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To Live A Dragon (new WIP), Soulbound Edits, and a Cold I’d Like to Boot

 

Welcome to March. It’s been a while since I last posted, mostly because I’ve been editing but partially because I’ve been sick. Productivity has been at 0% for the last several days thanks to a nasty cold that’s rolling out headaches like they’re in style and screwing with my vision. Things are still pretty ick and my clarity’s in and out, but here’s an update!

 

Soulbound: Currently in Editing Mode

The big news: I finished the first draft of Soulbound at the end of January. \o/

Of course, it ended up being a whopping 173,500 words. A BRICK.

Yeah, that was so not the plan but mea culpa. Instead of sticking to Story A + B like the rest of the series, there’s A + B + C, split between two perspectives. Seeing as all of it converges, removing any of the story lines actually screws it up and alters later stories.

With that in mind, February was all about cutting back. The second draft currently sits at 149,000 words — not great, but better. (For comparison: an average novel for adults is usually between 50,000 and 120,000 words. Several epic fantasy/high fantasy novels like George R.R. Martin’s are somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000, which I’m no stranger to but not aiming for.) Once I’ve recovered, I’ll see about trashing a few thousand more words. So… there’s that. At least the first draft is done. I don’t feel as bogged-down and depressed as I did.

 

To Live A Dragon: New WIP!

I mentioned To Live A Dragon in January, but I didn’t have much except a loose plot. But once I watched the first episode of The Shannara Chronicles, everything changed.

Fact: when I get TV shows, movies, or books, I often don’t watch/read them right away. I shelve them until I’m ready. In the case of TSC, I’d put off watching it while I worked on my books. I adore Terry Brooks’ Shannara series (I’ve been reading his books since I was 12, maybe younger), but I didn’t want his world and my world getting all smashed up. So I waited until I had a clear head… which was absolutely brilliant because when I heard the opening song — “Until We Go Down” by Ruelle — THINGS poured out. I went from no story to ALL the story. Everything came up dragons.

 

 

Additionally, I found Ruelle’s “This Is the Hunt” (theme song from the TV show, Shadowhunters), “Where Do We Go From Here?“, “War of Hearts“, plus the rest of Ruelle’s catalogue and related artists (including Fleurie’s “Hurts Like Hell“). I’ve also been listening to The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, Sarah Brightman, and Nightwish.

I’m so excited to be working on this project. It’s my first dragon story! More about it:

 

Genre: High fantasy + paranormal + urban fantasy
Paranormal aspect: Dragon shifters!

Characters: Paise & Kildee
Relationship: M (gay) / M (homoromantic asexual)

 

In a world where dragons are considered myths and frightening beasts of creative proportions, living as a dragon shifter requires secrecy above all else — a fact Paise Deschita has paid for with his life. After an accidental shift gone wrong, Paise went from successful structural engineer and city architect to dragon corpse, downed by military forces that feared he was an alien incursion or a terrorist attack.

That was when the rest of his life began.

Paise died a mortal of the Zunitsa nation but woke up a resident of Aramyra, the dragon afterworld. Surrounded by dragon shifters, full-blooded dragons, and allies of dragonkind, Paise is not alone in his tragedy. With the help of Kildee lale Morove, a shifter who died centuries before Paise was born, Paise has adjusted to his new home, a land where magic is everywhere and all dragons are safe. Thanks to a band of sympathetic mages, the dragons’ souls are tethered and controlled by their will, each bound to an egg kept in safeguarded hoards. Should any dragon wish to return to the world of the living, they have two choices: break their egg and be resurrected or take their egg to a mage and be reborn.

For Paise, staying dead is better than a second life. Though Paise has a secret too difficult to keep: he’s fallen in love with Kildee. After fifteen years of friendship, he wants to be boyfriends or even more — mates. Except Kildee doesn’t appear to feel the same, and asking to be more could end what they have.

But when Kildee disappears, his egg broken by a thief, it could be the end of their very deaths.

The people on the other side can’t be trusted, and the world is nothing like the one Kildee knew. If Paise is going to bring Kildee home, there’s only one way: rejoin the living and save Kildee from whatever nightmare awaits, even if it means facing fears that have never been gone or buried.

 

There’s so much more, but that’s the gist. Other highlights:

  • Paise and Kildee are complete opposites. Paise is very much a fire, earth, and stone type dragon: heavy, stubborn with a temper, and has the capacity to go completely Smaug on people. Kildee is chill, calm, all water, air, and ice — much more a pacifist…. unless he’s cornered.
  • Paise has a rugged, rocker vibe from the 1990s/2000s, and his idea of a shiny is the best motorcycle available, all chrome and expensive. Body modifications of note: full tattoo sleeves on both arms and dragon scales embedded in his back. Meanwhile, Kildee is a proper Victorian-esque gentlemen, three-piece suits and all. He used to be a Master Principal Artist, having achieved the roles of principal dancer, singer, and actor for an elite performance arts company. He’s classically trained, is very sweet on the eyes, and loves wearing shiny jewels, but also costumes and glitter.
  • And for those who want to see more aces in literature: Kildee is. He’s down with romantic gestures but not really with much more than that, and he doesn’t respond to sexual jokes/commentary or enjoy anything particularly lewd. Not to say he doesn’t like being courted — he revels in it, but only if the wooer actually pays attention to who he is and respects what he’s comfortable with. Sadly, the list of people who’ve done so is woefully short. He’s had it tough. But I promise this story has a happy ending.

 

So there’s the update for now. No doubt I’ll have something new in a few weeks!

 

 

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FOUR Blog Tour & Giveaway with Xpresso Book Tours!

 

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Four is on tour again this month! Once more, I’ve hooked up with Xpresso Book Tours for a review tour, complete with giveaway. There’s a chance for *4* lucky winners to win Amazon gift cards! Two winners will get a $10 gift card and two winners get a $5 gift card.

The tour runs all this week until this coming Saturday, February 11. Here’s the schedule, which will be updated with the specific links as the tour progresses. You can visit any of the posts to take part in the giveaway or follow this link to the Rafflecopter!

Huge thanks to all the bloggers and readers who are on the tour with me.   ♥♥♥

 

 

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FOUR Blog Tour & Giveaway with Signal Boost Promotions!

 

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Four is on tour this month! Thanks to Signal Boost Promotions, I’ve hooked up with a handful of bloggers on a quick tour complete with giveaway. There’s a chance for *4* lucky winners to get a $5 Amazon gift card! (See what I did there?)

Below are links to every tour stop up to today. I’ll be updating this post with the links to the other two posts as they come in. But you can visit ANY of the posts to take part in the giveaway! (It ends on January 21.)

Huge, huge, huge thanks to all the bloggers who are on the tour with me!   ♥♥♥

•••

 

January 9, 2017 – Interview @ Prism Book Alliance
Read about the characters and why I’m proud of Four, plus more on my writing process, what’s in my bedside table, how the world will end, and more!

 

January 12, 2017 – Guest post @ The Novel Approach
A little piece about one of the most major themes in Four: “The 4 Cs of True Love” and why these guys are so dear to my heart.

 

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January 13, 2017 – Interview @ Queer Sci Fi
Read about when I started writing, what I wanted to be when I grew up, why I’d love to sit down and chat with George Orwell, plus learn about the furbaby who helps me write! >>>

 

January 18, 2017 – Guest post @ Diverse Reader
What’s the significance of “four” in the book? Why is it more than a mere number? I talk theme and threads in this guest post.

 

January 20, 2017 – Guest post @ Love Bytes
So just how did Mayr steal the series out from under pretty much everyone? Over at Love Bytes, I go into how Four came around thanks to a sexy plot bunny.

 

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2017: What I’m Up To & Where I’m Going… Maybe. Sort of. Kinda?

 

Last week I revisited 2016 and waved it bye-bye ’cause it’s sooooo last year. (Yeah, I went there. I’ve been binge-watching Project Runway. Bad puns can, and will, happen!) This week, I’m delving into what’s currently on my desk and what’s coming up in 2017!

 

Literature of the Writer’s Present

At the moment, there’s only one project taking up all. my. time: Soulbound, which I started this past June. I had hoped to have the first draft finished in the fall but surprise, I’m still writing it. The length of the manuscript is mostly to thank: it’s twice as long as expected. The manuscript is at 155k with another 15k left… It’s a beast. >.<

Having said that, I’m happy to announce the first draft is *this close* to being finished. Within a couple chapters, it’ll be done and ready for editing, which will likely take 2 months given my rigorous process (*cough cough* perfectionist *cough cough*).  I’m hoping to cut it by 30k.

For those who have read Four, this is a sequel in the Mayr & Tash love story. I hadn’t originally planned on writing another book for them — just a novella — but now they’re getting three books. Four brought them together and showed them what could have; Soulbound is where things really change for them as a couple rather than just individuals. They get to explore the future rather than being stuck in the past. There’s plenty of drama and sweet, fluffy love stuff. (It gets pretty saccharine!) There’s also an MMF relationship — part of their “growing up”. Nothing will ever be the same. *curious music playing in the background*

 

 

Rubbing the Magic Eight Ball and Seeing the Future…

In terms of new releases, 2017 will be quiet. Only two stories are on the roster: Blood Borne (The Republic #3) and Prince of Patches.

Blood Borne is awaiting edits, so I don’t have further information. My guess is it’ll come out in the summer. More info to come.

Prince of Patches is also in edits, though in the second round. This is a sweet short story I’ve written for a special project I can’t talk about yet. I can say the story is a New Adult fantasy-paranormal romance with a cute spin on shifters. When the release information comes out, I’ll definitely post all about it!

That’s it for publications themselves. Most of this year will be about producing new stuff. Here’s a glimpse of projects I’ll (likely) be working on in 2017:

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{#1} To Live a Dragon

Genre: Fantasy + paranormal
Relationship: M/M

Dragon shifters! Originally I planned to write this for LT3’s For the Hoard collection call but due to time restraints, I’ve decided to work it as a general submission. I’d rather go into the project relaxed and ready than stressed out.

The story involves the dragon afterlife and what happens when someone screws with it. I have an idea of what things look like but some things are still fuzzy. There will also be research involved, meaning a few weeks of reading, planning, and outlining like a fiend.

 

 

{#2} Ashsender (Kindle Overthrow #1)

Genre: Science fiction
Relationship: M/M (bisexual / gay)

Executioners. Corpse Collectors. Assassins. Corrupt businesses and a government falling, falling, falling through the intergalactic wasteland…

This is where my next series is going to go: dark, M/M science fiction in a world that’s pretty messed up. And this series will be conjoined at the hip with a second series, Kindle Redemption (F/F sci fi). Both series will exist in the same universe, sharing characters, issues, and the same office.

Ashsender will kick off these series. It features Evesen, a Collector (retired) for the Strategeum of Population Management and Resource Allocation, and Lexxen, a corporate-owned assassin. One is a political slave who found out the government wasn’t sending him to clean up the trouble or criminals in the universe like they said but using him to dispel of innocent people who pose threats to the system; the other thought he’d rid the universe of scum but ended up working for them. (I know… the happiest of concepts. Did I mention I don’t usually do fluffy?)

This will be a story about young love that got away, redemption, and doing everything in your power to save the one you love. Even if it means hacking the system, full-out recons with all the dangerous toys, and generally just kicking ass. Evesen and Lexxen are faced with saving each other from the holes they’ve been thrown into. This is their refresher in humanity. A chance to fight back and challenge the status quo. They’ve been kicked around so long, it’s time to bite back. Smells like rebellion.

I have an entire post ready to go once I start writing it. It’s currently in the outlining stage. But it’s written up in my head, right down to the Fuck Me card.

*evil smile*

 

 

{#3} FSF Corp. #1

Genre: Paranormal + science fiction
Relationship: ?

The FSF Corp. series is going to be a mashup: paranormal meets science fiction, where the paranormal is manufactured and the science is money-making. The idea came from the submission calls for LT3’s My Dearest Friend and My Dearest Enemy collections. I’d played with the idea of submitting a story to each collection where the stories were connected. Again, time got in the way, so I shelved the concept — but not completely. In the last few months, I’ve built on the possibilities, playing with new ideas. I’m finally getting near the point where I’ll commit.

The intention is for the series to be fun, quirky, and odd. I’d really love to channel my love for things like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who, and Stargate: Atlantis with the paranormal, the abnormal, and the corporate. It’s a series I’d like to work on as a break between heavier works. The first book looks like it’ll deal with alternate dimensions/reality and the ghostly plane. In the rest of the series, there will be vampires, banshees, shifters, faeries, and so on but with a spin: they’re manufactured and customized, sold and experienced by clients. It’s a business complete with contracts, investments, academia, R&D, and all those things. And no one knows a thing about the guy who owns the company… or his big secret.

I have a lot of research to do!! I’ll be burying my nose in science publications as well as folklore and history. It’s all the reason I need to camp out at the university libraries like I used to. ^_^

 

 

{#4} Hunter (The Republic #5)

Genre: High fantasy
Relationship: M/M (both bisexual)

If you’ve read Four, you’ve met Rathen, one of the MCs in this book. The surly bounty hunter gets the most unlikely boyfriend in this one: Nerrik, a pretty politician who isn’t what Rathen anticipates.

Funny story: I started this story well before writing A Question of Counsel but put it aside to focus on AQoC. Then came all the other stories and this one got pushed back. Once I outlined the series, I figured out where Hunter would go, except I wasn’t grooving with the original outline so I’ve wanted to rework the chapters I’d already laid down. It felt too blah.

At the beginning of 2016, I came up with fresh material and ways to fix the story. Turns out all I needed was a few more elements to twist up the characters. With those in place, the rest of the story has just tumbled out in a collection of notes I can plug into a new outline. It’s totally renewed my interest in writing it. And all that’s spawned notes all over the place for other books and situations in the series.

I won’t go too far into the plot right now, though I will say there’s a quest. And snarkiness mixed with sweet moments among other things. Rathen and Nerrik form a very special relationship that will be unique to them in the series. It’s going to be an interesting ride.

 

 

{#5} Light from Shadow (The Republic #6)

Genre: High fantasy
Relationship: F/F (pansexual / lesbian)

This book follows directly on the heels of Hunter. Since they’re closely tied, I’m considering writing them relatively at the same time. Ideally, I’d like to submit them to the publisher within two or three months of each other so they’ll be published close together.

Where Hunter was Rathen’s story, this will be Kirra’s. Kirra is Rathen’s bounty hunting partner and occasional fuck buddy. They’re also best friends and best friends with Gren from Rule Breaker. This book is what happens when Kirra’s thing for Councilman Severn comes to light…

It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be sexy. It’s going to hurt.

Severn is abrasive and a hardass. As Councilman of Public Protection, she’s 100% not fluffy and glittery. Most of her time is spent worrying about the nation’s assholes and managing bounty hunters, soldiers, and anyone to do with law enforcement. Showing weakness could kill her career. But then there’s Kirra: fun-loving, badass, and too pretty to keep ignoring… Yep, it’s going to be fun.

 

 

So that’s my 2017 in a glance! How much of it happens just like that, we’ll see. One word right after another, right? And a pinch of How’d That Happen?!? just to keep things interesting.

 

 

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May the Door Hit 2016 On the Way Out & HAPPY BIRTHDAY 2017!

 

It’s been a long haul of a year but finally, with a sigh of relief and a breath of hope, it seems safe to say

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

For those of you to whom 2016 wasn’t particularly kind, my deepest sympathies, a hug, and a mug of something really tasty. Raising a glass to you and hoping 2017 is much kinder.  ❤

Personally, I’m done with 2016. I don’t remember about half of it, having been buried in work, but I do know the last few months haven’t been my favourites. Since September, I’ve been even more anti-social and ugggggghhhh than my usual hermit self. Not spending too much time on social media, not really interested in social stuff, and generally just being annoyed with myself that I haven’t been able to plow through projects like I’d hoped. Things are taking longer in some cases or just not getting done, so it’s been some stress. It hasn’t helped my Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder situation has been on a terrible phase for the last few months with some extra fun friends to screw with my focus, attention span, and mental clarity. Don’t ask me to talk or research or wake up ’cause I’m heavy on the mental fog. I really am vampire, hear me hiss. Or snore. Whatever.

Basically, I’m looking at 2017 as a little light at the end of the tunnel. Since we’re over the hump of Winter Solstice and its short-on-daylight issue, there’s some hope already.  🙂

But enough of the ick. Onto the happy reminiscence! Because hey, stuff.

 

2016: Things Happened

I wrote stuff.

I read stuff.

I killed my computer.

Dad made me a better computer.

I wrote more stuff.

I read more stuff.

My laptop and iPod would like me to kill them but I’m making them work for it.

 

On the publications side of things, three of my works came out (two books and one novella in an anthology).  In a brief round-up, it looked something like this:

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For the Clan was my first foray into dystopian fiction and science fiction romance. It also marked my first attempt at writing a poly relationship (yayyy MMF!), as well as the use of guns in my work. For those who know me, the weapons are the weird part. The wife and I are still joking that CSIS has me flagged for the things I was Googling as research for the project… umm, yeah. Dear Canada, I love you. Really. Promise. I even set it in Canada because we can be dystopian cool, too.

Enchanted Soles was a fantastic project I’m so proud to be part of! Spearheaded by the lovely Sasha L. Miller, the collection is comprised of five stories featuring bisexual characters and theme of magical footwear. My contribution was Heart, Lace, and Soul, a fantasy-science fiction mashup that comes at the theme from a different angle with a bisexual transgender character in the lead. I still maintain I watched way too much Star Trek before I wrote it.

In December, both of these publications won places in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, with Enchanted Soles taking its categories by storm! Congrats all the way around to my fellow authors and good show.  🙂

Finally, Four came out in the fall, the second book in The Republic series. By far it’s one of my favourite books to have written. For those who’ve read it, you might be able to figure out why. (If you’ve cried while you read it, then you definitely know why.) Mayr and Tash are easily one of my favourite pairings to write, even if Mayr is an attention hog. But that’s okay. Their story touched me enough to write the rest of it and… well… THINGS. It’s more than just high fantasy and an M/M romp. It’s an entire journey. ♥

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From the What I Actually Did Read List…

I didn’t read as much this year as I wanted to, but that’s the consistent thing with me. Books pile up, I don’t read, and the books keep going until there are mountains worth. Sigh.

But here are a *few* of the books I did read and really enjoyed! (Quick note: Most of these are 18+ only and a couple have trigger warnings.)

 

Fantasy & Science Fiction romance

alphatrine400Lexi Ander – Alpha Trine (The Valespian Pact #1)
Science fiction romance, alien love with an M/M/M poly relationship, and a character I keep wanting to call “Dragon” even though he’s sooooo not even close to one. Like the rest of Lexi’s books, this one was a lot of fun! I definitely have #2, Striker, on my TBR list… though I did skip through it already because I couldn’t wait any longer so I know *some* of what happens. When I’m a bit more clearheaded, I’ll be sitting down and giving both books a deep read back-to-back. Because why not?

 

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Megan Derr – The Pirate of Fathoms Deep (Tales of the High Court #2)
High fantasy romance? YES, PLEASE! And paired with M/M? Booyah. I read #1, The High King’s Golden Tongue, and absolutely adored it so reading #2 was just a duh kinda thing. (Then again, Megan’s works are always worth reading and her fantasy worlds are the tops.) TPoFD totally didn’t disappoint. If you like pirates and snarkiness and yelling at the characters to get their shit together, this one works.

 

adrift_collection_tjland-f500-400x600T.J. Land – Adrift (The Collection)
This collection was a wild science fiction M/M & M/M/M ride with plenty of erotic scenes and characters to keep it going. The collection includes four books based on the same crew that have been lost in space for several years. They’ve been living in a tin can and things have a way of happening when people get stuck in the same limited range of space for awhile. I rather enjoyed this collection, though wish it were longer! One of the best things about these books is the diversity. In the same set of characters, there are cis and trans characters, asexuals and aromantics, homosexuals and bisexuals… it’s a wonderful mix and the individuals are unique onto themselves. I laughed quite often, I won’t lie.

 

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Sasha L. Miller – How Not to Summon Your True Love
This was a fun one, too, featuring asexual characters (totally one of the reasons why I got it). Urban fantasy, M/M, not terribly angsty, and includes a road trip that isn’t quite the road trip from hell, but the road trip from somewhere-or-other. Things, things, things. Such a happy read. ^_^

 

thebestofbothworlds400Victoria Zagar – The Best of Both Worlds
More science fiction romance of the poly type (FFM)! This book is one of those where you think you’ve got it figured out but no, you don’t. Ride the chapter wave, baby, ’cause there are surprises and fun times to be had. Warning: It can get a little… bloody. But it worked for me. I didn’t see a lot of it coming.

 

 

 

Contemporary romance & Erotic romance

for-realAlexis Hall – For Real (Spires series)
This one I got because of the BDSM element. I’ve seen so much praise for it and the awards it won, so I thought I’d give it a spin. Really very enjoyable. I appreciate how it wasn’t like all of the other BDSM stories. The praise and awards were definitely well-deserved!

 

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Rivka Aaron-Hughes – Mr. March Names the Stars
I totally got this because of its pagan element. As a whole, contemporary usually isn’t a genre I really love, mostly because it gets so repetitive and tends to bore me no matter how good the writing. But this book: M/M, Wiccan, set at events like the ones my pagan friends go to… sign me up and let me at it. It had a lot of sweetness to it and a moment where I just sat there going “Nooooooo.” I really got this story. And bonus points for an asexual character.

 

brainsandbrawnD.A. Mackey – Brains & Brawn series (whole collection)
Erotic gay romance for those who enjoy love stories between characters on that delicate cusp of time between young adult and new adult. I came across this series when the author was posting it Literotica, and I’m glad to see he’s expanded into publishing his collections. Being 18 and still in high school can really screw with relationships, so it’s nice to see stories like this follow a couple from when they first hook up and through the journey of their relationship. I’ve laughed, I’ve pouted, I’ve cheered them on. I also appreciate that it’s not just erotica; there’s a legit romance.

 

candyboysJo Raven – Candy Boys
Fun, sexy, FMM story. However, it’s not a funny, “ha, ha” comedy as the book details might suggest it is; rather, it’s a poly story with humour and a lot of sex and personal issues. Some sweet moments. Some moments where I’d love to knock the guys over the head. But certainly entertaining and kept me glued to the page.

Jo Raven – Riot (Bad Boy Escorts)
This came in the back of Candy Boys so I totally read it. It’s a MF romance with a trigger warning for those who have been through sexual assault and assault in general. It’s dark. It’s not happy happy, joy joy. But that’s why I enjoyed it. Because I’ll roll with the darker side of things. But still, there’s a happy ending and I’d really like to see more of the series and their escorts.

 

 

And that’s my look back at 2016. Join me next week for when I explore the curious waters of what’s to come in 2017!

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“Enchanted Soles” & “For the Clan” Winners @ the 2016 Rainbow Awards! {ON SALE NOW for $0.99, Limited Time ONLY!!!}

 

Whew! It’s been a fun few hours here. The winners and runners up of the 2016 Rainbow Awards have been announced… and both the Enchanted Soles anthology (with my story, Heart, Lace, and Soul) and For the Clan have won!!

BOTH books are ON SALE for $0.99 from now until midnight EST on Friday, December 9 at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and directly from the publisher!

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Enchanted Soles cover (small)

Enchanted Soles won 1st place TWICE! #1 in Best Bisexual Book & #1 in Best Bisexual Fantasy/Fantasy Romance.

Congrats to our fantastic editor, Sasha L. Miller, and my fellow anthology authors: A.D. Truax, C. Finley, A.M. Valenza, and Katey Hawthorne!

 

 

 

FtC COVER

For the Clan won 2nd place in in Best Bisexual Fiction.

It also placed as a Runner Up in Best Bisexual Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Less Than Three Press Books won awards too… and they’re ALSO only $0.99 right now! Get them ASAP — the special price will be available through midnight EST on Friday, December 9.

BONUS: Purchases through the LT3 Book Market will count toward their AWESOME holiday raffle!

  1. Alexey Dyed in Red by A.M. Valenza – #1 Best Debut Asexual Book, #2 Best Asexual Book
  2. Beauty & Cruelty by Meredith Katz – #1 Best Lesbian Debut Book, #2 Best Lesbian Fantasy Romance, Runner Up Best Lesbian Book
  3. For Promise Yet Unbroken by Tygati – #1 Best Asexual Book
  4. Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone by Rachel White – #3 Best Lesbian Fantasy Romance
  5. The Forbidden Zone by Victoria Zagar – Runner Up Best Gay Sci-Fi/Futuristic
  6. The High King’s Golden Tongue by Megan Derr – #2 Best Bisexual Fantasy/Fantasy Romance, Runner Up Best Bisexual Book
  7. Ravenhearth by Lotus Oakes – Runner Up Best Gay Fantasy Romance
  8. Supernatural Consultant Vol 1 by Mell Eight – Runner Up Best Gay Paranormal Romance
  9. To Terminator, With Love by Wes Kennedy – #2 Best Debut Asexual Book, #3 Best Asexual Book
  10. Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr – #1 in Best Gay Fantasy, #3 in Best Gay Book
  11. Under the Knife by Laurin Kelly – #2 Best Gay Debut Book, Runner Up in Best Gay Contemporary Romance and Best Gay Book
  12. We Go Forward by Alison Evans – #3 Best Debut Asexual Book

 

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What are the Rainbow Awards?

The 2016 Rainbow Awards is an annual contest celebrating outstanding work in LGBT fiction and nonfiction. Hosted and owned by blogger Elisa Rolle, the contest is open to all authors of work containing LGBT fictional characters and work chronicling the true stories of LGBT persons. ~ http://www.elisarolle.com/rainbowawards/rainbow_awards_2016.html

 

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Celebrating Transgender Awareness Week & Trans Fiction Week #TransFictionWeek #TransAwarenessWeek

 

Happy Transgender Awareness Week 2016!

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This year, Trans Awareness Week has been on from this past Monday (November 14) and goes to Sunday, November 20. To celebrate and put trans and non-binary identities up front and centre, the Trans Fiction Week initiative has been sharing posts all week. Or, as TFW puts it more eloquently:

“Transgender and non-binary people are enormously under-represented in media, including in the LGBT fiction world, and yet we have so many amazing stories to be told. So for one week, we are going to be focusing on transgender and non-binary voices, perspectives, and characters as told by the people writing, reading, working and creating queer stories.”

 

Today, my piece for Trans Fiction Week goes live on their site.

The post gets personal. I might be cisgender, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get what my transgender peers are feeling. (Note: being an empath helps. Mix with that my deep-rooted need to understand what makes people do what they do and you get this thing I’m used to.)

It also doesn’t mean the discrimination and exclusion of people who are transgender or non-binary doesn’t piss me off. Because it does. So bad. Discrimination as a whole pisses me off.

So I wrote a post.

It talks more about my approach to characters in my work who are transgender or non-binary and touches on why the issue of transgender representation in literature is important to me. As the Depeche Mode song goes: “People are people”, and that’s how I see everyone. All just people doing their thing, trying to get from point A to point Z the best way they know how while trying to be who they are. And I’m cool with that.

What I’m not cool with is “They’re not like me so f*#k ’em” or “They’re different so let’s exclude them”. I know exactly what it’s like being excluded because I’m different for one reason or another. Because I don’t fit someone’s box of what they think is acceptable. And being scared (or even terrified) of being yourself? Did it. Done it. In certain situations, I still am. I’ve been harassed for no other reason than I didn’t “fit” in the popular group or majority. I know how shitty it is to treat people like they don’t belong, and if it’s over gender or sexuality or anything like that, don’t even get me started.

So I wrote the post.

Being non-binary and transgender is an in-my-own-household sort of personal. We live it around here. Especially this year: my partner has been moving forward with embracing the non-binary part of herself* rather than staying confined to cis, and I couldn’t be prouder. Just because society says there are two boxes doesn’t mean you have to be in either of them. I’m not about to deny my partner or our friends the right to be themselves. (* This pronoun isn’t a mistake; it’s what she’s going by. Though it doesn’t negate that she really appreciates an “Other” box when asked for gender.)

If you’re interested in reading the article, it’s over here. But as an added bonus here on my blog, below are bits about the three characters I’ve touched on in that post annnnnnd an excerpt from Blood Borne, coming out in 2017.

 

Tracel
in Rule Breaker (The Republic #0.5) {in Won’t Back Down anthology}

While Gren might be the main character in RB, Tracel is very much a hero in her own right: she stands up to Allon and makes quick decisions to save who she can. She’s a healer who has had her share of disappointments when it comes to romantic relationships. Assigned male at birth, she identifies as female and really wants to do away with the uncomfortable male bits, but can’t due to medical complications and possible death (their world is very much in the vein of medicine from our 16th to 19th centuries). But she doesn’t let that stop her from being who she is.

This isn’t the last appearance of Tracel in this series, however. Mortal Coils (book #7) revisits Tracel and Gren’s relationship as it moves forward. In that installment, Tracel will also make an important decision about aligning her physical self to how she really feels, thanks to a new friendship she’s formed with someone who understands what it’s like to be in that situation. (Seriously, I’m jazzed about that, because Kessan is going to be so much fun to write. He’s fun-loving, gothic, in a polyamorous triad and… spoilers.)

 

Adren
in Blood Borne (The Republic #3)

Like most of the characters in the series, Adren is complicated and has problems. In BB, cir actions and decisions play directly into what happens in the rest of the series. In terms of identity, Adren is best described as a bigender-genderqueer-non-binary-transgender heteoromantic allosexual. In short: Adren is neither female nor male but both, each with their own presentation and feels. Chosen pronouns are “ce” and “cir”, though trying to get family and colleagues to use those terms is frustrating, especially since most of those colleagues don’t respect cir.

Although Adren’s relationship to Ress is antagonistic in the beginning, Adren’s not a bad person. At all. Ce’s got a good heart and an amazing set of abilities. But ce’s been raised in a family that’s not so good. With their family comes responsibility… and a desperate need to avoid jail. Basically, think of a really nasty mafia. What do you do when your dad’s a mafia BOSS? When your brothers love being in the mafia? As much as ce wants out, Adren can’t just up and leave. Not with this gang. Not when they’re the only family ce has. So Adren gets stuck in positions ce’d rather not be in because ce loves them. It’s the only life ce knows.

Things with Ress, though, have interesting implications. Even better: he gets cir. Not completely, but enough to accept Adren as ce is and move on from there. Love wins big in this one.

For more about Adren, check out the excerpt below.

 

Elly Satuura
in Heart, Lace, and Soul {in Enchanted Soles anthology}

Elly is another professional in the medical industry, but her world is one of high-end technology, science, and magic. Within that world, she’s been at her job for a while, has already been married and divorced, and is moving on to the first romantic relationship she’s had in a long time. But she worries. Hard. She identifies as a transgender bisexual and has gone through gender alignment surgery… with the help of her now ex-wife, who was fine with all of it but their relationship still fell apart. When she realizes the possibility of having something with Vadrick, she worries how her gender will affect the relationship. (Spoiler: It doesn’t bother him one bit. It’s all good news.)

 

~~~

And now for an excerpt from Blood Borne (coming in 2017)

Author’s note: Blood Borne is a queer, HEA, enemies-to-lovers, high fantasy romance featuring two characters living in really messed-up situations. There aren’t any fluffy unicorns here. They also aren’t villains. More than anything, they’re heroes-in-training, whose bravery starts with small actions but has big potential. Themes of the book include sacrifice, family, freedom, making difficult choices in the face of lethal adversity, and doing what good is possible in a bad situation.

~~~

 

Guilt struck Adren’s gut. The accusation was wrong the moment the words floated through cir mind. Maliciousness had never been easy for cir, no matter the circumstances. It was why ce never went on hunts with the Shar-denn packs or joined the reconditioning of wayward members. From an early age, cir father had realized cir value existed in other efforts to take control from the High Council.

Ce was a bleeding heart, an ugly fact ce tried to hide from the rest of the gang, disguising it like everything else ce was.

And now my heart’s bleeding all over this rug. Just can’t help itself, can it? Even when I’m screaming inside, telling it to stop being such a damn traitor. Adren frowned at the rug peeking out from beneath the hem of cir white dress. Although ce tried not to care, ce felt bad about the lapsed marriage between Inesta and Ress. There was no reason to be sympathetic, but sorrow clung to cir emotions, digging its claws in further the more ce tried to shake it off. Even worse, ce was at a loss for words, not that ce had the right to say anything at all. Not when ce had never been in a romantic relationship, let alone any attachments outside of family. No one knew what to make of cir—and no one could when cir father ensured no one got close enough to try. Not that anyone wanted to. There was enough about Adren to ward off the most brazen and courageous men, and that was without knowing the truth of what ce was.

Forget me. What in the name of the Four are you? Adren glared at Ress, watching him scrub the floor. Do something—anything—that’ll take this feeling away. I despise you with the fury of a thousand suns; I want you to be miserable. Do something that makes me so mad I can’t help but kill you. Because what I’m feeling… it can’t happen. I can’t feel sorry for you. I have to smother you in your sleep and steal your stuff. I have to look you in the eye and slice open your entrails then sell them to the faction. So do something, you sneaky, docile bastard!

If ever ce needed to be someone other than cirself, it was now. Ce needed to be cir father’s child, everything the Shar-den wanted. Failure was not acceptable.

And seeing a mark as anything close to human was begging for a slow death.

“I’m going for a walk,” Adren announced before swallowing the disgust leaving an acidic taste on cir tongue. To sit there any longer and delay the meeting with cir father’s men was dangerous. Ce would not believe Ress was as nice as he acted, nor could ce waste time wondering about him. Nothing had changed since cir arrival in Araveena Ford. Not the intention, not the motivation, not the required end. No rogue emotions or unwelcome thoughts could deter what needed to happen.

Ress lifted his head, appearing dazed. “Sure.” He glanced at the kitchen window, the sunlight illuminating his scarred jaw. “Sounds like a good idea, being a nice day and all. I can come with… if you want?”

Why? Adren nearly spat out, biting back the harsh tone. Ce needed to lull him into trusting cir, not keep snapping at him, no matter how good it felt. “Maybe not this time. I need to be alone to think, but thanks.”

“Oh.” Ress’s gaze fell, disappointment splayed across his face. “I should be here when you get back. Then we can figure out this dinner thing. Ines always—” His face reddened and he resumed scrubbing the floor, shifting his weight to and from his injured knee.

“Sure,” Adren muttered, confused by his embarrassment. His reactions made no sense.

With one look at the settee, Adren considered discarding the blanket draped around cir but decided against it. The contrast of black on cir white dress spoke to how ce felt right then—a blending of everything ce was inside, soft and stark all at the same time.

Ce toyed with the rings on the chain around cir neck, tempted to put them on cir fingers. The cold metal clamping cir skin would push back the part of cir that wanted to bathe in the silken caress of flower petals, balancing the delicate connection between appearance and inner self. The urge was no different than what ce had felt earlier that morning, binding cir chest before dressing.

Have you even noticed the difference? Adren’s face warmed as ce forced cirself to leave the house. What did it matter if Ress noticed what ce did or did not do? If anything, ce needed him not to care. Enough people revealed their opinions about what ce did to feel like cirself. The last thing ce needed was someone new chastising cir for not being like everyone else, fulfilling the supposed rules of who ce ought to be.

One of the only good things about being on my own: no one’s telling me I’m wrong. No one’s insisting on calling me by my other name and ignoring the one I chose like it’s something to be ashamed of. I can be me.

Tightening the blanket around cir shoulders, Adren approached the road and turned left, heading towards the river ce had followed to Araveena Ford after fleeing Elsove Hillock twenty days ago. Ce wanted the freedom to be who ce was without explaining or justifying the whys and how of something ce did not understand. Some days, ce woke up feeling like a woman, overcome with the desire to touch beauty, an insatiable need to float on the breeze like the gentlest fabric, and undeniable want for sweet scents. But sometimes, even within the same day, ce felt like a man, taking comfort in unfeeling, lifeless metal, with a craving for spices that could cleanse cir spirit with their potency, and the urge to dig cir fingers into the earth to soak up its heat.

Other days, ce felt the essence of both, a curious tug-and-pull that found equilibrium, allowing cir to dream in the comfort of feeling whole. Ce was all of it at once, all of the time, unable to pick one over the other for too long. Both and neither, ce was caught in the middle of wishing for parts ce did not have and reveling in who ce was.

The presence of other people only complicated matters further. How ce dressed, cir choice to be called Adren instead of Eradrene, how ce acted—all of it was about showing who ce really was rather than hide. The freedom from being on cir own made existing less of a hassle.

Except freedom came at a price ce could not afford.

Adren’s face heated with the depth of cir rage. How dare Ress betray their family and the Shar-denn. They had entrusted him with secrets and given him the means to have influence within the ranks. They had protected his family and taken him back after the High Council arrested him. Barring the fact no one wanted to attack him should he retaliate with weapons they knew nothing about, the Shar-denn not only let him live, they allowed him to continue working. How could he have turned in a faction boss? What else had he done and what were his intentions? Was it a matter of saving himself or was he trying to dismantle the Shar-denn, one betrayed member at a time?

His reasons were irrelevant, Adren decided. A cold breeze swept down the dirt road from behind cir as ce turned onto a flat, well-trodden path descending to the river, a shortcut to the ruins of an old bridge. At midpoint, thick brush surrounded the path, the twigs of dark, half-bare brambly bushes spilling into the leaf-littered pathway. Long, drooping tree limbs weighted with orange and yellow-black leaves formed an arbour above, riddled with holes that let sunshine through. Purple-winged silverbirds hopped branches, twittering upbeat songs as their outstretched feathers dislodged wilting leaves that swayed to the dry red earth. Past the birdsong was the gurgle of fast-moving water flowing over rocks.

Laughter and loud whoops of excitement flashed through cir thoughts, dancing around fragments of bright, vivid colours moving quickly. Giddy with anticipation dragged up by memory, Adren stroked the wilting leaves of the bushes and surrendered cir worries to a lazy smile. If ce immersed cirself in the recollections, ce could almost feel cir brothers whoosh by cir as they used to as children whenever they cut through the brush on the way to the pond near their home. Merasha had taught all three of them how to swim, insisting that any skill was a skill worth having, even if they never set foot on a ship or fell into a river. More than once, she had accompanied Adren, Mordane, and Tethe on their youthful excursions to the pond, teaching them how appreciate life and each other. While Merasha had preferred to bask in the sun at the edge of the pond as they splashed and played in the water, her presence was always felt, each water drop reminding Adren of the moments with cir mother. Not only had Merasha taught them to tread water and keep their heads high, she had taught them control. She had given them confidence and mastery over an adversary.

In those same lessons, she had showered them with the steadfast love of a mother, captured in every breath they struggled to take and the tender embraces that rewarded them. Her calm, soothing voice fluttered around Adren’s thoughts on small wings of memory, reminding cir to hold onto what hurt inside. Ce could not forget who ce was fighting for; ce had to let the pain drive cir. Pain means something’s wrong, Merasha had said often, and that wrong has to be put right before there is peace. No matter what it takes, no matter the sacrifice, we do what we have to do to make that peace. There is no running away, just pushing forward.

Even if it killed the soul in the process.

 

 

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