Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Scary or Not

I asked my friend Mary Calmes if she’d like to guest post and not only did she agree, she brought a friend too.  So today we have Mary Calmes and Ellis Carrington.  Two great authors.  And I’m so pelased they agreed to stop by and say hello.

I just want to thank Andrew for having Ellis and I here to talk about our paranormal characters and why we love them.  It’s October, my absolute favorite month of the year and it’s always been lucky for me. Even more so, the first con I was ever at, Yaoi-Con, is always at this time. In 2010, I was brand new when I flew into San Francisco for the con and met Andrew. He was fantastic when he was just my online buddy, but in person––even better. He gives the best hugs ever. Super tight and warm, like you’ve known him all your life.

But okay, onto our paranormal men.


Why shifters? For me it’s all about the destined mate. I love the idea that nothing, not race, gender or anything else will stand between two guys  who love each other. Because there can’t be anything greater than finding your other half, the someone who, for lack of a better phrase, completes you. There is also the pack to consider or, if we’re not talking about werewolves, whatever other unit that the two people are familiar with to come from. There are the Romeo & Juliet style of shifter stories, the alpha and the omega, or the shifter and the human mate who has to become “pack” one way or the other. But the part that gets me is the intense, devouring need. Mates have to be together and that drive, that need, that craving, is what draws me to it. When something is chemical first and then emotional, there is no way to deny it. The whole idea is just fraught with danger and passion but also consuming, fulfilling love. It’s an unbeatable formula.

Purchase Change of Heart form Dreamspinner Press:   http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1598&cPath=55_191


Why vampires? The vampire hero is the original bad boy. Dead or undead, alpha or beta, certain sexy characteristics remain constant: the fangs, the muscles, the drinking of life-giving fluid. Almost always there is some sort of supernatural aspect to our vampire hero, and also usually an inability to handle daylight. He’s gotta have some weakness after all, right? There’s a dark, forbidden quality about vampire heroes that makes them difficult to deny. Over time, popular fiction has shifted from portraying the vampire as a creature who is pasty, creepy, and stiff to something more sensual and prone to human-esque emotion. There’s so much to play with in story, from there. Can they blend with society or do they have to live outside of it? Drinking blood is sort of a taboo fantasy, but in the construct of vampire romance it is not only acceptable but necessary. As is growling, scratching, snarling. Maybe a little rough lovemaking. Is hot, right? The ultimate dark hero.

In my novella, Immortal Valentine, I knew from the beginning I wanted to play with the challenge of pairing an alpha vampire with a nerdy, slightly awkward human. In fact, I “met” Caleb first. He was standing alone in the cold on Valentine’s Day, reliving an intense heart-break. He need the perfect someone special–otherworldly special, like a vampire named Angelo–to sweep him off his feet. Now, this isn’t a pairing of weak and strong. They each have something to offer that helps the other feel like they’ve found their missing pieces.

The same can be said of the mates discovering one another and in Change of Heart; I wanted the ruling pair to be pre-ordained to have traits that the other needed. The semel, the leader, is the yang, the masculine, heat, aggression, and solid strength. The reah is the yin, yielding, softness and passivity. When each compliments the other, then there is a true joining.

So even though shifter and vampires can be construed as things that go bump in the night, they are more to be delighted in then ever feared.

Purchase Immortal Valentine from Amber Quill:   http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/ImmortalValentine.html


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Knitting for Andrew

My dear friend Amy Lane knitted me a pair of fingerless gloves I can wear during the winter when I’m writing and when I asked her if she’d like to guest blog, she wrote about her knitting and the gloves she made for me.  Amy is totally wonderful and I love her to bits.

One of the things I regret most with my new writing career is the lack of knitting time.

It’s true, I still knit (and I definitely still buy yarn!) but if someone is in my yarn queue, I must love them a helluva lot.  Hell, I hardly knit for my children anymore!

But that doesn’t mean I’m not always thrilled to add someone else to my list.

So when we were at a convention and Andrew (who, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure to meet him in person, is an absolutely darling man, with an infectious ebullience that will have you bouncing on your toes for a week after meeting!) had a special request from me.

He wanted me to knit for him.

I was honored.

But… well… there was a time crunch and I wanted so badly to knit for my friend, but how to fit it in, how to fit it in… and… well….


See, when I wrote The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters that was supposed to be one in any number of novellas with a knitting theme.  The only problem was that I had to actually write a pattern for each novella, and as I discovered with Super Sock Man, writing the actual pattern and knitting the product took more time than writing the novella!  However, when I’m knitting for friends and family, I often have go-to patterns—simple patterns that I’ve modified and made my own and knit from memory.  One of my all-time favorite go-to patterns is the fingerless-mitt (which actually seems really silly to say, I can’t explain why, and I can’t think of anything better to call it!)

Anyway, the fingerless-mitt is one of my favorite things.  I have half-a-zillion pairs floating around my house (literally half-a-zillion, since none of them match!) and when it gets cold, and it’s late at night, and I’m working, I slide a pair of those babies on, and I can still type, but my hands are covered and my fingers are oh-so-much less achy and uncomfortable. Making a pair of those for a fellow writer seemed like a kindness—he too could share in the fingerless-mitt secret, and type late at night without aching fingers, right?

So that’s what I did.  Instead of inventing a whole new pattern for the upcoming novella, I made Andrew something warm and comforting, something I knew he’d use, and I typed up THAT pattern, in a thousand sizes, and had my daughters model them, including the pair I made for Andrew.  That’s the pattern in How to Raise an Honest Rabbit, and that’s why I chose mittens and the thing Aiden makes Jeremy when he’s courting (or, more aptly, “gentling”) Jeremy into a relationship.  My friend asked me for a gift, and I wanted to give him comfort and warmth.  It was perfect!

That’s actually why knitters are constantly foisting their wares on the unsuspecting, by the way.  We’re constantly thinking about what we want to give—really want to give—the people we care about.  We want to give comfort and warmth—figuratively, of course.  I can’t hug my children all day (well, I’ve tried—they wiggle) and I can’t follow them everywhere they go, either.  (I’ve been to first grade.  I passed.  Really, why go back?)

So I knit for them, if they’ll let me.  One of my nicest moments was when my daughter asked me to make her a sweater for her before she went away to college.  It’s not done (and I just got back from dropping her off!) and when it is done, it’s going to be Sherpa-grade toast-your-insides-till-they’re-melty insulation (which I understand you need in San Diego, right?) but, by golly, that child is going to have wool-clad PROOF that her mama loves her.  And was thinking about her with every stitch.

That’s why I knit for people I love.  And that’s why I was overjoyed when Andrew told me that he lurved his brand new fingerless-mitts!  Andrew’s just one of those people who deserves knitting, you know?

Well, you’re tuning into his blog.  Of course you do!

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Maryland Writer’s Workshop

Yesterday I attended a conference hosted by the Maryland Romance Writer’s chapter of Romance Writer’s of America.  The conference centered around editors and what was behind the submission page.  In other words what are editors really looking for.  Three editors spoke to the group, one form Carina Press, One form The Wild Rose Press, and One from Entanbled Publishing.  All three editors did a great job explaining what they were looking for and how their businesses worked.  The one thing I was msot impressed with was how candid and forthright the editors were.  All three presses were very different, Carlina with its links to Harlequin, Wild Rose, a small, home grown press, and Entangled with its immovative business model.  All three had advantages and all three had disadvantages.  The important thing was to learn what each publisher expected so each author coudl go into their dealing with them informed and with their eyes open.

My final thought is to say thank you to Angela James, Kathy Cottrell, and Stacy Abrams for taking their time to talk to us.


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