Guest Author: Tempeste O’Riley

Today I have not one, but three special guests! Tempeste O’Riley is here and she’s brought Chase and Rhys from her new release, Desire’s Guardian. Don’t forget to enter Tempe’s contest–you could win a copy of the first book in the Desires Entwined series, or one of three gift cards!

Thanks for visiting, guys!

First, we would like to thank Charley for having us over to share a little about us and our story to the fun and lively readers here! We are Chase Manning and Rhys Sayer from Desires’ Guardian.

So, now that we’re here, Charley asked us to share four things you might not find out about us by simply reading our story.

  • We are not an easy couple to read about. We each had and have hang-ups that cause out relationship to be a constant work-in-progress.
  • Favorite Color:
    • C – Rainbow. Yes, yes, I know that’s not a color, but it is to me.
    • R – Red.
  • How you met your bff:
    • C – I met James at my therapist’s office. We were both there to work though some horrible things from our pasts and struck up a conversation while waiting. It was the best waiting experience of my life and set us both on the course to become who we are both together as BFF’s and as individuals.
    • R – I met Mark on the bus to boot. We both joined the Marine’s young and became close friends. Somehow we managed to always get stationed together and he, along with a few others now scattered around the country, will to this day drop everything and come running if needed.
  • Pet Peeves:
    • C – People that judge you without ever taking the time to get to know you. I’m so much more than what most assume. 😉 You know what they say about people who assume, right?
    • R – Mispronunciation of my name and cheaters, would have to be two of my biggest. It’s said Rise not Reese. And I have no time or patience for those that cheat on their partners. If you don’t want to be loyal, then don’t be in the relationship. Period.

Now below you’ll find a little excerpt from Desires’ Guardian and all the fun links and such to buy the book and to find our author, Tempeste O’Riley. I hope you will also take a moment to leave us a little note and enter the giveaway at the end.

Love always,

Chase and Rhys

Desires’ Guardian

by Tempeste O’Riley

Desires Entwined, #2

M/M Erotic Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: June 6, 2014 (ebook/print)

Length: Novel / 200 page

Most people see Chase Manning as the party-boy twink he seems on the surface. Only James, Chase’s BFF, knows the depth of his loyalty and the extent of the wounds Chase carries inside. When Chase meets Rhys Sayer things don’t go well, but he can’t shake his attraction to the huge, sexy man.

Rhys is a man of contradictions and fear—a strange combination for a PI and bodyguard. He’s in a bad place emotionally when he sets eyes on Chase for the first time. When Chase puts the moves on him, Rhys insults him, thwarting any possibility of a relationship. Rhys doesn’t see himself as a complicated man, but he dreads the very kind of connection he desires.

Just as they’re trying to overcome their uncertainties, Chase is put in harm’s way. Luckily Rhys and their friends have all the right talents to help Rhys save the man of his dreams.


“James, it’s time.” Seth’s voice broke their moment, startling both men. “Gather up your Chase and hurry, please.”

Chase looked over to Seth, confused about what he was referring to. The show isn’t over, so where is he taking Jamie, and what does that have to do with me?

“Oh! Oh, good. Come on, dear.” James pushed him toward Seth and then maneuvered on his forearm crutches to follow behind.

Chase followed obediently, confused but moving with the flow of bodies around him. “What’s going on, guys?” he asked once they were at the front of the gallery. He looked around and noticed there was a large covered frame that hadn’t been there earlier.

Rhys’s brother, Dal, sidled up beside Chase, bending to whisper into his ear, “He’s got one last painting to reveal, but it’s a special one. I heard not even Britt”—the owner of the gallery—“has seen this one.”

“Really?” He peered up at Dal, again noticing how much he looked like Rhys, only a couple of inches shorter and a few pounds lighter.

“Shh… he’s getting ready to speak.”

Chase realized James now stood in front of the painting, smiling again.

“First, let me thank everyone for your warm reception and the wonderful turnout. As some of you know, I don’t really do speeches, but this last painting is special. I debated showing Inner Light, but in the end decided others needed to see the subject as I do.” James moved to the side, releasing his grip on one forearm crutch. He touched the sheet but didn’t move it yet. “You see, sometimes when people reveal who they truly are inside, we find a vile, rotting corpse, but other times, what we find….” He trailed off and touched a recessed panel.

The sheet, which Chase realized was actually a curtain, slid aside to reveal a painting of… him! Well, it was him, but not him at the same time. The artistry was magnificent, but over half his face a lion was superimposed. The lion part even had his ear cuff clipped to the furry ear. Chase gaped, barely noting the gasps and clapping that burst all around him.

Chase moved to the side, trying not to attract attention as questions and praise swarmed James. He couldn’t stop staring at the painting, trying to see how it could possibly be a representation of himself, but couldn’t. He wasn’t powerful or strong like a lion. And while he knew he was decent looking, the man in the painting had an ethereal beauty that dumbfounded him. It was both humbling and uncomfortable to look upon and hear Jamie’s voice in his head saying that was how he saw him.

Chase was startled out of his thoughts when two of his friends, Simon Tyler and Dale Miller, nudged him. “Chase! Did you know about the painting? It’s amazing,” Simon gushed.

Chase shook his head. “I didn’t. He can’t really see me that way, can he?”

“With as much as you’ve done over the years to help and protect him, yeah, I think that’s exactly how he sees you,” Dale replied. “Of course, he’s obviously blind. But then, if he showed you as you really are, no one would buy his artwork.” Dale and Simon cackled, and Chase glowered at the both of them.

“Maybe he’s trying to make up for conning you into working with Rhys,” Simon suggested.

“Harrumph! I still can’t believe I said yes, but you really think all this was planned? Seriously?”

“Eh, ignore Simon.”

“We’re going out tomorrow night to forget about the sexy ox, so don’t sweat it,” Simon said and winked. “Now, go congratulate James and smile. You look totally wrong with the scowl on your pretty face,” he instructed, turning Chase and pushing him toward the now advancing James.

Buy Desire’s Guardian:





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Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud omnisexual / bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.

Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.

Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA. Learn more about Tempeste and her writing at

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Bi Character Day: Andrea Speed’s Paris


 Next up, is Andrea Speed‘s Paris from her fantasy series, Infected.

In association with bi pride month, it only seemed right that I share this interview with perhaps the most famous bisexual in my Infected Series, Paris Lehane. (If you haven’t read the series, there are no spoilers. And if you have read the series, leave no spoilers in the comments, okay? Be nice to people who haven’t read it, and may want to be surprised by getting their hearts torn out. Thank you.)

Andrea: Thanks for being here, Paris. When did you know you were a bisexual?

Paris: I think I would have known for certain around thirteen, if I’d ever heard the term before. As it was, I didn’t hear it until I was sixteen. But I was as prone to crushes on boys as well as girls growing up.

Andrea: And you dated both?

Paris: Oh yeah. Girls openly, men … not so much. I hate to say I was in the closet, but … by definition, I suppose I was. I was just happy to be accepted for straight. Kinda ashamed of that now.

Andrea: It’s kind of a cliché for bis to be promiscuous, but you call your past self a man whore.

Paris: Oh, I was, and it had nothing to do with being bi, and everything to do with a combination of commitment phobia and general conceit. I was very pretty! And young. Why settle down with anyone? I wanted to see what was out there, and you can’t sample the buffet that life offers you if you’re tied down.

Andrea: You also said you never fell in love with anybody.

Paris: Yeah. I had crushes, but it wasn’t a deep emotional attachment and never became one. It probably helped that I hooked up with people I liked, but couldn’t stand for concentrated periods of time with our clothes on.

Andrea: No offense, but you sound like you were kind of a dick.

Paris (laughing): I totally was!

Andrea: But that changed.

Paris: Yeah. I could be a great safe sex PSA. I had unprotected sex in college with this woman who I knew was a little unbalanced, but what the hell, right? And she infected me with the tiger strain virus.

Andrea: Holy crap. That’s terrible.

Paris: Oh yeah. My life was over, even on the very rare chance it didn’t kill me outright. Which it did not, because the universe loves irony.

Andrea: It’s not all bad news, is it?

Paris: After the breakdown? No, it isn’t, weirdly enough. I was eventually found and saved by the only person I’ve ever fallen in love with, my husband, Roan McKichan. Again, more of the universe showing it loves irony.

Andrea: Is there any advice you’d give to young bisexuals? With safe sex taken as a given.

Paris: Be out, be proud, don’t make the mistake I made and let fear of other people’s opinion keep you hidden. Yeah, there’s going to be crummy people out there who insist bi isn’t actually a thing, that you’re really gay and trying to hide it, or doing it for attention, or whatever negative horse hockey is out there right now. Nobody knows you better than you. Don’t let anyone else dictate your desires or your expression. Be yourself and damn the torpedoes. Oh, and to quote Roan here, if they can’t accept you as who you are, f*** ‘em. Life is too short for that kind of aggravation.

Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed eBook

Infected: Undertow

Sequel to Infected: Lesser Evils
Infected: Book Seven

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.

Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.

With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds —one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.

Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….

Andrea Speed writes way too much. She is the writer of the Infected series for Dreamspinner Press and is Editor In Chief of, where she reviews comics as well as movies and other stuff. She won a Rainbow Award for best horror/paranormal novel in 2012, and feels she may be ubiquitous on the web. But she is not (sadly) the Italian DJ of the same name that often comes up first in Google searches.

Visit her website at and her Facebook at She tweets at

photo credit: marymactavish via photopin cc

Bi Character Day: Meet Pete!

Today is Bisexual Character Day, in which three fabulous authors introduce you to their bisexual characters.

First up: Garrett Leigh

Hello! First of all I’d like to thank Charley for hosting me. Bi Pride is a wonderful event and I’m honored to be a part of it.

It took me a while to pull this post together. In my Roads series, both my main characters identify as bisexual (when they’re not being snippy about labels), so I figured I’d have no trouble getting either one of them to tell me what it meant to them.


Famous last words. I asked Ash, but he was having a bad day and didn’t feel like talking. All I got from him was a quote from Slide, and a polite request to leave him alone.

Gay. Huh. Those labels held too much power, like you were marked for life by a tiny little word, frozen within the restrictions of an umbrella you’d stood under too soon. Gay, straight, bi… what the hell did they even mean? Why couldn’t I just be me?

Bless him. Ash is a sensitive soul.

So, I turned to Pete. Man, that dude can be so ornery. I love Pete, I really do. The guy loves the bones off Ash, and the few others he lets close to him, but sometimes, he’s just an ass. I gave him a few prompts, based on a few comments thrown his way in Slide, and I got my response back in a snarky rant.

What can I say? Pete doesn’t care much for explaining himself, and I’d like to make it clear that Pete is a fictional character, and these views are his own. He has a rather unique way of looking at things, and he’s been through a lot.

“I don’t get it. Are you gay, or what?”

Man, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that shit. Gay, bi, whatever. Like I care. Who decided those teeny tiny words had the power to define me? To define anyone? Society likes labels, and bisexual is one that confuses most folk. They don’t understand, and they don’t want to. They just wanna put you in a box.

Why can’t you just decide?

Yeah. Because we all get to choose, right? Idiots. That would never work, least not for me. What if I chose wrong? You see, there was a period of my life a long-ass time ago when I believed I was straight. I was fourteen and I’d just seen my first pair of boobs. They looked like big squishy pillows and I wanted to touch them. Who wouldn’t? But if someone had told me that touching them meant I’d never be able to love the man I do now?

Nah. Can’t even think about it, ‘specially not right now. He’s sleeping, you see, and I kinda love watching him sleep.

You don’t look gay.

Translation: you don’t look like you take it up the ass. Another classic. What? You’re really gonna tell me being a scruffy motherfucker defines who I love? Next question.

Both? That’s just greedy.

If you say so. I like pizza and beer. Same thing? Yeah, you decide. My mom’s a catholic…one of those batshit crazy catholics who talks to her rosary beads. My buddy Mick reckons I’ve never defined myself as gay or straight because I don’t want to make her choose between me and God. Like, as long as a possibility of a chick still exists, fucking about with guys is okay. Bullshit. My momma knows I love the bones of Ash, and that’s all she ever wanted.

Must be how you were raised.

Not likely. I grew up with a dad who took me everywhere with him, when he was around, at least. Ball games, fishing. Smokey bars where he played card games with his friends. He took me with him because I wanted him to. Because I loved him, and doing all the things he loved doing. If I’d wanted to go to ballet class, he’d have taken me there too. Why? Because he loved me.

Ash never had any of that. For a long time he had nothing and no one. We’re different men, and it took me a long time to see the world through his eyes, but we fall the same way on this. We love who we love. No matter who, or what, they are.

I’m a man. I’m in love with a man. Does that make me gay, or bi, or just plain indecisive? I don’t think so. It makes me ME. I’m proud of who I am, and who I love.


Taken from Slide (Roads #1), the debut novel from Garrett Leigh. Available to preorder from Dreamspinner Press NOW.

Slide (Roads #1)

Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

Marked (Roads #1.5)

Missing Moment from Slide…

It’s been six months since Ash shuffled into Pete’s life and turned his world upside down, and six months since they sat in an all-night diner plotting Ash’s theoretical solution for Pete’s faded, botched tattoo.

Pete has just about given up hope of Ash ever fulfilling his promise when one day the end of a long shift finds Ash waiting for him.

Tonight is the night.

Ash is ready, and it seems the time has come for him to leave his mark on Pete in more ways than he ever imagined.

Preorder now from Dreamspinner Press


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A snippet that goes both ways

long_SeductiveSnS_TransparentIt’s Saturday again, so that means more snippets!

Welcome to everyone visiting via the TRS 10th Anniversary Party—I hope you have a good time here, and find a new author or two to enjoy on the hop.

This week I’m posting from Curious Sustenance, and continuing the theme of supporting characters. Next week is Bi Pride Week, so I chose a gal who doesn’t only play for one team, although you wouldn’t really know it from this bit. This snippet is near the beginning. The “he” is my MC, Ross, and he’s just been rescued from a bad break-up and an empty trophy house by his best friend and work-out buddy, Janet.

This has been through one edit, so I only recommend squinting one eye when you read it. 😉

When he returned to the living room, wearing low-tech blue sweats and an oversized UFC t-shirt, she greeted him with a big bowl of zero-point taco soup and a half-dozen things to top it with. He heaped his bowl with some of everything and wolfed it down while they decided which movie to watch.

Halfway through the latest Sandra Bullock flick, which on any other day he would’ve loved, Ross slid so his head rested on Janet’s shoulder. He whined when she rested her head against his.

“You’re very appealing. There’s nothing wrong with you, at any weight. You’re a sweet, gorgeous hunk of man and if you weren’t gay we’d be so naked right now. And I’ll keep telling you that until you believe it so don’t worry about arguing, okay?”

Thanks for reading!

You know what to do: if it’s Saturday check out Seductive Studs & Sirens, and on Sunday visit Weekend Writing Warriors and one of the coolest Facebook groups I know, Snippet Sunday!

credit: Prehensile Eye via photopin cc

Today I’m the guest!

The lovely Shehanne Moore invited me to her hot seat again, and this time I brought protection–Ray Bigelow. Since I almost killed the poor guy in Directing Traffic it’s only fair he should enjoy a bit of the spotlight too! He’s talking a little about himself, and also dishing the backstage dirt on his nephew, Ty. Just be prepared, he’s a little crusty on the outside, even if he does have a soft (yet lady-killing) center.

Guest Author: Ciaran Dwynvil!

Today I’m thrilled to have as my guest Ciaran Dwynvil.  This smokin’ indie author has a new release out, In Blue Poppy Fields.  I’m sure you’ll have a ball getting better acquainted with the vampires in this series, so I won’t keep you waiting.


Thank you, Charley, for having me as your guest today. I’m very excited to be here to tell you about my newest gay erotic paranormal fantasy, In Blue Poppy Fields. The book will please not only all fans of Belial, the Prince of Trickery, the Lord of Lust and the Antilight… aka Guardian Demon, but all readers who love vampires.

Though… vampire stories differ greatly as we all know. Some have gloomy, horror atmosphere, some are full of blood and violence, still others brim with dark sensuality. How should you know ours would be to your liking? Apart from reading a sample chapter on Amazon or Smashwords to get a feel of the tale, you can learn about various aspects of a vampire’s life in our world during In Blue Poppy Fields release tour. Let’s first take a look at the book and then we will move on to our topic for today. Vampires and love.

In Blue Poppy Fields blurb: A victim to another man’s cruelty, talented and beautiful theater actor Adhemar Lebeau learned not to trust and not to love anybody but himself. Falsely accused of his master’s murder, he has to accept assistance of mysterious Count Sanyi Arany to later discover his savior is a vampire. Forced both by a fatal illness and aftershocks of torture experienced during his unjust imprisonment, Adhemar agrees to the only possible cure. Rebirth.

Healed in body but not in mind, he guards his independence, free will and heart. He is not able to give love, only the fulfillment of lust. Yet, satiation of sensuous longing is not enough for his Sire and he knows it. When an eerie malady strikes and seems to deplete Sanyi’s life energy for unknown reasons, Adhemar understands his fears and agrees to keep a street boy, Reyach, as a pet for both of them in hope it will soothe the unspoken worries.

Out of necessity he finds himself in the role of the only hunter in their company, and out of attachment he accepts the responsibility readily. Indulgence in blood and carnal pleasures fill his nights and vampiric powers give him the feeling of safety. Until the evening when he carelessly falls prey to High Demon Belial’s plays that quickly turn into more than either of them has bargained for.

In spite of a hard start, Adhemar feels burning urge deep in his heart and no matter how much he denies it, the cause of the strange sensation is a budding seed of affection brought to life by the insufferable demon. But letting Adhemar learn to love somebody other than him is not what seemingly innocent Reyach plans.


Just from reading the blurb you already know that vampires in our world are not coldblooded monsters. Make no mistake, they do kill their prey and can be rather violent while doing so. But it doesn’t mean they lack any feelings.

In fact, the act of Rebirth only magnifies all traits they possessed as mortal men. For good or ill. If a man was reserved before he became a vampire, he’s now even more guarded. If he always enjoyed good company, he is now drawn to places where mortals meet even more than before. Did he have a protective personality before? Now he will shield his close ones from any danger with ferocity of a mountain lion.

And so, when it comes to love, he is as vulnerable to this feeling as mortal men are. At least initially. In time, some vampires may learn to close their hearts to mortals and treat them only as prey, but even if they succeed on this front, most of them still strive to find a companion. Eternity is too long to be faced alone.

Notice that I said a companion… not necessarily a lover. Vampires in our world don’t live in covens but they welcome company of their own kind. In other words, their affection doesn’t have to be erotic in nature. Sometimes a relationship between them develops into another form of love. Like deep friendship is. Such a bond is very hard to sever as vampires tend to be extremely loyal to their companions.

Then again, loyalty shouldn’t be mistaken with faithfulness. Yes, some vampires are absolutely devoted to their lovers and wouldn’t take another into their bed. Some others are forced into serial faithfulness… as the life span of mortals is so short compared to immortality. And some prefer free spirited ways and can have several favorite lovers and pets. And while such libertine habits don’t comply with the image of ideal, monogamous love, once a vampire allows somebody into his heart, he becomes a fierce protector. He looks out for his close one(s) and does all possible to keep him/ them out of the harm’s way. A vampire’s loyalty is generally stronger than self-preservation instinct is and should his close ones be in danger, he is capable of self-sacrifice to save them, without regards to monogamy or the lack thereof.

To sum things up, vampires can fall in love and find both pleasure and pain in this feeling very much like mortals do. But their love should never be measured against mortal standards. It’s different. Not worse and not better. Just different. If you seek a portrayal of ideal devotion, our books are likely not for you. If you are fascinated by many faces of affection, then you will likely enjoy In Blue Poppy Fields and other Guardian Demon Series books.

If you are interested to learn more about vampires in our world, you can find a list of topics and the schedule of the whole tour here.

We spoke about love today and so also the excerpt will be full of it.

Starving, he attempted to grow into the wood beneath his brow and just cease to exist. It would be easier than torturing himself with images that would never come true. They couldn’t. He was undead and Adhemar was… alive. The planes of their worlds weren’t meant to touch. They shouldn’t have and he shouldn’t have sought solace in the theater. He should have accepted… mortals were… just prey and nothing more. He should have learned to close his heart. He had not. And now his idol knew and he would be… What exactly would he be? More undead? Maker, how many shades of death are there?

Silence. The Lord preferred to let him learn it on his own. But he was a slow pupil, lost in the eternity of doubts. Lost in the eternity.

Hunger clawed at his stomach again. He should have left the mansion long ago to seek his feast. Somewhere in the dirt of the back streets. Somebody who wouldn’t be missed. He should have and didn’t. What had Vincent told him? To feed regularly. To make sure he would be always satiated at home. To make sure he wouldn’t become a threat within his own house. And what was he doing? The exact opposite. And why? Because he had been waiting to hear Adhemar’s steps behind the wall, heralding his flight. And they had come. His favorite was leaving him and he couldn’t prevent it. He could only press his burning forehead against the wood harder and try not to feel.


Did the little peek into our world capture your attention? In Blue Poppy Fields is currently available at Amazon and Smashwords.

It can be read without being familiar with other books in the Guardian Demon Series but you now have an opportunity to win one of the twelve copies of Trails of Love I Crawl Part 1 that opens the beguiling world of this series. Participation is easy enough for anybody over the age of eighteen. The more you help others find me and Guardian Demon Series books, the more chances to win you will have.

What can you do?

  • Recommend my books in reader discussions on Goodreads, Shelfari or other platforms you are active at
  • Follow my blog, like my FB page, follow me on Twitter
  • Rate my books on Goodreads
  • Review my books on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N or Goodreads
  • Feature my books and your reviews of them on your blog if you have one
  • Tell your friends about Guardian Demon Series
  • Tweet about In Blue Poppy Fields, FB links to release tour articles, reblog them, Pinterest them, Stumble upon them… whichever platform you fancy is welcome

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My giveaway form will give you more suggestions. Winners will be announced on my blog on the 11th of April.

I hope to see your entry in the giveaway and thank you for your help in spreading the word of mouth about Guardian Demon Series.


With this I hand over Charley’s blog back to her. It has been my pleasure to be your guest, Charley. Thank you for having me over today.

My pleasure, Ciaran.  Best of luck with the tour!

A moment to reflect

Last year I worked up the courage to submit a story in a new genre – M/M Erotic Romance.  My debut M/M Erotic Romance novella was released on December 17 so I thought, it being January and all, I’d take a moment to reflect.  It’s a good habit to get into – taking a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come, even (especially?) when we’re still not quite where we’d like to be.

Last August I volunteered my way into a writer’s conference and found the kick in the pants I’d been looking for to get serious about writing again.  I’d been unemployed for almost two months and a lot had happened in that relatively short time (but I won’t bore you with that here).  So I wrote Comfort and Joy, and after only one rejection signed a contract with Etopia Press!  That was super exciting, and prompted me to venture into the wild world of social media.  I never thought I’d do that, but a few months later I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and seven (yes, 7!) Yahoo groups!  I’m not the most talkative gal out there, but I’m there.

Strangely enough, I owe a lot of this new activity to one of my favorite characters, Charlie Price.  He’s one of the main characters in Comfort and Joy and we’ve worked through our pain together to a good end.  A large part of the inspiration for him was my recovery from an accident which, over the course of about two years, involved a lot of trips to many different specialists and all the emotions that go along with daily physical pain.  The experience changed the way I see the world, and myself.  Not the least of which seems to be expecting more and more, and more quickly to boot!

I’ll keep myself from going on to goals for the coming year.  I’m having too much fun basking in my successes just now, and the sweet feeling that we can never really know where we’ll end up when we take that first step.

What highlights from 2012 are you taking the time to appreciate?

xphoto credit: bkdc via photopin cc

Dreaming of Romance

Two of my most valuable writing tools are daydreaming and quiet observation.  Nothing new here, but I wouldn’t be doing much writing without them.

A long time ago I went to a Terry Brooks reading/signing (no, not THAT long ago!).  He had just released The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Ilse Witch and the appearance was in a tiny independent bookstore in a small town about a half hour outside Portland.  Someone asked how he got the idea for his Running With The Demon series, and he answered that he decided to write a story about domestic violence and then he just sat for a while, daydreamed, and let things happen.  I’m pretty sure it was on a beach, but I could just be projecting my own favorite place to sit and daydream onto this memory.

At another reading (same tiny indie bookstore) Chuck Palahniuk said he thinks about one or two things he wants his main character to do/be and as he listens and writes, more about the character will “suggest itself” to him.  I’ve never forgotten that phrase—suggest itself—because in order to hear any suggestions a character or story may present to you, you’d have to be listening.  If the thing you’re listening to doesn’t physically exist, I’m pretty sure you have to be daydreaming.

Observing is harder, IMO.  I’m a natural daydreamer—it’s innate—I was born with the talent to sit and stare into space and listen to the voices in my head.  Sometimes it freaks people out, which has been perversely satisfying at times, but I digress.

Observing, or to be more specific, active observation, means adopting the same posture you would while daydreaming and then turning the focus outward.  I don’t’ have any anecdotes about this, probably because it’s not something I’m naturally wired to do.  Oh, I love to people-watch and will peer into anyone’s living room widow if the curtains are open but the tendency is always there to put what I see into the context of my own life and experience, to impose my own interpretation on what I see as I’m seeing it.  There’s nothing wrong with interpreting what we see, but I do think writers shortchange themselves if they do so while in the middle of a new experience.  I can figure out what I think about the street performer on the train home, but only if I really pay attention while she’s performing.  Skipping to the interpretation is like having salad and then dessert.  No, that’s a bad analogy; I like having salad for dinner, and dessert at any time is fine by me.

Back to daydreaming and observation.  I started a new story this week, one that’s been percolating a while because of the television commercials a local business has been producing for 20+ years.  The two proprietors look as though they’re still good friends after all this time and over the years I’ve shipped them pretty hard during their 20-30 second appearances.  A few weeks ago I read a submission call for 2013 and somehow these two things tangled up in my writer-brain and turned into a character.  He was a little shy at first, but the more I listen to him the more he speaks.  And the coolest part is that he’s not exactly who I’d envisioned before I started.

I love it when that happens.

I’m off to set the stage and then listen to my new guy for a while.  Sweet day-dreams, everyone!


Word of the Week: prodigy

When I was a kid I worried I wasn’t right in the head.  People who didn’t exist would walk in, flop down onto a beanbag chair and start telling me their stories.  By my early twenties the party room in my head had morphed into a kitchen and the characters pulled up a chair and sat at the table to talk.  I’ve come to embrace my own brand of insanity, thanks in part to one character who wouldn’t leave.  Thanks to Sunny and her family, I’ve reached a few of my writing goals since my first publication in the late 90s.

Two years ago, before I worked up the courage to submit any ERom, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and ended up with a nice (and hot) story about a man in his late twenties re-connecting with his family.  The man is one of Sunny’s sons, and before that I wasn’t sure what had happened to him.  For years, just about all I knew was that he went away to college in Chicago and basically dropped off the family radar.  Once in a while someone would mention him, so I knew he stayed on the music track and was with a pianist named Charlie.  I thought Charlie was a woman, but it turns out Charlie is a beautiful blond boy with blue eyes and mad piano skills.

By the time I reached the end of that NaNo draft I realized I didn’t know Charlie well enough to write that story.  He felt like a cardboard character, but I could see glimmers of a more interesting guy in there somewhere.  Of course there’s only one way to remedy something like that—through more writing.  After a few months of peeling that onion I had a draft I called The Prequel, and a much clearer picture of the early years of one of my favorite couples (who happen to be the main characters in my Christmas story that’s forthcoming from Etopia Press):  Sam and Charlie.

Sometime during the writing of The Prequel I checked into lesser-known meanings for the word prodigy and was surprised to find it also means “something abnormal or monstrous”.  I suppose it’s possible for a gifted child to seem scary—just like some current technology would probably freak-out someone living in the Middle Ages.  Depending on his mood, Charlie would either agree with this assessment or launch into a scathing soliloquy aimed at anyone daring to say a gift (or a child) could be monstrous.

Here’s the usual info about this week’s word.  I hope you all have an extraordinary week!

Prodigy [prod-i-jee]

noun, plural prod·i·gies.

1. a person, especially a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability: a musical prodigy.

2. a marvelous example (usually followed by of ).

3. something wonderful or marvelous; a wonder.

4. something abnormal or monstrous.

5. Archaic . something extraordinary regarded as of prophetic significance.

1425–75; late Middle English prodig < Latin prōdigium  prophetic sign

Word of the Week: mutt

Today as I left class I saw this old, and most likely long-retired, fire truck sitting in a field on the edge of campus and even though I was thinking about homework and errands, one of my characters popped up and really wanted to go check it out.  So, since I love my guys, I let him.

Sam White is one of the main characters in my Christmas story, “Comfort and Joy”, that’s forthcoming from Etopia Press.  I’ve known him and his family for a long time (in fact, my first two published short stories were about his mom).  Sam’s a professional musician but if he didn’t have music he’d want to fight fires and rescue folks from burning buildings.  Over the years I’ve written a few of his stories so I know he calls himself a mutt even though he doesn’t look like one.  He’s a mix ancestry-wise:  French Canadian, Mohawk, German and Dutch on his dad’s side and Irish and Swedish on his mom’s, but he has his dad’s brown skin and shiny black hair.

I’m always curious about the lesser-known meanings of commonly-used words, and the etymology of everything, so I looked up “mutt” and found something I didn’t already know:  it’s short for muttonhead.


noun. Slang.

1.  a dog, especially a mongrel.

2.  a stupid or foolish person; simpleton.

1901, “stupid or foolish person,” probably a shortening of muttonhead (1803); meaning “a dog,” especially “a mongrel” is from 1904, originally simply a term of contempt.

I seriously doubt Sam would use the word to describe himself if he knew this!  As he once told his mom, he’s never been accused of placing too low a value on himself.   A mongrel is one thing but foolish (even if sometimes it’s all too applicable) just wouldn’t fly.

Uh-oh, now I hear Charlie snickering in my head.