Sneak Peak of Bitter Springs

From my Publisher: “In 1870s Texas, Renaldo Valle Santos, the youngest son of a large and traditional family, has been sent to train with Henry “Hank” Burnett, a freed slave and talented mesteñero—or horse-catcher—so he may continue the family horse trade.”

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     Meet Henry Burnett.

“Bitter Springs is a sweeping epic that takes themes from traditional Mexican literature and Old Westerns to tell the story of a man coming into his own and realizing his destiny lies in the wild open spaces with the man who loves him, far from expectations of society.”

I’m happy to announce that Bitter Springs will be available on December 3rd.

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Big Sale Going On!

My publisher, Interlude Press, is officially a year old today, and to celebrate, they’re offering 20% off of ALL BOOKS, past published, eBooks, and pre-sales, through the month of July!

Just for examples, the eBook of The Bones Of You is currently 7.99, USD, but with the discount, that… carry the one… radican of X, A LOT LESS. Like, 5 bucks.  A cup of over-priced coffee, is what i’m saying. PRACTICALLY BOOK THEFT, except not because of that whole five dollars thing.  There are some terrific books in the store, so check them out, load up, and be sure to use code ONEYEAR to get your discount.

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Straight (and white) -washing of the Old West

My dad’s side of the family is filled with bona fide cowboys, ranchers and farmers, their established lives out west going back to the late 1840s when my great-great-grandfather converted to Mormonism and took his young bride to the Promised Land.  He became a High Priest in Salt Lake City, was a choir master, landed more than one wife–several were his sopranos–a whole lot of land for sheep, and established our family’s Western roots.

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One of my uncles was the President of the National Rodeo Association and hermits his days out on his sprawling Wyoming ranch. Another uncle and his wife (goat roping and barrel racing queen, I thank you) have their quiet ranch with all of their animals out in the Unitas.  Their lives have been anything but easy–managing land and animals never is–but they’ll be the first to tell you how those moments of solitude astride a horse who trusts you is one of the great things in life.

I say all of this because when I told my dad–who grew up on a farm/ranch in the middle of nowhere, Utah and remembers watching his dad get double back-hoofed right in the chest by a pissed off bull–that I was writing about gay cowboys (well, mesteñeros) who lived back in the 1800s, he laughed and said there weren’t any.

Welp. That’s not true.
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Ooooh, that’s a good feeling

That feeling when your publisher tells you that you’ve snagged not one but two amazing artists for your second book. (Hint, the artist who conceptualized The Bones Of You cover and the artist who did this cover.) !!! I MEAN. Come on, that’s awesome for me.

I am so freaking excited to share this book’s cover with the world, you don’t even know. Watch this space for more information on Bitter Springs, including an excerpt and some free tie-in novellas before its release in December, 2015.

Add in the Foreward Reviews Book of the Year announcement this week at the American Library Association’s convention in San Francisco, and it’s basically Christmas in June.

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Romantic Times Convention 2015

RTCon is a business convention and fan convention rolled into one, and I was fortunate enough to have it happening in my backyard, as it was held in Dallas this year. I’m still processing all of the great stuff I learned (and more importantly, trying to track down all of the amazing people I met and spoke with–say hi if it’s you!) but I’ll leave you with a shot of their giant yet shockingly well organized Book Fair held on Saturday.

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For the thousands of readers who came, this whole schmole ran like clockwork. Other cons could learn a lot from them re: wristbands and organizing signings for heavy hitters like Sandra Brown and Meg Cabot. I had the two best table mates possible, and more on them later! Photo Courtesy of RT Convention.

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Foreward Reviews Indie Fab Book of the Year Finalist

…whaaaaaaat? Holy smokes, I’ve learned that THE BONES OF YOU has been named a Book of the Year finalist in two, count ’em, two categories: LGBT and Romance.

Consider me happily gobsmacked.

The winners will be announced at the ALA Convention in San Francisco, June 2015, and I sincerely mean it when I say it’s an honor to be nominated. Plus, I get shiny stickers on my books! Thanks so much to Foreward Reviews for this amazing stepping stone in my burgeoning writing career.

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One Pot Pad Thai

Or as I’m calling it: White People Pad Thai. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s definitely a quickie little cheat of a dish. Plus, once you’re done with all the chopping, it’s finished in less than 20 minutes. Pretty swell for a school night.

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PLEASE KNOW THIS IS THE PRETTIEST FOOD PICTURE I’VE EVER TAKEN. [I’m a middle child. I need encouragement.]

INGREDIENTS: ASSEMBLE!

  • 12 oz. linguine noodles [note this isn’t a full package. I DON’T KNOW WHY EITHER.]
  • 4 C broth [I used chicken]
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar [how come you taste so good? I say YEAH! Yeah! Yeah! WHOO!]
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP tamarind paste [pretty important. If you don’t have any, 1 TBSP vinegar, but it won’t taste quite right]
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce [mmmmmmmm]
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • shot of Sriracha (more like half a bottle, amirite?]
  • 2 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 inches of ginger root, chopped into thin disks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, matchsticked
  • 1 red bell pepper, peeled, matchsticked
  • 3 green onions, sliced in half lengthwise then cut in 2 inch sections
  • 1/2 C roasted chopped salted peanuts, plus more for garnish
  • big ol’ lime
  • handful of cilantro IF YOU LIKE THE DEVIL’S SHOWER DRAIN FLAVOR

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Writing Wednesday – On Diversity

Before I fell headlong into my next book project, I mapped out a general outline–as per usual for me–and detailed my Character Bible. This is when I put together the characters obituaries and physical descriptors. (Basically, what would the paper say about them when they’re gone. It’s just a weird thing I do.)

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I looked at it and realized: everyone was white. It was my default. Basically it was me being lazy, trapped in a comfort zone of absolute boringness. I was determined to change them from white to anything else, but I couldn’t just magically make them not white and still tell the same story, could I? Short answer: no. That’s even lazier. Writing colorblind, or rather, “I can just interchange the color of someone’s skin or their race without changing who that person is!” is some bullsh*t white utopia stuff. Because it does matter. It does. Continue reading

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The Power of a Great Book Cover

I’ve made no bones (hurr) about loving the artwork that graces my first novel (oh, how I love the work CBM does!). One thing I especially appreciate about it (glance to the right to see it, or click here) is how it stands out from so many romance novel covers. Not that there’s anything wrong with what we’re used to seeing on romance novels–I’m pretty fond of them, truthfully–but from a marketing point of view, it’s pretty fantastic to have something stand out of the crowd.

My publisher, Interlude Press, is sort of making themselves known for their beautiful covers, and since it’s Trade Day Tuesday, I wanted to share some of the other amazing books (both the inside and outside) they’ve published.

LGBT Blog The Luckiest,gay blog the luckiest, gay literature the luckiestLook at this beauty, for example, artwork also done by the fab CBM. Now, if that isn’t an eye-catching image that immediately makes you want to touch the cover, I don’t know what is. (And I’m entranced by those feet. I can’t help it, it’s a thing. Handsome feet and hands are a thing with me. Don’t make this weird.)

It’s warm, it’s evocative, and it makes me already wonder what this little summertime trip is all about (don’t you just know this is a summer vacation book? And with this ongoing winter, I’m really ready to be warm and have a warm-weather read in my hands). This book will be released this summer, so stay tuned!

 

I’m not typically attracted to male gingers, Ron Weasley aside. (Come on. Weasley is my King.) It all goes back to be horribly rejected by a ginger years ago, so don’t take this personally. I say all of that because the next cover makes me want to denounce my anti-Ginger ways.

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I literally bit my lip and made a low noise, like, “hello fellas! What’s all this about?” Right away you know this is going to be a naughty romp, and I’m all in. ALL IN, FOLKS. (You can be, too!) What is Mr. Leather sleeve doing to Sir Freckle Moan?* I don’t know, but I want to find out.

* not their actual names. I assume.

Even more beauties (and links to get them in YOUR hands) are under the cut:

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Why I despise LOLITA (and you can, too!)

This morning the very fun, very talented Beth Wareham posted to Shadow Teams what I’m sure was meant to be a post to get people talking about how most men don’t succeed at writing erotica, with their noted exceptions. [I share the link for context. This isn’t to incite angry comments on either page.] As a professional erotica writer, that got my attention. But, uh, not in the way anticipated. Please note that this isn’t an attack on one person. This is my anger with a particular work and how often it’s held up as a “gold standard” of erotic writing by male academia, for the most part.

Lolita is a book about molestation, foremost and above all. It’s about gaslighting, it’s about manipulation, and it’s about the disgusting lie that a twelve year old girl is “sexually precocious” and on the same level mentally as a thirty-eight year old man. That she has any measure of power.

“But it’s about language! Nabokov is at the top of his writing game! It’s ART!” is what I’ve always heard in rebuttal. (And always from men. Always.) Nabokov set out to create a protagonist who is the worst sort of person and still make you care about him. And I’ll just say this: if you sympathize with a pedophile, you need to do some self-examining.

Because make no mistake: this book is responsible for teaching pedophiles and pederasts the world over how better to groom their victims. Continue reading

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