Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bane Of Humanity

When I hear John Boehner's name pronounced, this is the scene I see in my mind.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stuff in progress

Done and Subbed:
Worth the Woe--Ravenous Romance's Rumpled Silk Sheets
Experiments--Cleis CARNAL MACHINES
Thigh to Thigh--Ace's Pain/Pleasure anth
Playing With Fire--Renaissance, Undead erotica
Between Despair and Ecstasy--Renaissance, Undead Erotica

Looking Down the Road

Done but need rewrites
Dancing in the Black
On the Night Road
Swimming through the Net

In progress
untitled for Circlet's Like an Iron fist
Masquerade—Dec 1, 20K
Withycombe 2—50K min
Songs for Guitar and French Harp—Nov 30, 20K
Nick & Corban

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A list of works in various stages of progress.


Done and SubbedWorth the Woe

Looking Down the Road

Done but need rewrites
Dancing in the Black
Between Despair and Ecstasy/vampire apocalypse
On the Night Road
Swimming through the Net

In progress
Masquerade—Dec 1, 20K
Withycombe 2—50K min
Songs for Guitar and French Harp—Nov 30, 20K
The Algol 3 Disaster
untitled Flower Fairies
Fruits of Thine
Nick & Corban

On hiatus
Hot Delta nights
Dead Man's Wind
the time travel piece with Hermes
Uncanny Valley
Vampire apocalypse
Space vaudevillians
ghost lovers
hideous title
Rapture Horror
Adrien Origin story
David Origin story
Casting Couch Blues
Dark Angel
Rum Sodomy and the Lash
toads and diamonds
steampunk elf thing
Barbarossa's Bitch
Painting Blues City Red
Dirty Toes
Passion Hearts/Rainbow Hearts
Peregrine off High Barbary
Seasonal Make & Do books
Runic alphabet book
Gammon (lake monster)
Fissures (what lives under the ground)
Mystery of the Monkey God

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Five Influences: Chain Male

I've seen this around and it looked like fun.
Chain-Male is my most recent release, from Amber Allure.

Five Influences:

1) Christian Brothers University

I worked for Christian Brothers for five years. Hence the choice of Interlibrary Loan Librarian for Chad. I actually did have to send a book to Truth or Consequences New Mexico, work late nights in the library, monitor computer use and work-study students. In my head, Chad works at CBU.

2) Lilies War

War of the Lilies is an annual event held in the center of the Kingdom of Calontir in June. (this means Kansas City MO) Each year features a different scenario, from Shires (small groups) vs. Baronies (larger ones) or Grand Tournament of Artisans to a Week of Henries or Laurels (those recognized for great crafting skill) vs. Pelicans (those recognized for great service).

Much of what Chad sees is akin to what one would see at Lilies: the merchant's row (most smaller events have ten merchants tops), the bardic, the fighting, including the castle battle. The Resurrection Castle Battle depicted in the story is strongly based on one I saw at my first Lilies War, back in 1990.

Most of Jace's gear is based on my own. I built the viking tent and the rope bed, helped build tables like his and owned one of those chairs.

3) VividCon

VividCon introduced me to the Xena episode "Lyre, lyre, hearts on fire" and the Joxer Dance. They start the Friday Night Dance party with it.

The video cannot be embedded, but click here

4) Waldo and Jen

Kind of together, actually. These ladies had a big influence on the scene where the guys go for breakfast. My sister Jen introduced me to a restaurant in KC called "First Watch" which is only open for breakfast and became the inspiration for "Early Shift." Waldo and I had lunch at a mediocre diner in Chicago and her potato pancakes made it in as Jace's order.

5) Gary "Hugh DePuy" Larson

Gary taught me to make chainmail.
All I've done is a bracelet and a dancing belt in simple four-in-one, but this gave me the starter background for Jace's hobby.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Work in Progress Wednesday

Untitled Flower Fairies

Kelig Raklray took another swing at the tree he was using for a pell. Maybe exercising on an empty stomach wasn't the smartest idea, but he could hardly sit around and wait to starve. There wasn't much for a fourth-rate swordsman's apprentice to do in the swamp.

He'd been wandering, more lost than anything, since his last master died in a battle with a Drasrt. There hadn't been anything left to bury of him. The humanoid lizards considered themselves the top of the food chain and humans a tasty treat.

Overcome by heat and hunger, Kelig slumped down in the sparse shade of a gnarled tree, his sword hanging limp and unregarded by his side. The moss dripping from its branches hung black and dead. The whole swamp had been like that, twisted and dying, the water sluggish and stagnant.

He felt a stab in his sword-arm above his elbow-cup. Oh Sun, not another. He slapped at the stab and felt warm blood, his own, wash over his hand. He wiped the remains of the giant mosquito off his glove and onto a patch of unwholesome-looking yellow grass. That was the sixth today. He had to get out of the swamp before nightfall or he wouldn't need to worry about finding food.

He sheathed his sword and reached up to take his helmet off when he saw something with wings coming at his face. Reacting on instinct, he swatted it.

Kelig was pretty sure giant mosquitoes didn't shriek. He wrenched his helmet off and wiped the sweat and hair from his eyes. Lying in the disgusting yellow grass was a tiny woman with purple wings.

“Oh sweet Sun,” he groaned. He took off the leather gloves and picked her up carefully, sliding one hand under her body. He had no idea how to revive a woman who was less than three inches tall.

He dug in his pack and found his last clean handkerchief. He folded it atop his well-worn leather gloves and laid her gently on it. His almost-empty waterskin still had a mouthful or two. He took one and got a drop of water on his smallest finger. He let it fall onto her face.

Tangle sputtered as the big, warm water ball enveloped her head. She gulped a mouthful and sputtered more, then sat up on the handkerchief. Her head ached and she fluttered her wings. One was still a bit bent. Getting smashed against a metal wall had not been in the Council briefing.

She stood up and looked up. And up. And up. Humans were enormous. She realized he'd built her a nest in his gloves.

“Can you hear me?” she called. Huge he might be, but he was also cute. The brief thought of Bud crossed her mind. Bud would think he was cute too.

“I can hear you. Are you all right? I'm sorry!” He looked so upset she tested her wings and fluttered up to his shoulder. He bent wing sent her drifting but she corrected. One arm wasn't moving right.

“I'm all right. I should have approached more carefully.” She was lying but she'd heal fast enough.

“I'm really sorry,” he said in a softer voice. “I was sweaty and in the helmet you looked like another giant mosquito.”

Tangle laughed. “You big meanie. Bloodsuckers aren't purple.”

“I know. You're really beautiful. I'm Kelig by the way. Kelig Ralkray, adventurer for hire.” He tried to sound impressive and it was all Tangle could do not to laugh again. Males had such an inflated sense of their own importance.

“Excellent. I want to hire you to kill the Lord Kalad and end his war with his sister which destroys the whole countryside.” She gestured around at the dying swamp. “The only problem is, I don't have anything to pay you with. Yet. Do you work for spoils?”

Kelig was shaking his head and staring at her. “Lord Kalad? You don't aim small do you, girl? Look, I'm barely trained. Most of that 'hero-for-hire' bluster is just that, bluster. “ He stared. “You're not all right.”

Tangle wobbled on her feet and he caught her before she could fall off his shoulder. With her good arm, she pulled out the spell-effect. “Find Thorn,” she told it. “Follow it,” she told Kelig. The dizziness and pain in her arm overwhelmed her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Genre Trends I am seeing, and my predictions.

Pulling out my Cloudy Crystal Ball(tm):

Steampunk is peaking. We’re going to see a rash of it for about 2 years as the bandwagoners finally get to the shelves. Cyberpunk…not happening. Mythpunk/Bronzepunk, give it five more years.

Vampires are hot, but a lot of people are burning out. I give them 2-3 years before they return to perennial favorite status.

Werewolves are mostly over. Shapeshifters in general have about another year in non-wolf form.

Historicals…I foresee a rash of medievals because of the upcoming Robin Hood movie. There will probably be more than a few reworkings of that legend too (ahead of the curve again, me).

Pirates are over. They’re stuck back with highwaymen in the “decent seller, not trending.”

Zombies are peaking. They have about three more years. There are only so many ways to write them. They’re starting to get into romance and erotica, so as an SF/horror trend they are pretty much done.

Contemporaries, Cowboys and Cops are perennials. Always a strong seller. Historical westerns, not so much in the m/m genre. I don’t see them getting out of niche.

SF/Fantasy has always been risky in our genre. It’s got some potential, but I really don’t see it happening for another five to ten years.

Faeries and Nephilim are the things I’m seeing more of. I’m reading two books right now with Nephilim involved.

This is me, talking based on what i’m seeing from small presses and NY houses, and at the grass-roots level. We’ll see how right I am.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Holy Fool

1 Corinthians 1, 27, "the weak things of the world hath God chosen that he may confound the strong."

Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! --Gandalf

A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have. --Roger Rabbit

It's April Fools today. It's also Maunday Thursday.
So, we're talking about Holy Fools.

Many faiths find the Fool a useful guise for a Teacher or Trickster.

Consider the musical GODSPELL. Jesus and his disciples are all portrayed as clowns. In the movie, he even wears big pompoms on his shoes.

(apologies for the Portugese subtitles)

But the teaching is given with laughter and received with joy, a thing missing in all too many churches and groups.

Here, it's set up to the point of even sounding like a vaudeville act:

We learn best when the lessons are entertaining. This is a well-known fact, to the point that the little people of the Sims 2 game learn best when they're enjoying themselves: painting, working on cars or watching cooking shows on TV. They don't want to sit and study out of a book, who does?

And the Holy Fool is a teacher, always.
SJ Tucker, Skinny White Chick, has Rabbit's Song about how Trickster was looking for teachers.

Who is the Fool?
He wears a different face for every faith but in every pantheon he serves three purposes:
Teacher/Redemptive Sacrifice
The Clown
The Bringer of Chaos

Whether Prometheus or Jesus or Raven, he loves humanity. He works to bring them knowledge and sometimes wisdom. Often, he provides people with a great treasure, the sun or fire. His good intentions may or may not work out. When the more powerful gods are angry, it is the Fool who intervenes on humanity's behalf, preventing complete destruction. And he pays the price, even to his own death or torment.

As the clown, Coyote and Bugs Bunny, Ananzi, the Pookas and Loki, The Fool plays jokes and tricks that always backfire, leaving him looking foolish but teaching something in the process.

But as Chaos, Loki, the Amadan, even the Joker and Randall Flagg are laughing at us as we scramble. This is the dark side of the trickster, the one who blows things up to enjoy the Boom, who is a psychopath. This is not the side of Loki that aided Thor in recovering his hammer, but rather the one that engineered Balder's death. This is the Ananzi who pretends to be dead and buried, but instead eats all the pea crop, leaving his family to starve. This one teaches us fear.

The Trickster and I have a dubious relationship. My husband is a devotee (under the Christian guise) and my baby girl insists Loki is her father because she was an oops, conceived when Loki overheard and laughed at me.

It has taken many years and much work on the part of the Trickster and his people in my life to even help me find my sense of humor. And every now and then I still have to shake my fist in the direction of Valhalla and say "Stop messing with my life!"

Following the Fool may take you right off the cliff, as in the Tarot card up there. But he'll be right beside you, handing you an umbrella and convincing you to fly.

For other posts in his blog tour:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Writing to music

A lot of writers use music when they write. Stephen King credits the beginning of The Stand to The Eagles. Some can't write to music with lyrics at all.

Me, it varies. Sometimes, I create a whole play list. This is most common when writing a novel. Sometimes, it's a song or two. Sometimes, it's just one song to get me over a hump.

"Between Despair and Ecstasy" is a short story (that is being redone into a novel at the editor's request) about vampire hunters. There is a scene in a vampire nightclub. While I was writing this rather gruseome scene (one of several), I played Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on repeat for about an hour. My family was ready to scream at the industrial drone.

While writing "Showdown at Yellowstone River," it was Marty Robbin's "Big Iron" and The Highwaymen's "Silver Stallion."

When we wrote Alive on the Inside, Naomi and I came up with a playlist that sort of followed Nick's journey out of closeted hyper-religious life into the carnival as the Pain King's lover.
Long Black train--Josh Turner
Entry of the Gladiators
Take it--Genitorturers
Strange Love--Depeche Mode
Closer--Nine Inh Nails
Personal Jesus--Depeche Mode
Pain--Three Days' Grace
Hurt So Good--John Cougar Mellencamp
Happiness in Slavery--Nine Inch Nails
Comfortably Numb--Pink Floyd

On the other hand, when writing Heart of a Forest, we had a much different style of music.

Overture (Whistle Stop) from Disney
Siul a ruhn--Skylark
Scarborough Faire--Sarah Brightman
She moved through the fair--Pentangle
Wild Mountain Thyme--3 Pints Gone
Ooo da Lolly--Roger Miller
May Queen--Heather Dale
Devil's Dance--Gil Shaham
Robin Hood and Maid Marian--Wallace House (an actual Child Ballad)
Everything I do--Bryan Adams
Love--The Disney version
Labyrinth Waltz--Kim Robertson
Circle of the Lustful--Medieval Baebes
Men in tights
Full Circle--Loreena McKinnett
Robin, the Hooded Man--Enya and Clannad

I find music gives me a pace to type to and the songs can set the tone for the writing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Excellent Review

Rick R. Reed reviewed Alive on the Inside for Dark Scribe Magazine.

He calls it "by turns gruesome, shocking, tender, poignant, and nauseating (but in a good way fans of horror will understand)."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Guest Blogger: David Sklar

Everyone welcome David over here to the Den.

Hello everybody in BlogLand! I'm David Sklar, author of Shadow of the Antlered Bird from Drollerie Press and coeditor (with my friend and colleague Sarah Avery of the anthology Trafficking in Magic/Magicking in Traffic , for which submissions are still open until February 28th.

This month's blog tour crept up on me, in part because I've been busy, in part because the date was changed (because of people's schedule conflicts), and in part because I've been dreading writing this post. See, this month's topic, aside from a general introduction of oneself to new readers, is one's worst experience with a work in progress, and I'm afraid my worst experience with a work in progress may well be the worst thing I've ever done to another human being.

It was almost 2 decades ago, and I was a summer student at the Naropa Institute's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. And I believed, then, that the work of a writer took precedence over everything, including one's own comfort, including basic human decency.

I was walking into a reading I didn't care much about, when I saw someone I kind of knew walking out, with a distressed look on her face. I asked what was bothering her, and she took me out back and told me in extensive detail about her experience being acquaintance-raped, the night before, by a friend of a friend.

A couple days later, I ran into her again, and she thanked me for being there for her, and told me she'd written a poem about it. I told her I had too. She told me that her poem made a great deal of the moment at the end when I handed her a rock from the ground and told her to throw it in Boulder Creek. I didn't tell her about the focus of my poem, which was about the sensual intimacy of shared secrets, even when circumstances make sensual intimacy entirely inappropriate.

A while later, the program had a works-in-progress reading. I thought about asking before I read this story, but it seemed an empty gesture--that is, if I asked permission and she gave it, then she still wouldn't know what she was in for, what the story was really about. And at the time I didn't know how to explain it.

So without warning, I performed, before a live audience, my account of trying to hide my arousal while a woman told me about her rape. Not because the rape itself was erotic, but because the tenderness, the intimate moment of the telling, made it hard to stay away.

The crowd loved it, but I lost some friends. Deserved to, too.

I still value my craft above my own comfort; if I didn't, I wouldn't be telling this story now. But violating another person that way--even if it was only with words, I don't know how I ever believed I could justify that, even half my life ago.

My stories are still sometimes shocking. Not that I write for shock value, but when you look for insights a person wouldn't expect, sometimes what you find is dark, unpleasant, and shocking. Sometimes my stories deal with the worst in people, sometimes the best. But these days my characters live inside my head, and their public humiliation, if the story requires it, really is mine to give.

Doesn't justify what I did 20 years ago, but it lets me continue writing now.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Release: Showdown at Yellowstone River

Showdown at Yellowstone River is currently available from Pink Petal Books.

This is a heterosexual (for certain values of that orientation) Western.

Since I can't access the publisher's site (someone on past Dallas is too slow on the uptake and we keep timing out), have an excerpt rather than a blurb.

~* * *~
On a gray Saturday afternoon in mid-October, when his bad leg said snow was on the way, Matt had finished laying up his supplies and stopped in at the Purple Garter for a drink. He took a single glass of whiskey at the bar and sipped it, watching the men around him. Cowpokes in off the trail and ranch-hands eager to spend their pay crowded the tables. The Professor plunked away at the old piano, with more enthusiasm than skill, and Ardis did her best to keep the song on key. He was glad she was busy. She teased him now and then about his proposal. Never unkindly, true, but he disliked making a fool of himself.

Matt glanced through the front window and saw Luke Smith hesitating just outside, a look of distress on his young face. He caught Matt's eye and twisted his kerchief in his hands, the picture of indecision. Matt gulped the end of his drink and hurried out just as Luke laid a hand on the saloon doors to enter.

"Luke, you can't go in such a place," he said. "You're too young and your Ma would skin me alive."

"Mr. Court--" He saw the boy's face was paper-white. "Mr. Williams is trying to have you killed. He just put it out on the telegraph wire for Paz. I saw the topaz this morning at the bank. A rider brought it in from Utah territory." Luke pulled a penny-dreadful out of his pocket. Matt knew most of the boys in town collected and traded the serials. This one showed a gunslinger with a gem-studded hatband, his face so shadowed as to be invisible.

“They say he never misses a kill, Mr. Court.” Luke flipped to a passage he'd clearly read many times. “See? Here. Paz moved like a ghost through the streets hunting his prey. While Braynard had considered absquabulating, under the notion that discretion is the better part of valor, he had decided to stay. He regretted that decision when the gunslinger stepped into the mouth of the alley where he was hiding and said, 'Draw.' Braynard drew, but too slowly. The shooting irons fell from his cooling fingers and Paz walked away from him to collect another stone.”

Luke's voice carried into the saloon. The men nearest the door fell silent. The silence spread to the surrounding tables, creeping over the whole establishment until even the Professor took his fingers off the keys.

Matt felt his face go hard. Paz was an outlaw, a hired killer with a name that ironically meant "peace." The only peace Paz dealt in was eternal peace. The serial novels and hack writers had built him up into a folk-hero of sorts, but Matt knew the truth of it. Wealthy men called him in to do their dirty work and paid him well to vanish. Vanish he did, every time, and when the U.S. Marshals arrived, nobody knew anything about the newest grave in the town burying ground.

Matt had actually seen Paz once, at a distance in Denver, but the outlaw didn't mingle, and he wasn't the target, so they'd had no congress. He had, however, taken the two dollars to help bury the poor fellow Paz had been gunning for.

"Mr. Williams wired for him," Luke repeated, "and he's coming to kill you, Mr. Court. Go to Montana. Hide in your mustang herds, until this blows over.”

Matt shook his head and rubbed his jaw. "Winter's coming, kid. A man doesn't run. If it's time for me to be sent on, nothing can stop it happening. I'll take Paz's bullet or I'll fall off a horse and break my own fool neck." He looked at the boy, almost a man. He guided Luke into the saloon and sat them down at a table. A half-dollar on the table got them drinks. Luke just stared at the amber liquid.

“Come on, boy. Let your doomed boss buy your first drink.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Reviews by Jessewave interviewed Naomi and me.

Hello Ladies and welcome. Why don’t we start by having each of you tell us something about yourself?

Angelia: I’m Han Solo.
Naomi: I’m Errol Flynn.

And it only gets sillier from there.

Friday, January 8, 2010

An interview

I was spotlighted at The Outer Alliance, a group for GLBT SF/F/H.

I talked about Alive on the Inside, resources for parents of queer teens and character diversity.

Julia asked good interview questions and I hope I gave amusing answers.