Saturday, September 29, 2012

Seven Things About Me

I was just tagged by Michael Rupured [HERE] for this meme, so you can pop on over to his blog to complain if I hit you with too much information.

1. I am the mother of three sons. They are all uncommonly bright, successful and handsome. Here's one of them. You can catch him passing out my bookmarks in and around Atlanta.

2. My favorite video game of all time is Civilization Revolution. I play on Deity level because, yes, I am god-like. It's harder now to find time to play, because I'm off creating worlds of my own, but every once in a while I get a hankering to kick a little butt.

3. When I grow up, I want to be like Judge Judy. I'm not kidding. She's stylish, she's smart, she gets to say whatever she wants, and she gets to boss people around for a living. If I couldn't be a writer, I would want to be her.

4. My fantasy football team, the Galloping Gekkos, has won Super Bowls. Our league has been active for fifteen years and I'm the only female team owner. People fly in from out of state and drive for hours to get together for our live fantasy draft in August. Position I love best: tight ends. Seriously. I have a thing for the big guys. In real life, my favorite teams are the Packers and the Eagles.

5. I learned how to swim in Walden Pond, of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau fame.

6. My wonderful husband and I got married on a cruise ship. It was the perfect wedding. We got on the ship before everyone else, had a short and sweet ceremony, danced in the disco, our guests got to party hard on the Lido deck... and then the ship kicked all the guests off at debarkation while we sailed off on our honeymoon.

7. I am determined to find the perfect tiramisu because, as far as I'm concerned, it's the bestest dessert ever. I need to pay the West Coast a visit because rumor has it there's a perfect tiramisu to be had in San Francisco.

I am now supposed to tag seven people, so here goes:

MA Church
Night Tempest
Cia
Tucker McCallahan
Shira Anthony
The Online Stalker
Nephylim

And remember, if none of you respond... I WIN!!!  ;-)

Friday, September 28, 2012

What Have We Here...


A little bit of everything this week, courtesy of my friends and a tendency to hoard fun links.  I hope you find a couple of laughs, some new music and imagery, and maybe even enter a contest. Enjoy!

1. Ghost Story Flash Fiction Writing Contest. This is a legitimate contest run by Wisconsin Public Radio. They’re looking for 600 words—no more, no less—of ghostly fun, with winners to be read on public radio. The entries will be judged by Patrick Rothfuss, a fellow Wisconsin writer somewhat more famous than I. *coff* Okay, seriously more famous. Still, like so many Wisconsin people, Patrick is friendly and a great guy to get to know. Visit his blog [HERE] and see why.

2. Peter Dinklage’s Commencement Address, Bennington College2012. I’ve enjoyed Peter Dinklage’s acting for years, but especially love him as Tyrion Lannister on A Game of Thrones. His address to graduates of his alma mater is funny and filled with sharp observations on being an artist. The last few minutes, where he talks about the importance of knowing what you want, and giving yourself permission to pursue it and fail, is inspirational. And his statement about who are the “shiny, important people” in a person’s life is dead on.

3. How to Break Down a Door, from The Art of Manliness. First off, this is a great website! When I needed Vorgell to break down a door, I wanted to make sure the big guy did it in true manly fashion, so of course I came here. I love just reading the articles. The section on Manly Skills is a trove of fun projects. I wish I’d had this when my three boys were still at home. Mike the Conqueror never met a piece of electronics he didn’t want to dismantle, so he would almost certainly have turned an old WWII field phone into a Bluetooth handset.

4. Said The Whale, “Loveless.” Adorable! My new favorite song and video. Yes, I am in a life-and-love affirming mood this week. :D

5. L'Odyssée de Cartier. Simply the most gorgeous advertisement ever. The imagery blows my mind and I love the fantasy of it all. And that’s not the only astounding Cartier video. This one, “Painted Love” by AIR, presents a profound statement on the nature of love and art. These videos are so beautiful, I watch them often.

6. Review for Veet for Men Hair Removal Gel Crème. A reader sent me this and, well, I just have to share because it made me spew coffee all over my keyboard. Thank goodness my cousin gave me a keyboard condom last time that happened. Just another reason to love men: they write stuff like this!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Sun In Its Womb #6

Welcome to this week’s Wednesday Brief. In addition to this entry, you can find links at the bottom to the other flashers. The prompt for this week is: "Suffer the little...." or I could use one of the alternate prompts: three, hairy, billiard ball; or "When can I see you again?"; or "He/she said what?"; or scales, tradition, engine; or dapper, dandelion, direct; or "If I were you, I'd..."

Despite my extremely perverse frame of mind this weekend, I opted for “If I were you, I’d…”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Sun in Its Womb


Knackers didn’t waste any time confronting Aja about the disastrous meeting with Jordy. He barged into the room like a badly programmed service unit and proceeded to spew bureaucratic venom.

“We’ve got our legal team on this. You have a parental interest in the fetus, or whatever it is. STOA has a duty to preserve and protect you.” The man paced while Aja watched him warily. “They were supposed to park their larva here. We would protect it, let it learn. There’s nothing in the treaty about it taking away additional genetic material.”

“I’m an adult human. Not genetic material.”

“To them, that’s all you are.”

Aja wasn’t quite buying that. He didn’t believe he’d just exchanged smiles and mouthed declarations of love with someone who saw him as a test subject. He needed to talk with Jordy, and he resented STOA in general and Knackers in particular for keeping him from her. “Just let me see her. I can get those answers you so desperately want—”

Light gleamed on Knackers teeth. “We’re getting our answers. As far as anyone, including the Fer, are concerned, you will be getting on that ship in an hour.”

“You’re letting me go?” His heart actually leaped. But then it dropped back with panic. Was STOA sending him off with the Fer? Did he even want that?

“I didn’t say that.” Knackers walked up and slapped him in the neck. Aja felt the sting of a needle just before his body went cold as space itself. His vision narrowed to the other man’s smiling face, then mocking eyes, then nothing.

* * * *

He felt the cold first, then opened his eyes to low, soft light. His skin detected the faint hum of machinery and he moved his hand automatically to his hip to summon Fritz, but the clothing he touched felt unfamiliar. Crinkly. Beeps cascaded nearby and something moved.

“We’re sorry, Mr. Paz,” a female voice intruded, low and faintly insincere. “It was better for you to be unconscious during the transfer.”

“Transfer?” His mouth felt dry.

“Sub warp shift. We timed our jump with the Fer ship’s departure. Its energy footprint obliterated our little signal. If I were you, I’d just relax and enjoy the trip.”

He was no longer on the station. And the Fer ship… had left human space. Jordy was gone. And he didn’t know, not for certain, what STOA had said or done or given the Fer to persuade her to leave him behind.

Jordy. He couldn’t bring himself to say her name. This woman probably wouldn’t know who Jordy was or, if she did, he didn’t want to talk to her about anything to do with the alien. He didn’t know what STOA’s plans for him might be. Perhaps he would never speak to anyone but STOA personnel again. They’d done something. Made a deal with the Fer, or tricked them. Whatever they’d done, Aja Paz was being taken away to disappear.

He drew deep breaths of sterile air. Jump ship air. It differed only in chemical traces from station air. He had never breathed air trapped by the mass of a planet and now he never would. The titanium walls of the life support tube wavered through his tears, then disappeared. The entire tube… disappeared. The jump ship dissolved like sugar granules spooned into hot coffee.

The STOA tech screamed, but the person standing beside Aja’s table hardly merited that. He… or she… had riotous curls of brown hair down to freckled shoulders, a mouth slightly too wide and lips perfect for kissing. He would have known that nose anywhere. The whole glittering plates of overlapping armor look was new, though. The tech stopped screaming and slumped into her chair the moment the Fer touched her.

“Jordy,” he said.

“I wouldn’t let them hurt you.” Jordy flashed him a grin. “I‘ve studied humans for eighty years. I knew they would try to cheat me.”

Aja sat up with Jordy’s help, his limbs still tingling from the drug. He had never seen his lover look more beautiful, even if there was something much less soft—masculine, even—about Jordy’s jaw line and voice, and more broadness in the shoulders. Softness remained in the lips, though, and Jordy’s eyes still looked the same: brown and soulful and so gorgeous he would be happy to gaze into their depths forever.

“What the hell, Jordy! You dissolved the jump ship!”

Blue architecture, elegant and faintly organic, arched in soaring spans over the filigreed space on which they now stood.

“I intend to recreate it. The humans—” Jordy waved at the five bodies slumped in their respective chairs around the platform, “—will not remember a thing. Ship’s instruments will register a debris hit that will account for deviation from expected trajectory and temporal lines. All right, bees!”

Aja looked up, startled to see several worker bees. They carried a human, one who looked just like him.

“A good copy,” Jordy said. The accompanying smile was far from cheery. “But a copy nonetheless. Loaded with psycho recorders and slip programs. They aren’t as clever as they think they are.”

After Aja’s replica took his place on the table, they all walked away. Aja joined them without hesitation. Whatever he would find with the Fer, Jordy would be with him… and probably it would beat life in some STOA holding tank. He stood beside Jordy and the worker bees on an observation platform and watched the jump ship’s hull and components regenerate, complete with visible damage to the aft shield. The Fer did good work.

Moments later that part of the Fer ship simply dematerialized and the human ship resumed its journey, vanishing upon some invisible, pre-programmed string. He’d never understand jump travel.

“Damn nasty stuff, that intra-galactic ice,” Jordy said.

 (to be continued…)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was going to wrap this story up this week, but will do so next week instead. Then I’ll try something new. Here are the links to the rest of the Wednesday Briefers and their fun stories!

Nephylim
     m/m
Lily Sawyer      m/m 
Michael Mandrake     m/m
Cia Nordwell  m/m
MA Church     m/m

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Meet the Author of Pricolici

The excitement of getting that first book published is hard to explain, but it rates right up there with childhood Christmas Eves and wedding days and, yes, the birth of a child. Today Cia, aka Alicia Nordwell, has stopped by to talk about her first baby... I mean book, Pricolici. Look at that gorgeous cover! It captures the gritty, fiery vibe of her world of shifters and hot, hot, hot men. And not only does she create likable characters and a multi-layered world, but she's a warm and wonderful person in her own right.

1.      What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I once had a reader whose opinion I really valued tell me a story was like schoolwork from a 17 year old and lacked balance. It stung, but that was their issue with the story content. I asked later why the author felt that way, and it turned out not to be style so much as their visceral reaction to certain elements in the story.  The best compliment? I had a reader tell me that my Carthera story felt ‘real’ to them, even though some of the characters had wings or fangs. My goal when write modern fantasy is to make it seem almost as if you could go to the store and meet one of my characters, so that meant I hit the nail right on the head.

2.      If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I don’t think anyone really mentored me, exactly, but I did have several authors who I turned to when I first started writing for advice and input on my actual story. Lugh and Nephy from Gay Authors gave me exactly that, along with a great reader friend, Paya. My beta, fellow author, and good friend (even if we haven’t met in person) Renee Stevens and I helped each other learn the craft of writing together.

3.      Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

Well, recently I read a story by Ryan Loveless called Ethan, Who Loved Carter. She’s not exactly a new author, but I hadn’t read her work before. I loved this piece. I even cried. I hate admitting that, but it was that good. You can check out the review on my blog from last Monday. On Gay Authors, a home of a lot of great free fiction, I’ve been following Mann Rambling (also reviewed on Monday) and Randomness who wrote To Move Forward.

4.      What are your current projects?

What aren’t I doing right now? I’m editing several older stories. Currently I’m writing and posting Adverse Effects along with the short story, Never More Lonely, from the Wednesday Briefs group on my blog. On the sly I’m working on 2 yet to be titled stories. One will be a modern mmf and includes elemental magic. The other is a modern mm story that includes a winery, two men, and a little bit of a surprise, along with some intrigue. That’s a lot in one story, but is one of mine, after all, lol! I’ve also been doing research for Benny’s story from my Carthera series.

5.      How did you become involved with your publisher?

Well, two of my author friends had already submitted stories to Romance First Publishing. I tend to be slow to try new things, but when they both had great experiences I said what the heck! and sent in a submission. Stephanie said she really liked, and wanted, the story but it needed more. She was right and so began the last six months worth of re-writing, expanding, editing, editing and MORE editing. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has been involved with the process for all their help. I’ve been very impressed and encourage anyone thinking about submitting to send their stories in!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 


Pricolici Blurb:

Forced out, Tucker was vulnerable and alone. Betrayed by his haitas, he unknowingly drove straight for Pricolici territory. Their alpha claimed him, as a hultan and his mate. Tucker didn't believe him ... at first. Facing an attack from Stelian's ancient enemy, Tucker found out what he truly was.

Powerful.

Excerpt:

“Did someone try to hurt you on your way here? Were you attacked by a human?” Stelian’s voice was a low snarl.

“No!” Tucker clenched his hands into fists.

“Shane got lucky then.”

Tucker tried to stay calm and ignore his resentment at the lupe’s obvious belief that he was too weak to protect himself from anyone. “I can handle the humans and if you’ll just let me go, then my freaky pheromone problem won’t affect anyone in your haitas either. I’ll leave right now.”

Stelian’s nostrils flared as his hands slid over his lower stomach toward the waistband of his pants. “What makes you think they haven’t already? That I’m not thinking about bending you over that table and mounting you right now?” Stelian smirked at him.

 He shuddered a little at the heat in Stelian's voice, and the look in those fierce eyes.

Shit! He hadn't really noticed but Stelian had moved closer as they talked, inch by slow inch. Amazingly, Stelian was only several feet away, and Tucker could feel the alpha’s aura flowing toward him. He hadn't realized his awareness of the lupe’s power was gone until that moment. Stelian dominated the room even without the power that reinforced his place in his haitas.

"Don't worry, you're in my territory now." There was satisfaction in Stelian's voice. "If your haitas didn't know what they had, then it’s not my place to enlighten them."

"What they—” Tucker froze when Stelian stalked around the table. He grabbed the chair and slung it sideways. Stelian’s huge hands slammed down on either side of Tucker and his arms made a cage, penning Tucker when the smaller lupe would have tried to bolt.

"Oh yes. You're very special," Stelian said as he bent down to drag his nose up Tucker's neck. A stinging bite at Tucker's ear and a low growl stopped him when he tried to jerk his head back.

"Don't."

Tucker froze at the order from a voice laced with the wolf's growl. The ache he’d felt earlier from the bartender had nothing on the way he felt from the suddenly overwhelming surge of lust that emanated from Stelian.

Something welled up inside him and Tucker felt his eyes shift. Everything became sharper and clearer when he saw through the eyes of his wolf. He knew his normally murky green eyes now shone as golden as the larger lupe's.
Entranced by the angles and shadows he'd missed with his human eyes, Tucker stared at Stelian's dusky skin where it stretched tight over his sharp cheekbones. The Pricolici were mostly old lupes that had emigrated from Romania. They’d passed that coloring on to their pups. Stelian’s Romanian blood gave him a deep skin tone and even the yellow eyes of an excited werewolf looked natural on him, as if he was never fully human.

Tucker couldn't help but lick his lips as he stared at the strange lupe's strong and handsome face that matched the hard, muscular body he’d been pinned against earlier. All lupes were stronger than they looked, but Stelian was taller and more heavily muscled than the biggest male in his old haitas. Unbidden, the power inside Tucker poured forth and met Stelian's aura.

There was a sensation of blending, a mingling of two different yet similar forces. Stelian’s hand was hot against Tucker's neck as he tugged at his chain, pulling his face closer to Stelian's. The lupe's breath puffed against his lips, only inches away from Tucker’s. It startled Tucker and he jerked away, his power snapping back inside him like a rubber band as his chair tipped over backward.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thanks, Cia! Here's a bottle of champagne and some confetti. We'll kick back and party when your book launches on the 28th. That's Friday, so you know what I'll be reading this weekend. :D In the meantime, here's where to find Cia and her book.

Look for Pricolici at the following stores: 
Amazon
All Romance Ebooks
Smashwords


Thursday, September 20, 2012

What Have We Here...


Look what fun or informative things I’ve enjoyed around the internet this week! Granted, it was a strange week. Still, every week yields a few gems and a couple of, well, things that are really different.

1. Covered in Light. Helen Pattskyn writes a gentle, moving post on the controversial subject of women choosing to cover themselves—and the many traditions and reasons a woman might opt to do so. Much needed look at one of the issues affecting women today.

2. "Don't Tell Me You've Got a Heater in Your Girdle, Madam!" (by Bill Pronzini). Funniest thing I read all week. This entry in the Why Writers Need Editors sweepstakes is filled with magnificent groaners.

3. All the Ways Jack Reacher Kicks Ass in 17 Lee Child Novels. Because, come on… no one kicks ass like Jack Reacher! I love Lee Child's Reacher books and I keep this around just so I can remind myself that, yes, there really are a hundred ways to kick ass. Great inspiration for writing those fight scenes.

4. Just because it’s hilarious. Cristal BIC Product Reviews! Who says you have to buy a book to have fun reading? Just skip the product and go straight to the reviews. 

5. Crackpot Palace: On Being Profound. Are writers of fiction trying too hard? Respected author Jeffrey Ford wrote this essay about how fiction is becoming more boring as more and more writers focus on creating meaning instead of entertaining readers. I especially like the point he makes about writers creating their work through analytic literary frameworks instead of through subconscious storytelling.

6. Liam Neeson Stares at You for 10 Hours. If you know me at all… you’ll get why I liked this this week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Briefs: A Sun in Its Womb #5


Welcome to the Wednesday Briefs, where flash fiction is the name of the day. I don’t write flash (not well, anyway), so I am putting up a short story 1,000 words at a time. The writing prompt for this week is: "You are the sunshine of my ..." or I can use the alternate prompts: butts, pudding, cat; or "I'd like to make you an offer...."; or use something with stripes in your story; or whole new world; or "I always thought you look like..."

I went with “I’d like to make you an offer…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Sun in Its Womb #5


“The baby,” Aja said, the answer hitting him in the gut. He stared at Knackers as a cold sweat slowly blossomed on his skin. “You want Jordy’s child.”

“We’ve already filed a paternity claim on your behalf.”

“But I didn’t even know she was pregnant!” It still sounded unreal. Contraceptive implants were mandatory for all station personnel. “You manipulative, overreaching assholes—you removed the implants! Mine. You removed mine.”

“The Fer never fully entered estrus until she entered into her relationship with you. The treaty with the Ferract forbids the use of implants of any kind into their larva.”

He’d heard of female ovulation and menstruation, but citizens needed a license to reproduce before implant removal would allow that to happen and he’d never experienced either in his partners. He tried to recall what was involved… something about bleeding. Jordy had never bled.

“Did you tamper with my implant?” That damn physical examination they’d insisted on before his promotion had given them the opportunity.

“No.” Knackers folded his arms across his chest.

Aja grappled with relief. “You mean she… it wasn’t me? Parthenogenesis?” Humans didn’t reproduce asexually… but a Fer might. He felt strange about that. Let down. Had he actually wanted a child? With an alien? With her, he reminded himself, though that didn’t make him feel less like a victim of a hull breach. “But then…”

“They don’t know that.”

She would.”

“We need to examine the fetus. It’s your right to establish if it’s yours.” 
Knackers leaned forward and licked his lips. “I’d like to make you an offer, Mr. Paz.”

STOA offers were seldom issued as polite requests. Aja wasn’t clever, not by a long shot. He knew what he was, and he was stolid and thorough and a stickler for following procedures. He neither challenged superiors nor bucked authority. But he did know how to analyze a situation. STOA needed him to pretend paternity for some reason. Knackers might be lying to him about not being the father—the bastard hadn’t actually said the implants were intact—but Aja was pretty certain by now that Jordy had conceived somehow. Everything else, whether STOA was after the baby or simply wanted to keep Jordy from leaving on the Ferract ship, was open to speculation.

Go with what you know, Aja told himself. He knew there was a Ferract ship tethered to the station he and 1400 other people called home. He knew Jordy celebrated humanity in a way he, a human, never had. He knew that was what he loved most about Jordy. And he knew STOA lied.

“What’s the offer?” he asked.

“You claim paternity. That’s all. You insist the fetus could be yours until we get a chance to examine it. In return—”

“Are you going to hurt it?” Aja held Knackers’ blank stare. “The baby. Are you going to hurt it? Do anything to it?”

“Leave the rest of this business to us. Do you want to know what you get in return for your cooperation?”

Aja slumped. “Sure. Why not?” Hanging around with this asshole was only reminding him why he preferred Fritz, his worker bee’s, company. The best company, though, was Jordy. Damn, what he wouldn’t give right now to hear one of her rolling laughs. He wanted to hold her round curves in his palms while he pushed her down on a bed and kissed her silly. That’s what he really wanted.

“You get to stay here, with her, while raising your little Fer larva. All expenses covered. And priority rejuv status.”

Only citizens above managerial rank got rejuv status at all. Priority was reserved for upper echelon executive levels. Knackers was offering to extend his lifetime three-fold. Aja sat upright, wondering how long a Fer might live. For all he knew, Jordy would die upon giving birth… and then what? He’d be stuck with a baby Fer? That couldn’t happen, if the baby wasn’t his. Jordy would leave once the test proved he wasn’t the father.

She was leaving him. Had known it from the moment the Ferract ship appeared, maybe even before, and she hadn’t said a word. Every moment with her leading to today had been so sweet and rung so true and still… not a word about being pregnant or leaving. I didn’t want it to be this way. Wasn’t that what she’d said?

Aja knew then what the tests would prove. Knackers’ offer wasn’t empty. It was, however, a trap.

“Sure.” Aja nodded and smiled grimly. “What the hell. I’ve always wanted a family.”

* * * *

Jordy met Knackers and two STOA directors at the lock. Aja watched the meeting unfold on vid. They hadn’t let him go down to attend the parley. He was surprised to see no other Fer. But Jordy looked unconcerned. She was wearing a station jumpsuit and looked as normal and cute as ever. She even smiled directly at the lens embedded in Knackers’ STOA button.

Just seeing her again made Aja’s heart leap. He felt so incredibly connected to this woman. She didn’t feel alien to him at all. Maybe that was just a function of her having human DNA and created a shape, a smile, a twinkle of the eye and tilt of the nose that drew him to her across a room… or through the aperture of a lens. I love you, he mouthed and her smile grew wider. So did his.

“To support the claim of paternity, we need for you to submit to a simple test.”

“No invasion of a Fer body is allowed under our treaty,” she pointed out. “That includes a Fer fetus.”

“You mean larva.”

“No. I mean fetus. And there’s no need for a test. The Ferract acknowledge that the conceptus is human and Aja Paz is the father.”

 “Then you—”

Jordy gave Knackers a glacial grin. “I want the father of my child. Any genetic donor to a Fer is considered as Fer. I suggest you don’t put that statement to the test.”

(to be continued…)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The other Wednesday Briefers also have exciting flash stories or chapters for you to enjoy. In fact, we just welcomed Cia to our group!

Nephylim
     m/m
Michael Mandrake     m/m
MA Church     m/m
Elyzabeth VaLey      m/f

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stolen Books

It happens all the time. A writer puts up a book, or a series of chapters that constitutes a first draft of a book, on a free site. The writer is seeking encouragement, connection with fans or readers, maybe advice. They don’t stop to consider—fully consider—that their work might be stolen by someone else and published. Most of the time, they never even bother to register copyright on their work. They know copyright is just a legality and think it doesn’t matter. After all, the work is theirs because they created it. Right?

Right. But there’s more at stake than who wrote it when someone else puts their name on it.

I found out this weekend that my book, The Prince of Winds, was stolen when it was up for a while on a free site. Many people enjoyed this story there and offered me encouragement. Fans said I should get it published. But I waited and posted more free material until I could believe in myself. Well, I guess I should have listened to my readers … because someone else took the book and published it before I did. Dreamspinner notified me Sunday morning (actually Saturday night, but I saw the email when I woke up Sunday) that a reader who had bought the book off their site complained that she already owned the book. I was asked to clarify the matter.

Did I write The Prince of Winds?

And so it began. This is how it played out. Saturday night the book was removed from all sales sites until the matter could be resolved. People looking for the book couldn’t find it and wrote to me asking what was going on. What did I tell them? The truth.

The book was published in March 2012 by a publisher called Forever Amber for a writer named Emily Wilcox. Check out this [HERE] to see the scoop on Forever Amber. Both I and my publisher have every reason to believe this publisher was in fact a single person using pseudonyms for the many plagiarized books the company published. My book was published as two books: “The Prince of Desire: Persian Prince Adventure” and “The King of Storms.”  [ETA: I also just learned her book, Mate Hunter, is a my novella "Lioness" with the names altered and the lions changed to panthers.] The thief put the books up on Goodreads, too, [HERE].

This is bad for me in several ways. It’s bad enough some readers out there might think I’m the plagiarist. I never even copied homework. But they don’t know me from a street sign in Toledo, so now I have to rebuild my credibility as an author. I also have to rebuild credibility for this book.

I could just write this story off, but I’m not willing to do that—and neither is my publisher. The Prince of Winds is a fine book and I’m proud to have written it! Dreamspinner believes in it, too, and is keeping the book in print. The book was back on the sales shelf first thing Monday morning.

There’s one reason and one reason only we were able to resolve this issue so quickly: I had registered the book’s copyright in February 2011. That’s right. As soon as I put it online, I paid my $35 and got a certificate that establishes me as author of this book. I did the same for Captive Heart, by the way. So when Dreamspinner asked if I could clarify the matter, I had only to go to my file cabinet and send them the copyright number and information. A quick check and some consulting with their lawyer and we were good.

The Prince of Winds now carries a disclaimer that an unauthorized edition was published. It names the other title but not the author. Because I’m the author of both versions. The copyright notice in the book now carries my copyright registration number to prove I’m the copyright holder. Anyone who bought the book before this weekend won’t have those notices. The blurb now also carries the same disclaimer.

How do I feel about that? I hate having that language attached to my blurb. I hate having that other title even buried in in the copyright notice where most people never look. It’s like having a scar. It will always be there, but I don’t have to like it. Good thing I have enough life experience—and scars—to be able to chalk this one up to a lesson learned.

If you put your work out online for free, for fun, because you like the ego strokes or want to do something nice for your fans—do it. Just realize that someone else could easily publish your work as their own. And if someone does that, it might create problems for you down the line. If you try to publish your work, it could come back to bite you in the ass. My ass this morning is so sore I need one of those hemorrhoid pillows.

As for copyright registration? It didn’t keep someone from stealing my work. I will probably never track down the now vanished publisher (the book itself is also long since off any sales sites) to sue for damages … though I have the legal standing to do so. It may never convince readers who already think I am the one who pilfered someone else’s book. But what it did do was enable me to rescue this book before it was irreparably crippled by a horrible launch. It allows me to ask Goodreads to remove that author and the offending books. Worth every cent of that $35 as far as I’m concerned. Only my Sunday was ruined, not my month.

Here’s my final say: I love my publisher. Dreamspinner was wonderful and supportive and believed in me all the way. I love my husband and friends. They listened to me vent and put up with me at my worst. I love my fans. When I told the ones who wrote to me about what was going on, they rallied like troopers.

And I still love writing. I’m writing the sequel, and I’m pretty damn sure the thief can’t do that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

And The Winners Are...

The best part of this giveaway was reading everyone's thoughts on past lives and deja vu and even whether there's a hereafter. Thanks to everyone for sharing these thoughts. They really got me thinking. And now...

I put the names in a hatfor this event, an authentic Bolivian bombin worn only on special occasionsand drew two names. The poodle thumps her tail for Cliffgirl and Tonya!

I have Tonya's address and will be sending her an email. Cliffgirl didn't leave an address, so if you see her give her a holler, because she needs to contact me and tell me where to send her book.

Congratulations, winners! I hope you enjoy The Prince of Winds. 

And just so you know... there's even more to this story. Stay tuned, because my next post will be a doozy.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Snark

I don't know if anyone is taking over the blog hop while Marie Sexton is in Italy, but I enjoy dishing out a little snark on weekends. So here's a snippet from Thick as Thieves, my m/m sword and sorcery WIP. The first part of the story can be read [HERE]. This bit comes from a later chapter. Madd has been captured by the evil Baron and Vorgell is using the cloak of shadows to hide. Oh, and he's not alone under there...

“Shout down to the yard! They gave us the slip but they’re still in the castle! Seal every exit!”

Only when the soldiers had moved out, their footsteps retreating, did Vorgell begin to breathe easily again. He relaxed his grip on the woman’s arm, but kept his arm tight about her body. He didn’t quite trust the soldiers not to pull a trick and be waiting for them to show themselves. Best was to stay hidden a little longer. Besides, the woman felt good with her curves all soft and warm and molding to his body. His cock stiffened to announce its interest.

The woman squirmed.  “Goddess!" she hissed.  Is every man born a rutting pig?”

“I can’t help it.” Vorgell held her curvy body tighter, and that wasn’t exactly helping. “I’m afflicted!”

“In the head. Let me go!”

He pressed her harder against the wall. His size practically obliterated hers and his hard torso flattened her soft one as he lowered his head again to her ear. “Stop now or I will render you senseless. And if that happens, I can’t promise my cock won’t get the better of me.” She grew quiet again and he eased his weight. 

He might not be able to control himself much longer whatever state she was in. Even concentrating on the danger didn't help much. Few things aroused him so well as the prospect of a fight.

Thanks for visiting. If there is to be a Saturday Snark blog hop and I find out about it, I'll link to it later today.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Here and There


I may be quiet, but I get around. I visit people’s websites, peek in on their interviews, and comment on stories when I get the chance. Hey, I even do lunch if I get the opportunity! But mostly I just try to meet new friends. Here are some of the places you’re most likely to find me.

Twitter. I like Twitter more than I thought I would. Because I’m painfully shy, I almost never barge in on other people’s conversations, but anyone who talks to me will get a response. Every time I get a new follower, the poodle gets a treat. All my releases and news get posted here. Sometimes I post or retweet book releases and giveaways I hope my followers will find worthwhile. Find me @tali_spencer

Facebook. I originally joined Facebook to keep track of my kids. That’s right, I cyberstalk my three sons. I learned when they were teens that boys definitely do not tell their mothers everything. I found out my youngest son was in the hospital because, yes, he put that news up on Facebook before he thought to call his mother. This is why mothers stalk their children.

I have a separate author Facebook page and it’s becoming more and more fun. I love seeing pictures, quips and updates from readers and other writers. I announce all my releases and giveaways here even more reliably than on my blog. Find me at https://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer

Dreamland, by BigBad-Red at deviantArt
Pinterest. I am about the most visual writer on the planet. Every story I write has a file of images that went into the making of it. A few months ago, I posted boards for each of my novels and filled them with pictures and notes. I did it mostly for myself, but when I get cover art forms I direct the artist to look at this site for ideas. So if you want to see what the city of Uttor from Captive Heart looks like in my mind, my model for Gaspar's nose, or the chariots I used for The Prince of Winds, you might find this site interesting. Find me at http://pinterest.com/talispencer/

Goodreads. I recently started an author page at Goodreads, though I’ve been a reader and lurker there for years. I even have a few fans! I hang out at a few groups there, too. :D  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6454423.Tali_Spencer

Amazon Page. This is another new addition to my “author” pages and I’m still learning the ropes. Apparently, the more Likes an author has, the higher Amazon features their books in the listings. I don’t know if that’s true, but who doesn’t like to be Liked? So I’ve been running around Liking my favorite authors like crazy. :D  http://www.amazon.com/Tali-Spencer/e/B00914BYQ0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

When not on social media and enjoying other people’s websites, I’m still hard at work writing. I’m almost finished with Thick as Thieves and will soon dive into writing more about Uttor. And there’s a new book taking shape on the horizon…

Everyone have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Release Day for The Prince Of Winds


The last of the triplets has been born! The Prince of Winds is now available at Dreamspinner Press and AllRomance, and should be on Amazon sometime today. In conjunction with this release, I’m holding a giveaway and will be giving out TWO copies of the ebook.


I love all my books (I wouldn’t write them if I didn’t invest myself deeply in the characters and the story they tell) but this one was the most fun to write. I’d sit down at the keys and tap out high-flying adventure, gorgeous locales, and impassioned love… the words literally flowed from my fingers. That doesn’t happen with every book. Many books are works of craft, of stubbornly putting the pieces together. The Prince of Winds unfurled like a beautiful carpet.

At the beginning of this year I decided to attempt to publish my writing. I wasn’t sure what would happen, but I sent out three of my finished stories. Within two months, all had found homes. That’s why they’ve all been appearing so rapidly as well. The pace will slow now. There will be more stories and books appearing… just not all on top of each other!

I hope readers enjoy The Prince of Winds!

Wednesday Briefs: A Sun in Its Womb #4


Another Wednesday, another update on humanity's relationship with the deadly Ferract. The prompt for this week is:  “Yesterday, you said...”  or use the alternate prompts: blessing, blacksmith, blunder; or “When did you become such a ....?”; or use some sort of dance in  your story; or use: trail, whisper, divine; or “Maybe next time we can....”

I went with “When did you become such a….”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Sun in Its Womb #4


Before being brought to the core deck of the Lifeboat, Aja had never seen the man in front of him. Now he had been looking at him for two hours and had yet to get over his first impression. Don Knackers was a cold-blooded bastard.

Humans shared a primordial past with some species of lizard… and in Knackers that trace still showed.

“We just want your cooperation.”

Though Knackers sounded reasonable, there was something about him—a cold gleam of the eyes—that made Aja want to hit him. For the better part of two hours, Aja had battled the urge to do so and be damned with the consequences. He was no more certain of what this man wanted, or STOA wanted, than he was of what the Ferra were after. Or Jordy. Was this the kind of human messiness to which Jordy had referred?

Aja knew better than to provoke a STOA intelligence officer. “I am cooperating, Mr. Knackers.” He had offered no resistance. He sat compliantly on the couch like a good citizen and reminded himself that his custody was protective.

“I’m not a fool, Aja. I know the difference between appearances and the truth. You haven’t agreed to anything. All we want is a simple psych map.”

Psych maps weren’t simple. He was certain they would take advantage of his consent to install feedback sets into his psyche… neuroware adapted from worker bees and designed to monitor criminals and malcontents. Feedback sets were outlawed for use in regular citizens. But of course they weren’t going to tell him that part.

“I like my brain au natural,” he said, then added, deciding to prick STOA, “so does Jordy.”

“Don’t play games, Aja. You’re really not built for this. You’re not built for the likes of dealing with—”

“And I’m just pointing out that you haven’t asked me for permission to do anything else so far, so why does it matter whether I agree with this now? I may not be one of your brain bank buddies, but I’m figuring things out. Like how you promoted me to provide an excuse for that security profile six months ago that seemed a little too interested in my sex life. Is that when you netted my bedroom? I’m damn sure you outfitted Fritz with sensors during his routine maintenance.”

Knackers glared. His mouth flattened in a saurian grimace before he conceded an answer. “The Fer until now has been highly promiscuous. It’s had one hundred sixty-seven sexual partners over a period of ten years. It sampled every possible human gender identification, going back and forth without apparent preference. We had no reason to believe it would establish an ongoing relationship.”

With me. Anger boiled within Aja’s core like plasma in a closed thermal transport system. The amazing thing was that he didn’t blow. Instead, he contained it—tight—as Knackers continued.

“We need your permission to map your psyche, study it to find out what the Fer is responding to.”

Aja stared. It was as bad as he feared. STOA wanted to dissect his psychology. All the years of recordings and data hadn’t given them enough detail. He wondered if they’d already grown a duplicate of his body and were conducting experiments…

“Fuck no,” he said.  As soon as he said it, Aja knew he’d made the right call.

“Mr. Paz, you are a STOA citizen, and we have the right to detain you.”

“But you need my permission to go into my body—or my brain. Why? Just because it’s the law? You break the law all the time—”

Knackers leaned toward him, tongue slowly tracing his lip before he spoke. “Watch what you say. We need your help, Paz. Your people… need your help.”

Aja saw then why this man was being careful with him. Why he wasn’t already strapped down in a lab, or bundled off on a jump ship to one of STOA’s secret holding stations. If they did that… and Jordy became alarmed…

“What did she tell you?”

“That it respects our sovereignty. Paz, think! It’s not a woman! It’s not in love with you!”

But he was in love with… whatever it was. His heart was telling him things, as it had told humans how to feel since the dawn of a species that had long since left behind its native gravity. He had never seen old Earth, and probably never would unless a Ferract ship took him there. They almost certainly knew the location of humanity’s home. STOA almost certainly did not know where the Ferract home lay, or even if they had one.

“You know, Knackers, you should get to know Jordy.” Aja relaxed back into the comfort of the couch. He was glad to have a Ferract ship tethered to this bucket of bolts. “Stop studying the kid and get to know her. Understand her, not map her. She’s gorgeous. And if she decides to be a man, I bet he’s gorgeous, too. We’re all the most god-damned beautiful creatures in this part of space and you haven’t a clue.”

“For Garter’s sake! You were assigned here because you’re trustworthy. Your great-grandparents died in the maw of a Ferract stele! When did you become such a liability in containing the Fer?”

Aja didn’t even flinch. “When I met one.”

Knackers shook his head. His face fashioned an unpleasant smile. “Wrong answer, Paz. You never met one. All you met was a DNA construct of what a Fer wanted you to see while it played around with your dick. It’s pregnant and leaving on that ship. And you, my unlucky little sperm donor, are going on ice while we figure out what the hell it found in your DNA.”

STOA already had his DNA. His geneset was catalogued and recorded and banked, just like every other human’s. Knackers, all of them, wanted something else…

(to be continued…)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for reading and be sure to stop by the other Wednesday Briefers’ blogs to read more fun stories.

Nephylim
    m/m
Lily Sawyer     m/m 
MA Church     m/m

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carved in Flesh: Interview with MA Church

One thing MA Church does better than just about anyone is create moving, authentic characters. Today she talks a little bit about her writing process and what went into her latest story, Faded Love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Let's get to M. and her answers to my questions.

~Out of all the stories you’ve written, which one are you most proud of?
Right now, I’d have to say Priceless. It was written for a Valentine’s contest and is one of my favorites. It’s really a sweet story of love at first sight and how two men from different walks of life can make a relationship work. Then, of course, there was Cupid popping in and out of the story. He kept making demands on me to find him a mate, and he had one picked out, thank you very much. LOL.
But honestly, Faded Love that’s coming out in the Storm Moon Press anthology called Carved in Flesh has a special place in my heart… because of the story line.
 ~Which character caused you the most difficulty to write?
Out of what I have published, I’d have to say Ziang from Nighttime Wishes because of the tentacles. I didn’t want him to be freaky—strong? Yes.  A warrior? Yes. And maybe a little intimidating…absolutely. But not freaky. When you’re dealing with tentacles, they can get freaky lol. 
~When do you do your best writing… morning, afternoon, evening, night?
It really depends on what the hubby is working, but I’m much fresher in the mornings. That’s not to say I’m a morning person lol. I’m actually not. I stay up most nights until midnight. J
~Do you plan your stories and, if so, to what extent?
I do outline, yes. I have the plot figured out and have an idea on how I want the story to end. That doesn’t mean things don’t get thrown out the window if my Muse feels like it lol. Sometimes he changes the character completely, which messes me up. Or we fight about how I want something to be… and normally he wins!
~How many stories do you work on at any one time?
Oh Lord. I don’t know lol. I have the main story, of course. That one gets first attention. But if things are lagging, then I’ll jump to a second story that’s on my main list in Word. Then there are the short flash stories I do with the Wednesday Briefers. Oh, I have a story running on Mondays right now too. Hmm, then there are small word count stories for anthologies… Oh my. It sounds like I just bounce all over the place lol.
But most of these stories have a finish date and I do meet them lol. Somehow! 



Carved In Flesh- an anthology due out September 14th by Storm Moon Press
People often say that the true perfection in the human form is in its imperfections. Scars are visceral reminders of a person's past, a sign of an event that can never fade. Whether it was gained in combat, a traumatic experience, or part of a ritual with a lover, scars are the ultimate labels. Carved in Flesh features short stories in which at least one character sports physical scars—visible to the naked eye, and prominent enough to spark a conversation.

Faded Love by M.A. Church

Excerpt:

“Will?” Ashley’s hand was gently held and pulled down. Why did Will’s voice sound so funny, like he was hoarse? “Will? What’s going on? Where am I? What’s on my face?”

“Listen to me. You’re in the hospital.”

“Hospital? Why the hell am I in the hospital?” Straining, he was finally able to make out the pale walls, and smell a scent he had always associated with hospitals: cleaners and sickness.

“You don’t remember… anything?” Will bent over Ashley, still holding his hands. God, Will’s skin was so warm, and his was so cold. “Tell me what you remember.”

“Was on my way home from that shoot. You called. I was going to call you back… Will?” Ashley’s voice rose and cracked. “Then, nothing until now. What—what… Will?”

One of Will’s strong hands managed to loosen itself from Ashley’s death grip and brushed Ashley’s hair back from his face. “You’re in the hospital. There was an accident, a bad accident. You were hit on the way home two days ago.”

“Fuck me! Two days ago?” Ashley bit his lip as pain spiked in his ribs. “How bad? Who hit me?”

“It was pretty bad. You have bruised ribs from the impact with the steering wheel, your arm is bruised—not broken—and more bruises over your body. I forgot the driver’s name. They hit you on the passenger side, slammed you into a street light. Two people in the other car died.”

“Died? Jesus.” Every time Ashley tried to lift his hand to his face, Will stopped him. “What’s wrong with my vision? Why can I only see out of one side?”

Gripping his hand, Will hesitated. “You were struck so hard your head hit the driver side window.”

Ashley gripped Will’s hand. There was more, he just knew it. What little he could make out of Will’s concerned face told him that. “And? Tell me, dammit!”

 “The window busted. There was glass everywhere. Oh God, Ashley, I’m so sorry. You were cut. On your face… and—and… there’s going to be a scar.”

“A scar?” Ashley whispered, and then his voice gained in strength as horror stabbed at him. “A scar, on my face? My face? No! Oh my God, no! How bad, Will? How fucking bad?”

Tears soaked Will’s voice. “From the hair line to under your chin. Jesus, Ashley. I’m so sorry.”
The screams from Ashley’s room brought most of the nursing staff at a dead run.

~~~

Keep in mind I picked that excerpt. Storm Moon may use something else. J This was the picture that inspired the story. I took one look at this and knew immediately what I wanted to write.

And God, this guy is so damn sexy lol.   

Oh, and the Carved in Flesh anthology is available for pre-order right now.

Click this link to check it out. 

Where to find me:

Twitter @nomoretears00

Big thank you to Tali for letting me take over her blog once again lol!
~M


♥♥♥♥♥

My pleasure, M! (As many here know, I beta read quite a few of M's stories... well, this is one of them. It's a powerful story and I'm thrilled to talk it up!)