the fall guide

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!

The Fall Guide is greenlit!

Good news, especially for a Friday!

The Fall Guide has been accepted for publication. I’m so thrilled and happy!

Here’s the summary that accompanied my pitch to the press:

Eric Caville is an established beauty blogger seeking to parlay his expertise and online renown to put out his own line of products. When he experiences failure to launch, a chance meeting with smooth producer Devon Talbot results in help from a most unexpected source. Devon is sexy, insightful, and treats Eric better than his own boyfriend. Eric has difficult choices ahead of him in terms of going back to the drawing board with his business, his love life, and whether either will see him through to next season. Along the way, he has to tackle his pride and overcome past associations before they hold him back from reaching out for what he wants the most.

Stay tuned for release details, but I’d expect a late summer/early autumn publish date on this one. Super, super happy because, of course, it’s my most recent baby.

The other day I was thinking about the story and I actually got somewhat nostalgically teary-eyed, because I loved writing them so much, but I wrapped up the story so neatly that I know I’ll never revisit them in fiction again. I miss them already! And will, until edits come back.

Everyone have a great weekend! I may post photos of my lunch tomorrow because I know one thing in advance: it’s going to be fantastic. Then I get to shop at Whole Foods, after, which is just as much of a treat.

Coming soon; closing soon

Even before it’s out the gate, Appetite: A Cut Above the Rest has been nominated for a Rainbow Award!

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I am so incredibly intimidated, and excited. Don’t forget, there’s still time to pre-order at a discount. My editor loved the story so much she nominated it for the Rainbow Award, and we’re having fun working on volume two.

In the meantime, there’s more immediate gratification in terms of From the Inside Out – hit up the post for a chance to win a free signed copy of my novel.

Sasha Miller’s review of From the Inside Out, shared with her permission:

I loved this story, NEGL. I started reading it one night figuring I could read it over the course of a week or two, and ended up staying up until the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t make my eyes focus anymore. ;3

Soren is a sweetheart, and I related to him a lot. He doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, and he’s sort of coasting along, flying under the radar with his family, his (non-existent) love life, and his future. Then Tru, his online chat partner, suggests they meet up (as the summary says), and Soren’s very careful balance starts to crumble … and he starts to want it to.

I think my very, very favorite thing about this book is that it’s not rushed in the least. With a lot of the M/M romance books that I read (which, uh, isn’t as many as I’d like), the romance is rushed for the sake of the sex, the character development is nonexistent or again, rushed for the sake of the relationship/sex. From the Inside Out is a slow build, and my very favorite kind, that of a first-time relationship.

Soren and Tru build their relationship slowly, in the midst of a dozen plus side characters that have their own lives and personalities. They also fight and miscommunicate and nearly break up and read too much into stuff and not enough into other stuff and just in general are young, inexperienced, and sorting through their relationship and what they want to do with their lives.

Do read this book if you want a nice, long slow build, a character-driven romance that is all about falling in love and making it work.

Don’t read this book if you want a quick read, full of conflict and tension (go check out Andor’s Signal to Noise for that :3).

In other exciting news, I’ve submitted The Fall Guide for publication. Fingers crossed!

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.

Manicure Monday

I’m starting a new feature: Manicure Monday!

Disclaimer, I’m not a proper nail polish blogger, I’m simply an enthusiastic hobbyist. Let me know if you like Manicure Mondays … if I don’t hear any “nays” I’ll probably keep doing them.

Nail polish took off for me as a hobby about two years ago when I started using it as a reward for completing workout challenges. It seems to have taken off as its own full-blown obsession, and now I do my nails twice a week, more if they chip and I have a lot of shinies to try.

For Valentine’s Day this year, I wanted to try a pretty half-moon manicure look that I’ve seen on Tumblr.

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I started with a base of China Glaze Camisole.

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To do this simple manicure, you use reinforcement labels (I’ve tried french manicure strips and they’re just not curved enough).

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Stick one on half of the nail base, another on the other half of the nail base. Make sure to place them evenly.

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Paint your nails with a contrasting color – or even the same color family if you like, so long as there’s a difference in texture, finish, or hue.

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Peel off the stickers, carefully, and brush a top coat over the whole nail. Voila, half-moon hearts!

Tomorrow I’m going to repeat this again with another layer of Camisole closer to the tips.

And there you have my Manicure Monday!

Some past favorites:

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My plan for Manicure Monday is to post that day’s manicure, or process photos if I did something special; as well as anything lovely and remarkable that I may have done recently.

The slippery slope into nail polish madness and the nail polish and makeup blogs that I’ve haunted since then became the inspiration, in part, for the story that I’m working on right now. The Fall Guide is beauty blogger meets smooth-talking producer, and sparks ignite. The catch: they’re both in Vegas for the weekend, and our lovely blogger has a boyfriend.

I’m enjoying writing the Fall Guide more than should be allowed, and hope to wrap it up this month, polish it, and send it for submission.

Hope everyone has a great week! My lady and I will be out on Wednesday the 13th instead of Valentine’s Day, so I’ll probably post something on the 14th if I have time.

Post script: the randomizer chose #27, the winner has been contacted, and has happily accepted her brand-new copy of Bestiary Volume One. Thanks for entering, everyone, and stay tuned for future giveaways to come.

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.

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?

2013: What’s in store

Did everyone have a great New Year’s eve? I sure did. We rang in the new year with a home smorgasbord, champagne and schanpps, and games, and had a quiet day after.

I don’t make formal resolutions, but I accomplished two of my goals last year: got back into the “good” jeans waiting on the hanger (and beyond – I need a size smaller) and established a consistent exercise routine I don’t hate. I also made my publishing debut, refinanced my house, and used less sick time than any of the four years previous. What a year!

Here’s to staying healthy and becoming even more fit.

What’s coming up next for the written word: I’m working on edits to Appetite with my editor, and we don’t have a publish date set, yet. I think we’ll have a better idea once we’ve completed the first round of edits.

Part of the Rocking Hard anthology, Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues is scheduled to hit the Less Than Three serial fiction page in May. The LT3 serials are stories that run bi-monthly on their site, followed by an e-book and sometimes anthology publication, depending on the story. Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues is, as you can see, part of the Rocking Hard anthology, vol. 1, and I’m super excited to share it.

If you’re not signed up for Less Than Three serials, I highly recommend it. It’s easy and quite cost-effective to sign up and you get a lot of stories for your money! They’ve got some great ones running right now, including Beast by Jamie Sullivan and Battle of Will by Sasha Miller.

Beyond that, I’m working on edits for my vampire novel, The More Plausible Evil, which I’ll be submitting once I’m satisfied with it. My pre-reader really enjoyed it, and I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do with that story. I’ve been reading the draft on my brand new Kindle Fire, which is great. It feels like I’m reading a novel, yet I can make little editorial notes with the highlight feature.

As for writing, there are two works in progress I want to finish this year – The Fall Guide, a story that I started last May, and Resonance Thrums, the young adult novel I began in November. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but between edits for this and that, I need to figure out how to make time for writing in my schedule! I’m not sure what I’ll write after those two, but I’ve been pining to get back to some fantasy.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for my Signal to Noise giveaway. Remember, you have to leave a comment on the post with your name and email as well as any follows that get you additional giveaway entries.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!