Sunday, November 13, 2011

Change of Address

After much debating, hemming and hawing, I've decided to move over to a WordPress blog, which I'm now hosting on my main site. While Blogger has served me well for almost a year now, it was time to revamp my whole site, and in the end, I decided I wanted everything A) all under one roof, and B) completely under my control. So, WordPress it is.

Please stop over at my new place, take a peek around, and let me know that you think:

Thank you!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

There Is Life Outside Your Apartment, AKA, Joining My Local RWA

Confession time: I live in my head. A lot. And more often than not, living in my head also means living in my house. All the time. I mean, I occasionally have to leave to find food and shoes and stuff. But other than that? Helllloooooo, couch.

So it was a big stretch for me to actually haul my lame ass down to my local RWA chapter meeting this past weekend. I'd been considering trying to go for months, but there'd always been some reason not to. An out-of-town wedding. A D&D game I couldn't get out of. A severe case of home-body-itis. But this month, I decided. It was time.

And of course, now I wish I'd done it earlier. What a bunch of lovely people. People who don't blink an eye at a gift bag with a vibrator in it. People who order mimosas for any reason at all. People who write romance and like talking books and word counts and craft. People who were even willing to talk to me, a total stranger with a crippling case of shyness around strangers.

Anyway, the meeting was a big success. I made some new acquaintances, got an awesome new plot bunny, and had fun. Best of all, I got some motivation. There's something about being around other people all working on the same goal you are, kwim?

So I paid my $15, and am now on my way to becoming an honest-to-goodness member of CarolinaRomance Writers.

And yes, this means I will have to leave my house at least once a month from now on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wank Wednesday :: Move

Today's prompt for Word Ejeculation's Wank Wednesday is Move.

Full ficlet is below the jump.

Warning: This post is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. 18+ only.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mini Writer's Retreat

I had that most rare and lovely of experiences this week: my husband left town. For four days.

Four blissful, productive days.

Now, I'm not saying I don't love my husband or that I didn't miss him. But as a work-from-home, childless person, having all that free time with no interruptions, no cleaning, no cooking… it was amazing.

I dubbed it my writer's retreat, and at the outset of it, I decided I was going to write 10k words while he was gone.


Of course, that didn't happen. But what did happen is I wrote when I had words in my head. I read. I watched a couple movies. I slept at weird hours. I took time to get my head in what I was doing.

You know. I retreated.

It was definitely what I needed. He comes home today, and I am soooo ready to see him, but I really enjoyed my time by myself to just be.

What would you do if you had four days to yourself?

PS – In other news, Unacceptable Risk received its first review today! Bitten by Paranormal Romance gave it FIVE HOWLS!!!! I might be howling myself…

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Release: Higher Learning anthology from Dreamspinner Press

Just a quick note that I have a new short story out. It's part Higher Learning, an anthology of M/M stories set in college.

My story is called "Bug Boy." Here's the blurb:

Dan Holbrook remembers Jesse Milner as the social misfit from his third grade class—the quiet boy in the glasses who liked to play with bugs. When he encounters Jesse again as a junior in college, the glasses and the bugs are still there, but in every other way he’s changed. Handsome and self-assured, Jesse is exactly Dan’s type, but a decade of resentment over past rejections has made Jesse wary. Dan resolves to do whatever he has to in order to crack that prickly exoskeleton and get close to Jesse, no matter how hard Jesse tries to push him away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

News Roundup: Cyberpunk and Christmas and College Boys, Oh My!

So. Um. I have a lot going on right now.

First off, I have THREE (count 'em, THREE) stories releasing between now and the end of the year.

1- Unacceptable Risk: This novella-length m/f cyberpunk romance comes out December 13, 2011, from Samhain Press, and I am so, so excited about it. Because it's my first m/f book of this length, I'm running a blog tour and everything to promote it, including guest posts, interviews and, most importantly, giveaways. Stay tuned for more news.

2- A Gift of Trust: A contemporary, m/f Christmas short story, due out December 7, 2011, from Silver Press.

3- Bug Boy: This contemporary m/m romance short story will be included as part of Dreamspinner Press's Higher Learning anthology, and it will be out super, super soon – October 17, 2011!

Second, I've recently received contracts on two more short stories. "Seriously" will be included in Going Down, a Cleis Press anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel all about… ahem, er, going down. Y'know. And I just found out yesterday that "Gretel's Lament" has been selected as part of another Cleis Press anthology, Lustfully Ever After, a book of fairy tale-inspired erotica edited by Kristina Wright. Both are m/f stories with lots of heat. I don't have release dates for either, but chances are they'll be out in 2012.

Finally, if you haven't read my FREE m/m short story Heart and Soul yet, you can now read it as part of Don't Read In TheCloset, Volume 1, a free collection of short stories compiled by the amazing people over at the M/M romance group over on GoodReads.

I know I've been posting a bit sporadically, but that's the scoop. It's been a busy season for writing, editing and submitting – and that doesn't even count the major verbiage I've been putting into my novel-writing. Hope the fall is treating you well!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Unacceptable Risk: Ten Weeks and Counting!

Excitement abounds over here in the Grey house. The cover, blurb and excerpt for Unacceptable Risk are now live on the Samhain web site!

Equally awesome, it was featured on The Galaxy Express over the weekend as part of a look at upcoming cyberpunk romances.

In support of the release, I'm working on putting together a small blog tour in mid-December, which will involve ebook giveaways, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Words on the Page

One of my favorite movies growing up was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was funny and full of action and romance and … just a touch of the morbid. Maybe it was a bit of prescience about the emo chick I would turn into when I got older, but one of the many scenes that stuck with me from the movie was when the Knight Templar in the cave talked about the burden of drinking from the Grail every day, and how sometimes, even though it was the only thing keeping him alive, he just didn’t have the will to do it.

Because, you know, drinking the magical elixir of life is hard. Or something.

Except it kind of is, if you're alone in a cave for hundreds of years.

It's super melodramatic, but I feel that way about mundane things all the time. I love my job. I love my life. Writing and talking to people online and editing and reading are what keep me alive. And yet some days… I just don't have the will to do any of them. 

Like I said. Emo chick.

This happens more in the fall than any other time of year. Something about the days getting shorter and temperatures getting cooler. It's always made me want to crawl into a cave and hibernate for hundred of years. Most days I beat the emo down and get to work and I always feel better because I did. And some other days, I look at that life-giving cup and I just say… Nah. Not today.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review of Zero Factor by Stacy Gail

As I put the final touches on my own cyberpunk romance, Unacceptable Risk, I've also been doing some reading in the genre. Samhain Press (which will also be publishing Unacceptable Risk) recently released Cybershock, a trio of cyberpunk novellas, which I snapped up immediately.

Here's my take on the second, Zero Factor by Stacy Gail.

Four Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ (4.0/5.0)

Stacy Gail's Zero Factor, like most cyberpunk stories, takes place in a grim future where much of society has collapsed, political borders have been redrawn and technology has changed the landscape. The book is set apart by the introduction of psychics, a rogue military-industrial complex and a villain who is entirely too plausible in his belief that his actions are above the law.

Our heroine, Via Brede, is one of the aforementioned psychics. In a fascinating premise for a romance novel, she receives and transmits psychically, but only through physical touch. At the opening of the novel, when she foresees a catastrophic attack, she uses this gift to warn a career soldier, Locke, who recognizes the attack as the profound betrayal that it is. The two escape together and go into hiding, intent on discovering the truth behind the explosion and the key to unlocking the true potential of Via's power.

First off, I'm a big fan of the world Gail has created. It's full of political intrigue and seems like a fairly natural extension of our current police state should consolidation of power continue to go unchecked, which is a big plus for me in speculative fiction.

Second, I love when a romance author creates a vaguely-supernatural world that specifically lends itself to, well, romance. The physical contact part of Via's power makes the eroticism of the book 100% integral to the story. And wow, does the story ever get hot.

Third, I loved her characters. Locke with his steady, self-sacrificing leadership. Via with her vulnerability and her fears… but also with her extraordinary abilities and strengths. That said, my favorite character was a supporting one, Madame Citrine, who gives our heroes sanctuary and the tools they need to get to the bottom of the many mysteries before them … and to the heart of their romantic connection. That she's gender-bending to the extreme is just a bonus.

That said, I would have liked a little more space for the connection between Via and Locke to play out. The two are almost literally thrown together, and their alliance is not an easy one. Considering that this is a fairly short novella, the author did forge a believable, compelling relationship between them. It just felt a little rushed in places.

On the whole, I give Zero Factor a solid thumbs up. It's an intriguing premise with a unique cast of characters that provides a hot romance and a lot of food for thought.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Lamentations of a Romance-Writing Feminist

I recently did an interview with The Mamafesto for a project called "This Is What a Feminist Looks Like," wherein a bunch of normal people talk about what feminism means to them. One of the major themes in my interview – and something I've been thinking about a lot of late – is the vague cognitive dissonance that comes with writing/enjoying romance novels and considering myself a feminist.

Romance novels have gotten a bad rap for ages, and I don't think that will ever change, even if the genre has come a long way since the bodice-rippers of old. Like many forms of entertainment enjoyed primarily by women, they're derided by men and by "serious" women alike, and sometimes with good reason. Alpha heroes and damsels in distress are still common tropes, and happily ever after always means getting the guy, not the doctorate. It's telling that the erotic romance genre has taken off by leaps and bounds since the advent of eReaders, since we can now read our steamy novels without having to show anyone the cover.

So what’s a feminist to do with all that shame?

Personally, I try not to be ashamed in the first place, but it's a tall order considering so much of that attitude is deeply sewn into us for our whole lives. I have a science background, and the idea of confessing that I write smutty romance novels to the guys I used to do physics experiments with gives me the shakes. Ditto for the ladies I took all those women's studies classes with back in college.

But the thing is, as feminists who choose not work outside of the home have been saying for decades, the essence of feminism is about giving women choices, not taking them away. So I do my best to own my choice and the choices of so many women (and even some men) who enjoy these types of stories. I try not to dissemble or blush when I admit to what I do.

And I try to do my small part to make sure the genre is something I can be proud of. I try to write women who care about more than just their love-lives and I try to pack as much literary merit into those sex scenes as I can.

So what do you think? Is reading and writing romance compatible with feminism? And if not, then how can we make it more so?