request for a signature. It's reaching out, making a connection. The reader becomes real. Who wouldn't want that?

The advent of electronic reading devices presents an obstacle to the tradition of signing books. A few folk out there are probably fervent enough about some author to ask them to sign their Kindle with permanent marker, but that's not for everyone. And how does an author or publisher personalize an electronic book?

Well, neither M nor I lives on the cutting edge of technology. If I edit a bit of .html or create a password on my cell phone, I'm doing good. Fortunately, it didn't take much research to learn about Autography. That's right. There's a way to autograph eBooks! How cool is that? If there's one way, there may be others. 

I'm going to find out if my publishers do this. Not that I expect a stampede of fans wanting autographed copies of my stories, but if even one fan does, I would love to deliver. How about the author in this article from the NY Times, signing books at 30,000 feet? Now that would be a trip!

For myself, I'm not sure an e-signature would do it for me. As a reader, I love collecting signed paper books, whether special editions or books I had personalized by the author because I met them at a convention or went to a signing. I'm not sure if eBooks can be signed, say, two years later, when I meet the author and get the impulse to say, "I loved your book! I have it with me. Would you sign it?" But who knows? Maybe someday I will be doing just that.

Added info: I just learned about Kindlegraph, a site used by many authors to sign eBooks. In fact, I test-drove it with M and, yep, I have her signature on my Kindle! Check it out. At the moment, you have to have a Twitter account to use it, but they're working on adding other options. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Why Do Fools Fall in Love?

Playing matchmaker for real people is a bit like skipping through a minefield of mismatched goals, families, and neuroses, and runs the risk of ruining perfectly good friendships. That's why I prefer to push fictional characters on each other.

This often works out gloriously. For one thing, I know beforehand, without a shred of doubt, that my couples will be perfect together. They were created to be compatible or, if not compatible to start, I can help them find ways around their issues. Because I believe in happy endings, they seldom have cause to complain.

As a writer, though, I want these love matches to have one foot in reality. There has to be ample reason these two particular characters would fall for each other. Beauty isn't enough. Neither is great sex. They need to fall in love with a whole being.

Here's an excerpt from Sorcerer's Knot, to be published next month, in which the two main characters begin connecting the dots.

“Immortality is a curse, and riches useless against denizens of the Deep.”  Muir kissed him again, gently questing, as if seeking to learn something in a language without words.  When they broke again, he said, “You’re going to leave me, just like the others.  You will never pull the language of the sea out of my skull, because you cannot or because you refuse, and you will go to search for it elsewhere.  You will fall prey to the creatures of the Deep and they will use you, and drain you, and I will find your body on the rocks or your bones upon the strand, mocking the sun.”
Muir was afraid for him.  He did not even bother to conceal it.  However roughly, the man actually cared.  Cian struggled to make sense of his own feelings.  He’d lain with so many men before, with young men and old, with wizards and princes and kings, and none of them had awakened feelings in him at all.  Yet Muir did.  All he could think was that the sorcerer, too, was damaged, in ways visible and invisible that allowed emotions between them to flow from deeper wells than those of other men.  At first he’d seen only the hardness, hardness like walls, but now Cian saw those walls as fragile, crumbling, and he knew they were crumbling for him.
Not sure how to answer or even if an answer was wanted, he curled deeper into the pull of Muir’s arms.  If there were monsters outside this house, besieging the island, he was safe from them here.  He’d never heard of Ygoth, but that being, too, was far away.  He could content himself listening to the drone of Muir’s voice.
“You remind me of another life, a life I might have had had the world spun on a different course, a life where talent is currency and the men who possess it are exalted.  I know now that such men are easily spoiled, their minds weakened and twisted by desire.  Most mages who find me are of that kind, older men at the height of their art, wanting more than what they have.  At first I thought you were one of them, a deceiver who had placed upon himself a sorcerer’s knot of enduring youth, for I sensed your power even as you lay senseless.  But then you opened your eyes and I saw—” His voice thickened.  “I saw the eyes of a young, restless thing that has yet to find his place in this world.”
“I have a place,” Cian said, his voice thick with sleep.  The edge was near, tugging at his eyelids.  His answer made no sense, even to him.
“Maybe you do.  But listen, young wizard, to one who sold everything for a power that gained him naught.  What you seek is not worth the finding.”
Muir’s lips brushed his neck, traveled lower, beard and breath warm upon a shoulder.  Cian smiled, knowing the man inhaled his scent.  Calmed, held fast within an embrace like iron, he slipped off into sleep.

I don't know about anyone else, but I love those moments where two people find what they need in each other. In another of my novels, Captive Hearts, the heroine falls for a man who is passionate and flawed, but strives to balance vengeance and justice. He falls for her because she has a gentle, uncynical nature and carries herself as a princess despite her country's conquest.

I'm having the most fun right now with Madd and Vorgell, from Thick as Thieves. Their story is really taking off because they're crashing into love territory soon. It didn't start out that way. Vorgell had the instant hots for Madd, in large part because of his magical affliction, but also because Madd is good-looking. Vorgell is willing to overlook that Madd doesn't find him attractive and spends a lot of time calling him an oaf. Now, a good way into the story, he also knows Madd is stubborn, brave and has a sense of fair play. Madd, on the other hand, finds Vorgell physically intimidating and distrusts everyone anyway. He's warming to Vorgell, though, because he's learned a lot about him: Vorgell is loyal, easy-going and, yes, misunderstood. Not to mention filled with unicorn magic and actually pretty sexy once he's had a bath.

It's not love yet, but when love hits them both between the eyes, I hope it is believable. The characters in a love story need to be as believable as the setting in which they're placed, or the situations in which they find themselves. And the upside for me: I get to explore this beautiful thing called falling in love every day of the week.

So who's the fool?


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lioness Art

A while ago I wrote a novella about a young woman who was handed over by a prophetess to be raised by a band of lion hunters. "Lioness" is one of my Uttor stories and Leya, the young woman in question, has quite an adventure as she discovers her surprising destiny. I'm planning to revise and expand the story into a full novel.

"Leya" by Elena Dudina

A few weeks ago I commissioned a wonderful artist, Elena Dudina, to create an illustration for "Lioness." It shows Leya and her mate, Velthur, about to embark on their journey to Uttor after the events of their meeting. In the story, I skipped over most parts of this journey, trying to keep the story small. Trouble is, it's not small. It's big. Leya and Velthur encounter a world of myths and danger, not to mention shadowy shape-shifting priestesses determined to keep Leya from reaching her destination.

"Lioness" is still up on Literotica, but I may be taking it down soon. Until then, enjoy, and enjoy this beautiful picture. I love it! What do you think?