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Guest Blog: Male pregnancy…but not.

Greetings everyone–today we have a guest blog from Lexi Ander, author of the intriguing new debut Alpha Trine. It’s sci-fi, with a twist:

I first wanted to say thank you for having me here. I’m going to try and not bore you today.

When I set out to write Alpha Trine I was following a story prompt that directed there be male pregnancy without the use of technology and one of the main characters must be alien. Even though Alpha Trine is set in the far future on the other side of the universe I decided didn’t want the men to become pregnant.

I know! I know! Male pregnancy means a man somehow becomes pregnant but I wanted something different. So I started looking around at what was currently possible in earth’s environment without the use of technology. Chances are if it exists here, if there is life somewhere else, it could be possible there as well.

There are frogs that switch gender if the opposite sex isn’t available. Male seahorses carry the developing eggs. There are asexual creatures who can procreate by themselves. There are other creatures who have huge territories, when they come across a male they collect the sperm, and hold it in their body in a type of stasis until the creature is ready to procreate. Really, the wild kingdom has so many variations that I could have a supply of alien pregnancy scenarios if I wanted.

In some science fiction stories you can read about a Third Sex. Neither male nor female the third sex is required in some science fiction societies in order for a race to procreate. The perfect example is Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis series. (Loved that series)

What about humans? Is there no way for there to be that kind of scenario? I said yes. With a genetic twist, I could see the hermaphrodite identity equal to the sci-fi third sex concept. In today’s reality, it breaks my heart that doctors and parents make a sexual identity decision for children who are born as hermaphrodites, instead of waiting for the child to grow into which ever identity they choose. I have read too many heart breaking stories so I chose to create a central species called the Fal’Amorics where being born a hermaphrodite is celebrated.

Ah! But I didn’t stop there. Dargon is a marsupial lion who shares a symbiotic relationship with Alpha. An interplanetary war stripped two planets of one primary sex. One planet became the homeworld of the females and the other belonged to the males, and they couldn’t stand each other. The Alpha-Zetamites stepped in after the war and offered their assistance by playing middlemen, dare I say the Third Sex, between the males and females of the species. This allowed for Dar Massaga’s, regardless of sex, to be able to procreate since both sexes have the marsupial pouches.

These three species allow for many different scenarios. Even as I wrap up Alpha’s, Dargon’s, and Zeus’s story in Striker, there can be several more different male pregnancy scenarios… but not.

Thank you for stopping by and a warm thank you to Tay for hosting me today. Before I leave with the blurb and an excerpt remember…

I’ll be giving away a paperback copy of Alpha at the end of this blog tour. Every comment on this and the other four posts will be another entry into the drawing. On September 28th I will email the winner at the end of the day, so remember to leave a comment with a way to contact you.

Blog tour schedule:
September 23rd – Babes In Boyland (http://www.babesinboyland.net/)
September 24th – Raining Men (http://rainingmenamen.blogspot.com/)
September 25th – Pants Off Reviews (http://pantsoffreviews.blogspot.com/)
September 26th – World of Diversity Fiction (http://sean-norris.com/)
September 27th – dreaminginfinity (https://dreaminginfinity.wordpress.com/)

Alpha Trine

Blurb:
The sole survivor on a science vessel adrift in deep space, Zeus was adopted by the Emperor and Empress of the Mar’Sani, though he is both human and blind, and seen by most as unfit to join the royal family. Though they were able to repair his vision, Zeus does not trust his eyes and the nobles of his parents’ court refuse to ever trust a frail human.

Dargon Kal-Turak, along with his symbiote and lover Alpha, command one of the most dangerous ships in the stars. Narrowly escaping a trap, they dock in a space port to make repairs, but find that the Psionics hunting them are closing in fast. In desperation they kidnap the port Master Mechanic, unaware that the man they’ve brought on board is more than he seems, and will bring far more upheaval to their ship, their lives, and the stars than any of them could have imagined.

Excerpt:

Prologue

Canry was lost—no—taken.

Empress Ashari ignored her attendants. She knew they would report back to her mate, Emperor Valdor Vondorian, and she cared not. She was hollow inside, the pain turning to a numbness that ate at her core until there was nothing left for her to feel. She refused to pretend everything was normal because it was not. Nothing would ever be normal again because he was gone—stolen. Her youngest son, Canry, had disappeared in the Waters of Poseidon only two short months ago, and yet it seemed like yesterday.

Ashari slipped a hand under the cream-colored pillow and pulled out Canry’s little nightshirt. She had made the weave herself from the finest spyder silk. Ashari handled the material carefully. Her claws were ragged from nervous chewing, and she did not wish for the fine thread to catch on them. Her eyes burned as she tenderly fingered the colorful clothing. Her heart might have been hollow but her tears were rivers that fed the sea.

She wondered what she could have done differently. All Mar’Sani younglings were introduced to the Waters of Poseidon when they turned six lunar months. She and Valdor had been delighted Canry had quickly taken to the waters, more so than the twins or his sister, Shaneva. The youngling had been swimming, diving perfectly at her side and then slithering through the water, his black scales glistening in the sunshine.

She noticed the tips of the barbs that ran along his spine and down his tail were beginning to turn red, a sign of his royal blood. Canry splashed Ashari with his tail and dived into the water—never to surface again. Within moments everyone began searching for the royal youngling. Those who lived in the waters combed the depths and found nothing. Canry was simply gone—disappeared—no trace or body had been found. He had vanished.

Never in Mar’Sani history had a youngling or adult been lost in the Waters of Poseidon. For days Ashari refused to leave the shoreline of the great sea in hopes her son would find his way back home. She spent hours diving and swimming until she was overcome by exhaustion and the attendants pulled her ashore.

Finally, she accepted the fact that Canry would not be coming home. She took to her sick bed and there she stayed.

Every day she ate a little less. Her mate, Valdor, tried his best to console her, but there was little he could do. Poseidon had, for some unknown reason, taken her son, and in a few short years, he would claim their daughter as well.

Their now youngest child, Shaneva, had been showing signs of The Longing prior to Canry’s birth. One in every two thousand younglings born would return to the Waters of Poseidon. These children would eventually choose to reside in the waters over living on land. The reasons for The Longing were unknown, but neither were the children discouraged from the choice. As natural as The Longing was to the Mar’Sani people, Ashari could not help but wonder what she had done that Poseidon would lay claim to two of her four children.

A large Mar’Sani male filled the doorway. His black scales gleamed like polished rock. Dark yellow eyes narrowed at the sight of Ashari lying on the platform, his barbed tail swishing side to side. Resplendent in the imperial red and gold robes, the Emperor strode into the room. Ashari knew that look of determination on his handsome face and was unfazed. She tucked the outfit back under her pillow as Valdor sat on the edge of the low bed.

“Your attendants claim you are not hungry this morning.”

Valdor’s voice was deep, resonating throughout the room.

Ashari refrained from replying for there was nothing to say.

“They also relay you are too tired to rise.” Again, she responded with silence.

Without another world, Valdor unlaced his boots and set them aside before climbing onto the platform. He gently nudged her to rise up, and he slid under Ashari before pulling her down to his chest. He released a great sigh and stroked the smooth ridge of her forehead until her curiosity slowly surfaced.

“What are you doing?” Ashari softly inquired.

“He … Canry was my son too. I miss his laugh. I miss watching him sleep. I miss … Being the emperor requires that I put my personal sorrows aside to care for others, but I cannot keep doing so if I lose my mate as well. I, too, hurt and grieve. I am exhausted and food holds no appeal. So I will lie with my beloved for a time and keep her company in her sorrow.”

Ashari buried her face in the crook of Valdor’s neck, the scales pliant against her cheek. He needed her, Ashari reminded herself, and Valdor never gave up.

What You Can Do (Yes, YOU!) to Grow the Genre: Part One

The first-annual Gay Romance Northwest was convened on September 14th, 2013, and I hope there will be many more. First, because it was amazing to attend a forum of readers and fellow writers in the genre. Second, because so many vibrant ideas came out of its information-packed program.

Our keynote address was delivered by Marlene Harris, who I had the pleasant occasion to speak with during the after-event Happy Hour, and she gave a call to action that I wanted to bring forward and urge each and every one of you to take up. It is surprisingly simple. Even in its simplicity, it can launch a huge ripple effect, and has the potential for amazing long-term results for our genre.

I don’t know about you, but as a reader of gay fiction, when I want to read something in the genre, I typically buy it. Not necessarily because I am flush with cash (ha, ha) but rather because no matter how much I frequent my local library, gay fiction is very much absent from their shelves. I love libraries! I practically grew up in one. I fondly remember the days I’d ride my bicycle halfway across town, check out a thick stack to while away the summer evenings, and do it all again the following week or mere days later, depending on how quickly I devoured them. Whole new words open up through the printed word, and the library was the best way for me, a young person with very scant income, to satisfy my bookish tastes. Parents who were quick to get me back-to-school clothes and supplies didn’t quite see reading material the same way. Combing through the shelves as I grew older and tried to find gay characters, though, was like turning to my oasis getaway and finding it dried up into a desert.

Why don’t we go to our local library for gay literature? Well, they don’t have it. They won’t carry it, you might say.

But did you ask for it?

In the vein of “if you build it, they will come,” when there’s something that you want to read, you can request it from your local library. There are many ways that libraries decide what gets purchased to put on their shelves, and one of them is reader request. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I wish I could check that book out before I buy it–but my library doesn’t have it,” there’s a simple solution. Ask your library to carry it!

Sure, you don’t get the immediate gratification of loading it onto your e-reader or holding it in your hands right away. But if you’re strapped for cash, the wait is probably worth it if you’re able to get the title from your library in the end.

Suggesting books to your library works on two levels. If you’re a gay fiction reader and want to see certain titles at your local library, ask for them. You may see those titles filtering into the library and onto shelves, amount of time dependant on their process. If you’re a gay fiction reader and you love certain titles and want everyone to be able to read them, you can still ask for them! Even if you’ve already enjoyed them yourself, if you spread word far and wide about good books, the audience grows, the books get purchased, and more books get written and published for the whole genre.

At this point it’s important to tip the hat to the role politics plays in your region. “I ask for books I want, and they get them? It’s as simple as that?” Well, that depends on your library. Some libraries like Seattle’s are open to a wide range of content, and more than happy to work with the gay fiction presses to get their books on the shelves and their ebooks on the roster. Others may be more conservative–in those cases, I’d say it’s worth the effort to rally the local community and get several people writing in to suggest the same titles and authors. Though libraries may have different policies, they are all supported by public dollars, and their public has the right to at least ask to have their reading tastes represented.

The two-part call to action boils down to the first of two things that you, yes YOU, can do to expand our genre and make it more successful. Is there something you want to read or have others read? Ask your local library!

As for the other half of my call to action … that’s to be continued, next Monday. Thanks for reading! I’m going to cover the entire weekend in Seattle as soon as I muster up the brainpower–feels like con hangover, probably due in part to the four-hour drive. I’d do it all again. And will, next year.

Tour de Foodie finale: The Hero’s Journey

Good morning, check out Megan Derr’s journal for The Hero’s Journey: Appetite from Beginning to End for the final stop on the tour, and reflection on the storytelling arc and what goes into it. It’s been a long road, but the last hurdles are to hand–and the ultimate rewards!

You can comment on the entry to get a final chance to win Surfeit for the Senses. Later today, I’ll be opening one final giveaway for A Cut Above the Rest to tempt your senses if you’re new to the series.

Although I go to restaurants for the amazing food that I could never, or would never cook, sometimes it’s the simple things we make at home that are so satisfying. And that goes for a tasty homemade breakfast, for sure. Here’s the poached egg over cheesy garlic grits with a side of smoked turkey kielbasa that I’m making for my lady for her birthday today:

Tour de Foodie: Five Tricks to Fine Dining’s (Sinfully) Delicious Food

Guten Abend, check out World of Diversity Fiction for my guest post, Five Tricks to Fine Dining’s (Sinfully) Delicious Food to learn what goes into the magic that makes everything taste too, too good. And glean some little tips for how to keep things on the lighter side, if you’re so inclined. Our skinny chefs don’t need to worry about that sort of thing, but most of us can’t eat a day’s worth of calories in one meal. Well. Can. But shouldn’t.

Also, please do comment on that entry, and you can score an additional chance to win Surfeit for the Senses. You can also sign up for my giveaway on my blog here, and The Competitive Edge giveaway too! With one more to go, if you’re new to the series you can net them ALL.

I would be remiss, covering a week of tempting and totally favorite foods, if I didn’t cover one of my guilty pleasures. Deep dish pizza, the way they can only make it in Chicago.

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The Competitive Edge giveaway

Good morning! To celebrate the release week for Surfeit for the Senses (and my upcoming birthday!) here’s a giveaway for one of the previous books of the Appetite series, in case you missed it, or you’re new to the series.

appetite02

This is Volume 2 of the Appetite series. Read a bit more about it here.

The Giveaway:
To celebrate the release, I’m offering an e-book copy of The Competitive Edge to one lucky winner, chosen by random numbers selected by random.org from the comments of this entry. This is the e-book version, and I will send a copy in your preferred format; epub, HTML, mobi, PDF.

To enter, drop a comment (you MUST include an email or means of contact or I cannot count your entry). If you enter your email as part of submitting the comment, that counts. Comment between now and next Sunday, July 28th. Winners will be chosen Monday morning.

That’s it!

If you’d like additional chances to enter and increase your chances of winning, you may do the following:

– Promote/share any of my Facebook posts mentioning Surfeit’s release and link me to it in a comment here.
– Post a comment on my/your Facebook about the novel and link me to it in a comment here.
– Promote/share my Tumblr post promoting Appetite’s release and link me to it in a comment here.
– Retweet my author tweet on Twitter regarding the release and link me to it in a comment here.
– Become a fan on Goodreads and let me know in a comment here.
– Leave a comment or make a post promoting the novel on your own social venue (any and all – WordPress, LJ, DW, blogspot, just link me so I can verify)

Basically, spread the word in any possible fashion and you can get an additional chance to win your own ebook copy of The Competitive Edge!

Thanks for reading, and good luck with the giveaway. (And hey, if you’ve already pre-ordered, enter anyhow! You can always give a copy to a friend. ^_~)

The blog tour continues later today at It’s Raining Men, so join me for exclusive content, and more chances to win!

Tour de Foodie: Author Interview

Good morning! Check out Romance Lives Forever for my guest post, Interview @TalyaAndor for what rating I give Surfeit for the Senses, my work ethic and how I cope with stress as an author, who would play me in a movie, and more! Don’t forget to comment on the entry for an additional chance to win an ebook copy of Surfeit.

You can also comment to win on my giveaway here, and check back tonight for a chance to win a copy of The Competitive Edge!

Now I’ll lead out with a pic of one of my favorite summer dishes, zaru soba. Hope you enjoy today’s stop on the Tour de Foodie, and bon Appetite!

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Tour de Foodie: Themes of Progression

Visit Cole Riann’s Armchair Reader for my guest post, Themes of Progression. It’s the first stop on the final Tour de Foodie and you can learn a bit more about the books, and comment for a chance to win a copy of Surfeit for the Senses.

You can also hit up my giveaway to win a copy and hey, the more, the merrier!

There is more to come! I’ve eaten a lot of good food during this month, from Vancouver to a local grill last Friday, so I’ll lead out with a pic of the most amazing raspberry-lemon torte that I shared with my girlfriend this past Friday. I could be a total nerd and post photos of my birthday meal this weekend, but realistically blog entries will be the last thing on my mind.

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Surfeit for the Senses giveaway

To celebrate the release week for Surfeit for the Senses (and my upcoming birthday!) I’m opening a giveaway for the latest book of the Appetite series.

appetite03

With the buzz and drama of competition behind them, Alex is determined to focus on the one thing that matters most: his budding relationship with Nik. All the pieces seem to be finally falling into place, as he settles into his new living arrangements and gets back into the rhythm of the kitchen, while he and Nik spend all their precious free time together.

Life never stays smooth for long, however. The combined weight of family tragedy, television fame, and new, unexpected responsibilities strain the bonds of Alex and Nik’s partnership, and conflict between them demands they settle the question of equality once and for all. Pulled in so many directions, it may be more than a new relationship can take.

Surfeit for the Senses is available now for pre-order, and released Tuesday night through Less Than Three Press here. You can also read an excerpt.

The Giveaway:
To celebrate the release, I’m offering an e-book copy of Surfeit for the Senses to one lucky winner, chosen by random numbers selected by random.org from the comments of this entry. This is the e-book version, and I will send a copy in your preferred format; epub, HTML, mobi, PDF.

To enter, drop a comment (you MUST include an email or means of contact or I cannot count your entry). If you enter your email as part of submitting the comment, that counts. Comment between now and next Sunday, July 28th. Winners will be chosen Monday morning.

That’s it!

If you’d like additional chances to enter and increase your chances of winning, you may do the following:

– Promote/share any of my Facebook posts mentioning Surfeit’s release.
– Post a comment on my/your Facebook about the novel.
– Promote/share my Tumblr post promoting Appetite’s release.
– Retweet my author tweet on Twitter regarding the release.
– Become a fan on Goodreads.
– Leave a comment or make a post promoting the novel on your own social venue (any and all – WordPress, LJ, DW, blogspot, just link me so I can verify)

Basically, spread the word in any possible fashion and you can get an additional chance to win your own ebook copy of Surfeit for the Senses!

Many thanks, I appreciate your stopping by, and good luck with the giveaway. (And hey, if you’ve already pre-ordered, enter anyhow! You can always give a copy to a friend. ^_~)

Also, the blog tour begins tomorrow at The Armchair Reader, so join me for exclusive sneak peeks and bonus content all week, and more chances to win!

It’s Appetite week!

Giveaways! Blog tour! Sales! Upcoming print release! Everything is coming up Appetite!

First and foremost, do not miss this week’s blog tour for Surfeit for the Senses. Every day, you can read more about the story, the characters, what went into the world building or research, and enter a new chance to win an ebook copy of Surfeit at each stop on the blog tour.

appetite03

The final Tour de Foodie is the biggest and best yet!

This week’s tour:

Themes of Progression at Cole Riann’s Armchair Reader
Author interview at Romance Lives Forever
What’s in a Name? The Restaurants of Appetite at It’s Raining Men
Five Tricks to Fine Dining’s (Sinfully) Delicious Food at Sean Norris’s World of Diversity Fiction
The Hero’s Journey: Appetite from Beginning to End at Megan Derr’s blog

If you’ve been waiting to sate your Appetite, wait no longer!

appetiteseries

This week is a fantastic deal, with all three volumes at 20% off to celebrate the final course’s release! (I’m also pretending it’s for my birthday. :D) All three books are currently marked at 20% off through Less Than Three Press, so take advantage of the deal that goes through July 28th and make your collection complete. Please note, Surfeit for the Senses will not be available for download until the evening of Tuesday July 23rd.

Have you been waiting for the print compilation of Appetite? Have I got a teaser for you!

appetitecover

Isn’t it glorious?? Here’s your sneak peek. This is both cover and spine. It’s off to the printer’s soon, and the next you’ll hear of it, you’ll be able to get your hot little hands on a trade paperback copy.

Check back with my blog this evening for giveaways! In honor of Surfeit‘s release, I will be offering chances at each of the ebook copies of Appetite to complete your collection, or get it started.

Appetite series now on sale

It’s my pride and honor to announce not only is Surfeit for the Senses coming out next week, completing the Appetite series to date, but all three novels are on sale!

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Less Than Three Press is celebrating next week’s release of Book 3 (the last in the series) of the Appetite series by Talya Andor (that’s me) by offering all three books for 20% off! (Note that book 3, Surfeit for the Senses is preorder-only at until 07/24.) The sale price is available all this week and next, so get your copies of A Cut Above the Rest, The Competitive Edge, and Surfeit for the Senses by July 28!

So what are you waiting for? Pick up your copies now, and save big time.

Also in the works: next week is the final Tour de Foodie to celebrate Surfeit for the Senses‘ release. What do YOU want to hear about Alex and Nik that you haven’t learned already? What cooking secrets would you like to learn, or recipes would you like to see?