Friday, November 13, 2015

Here's a smoldering tidbit from Broken Pieces, my next work.

     Peter and Remi decided on a movie, then dinner, but the heat building between them was reaching a fevered pitch. They’d made it through the movie, though neither would remember later. Their wandering fingers wound themselves through fabric, pulled at buttons and eased beneath to find warm skin, wrapped long fingers around eager cocks and caused greedy thumbs to smear precome over spongy heads. The quiet gasps, the shivers, the tiny earthquakes along flesh were too much. Rather than move on to the restaurant where Remi had actually called ahead and reserved a table, they opted to forgo food of the savory kind in favor of savoring each other.
     Remi pulled into the parking space hard, the tires almost smoking but nowhere near as hot as they were for each other. He stepped from his truck and moved quickly to the passenger side. He took Peter’s hands and drew him close. Remi’s fingers mapped Peter’s slim, muscular frame, and Remi’s cock struggled for freedom. The nip he felt on his lips from Peter blazed against his soul. Startled, he opened his eyes to see Peter’s eyes glowing, red embers within. He was hypnotized by the tongue that swept drops of his blood into Peter’s sweet mouth. Remi wanted his dick in there, pushing against those sharp teeth, fucking his throat.
     “Inside,” he growled.
     “Of course, darling,” Peter purred, his hands roving over Remi’s body. “Come.”
     Remi barely remembered the distance they must have covered to get to the elevator that would take them to Peter’s floor. He was in a haze, lost in need and lust. Lips, touch, skin, and more. 
He craved. More. More.
     Inside Peter’s home, Remi’s senses took over, his desire to be with Peter—inside Peter—paramount to any other want. Peter’s bedroom was colorful, with a large mirror, a long chair, and a couple of dogs in the shadows, but none of that mattered. All that mattered was the fucking beautiful man that stood before him, eyes hooded with a sly, eager smile on his face.
     “I fucking need you, like water in a dessert. I want to drink you, take you into my soul.”
    “I am yours, Remi. Feed from me,” Peter said as he moved closer. He looked up into Remi’s eyes, his hair a silvery waterfall behind his back. “Take all of me.”
     “Your clothes,” Remi said. He touched Peter’s shoulders and bent down to kiss him gently. “So many clothes.” Remi grasped the shirt, that purple tease that had played him during the movie, and shredded it down the front. “Ahhhh. Skin. Your skin feels so good.”
     “Damn it, Remi. I’ve only worn that once.”
     “Keep it for a memory. I’ll buy you another one, but I can’t wait for you to get out of this straightjacket of yours. How the hell did you even get into these things?"Remi groaned with impatience. "I have to get my fingers—my mouth—on you everywhere, get my teeth on that juicy ass of yours, mark your pearly skin.” Remi bent again and sank his teeth into the space between Peter’s neck and collar bone.
     Peter’s cry was needy, wanton. “Oh, my sweet, sweet man. What you do to me,” he whispered.      “What you do to us.” The words were a growl, and just that quickly, Remi was off his feet and slammed onto the bed.
     “What. The. Fuck.” Remi looked up in surprise as he took in a different Peter before him. Like the light from the purest porcelain, a radiant glow lit up Peter’s face, shining from within with an intensity that did nothing to quell the hunger in Remi’s soul.
     Slowly, inch by painstaking inch, Peter bent toward him, and then even slower than that, he crawled up his frame. Peter was warm, so warm, as he touched and tasted, licked and sucked, teased and devoured Remi. The whip of his tongue along Remi’s flesh pulled sounds from him, foreign sounds, whimpers and pleas and gasps. Peter tore noises from him and ravaged his skin, his teeth sliding and scraping, wounding and breaking him. The length of his legs, the raised arc of his torso, his fingers, his shoulders, his lips—no part of him was spared from Peter’s exploration. Every touch was a gift, a flame that burned straight through him. Peter’s fingers pressed against him, molding him, owning him, and Remi submitted to the brand. He gave himself over willingly, accepting, reveling.
     “You’re my gift, Remi Devereaux. The goddess gave you to me, gave you to us.”
     Remi sighed into Peter’s sweet kiss. Oh, Peter made him feel perfect, and his body hummed for him, Remi the pitch and Peter the tuning fork. “So much, Peter. God. So much.”
     “I’ll give you more, Remi. So much more if you let me. Let me show you what we can be, my heart. What you can have.” Peter ran his teeth along Remi’s neck, traced the vein there, and bit at the skin, pulling and twisting. “Let me show you what it feels like to be worshipped.”
     “Oh, God, Peter. Yeah, baby. Right there.”
     Peter pulled up his sweater, exposing his abdomen. He drew circles along his skin, fingertips dancing in the grooves and cuts of his body, making him tremble and shake with pleasure.
Remi couldn’t keep still, couldn’t stop the orchestra of blissful sounds, the cacophony of grunts and pleas that tore from his soul. Pleasure was everywhere, all over him, so good, it was painful. He was at Peter’s mercy, would have knelt at his feet and worshipped him, and he was grateful.
     Soft words played along his ear, feather-light but magnified with heat that worked to further torment him. “I’ve fantasized about this, sweetheart, my mind filled with thoughts of you beneath me, at my mercy, begging for my touch. I love the sounds you make.” Peter’s tongue licked along his skin and Remi trembled. “I love the way you tremble for me, darling.”

     Remi was strong, stronger than most humans, but there he lay beneath Peter, subject to his wants. The nights Peter spent with his hand gripping his cock while he dreamed of this moment were nothing compared to reality, to actually having the body, the work of art, writhing and begging, wanting and needing him. The whimpers, the near sobs, were music to him, the grunts a symphony. Peter slid up that beautiful temple of organic artistry.
     “Peter, the way you…. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.”
     Peter moved then, sat up and just stared at the man who lay before him, struggling for contact, reaching up to pull him close again. “No, my love,” Peter said tenderly.
     Remi looked up, eyes hooded, breath coming fast. “What? ‘No’ what, Peter?”
     “Let me take care of you. Let me make you feel good.” Oh, that look, that vulnerability that crossed Remi’s face was to be treasured.
     “Take care of me?” Remi’s eyes searched him, searched his expression, disbelieving.
     “What, baby?”
     “I. Cherié, usually I’m the one. I’m….”
      “Usually taking care of your lover?” Peter walked his fingers along the lines of Remi’s body as he spoke. “Ensuring the other person’s needs are met?”
     “Yes,” Remi sighed.
     Peter ran his hand up that muscular inner thigh before he unbuttoned Remi’s pants. He slid the soft leather down Remi’s powerful thighs and over his long legs before pulling his loafers and socks off. In moments he had the lower part of Remi uncovered. “Remi, you are so strong. So powerful. And I find it like a delicious desert wine, worthy of savoring. But you are not the only strong one in this.” He ran a nail down the cashmere that dressed Remi’s divine frame. He kissed him softly and before Remi's reaching fingers could grasp him, he was up again. “I have my own power.” He drew his nail along one impressive arm, then the other. “But I would rather show you my control, my desire to enjoy you, please you, use my strength to treasure you.” He watched as the cashmere fell away, nothing more than velvety scraps of fabric now.
     Remi looked from side to side and saw what he had done. “How?”
     Peter's eyes moved to take in his. “Power should be used precisely. You, my lovely man, are worth that preciseness. I want to feel you, enjoy you, and luxuriate in you.” Faster than light, Peter was next to him, teeth at his nipple, his soft laugh after the shocked gasp that flew from Remi’s lips an indication of his happiness.
     “Ugh. Oh. Peter.”
     “Yes.” Peter smiled. “My name sounds so very pretty on your tongue. Such a lovely resonance , especially when it echoes like a prayer.” He eased back, his skin sliding over Remi’s once again, drawing out the touch, the titillation.
     Remi slid his fingers through Peter’s hair and pulled free the braid he wore, the silken strands slipping and sliding over his frame, his sighs a testament to the bliss that followed its contact.
     Farther and farther Peter traveled until he was where he most wanted to be. The rich manly scent and the warmth that radiated around Remi’s cock and balls enthralled him, made his canines ache to be filled with the blood that flowed there. He wanted to draw his tongue along the length and swallow deeply. Just the thought and the creatures beneath his flesh grew, their awareness even more present.
     Claws and teeth. Teeth and claws. Hold and capture. Make him theirs.
     He bent and buried his nose in the scent of Remi, darted his tongue out to sample the flesh. The telltale signs of Remi’s arousal were so much more delectable here—the spurt of precome, the rigid hardness that bounced with a pulse of its own. He loved it and he wanted more.
     Peter raised just his head, slipped out his tongue, and swiped a taste of the fragrant drops at the crown of Remi’s dick before he stretched his mouth open to take in the wide head and slid his way down to the hilt.
     “Arrgh!” Remi’s groan was loud, his hands tight as he gripped Peter’s head, pulled the strands of hair tighter, and ground his way in.

     Shit, the way Peter took him was too much and not enough. Hot and wet. Fucking good. So damn good. Deeper and deeper, and still not enough until—fuck. He was right there, right there at the back of his throat, pumping his cock into that sweet, sweet mouth. Oh God. Fucking him so damn good.      The noises Peter made while he took him, while he engulfed him, were decadent, made Remi move faster, faster, pump harder. Breathe. He had to let the man breathe, but damn. He just pushed his dick in more, thrust harder and deeper until he shook, he trembled. The slurps and the muffled groans from Peter were so good to hear, and before Remi knew it, he was coming, loud and harsh. He gasped for air, pumping erratically as his body chased the orgasm that blew his mind.
     His hands fell to the side while he lay gasping for breath, his dick limp and oversensitive. Peter gave gentle licks, cleaning him. Finally, Peter was over him, his lips swollen from the battering of Remi’s dick. Peter kissed him, fed him his come, shared his taste with him, and Remi loved it, gloried in the wicked feel of something that felt so right.
     “Peter, baby.”
     “Yes, sweeting?”
     “Oh yes. I would agree. You were so damned good.” Peter smiled, gloated even.
     Remi groaned, laughing.
     Peter ran his fingers over Remi’s skin lightly, circling his nipple as Remi’s breaths slowed to normal—or as normal as they could be as he lay next to his greatest fantasy. Before Peter, he’d never thought about a man pleasuring him with his mouth before. The things Peter could do with that tongue would make sure he never forgot.
     “I want to please you. Make you feel good.”
     “You just did.”
     It was then that Remi felt the telltale wetness along his thigh, sticky and chilled, signs of Peter’s own pleasure. How fucking hot was that? Merde, how would that taste? He’d be lying if he said he’d never tasted his own come, but the come of another man? Of Peter? Suddenly he couldn’t wait to sample Peter’s juices, find out what the essence of Peter tasted like.
     He arced up and flipped until he was on top of Peter, his hands tight around Peter’s wrists.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

MM Good Books Review


o-broken-bonesTitle: Broken Bones
Series: N/A
Author: Deja Black
Genre: Mystery & Suspense / Paranormal
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: DSP Publications (August 4, 2015)
Heat Level:Moderate
Heart Rating:♥♥♥♥♥4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: Dan Tolliver, the adopted son of alpha pack leader Jeremiah Tolliver, has suffered his last moment of abuse by his lover Keith Mulligan and finds himself in the hospital. There he meets dark and sharp-tongued Dr. Aiden Kavanaugh, who believes Dan needs some of his straightforward kind of medicine. Still, there is something different about the doctor.
Aiden is a sandman, a weaver of dreams, and has been on earth far longer than even he knows. He’s at the end of his time, ready to transition, and needs a human mate to keep him connected to the world he’s grown to love. Only he hasn’t found a special person who makes him want to stay. He doesn’t despair, because not every sandman has the chance to choose, but he knows if he doesn’t find a partner, he will soon lose his physical form and exist only in dreams.
When Aiden realizes Keith is a far greater monster than Dan has any idea, they grow and work together using the support of the pack—and Dan’s inner strength—to overcome impossible odds.
ISBN: 978-1-63476-063-8
Reviewer: Shorty
Review: Dan is human and a coimeádaí. He has been horribly abused by his boyfriend Keith and knows he has to get away from him somehow before Keith kills him. What he doesn’t expect is to meet another who intrigues him as much as Dr. Aiden does. But Aiden has two secrets one of which might destroy them.
I felt so bad for Dan battling against the memories of the brutality that was inflicted on him by a man who supposedly loved him. I figured something was up with Keith but I did not expect as to what that was. I was pleasantly surprised as to the paranormal aspect of the story as I do not recall reading a story about the sandman so it intrigued me greatly.
Aiden seemed strong and determined yet showed a vulnerable side as well. I thought it was great that Aiden trusted Dan but I was also pissed that he let Dan suffer when he could have stopped it from the beginning. But he did seem to care a great deal about Dan once he realized what he once denied.
The relationship between Dan and Aiden seemed weird at first until they talked to one another. Aiden seemed to be constantly pushing Dan away while Dan was biding his time and reeling Aiden in. I loved both their characters.
Well written this book slowly draws the reader into a world where there are monsters from nightmares hell-bent on taking what they want no matter the cost and the individuals who will stop them from destroying their loved ones.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through *

Monday, August 24, 2015

Teaching In Progress

I teach, so with the recent start of school both for me and my lovelies, I had to take a break. I'm back. Oh, yeah. Time to get inspired.

Yeah, that ought to do it!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

So, what am I reading?

Sheer amazement! So wondering when Rhys Ford's books will have their own movie debut. In a better world, it would happen.

Old favorite! There is nothing like listening to an old read. Adds a different layer every time.

What I can't wait to read?
Forcing myself to finish at least the first draft of my book before I can. 


I am playing with ideas right now. Most importantly, I need to write. Just put words to paper. So, here's the image in my mind that I am playing with right now. Remi and Peter, they could look like this. Yes, it's a wonderful image, one to use. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thank you for helping Broken Bones to reach the Bestseller List on Amazon for Best Werewolf and Shifter Mysteries. Wouldn't be there without you! I am ever grateful! This is all surreal, and I am so honored. Thanks

to my betas Stacey Vaughn Asher, Ericka J Walden and Shyla Aube

to my word wizard,Tricia Kristufek

to the best readers ever
to the bloggers and social media gurus
to my friends and family
and finally to DSP Publications (Dreamspinners) for giving me the opportunity!

My love to you all!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015


#44 on Amazon's Best Werewolf and Shifter Mysteries. Yeah. That's nice, and I am so grateful. Now, I am going to stay away from looking. Give my heart a rest and continue the next book in the series tomorrow. Love you all.

Thinking it would be nice if you could see Dan have a birthday party for Aiden, too. Maybe a snippet? Coming soon.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bad Review - It hurts, but then there are friends. There's also Amy Lane's article.

The review burned. It really did, like a searing flesh wound. But, Lyric told me to read this. So, I did. Now, it's your turn.

Reviewing Reviews by Amy Lane

Before I start, though, I really want to clarify-- I am, at the moment, flying sort of high.  Behind the Curtain is out, and so far, people seem to have really taken to Dawson and Jared-- and I'm glad.  But I need people to know (because so many of my readers are sweet and wonderful and kind and don't want me to feel badly about my writing and, in fact, would like me to do more of it) that I'm not looking for sympathy or anger-- particularly not on my behalf.  I just thought maybe I should revisit the topic, that's all!

Okay-- so to begin, the surge of concern comes in waves.

You know when a whack of new authors has had work hit the airwaves when your e-mail box and FB are suddenly filled with that painful, pitiful cry of the freshly wounded:

Why.  Why don't they like my story?  Why are they so mean about it?  Why?

I have probably addressed this a zillion times in the past (oh God!) nearly ten years, and the best time was probably HERE, in a post that I still give new writers because it helped me so much to write.  

But I feel badly-- that post is old, and just because I've managed (barely) to deal with my own emotions regarding reviews doesn't mean that the pain isn't still fresh and the blood still flowing for the newer writers.  I sort of feel like they deserve a fresh post, if nothing else, because if you've been with me from the beginning, you know that I've been just as wounded, just as puzzled, and just as angry about reviews as anyone else on the internet.

Having more reviews has not made the bad ones hurt any less-- but it hasgiven me some perspective on why they happen with a perfectly wonderful book.  So this post is going to be about that.  For me, figuring out why the book didn't hit the spot does a lot to alleviate the crushing sense of failure I get when someone tells me that it didn't!

So here we go-- several reasons why a reader might not like a perfectly wonderful book:

Hype alone did you a disservice--

Do you all remember the movie The Departed?  Everybody loved that frickin' movie.  It had hotties, guns, violence, and Martin Scorsese.  So Mate and I decided that, in spite of an acknowledged distaste for Scorsese's sensibility, we would watch it.  After all, it was brilliant, it caused the stars to align, caused automatic weight loss, and solved the marshmallow shortage in four out of five households, right?  Well, all of that hype, and I can tell you one thing--

It was called The Departed for a reason.

Profound, right?

But here's the thing-- hype can screw you over.  If the whole known world goes READ THIS IT'S AWESOME, it sheds divine light on the accursed, it opens the flood gates of purgatory, and it cures herpes, and then people read it, one of three things will happen:

A.  People will read it and they'll think it's awesome, it sheds divine light on the accursed, it opens the flood gates of purgatory, and it cures herpes.  Lucky you.  That's a four or five star review!
B.  People will read it and they'll think they never should have read it because it's exactly as horrible as they knew it would be because it's angst or comedy or drama or m-preg or whatever and they never read angst or comedy or drama or m-preg or whatever and goddammit it is all the author's fault, and even if it isn't the author's fault, the world needs to be warned!
C.  People will read it and they'll think, "My herpes has not gone away, and I'm pretty sure my Uncle Herbert is still in hell because he was a bastard.  People lied, this book is meh, and fuck you all!"

See--I watched The Departed, I'm still fat, the stars are still scattered, and we have no marshmallows, and so the movie must have sucked!  It's not rational, (but it feels rational) and it's basic human nature.  No book or movie is ever as good as the expectations/buzz/hype that can be generated about it on the internet.

And if you ever do find a book that causes automatic weight loss, by all means e-mail me, I really need to know!

And if it's not hype, well, chances could be--

Genre and sub-genre biases were against you!

There are some unacknowledged trends in reviews that are seldom mentioned, but they exist.  Now, these things are not true for everybody-- I'm sure people will read this and point out several people who have managed to beat these trends, but as a rule of thumb here are some things that happen to ratings that writers cannot control

A.  Short novels got no reason to live.

You think I'm kidding?  Go look at an author with a number of works out-- you will notice that, for the most part, novellas and short stories have lower ratings than full length novels.  Now, as writers, this can make us want to bang our heads against the wall, but as the reader, you've got to think.  Especially in this era where an electronic "book" can take you anywhere from an hour to a week to read, there are some skewed expectations when someone opens a book.  A novel has a different plot arc from a novella which has a different plot arc from a short story, but a reader doesn't see this.  All the reader sees is that the work ends.  Again-- this is not the reader's fault.  They're not supposed to be English majors, setting the story on Frey's pyramid and making sure it tracks-- they get to the end and think, "Wait…"  So an exquisitely crafted, word-smithed confection of a novella is going to get lower marks.  It's not fair-- it could be an A+ novella, but it's getting judged against the big boys, so really, it's like throwing a middle-school basketball player into a college game and going, "Poor little fucker-- but he tried!"--but, again, it's human nature.  Sometimes size really does satisfy, and that's not the reader's fault--but as an author, it's good to know, and not to take too personally.

B.  Comedy is less important than tragedy.

Now personally I think this one is bullshit.  I have multiple friends whose inner lives are scary places with unfriendly playmates and anxious dark corners-- these friends need comedy.  That's the whole reason they watch television or read-- to be entertained and to be taken out of these dark corners and into the light.  But--as important as comedy is, as difficult as it is to execute, there will always be an overwhelming popular sentiment that it's frivolous.  Well, maybe so, but as far as many people on this planet are concerned, so is fiction, and we all know that's a crock of crap as well.  So if an author has written a funny book, it doesn't matter if it's Shakespearian or Moliere level comedy-- it's going to get dinged from a flawed paradigm.  Again, not the reader's fault any more than the state of the environment is the reader's fault personally-- it is through a faulty world paradigm that needs to be culturally addressed, and, well, environment, wars, economic collapse-- humanity has better things to do than fix the paradigm.  However,authors should take note-- environment, wars, economic collapse are allreasons to read comedy: it gives us the strength to keep going and continue to be optimistic about a frightening world.  So, you know-- screw critical paradigms, and by all means keep making us laugh!

C.  Alternative Universe is easier to write and should therefore be critically shafted.

*shakes head*  I'm sorry.  It's true. Well, not true, but very popular in critical theory.  I used to hear high school students say this all the time: "Well it's not real. It's not as good!"  I used to hear people on forums say the same thing.  Now as a writer I know that crafting a good science fiction, fantasy, or urban fantasy world and then using it to stage a romance is a hideously difficultthing to do.  People assume that because you create your own world, it's easy-- you don't have to subscribe to any rules.  The fact is, you have to pull those rules out of your own ass and then make sure they're etched in stone or people will be falling in plot-holes and spraining their id's all over the manuscript, and that is some damned hard work.  But readers don't always know that-- and given the fact that public education tends to crap all over fantasy literature--and romance literature too!-- we're just lucky they agreed to read our work and then didn't decide to burn us as witches.  Someday, fantasy literature may get it's due-- but, it's not today.  Still, just like comedy, it needs to be written.  That Alternative Universe that an author built so particularly in his or her mind really may be the exact place that a reader needs to hide from his or her own demons.

D.  Romance is for bored housewives and horny househusbands and not the stuff of real literature, so we can shit all over it.

Yes, this one makes me want to full out tackle a motherfucker-- but I still get it and I'm sure other writers do too.  I have written pages and pages about how important romance is to our society, our culture, and our family unit, and I'm not going to do it again here-- but writers, just be prepared.  This is a difficult preconception to fight.  Don't spend your time fighting it.  Spend your time writing the best romance you can, so that people who actually don't have their heads in anatomically awkward places can appreciate what you do.

So those are some of the more popular genre biases--don't try to change them, just accept them, they've been around for ages.  They're sort of like that really really old, politically incorrect relative who embarrasses you in restaurants-- they're human, we should respect them for what they are, but just like when my grandmother started to rave that we were all taking her money and constipating her on purpose, we really couldn't take that too seriously, or it would really piss us off.

E.  First person is really easy so it should get graded harder.

Okay-- uhm, no.  And anyone who really thinks that needs to read Racing for the Sun and Christmas Kitsch back to back, and ask themselves the same question that I did as I was writing them back to back:

How does the author have both those distinct voices in her head and not go out of her frickin' mind?

Well, I sort of like to think it takes skill.  Writing is not acting-- when an actor takes on a part, the physical presence, with physical limitations are still there, in the character.  When writers take on  character and write from first person, we are completely free of that physical boundary.  We are constructing a word by word world of another human being's mind and living in that world.  This is no mean feat of imagination blended with reason.  This is, in fact, extremely difficult.  I've written books that have different characters using different narrative techniques.  Keeping the first person's voice distinct and truly individual is a really frickin' hard thing to do.  Doing it more than once doesn't get easier.

But, again, like bias against AU and romance, this isn't necessarily something broached in public school, so it's a paradigm we need to fight with quality.  For some people, that first person voice is what they need to set them free.  For others, well, maybe free isn't where they want to be, and, again, that's something to respect.

So those aren't all the genres, but you get the general idea.  And the general idea boils down to this:

Different Strokes for Different Folks

If you look over my reviews on GoodReads (and I do-- sometimes just to get a general sense of what to expect from a book coming out so I'm not shocked or slammed,) you will see the following contradictions:

*  A review for Under the Rushes that claims the first part of the book was crap and the second part of the book was brilliant right over a review that claims that the first part of the book was brilliant and the second part of the book was crap.

*  Reviews for Keeping Promise Rock that hate it because of the angst and wish I could stick to works like If I Must and Gambling Men.  

*  Reviews for If I Must and Gambling Men that are disappointed that I didn't give it my all and write another book like Keeping Promise Rock orThe Locker Room.  

*  Reviews for Keeping Promise Rock that say it's not as good as Making Promises.  

*  Reviews for Making Promises that think Shane and Mickey are much better that Crick and Deacon of Keeping Promise Rock. 

*  1* reviews for Chase in Shadow from the same person who gave Dex in Blue a 5* review.

*  A review for It's Not Shakespeare from someone who lived in Northern California and is in a multicultural relationship who thinks I captured the racial dynamic and the location dynamic very very well.

*  A review for that same book, right under the first review, from someone who thinks that the white people in the book were a cruel stereotype, but that I completely captured the Hispanic people in the book with intimacy and immediacy.

*  A review for that same book, right under the second review, from someone who thinks that the Hispanic people in the book were a cruel stereotype, but that I completely captured repressed white people with both intimacy and immediacy.

*  A review for Left-on-St.-Truth-be-Well that thinks the comedy and dialog were frickin' hilarious. 

*  A review for Left-on-St.-Truth-be-Well that didn't know what in the fuck I was talking about for most of the book.

*  Reviews for Christmas Kitsch that hate Rusty for his low self-esteem.

* Reviews for Christmas Kitsch that love Rusty for being just like they were.

And so on…

My point in all of this?

We as writers are working on our own perception of the world  We expand our sensitivities and try desperately to capture humanity with dignity and, (if we're writing romance) redemption, but even with three dimensional vision, we can still only see from one set of eyes.  The reader is another set of eyes.  The belief that all writers can write a book that all readers adore is preposterous and flawed.  It implies that we all have the same neighborhood, the same childhood, the same vision, the same mind.  The fact is that the simple act of writing fiction to be read by someone else is a tremendous, intimate act of communication.

Odds are good, there's going to be a breakdown in vision somewhere, because one of humanities greatest tragedies and biggest gifts is that we don't all share the same brain.

That being said, there are some things to keep in mind when you're getting criticism that baffles you:

* If you're writing a series of spin-offs-- you are writing different people in the same world.  Odds are, no two couples in the same room have the same beginning story.   Some of those stories are going to resonate more with some people than others.  So some people may like Deacon and Crick more than Shane and Mickey, and some people may love Jeff and Collin the most.  There is not a think in the world I can do about that.  It is simply the way we are.

*  If you watch the news or John Stewart, you will see that nobody understands race relations in this country-- and only the brave try.  If you have written a book with multicultural roots, congratulations!  But prepared to be hammered on all sides for everything from accuracy to perception.  This is one of those paradigm things that we--especially in America-- can not change.  When I taught, many of my African-American students would go to school in the south, hoping that they would fit in better at an all-black school than in Sacramento, where the mix was so very eclectic.  Some of these students would write back, and one of the most heartbreaking e-mails I got talked about coming home because--in the student's words, she was not "black" enough for the people at her college.  That is race in America-- it is a painful tangle of perception and region, and if the world had a handle on it, we wouldn't see news stories about racial profiling in department stores and people getting pulled over for no reason at all.  (I've been in the car with a friend when this has happened.  It was infuriating.)  If you attempt to tackle this in a story, and you are not one of the ethnicities in your story, you need to be prepared.  And you need to make sure you wrote that story with those characters in the purest, most unblemished faith possible, that you were presenting all characters with dignity, strength, and compassion.  Sometimes, that's the only knowledge that will get you through what follows.

*  If you're writing comedy remember that people who loved Seinfeld often hated Friends, were indifferent aboutFrasier, and couldn't be bothered withEverybody Loves Raymond.  Comedy, particularly regional comedy, is a tough sell.  That's why comedians like Fluffy, Eddie Izzard, and Bill Cosby are a gift to all of us-- they tell universal stories with universal themes, and aregenerally loved.  But there's always someone who will hate them.  It doesn't matter how funny you are, someone out there will not get you, and be bitter.

*  And that brings me, in a roundabout way, to an ephemeral thing: regional differences are not alway easy to spot.  If you point them out in a story, people may not get them in the story-- it's something you have to be attuned to, and it's sort of an individual way of looking at the world.  People who lived in Florida loved Left on ST. Truth-be-Well.  People who lived in Chicago loved it.  People who had never been to either region were lost, because a lot of the conflict depended on where the two heroes hailed from.  Again--human nature.  Doesn't mean that story didn't need to be told, just meant not everybody is going to hear it with your ears.

*  Everything I just said about comedy and regional stories and racial perception goes double for Alternative Universe stories.  Steampunk, paranormal romance, science fiction, fantasy-- everyone has their own AU paradigm perfectly assembled in their gray matter.  If you want to start a riot, walk into a convention of romance writers and ask them about weight conversion in a shape-shifting romance.  People will draw blood over whether or not a possum shifter is really physically possible.  Once people embrace AU, they tend to be very very very picky about ratio of world building to romance to storyline, and walking that tightrope can be very tricky.  Your best failsafe is a net of the most perfect world building you can muster-- and a belief that you wrote the AU storyyou would have wanted to read.  Sometimes that's all you have.

And that brings us to…

The final conclusion--

Reviews are tough to ignore-- we crave feedback!  But we cannot pick and choose who will give us that feedback-- we hope it's someone who gets us, gets the way we view the world, gets what our characters are trying to accomplish.  What we get is a very different assortment of people who just want to be entertained, and glory hallelujah who can blame them?

The most important thing to remember is that somewhere out there, somebody loved your book.  Your publisher thought it was good enough to publish, there are reviews out there from delighted readers, and as for the not-so-delighted ones?  Well… it's like I told myself with the people who hated Rusty for having low self-esteem.  Would I really want them near my children?  My children would drive them batshit in about two minutes-- and that's nobody's fault.  That's just basic personality incompatibility.  It's not personal-- it's just how people are.

And that's the thing.  Most bad reviews are not personal.  It's just how people are.  The important thing to remember is that you created your masterpiece, and that somewhere out there another human being read it and embraced it-- it became, for a moment, their world built with words.  Congratulations!  That's a terrific human accomplishment.

I know that I am proud, humble, and frickin' thrilled every time-- every goddamned time--that it happens.

-Now, I'm better. I'm ready to move on. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Celebrate the Moment

Where is my head at right now? It's so very hard to concentrate what with Broken Bones coming out in three days! Oh, my!

Every time I think about it, my heart races sort of like what it's doing right now when I look at this guy here. I mean...chiseled perfection. That towel is so ready to open up and reveal a delightful present to some happy recipient.

Is he shy? Is he humbled? Is he waiting for permission? The waiting is what is killing me. I'm sure it's killing him.

The man looking at all of that beautiful, that supple wet flesh begging for a taste, a lick, a pleasure trek along that fine frame. Is he happy? Is he eager? Is he hopeful? Is he afraid? Fear. That is what's killing me right now. I'm sure it's killing him.

But what more could life be then the joy to reach the next moment, the rush of anticipation, of knowing how close you are to what you have desired most?

Savor it just like he will savor him. That's what I'll do, and rather than let the waiting or the fear kill me, I'll celebrate the moment.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

They're here! They're shiny and new, so pretty and blue! And, I so want to share. Enter and win a copy of Broken Bones. I would love for you to meet my guys, to love Dan and Aiden as much as I do, or even more!

In case you missed the blurb, here you go:
 Dan Tolliver, the adopted son of alpha pack leader Jeremiah Tolliver, has suffered his last moment of abuse by his lover Keith Mulligan and finds himself in the hospital. There he meets dark and sharp-tongued Dr. Aiden Kavanaugh, who believes Dan needs some of his straightforward kind of medicine. Still, there is something different about the doctor.
Aiden is a sandman, a weaver of dreams, and has been on earth far longer than even he knows. He's at the end of his time, ready to transition, and needs a human mate to keep him connected to the world he’s grown to love. Only he hasn’t found a special person who makes him want to stay. He doesn’t despair, because not every sandman has the chance to choose, but he knows if he doesn’t find a partner, he will soon lose his physical form and exist only in dreams.
When Aiden realizes Keith is a far greater monster than Dan has any idea, they grow and work together using the support of the pack—and Dan’s inner strength—to overcome impossible odds.

As for tags? 
Tags: m/m, unique paranormal being, overcoming abuse, doctor/patient, thriller, fast-paced read, sex that enhances not overwhelms, variety of supernatural beings, transitions, switch, dark and twisted with a side of humor, debut

So, if this sounds like what may interest you, the giveaway will be for the next month. I will choose randomly from replies to this post from July 28, 2015 through August 30, 2015. Include your name and a reason why this book might interest you. If you're chosen, I will request your address. The only purpose is to send you the book. No further contact is necessary or required unless you have questions to ask me. In other words, you will be left alone to simply enjoy the read.

I look forward to hearing from you.


They're Here!

They're here! They're here!
So, yes, going to China was a-freaking-mazing, but what really blew my socks off? Getting this right here, baby! Oh, wow! Next stop, release! The jetlag is finally wearing off, and I can truly dance! August 4th, here we come!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


That's kind of where my head is at. I'm preparing to embark on a journey, one where I travel to China to teach. I'm excited, thrilled and oh-so-busy. 
What do you need to read? 
Well, if you haven't picked up this book, yet...WHAT. ARE. YOU. WAITING. FOR?

Here's what I had to say about it:
This book. My life paused for it. I was in Toby's vulnerable clutches, the strength that was so natural to him, it was his skin. I followed Laurie who was so desperate to save Toby rather than himself, who would cleave away his own flesh for the love of his boy, his prince. I was there to see Toby bring him to his knees, to see him submit so beautifully, so gracefully that my heart nearly wept. I was a part of the story that Alexis Hall weaved, loving the way they loved, the way they sacrificed. I was there as they grew, as they became honest with their needs. Their pain? I felt it. The hopelessness? I ached for them. Alexis Hall did that. The passion they shared, the primal demand of their being they were helpless to embrace was not in addition but a part of them, made them whole. I loved them. I loved this book. I will return for glimpses and devour anything else Alexis Hall chooses to give.

Thank you, Alexis. Well done.

What's happening now for writing?
Well, I am currently on the second book in my Broken series. The title is Broken Pieces. I believe you will love Remi and Peter. I do. They will lead you to Kristoff and later to Darren. I'm excited that my first book is released August 4th. Have a moment? Get to know my guys. You'll love them, too. 

Have to run for now and work on that book, grab some shut eye and plan for tomorrow. 

All the love,