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Friday, July 19, 2019

Jai/George Part 7--Good Morning to You!

So a quick installment tonight before the weekend. Remember, I'm taking off Monday morning for New York, so this is going to have to tide us over!

*  *  *

Good Morning to You! 

George slept in sort of a half-aroused fever dream, engulfed in the arms of a giant who kept him warm and safe and horny.

"Mm..." George whined a little, because he scooted back and bumped something that penetrated, titillated, pulsed and throbbed. He reached behind himself, arching so he could... wait, was something in his ass?

"You are needy?" A voice purred in his ear, and George came fully awake.

Jai. He was in the tent with Jai, surrounded by the smells of canvas and the sharp high desert of the Tehachapi Mountains--and sex. And Jai. The darkness around them was complete, but there was  a sharpness in the air that indicated dawn was close.

Jai thrust up against his backside, and the plug he'd left in only a few hours before was tapped hard, and suddenly George was awake and dawn wasn't the only thing that was close.

"Oh my God!" He was loud--louder than he'd meant to be--and Jai's hand came up in front of his mouth.

"Sh," he whispered. "Should I get the gag again?"

George shuddered, all of his pleasure synapses firing at once.

"Depends," he said breathily. "Are we going to go fast or slow?"

Jai chuckled softly and nuzzled his shoulder, his ear, from behind. "Both."

George moaned--but quietly. "No gag," he begged. "Just... just now."

HIs rim must have swollen around the plug, because Jai needed to add some lube to it to pull it out, and the ache was just on the ledge of pleasure and pain. And then Jai's cock, huge and slick, was right there to take it's place, and George felt tears start at his eyes. It didn't hurt, but the fullness, the sense that he'd never come down from that first orgasm, was overwhelming.

"It's okay, little George," Jai said, his thumbs brushing at the tears even as he moved, thrusting slowly and steadily inside George's willingly given body. "I'm taking you over, but I'll be kind."

George let out a breath with no voice, and his own cock grew and throbbed. Jai kept fucking, but his hands--his hands were exploring. George's chest, his thighs, plucking his nipples, stroking his cock... George kept all his voices to himself, the hush of the dark morning helping to make this a moment in a bubble, a quiet all to themselves. "Okay," he said brokenly. "Okay."

Jai picked up speed.

George captured Jai's hand as he plucked George's nipple, needing to clutch something. His body was doing a slow roll, almost a preparation to orgasm, a leviathan sexual wakeup, and he was flying, lost in the dark, only Jai's ragged breathing and his hand keeping him tethered to their bed on the floor of the tent.

"Don't let go," Jai rumbled.

"Don't stop," George begged.

"Let me stroke you. I am close."

George wrapped his fingers around Jai's wrist as Jai closed his hand over George's cock and stroked slowly, in time to his thrusts. The contact made the stroking delirious, an extension of George's own touch, and he was just swimmy enough from waking up in a full state of arousal for the sensation to amp his need exponentially.

And up and up and up and up... George released Jai's wrist so he could bite down on his palm, because swat was breaking out over his forehead, his chest, and his orgasm rolled through him, slow and huge, and he needed to stifle his cry.

He creamed up over Jai's fist, and behind him he heard Jai's slow, tortured breath as he convulsed inside George's ass, the torrent of come scalding and real as the two of them rode the wave together.

The come down was shakier this time.

Jai held his hand, covered in spend, up to George's mouth, and George lapped dreamily, because he was in no place to say no to anything sexual right now. The act, filthy and fulfilling, almost soothed him. What they'd done had been animal and real and the bitterness proved it.

When he was done, their breathing subsided, and George realized his backside was dripping around Jai's softening cock and he had no urge to wash himself.

"Sleep?" he asked groggily.


"That... I'm going to need more of that. And more and more and more..." His voice wandered dreamily. "It's like heroin. A drug. I'm feeling so high..."

Jai nuzzled his neck again. "Next month, I shall bring all my pretty toys," he promised direly. "And you will forget you can have sex with other men."

"I can't." George was out of it--but he was also candid. "Whole life, boring. You, here, now, is electricity and fire. No more sex for other men. Ruined me. Wrecked my asshole. In a good way."

Jai chuckled. "So, there will be a next month?" He sounded... wistful. Hopeful. Like he wanted the answer to be yes, but he wasn't sure.

"Do you have any bodies in the trunk?" he asked.

"Not this trip."

Ah, well, nobody was perfect. "As long as there's no bodies in the trunk, there's always a next month."  He felt wise as he pronounced this, but Jai's wounded sound surprised him.

"I shall be careful to never have bodies in my trunk with you," he said, and as much as it should have been a joke, it sounded like a true promise.

"Okay. I promise we'll do this again."

"Thank you." Jai rested his cheek on the top of George's head, and George had enough consciousness for one more word.

"Thank you. Was wonderful."

"You deserve no less, sweet man. Now sleep."

George closed his eyes, limp and used and happy. When he awoke in the morning, sunlight lit up the inside of the tent, although it was still chilly. The spot next to him was empty, but there was the sounds of something frying on a grill outside the tent, and the smell of bacon.

George's body was loose and a little sore and a lot glorious. Wow. They'd done that. The smell of sex and the stretching in his backside and even the feeling of come on his thighs--it all made it real. George felt delicious and debauched and cared for--and he wanted that man outside frying him bacon to know that this was all his doing, and George had developed more than an attachment or an attraction for him.

George had developed a crush.

Imagine what more could develop in the course of the day.

Thursday, July 18, 2019


To make it perfectly clear, I was going to write some Jai/George tonight. I was excited about writing some Jai/George.

They were gonna go round two. I was gonna blow your minds with it, I swear.

I was celebrating you see--because that edit that was giving me hell two weeks ago came back, and my editor was impressed and I was excited and I've been progressing on my newest WIP and whooppeeee!!!!  Progress on something positive.

So I took my computer with me to the kids' dance lessons so I could write my newsletter in McDonalds (free soda water, with all that yummy ice!) and then send my edit back.

And I was in the middle of my newsletter when it happened.

The computer crashed.

The newsletter--which was almost complete--was saved.

The edit and 8,000 words of my WIP?

Were not.

Repeat, not.

This McDonalds I go to--air conditioning, free ice water, I get one cookie when I go in there--is pretty much vacant. There's like me and a homeless guy who came in for coffee and some AC. The drivethru is full so the employees are busy, but I'm alone by the bathrooms, silent screaming at my damned computer.

I needed a table to topple, or a stuffed animal to pitch across the room or something. I didn't want to break out into loud expletives because the poor guy on the other side of the restaurant was looking a little wild-eyed and having me scream out of nowhere might have done some damage.

But anyway, my computer rage quit, and then I just pulled out my knitting and pouted. And that's where we are.

I managed to recover most of my WIP from my nightly email to my beta reader, but that fuckin' edit. Man, I can barely look at that thing. I'm just clicking the mouse until it's done, without examining any of the changes this time.

I was so proud, too.


Well, some days are like that.

You just don't expect them to happen in McDonalds.

-- Oh!

I'd like to thank EVERYBODY who's purchased and reviewed Warm Heart so far-- you all seem to love it and I'm very happy about that.  And seriously-- thank you so much for the reviews. I'm ever so grateful to everybody who's helped this book be a success!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Warm Heart--Now Available!

So, I'm sure nobody who's followed me for any length of time will be surprised to know I love me some action adventure mixed with my romance. I love shows where there are fight scenes and survival scenes and hunting down bad guys (not in this book, but still!)  I love the snark and the banter and drama and the conflict that come from two smart heroes trying to figure out how to survive.

It's just, you know, in my version of H-50 or Fast and the Furious or Hobbes and Shaw, there would be a lot more kissing, some wild sex, and then the final car chase, right?

So when I was asked to write another series for Dreamspun Desires, I took a look at their new vision for the series--sort of sleeker, a little more fantasy driven, a little more over the top--and I thought, "Okay, I'm gonna do some Search & Rescue based books."  No crime solving (maybe in the third one)-- just searching and rescuing and some action and adventure and some falling in love and some hot sex.

And hey-- that's what we get in Warm Heart. 

I'm so excited about this book! Part of that is I just finished Silent Heart, the second in the series, and I got clearance for Wounded Heart, the fourth book, and I'm excited about starting Safe Heart, which is number three. Like with my other Dreamspun series, the Mannies, I had a blast writing these. There's some tension, and a few heart pounding moments because the world's different, but there's this whole joy of being alive thing that does not get old.

So sit back, have some iced tea by the pool, and read about a plane crash in the Sierras in winter. And hopefully the love scenes will keep you plenty warm!

Search and Rescue: Book One
Survive the adventure. Live to love.

Following a family emergency, snowboarder Tevyn Moore and financier Mallory Armstrong leave Donner Pass in a blizzard… and barely survive the helicopter crash that follows. Stranded with few supplies and no shelter, Tevyn and Mallory—and their injured pilot—are forced to rely on each other.

The mountain leaves no room for evasion, and Tevyn and Mal must confront the feelings that have been brewing between them for the past five years. Mallory has seen Tevyn through injury and victory. Can Tevyn see that Mallory’s love is real?

Mallory’s job is risk assessment. Tevyn’s job is full-on risk. But to stay alive, Mallory needs to take some gambles and Tevyn needs to have faith in someone besides himself. Can the bond they discover on the mountain see them to rescue and beyond?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Don't Slow Down--Jai/George Part 6

So, continuing on from where we last left off... warning, this is a little more explicit than my other sex scenes.

Uh, enjoy?

*  *  *

"Slower?" George panted, struggling minimally with Jai's binding grip on his wrists. "But I want faster?"

Jai chuckled and shifted between George's legs. George's breath caught. Naked. They were naked. He was in a tent with an enormously strong man and their bodies were touching, skin rubbing, his cock along Jai's abdomen, Jai's cock along his thighs, and they were bare-assed naked. 

Jai dropped his head so his breath touched the shell of George's ear. Slowly--excruciatingly slowly--Jai rippled his hips, so George could feel every inch of of Jai's length shoving into the soft skin of his inner thigh.

There were a lot of inches-many of them long but some of them wide, and a thick slide of pre-come making those inches glide.

George moaned quietly and wrapped his legs around Jai's hips, arching against him and losing himself in the dreamy intimacy of being naked in the dark.

"Slow," Jai whispered, and rocked his hips again.

George's brain fizzled, and his words and any willpower he had to resist Jai's words and the demands of his body. "Anything," he whispered, arching up against Jai again. "Anything you want from me. Anything."

Jai sucked George's tender earlobe into his mouth, and kept up that full body massage with his own, their hips bucking against each other with increasing urgency. Jai released his earlobe, and the cool air added it's own gentle touch while Jai moved to behind his ear, his neck, his jaw. George tilted his head, bared his throat, gave this giant of a man complete access to all of his vulnerable parts.

Jai had already cared for George with tenderness and humor, and George had no qualms about turning over the reins.

Little broken whimpers issued from George's throat, and Jai kept on kissing him, his neck, his chest. Those big hands cupped George's hips and Jai took a sensitized nipple into his mouth, sucking until George moaned again, then nibbling, and then nipping. George clicked his teeth together in an effort to keep quiet and he moved his hands to grip Jai's biceps hard.

"Nyet," Jai whispered softly, putting George's hands over his head again.


"You are my dessert," Jai said, his lips twisting wickedly. "Let me enjoy you."


Jai reached under George's pillow and came out with a rope with a knot on either side, the kind that could be used as a dog toy. "Hold this," he instructed. "Over your head. Don't move until I tell you to."

George took the rope, surprised. "Nothing to tie me up with?" he said, only half joking.

"If this goes well this weekend, sure," Jai told him, so matter of factly that George's knees fell open.


"You like that, small man?"

This close, Jai's chest pressed up against George's abdomen, George could practically feel the smugness radiating from him. Being tied up had never been on George's list of kinks--but in this moment here, he felt the thrill at being at Jai's mercy.

"I dunno," he mumbled, squirming against Jai's massive body. "I just... just... oh God, Jai, I need--"

Jai took his other nipple into his wet mouth and pulled.

George cried out and bucked, wrapping his legs again and squeezing.

Jai let go of his nipple with a pop, and very carefully moved George's feet so one was spread on either side of Jai's body. "Stay," he said firmly.

George whimpered.

"Stay," Jai repeated. He moved then, kissing George's soft, concave tummy, nibbling at his hipbones, and then moving to his inner thighs.

"Did you miss something?" George squeaked, his entire groin area throbbing with the need for attention.

"A gag?" Jai said, so casually George moaned. He could see it, them, him gagged, his hands tied above his head, a blindfold, just giving himself over to Jai, allowing himself to be cared for. The fantasy--as well as the reality that was unfolding right at this moment, was enough to make George gasp, holding onto himself just barely as he spurted precise.

"Next time," Jai said judiciously, licking George's inner thighs right next to his balls. "Next time I shall bind you and gag you and blindfold you, and you will be at my mercy. But first, let me find out what I can do to make that good for you."

"Suck my cock?" George begged.

Jai chuckled, his hot breath fanning George's testicles. "Nyet."

He kissed the crease of George's thigh then, his goatee abrading the places George needed him to touch. He licked along George's balls, digging into the base of them, not quite in George's cleft. George's moans grew louder, although he fought against them, and Jai grunted, then reached up, his body covering George's in a whole new array of sensations, as he grabbed something else from under the pillow.

"This is just a kerchief," Jai said. "It is clean. Bite down on it if you wish."

George opened his mouth voluntarily and did so, glad for something to focus on while Jai made him lose his mind.

His thighs, inner and outer, the backs of his knees, even his ankles, all were treated to gliding touches, the grace of lips, the toying of Jai's tongue. George was grateful for the kerchief in his mouth muffling his cries, and his focus on the rope above his head kept him from just beating on Jai's back and demanding something, anything, on his--

"Mmmmmmmmmffffff!!!"  Just when he'd lost focus, begun to drift in the haze of sensuality Jai had created, Jai shoved up from the bottom of the sleeping bag and covered George's cock with his mouth. One gulp, straight to the back of his throat, and George's scream would have been heard across the lake if he hadn't been gagged.

Oh God! Oh God oh God oh God! Jai was sucking him, long, slow, hard sucks and George was helpless, powerless against him.

"Don't come yet," Jai told him, his voice ragged. "Just let me suck you."

"Mmkay..."  George almost sobbed. It felt so good, the pressure, the wet stroking. His cock wept precise copiously but George concentrated on the roughness of the rope in his fists, in the gentleness of Jai's hands along his thighs. Another head bob and another and another, and George found himself lost again, pleasure the only thing that existed. Jai pulled off his cock, the lost of his heat almost a physical pain, and then George felt his hips lifted, his cheeks spread, and he groaned against the gag. He'd washed plenty good, inside and out, hoping for the best tonight, but Jai's tongue, on his cleft, on his hole, was more than the best. He groaned again, eyes burning against the dreaminess of the rim job, and  was so adrift in the haze that he barely noticed Jai's blunt finger sliding inside.

Until it began to tease. George began to surface, his ass burning for more, and then came the second finger, the ritual of stretching, and George began to shake, sweating, the strain of keeping himself in subspace almost too much to bear.

Then a third finger, and Jai must have found some lubricant somewhere when George wasn't paying attention, because the cool and slickness against his rim, coupled with the stretch and the burn sent another round of need roaring through him.

He spit out the gag, needing to speak. "Jai, I can't, I... oh God... I need...I'm...oh God." He whispered it, still conscious that they were in a tent, and Jai slid a fourth finger inside him. Blackness washed behind his eyes as he fought orgasm, and sweat broke out across his chest, prickling with the pain and the pressure and the pleasure.

"I can't decide," Jai said frankly, his breath hitting George's wet cock like fingertips. "If I want to fuck you the first time, or just taste you."

"Fuck me!" he begged. In his life he couldn't remember being this aroused, every breath of wind across his skin agonizing in its ecstasy.

"Since you asked so pretty," Jai chuckled. He withdrew his fingers, wiping them on a cloth near George's head as he moved up the sleeping bag again. With casual strength he slung George's legs over his shoulders, and lined his cock up with George's asshole. George was still gripping the rope between his fists, and Jai paused for a moment. George realized his vision had adjusted to the dark and that Jai was just... looking at him.

"So pretty, my George," Jai chuckled. "Let to of the rope and grab your nipples," he commanded, and George was processing that when Jai thrust in.

George's mouth came open but no sound emerged, the enormity of the breach was so astounding. God, four fingers weren't enough, weren't close, and yet George had been prepped, so there was no pain. Only the amazing girth as it thrust slowly into him, making him aware of every invading inch.

"Put the gag in, little man," Jai told him, and George was beyond asking questions or protesting. He put the gag in and moaned against it, taking Jai's cock in further, and further and further and...


"Yes," Jai whispered. "That is all the way."

George was shaking again, with the invasion, and Jai pulled out, leaving him bereft.

And then another thrust, and another, and another. Spots swam in front of George's eyes every time Jai bottomed out, and he realized he held his breath for each thrust. He pulled desperately at his own nipples, back arching off the sleeping bag, body consumed with the fire of Jai's possession, gibbering against the gag in his mouth with need.

"Breathe," Jai whispered. "Breathe. And whenever you're ready..."

Please? George begged in his head because his mouth couldn't have made the word even without the gag.

Jai pounded a few more times, then harder, then faster, until the fireworks in George's head were exploding with every breath.

Please? He thought again, and it wasn't until Jai ripped the kerchief out of his mouth that he realized he'd spoken.

"Yes?" Jai panted, body still rocking, hands back on George's hips where they belonged.

"Please?" George groaned, his body past endurance, past thought, past sanity. "God, I need..."

"Don't ask God," Jai growled. "He is not in your bed. Whose cock is inside you right now?"

"Yours," George groaned. "Please, Jai... please let me--"

Jai kept fucking him, the slap of their flesh probably resonating across the mountaintops, but George didn't care, would, in fact, keep fucking this man forever, as long as he could come right now!

Jai bent him almost in two and George's eyes burned with tears again, pleasure taking him by surprise as that enormous cock hit his gland like a fist.

"Come," he rasped. "Oh God, Jai, please let me--"

"Come!" Jai groaned, his body rippling, throbbing inside George's ass, and George kept his cry quiet, until Jai shoved the gag back in and then he let it all out, his body convulsing in abandon, his cock spewing hot and sticky between them.

Quivering, trembling, still rutting, Jai collapsed on top of him, and George spread his legs to accommodate, and still, still Jai's cock was inside him. He didn't pull out, just pumped hot spend into George's waiting chamber, both of them burying there faces in th e other's neck and moaning sweetly in repletion.

Soon--too soon--Jai pushed himself up on his elbows and plled the gag away. "How do you feel?" he asked softly.

"Melty,"  George responded, his body left shaking and unfocused in subspace. "I'm... no words."

Jai laughed, the vibrations shivering inside George where they were still connected. "That is a change," he said. "Because you kept trying to talk when words were not needed."

Jai laughed again, and to his surprise, George felt an aftershock ripple through him, gripping Jai's cock in a hard squeeze before it ebbed out, leaving him shaky and drained.

Jai grunted, collapsing on him, and thrusting inside again.

"Mm..."  George mumbled. "I could sleep like this." Whole, replete, full of Jai's cock and come inside him. He'd never known this could be a kink, but he was floating in a sensual sea, and all things sexual were good things.

"Mmm..." Jai reached up toward the pillow again and George used the opportunity to actually touch the man, his neck, his shoulders, his outer arms.

"That's nice," Jai admitted. "Let me do this thing, and you can touch me like that some more."

George could see well enough in the dark by now to make out the objects in Jai's hands, but he was so stoned on sex that he couldn't figure out what he was going to do until Jai did a lot of things in quick succession.

The first thing he did was shift one of the objects down near George's bottom and set it down. Then he used his hands to push George's cheeks together while Jai pulled out. There was no rush of come, and before George could ask why, he felt the smooth, soft sides of a plug being eased between his cheeks, slick with the same lubricant Jai had apparently used with the two of them.

He grunted softly as as the plug stretched, and then hummed as it seated. He was full--not uncomfortably full, just... full.

"Why?" he mumbled, as Jai used the washcloth.

Jai made that happy, humming noise and pushed George to his side, the shift putting just enough pressure not he plug to let George know it was there.

"Whim," Jai said, running his lips down the outside of George's arm. "I want to keep my come inside you. It should be a silly thing, but it makes me hot, to think about."

"Mm..." George agreed.

"And this way..." Jai thrust his damp semi-hard cock against George's backside, bumping the plug and sending ripples up his body. "This way, when we awake in a few hours, we will both be ready."

George hummed again, his body already tingling. So much he wanted to say, wanted to share, wanted to talk about, but he was as lost as he'd ever been, as adrift in sex as he'd ever achieved, and all he could do was let his body buzz with anticipation and his suddenly still mind float in pleasure and exhaustion.

A part of him was disappointed though. He wanted to tell Jai that what had just happened between them was the best sex he'd ever had, and even better, the most exciting thing he'd ever done.

Tomorrow, he thought hazily. After they did it again.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Getting to Know You...Jai/George Part 5

It's been a while since I visited Jai and George--I seem to remember there about to be sex...

Which I may not get to tonight--but I WILL get to it.

* * *

George could barely contain himself enough to sit down, but Jai insisted. He'd cooked dinner, was plating it up on camp plates, and had even brought the good quality paper napkins and he kept apologizing for not remembering wine.

George's last boyfriend didn't use napkins and probably would have brought cheap tequila and inhaled it from the bottle.

Watching as Jai cast him surreptitious little glances as he prepared a simple meal on a camp stove was such an improvement.

"So," George said, hating to break the companionable silence. "How was your month?"

Jai shrugged. "My month? It was good. Lots of people trying to destroy their cars between LA and Vegas--Ace likes to say he loves those people, they keep trying to make us rich."

George laughed a little. "Nice. I'll have to try not to be one of them."

Jai rolled his eyes and brought their plates over. "Try harder. For God's sake, if you wanted me to look at your truck, you just had to ask."

Oh how embarrassing. "I'm not!" he defended. "Is it normal for it to need work so soon?"

"No," Jai said matter-of-factly. "The engine is dying. Could be fifty miles, could be five-hundred, but your bearings and seals are going to blow."

George stared at him. "That isn't good."

Jai shrugged and took a bite of spaghetti. "That depends. Do you have three thousand dollars for a new engine, or ten thousand dollars for a new truck?"

"I have just enough money to put money in my gas tank and get back to my little apartment in Northridge and eat noodles until I get paid next week."

Jai's glare was truly fearsome. "Do you have a drug problem?"


"Gambling debts?"

"God no!"

"Are you paying a blackmailer?"

"NO! And whatever the next awful thing you're going to ask me, no to that too."

"Are you taking care of elderly parents?"

George paused, wondering what Jai had skipped and then deciding he didn't want to know. "No--they're doing just fine in Palm Springs."

"Student debt?"

George let out a breath and touched his nose. "Bingo."

"But your parents are rich?"

"Yeah, but I ran through a lot of their money studying stupid shit before I decided to get my nursing degree."

"Ah." Jai finally took a bite of spaghetti. "Your misspent youth."

"Yeah." George took his own bite and "hmmd".  "Good stuff--thank you."

"You can drive my Toyota home for a month. Sonny and I will make your car a project."

George swallowed his next bite too fast and had to work hard not to choke. "I am not putting out for you just so you can fix my truck!"

Jai's laughter had not gotten any worse over the last month. Rich, round, echoing--it started a stroke in George's stomach that was like foreplay for foreplay.

"But you are putting out for me?" Jai asked, amused.

"After that kiss?" George challenged. "You betcha!"

"Good." Jai took another bite of spaghetti and George followed. "Now tell me about your month."

"Busy," George said promptly. "I picked up a couple of extra shifts so I could get this weekend off. Amal was going to have kittens when I told him I was coming up camping with a total stranger. I tried to explain that it was a date like any other, but he expects me to turn up missing Monday morning."

Jai chuckled some more. "This Amal--he is a supervisor, or your friend?"

"Both. We tried to date. It was like drinking a caffeine free diet soda."

"Tastes like distilled evil and there's still no point?" Jai asked, horrified.

"Yes! Oh my God--yes. You understand. Everything that was wrong with the world was in that kiss. But we get along so well--it's like the gods said, 'Here, you shall have a work friend you are guaranteed not to loathe!' And boom. There we were."

"What makes him such a good work friend?" Jai asked, polishing off his spaghetti and turning on the picnic bench so they could look at each other. Night had fallen as they'd eaten, and only the faintest twilight threw Jai's face into darkness.

"He laughs at my jokes," George said promptly, and then because twilight was always such a serious time of day anyway, "and he knows how to make me laugh when the job breaks my heart."

"Mm." Jai took George's hand in his and stroked the back of it with his thumb. "The job hurts your heart?"

"ER," George said with a shrug. "Sometimes it's junkies who need detox, sometimes it's homeless people with fungus foot, and sometimes..." Unbidden he thought of the two-car crash he'd attended that morning, with four kids in the back of each car. There'd been three fatalities in the end, all of them children, and hearing the two mothers--both with serious injuries of their own--cry out in pain that would never heal--that had shaken them both. George had gone outside during his break to try to breathe deep and get his emotions under control, and Amal had called a fifty dollar grocery delivery for the entire unit--all donuts, cookies, and pastries.

"It was bad, today?"Jai said, breaking softly into his thoughts.

"Yeah. It was kids. That's always rough. Amal ordered like... six tons of Oreos and an entire cheesecake for the floor. We all walked through the nurse's station and shoved sugar at each other. It was... it was funny, you know? Sad but funny. And sort of awesome. Being human is hard sometimes."

"That is a good friend," Jai said. "Like Ace. He makes me come to his house twice a week for dinner. Sometimes I watch movies and sleep on the couch. There's nothing fancy--and we don't like the same movies at all--but he does it so I know I'm not alone."

"Yeah," George said. He brought his hand up to touch Jail's cheekbone with his thumb. "Maybe that's enough of us talking about other people for a minute."

He felt, rather than heard Jai's gentle smile, and then Jai lowered his head for a kiss.

A kiss like dessert, sweet and decadent and a little overwhelming, George was more than ready to give in to the current and get swept away.

Jai hummed and wrapped his arms around George's shoulders, and rather than feeling powerless, George felt empowered. This man--this massive man--who could care for George better than any man in his life--had made him for a date--on time--and promised to do nice things for him and fixed him dinner. Everything a good man was supposed to be, this gentle giant was. George didn't particularly care how many men he'd killed at this point--he wanted to know what it felt like to be protected and cared for.

All his adolescent selfishness had been leading up to this moment, apparently, because he wasn't going to give up this night for anything.

Jai pulled back, chest heaving, and rested his lips on George's forehead for a moment. "If I don't clean up, there will be animals. Do you want me to build a fire or--"

George took Jai's hand and placed it in a very suggestive, very swollen place. "Fire built," he moaned, wishing he could see Jai's expression.

Jai kissed his temple. "Then you go into the tent and stoke the fire," he said, laughing at the dirty pun, "and I'll clean up. Don't worry. I'll be there shortly." He paused. "Oh! Here." He pulled out his phone and punched a link. "See?"

"Jai Popov-- that's your last name?"

Jai wrinkled his nose. "No. Why would it be my real last name? Are you kidding me? But it was my real blood. See?"

"Negative for all transmitted viruses," George finished, then grinned. "Very romantic."

Jai shrugged, looking embarrassed. "I just... you know--"

"No, I shouldn't have laughed. Here."  He reached into his pocket and pulled out his printout, dated that week. "Here's mine."

"George C. Carmichael. What is the C for?"

George rolled his eyes. "Christopher."

"It is a good thing you had a misspent youth, George, or your name would make you invisible." Jai swallowed, and the air about them grew serious. "Thank you. For trusting me. For... for making a promise and keeping it. I'm going to clean up. I'll be in the tent shortly."

As George made his way back to the tent, left his boots at the entrance, and then undressed quickly in the chilly night, the buzz of anticipation made it hard for him to keep the tremble out of his fingers. Finally he was naked, and, with a little help from one of the disposable ampoules he'd packed, pre-lubed. HIs own fingers had been cold, parting his cheeks, squirting up his cleft--but it had been worth it. When Jai appeared at the tent's entrance, toeing off his own boots and then undressing carefully, he looked so serious. George wanted nothing between them, nothing in the way of what was going to happen next.

He was naked quickly, which was a shame because George could make out nothing in the near darkness inside the tent, and then he was inside the sleeping bag. George was on top of him before he could so much as zip up the side.


George had been waiting for this. Waiting to make love to this giant of a man. From Jai's kisses George knew he could be passionate--knew he could be in control--but George was not prepared for the way he completely took over.

With a growl he rolled back over, putting George on his back and holding his hands over his head.

"Slower," he grumbled. "Forever trying to rush things. I like what comes next."

* * *

... And it will happen tomorrow, when I am not falling asleep!!! Sleepy writers write bad sex--it's true!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Bitch Please...

Okay, so the house has been taken over by Ru Paul's Drag Race. I'm not even kidding.

Chicken started out by bringing it to the teenagers while I was shopping last week, and by the time I caught on to what was going on in my house, the kids were hooked. After a bumpy season--which we skipped because we were told who won--we were all back to season four, with Sharon Needles and Latrice and suddenly we're reading each other's fashion sense (ZoomBoy, are you trying to let your smell proceed you? Bitch please.) and commenting on our runway turns.        

 Given that Squish is the only one of the three of us who isn't practically allergic to makeup, and we all think getting our toes done is really our maximum in beauty indulgence, I'm going to call this an accident of irony and pop culture.

I will say that the things Ru Paul says to her queens really ARE self-affirming though. Maybe that's why the show has so much success. When this lovely woman smiles at you and tells you all the things you've accomplished even though you haven't won this particular battle, it really does give you heart to go fight all the other ones. I mean she hasn't done this for me personally, but the way she let down LaShawn tonight really did bring tears to my eyes. (Yes, it's a spoiler for season four-- I'm pretty sure nobody's shocked.)

Anyway--I think my kids are going to be walking around saying, "And remember--don't fuck this up," for a very long time.

Off to edit and write and all the other stuff.

And I don't even want to talk about knitting tonight. Did I do some? Of course I did.

Bitch please.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

A Matter of Scope

Okay-- so I had a fasciitis flare up, which means my keyboard time went WAY down this weekend--and my knitting in front of the TV time went WAY up. Wasn't fun for the kids-- lots of waiting on mom--but I finished my shawl (modeled by a reluctant Squish here) and I figured out the problem with the pattern.

Yes--I fucked up.

But I didn't fuck up what we all thought I fucked up.

This, dear knitters, was not a problem with me following the chart--it was a problem with gauge.

For those who don't knit--I used needles too big for the pattern, so the lace pattern doesn't look like a series of fountaining arches, it looks like a series of drunken spiderwebs. As Mate put it, the holes are too big.

I couldn't tell you why this makes me feel better, except it's that I chose the large gauge on purpose.

I'm a big girl, I wanted the shawl to be a bit bigger than it was shown on the petit model, so I used slightly bigger needles so the finished product would wrap around my shoulders. I could have added rows instead, but as it was, I ran out of the white/purple speckled yarn before I got to the edging at the end, so I had to substitute purple instead, and I didn't want to run out of either of these hand-painted skeins mid-row.  I didn't make the connection that the bigger needle--coupled with my tendency to knit big when I'm really cooking--would throw off the gauge so much I couldn't recognize the lace.

When I first recognized it looked different, I thought it meant I couldn't read the lace chart--and for some reason THAT pricks my knitterly pride more than a gauge accident. Gauge is a tricky, finicky business, and even experts get caught out flat footed, particularly when modifying a pattern.

And as a writer, this is the type of error I see all the time in finished works and have to work to avoid in my own. It's an error of scope. It's the equivalent of trying to make String Boys into a Dreamspun Desire, or The Virgin Manny into a 100K epic. So far, the most I've ever stretched a story is a couple of K, in order to make it a paperback (I lurve my paperbacks)--I've never stretched a story out so much you can't see the pattern.

I've never compressed one so much you can't see it either.

As a shawl, it's serviceable, it's pretty, and (as the kids noted) it's in Amy Lane branded colors, so I'm taking it to NYC.

As a knitting lesson, it's invaluable. I'll be talking about it for a long time.

As a writing lesson? Well, I'm pretty sure I"ll find a way to work it into my Fiction Haiku presentations. My brain has a way of doing that ;-)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Lace Work

Okay--so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong with this pattern, but I know that I've finished the last row TWICE and the number count is off.

Now some people would -- and rightfully so-- frog the whole thing back to the white part and try again.  Fuck the last week-- they want their lace to be perfect. At this point I can't even tell what it's supposed to look like when it's done.

I've been following the chart--it's a fourteen stitch, twelve row repeat. which while not easy only has pattern stitches every other row, so it's not super hard either.

I have no idea what I"m doing wrong, and I'm going to just power through. When it's finished and blocked, maybe I can see it. Maybe I won't be able to--and maybe nobody else will either. The finished look is pretty complicated a a whole--not everybody's going to see the fuck up.

And I know this would drive the perfectionist batshit crazy.

But here's the thing.

I'm working on an edit--a particularly messy one. The timeline is locked into place, and so are the characters, by the books that have gone on before. There is almost no external conflict--none. And while some people would be like, "So, that makes it easy--just two guys working shit out!" this doesn't mean the guys don't have a story arc, both individually and as a cohesive whole. The deal is, I need to make that story arc sing!

So this is picky, persnickety work.

It's a 9.8 on the difficulty scale of writing. And I am mulling, pondering, and re-editing until I get this right.

I knit to relax, I suppose. I like making a serviceable, pretty garment--and I do like it when I get things right--but if my hobby is driving me crazy, that's no good. That's time to walk away. So I learn to live with my mistakes, call them design features, give the gift--or sport the super ugly shawl that I can't resist--and I move on.

But writing? If I left these flaws in this manuscript without pulling the thread and rewriting and boosting and tweaking and fixing, and then just slapped my name on this one and sent it out thinking, "Well, they can't all be perfect," I would feel worse than a failure at my profession.

I'd feel naked.

I'll post pictures of the shawl when I'm done. It may end up a birthday present for my bio-mom, who would love it if it was basic garter stitch and made out of shoelaces because she loves me, and who will probably love the attempt at lace with all her heart. If nothing else, the yarn is soft and pretty, and this will make a shawl/scarf that will keep her warm.

I may end up wearing it to New York because I've discovered I'm knitting for myself a lot, and that's okay too.

The garment will be flawed and worn anyway and I'm not really bothered by that. It'll cover me just fine.

But the book must be perfect, or all my flaws will be like beacons, and that I cannot have.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Playing Chess with Yourself and Losing

I am in the middle of a particularly messy edit right now. In case you're wondering what that looks like, here's a little diary of my thought process when I'm asked to make changes to my work:

Me, during editing: Well I did TOO put that part in and I don't know why you couldn't see it!

Me, also during editing: Well, I suppose, I could add it a little more. Hit it a little harder. There. Fine. Are you happy?

Me, also during editing: Oh. Wow. That's not a bad bit of prose there. I guess it was good I put that in. Fine. It works. Hunh.

Me, turning in editing: Thank you so much for the helpful edit--I think it's a much stronger piece of work now. We do good work!

Me, during editing: Well MAYBE I just don't WRITE those characters the way you want me too. MAYBE that's my CHOICE.

Me, also during editing: Well, I guess I HAVE written ONE of those characters... maybe two. Maybe three. Shit, weren't they in a series? But THIS GUY isn't like that.

Me, also during editing: Maybe he's a little like that. Fine.

Me, turning in editing: I emphasized that character's good points--he seems like less of a turdwhacker now.


Me, also during editing: Well, that does seem a little douchey-- perhaps a wee bit of explanation.

Me, also during editing: Yeah, he maybe should be a little less...less him.

Me, turning in editing: I fixed that part where it looks like he was lashing out over nothing--he has some clear motivation now.

---  Just for the record, folks? Having people criticize your work is never easy, but if they're doing it to make you look better, to make your work shine brighter, it's best to listen and mull before you make snap decisions.

I am SO grateful for editors who have my back.

Also? I"m sure I've been a douchewaffle sometimes--I can't apologize enough.  Apparently, writers have something of an ego problem. Go figure.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy Kermit Flail of July!!


I have to say, it's been a mild but busy summer here at chez Lane-- I've been fairly productive writing and yet my house remains a mess!

Anyway-- I was busy, so I put out the all-call for Kermit Flail a little late--but what I got back makes up in quality what it fell a little short for in quantity.

First of all, my twin sister at book signings, Tara Lain, has sent in a romance that looks right up my alley. Secret identities and single parents--and a guy who works with his hands!  All of my favorite tropes wrapped up in one!

Then Lex Valentine sent a book about dressing up like Joan Collins-- which reminds me a lot of that Magnetic Fields song, "Andrew in Drag"-- and it looks lovely!

Also on our list is a charity anthology--and I'm sorry, the cover attachment was just not loading--but the proceeds for the anthology is going to one of my favorite charities, the Trevor Project, so it's definitely worth a look!

And then there's Warm Heart, my own July release, and I have to say--I'm SO EXCITED about this one. It's my newest Dreamspun Desires series, Search and Rescue, and I just finished writing the second one in the series, Silent Heart, and I admit it--I can't wait to write Safe Heart which is the third in the series! I even left sequel bait for a fourth if folks like them--I know I am having a blast writing them!

So there you go-- a quick burst of reading sunshine for your summer!

Happy Kermit Flail of July!!!!!!!!

Warm Heart

by Amy Lane

Following a family emergency, snowboarder Tevyn Moore and financier Mallory Armstrong leave Donner Pass in a blizzard… and barely survive the helicopter crash that follows. Stranded with few supplies and no shelter, Tevyn and Mallory—and their injured pilot—are forced to rely on each other.

The mountain leaves no room for evasion, and Tevyn and Mal must confront the feelings that have been brewing between them for the past five years. Mallory has seen Tevyn through injury and victory. Can Tevyn see that Mallory’s love is real?

Mallory’s job is risk assessment. Tevyn’s job is full-on risk. But to stay alive, Mallory needs to take some gambles and Tevyn needs to have faith in someone besides himself. Can the bond they discover on the mountain see them to rescue and beyond?

Buy at Amazon

Hot Summer Nights (Sorry-- the cover didn't come through--but it's totally worth clicking the link, I promise!)

by Assorted Authors

Seven sizzling LGBT romances to fan the summer heat

Grab a cold drink and dive into these steamy stories covering a wide range of MM romance subgenres and tropes - from friends to lovers, second chances, and sexy ménages, to May-December pairings, werewolves, and even dragons.
There’s bound to be a story to catch your eye and make your hot, summer nights even hotter. You’ll also be helping us raise money for The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention charity for LGBTQ+ youth.

Hurry up and get your copy of Hot Summer Nights right now to enjoy seven stories guaranteed to get your heart racing. 

Stories by Teodora Kostova, Suki Fleet, Alina Popescu, JL Merrow, Aimee Brissay, Jessie G and KA Merikan.

Kissing Joan Collins

by Lex Valentine

Gay suspense author Logan Moore fell in love with the most perfect man ever during his freshman year in college. Unfortunately, that perfect man, his roommate and best friend Chase Courtland, never showed an interest in Logan. Twelve years and a handful of failed relationships later, Logan acknowledges that he still loves Chase. When Chase puts on a designer dress, four-inch heels and a wig, transforming himself into Joan Collins for a Valentine's Day masquerade party, Logan's libido rockets out of control. One look at Chase's perfect ass in the skin tight dress and Logan is ready to drag him off to bed. But can two best friends bridge the gap of a dozen years of denial and build a life together after one amazing night of revelations, confessions and love?

Home Improvement--A Love Story

by Tara Lain

Gabe Mason became a father at seventeen, and his daughter, Ellie, is the most important thing in his life. But being the parent the courts demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—education, making furniture, a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Life’s predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.

Gabe loves the house and the work, and Jerry’s pretty lovable too, but when Gabe discovers Jerry’s secret identity, he fears their passion could overturn both their lives forever.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Jackson and Ellery Defend A Friend of Mine

So, in celebration of Fish on a Bicycle going on pre-sale at DSP, I thought I'd give a little bit of love to my friend Rhae, who is currently having some trouble with contractors and needs some vengeance.

 *  *  *

Chaos and Cooking

Jackson had put the folder together the day before, and but he sat in on the meeting between Ellery and the defendant with no assumptions whatsoever.

"So, Ms. Camdyn--" Ellery began.

"Oh, honey. You can call me Rhae. It's so sweet of you to see me on such short notice." The woman who sat in their brand new law office with her bag of crocheting and a pretty little shawl around her shoulders did not look threatening.

"Well, yes, Rhae--you caught us as we're just beginning our practice. We've got a few cases under our belt--most of them successful--"

"Oh, I looked you up already. I know your record. That Sampson thing--what a doozy!"

Ellery looked at Jackson who shrugged. Well, "shrewd old bird" was IN CAPS in the top of the damned file for a reason.

"And I heard that your PI had some trouble--" she continued.

"All fine," Jackson lied. He told the truth to Ellery, that was enough.

"Um-hm."  Rhae Camdyn was a sweet, plumpish grandmotherly sort, with graying hair pulled up in a ponytail and bright eyes peering out from gray-framed glasses, but apparently she was computer savvy, and also savvy to the contracting laws of the state.

And according to the printout, she was one hell of a baker.

"So, Ms. Camdyn, you are charged with poisoning an entire construction crew with brownies," Ellery said, still not sure he'd read that right, then heard that right, then researched that right. "Is this true?"

"Is it true that I'm being charged with that? Oh yes, it most definitely is."

Ellery raised his eyebrows, and Jackson shrugged again. How many times did he need to put "shrewd old bird" in caps anyway?

"So, you're being charged with it--what I'm asking now is, did you do it?"

"Definitely not," Jackson interjected, raising one eyebrow. "The report is absolutely clear. Two labs verified it, Ellery. The brownies were homemade, they had two types of chocolate, and according to all the guys on the site, they were delicious. But they were not--repeat not--tampered with or poisoned. There was nothing in those brownies besides your standard ingredients."

Rhae Camdyn smiled an adorable little-old-lady smile and pulled out her crocheting project. "Except a whole lot of love," she said, starting to stitch what appeared to be a purple granny square.

"So the brownies were uncontaminated," Ellery clarified.

"Not a damned thing in them that me and those boys didn't bring in the first place," Ms. Camdyn reassured him, her hands flying with the wool and the hook.

"Then how do you explain what happened next?" Ellery continued doggedly.


Jackson had to hand it to her--she was good. He'd seen a lot of hardened criminals who would have murdered twice to sound as innocent as this woman.

"Yes," Ellery said. "Next. The entire group of contractors--including guys who claimed they weren't on the scene that day--had to be rushed to the hospital with cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. They all swore it was the brownies."

"But how could it be?" Rhae said, not dropping a stitch. "My brownies had nothing in them that me and those boys didn't bring to the table."

Jackson's eyes narrowed. It was the second time she'd said something like that--the third if you counted the police report.

"They were building your house, ma'am," Jackson said, and Ellery nodded because it was obvious he was out of steam trying to figure this one out.

"Well, that's what they said they were doing," Ms. Camdyn said tartly. "They claimed to be putting our pre-fab together, but those things should go up in a relatively short period of time, and those assholes have been mucking about it for weeks."

Jackson knew his eyes widened, but then, he'd talked to some of those guys. They'd gone on and on about the old lady whining at them when they'd been trying to text their girlfriends, and he'd thought they were assholes too.

"That must have been really inconvenient."

"Inconvenient?" she asked, and her sweet-little-old-lady gaze went hard. "We were living in a double-wide--do you know how many fur-babies we have?"

"Says here six?" Jackson asked, just to make sure. "Is that right?"

"I have no idea," she snapped. "But I have grown children and fur-babies and then that rain--"

"Yes, ma'am. Climate change is very destructive--"

"My office collapsed!" she snarled. "Because the prefab was supposed to be up by then! Inconvenient? Do you know I used to do that work? I would put in an honest days work for an honest day's pay, and those fools were telling me that I couldn't tell if they were slacking because I didn't know what they were supposed to be doing in the first place! My husband had to hold me back--we own a shotgun and I know how to use it!"

Ellery's eyes, which had narrowed suspiciously, were now very very wide, and he was looking at Jackson with the teeniest bit of anxiety. "Do you, uhm, happen to be armed now, ma'am?"

"No, young man, where do you think we live? Texas? There's no concealed carry law for a shotgun in California, and if there is, where am I supposed to conceal it? Use it as a cane?"

Jackson hid a smirk behind his hand.

"Uhm, no ma'am," Ellery said, having apparently just been schooled. "You seem very upset--and rightly so. I mean, I could probably make a case for letting you off if you did poison--"

"I didn't poison the brownies!" she said, with extreme emphasis.

"But you did poison the workers?" Jackson asked, just making sure.

"There was no poison involved," she said, her anger fading and her complacency returning as if by magic.

"Ma'am, we need to know. What exactly did you do to the contractors?"

She regarded them serenely from her purple project again. "I cursed them."

Jackson thought his eyeballs might dry out, and Ellery looked like he'd quit breathing.  Jackson recovered first. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but how did you--"

"Brownies were fine. I'm a high level druid, young man. I passed my wand thrice and uttered a 'receive as thou hast given' spell over them. It was a mild spell--I was thinking they'd get a little heartburn was all. I didn't realize they were such assholes that they'd all get karmic dysentery."

There was no air in the room. None. It had all been sucked out and Jackson could only gape like a fish. This time it was Ellery who recovered.

"You absolutely cannot say that on the stand."

"Wasn't planning to," she said, her hook never ceasing that rather hypnotic movement. "I only told you two nice young men because you were so insistent that it would hurt my case if you were surprised."

"Well we're definitely surprised," Jackson managed. "But, well, Ellery's right. There is absolutely no evidence to link you to the mysterious illness that took over the entire outfit. In fact, because some of the people who got sick weren't there, it points to a flaw in their own water supply, and we should probably use that as an alternative theory. I'm pretty sure we can get you off completely."

Rhae Camdyn's ingenuous smile didn't dim one iota. "Oh, I had a good feeling about you boys. Thank you so much. I absolutely must make you something for this office. I think one of Auntie Rhae's afghans would look lovely in the front, don't you?"

"We'd be delighted, ma'am," Jackson said, feeling as though the juggernaut of fate had somehow missed them but breezed a bit of wind through their hair. "Just, you know, don't bake for us."

Ms. Camdyn's laughter tinkled throughout the office, and she left shortly thereafter, leaving Jackson and Ellery to look at each other helplessly.

"A curse," Ellery said.

"That was new."

"There is absolutely nothing proving that is even possible--" Ellery began, but Jackson held up a hurried hand.

"Ellery, do you really want to test that woman? She's knitting us an afghan--for all we know it's got karmic wool or something and every time we tell a lie we'll be jumping like we've got a pin up our ass. Just take the win."


"Take the win," Jackson ground out. "Take the fucking win."

"Fine," Ellery muttered. "It doesn't look like we've got a choice. The DA dropped the case."


"Something about the entire office taking a nap after getting a batch of cupcakes."

Jackson expelled a breath. "Take. The. Win."

"I should have been a dentist,"  Ellery told him sincerely.

"Sure. And I should have been a history teacher. We both fucked up. Just this once, we're going to walk away."

"The afghan was purple, Jackson."

"It's for the office," he said diplomatically. "Jade likes purple--she's the one who has to look at it in the reception room. Take--"

"The win. Fine. Come here."

Jackson moved across the room. "Why?" he asked, although he figured he knew.

Ellery raised his face. "Kiss me."

Jackson smiled, but did it anyway. "Why?"

"Because that, at least, I know is real."

Monday, June 24, 2019

And... scene.

I know I'm getting stressed when I start pulling out ALL THE PATTERN BOOKS so I can start a new... name it. Pair of socks, scarf, sweater, what-have-you. The fact is, I've got one scarf and three shawls on the hooks/needles RIGHT NOW and a pair of socks that has a deadline but OMG I wanna... I wanna...

Well, frankly, I wanna do anything but go back to work or clean my house. (Because Goddess forbid my procrastination take any form that will benefit me OR my family... of course.)


So it's a short blog post tonight. Because I've got 3K to go before I sleep, and it's been the sort of day where everybody needs a second, you know?

Also there was stress knitting. With maths. Those of you who tuned in last night may have witnessed the horror that is me and maths. We shan't be reliving that, yes?

Anyway-- three things:

*  I was actually going to blog about logical fallacies. In the big Ravelry kerfuffle on Twitter, trolls came out full force with straw men, inverse logic, ad hominem, you name it, they committed an informal logic fallacy, and I wanted to clarify what those were, because obviously if any of our journalists cared about debate or the truth, they would be addressing these things in the news whenever Republicans committed them, but they don't, because they assume we're stupid. (We're not stupid.)

But as I was researching to refresh MY skills, I came upon this article, and I was a like, "Whoa--I don't need to do a blessed thing, this is amazing, and it has VIDEOS."

So here you go--I'll be chewing over this for a WEEK:

*  The kids spent all weekend at the pool. Seriously-- between the two of them they had three different pool parties, one of which both of them attended. So this morning when I was getting ready to go swim I asked them if they wanted to come and they were like, "God, no. Sunshine, water--I'm over it."

*  I woke up from my nap surprised because Mate was home--he usually doesn't get home until much later. He'd been going to take a workout class (offered at work) but it had been canceled so he did time on the treadmill and then just came home. Anyway, I was like, "Uh..." Because I'd planned to write for another hour. He was stung. I wasn't "Yay! Mate's home!" I was, "Uh, I'll just listen to my headphones and let you watch TV."

So I tried to explain--"I need to write 20K by the 30th. That's like, what? Friday? That's fourK a day!"

He was like, "The 30th is Sunday."

"Oh. Well then.  That's... well, it's still rough, but it's doable."

"You don't even know what day it is."

"It's Monday. And I just woke up from my nap."

If he keeps rolling his eyes like that at me, they're going to pop out some day.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Engineer Meet Dorkfish

I am working on a "shawl"-- a shawl that's 80 inches long and 13 inches deep, so, it's more like a scarf. I tell Mate, "I was thinking I would work an extra twenty-two rows so this shawl could have more depth but--"

Mate: So the shawl could have more what?

Me: You know, depth?

Mate: Is it in three dimensions?

Me: It's eighty inches wide--

Mate: So it's thirteen inches long?

Me: But it's down your back-- that's depth.

Mate: I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this. Depth is... a box. Are you knitting a box?

Me: I'm knitting a shawl-- see? It's got width--

Mate: Length.

Me: No, its width. You know. Wingspan. *I flap my arms*

Mate *loses shit*: Wingspan!

Me: Yes! Wingspan! Anyway, it's got wingspan, and depth!

Mate: I'm an engineer! You calculate length and width and get area.

Me: I know this.

Mate: If you add depth, you get volume.

Me: This shawl has very little volume.

Mate: You're killing me here!

Me: You're missing the point!

Mate: You don't have enough "depth" to your shawl?

Me: I don't have enough YARN to give it depth.

Mate: Yeah, you're right--I'm completely missing the point.

Me: It doesn't have enough depth.

Mate: Math... *flails* You can't just re-knit math!

Me: *huffs*  Well *I* can.

Mate: *loses more shit*  Sure. You can give a shawl depth.

Me: Just not this shawl.

Mate: Because you don't have enough yarn.

Me: Nevermind.

--- And this blog was in celebration of Ravelry. Thanks guys, for making your site a no hate zone, and not pretending you can do nothing about it. Free speech is NOT the right to bully, and we need more people to make that policy. You're the greatest.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

En Masse

So, with one thing or another, this question has come up, and I thought I'd answer it here so I could refer people back to it.

Some of you may know that Bonfires and Crocus aren't just available in trade paperback-- the large-sized, limited batch paperbacks that are traditional for independent publishers. They were made available in mass market paperback as well-- the preferred format of grocery stores, Target, Wall-Mart and just about any convenience store out there--and that was super exciting for me.  

Also exciting is the fact that Beneath the Stain will be released in mass market paperback, as will Paint it Black, the sequel, when it comes out on August 13th. 

Woohoo! Mass market paperback! Sweet!

I mean I'm excited--but much of the gay romance community is non-plussed. The majority of us read on an electronic device--our computer, our phone, our kindle. Most of us only buy the paperback copy of books we really love. Like, REALLY love. 

Why is mass market paperback something a publisher would invest in--much less risk capitol for? What's the big deal with mass market?

Discovery-- 90% of discovery STILL happens in a bookstore or library, and since bookstores are more likely to buy the mass markets (and so, for that matter, are libraries on a budget) people are more able to discover a new author to buy if we're available in that format.

Volume sales-- mass market paperbacks sell en masse-- more books in people's hands = more return customers.

Accessibility-- I know it's hard to believe because we're communicating on a computer and so much of of this community's communication via electronic means but the majority of book readers are still the old-fashioned kind. Why not tap that market? With the lower price and smaller size, this format gives more people the opportunity to own books they didn't used to be able to buy.

Mainstream sensibility-- Just a romance novel here, nothing to see folks. Well, yes, a whole ten years ago people called this porn, but it can't be if it's in this format that all the other books are in, right? Seriously--if I'd given a kid a mass market paperback of Keeping Promise Rock ten years ago, nobody would have thought twice about it. There is something about a pulpy mass market paperback that just screams "absolutely average"--and why shouldn't this genre be available in a readily reproducible, easily accessible format. Love is love, right?

Stability-- We have learned not to put all our eggs in one basket--remember ARe? They went out of business and a lot of us lost money. Amazon LOOKS like a juggernaut that cannot die--but that's dangerous too. They have some of their authors over a barrel--and they're a company that is well known for making its fortune on the backs of the VENDOR and not the CUSTOMER. If Kindle Unlimited goes out of business or changes their terms even a little, a whole lot of people are going to be hurting. A company would go into mass market--and go to considerable trouble to do so--because this format has sold well and consistently for a long time, in places OTHER than Amazon. Having books available in this format protects us from being completely dependent on one format and one distributor, because we've all seen that end badly. 

Marketability--putting a book into someone's hand is one of the surest ways of getting them to buy it. I've seen it at conventions on the vendor floor repeatedly. It's easier to put a book in someone's hand when it's cost-effective and accessible. These books are easier to market--they're easier to give away, they're easier to sell. More vendors sell them at conventions than deal in the trade paperbacks. They're just easier--and people buy easy. We want to make it easy for them to buy US.

ETA--I almost forgot AFFORDABILITY-- for those who love paperbacks as opposed to electronic formats--or who are buying from an international market--the mass market paperback is much less expensive!

I'm sure there are more reasons-- these are just the ones that sank into my thick, rather market resistant skull. But this IS a big deal--for my company, for my genre, for the writers who have books out in this format. What does it mean for you?

Well, not much if you're a faithful consumer of the electronic format the day it comes out. But it does mean that your friend who goes, "Oh, I don't have an e-reader" is fair game. "Oh, really? Here's a paperback. Portable right?"  It means someone who still dismisses e-books on general principle has no leg to stand on. It means you can put our books in your friend's hands with less expense and more ease. 

It means there's one more way to read your favorite writers--and that's got to be a good thing. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Pictures from the City

 So today we got home and I took the kids to dance so both Mate and I could get a nap.

Today we worried about whether the garbage would get collected and when the dogs had vets appointments and whether the laundry would get done.

There was dishes to do and word counts to reach and oh my God the house is still a disaster.

But for three nights and three days, we got to pretend there was only the two of us.

We went to the wharf like we had when we were kids, and remembered the first time we'd parked there and bought so much candy at one of the candy by the barrel places that we almost couldn't afford our car's parking. We remembered that there used to be a puppet store, and we used to buy the kids a puppet every time we went. We bought the kids candy and took pictures of bags marked "poo" which we went to the kids giggling, because we're THAT family.

We remembered how every time one of us went driving in the city, somebody managed to go the wrong way down a one-way road.

We remembered that the first time one of us had driven there and the other had hidden their eyes had been when we'd gone to see the Journey concert, way back in December of 86.

And that Squish had been conceived in the hotel with the flat top, in the weird little corner room, when we could only afford one night and one meal, and tickets to a bizarre play about a guy who fucked a goat.

We took Lyfts and I talked to every driver to learn their story, while Mate listened and asked discerning questions and generally laughed at me, because I like to talk.

We went to the Academy of Sciences and marveled at dinosaur bones and creepy snakes that moved super slow and albino alligators and a planetarium that gave us a chance to nap. And a sod roof that was super smart and looked pretty as well.

We went to a restaurant with one of the best views in San Francisco and talked to a waiter who grew up in our hometown and even went to the same high school that three of our children went to, because the world is just that small.

 We went to Hamilton and talked about it for hours. (And then I forgot to get Chicken her merchandise which was supposed to be her reward for watching the kids and I will regret that for the rest of my life. She was so disappointed. I'm still sad.)


With that one exception, it was an amazing trip.

Good food, good view, good times.

The best company in the world.

My best friend.

My husband for thirty years.

My Mate.