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.

Foreward Reviews Indie Awards,Indie Awards Finalist Books,Literature Awards Indie Foreward Review

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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.

LGBT food foodie Thai

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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Writing Wednesday – Research

 

LGBT novels indie research,research LGBT novels

Or as I like to call it, the Sarlacc pit of writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love research. Love love love. My former life as a burgeoning scientist meant nothing but research. And learning? Who doesn’t love learning! Not this gal! *counts the negatives*

Uh, you know what I mean.

I just often find myself in an inescapable vortex of book after citing after Wikipedia page after online research paper. And man, guhbless Google books online, because that can be a goldmine for research papers that are maybe out of print, or ones you can’t normally access without being an academic or having an in with the author of the published paper as there is only the one copy and it’s on their grandma’s shelf, displayed proudly. (As it should be!)

But my question for you is… Continue reading

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Free For All Friday – Nachos

I was horribly offended (horribly!) by a recent “here were the best nachos of 2014!” on a food blog because a) they weren’t nachos and b) THEY WERE BARELY EVEN FOOD. Look, be vegan if that floats your boat–it’s between you and your lord. But vegan cheese is a corruption of nature, we all know it, you know it, I know it, the good people of this world know it.

I’m not even going to start on the one with tater tots instead of chips.

Me, doing my best "Jen from Appleton"

Me, doing my best “Jen from Appleton” when I saw the tater-tot horror.

We will leave those fools and their abominations, since they deserve each other. But you and I? Come. Let me show you the beautiful simplicity of… the nacho.  Continue reading

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USA Today likes me. They really like me!

Okay, I have no idea if they– as an entity–like me, but I do know that they like my book!

From here:

Thrilled and enthralled that describes my reaction to reading this wonderful debut novel by Laura Stone. Seth and Oliver are high school sweethearts separated by time and distance. In the five years since they were last together, Seth has gone on to become the darling of the New York stage and appeared on a national morning TV show. After seeing his appearance on TV, Oliver decides to go see Seth in his play and just … watch. He isn’t going to talk to Seth, just enjoy his friend’s success from a seat in the theater.

Fate has a different plan, and it leads to bit-by-bit heartbreak as Oliver is torn apart by past anguish and misery of what might have been. Just when you are tearing up over the turn of the story, something happens to bring a smile to your face and a bit of sunshine to the book. I couldn’t put it down. Characters who appear at first to be formulaic turn out to be unique and special. A plot of lost love reunited is instead so much more. The characters are richly developed, even the secondary characters. I’m hoping to see another book that gives them their own stage and story development.

By the time the book ended I was in love with the characters to the point I couldn’t let them go. As many romance novels as I read, it surprised me that I couldn’t predict the conclusion of the story of Seth and Oliver. It was difficult to pick up another book knowing Seth, Oliver, Moira and the others wouldn’t be there. My own life was enriched by this story and these characters. Laura Stone is an author to remember and follow. I highly recommend The Bones of You as a beautifully written book and a story to enjoy.

I hear it fits PERFECTLY in stockings, making my book an excellent stocking stuffer strictly by definition. It can be found here, or at your local indie book shop (just ask them to order it if they don’t have it on the shelf). And never forget that libraries are a great resource for books, too! Much easier on the wallet, if that’s a factor.

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Throwback Thursday – Writing Inspiration

As release week continues along (Hey, I could have thrown us waaay back with a Sid & Marty Kroft reference: “I said LAUNCH not LUNCH,” but I didn’t. And you’re welcome), I thought I’d give your word-reading eyes a rest by showing you pictures–mostly location scouting, but some fantasy casting is under the cut–that I used as points of reference throughout The Bones Of You.

But first… It’s important that you know that in my mind, these were my inspirations for Moira and Dough Face:

Nora Jane Noone, aka Moira Byrne

Nora Jane Noone, aka Moira Byrne

And the fantastic Christopher Hanke as Dough-Face.

And the fantastic Christopher Hanke as Dough-Face. He’s actually super attractive and awesome in real life, so I share this with apologies to Mr. Hanke. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But wait, there’s more! So much more… 

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