projects

Review for A Cut Above the Rest

Hooray, a review site left the most marvelous review for A Cut Above the Rest.

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Click here to see what Andrea posting on Reviews by Jessewave has to say. Andrea rates the story at 4.75, and says it would have been perfect if it hadn’t ended with “to be continued.” 😉

Of course, The Competitive Edge comes out May 29th and will be up for pre-order soon, so there’s not much longer to wait!

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, you can put A Cut Above the Rest in your cart and add the coupon BOM40 when you’re checking out.

In writing news, the pieces for Klaxon at the Core, sequel to Signal to Noise, are really coming together. I’m working on the outline tonight because I figured out the ending. I just need to connect the dots between the beginning, middle, and end.

Besides that, I got an idea lobbed at me for a sexy contemporary story with a Dr. Who fan and a sexy Safe Sex advocate. It already gave me a title and some other lovely details, and I have a feeling I’ll need its lighthearted fun when the horrors in Klaxon at the Core become too much. I’m not even sure I should mention the title yet, but I kind of adore it.

Final piece of good news: Convergence has been accepted for Less Than Three Press’s Proud to be a Vampire anthology! I sent in my (surprisingly specific) wish list for the cover art.

Here’s the summary:

Chris Bryant and his faithful childhood friend Ling Tam travel the world in search of the rarest and exquisite of curiosities, but such treasure-hunting comes at a cost. At times, they tangle with danger in order to seek the most well-guarded artifacts. In order to retrieve a lost treasure deep within a mountain where they tackle the elements and walk the balance between life and death, Chris must hire on a vampire. In this great risk, he has the chance to find an opportunity he never expected–or lose it all, if the predator takes them for his prey.

Exciting things afoot in the writing world! With more to come, I feel sure.

Manicure Monday: April Medley

I keep meaning to make a new post here, and failing on finding either the time or the energy. In honor of Manicure Monday, though, I figured I’d post a few of my recent ones.

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Butter London Two-Fingered Salute. I love this pale jade with a strong copper fleck.

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This week’s manicure, a greige ombre. I love all the putty nail polishes, and sometimes the only answer is to wear them all at once!

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Bondi Teal Magnolia tips over Butter London Fishwife. I loved this so much I didn’t want to take it off, but alas, it chipped.

Writing updates soon to come, when I can muster the time! In the meantime, I had an eleventh-hour inspiration for a submission call, so I’ll be working on that until I get the first draft wrapped.

Have a great week, all! What’s on your nails? Or if you’re a guy, same goes for you! What would you wear on your nails – or what looks good on your partner?

Caution: Writing works in progress

A few small updates…

I haven’t been writing so much this month; I finished three stories last month, finished a chapter of something else this month, and I suppose I’ve been taking a bit of a break.

Top priority: finishing edits on The Competitive Edge and getting them back to the editor for final review. And I need to get that done, soonest, because: *drumroll*

Substantial edits have come back for The More Plausible Evil. The in-document edits aren’t so bad, I think I could blaze through them in a day or two. But the overall story has two major issues, one that I could probably resolve, the other that I can’t because my beta thinks the story is too short for everything that’s happening. She thinks it would work better around my usual length, which is ~80-100k.

Tough one. So, I’ll incorporate the edits to bring it to a good second draft, submit it, and present it to the press to get their take.

The Fall Guide has a publication date of December 4th, 2013, and I have to think what to put on the cover. This is one of those where I’m contemplating saying “…dealer’s choice?” All I can think of is palm trees. That…yeah, probably better not.

What else? Oh yes, this month I need to finish plotting the sequel for Signal to Noise, because I’m going to start writing it this month and it’s next month’s focus point.

Final word: don’t forget to sign up for my giveaway! Tomorrow is the last day to win a free book. :3

Happy Friday, and Signature Dish challenge!

What a great day, it’s one of my favorite days of the week!

Today for the Tour de Foodie, hop over to the Armchair Reader and check out the Signature Dish – what makes one, and what it means when a chef has one.

Have you picked up your copy of A Cut Above the Rest yet? If not, there’s still a few days left in the giveaway!

In other news, that story I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks is drawing to a close and I’m starting to feel good about it. At this rate I’ll finish on time and under the word count deadline. My pre-readers love it, so this is apparently one of those stories where it fights me every step of the way but that doesn’t show for the readers. More info on that to come.

And, signed contract for The Fall Guide today! So excite!

Tour de Foodie: How your introvert can express themselves

Today the Tour de Foodie has moved on to Joyfully Jay with Emotion in Cooking! Herein lie the clues to the heart of one of our stalwart heroes.

Already, A Cut Above the Rest has a couple of lovely ratings. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you all think!

This week, I’ve been writing a new story with fairytale fantasy elements. It’s had its ups and downs, I guess I’ll see what I think of the overall story when it’s completed. Some stories are a pure pleasure to write, and everything falls into place. Others are a map of ups and downs and struggles with getting those words down.

On this one, I don’t even like the title. Argh. I’m not sure about the chemistry between the leads, though the one thing I’m having fun with is the concepts and the world-building.

Up and onward! If I keep working on it at the same rate I hope to be finished Sunday, polish it up, and submit it in time for the deadline.

My body says no

Check out my giveaway for a FREE ADVANCE PRINT COPY of From the Inside Out, shipped anywhere that accepts U.S. Mail. 🙂

This week I think I’ll make the pumpkin risotto with pine nuts that I was craving on Thursday, so as to use up the leftover pumpkin puree and make use of a lot of ingredients I already have on hand. I’m achy today, so I want something easy that won’t require a ton of prep work like food I’ve been making for the past few weeks.

Yesterday we went to a new restaurant, China Gourmet, across town and they were pretty good! My friend ordered a spring roll appetizer that we started out with, and that was light and crunchy, my girlfriend had a mushroom chicken dish that she just loved, and I had a sesame chicken that was a little weird (the sauce was not what I’m used to from sesame chicken) but still good. We’ll definitely be checking them out again. I’ve reached the last week of the Insanity workout and I’m getting to the point where I’m sore and achy, so I think my body’s ready for a break. Next month I’ll take it easy before I pick up another serious exercise challenge. But I’ll still be finding activities to keep my body active for at least thirty minutes a day.

It’s good to change things up once in a while, after all.

Most triumphantly, I finished “The Fall Guide” on Friday, and I’m excited to finish that off and submit it, and start my next story tomorrow. It’s going to be a huge change of pace; I’m going from contemporary m/m romance to fantasy fairy tale-esque f/f. They’re two very different styles but I’m eager to tackle the project. Like my body, it’s good for my writing style to change it up every so often.

Prose can be different for fantasy. With contemporary, it’s good to keep it clean and simple. With fantasy, you can be a little indulgent, and florid.

The Awesome Thing About Serial Subscriptions

I’ve had a Less Than Three serial subscription since last year, and it’s been a great way to get a look at a lot of different stories at a seriously bargain price.

The first Rocking Hard story made its debut last week, Centrifical by Sol Crafter (you can read the first chapter for free), and I wanted to give the serial subscription a plug for two reasons. My own Rocking Hard story, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues, will start posting in May; and I just love my serial subscription.

There are five stories that LT3 has available through serial right now, and they’re a wide sampling of genres and writers. You’ve got everything from fairy tales to rock stars to politics and arranged marriage. Serials don’t typically get reviewed until they’re complete and available as ebooks, but I’ve got to say, I love what I’m reading now! You can read all the first chapters free on the Serials page, and check out membership rates – for the amount of fiction you end up getting, it’s a darned good deal.

If you end up signing up, you’ll get to read Courage Wolf that much sooner, too. 😉

That’s a good start to a Sunday! I’m off to have some yogurt and get my Core Cardio and Balance workout over with, so I can keep my to-do list down to something manageable.

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I learned about The Next Big Thing Blog Hop a few weeks ago from Lacie Archer, who went on to answer her questions and tag me yesterday.

What’s a blog hop? Why, it’s something between a skip and a jump going from one place to the next, in this case to learn more about authors and their stories, and chain it along to the next talented author in the link.

Take a look at Lacie’s entry and come back to see my answers on the same theme!

Without further ado…

What is the working title of your next book?

I have a few that I’m working on right now: The More Plausible Evil, which is completed and awaiting edits from a friend, and The Fall Guide, which has two chapters yet to go. There’s also Appetite: A Cut Above, pending publication.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The More Plausible Evil came together for me as I was pondering ideas for a new submission call for Less Than Three Press. I wanted to do a different kind of vampire story, one with a unique twist and a different angle, and I think I found it.

The Fall Guide came together from my love of nail polish, haunting nail polish blogs, and my increased exposure to fashion trends because of it. I outlined it pretty simply, but the characters have really grown and flourished during the writing process and I’m so pleased with them.

For Appetite: A Cut Above, I’ll talk more about that during the blog tour that will accompany its release week.

What genre does your book fall under?

All three books fall under the general category of “m/m fiction” but The More Plausible Evil is definitely the supernatural sub-genre, specifically vampires. The Fall Guide is contemporary m/m romance. And Appetite: A Cut Above is definitely food porn. I mean. M/m contemporary romance with a side of food porn?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

That’s tough … there’s what I’d prefer for the casting, and what I think I could get. I think I’d pick Nicholas Hoult for Evan and Ezra Miller for Alastair. For The Fall Guide, I might choose Ben Whishaw for Eric, and a young Lenny Kravitz would be an awesome Devon.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The More Plausible Evil: During his confession pending the night before Evan’s execution, he reveals the details of a lifetime’s worth of killings that shed light on his motives, and brings forward the curious short-lived claim that a vampire is at the heart of his salvation.

The Fall Guide: A young male beauty blogger experiences failure to launch, and relies on the help of a smooth producer who happens to treat him better than his boyfriend does.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ll be submitting both The More Plausible Evil and The Fall Guide to Less Than Three Press, and Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest is already represented by Less Than Three. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The More Plausible Evil took me around twenty-five days, because I wrote it during Nanowrimo 2012. For The Fall Guide, I’ve been writing it in stages and I have two more chapters to go. I started it last … May? … and I hope to finish it in a week or less. Normally I can hammer out two chapters in a week, but I’ve been very busy this past year!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

When I’m plotting and writing, I don’t think of my stories in terms of genre conventions or other authors’ works. I can’t think of anything they are particularly comparable to because I’m trying to write something different. I write things I want to see that aren’t already there for me to read.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For The More Plausible Evil, definitely Less Than Three’s submission call—they wanted unrepentant vampires, so I brainstormed along those lines and found a twist unlikely to be covered by other authors. For The Fall Guide, it was very much inspired by my love of nail polish, at the core of it, and the storyline kind of grew organically from there. It’s surprised me in the growth I’ve seen with its main characters, and I totally love it. And for Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest, I’m going to cover that during its release blog hop. 🙂

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

As a reader, I value an engaging plot and interesting characters in addition to romantic and sexual elements of the story. That’s definitely the kind of story I strive to write: I want my readers wrapped up in the world I’ve created.

The More Plausible Evil has some unfolding mysteries to it, but at the heart of it, a couple of characters I hope you’ll enjoy. It’s a bit of spin on the concept of a ‘moral monster.’

The Fall Guide is a story that I’ve had so much fun writing—often after I’ve finished a session with it, I come away smiling and excited! Eric and Devon have become so much more than I penned from a simple outline, and I’ve loved presiding over their growth as characters and the way things have evolved. I can’t abide cheating in fiction or real life, so I set out to write a story where these two guys experienced a powerful attraction, and how that would turn out if Eric felt the same way about cheating as I do.

As for A Cut Above the Rest, it brings together my long-standing love affair with food, and my passion for lovely gents falling for each other. My goal was to bring out the sparks with a pair of competitive chefs who would drive each other to be the best they can be … and also, tantalize the readers with a world of tempting cuisine. First my beta reader, and now my editor, have outright said the story ought to come with a warning label because if you don’t eat before you read it, you will want to!

Next, hop on over to E.E. Ottoman’s “This Journey Without a Map” to learn what’s on tap with the continuance of the next big thing.

Freezing fog is an auspicious start to the year, right? Other parts of the nation are seeing balmy temperatures and over here, the frost is thick enough that the cars and roof gutters are rimmed in icicles and I heard fire trucks and ambulances on the drive home from dropping a friend at campus yesterday morning.

It’s been a stay-indoors sort of weekend, but despite that and the fact that most of my to do list can be done on the computer, I seem to have gotten very little done this weekend. I’ve stayed constant with my workout, at least. It’s Jan. 13th, and I’m on Day 13 of the Insanity workout.

Any workout gains I thought I’d gotten by toughing it through the 90-day Jillian Michaels Body Revolution was wiped out this morning when I did Cardio Abs after 40 minutes of Pure Cardio. If it sounds excessive, that’s what was on the program! I am now a weak, wobbly shell of a person and my lower abdominal muscles are like pudding. Hopefully at some point there will be a payoff. The Fit Test on Tuesday will be a good indicator of progress, I think.

Things I should be doing include thank you cards for Christmas (it’s totally not too late to be considered delinquent), outlining the sequel to Signal to Noise, tentatively titled Klaxon at the Core, editing Appetite: Part One, which will be released March 13th as A Cut Above the Rest (covers have been commissioned, hooray!), editing a project for a friend, and clearing out some of these Chrome tabs that are building up.

Tomorrow’s a good time to get back to it all! My writing routine is better, and more consistent, during the week when I have a set schedule. Looking forward to getting back to The Fall Guide since I’m halfway through the chapter and excited for what comes next.

Coming soon: reflections on what got me started on writing, and the travesty that was my first novel. But that’s a tale for another day.

Last up: Reminder that time is running out to enter for the signed copy of Signal to Noise giveaway, which closes Tuesday!

Have a great week, everyone.

Seeking reader input!

Tonight I made a tasty, impromptu stir-fry with leftover ingredients thrown together from my cupboard and fridge. It was so good, and so impromptu I fear I’ll never be able to create that delicious fusion of ginger-garlic-chili pepper seasoning with clams and veggies and oyster-sauced pasta. (Hey, I said leftovers.)

I was gearing up to make an update reflecting on enthusiastically over-the-top childhood vignettes that showed my commitment to reading and writing, but I got edits back for part one of Appetite today.

Things are looking good! The editor had a lot of awesome things to say, and put a question to me. I wanted to gather some reader input. I’m leaning in a particular direction, but wanted to see what people think.

There are three parts to Appetite, and the three parts were written essentially standalone. The entire thing is rather weighty at a hair under 200K (480 Word doc pages) but each individual part breaks into novel-sized pieces.

Once I incorporate the edits for part one, The Competitive Edge, it will be ready to go save for copy edits. What do you think about publishing Appetite as a trilogy? The three novel-sized parts would release as a trilogy throughout the year, then could be compiled into a paperback.

Either way, I’m really excited. I’m just about finished editing a friend’s project, so I can dig into edits for Appetite part one, then sally forth into edits for Appetite part three.

Also, writing The Fall Guide has me smiling like a loon, and I’m going to spend time outlining a definite sequel for Signal to Noise now that the right idea is settling – and nabbed me with a catchy title!

I think it’s pretty easy to tell which direction I’m leaning, but what are your thoughts on an Appetite trilogy?

Of reviews, giveaways, and writing

In a pleasant surprise today, Joyfully Jay reviewed Signal to Noise and gave it 4.5 stars!

Signal to Noise is one of my most tightly-plotted stories and it’s such a pleasure to see it getting this kind of reception, from a nomination for Best Debut to all the great things people are saying. Don’t forget, there’s still a week left to sign up for the giveaway of a free signed copy with a personalized greeting. Full disclosure: it’s classified as science fiction, but it is definitely sci-fi horror, and it also contains incest. (Which is relevant to the plot.)

All this makes me want to haul out the bare-bones outline I penned for a potential sequel. There’s a lot left to cover in that world.

Being a nail polish fiend, I thought I’d make mention of the Zoya 2013 “Color Your World” giveaway, which goes through Sunday, January 13th. Click here for details but, in brief, you can get three free nail polishes from a selection of most of their inventory, excluding the 24K gold top coat or the Spring 2013 or Pixie Dust collections, check out with promo code ZOYA2013, and pay a $10 shipping/processing fee. That’s $3.33 per nail polish including shipping … I considered it an irresistible deal.

Speaking of nails, here’s what’s on mine:

China Glaze in China Rouge, with matte squares.

Interestingly enough, my obsession in all things nail polish led me to plot the story I’m working on right now, The Fall Guide, in which a young male beauty blogger experiences failure to launch, and relies on the help of a smooth producer who happens to treat him better than his boyfriend does. It’s been fun to write so far, and I’m hoping to wrap it up around 50-60K and clean it up for submission.

I got back to that this afternoon after reaching a stopping point in edits for someone. The More Plausible Evil has been sent off to a couple of people for a deep cleanse, and I’m striking a balance between edits and writing.

With so many things going well for me, I’m considering being daring enough to establish a New Year’s resolution of flossing my teeth more consistently.

Parting note: I received a $5 credit on Amazon. Does anyone have any ebook recommendations for me?