Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Calls

This is it! The last day to enter to win prizes. All prizes will be announced tomorrow.

1) Nobody has entered the trivia contest for Heart's Bounty.  Nobody wants free sexy bounty hunters. I haz a sad.  And nothing says you can't ASK the authors for the answers...

2) If your tastes run to the straight end of the sexual spectrum, the Spellbound Desire giveaway closes tomorrow. I also did an awesome character interview.

3) The Geek Pride Day giveaway is still open.
Just leave a geeky comment. There will be one winner at each level. The more comments, the more winners and the better the prizes.
Pictures are examples only, and actual prizes may vary in fandom and color.
Base line prize: A crocheted dishcloth in your choice of fandom

At 5 comments, we move up to TARDIS keyring.  $10 on Etsy

Sans poinsettia, and this is where we are now

At 20, we move up to Amigurami, your choice of figure.  $15

(Because I can)

At 50, Gandalf's handwarmers from the Hobbit $20

(default is gray, but any color you like)

At 100, we get a Jayne hat. $25 value

At 250, a Harry Potter scarf, your choice of house.  $70 value

(Ravenclaw, because I am)

If, Great Bird of the Galaxy please, I get 500 comments, we go to a full length Dr. Who scarf, hand knitted. Valued at $150.

(The classic colors, not the hideous orange and purple Season 18 one)

Should we reach 1000 comments, I will crochet you a full-sized afghan. In any style you like. $250-$400.

I have 800 FB followers, 300 folk on LJ and a bunch here and on Google+ and more on twitter.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Contest Reminders

The prize for my Geek Pride Day present get better the more people comment.
Here or LJ or Google or Facebook.

 Right now, we're at "Dishcloth from your fandom."
Leave a comment and the drawing is June 1, chosen by random number generator.

At 5 comments, we move up to TARDIS keyring. 
At 20, we move up to Amigurami, your choice of figure.
At 50, Gandalf's handwarmers from the Hobbit
At 100, we get a Jayne hat.
At 250, a Harry Potter scarf.
If, Great Bird of the Galaxy please, I get 500 comments, we go to a full length Dr. Who scarf, hand knitted. Valued at $150.

Also, the Trivia contest for Heart's Bounty is open

If the trivia's too tough, you can be entered for a copy of Spellbound Desire, simply by commenting.

All of these close June 1.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Glorious 25th of May! With Give Away!

Welcome to Geek Pride Day!

Today is the 25th of May.
It is the date of the original release of Star Wars, in 1977, 36 years ago.
Happy Birthday to:
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803)
Sir Ian McKellen (1939)
Frank Oz (1944)
Barry Windsor-Smith (1949)
Stan Sakai (1953).
And it is International Towel Day, celebrating the life and works of Douglas Adams. The Amazing Moxie Ann Magnus

seen with me here at Outlanta Con 2012, is the International Towel Day Ambassador.

Those who read me know I am a complete geek. Sometimes I conceal my sources, sometimes I embrace them and sometimes they just show like a cheap slip.

So, tell me, loves. What's YOUR favorite bit of random geekery in one of my stories?

Tell me yours and on Monday, I'll tall you mine. Leave a comment, and I will enter you in a drawing for an especially geeky craft item. Could be a TARDIS washcloth. Could be a Hat of Cunning +1. Might be Amigurami. We'll see.

But for Towel Day, let me show you the most appropriate one:

Lincoln leaned in, his smile terrifying. "Tell me everything, pretty one, and we won't send you back used."

Kane took a deep breath, trying to decide what to say. He could tell Lincoln everything, and the leader might hand him over to the pack. He could lie his butt off, or he could say nothing. "In the beginning, the world was created. This made a lot of people very angry and was widely regarded as a bad move." Or he could be a smart-ass and quote Douglas Adams. Damn his memory bank for paying out that half-forgotten bit, and damn his mouth for running away with it. If his hands had been free, he would have face-palmed.

Lincoln scowled, but three of the other men snorted laughter. Kane put on his most innocent expression and batted his big blue eyes, feeling like an idiot. "Well, you did say everything, my lord Lincoln."

--Barbarossa's Bitch

Some of my characters, like Kane, are sometime-geeks. He has a couple of moments, this, his naming scene and the first time he's hauled out for examination by the Wildpack .

The men hauled the captives out of the trailer. Dylan supported Missy, helping her walk on unsteady legs. They blinked against the light after days in the dark of the semi-trailer. He held her up when the men lined them up. Missy hung onto him, her taut skin of her pregnant belly shiny in the hot sun.

A tall, thin man in black leather pants and boots, wearing a mask of black and gold spirals and a spiked codpiece, strode along the line. Dylan looked around and bit down on a laugh. He had fallen into an old disaster movie, what with the ragtag array of vehicles and men, and the masked leader. He silenced his memory, which was yelling the quote from Road Warrior about "The Lord Humungous, the ruler of the wasteland, the ayatollah of rock-and-rollah!" and kept his face straight and his eyes down.

On the other hand, Sean and Gabe from Shell-Shocked are raging geeks. They live in a mass-media world, their personalities shaped by the movies and TV of their youth.

"I follow Joss Whedon's philosophy of sex, as set down in the sacred text of Buffy the Vampire Slayer."  Sean's face changed from glum to mock-serious.

Gabe giggled. "Sex is bad, all vampires are gay and sexbots are hot?" 

Sean finally smiled at this. "Maybe not the last part."

Later, Sean alters a backpack so he can carry Gabe around, making Gabe more mobile than the wheelchair.

Sean stood up, the pack and Gabe on his back. He didn't stagger under the weight, but it was close. Gabe was heavy. "You still okay?"

"Yeah. This is nice." Gabe wrapped his arms around Sean's shoulders and kissed his neck.

"I like that," Sean smiled back at him. "Kinda heavy, but I'll be okay." He circled the room. "You're not gonna get seasick and barf down my back are you?"

Gabe just laughed and squeezed him a little. "No. Not the seasick type. And now we even have four hands to carry our stuff."

"Yeah, but only my lone pair of borg legs to carry it up."

Gabe kissed his neck and shoulders. "We can stop as often as you need." He kissed Sean again. "I really like this."

"All right." Sean shot an impish look back. "If you're set, Master Yoda, let's go shop."

"Forward, Sean Skywalker!" Gabe laughed all the way to the lobby.

Some of my books are nothing but fannish love letters. Heart of a Forest contains references to every Robin Hood movie (even Men in Tights), and many to Pyle's adaptation of the legend. But, if you know my head and my mental casting, you also see where it makes nods to Love! Valour! Compassion!, "Firefly", The Lion in Winter and Camelot.

The influences are fairly obvious in Curse of the Pharaoh's Manucurists. The Indiana Jones movies and Edgar Rice Burroughs are the most visible. But there are other tings, small and subtle for those who want to see them.

Remember, leave a comment with your favorite bit of geekery, and I will enter your name in a drawing for something awesomely geeky. It might even be a Hat of Cunning +1

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Release Day Fun!

Hunting is a young man’s game and Miho is well suited to it. He is a product of centuries of selective breeding, making him human-plus. He has a reputation for finding his quarry. But he doesn’t expect to find an older man at the Tag Board looking for work of his own.

Hevik was outlawed and banished from his homeworld, and now lives a solitary life hunting small-time criminals among the planets. A pretty boy with hair as dark as deep space makes him reconsider that lifestyle.

As the fates keep throwing them together while they pursue the same bounty, both of them discover depths about themselves, and about their lust and need for each other, that makes chasing their quarry all the more dangerous

So, it's out today!

Let's have some fun, for a chance to win a free copy.

Five Trivia Questions. (Please note, you can e-mail the authors for the answers)
Three Free Copies.

1) What SF movie had a transformative effect on Angelia's life when she was nine, inspiring her to read SF?

2) What SF book, Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture!, transformed Gabriel's life?

3) How many SF stories has Angelia written professionally?

4) What was the title of Gabriel's first published short story?

5)  How many sex scenes are in Heart's Bounty?

Bonus tie-breaker question: How many gladiators fight in the Decagon of Death?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Only candy and flowers from a gentleman, dear"

Scarlett O'Hara's mother may have warned her not to accept expensive gifts, but what sort of candy would her beaux bring her?

He might have brought peppermints. He might have brought taffy (very popular) or molasses candy. Almond candy and chocolate caramels would have been more rare. Sugar plums were primarily for holidays. Stick candy, hard candy, ribbon candy were all fairly common.

According to the Retro Candy Timeline
Chewing gum first appeared in 1848. It was spruce flavored
Whitman's Chocolates debuted in 1854
Cadbury made the first Valentine's Day chocolates in 1868
Candy corn came about in the 1880s
Juicy Fruit and Wrigley's Spearmint gum showed up in 1893, and after almost 50 years of chewing on pine trees, people rejoiced!
Tootsie Rolls arrived in 1896
In 1900, the first Hershey bar was made

This timeline pouts Necco wafers as 1901, but I've seen other histories date them to 1847. They're made by the New England Confectionary Company, the same folks who make the Conversation Hearts at Valentine's (introduced in 1902)  I included them in a western, since the history says Union soldiers carried them, calling them  "hub wafers."  I like the cinnamon, wintergreen and clove ones best.

1904 Brach's caramels
1906 Hershey's Kisses
1912 Lifesavers
1913 Googoo clusters
1914, The Heath bar
1922, The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

So yes, your handsome young steampunk man can be extravagant and bring his lady chocolate.

It will be more affordable after the turn of the century, though. A Hershey bar in 1908 cost 2 cents. The average wage was 22c/hour.  It would have cost him 5 and a half minutes of work to bring his lady a chocolate bar.  These days, that translates to about 75c. (So why are Hershey bars 89c?)

Your cowboy might encounter "Chickenfeed" or candy corn at the local general store. Your prospector might order in Necco wafers for the young thing he's sparking.

And the Inventor's Club can have a bowl of tootsie rolls on the meeting table.

Some fun links:

Candy favorites through the 1960s

Vintage ads. Check out the one for Hasheesh Candy. yes, exactly what it sounds like.

Make your own Victorian Candy

Victorian Christmas Candy

Monday, May 20, 2013

A busy weekend

It was quite the weekend here at the Den of Debauchery.

My oldest son graduated high school.

He's the one with the pink glasses and ponytail. We're very proud of him.

His sister and her new man came in from Nashville. His grandparents came down from Kansas City. Mom and Dad haven't lived together since 1968. And yet, they made a 500 mile roadtrip together.

So there was much hanging out, cooking and visiting.

Awesome Brownies of Awesome were made.
2 packages of mint oreo cookies, 4 packages of brownie mix and a bag of chocolate chips.
Prepare brownie mix. Pour a thin later into the prepared pan. Layer oreos on top. Stir chocolate chips into remaining brownit mix. Pour half of remaining mix over cookies. Layer more oreos and top with remaining mix.  Bake according to directions until done.

The folks got home ahead of the storms and life is returning to normal here.

I took Chris out to get a checking account set up and pick up his diploma today.

(Side note: We are five days out from the release of Heart's Bounty. Watch for contests)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

In the words of the old cartoon: Savoir Faire is Everywhere!

Or Shameless Self Promotion.

The giveaway here is still live:

An interview with DJ here, and another giveaway went live today

A review for Hard Reboot

Go check them out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Excerpt Day

We are one week out from the release of Heart's Bounty. We're on the front page, second row of the Coming Soon page at Ellora's Cave,

So, how about an inauspicious first meeting?

A few blocks away, he came to a three-walled building. He suspected the entire fourth wall pulled down and locked against urban predators. Or maybe it was open all the time. He saw several people playing cards around a table and one man at a makeshift desk, typing into a desk comp.

“Welcome. Hunters are always welcome,” the man said without looking up. The card players sized him up, and went back to whatever they were playing with the round cards. One man's gold mustache beads twitched against his dark face when the human-sized red rabbitoid laid out his cards and raked in the pot. After this afternoon, Miho was staying well away from that table.

The Tag Board was on the wall opposite the desk. He didn't like the look of the guy there, either. Big guy, about half a head taller than Miho, his brown hair starting to go a shaggy gray and matched by the stubble on his face, he stood with his hands thrust into the pockets of his coverall, staring at the Board. After a moment, he pulled out  a comp that was several years old and tapped at it.

Miho plucked up his courage and stepped up beside him. “You're blocking the Tag Board, old timer.”

“Not blocking, kid. I’m reading.” The man looked at him, his brown eyes tired and his face a leathery tan from the suns on hundreds of worlds. “Why don’t you go clean up your fingerpaints? I think I hear your mama calling.” He finished tapping and walked out.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guest Blogging

 I'm at Amy Ravenal's place today, talking about Spellbound Desire, and giving away free copy.  Actually, I think it's an interview with DJ....

Monday, May 13, 2013

Digital piracy, a poll

Cory Doctorow says that the problem for most writers isn't piracy, it's obscurity. I disagree. If 10,000 people read one of my books, but I only sell 2000 copies, that is work I am not getting paid for. That is $8000 out of my pocket, with no guarantee the readers will actually buy the next one. More likely they'll simply steal it too. My books fall into the "good enough to download, not good enough to buy" category, and I expect most other people's do too.

(I was told that a certain conference was about "giving back to the readers." My response was "I give back by continuing to write, even though they're stealing me blind on pirate sites.")

A confession: I have bought four ebooks in my life. I haven't bought a paperback in four years, new or used. Yet my library numbers in the hundreds. I download the free promotions from Amazon, from Harlequin, from All Romance. I get them from Project Gutenberg. I do not get them from torrent sites. Very seldom do I go back and buy another book by that author, no matter how much I enjoy the one I just read. I look at the to-read stack, and realize I will never get through it, so actually buying books is out of the question. Maybe it's me being tightfisted, but I'm sure I'm not the only one.

A friend of mine is doing a survey on e-book piracy and asked me to get the word out. This will be going out to Google News. I'm asking friends who are writers, especially on the ebook front, to fill it out.

1.  How much has digital piracy of books hurt your sales? How do you measure the loss in revenue?

2.  Do you know of any other authors who have had sales of their works hurt by digital piracy? Which authors, and do you know much they believe their sales have been hurt?

3.  Do you believe that certain genres are more likely to be pirated than others?

4.  Have your publishers been helpful in combating piracy? Is the industry taking steps to combat piracy?

5. What steps would you advice authors to take to prevent digital piracy?

6.  What legislation are you aware of that has come up to address this? Do you believe that proposed legislation goes for enough in protecting professional writers?

7.  Do you believe that free culture advocates are helpful or harmful towards professional authors?  Can you give any examples demonstrating why you hold this belief?

8. Do you think digital piracy has the impact to change the model for publishing?  Will digital piracy force authors to rely more on business models like kickstart as a way of making a living?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Excerpt Day: Heart's Bounty

 Hi folks. We're coming up on the release of Heart's Bounty, so I thought I'd let you get a sneak peek.

This bit is pretty much work-safe.

The man on the other side of the battered door looked as out of place as the sleek metal desk and shiny chairs. He was dressed in core-world corporate fashion, a fine high-collared shirt with a narrow starsilk tabard and colorful sash that matched the stripes in his pants.

“Do come right in.” His voice was pure core too, without any trace of the local accent. Miho didn't like his smile. Too cold and narrow, and it didn't get anywhere near his eyes.

“Are you the one who posted the blue-tag job?” He held up his pocket comp with the downloaded ticket on it. His eyes swept the room, trusting nothing about it or the stranger. Working for new people always set him on edge until he got their measure.

“Yes, Cypec Incorporated. We need a certain gentleman retrieved.” The man sat behind his desk and gestured to the chair across from him. He steepled his fingers and studied Miho. The sharp blue eyes pierced right through him, pinning Miho like a bug. He was fairly certain that  Mr. Cypec would have no qualms about doing exactly the same thing. He looked as if he might be the type who stuck large needles into beetles to watch them squirm.

Miho nodded and sat, one leg curled under him to keep him on its edge. “All right. Bail runner, hacker, escapee? What’s the MO?” He ran his hand through his hair once, but stopped himself from doing it twice. Playing with his long hair was a bad nervous habit and a tell. The man saw it and his smile widened, but it still wasn't even in the same sector as his eyes.

“Thief. We need him alive so the little rat can point out the holes he escaped through. Then we seal them and execute him.”

Miho held up his hands. “Look, friend. It's none of my business what you do with him when you get him back, just need to know what kind of chase we're looking at. What's your offer for my services, by the by?” The man was openly telling him they were going to kill his mark. Not a good sign. Too much information meant he had little choice but to take the job.

“It's a big galaxy, Mr. Ashar, and he has the money to hide well. We offer the standard retainer, fuel compensation and a speed bonus if you return him inside of a year.”

Miho blinked at that. “A year.” His mind spun a little. His usual marks might make for a month or two of work. More than three months of pursuit was usually inside work, held for a company man. Only the truly talented or very wealthy could evade capture for so long. “I think I may need some time to consider.” The paranoia that had served him so well told him that this job was danger itself.

The man shrugged. “Certainly. You have the card. There are others interested in the job. Consider, but not for too long.”

Miho nodded and stood. He headed for the door, not enjoying the idea of turning his back on the man. “I'll give you an answer by tomorrow.”

“Splendid.” It didn't sound splendid to Miho. In fact, it sounded as if the man didn’t give a damn if he ever showed his face again.

He made his way down the dingy hallway, hands in his pockets, staring at his feet, thinking. The man was too well dressed for this area of space. The job was too good and Miho knew he’d been told too much to walk away from it. Better to walk away if the man was willing to let him. Surely there were other blue tags available.

That job was a red tag, he could feel it. The taggers would have a field day if they knew a Corp man was running reds as blues. False tagging was a good way to get people killed. Maybe that was the point, gathering together and killing off the non-Corp hunters. There had to be an explanation.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Trying to get back on a schedule here

Hello, loves. Been a bit.

I'll be trying to post every Monday from here on. I just need to get my life a bit more organized.

There is much excitement happening here at the Den in May.

That space pirate anthology came out. We're giving away a copy of it at Jessewave's this week.

Number One Son, Obi-Wan Chrisobi, is graduating high school on the 17th. Seems like only a couple years ago I was packing him off to kindergarten with his padawan braid and custom made Obi-Wan lunchbox. My father is coming down for the event. My mother is undergoing another round of chemo, and too ill.

Heart's Bounty comes out in 17 days, and we're on the front page of the Coming Soon. Pre-orders are open at Ellora or on Kindle.

Until next week, darlings!
Be very good, and I may even post a picture of the Lady in the sunhat, as soon as I finish making the hat.