Tuesday, November 18, 2014

FAN FICTION ALERT!! - Before the Battle

So. I am re-reading one of my all time favorite fantasy series ever, Codex Alera. If you like fantasy and haven't read this series, READ IT. Like, seriously. Alas, it is not queer fantasy, but it is still wonderful. It starts with Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher. Anyway, even back in the day before read anything remotely queer, I remember shipping these two characters. And after the tenth or so re-read, I still ship them so I decided to write my imagined first kiss for them. This takes place right before the Canim regulars attach the Elinarch in Cursor's Fury.

THESE ARE NOT MY CHARACTERS AND THIS IS NOT MY UNIVERSE. EVERYTHING BELONGS TO JIM BUTCHER!!!

Max was the first to admit he wasn’t the most introspective of men. He liked his women and his drink and thought it was his right to complain about anything that wasn’t those two things. That’s why Schulz snuck up on him so badly. First, the fish had accidentally almost killed him. Then, Schulz’d felt so guilty about, the poor kid had been following Max around for weeks trying to make it up to him. Somewhere along the line, Max had stopped being annoyed and didn’t even realize it.

He hadn’t seen much of Schulz in the last few days, apart from giving orders and the such. Tavi, the crowbegotten captain, was making some utterly stupid but possibly brilliant plan to defeat the hoard of 50,000 Canim clamoring just on the other side of the Elinarch. He’d promoted Max to Tribune Auxiliarus and made Schulz centurion in his place.

Max should be worrying about what he needed to do to prepare for the coming battle, perhaps thinking a little about his impending death, or at least sharpening his sword. But all that Max’s crowbegotten mind could think of was tracking down Schulz before the battle began.

The mud squelched under his boots as he double timed it down the road towards his –Schulz’s- spear’s barracks with the pretense of checking they were ready. When he arrived all his former spearmates were formed up and ready to leave for their post.

“Attention!” Max heard Schulz bellow when he came into view. Almost as a single entity, the men stood straight and saluted.

“At ease, fish. Get to your post.” Max turned to Schulz. “I need to speak with you for a moment. You can meet your men there in a few minutes.”

Schulz nodded briefly. “Sir.” Turning back towards his men, he shouted, “You heard the Tribune. Get your crowbegotten asses to your post.”

Max was grinning ear to ear when Schulz turned back towards him.

“What did you need, sir?”

Max’s grin turned into a lazy smile. “I think attempted murder gives you the right to use my name when we’re alone.”

Schulz blushed enough that Max could see it even in the dimmed fury light of the abandoned barracks. “Max,” he said quietly.

He looked down at his feet. “I’m scared.”

Max’s heart seized in his chest at Schulz’s admission. He took a step forward, crowding into Schulz’s space. “Furies above, man. We’re all scared.” He reached out and put his hands on Schulz’s shoulders. “The important thing is to get out there and defend the man on either side of you. The Captain may be young but I’ve seen more of his hair brained schemes work than I care to admit. If anyone can get us through this night, it’s him.”

Schulz lifted his head and looked Max right in the eyes. It was like a punch to the solar plexus. Somehow, amidst the danger and the pranks and the terror, this boy – no this man – in front of him had come to mean everything to Max.

Max was not one for deep thoughts or denying himself so it was no surprise what he did next. He leaned forward even more, crowding Schulz against the barracks wall and kissed him.

Schulz started so badly, Max had to jump back to avoid getting his nose broken.

It was Max’s turn to stare at his shoes. He wasn’t really sure what to do next and had almost decided on leaving without saying anything when he heard Schulz’s voice.

It sounded confused and hopeful and slightly quivery as he asked, “Sir?”

Max snapped his head up. “It’s Max.”

Something must have come together in Schulz’s mind, because in the next second, he responded with, “Max, then,” before grabbing the edges of Max’s legion issue breastplate and spinning him until his back hit the wall with a resounding thump.

In the next moment, Schulz’s lips had found his in a punishing kiss that drove all thought from his brain. Heat washed through him, stronger than any earth-crafting he had ever experienced and somewhere in the back of his mind he knew Schulz was no earth-crafter.

His fingers scrabbled over armor and cloth in a desperate attempt to find skin. Schulz growled in the back of his throat and grabbed Max’s hands in one of his and forced them above their heads and against the wall. Max was the stronger man and could have easily broken the hold, but Furies did it boil his blood that Schulz was gone enough to try to control him.

Somewhere in the distance Max heard a signal being sounded. Slowly, and against his will, the heat faded from between as Schulz also registered the signal.

He had a smirk on his face. “I’ve wanted to do that since you walked into camp weeks ago.” He paused. “It was even better than I imagined.”

Max couldn’t help but smile. “It was pretty good.”

The ready signal sounded a second time.

Max sighed, “It’s time.”

Schulz shook himself and Max could see the guise of confident, unshakeable centurion come over him in the space of a breath.

He grabbed the back of Schulz’s head and pulled him in for one final punishing kiss. Before he turned to leave, he locked eyes with Schulz, “Find me after.”


Schulz nodded simply, knowing what he was trying to say but couldn’t. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thanksgiving Giveaway Extravaganza!

Hello All My Followers!

The time of year in which I like to take a special moment to think about all the things I have to be thankful for is coming up just around the corner. One of the things that I am most thankful for is all the people who come by here and read all the stuff I post/write. So in order to show my thanks, I am going to have a GIVEAWAY (YAY!).

Here goes the prizes:

PRIZE NUMERO UNO
- 4 Temporary Literary Tattoos from Litograph (pictured below)
- 1 electronic copy of my upcoming holiday short story, The Bard and His Boyfriend
- 1 ficbit with characters tailored to their choice (you can pick gender, orientation, and a basic set up/location/occupation/etc). My ficbits are generally between 500 and 2000 words but could be longer if I am inspired.

PRIZE NUMERO DOS
- 4 Temporary Literary Tattoos from Litograph (pictured below)
- Your choice of an electronic copy of any November New Release from Less Than Three Press under $8.00
- 1 ficbit with characters tailored to their choice (you can pick gender, orientation, and a basic set up/location/occupation/etc). My ficbits are generally between 500 and 2000 words but could be longer if I am inspired.

2 RUNNERS UP
- 2 Temporary Literary Tattoos from Litograph (pictured below)
- 1 ficbit with characters tailored to their choice (you can pick gender, orientation, and a basic set up/location/occupation/etc). My ficbits are generally between 500 and 2000 words but could be longer if I am inspired.

The Literary Temporary Tattoos are from Litograph's "Longest Literary Temporary Tattoo Chain" Kickstarter. They did so well they decided to practically quadruple my reward package. The main prize winners will receive one of each and the runners up will receive a Treasure Island and Pride and Prejudice tattoo only.

Peter Pan
"Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning."
Les Miserables
"Even the darkes night will end and the sun will rise."
Pride and Prejudice
"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading."

Treasure Island
"Dead men don't bite."

THE RULES
1. On Blogger, comment on this post for one entry.
2. On Tumblr, reblog this post for one entry and like this post for one entry.
3. This means you can enter up to THREE times.
4. Entries will close on Friday, November 28, 2014 at  8:00 P.M. EST.
5. I will use a random number generator to pick the winners. I will post them as soon as possible after the giveaway is closed BUT I will be visiting my family for the holidays and it might not be until later that evening or saturday. If I delay my posting, I will allow any entries made before I post, even if they are after the deadline.
6. Literary Temporary Tattoos will be mailed via snail mail so you must be willing to give me your address.
7. Ficbits will be posted on my blog and on tumblr before the end of the year. I can make a very basic eBook copy for you, if you want (no cover or special formatting - just a title page, copyrights, and the story).

I think that's all, folks. Thanks for being so awesome!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Boughs of Evergreen/Trevor Project Trailer

Hello All,
I know you must be shocked, with me posting something two days in a row! However, I am pretty excited about this so buckle your seat belts and prepare yourself. Our lovely editor, Deb McGowan, facilitated making a trailer that tells you a little about all the stories in Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology AND lets you get to know the authors a bit and why they are supporting the Trevor project. All of Beaten Track's portion of the profits are going to the Trevor Project and many of the authors (including myself) are also donating their portion of the royalties.

This is your opportunity to get a great anthology filled with a super diverse range of holiday stories and characters while supporting a really awesome cause.

Check out the trailer below (it is kinda long, but totally worth it!)


Also, don't forget there is still time to enter our AWESOME giveaway. For more information see my previous post or click here.

You can also donate directly to the Trevor Project if you want to give more than what the profits/royalties from book sales will give. Click here for more informaiton on how to donate directly as well as more information about what the Trevor Project actually is.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Boughs of Evergreen Giveaway

If you've been reading the blog recently, you'll know that I am participating in a Holiday Anthology called Boughs of Evergreen. Much of the profits from this anthology will go to support the Trevor Project.

To get ready for it's release, we are holding a GIVEAWAY (those are my favorite). There will be three sets of prizes.

Grand Prize: 1 Digital Copy of the entire Boughs of Evergreen anthology
Runners Up: 10 different people will win a copy of a single story of their choice from the anthology (I suggest picking MY story, The Bard and His Boyfriend. Wink Wink.)
Second Runners Up: 10 different people will win an electronic copy of excerpts from many of the stories in the anthology.

This is a whole crap-ton of AWESOME prizes so you should definitely enter. Click here. The Rafflecopter entry is near the bottom of the page. The deadline to enter is 10:00 P.M. CST on Thursday, November 6, 2014 so get your clicky fingers over there right now!

If you don't trust in giveaways and just want to pre-order the anthology, that is a legitimate life choice as well. You can pre-order the whole anthology, here. OR, (soon, but not quite yet) you can pre-order your copy of just my story, The Bard and His Boyfriend: A Story of Holiday Homecomingshere.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: To Summon Nightmares By J.K. Pendragon


Title: To Summon Nightmares
Author: J.K. Pendragon
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 53,000 words
Rating: 4 Quills
Tags: Gay, Fantasy, Trans, Explicit, Graphic Violence, Scenes of Self-Harm/Cutting
Link to Purchase: Click Here
Price: $5.99
Release Date: Nov. 5, 2014 (available for pre-order at a discount)

Blurb
Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was "Ireland's Favorite Daughter", a popular teenage author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out publicly as trans, the media's treatment of him has been less than golden, and these days, Cohen is desperate for escape.

When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn't count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen's fantasy books seem like child's play...

Review
The story begins with Niall and Jacky as teenagers. They are trying to summon a demon in order to have the power to stop Jacky's Dad from abusing him. The ritual works but there are consequences that neither could have anticipated. Namely, The Guild. They end up spending the next five years in a Guild facility undergoing tests. Eventually, they are able to escape but Jacky has become so angry that Niall and he end up splitting ways. Niall settles down to a life of hiding and anonymity in a small town. Everything seems to be going well until bodies start showing up - bodies he is pretty sure Jacky is making.

Enter Cohen. Cohen is a writer who is overwhelmed by all the press and family pressures after coming out as trans. He is having the epitome of a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day when he is dropped off at tiny train station, in the rain and his ride doesn't show up. He is met by Niall who gives him a ride home. Cohen ends up being Niall's alibi when he is suspected of the murders Jacky is committing. Cohen and Niall bond as Niall reveals his past and Cohen helps him to make some difficult decisions regarding his old friend.

This book was very exciting. I read it as a serial on the Less Than Three Press website and every week, I waited with baited breath for the next installment. J.K. Pendragon did a lovely job weaving the relationship and emotional plots with the action and magic plots. It never felt bogged down by one or the other. Furthermore, both characters felt very authentic and neither were easy characters to write. On the one hand, Niall is trying to decide what to do about a murderous friend with the full knowledge that stopping means giving up his life (to death or imprisonment). On the other hand, Cohen is dealing with dysphoria and a growing attraction that he isn't always sure what to do with. 

One of my favorite parts about this book is the ending. I'm not going to say much about it because that would be more spoilers than I would ever want in a review. Just know that the day is saved in a way I did not expect. Also, the last paragraph was golden. I am hoping it means there might be a sequel but even if there is not, I love the feeling that we got to travel with these two on a very important part of their journey but their journey is far from over. 

The only warnings are those stated in the tags. Especially if Self-Harm is a trigger for you, you might want to avoid this or have someone you trust read it first and let you know what parts to skip over. Other than that, I would definitely recommend this book. I give it 4 Quills. Remember that I only give 5 Quills if something stands up to the test of the re-read. This one definitely has the potential to get there.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet the Character Blog Hop - Alejandro Martinez

I have been tagged by K.C. Faelen to participate in a super awesome Meet the Character Blog Hop with some fantastic authors.

Many moons ago, with the encouragement of a write friend, K.C. Faelen wrote her first fanfic story. After a few years, her muse went into hiding, and then suddenly re-emerged, urging KC to participate and write a story for one of the prompts in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's 2014 Love's Landscapes DRitC event. The story she wrote was "If At First You Don't Succeed," a romantic comedy about established couple, Evan and Julien and their unsuccessful attempts at kinky sex.

KC prefers to write contemporary male romance, but enjoys reading about them in almost every setting from paranormal, to sci-fi to historical backdrops. She loves men, from the Alphas to the omegas, and all the pretty boys in between. Intelligence and humor whet her appetite. Toss in a course of UST, a dash of angst, season with fluffiness, and she dives right in. Oh, and don't forget the extra-large side helping of sex. For dessert, it's HEA all the way. She loves dark chocolate truffles and candies, and food often play a part in her stories, and in the ones she enjoys reading.

KC lives in Northern California with her husband and two rescue birds. Their female bird hates women and wishes KC would go play in the middle of traffic or take a long walk off a short pier.

*~*~*~*

Now it's time to introduce you to one of my characters in Beaten Track Publishing's Holiday Anthology, Boughs of Evergreen. My story is called The Bard and His Boyfriend: A Tale of Holiday Homecomings.

Seth is a member of an ancient clan of druids that have existed for over 5,000 years. The rituals they perform at the changing of the seasons keep the very fabric of reality from unraveling. But as he goes home for the Winter Solstice, all he can think about is the huge fight he had with his boyfriend before he left school for the holiday break.

Much to Seth's surprise, Alejandro follows him home to apologize.When Seth tells himi the truth about his heritage, Alejandro has to make a decision. Seth adn Alejandro must work together to make sure that wherever they are spending the holidays - they are home with each other.

*~*~*~*
Since you get to see the story from Seth's point of view, I figured I would answer the "Get To Know You" questions from Alejandro's point of view. 


1. Who is Alejandro?

Alejandro is a junior at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. He transferred to the University of Mary from Williston State College. He is studying Music and is working on his junior recital composition piece. He is taking his inspiration from Achille-Claude Debussey, particularly his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticsim. He is twenty-one years old and, since he is new in town, his roommate (and now boyfriend), Seth Dearin is his best friend. He loves his sister, Carmen to bits and loves to visit her and his father on school holidays.

2. Where does The Bard and His Boyfriend take place?

It's primary setting is the made up town of Sweet Briar Valley, ND. Sweet Briar Valley is located near the non-ficticious Sweet Briar Dam. The story was actually inspired as I was driving one day and passed all the exits that said "No Services". My creative juices started flowing and I kept wondering what was at those exits. The end part of the story takes place in Williston, ND - a town which has recently experienced huge boom because of the oil industry. This is actually what brought Alejandro and his family to North Dakota from Texas.

3. What won't Alejandro talk about?

He doesn't like to talk about his mama's death and the first few years after. She died in a car accident when Alejandro was fifteen years old. Very soon thereafter, his papa lost his job and they had to move to where the jobs were (Williston, ND). During the last two years of high school, Alejandro experienced depression and came close to killing himself. None of their family likes to talk about it. While Seth knows Alejandro's mama died, he doesn't know a lot of the rest of it.

4. What is Alejandro's goal?

For the course of this story is it is to figure out how things went to wrong so quickly with Seth. He follows Seth home, without really even knowing where he lives (mystical powers, go!). Once they get on solid ground again, he just wants to spend the holidays with his families.

5. What is Alejandro's problem?

As I said above, at first, it is fixing things with Seth. Then it is coming out and spending the holidays with his papa and sister. He isn't really worried about his papa kicking him out or anything - especially after everything that happened after his mama's death. However, he is a little worried about explaining what it means that he is pansexual. It's pretty new to him and he hasn't even had a chance to talk to Seth about it yet. Since the story is from Seth's POV, we don't get to see much of that. 

*~*~*~*
Meet the Next Author:

Hans M. Hirshi

Hans M Hirschi (b. 1967) has been writing stories ever since he was a child. Adulthood and the demands of corporate life efficiently put an end to his fictional writing for over twenty years.

A global executive in training and channel development, Hans has traveled the world and had previously published non-fictional titles.

The birth of his son and the subsequent parental leave provided him with the opportunity to unleash his creative writing once again. With little influence over his brain's creative workings, he indulges it, going with the flow. 

A deeply rooted passion for, faith in a better world, in love, tolerance and diversity are a red thread throughout both his creative and non-fictional work. His novels might best be described as “literary romance, engaging characters and relevant stories that won't leave you untouched, but hopeful.”

Hans is a proud member of the Swedish Writers’ Union, the Writers’ Center in Sweden and serves as chair of the Swedish Federation of Self- & Independent Publishers.

Hans' contribution to the Boughs of Evergreen anthology is a story called A Christmas Tale.


Imagine meeting Santa Claus for real and being granted a wish on Christmas Eve... This sweet little story will take you back to a time, not all that long ago, when life for gays was quite different from how it is today - a time when it seemed easier to believe in Santa Claus than believing it would ever be possible to build a family of one's own.

You can find Hans across the web at the following places:

Website

Email

Blog

Goodreads

About Me


Check out his blog this time next week to meet one of his characters!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The End of the Day is Almost Here...

I am at work (on a 15 minute break...hallelujah). I know it is Friday. I am so glad it is Friday. But I swear this last two hours is going to kill me, wrap me in a rug and bury me in a swamp where no one will ever find the body. Just in case anyone else is having a similarly slow moving day, I figured I would come on here and share some pretty to help make the day go by faster. Enjoy!

(I know it's a cat and not a hot man...I don't care. It makes me happy.)


Monday, October 6, 2014

Update and Pretty

Hello All,
I've a few update items to share!

1. I have written a holiday story for an anthology from Beaten Track Publishing. The title of the Anthology is Boughs of Evergreen: A Holiday Anthology. I'll be participating in a blog hop to introduce one of my main characters next week.

2. I have a release date for my story with Less Than Three Press. The title is Light Perpetual Shines and it will be released on February 4, 2015. More details, and the cover, are still to come.

3. This year I WILL participate in NaNoWriMo. Really, I will. Maybe. Hopefully. I'll keep you updated.

And now, some pretty to make this post worth it. :D



Saturday, May 31, 2014

Poem Post #11

This is my last Poem Post (for now). If you liked me posting poetry, let me know in the comments and perhaps I will do it occassionally (not as often as this month, I promise). This final poem is actually one the very first I ever wrote. Many of you may have read it in my short story, Broken. While I did include it in that story and it is even responsible for the title of that story, I wrote it before the story was even a blot bunny hatching in my head.

Broken
For Fatema

You look at me and
You ask
With fear
And disbelief
And maybe just a little bit of awe
How can you love, again?
It shows in your eyes
You think only of 
The broken heart
The shattered pieces
The lonely silence 
That comes after.
But I say to you
I have been broken
I have been shattered
I have been lonely
And none of that
Makes the love not worth it.

Friday, May 30, 2014

AND THE WINNER IS....

This winner for the Cross & Crown giveaway is calilathisway from tumblr. Congrats to calilathisway. If she does not respond within 24 hours then I will pick a new winner. Thanks for participating everyone!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Poem Post #10

This is a poem I wrote many years after the fact but while trying to work through a lot of the stuff I never let myself admit when I was trying to heal.

An Angry Lament

O Great God,
You claim to lead us by still waters and green pastures,
but you LIED.
My waters are not still.
My fields are not green.
My waters are 
bubbling
boiling
raging
screaming by, red with emotion.
My fields are
jagged
sharp
tearing
shredded by your cold regard.

O God of Power,
words of love fall from your lips,
but they have no meaning
when the works of your hand
tear my heart from my chest.
Thoughts of asking "why" flow quickly through my mind - 
but do not stay for long.
What answer could have any meaning now?

O God of love,
my anger knows no bounds -
seething
writhing
churning
swirling through my being.
Take your love for it does no good.
I am overwhelmed and cannot bear it.
So be it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hump Day Pretty

Happy Hump Day! Get excited. Only two more days til Friday. These fellows want to celebrate with you. :D



Monday, May 26, 2014

Poem Post #9

This week I am going to post three poems. They are all poems I wrote about dealing with the death of one of my best friends. She was killed in a car accident a month after we graduated college together. If there was one moment I could point to and say, "That moment changed my life forever," it is the moment I got that phone call. Despite the seven years since then, I still have tears in my eyes as I am typing this. Many of my poems have a religious bent because I am a spiritual and religious person. These - more than any of the other poems I have shared this month - show that.

That Day

God, there was that day
That day she held me while I cried,
That day she talked until I could laugh again,
That day we just sat and it was enough.
And on that day, I thanked you for her.
But then, on that day, I also thought to myself,
“She is more real to me than You.”
And, on that day I shocked myself with my thought.
But then we cried and laughed and sat some more, 
And I forgot my thought.

But then, God, there was that day,
That day you took her from me,
That day her body was not stronger than a car,
That day you ripped a piece of my soul out.
And God, on that day, I thought to myself,
“Did you take her from me to prove I needed You more than I needed her?”
And again, I shocked myself with my thought.
But she was not there to cry and to laugh and to sit, 
so I did not forget my thought.

Time and tears and pain passed, and life went on.

And then, God, there was that day,
That day I went outside and smiled at the sun,
That day I realized my life is now and started what I was meant to do,
That day love began to heal the pain.
And, God, on that day, I thought to myself,
“You did not take her from me. She is here, with me, always in my heart.”
And again, I shocked myself with my thought.
And I cried and laughed and sat with her once more, on that day.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Poem Post #8

This is a poem I wrote as a part of  a reflective practices class I took in grad school. I'll be honest, I don't really remember what the assignment was.

Perspective

A pebble sinks into the lake
From afar, a tinkling splash
From within, a rolling shiver across liquid skin
From below, bubbles and chaos amongst the fish and weeds
From above, rings spreading and growing
From without, nothing more or less than an afternoon by the lake.

Where am I? Or am I everywhere?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Poem Post #7

I most often write poetry when there is something inside that I can't let out in any other way, something might be just a little too dangerous to talk about. This is a poem I wrote soon after my Dad died.

I Remember

I remember cuddling on the couch, peeking through your fingers at the scary movie.
I remember talking for ages on the phone about my favorite books, which you read only because I loved them.
I remember you hugging me and telling me I was smart when I did well in school.
I remember you reading to me before I went to sleep.

But then, I also remember hiding parts of me for fear you would not love me as much.
I remember her tears when she did not hide and you seemed to love her less.
I remember her pain as you burned the thing she loved most because you thought it evil.
I remember weeks and weeks of silence because she said a word you did not like.

I remember crying out in my head, asking, “How can you be these two different people?”

But then, I also remember you being sick.
I remember when they took your leg.
I remember when they cut into your brain.
I remember when you barely remembered anymore.
And you were not yourself anymore so I could not ask you the question screaming in my brain.

And finally, I remember you frail and broken and gone.
So there was no one left to ask and all I have left is to remember.
So I remember it all: the bad and the good; the tears and the hugs; the anger and the love.

I remember you.