The WIP is whipped! At last.

Sorry for not being around much -- I've been hip deep in a WIP that has been both a joy and a trial. This is the first story that's had an external deadline before it ever left the house, and it's mortifying that I had to ask for a little more time. My editor, bless her, was understanding, and I, with a HUGE sigh of relief, was able to wrap the story in less time than she gifted me with.

Why a joy? Why a trial? Same reasons for both. I got so interested in the material that the research grew exponentially.

One effect is that I am now the proud owner of about a dozen reference books, varying from pop-up 3-D illustrations (and OMG is that sort of thing helpful) to reprints of photographs more than a hundred years old (essential when trying to decipher styles of facial hair) to political and sociological tomes. One of those was so enormous that when I fell asleep with it on the bed, I thought it was my eighteen pound cat keeping me from rolling over. I still can't say I understand the finer undercurrents of the politics, but the demographics were clear, and a real eye-opener. I discovered I had a very south-and-western-county, agricultural and fifty years out of date view of the entire country. The story is set in early twentieth century Belfast by necessity, and this urban area, one of the industrial powerhouses of the world at that time, bears little resemblance to Sligo or Roscommon, or any place with a name that appears more frequently in titles of tunes. The resulting story may shake up similar perceptions in the readers.

Good thing bookmarks to websites don't take up any room to speak of; I have a lot of them. Forums dedicated to the industry I was researching, historical societies, personal sites by people who lived in the type of housing I needed to describe. Now and then I would trade some bit of my knowledge for information, swapping song lyrics for lists of what the engine room crews ate, and where, because you certainly can't bring that coal schmutz all over the ship. I met people whose breadth of knowledge astounded me, and they were generous in sharing it.

One thing leads to another in searches of this sort -- I went down pathways I didn't expect and ended up using snippets I didn't plan for. I ended up with a wealth of details that didn't get used, but a great many that did. I can only hope that it makes the story richer for the readers.

I don't have a firm pub date on this one, details as they become available.

And this is how you start to build a very large ship:

  • Current Music
    Jimmy, Mo Mhile Stor: Colcannon
  • Tags

Storm is a Recommended Read!

Whoot! Who has looked at the latest Wildfire Newsletter from All Romance eBooks? Scroll down to the bottom for some wonderful news!

Angela Benedetti's delightful short "Hell Is In the Details" has been chosen as the m/m Pick of the Month! I love Angela's work -- she has this dry wit and a lovely turn of phrase, not to mention, turn of plot. You'll love it as much as I did.

And scroll down a bit farther to see that Storm On the Mountain has also been chosen as a Recommended Read! Saving a link to a newsletter is a bit of a challenge, but it's also on the ARe Cafe site.

Part of what's posted:

One of the strengths of the series is the vividness and authenticity with which it fills in the setting of small-town Colorado with its breathtakingly beautiful wilderness. It also conveys the unique culture of the locals, which encompasses an independence and eccentricity born of the pioneering spirit, but also a distrust of outsiders. Best of all, it features characters working in real jobs that are fascinatingly detailed and yet woven seamlessly into the action. If you ever wondered what firefighters, park rangers, and ski instructors actually do in their outdoor workplace, you’ll find it here and learn a lot while you enjoy the story.

And Val has a more complete review of Storm on Obsidian Bookshelf. She says in part:

This story, in particular, gives us a breathtakingly description of the Colorado blizzard in all its potentially lethal glory. It also shows us two regular guys trying to negotiate their new relationship through some unrelenting sexual and emotional tension. Allan in particular is a vivid character with his chubby build (almost unheard of at a ski resort) and his Hungarian heritage, but Mark is memorable as well with his deep caring for Allan, which he shows in every gesture.

While the Mountain stories are a loosely connected series, the stories do stand alone, and starting with Storm works fine, though you might just want to know more about the boys.
  • Current Mood
    ecstatic ecstatic
  • Tags

St. Patrick's Day goodies

March 17th, and everyone is Irish, just for today. Can't turn down an excuse to drink good beer -- please don't dye it green, ye turist -- and listen to some of the best toe-tapping music on the planet. I'll be at the session with my fiddle, Meggie with her harp, and Steven, from O'Carolan's Seduction, will have his uillean pipes.

Have corned beef and cabbage if you like, though it's not as traditional as you'd think. Try soda bread or colcannon, a tasty mix of potato, cabbage, and in the traditional way, a heck of a lot of butter,  for a more authentic Irish food. Or boxties.

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan --
If you can't make boxty,
You'll never get a man.

This is an old Irish chant, but one that Hugh Kelly, transplanted from Ireland to Boulder, Colorado, remembers at an opportune moment for Steven. Have a read appropriate for the day, in O'Carolan's Seduction.

Hugh Kelly’s come to America to leave Ireland, its traditions, and its conflicting attitudes behind, but the best money he can make is by tending bar in an “Irish pub.” The would-be Gaels love his authentic accent, but Hugh has eyes only for Steven, an uilleann piper with the damnable taste to wear kilts.

Hugh doesn’t care much for the traditional Irish music and is determined not to tap his toes along with the reels, jigs, and the O’Carolan tunes, but the music and Steven are irresistible. Steven gives Hugh a piping lesson, and the tune they play just might be called “O’Carolan’s Seduction.”

Here's how to improve your chances at romance the Irish way:

1 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg

1 tablespoon skim milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup oil (olive or canola work, butter's more traditional)

Toss the grated potatoes with flour in a large bowl. Stir in mashed potatoes until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and skim milk; mix into the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop in the potato mixture, forming patties about 2 inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve warm.



March Madness Sale -- just in time to fill in the blanks of your Mountain collection and to pick up some other excellent reads at Torquere.

It's a March Madness Sale! We're offering 15% off your purchases from now
through the end of day Tuesday! Just put 'madness2011' in the coupon code
box any time you check out at Torquere Books (www.torquerebooks.com) before
Tuesday at midnight to get 15% off your order.

Sale good now through Tuesday March 8 at Midnight (est).

Enjoy March Madness with a book from Torquere Press!

Torquere Press, Inc.

Discount codes are provided as a courtesy to our customers. Torquere Press
Inc. cannot be responsible for discounting purchases made before
coupons/sales are announced, and cannot issue discounts to customers who
fail to use the coupon or discount code during the purchase process.

  • Current Mood
    excited excited
  • Tags

First readers - I love you

The last of my first readers are reporting in, and I am rewriting in small chunks where I see I've failed to make a point. When an intelligent woman points and says, "Huh?" I have to reexamine how I got that reaction. Fortunately, there haven't been many.

I love my first readers -- they keep me from going completely off course. They provide the reality check that not everyone has access to the contents of my head, and a good thing, too; it's a tumbled, rumpled jackdaw's nest in there, and not suitable for rummaging through -- you'll get speared by some sharp pointy factoid. Far better for me to provide a selected handful of information, preferably wrapped around a plot and draped over a couple of hot men.

My first readers also provide a microcosm of the wider audience. Everything from "I love your topic" to "I don't know a thing about this topic but you make it work" to "I love you but the topic is a yawner." Okay, not everyone is going to bring the same level of enthusiasm to trading in stocks and bonds, although I admit my reaction to that last was "Money isn't sexy?"

My hedge fund traders think money's fun, money's sexy, money's to be captured in great handfuls, kept, and encouraged to grow. One character even suggests throwing large sums on the floor and rolling in it, which is a fine thought until you meet the 'rollee'. If I ever win the lottery, I fully intend to do just this thing.

These last bits of rewrite are bitter-sweet; I've lived with this project for about a year, and the tweaks have the flavor of adjusting your son's tie before he puts on cap and gown to fetch his diploma. I’m ready for The Rare Event to launch, yet a bit hesitant to let go.

And may neither son nor story come home to live in the basement.





(no subject)

When a story has been out for a while, it's a particular thrill to find a review, and when the review is this positive, it's even better! Kalyko from Blackraven Reviews enjoyed Keith and Dante from On Call: Crossroads so much she hunted down their first two stories. Music to an author's ears --thank you, Kalyko.

Five ravens and a recommended read -- wow!

One delicious part of what she said:

There is a lot that happens in this story, but the end, well suffice it to say that I still get a little teary-eyed…but all in a good—very, very good—way.

Read the entire review here, and get the stories here.


I signed up for GayRomLit in New Orleans for October. I’m quite excited about that, since I haven't been to a convention before, and there are all sorts of amazing people who are also going. Just think of what can happen when you get me, Eden Winters, Angela Benedetti, Marie Sexton, and Heidi Cullinan in one place.

This isn't a bunch of writing workshops, this is hang out with readers and writers time, doing cool things in New Orleans. It's going to be a blast!

More details as they come available.
  • Current Music
    Louis Armstrong
  • Tags

Short short for Christmas

“Get off the computer already, Jake, and come to bed.” Kurt had been waiting far too long for his lover to close the browser. He was getting cold.

“I’m just trying to find out the basis for all this “kissing under the mistletoe” business.” Jake could have found this out earlier, Kurt thought, if he’d just looked in the right places, but still those busy fingers typed on.

“Roots that go back to the Greek Saturnalia, not described. The Vikings would call a day’s truce if they met an enemy beneath mistletoe, and the same legend about Frigga, Loki, and Baldur, told about seventeen different times,” Jake grumped. “Not sure how much is accurate.”  He typed some more. “Pliny’s story about the Druids and the white bulls. Everyone’s quoting the same base material, it looks like.”

Kurt tapped his foot. “You could do some original research.”

“How? Oh, and you’re supposed to take a berry off every time you kiss, and when all the mistletoe berries are gone you can’t steal kisses any more.” Finally, Jake turned around. And stared. And understood how to do the research.

Kurt tilted his Santa hat to a more rakish angle. That and the belt were all he was wearing, with something green and white on the buckle. “Good thing I chose a sprig with a lot of berries.”


My holiday short story featuring Kurt and Jake from Fire on the Mountain and Snow on the Mountain is on sale this week, lucky readers. Just in time for some eggnog-fueled reading.

Mistletoe on the Mountain

This is Jake’s first Christmas away from his family, but it’s also his first Christmas with Kurt. Jake’s shoestring budget doesn’t matter, because what Kurt wants most can’t be gift wrapped. He’d like to stand openly with Jake as partners before the world, but Jake hasn’t come that far out of the closet. Wapiti Creek is hung everywhere with mistletoe, taunting them both with opportunities not taken.

Jake is making a traditional Landon family dish for a Christmas pot-luck dinner with friends, but he’s short a key ingredient. Kurt manages to supply the missing ingredient for Jake’s recipe -- can Jake supply the missing ingredient for Kurt’s happiness?

Find it here.


November Koala Points

The first of the month always catches me by surprise, for all that it happens 12 times a year. Koala points did get added up, finally, one step ahead of the goblin with toenail pincers.

1 short story submission

3 8500 words written

4 17k words edited

1 novel beta read

9, so I get a Koala smile.

It might be the last for a while -- work is kicking my butt.


I did it! Only far, far later than I expected, but the first draft of Rare Event is done, well, with one slight oddness.

After having plotted this entire story to end at one of the protag's POV, I thought, write it, and be done. Then the other protag tapped my shoulder and suggested this should end on his POV, since he's been dying a thousand deaths about how this comes out. That last chapter was a bear to write, it took days and days, the words coming at 40 per hour when they came at all.

When the words come with this much effort, it's usually because I am on the wrong track. I stalled last week for 3 days because I'd forgotten something substantial, and once I remembered it, the whole chapter hit the page in a few hours. So now I am thinking that my character has a point.

I'm off tomorrow, so I'm just going to rewrite the ending from the other character's POV and see which way I like it better.