Here Comes The Bookworm Brigade!
Current Publication!
Some years ago, I found some guidelines to write for one of Circlet press' erotic anthologies. At the time, I was trying to submit to every anthology they posted guidelines for. My first sale had been to Circlet, and though the pay was not great, working with the editors and the company was a dream. This time around, I saw the guidelines were about erotic Lovecraftiana. Well, my imagination got to spinning and I decided to give a go to a neat idea.
Why not write a story about a member of a group dedicated to reclaiming the books of horrible lore and knowledge? I had a plucky protagonist, new to the field work, and her partner a seasoned sexy field agent who could take her under his wing and into his bed. It was all great fun to write, and I set out working on the story only to learn that it had spiraled out of control in terms of length. It was a much bigger idea than I had anticipated.
Circlet had rather strict word count interests for their subs. Or else I had word count limits based on the payments they were offering, I cannot recall now. However, the story reached 5,000 words and it hadn't yet reached its halfway point. It was a story with longer legs than a shorty would allow. So, I shelved it and wrote something else – a little piece about polyamory, a strange woman arriving with dire predicitons, and quite unnatural weather patterns. I submitted that second story ("Until the Rain"), and it made a second round of consideration if I recall correctly, but was ultimately rejected. Ah well, no hard feelings. It was a rude story, in some ways. A harder story to like than the lighter, comic fantasy fare I had been selling to Circlet Press.
However, the grimoire collector story sat in my files and would occasionally pop up in my mind, but I wasn't sure I wanted to invest the time to writing it. Where would I sell such a thing? It was sort of urban fantasy, but it was mostly not. It was about a secret society of Bookworms, for goodness' sake!
Well, along came a different sort of opportunity. Ann Voss Peterson and J.A. Konrath opened up their Codename: Chandler series of spy novels to the Kindle Worlds program. For the unfamiliar, Kindle Worlds is sort of like licensed fan fiction. Authors can write in licensed worlds and sell their results. Make a little money as well as have fun. Until Peterson and Konrath, however, writes for the Kindle Worlds properties lost their rights to all their original characters; this was no longer true for the Codename: Chandler property or Konrath's Jack Daniels property. Any new characters I wrote would be mine. And I could feel free to cross over my series characters to try and pique interest in my characters. A Kindle Worlds book could be a calling card to a whole new readership.
Since I had gotten an early heads up about this from Konrath's website, I brainstormed what I would want to do. At the time, I had an erotic alternate history non-series (one book in the Private Love of Public Enemies) as well as a single entry in my Dragonfly Chronicles space opera series. I didn't want to write either of these with the Chandler property. However, the Bookworm Brigade, as I had come to think of the grimoire collectors seemed a neat fit. What if the super spy Chandler was on a mission that intersected with my Bookworms? I could have my new field page and then use that momentum to launch the series proper.
I got excited, pitched my idea, got the green light and the information about making this happen, and then I wrote the book. That Kindle Worlds work is the first volume of my Bookworm Brigade, introducing Parnik Venkateswaran (a somewhat reserved Indian woman who may be new to working outside the Cambridge offices but is not an idiot) and her partner Marquis Trial. Needless to say, I had a blast writing that 40k word book (Scary Intel). I then wrote the next two books and started on the third.
And then they sat in my files when life happened. It's no secret that I often look at the works I write and think they stink on ice. Well, the Bookworm Brigade unfortunately fell into that category and ended up in the deep freeze.
I finally decided to revisit them and found, they aren't so bad at all. Trista, my editor at Twice Told Tales, gave me some thorough notes on the first volume Potboiler. She is wise and helps me pull the stories into the best shapes they can be. For this one, the erotic elements are greatly reduced. The Bookworm Brigade series is more fantasy than sexy, and will hopefully appeal to my fans regardless.
So, that book is now on sale at eBook distributors around the world, including Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and more. A paper copy should be happening soon, as well. Book two is scheduled to appear in Q3, and book three should be following soon after in Q4. Right now, they are conceived as a trilogy. However, I will not be surprised if the ideas surprise me with even longer legs.
Apart from appearances in anthologies, my longer works have kind of logjammed over the last couple of years. Now, Twice Told Tales has an aggressive release plan to build on the excitement generated by my appearance in the NASTY anthology, which got a shout out in ROLLING STONE magazine. If you haven't tried NASTY, I encourage you to give it a shot! It's a fun anthology of fetish sexy stories dedicated to paying authors pro rates as well as giving a share of the profits to Planned Parenthood.

For the curious, "Until the Rain" is slated to appear in one of my collections scheduled for release later this year. Probably also around Q3. At this point, I have enough short stories in paying markets that I can release at least three thick and meaty volumes. Yum!

A Hot New Cover with a Story by YOURS TRULY!
Current Publication!
F. Leonora Solomon has been my editor with Ravenous Romance anthologies for years. We have worked together at least ten times. She's actually responsible for me sitting down to work on my vampire BDSM erotic romance series (starting with the upcoming In the Sin Room, which RR is currently considering). Her latest book is coming from a newer publisher, and I am happy to be involved. Are you ready for the cover reveal?

Squeee! I love this cover!

What's that, darlings? You want a little taste?

Check behind this cut for a sizzling excerpt!Collapse )

Interesting Reading!
Current Publication!
My writing bro, the big bad dark_towhead, has unleashed a new installment in his Considering Stories column. Today's object for consideration? Yellow Peril Stories: Then and Now. Hmmm. Some serious food for thought and well worth reading...

Drop Dead Sexy: Succubi Live in Seductress!
Current Publication!
Today, I am participating in Cleis Press' blog tour to help promote a wonderful anthology called Seductress: Erotic Tales of Immortal Desire. Why am I doing this? Well, my eager questioner, that answer is pretty simple: I'm one of the contributing authors. (Squeee!)

I thought about the various ways I could approach this blog entry, and I decided to take a more global view to the topic. Instead of talking about how I came to write my contribution (because really who cares about little ol' me?), I thought I would instead take a look at the subject matter from an outside perspective and work my way in.

This anthology contains 21 stories about succubi. Nothing hotter than that in the worlds of paranormality and supernaturalness, right? However, the succubus comes with a lotta lotta baggage, and maybe we should consider that for a mo.

I probably don't need to mention that the succubus always takes a female aspect (the male version is the incubus). It should also come as no surprise that a succubus stems from an interpretation of women's sexuality. In the earliest tradition, the succubus is a demon who instills lust in otherwise pious folks. Should those pious folks succumb to the temptation, they end up dead or damned forever (or both). That part lives with us to this day, even the title of this anthology is Seductress, after all.

Break it down to the simplest elements and you get: a woman who is comfortable with her sexuality and convinces you to be comfortable with yours is evil incarnate. How insulting is that?

In the wrong hands, it can be incredibly nasty: misogynistic, fill-in-the-blank-phobic and destructive.

In the right hands, though? In hands interested in molding thoughtful stories and intriguing characters? The succubus can become something truly fascinating. The baggage is there, as with any supernatural beasty—vampires were merciless, amoral, bloodsucking fiends until Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire and John Shirley's Dracula in Love came along to breathe some freshness into the two dimensional shell.

What about the succubus? There's a creature dying for a makeover! Well, I can think of at least two paranormal series that try.
One would be Jackie Kessler's Hell on Earth, which tells the story of Jezebel, who flees hell and hides out as an exotic dancer on earth, while trying to be human. Dark yet funny.
The other would be Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid series. Starting with Succubus Blues, Richelle Mead offered us a look at another side to the demon. The books combine Bridget Jones sass, Devil Wears Prada zing and supernatural sexiness in a delish cocktail.

These both bring freshness to our poor belabored succubus, helping her claw out of the negative stereotype and into something far more interesting.

I believe Seductress: Erotic Tales of Immortal Desire takes this a step further. The width and breadth used by these storytellers are quite surprising. Just about any one of these tales could be expanded into a full on novel or series, and if the authors were to try, I would certainly give it a read. However, the joy of an anthology is not being immersed into one imagination, it's a chance to savor dozens of imaginations. Sometimes, the stories will share themes or motifs, sometimes they will be wildly different. Some make us grin, others touch us deeply, and (at least with these) all of them are trying to make us a little happy-squirmy. Really, what could be better than that?

Do succubi deserve a chance to live and play outside the "ooooh, eeeeevil" ghetto? I'd say so. Why not give Seductress a read. I'd love to hear what you think.

Wildfires: A Twice Told Tales Release
Current Publication!
Do you love dragons? I sure do. I wrote a sexy, sexy story about them, and Twice Told Tales has published it!

Wildfires tells the story of a paranormal research team looking into the Texas droughts. Meteorologists say it's due to natural factors, but they don't know the whole story. What's really going down has something to do with ancient Aztec gods, dragons and a little bit of magic. Sex, romance, humor, thrills.

Wildfires is the first time my name has appeared alone on a book. It's a short story, but it's one I'm rather proud of. I'm happy beyond words that Twice Told Tales has released it for my readers!

Started On Something Beeeeg
Current Publication!
By now, five of my stories have been accepted at Ravenous Romance. I first showed up on RR's radar in 2005. When I moved to Texas, I submitted and was accepted into the anthologies Beach Boys: Tales of the Gay Boys of Summer and Women of the Bite (the latter of which went on to nab a finalist slot for the Lambda Literary Awards). Now, I'm appearing in My First Threesome (2012), Geek Love (2012) and the upcoming Snowed In For The Holidays (due out in 2013). Another three of my sexy romantic stories are in RR slushpiles, as well, hoping for a space in anthologies about bad boys, vampire virgins and erotica's dark side. Those stories were fun, fun, fun to write, and I love them all. But they have successfully gotten me something new: an editor at RR who really seems to like my stuff.

I've been professionally friendly with quite a few editors, since I started publishing in 2008. But this time, I've got one ASKING ME FOR A FULL LENGTH PROJECT. Squeee!

When I am alone in front of a mirror, I often stop and say my name, followed by "novelist." It's been a wonderful dream, and I hope that it turns out well!

So, I've been working on a novel proposal. I have a rough, rough outline and I'm two chapters/7500 words into the manuscript, chugging along at a pretty good clip. The working title is Confessions of a Masked Maiden, and it's got everything I love about romantic erotica.

Everything I love period, actually . . .

At its heart, Confessions is the story of Mayim Hawthorne, a webcomic designer who is down on her luck, getting a chance at getting out from under debt, fear and self-doubt. Of course, there're some sexy goings on, a hot romance, and plenty of eye candy . . . err brain candy. It's got characters I'm enjoying getting to know, situations that make me cringe or giggle maniacally or get all squirmy at. Luckily, I cringe/giggle/get squirmy at the right times, and I hope my editor and readers will, too.

I'm aiming to make Mondays my "Catching Up with Confessions" day here, so I hope you will all join me. This blog has been underused, but that's going to change!

Gods, Save The Mark!
Current Publication!
Oh me, oh my!

There's been a bonanza of updates from the KRR fiction factory (lol), which I am pleased and proud to report. I'll do this over several posts, though so as not to bombard people with mememememe news (as well as give me a bunch of post ideas to get back into the swing of this journal-thing). :)

First off, my story "Tricksters are Made, Not Born" has been unchained (like Django, yum!) and unleashed upon the world. This fast paced, funny, paranormal erotica story about divinity, sex and con artists appears in the recently released Like a Cunning Plan anthology from Circlet Press!

Check out this yummeh cover:

Like a Cunning Plan

It's available from amazon and All Romance, right now, and other eBook retailers soon!

Nightmare City: My Flirtation with the Dark Side
Current Publication!
So, I've been having nightmares, and it likely has something to do with the latest story I've been working on. Though my regular readers might not suspect it, I have a secret lurve for the scary stuff--though certainly not all of it.

In fact, the first story I wrote that was accepted for publication was a vampire-ish piece about a destructive fling that starts with (consenting!) rough sex and ends with a little murder. It was hot yet challenging reading. My writing group was divided over it--the ladies loved it but the guys loathed it. Success, I thought! An anthology's editor (who was actually looking for disturbing, erotic vampire stories) also loved it, but trouble came to paradise when the publishers thought it was too much. Apparently, my idea of disturbing was too disturbing for them. They asked the editor to yank it (one of the nicest, most apologetic emails I've ever received). I was sad but happy, at the time. That story has yet to find a home (alas!), though I admit I'm hesitant to send it elsewhere.

Well, after a mess of whimsical stories (which have found homes) and some sad crime-type yarns (which have also found homes), I have delved once more into the dark place. Trying not to disturb, however.

I wanted to see if I could write a sex positive, erotic, scary story. I thought it would be simple. The story turned out to be a lioness, and this poor writer was an blissfully unaware antelope.

Really effective scary stories seem to rely heavily upon consequences. Sure, there are otherworldly intrusions into reality or crimes so horrible they cease to be "normal" and assume an almost otherworldly quality, but left to their own devices, these two descriptors could just as easily suggest fantasy stories. What sets scary stories (what some call horror) and fantasy apart for me, is not violence or nastiness (both of which appear in every other storytelling mode) but this notion of consequence or impact.

Now, a pair of examples--can you name the school of scary? Example 1: Long dormant supernatural eeevil has awakened, and the effect it has is a breaking down of the civilized mores/code of conduct (often in small towns). Example 2: Humanity builds a happy illusion about the way the universe runs, but when the Truth is revealed, humanity realizes its own insignificance and goes mad.

Now the relationship between sex and scares is pretty Puritanical. Slasher flicks and similar scare films make that abundantly clear, which is why so many of them are short sighted and kinda well boring. Even an otherwise enjoyable movie like Stir of Echoes cannot escape viewing sex as a pejorative term. However, that branch of horror fiction dubbed erotic horror also takes a page from this assumption. How many Hot Blood stories or hardcore horror novels can essentially be dropped into the "You had sex? Then die, Horny McHornykins!" chum bucket? A disproportionately large number. There are some writers who push past these limitations, but the sex-is-wrong/sinful/depraved trope is difficult to elude. If it's not up front in the cheap seats, it glares from the subtext. Ugh, I say. Ugh.

I wanted to make sex an integral part of my scary story, but I didn't want to fall into any sex-is-wrongwrongWRONG traps. I wanted to stay sex positive. Did I succeed? Hard to say. We'll see what the editor and publisher (and hopefully readers!) say.

However, I've been having nightmares about enclosed spaces and thunderstorms and running away from things no one was meant to know/ well as erotic dreams about mysterious lovers. Maybe that's a good sign?

So, how about it readers: what are your thoughts on dark fiction and sexy, scary stories? Any recommendations for sex positive spooky stories?

To get the ball rolling: Poppy Brite's Drawing Blood comes to mind--a sometimes sweet, sometimes terrifying m/m horror-romance. Joyce Carol Oates' modern gothic Beasts reveals a weird relationship between "sex as destroyer of innocence" and "sex as instrument of empowerment"....

I'm sure the list goes on. Help me out?

Some Saucy Jane Austen Fantasies!
Current Publication!
Coming Soon from Clasp (Circlet Press's new erotic romance imprint)!


Want a little Jane Austen-style erotic fantasy fiction? You should check this one out! It includes my own story "The Lamia's Proposal", wherein a certain prideful bastard from one of Austen's most popular novels finds his supernatural equal.

To get an inside scoop on the other contributors, check out editor J. Blackmore's blog!

Release date is currently set to be July 26th!

Fiction Excerpt: "Adrift" from Women on the Edge of Space!
Current Publication!
I've posted an excerpt from my story "Adrift" over at the Circlet Press Livejournal community. Each of the other authors in the book have done likewise. It's a great time!


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