Sunday, January 30, 2011


Today my twisted little short, Speed Demon, releases from Amber Allure (the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press). This is opposed to my twisted little shorts, which I will be washing out in the sink this afternoon, but I digress.

For one week only, if you purchase Speed Demon direct from Amber Allure, you can get it at their 35% off new release discount, and can take it home for the very tidy price of just $1.95 (and yes, Kindle owners, this applies to you as well--just choose the .prc version and it will work perfectly on your Kindle; it will be available soon in the Kindle store, but probably not at this price).

Here's what Speed Demon is about:
Jealousy can be such an ugly emotion, but can it drive one to kill?

Jake is in love with Cayce, an older, best-selling author who thinks of him only as a friend. Cayce is enthralled—as is everyone else—with Garland, a gorgeous waif of a boy, famous for his eccentric clothes and an unparalleled desire to be at the center of attention. Constantly.

Jake’s discovery of something as mundane as a few over-the-counter sleeping pills pulls Speed Demon into a story of thwarted love, of a twisted triangle, and just maybe, a tale of crime and revenge from beyond the grave...

And here's a little taste of what you're in for:
...Jake never intended to kill the boy.

I know because he told me. Murder was never on his mind—never had been. What reason would he have to lie?

After all, even if it wasn't his intention, he did kill Garland. Nothing can change that.

Death doesn’t really concern itself with details like intention, you know? Regardless of whether one means to end a life or not, when someone ends up dead, it’s truly the end of the road, which is a fitting pun if you read on.

Now, if he had intended to kill this lost boy… Well, then, the murder would have been a thing of beauty—perfect in its execution, freeing the murderer from even the slightest suspicion. The kid’s death looked to everyone like an accident and, I suppose, in its own freakish way, it was.

Because, as I said, he never intended to kill him. It was the accident of poor judgment, fueled by jealousy, which caused the other accident that would end the boy’s life.

Oh, this is getting confusing! I’m sure, dear reader, that if you have the patience—and the courage—to read on, you’ll discover how even accidents can be malicious, and death, sometimes, unavoidable.

The fact that the boy’s death was over me is flattering, even if I am sorry it happened. But, as I've been known to say, on many occasions, “It's all about me, me, me.”

And this story is no exception...

BUY Speed Demon (for only $1.95--this week only!).

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sample 60 Saturday: High Risk

Cover art by Trace Edward Zaber
Every Saturday, until I run out of books--or decide to go to page 70--I will present an excerpt, page 60, from one of my books. No matter what it says--funny, filthy, scary, dumb, or tantalizing--you'll get it here.

And I'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below and let me know if this made you want to read more.

Let's continue the chronological tour and delve into my gruesome thriller about an unfaithful wife and what happens when she meets a devastatingly handsome man whose alluring facade conceals a monster, High Risk.

Her secret life...
Beth Walsh seems like such a demure housewife. Taking care of her attorney husband and doing volunteer work, the young woman is someone you'd meet at a church social. But Beth has a secret life. While her husband works, Beth slides into what she calls her "slut clothes" and goes on the prowl. She becomes a completely different woman, wanton and uninhibited, with dozens of handsome strangers. Until she meets the one blindingly gorgeous stranger who will make her more than sorry for her secrets and lies. 

Abbott Lowery is every woman's dream: handsome, muscular, with intense blue eyes that contrast with his thick black hair. Women want him. Men want him. But Abbott is deeply damaged, and inside lurks a monster just waiting to be released. When Beth Walsh pursues him, it pushes a deeply buried rage to the fore and he becomes determined to punish her. Beth meeting Abbott lights the fuse on a bomb. Its explosion leads to a tale of terror and desperation so intense it will sear everyone who knows them. 

High Risk is a story of secrets, tainted histories, murder, kidnapping, and an ending so brutal and shocking readers will be left breathless.
Page 60
Abbott leaned back in the recliner in which he had fallen asleep, trying to calm himself. His perspiration had damped the chair’s corduroy. He knew he’d feel better if he could just lower his pulse rate, stop his heart from pounding, take his breathing down a notch…and cool off. His face burned hot; it and his back and armpits ran slick with sweat.

After a few moments, Abbott felt well enough to cross the room to the refrigerator, crack open an Old Style and down half of it in a single gulp. He glanced at the clock. Almost 7 p.m. He was due at Bennie’s in an hour. One more hour before facing the hordes, being forced to bear witness to their empty lives, their preening, their egos.

He wasn’t sure he could make it through another night there. Watching them made him want to puke.

He drank the rest of the beer, leaning against the windowsill and peering into the darkness.
Beth sat in the living room, alone. A pillar candle on the coffee table provided the only light, flickering and casting shadows. Philip Glass tinkled softly, just above audible, from the stereo speakers. Outside, darkness pressed in at the windows, an almost palpable force.

She had sat in this same spot for hours, watching the sky go from pewter to a mix of magenta, pink, and violet, until dark, and tried not to think. Tried not to wonder how long it would be before her infidelity was exposed and Mark would throw her out, and she’d no longer be able to watch the afternoon wind down into dusk and finally evening through leaded glass. Tried not to wonder just how much longer it would be until Mark confronted her, with the evidence he already had, or with more that Abbott would probably pile on top.

She would be found out. Beth couldn’t be sure if her exposure would come from the intervention of a crazy man, a careless slip, or her bringing home a sexually transmitted disease.

“Honey, what’s the sore on my dick?”

Beth shivered.

Mark would know one day. She couldn’t keep going as she had without something giving way.

She leaned forward and lifted the glass of white burgundy to her lips. She swallowed and closed her eyes for a moment. Irony. Was that what her thoughts were right now? Because in spite of all this, thoughts of sex had interlaced themselves. She couldn’t deny that sex would take away the pain and the fear for a little while. Couldn’t deny that out there, somewhere, perhaps a little tipsy in some corner bar after staying for one-too-many after work, would be a handsome man who would throw her up against a door and fuck her until she could think of nothing else save the pleasure and the pain she got from him pounding her, from the slick intermingling of their juices running down her thighs…

Buy High Risk.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Thank you, Alan Cumming

"I think it's so mean-spirited. If you're living a lie, that's not healthy, and I think it is really irresponsible of Richard and Rupert to say those things. It's about how you exist as a person in the world, and the idea that your work is more important than you as a person is a horrible, horrible message. I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on earth can they?"

Partially in response to Richard Chamberlain (who needs to go back in the closet), who said recently that he "wouldn't advise a gay leading man-type actor to come out."

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dignity Takes a Holiday Gets Its First Review

It's not a professional review, but a Goodreads reader, but Opcit gave DIGNITY TAKES A HOLIDAY 4 stars. What I liked about the review is that the reviewer really didn't like the type of humor in the book, but didn't diss it because it wasn't his or her cup of tea--that, to me, is really cool. I have seen other reviewers take a book to task simply because it's the kind of thing they don't like to read and I always wonder: well, why didn't you read something else, then?

Anyway, I'm very pleased with this (and the John Waters comparison is spot on!):

Jan 23, 2011
Opcit rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
First a disclaimer. This is the first book I've read by this author and I'm not familiar with his style of story telling. Dignity Takes a Holiday is definitely a funny book but if you are looking for a sweet rom-com this is not for you.

The humor is along the lines of a John Waters movie; and like a John Waters movie I cringed in some spots because I'm not into that type of comedy.

Although this is not my brand of humor, I recognize what the author intended and it succeed...moreFirst a disclaimer. This is the first book I've read by this author and I'm not familiar with his style of story telling. Dignity Takes a Holiday is definitely a funny book but if you are looking for a sweet rom-com this is not for you.

The humor is along the lines of a John Waters movie; and like a John Waters movie I cringed in some spots because I'm not into that type of comedy.

Although this is not my brand of humor, I recognize what the author intended and it succeeded beautifully both from a creative and a technical point of view.

Definitely a recommended read for if you like comedy along the lines of Strangers With Candy or John Waters.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

New E-Book Versions of My First Two Novels will Soon Be Available

I just got the great news that a new and very ambitious e-book publisher, Untreed Reads, has opted to pick up my first two books, Obsessed and Penance and to bring them out in brand new e-book editions.

Original Dell cover
The books are near and dear to my heart because they were my first professional publications and because they were part of a unique horror line, put out by Dell, under the brilliant and innovative eye of editor Jeanne Cavelos. In an interview in Dark Scribe magazine with Jeanne (who became not only a mentor, but a good friend), she had this to say about starting Abyss for Dell: 

Original Dell cover
"I felt that the line had to make a commitment to quality, and to state that commitment in each book. With luck, that would convince the reader to take a chance on it. I also felt that a lot of horror had become predictable, formulaic, and even silly. Too many of those published in the horror boom were doing variations on Stephen King, since he was the king of the boom. We'd had too many stories about haunted houses and evil children and ancient Indian burial grounds...I don't like to lay down edicts about horror, since the great strength of the genre is how much freedom it provides. Horror doesn't dictate a plot, as mysteries and romances do; it doesn't dictate a setting, as Westerns and, to some degree, science fiction and fantasy do. To be a part of the horror genre, all that's required is that the story evokes strong, dark emotions - anything from apprehension, fear, terror, horror, disgust, anger, despair, numbness, loss, morbid fascination, and disturbing thrills, to awe. But I believe that horror should provide vision and revelation, as Steve Tem says, and it can do neither if it is predictable. Horror shouldn't be predictable. It should be the exact opposite of predictable. And it had become all too predictable. I knew that horror could do more, and that it should do more. In a sense the genre had been narrowed by the boom, as publishers sought out more of the same...The new editorial focus would be paired with a new look in cover art (no more dancing skeletons!), and the whole thing would be marked with a new imprint, Abyss, to separate it from the horror Dell had done in the past. "

I am proud to have been a part of the line that launched such renowned writers as Poppy Z. Brite and Kathe Koje and proud that Jeanne saw something worthwhile in a story about a serial killer who thought he was a vampire from an unknown writer.

And now, I am equally proud Untreed Reads sees the same worth in those two books and will be bringing them out for your digital reading enjoyment in 2011.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm nominated for Love Romance Cafe Annual Book and Author Award Nominations

Nominated for best all-around book!
Just quietly announcing that I am nominated for Best GLBTQ author and my novel, Tricks has been nominated for best all around book. Below are the other people with whom I'm honored to be nominated. If you get a chance and feel I deserve a vote, you can vote for me here and/or Tricks here. If you think enough of me and my work to vote for me, I thank you.

Find all the nominated books and authors here.

Nominees for Best Book All Around 2010

Love Means…Freedom by Andrew Grey (Dreamspinner)
Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon (St. Martins)
Twice in a Lifetime by Shawn Lane (Amber Quill)
Last Chance by Viki Lyn (Loose Id)
Bastet by TA Chase (Amber Quill)
Meg's Folly by Adriana Kraft (
Cowboy Boots and Unfinished Business by Natalie Acres (Siren)
Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane (Dreamspinner)
Deadlines by Fabian Black (Chastise-Books)
The Point Victoria Blisse (Total E-Bound)
72 Hours by Clare London (Dreamspinner Press)
Spell Kissed by Kari Thomas (Black Lyon)
Like Clockwork by Bonnie Dee (Carina Press)
Tricks by Rick R. Reed (MLR Press)
Last Call Europe: Black Wolf by Belinda McBride (Changeling)

Nominees for Best GBLTQ Author 2010

Andrew Grey
Shawn Lane
Serena Yates
AJ Llewellyn
Joyee Flynn
Stormy Glen
RJ Scott
LB Gregg
Michael Barnette
Mychael Black
Beth Wylde
Mark Alders
LD Madison
Jack Greene
William Maltese
Fabian Black
Heidi Cullinan
Diana DeRicci
Rick R. Reed
Josh Lanyon
Laura Baumbach
Charlie Cochrane
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Goodreads Giveaway: Signed Copy of DIGNITY TAKES A HOLIDAY

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dignity Takes A Holiday (Paperback) by Rick R. Reed

Dignity Takes A Holiday

by Rick R. Reed

Giveaway ends January 27, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Sparkling New Review for OUT ON THE NET

There's nothing better for a writer than when a reader/reviewer "gets" his or her work. That's exactly what happened with this review of my coming-out story Out on the Net--the reviewer not only understrood what I was trying to do, but the book resonated with her emotionally as well.

In part, reviewer C. Zampa (on Miz Love Loves Books) said:

"When did I fall for Ray? Soon after he’d come out of the closet, when reality dawned on him. He’d made the leap, landed, then looked around at his new life and panicked. He blogged, What had I done? I threw away all my hopes for a future, for a family, for a nice, tidy small town life. I had no one. Would I ever find someone to love?

Reading that, even now, my heart hurts. It is so real, too real. But it's something Reed--in that one little thought--brought home so clearly, so powerfully, that so intimately let this reader into Ray's soul. The hero had made the turn in the crossroad. The path ahead of him was going to be a huge unknown and, like any human, he was afraid."

Read the entire, well-written review (that they call "not-a-review" for some reason) here.

Buy Out on the Net here.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Author Rachel Haimowitz Swings By on Her Blog Tour

Today, I'm giving you the chance to discover a wonderful new author whose writing may take you places you never dreamed of going--and that's a good thing. Say hello to Rachel Haimowitz, who today continues to answer burning questions from readers. For more questions and answers, and more about Rachel herself, check out the information below about the rest of her blog tour. And also read to the bottom to see how you can win free stuff!

Take it away, Rachel...

From Mindy MacKay: As someone who writes m/m with bondage, do you identify more with your Dom or sub character? Or are their heads equally easy to slip into for you?

From a personal perspective, I’d have to say I identify more with the Dom, as that’s the role I take in real life. That being said, being a good Dom—to me, at least—means doing everything in your power to understand your sub’s motives, needs, wants, desires, fears, secret fantasies, boundaries, even their thoughts from moment to moment. So in that regard, it’s quite possible that I identify more with the sub. Certainly in a real scene, my sub is my entire focus. In my written scenes, the sub the Dom’s entire focus, too. And because understanding a sub’s inner processes is so important to me, I do tend to write quite a bit of my BDSM scenes from the sub’s POV—more, actually, than I write from the Dom’s POV. So I guess the short answer is that it’s easy for me to slip into both their heads, even if the Dom POV comes more naturally to me.

From Jen B: How difficult was it to take that first (or 100th) idea and actually created an entire story from it? My brother and I were just discussing how difficult we find it to go from idea/outline to actual story.

Short answer? Hard. Ideas are easy; I’ve got more of those than I could develop in ten lifetimes. Taking that first wisp of an idea and fleshing it out into a story-world is a little less easy, but arguably (for me at least) the most fun part of writing. It’s where you can let your imagination fly, where you can explore every possibility, where nothing is set in stone yet and no answer is explicitly wrong. I find it helps tremendously to have at least one person you can use as a sounding board during this stage; they’ll come at it with different eyes and different life experiences, and will invariably find connections you could not.

Moving past the fleshing-out stage and actually sitting down to write is by far the hardest part of creating a story. I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, so I tend to just write for a while and let the world and characters take me where they will. But about halfway through that process, the shape of the story becomes clear enough for me to stop and outline the rest. That’s my compromise between the creative freedom of explorative writing and the tight, well-paced focus of outline writing. Mind you, the beginning almost always needs redoing, or at least editing quite heavily, once I hit the outline stage. In Counterpoint, I cut about 40 pages out of the beginning and wrote about 25 new ones to replace it with. Anchored was a little smoother going, as that story was birthed more or less fully grown right from the start: an adult Athena popping from Zeus’s head. It was only the world details that needed changing in Anchored, as I discovered them along the way.

From Veronica: I’m always curious where people find their inspiration. So I want to know where you get your plot ideas. Are they just floating around up there in the gray matter? Do you sit in Central Park and make up stories about the people that pass by in your head…You know…Got an odd source of inspiration you feel like sharing

For me, I think it’s mostly just about keeping my eyes and ears open. The oddest things can trigger an idea. If you want to hear what triggered the idea for Anchored, hop on over to Nina Pierce’s blog (, where I did a guest post earlier this week that addressed exactly that. For the most part, though, it’s just totally random. I’ve learned to follow all my little “what if” musings and daydreams, to let my mind play with them and to write them down; you can mine gold in those fleeting thoughts.

Sometimes there’s a collision of concepts, too. For instance, a couple weeks ago I was watching some crappy crime procedural that was investigating an organ-stealing ring. And then I read an excerpt from a book with an immortal character. Somehow, my brain mashed those two things together and said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to have some kind of human with regenerative capacity being held captive by a black-market organ ring? They’d take his liver, and he’d grow a new one.” From there I started thinking about what kind of human: Genetically modified? Magically immortal? Cursed by the gods like Prometheus? Not human at all, but an alien with compatible organs? And then I started thinking about what kind of plot I could build around that story. Will anything ever come of it? Who knows. But I’ve got a file full of notes, and maybe one day it’ll be a story.

From Barbara: How does look your typical writing day? Do you write in the mornings, evenings or it doesn't matter to you?

I’m very fortunate not to have a 9-to-5 job, so I have a ton of flexibility in how and when I write. I work my day job from home and set my own hours and workload, with rare exception (scheduled client interviews, or a rapid-turnaround press kit, for example), so most weeks I’m able to spend a good chunk of each day working on my own stuff. I tend to be quite the night owl, so a typical day might see me waking at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and writing so far into the night I watch the sun rise the next morning. Other times I’m on “normal person” hours, and I go to bed at 10 and wake up at 6 and start writing first thing in the morning. As long as I get enough sleep (and I may be the only person in America who does), I can get the writerly juices flowing at any time of day or night.

Here's a little bit about Rachel's latest book, Anchored:
Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company who's owned him since childhood, decides to lease him on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.

Daniel's not stupid; he knows there's only one reason a man would pay so much for what little free time he has, and it's got nothing to do with his knowledge of current events. But he's never been made to serve like that before, and he fears he won't survive the experience with his sanity intact.

He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him time and again when it comes to ordering Daniel to bed. Daniel knows what Carl wants, but it seems as if Carl isn't willing to take it, and Daniel's not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, love just might flourish where once there'd been only fear and pain. Can Carl become the anchor in Daniel's turbulent life, or will he end up the weight that sinks his slave for good?   

And a bit about Rachel herself
Rachel is an M/M erotic romance author and a freelance writer and editor. She originally dipped her toes into cable news and book publishing, decided the water was cold and smelled kinda funny, and moved on to help would-be authors polish and publish, write for websites and magazines, and ghostwrite nonfiction.

Her first novel, an M/M fantasy erotic romance titled Counterpoint: Book One of Song of the Fallen, released in August 2010 with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. Her second novel, an M/M alternate-history erotic romance titled Anchored: Belonging Book One, released January 17 with Noble Romance Publishing. Her third, Crescendo: Book II of Song of the Fallen, will release in the fall of 2011. In between, Rachel is writing shorts and novellas, including the M/M BDSM collection Sublime: Collected Shorts, and a not-yet-released cyberpunk novella titled Break and Enter, co-written with Aleksandr Voinov.

You can find Rachel tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.

Where else you can find Rachel:
*Complete Anchored Release Party Schedule:
*Yesterday's blog tour stops: (book review by Bryl Tyne), and (classified ads from the Anchored world: "Slaves for sale!")
*Today's other stop: (Character interviews with Carl, Jane, Dave, and Eric Foster)
*Tomorrow's stops: (book Q&), and (review and interview)

Win Stuff!
To win either of the prizes below, simply leave a comment, along with a way to get in touch with you should you be the lucky winner. Rachel will draw a winner on the last day of her tour, January 23. Prizes are:
  • 1 ebook copy of Counterpoint: Book I of Song of the Fallen OR of Sublime: Collected Shorts (winner's choice).
    1 swag pack featuring cover art from Anchored and my other works

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Dignity Takes a Holiday is Out!

Just letting you know about my latest book, a "romantic comedy" more in the style of John Waters than Neil Simon, Dignity Takes a Holiday. The first twenty people to buy the paperback directly from Dreamspinner Press get an autographed copy.

Now, if you are looking for lofty literary aspirations, good taste, or a serious commentary on the human condition, then go somewhere else. Dignity Takes a Holiday is for those of you who like bawdy and brazen humor about a true underdog looking for love in all the wrong places.

Read an exclusive interview with me about the book. 

Meet Pete Thickwhistle. Pete doesn’t live what one might call a charmed life. At age forty-seven, he’s a flamboyant gay man who believes no one knows he’s gay, still living at home with his harpy of a mother. Worse, he’s still a virgin, longing to find just the right man to make his life complete. Pete’s an upbeat kind of guy, yet he’s never learned that the answer to his motto “What could possibly go wrong?” is always: “Everything.”

Pete’s road to love and happiness is full of potholes, yet he never tires of searching, despite job losses, weight battles, clothing faux pas, and disastrous vacations, parties, and dating debacles. Pete is the ultimate underdog living a television situation comedy, one named Dignity Takes a Holiday.

Read an excerpt here.

Buy Dignity Takes a Holiday direct from the publisher in paperback or e-book.

Dignity Takes a Holiday will be available soon from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all major digital and print booksellers.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

New 4.5 Star Review for TRICKS at Jessewave Reviews

Woke up to this wonderful review by guest reviewer Victor J. Banis for my romance novel, Tricks this morning. Victor says:

"...Not that this novel is without suspense, but while that element adds a bit of frisson to the reading pleasure, it is really the unlikely relationship between his two protagonists that holds the story together and propels it forward, a classic case of opposites attracting. Think Hepburn and Grant in Bringing up Baby. The beautiful Arliss, at age twenty two, is a stripper in a gay bar, Tricks. Sean, whose looks are more average, is thirty seven, and on the nerdy side. A breakup with his boyfriend, Jerome, brings heartbroken Sean into the bar one night, in time to see Arliss perform..."

Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic. In Rick R. Reed’s searing love story, it means all three. Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks but nursing his wounds from a recent break-up. When the two spy each other, magic blooms. But this opposites-attract tale does not run smoothly.

Read the whole review here.

Buy Tricks.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

OUT ON THE NET Reviewed by Brief Encounters and Gets a B+

Brief Encounters, the new m/m short m/m romance review site, gave my coming-out story OUT ON THE NET a B+. Jenre said,

"As well as being humorous, this story was also very romantic as Ray looks for the one man with whom he can settle down. His observations on the seedier side of being gay, including his discovery of a glory hole, may have produced most of the comedy, but his relationship with the man of his dreams was one of the highlights for me and left me with the warm fuzzies at the end."

Read the whole review.


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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CRIME SCENE Nominated for a Derringer Award

I was pleased to get the following note from Jay Hartman, my publisher and head of the new e-book publishing company, Untreed Reads, that is making quite a name for itself in the industry, publishing more than 100 titles in its very first year:

"I just wanted you to know that I chose Crime Scene as our submission for the 2011 Derringer Awards, a prize honoring excellence in short mystery and crime. Although I think very highly of everything we publish, I truly feel that Crime Scene goes far and beyond the typical short story and deserves the recognition. It has been submitted in the category of Best Short Story.

Keep your fingers crossed! Finalists will be announced March 1st.

The Derringer Award was created in 1997 by the Short Mystery Fiction Society to honor excellence in the creative artform of short mystery and crime stories. The name "Derringer," after the palm-sized handgun, was chosen as a metaphor for a mystery or crime short story -- small, but dangerous. 

Although finalists won't be announced until March, I can still be hopeful I'll make the cut. Crime Scene, although short, is one of the works of which I'm proudest. It's very dark, more horrific than anything supernatural because its terror is of the mundane and real-life variety, but ultimately very redemptive.

I wrote "Crime Scene" when I ran across a book of very disturbing and explicit crime scene photographs in a bookstore many years ago in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. I bought the book, which shows you how twisted my twisted interests are. But there was one image that I simply could not get out of my head: that of a strangled little girl. It gave my nightmares. It broke my heart. To this day, I can still see that stark and horrible image in my mind's eye, even though it's been many years since I actually held the book in my hands.

This brain imprinting was what I had in mind when I started writing "Crime Scene." In the story, I wanted to show how something as simple as a photograph can leave a lasting, indelible impression and how that impression can create a yearning to put things right again.

There must be a way, she thought, to rid herself of this imagining a dead girl and her mother. Perhaps she could go to a hypnotist and have the memory excised from her brain, like a growth. She knew she couldn’t do what she wanted most: turn back time to the day she went into the bookstore and listened to her own voice of reason when it told her not to look inside the book of crime scene photographs. But if we could do that, she thought grimly just before putting out the light next to her bed, everyone would be going back in time to correct his or her mistakes. She let out a whispered snicker in the dark: there would be no one in the present.
She wondered if the little girl’s mother had rued the day she had strangled her daughter. Had it been some horrible scar she had borne the rest of her life? Was she still alive in prison somewhere, able to see that same picture in Technicolor memory over and over, tormenting her so much she would want to die? Did she too wish she could turn back time and change the one thing on that day that led to her killing her own child? Or was she a sociopath with no feelings, not even for her own little girl? Had she died in the electric chair? What were her last thoughts? Were they of her daughter? Had she been relieved to die?
She turned over and closed her eyes, but the image from the book was there: imprinted on a matte of black inside her eyelids.

Purchase Crime Scene.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Writing a Good Back Cover Blurb

The bane of many writers' existence, especially those of us published by small presses, is writing the back cover blurb for our books. How do you instill in just a few words not only the essence of your book, but also what will make a reader say, "I have to read that."?

I just ran across these wonderful tips for writing back cover blurbs on The Creative Penn. Joanna Penn says:

"You pick up a book because the cover or title looks interesting. The next thing you do is read the back blurb, or if you are online, you read the first excerpt which is usually the same thing.

At basics, the back blurb is a sales pitch. It has to be almost an exaggeration of your story that entices the reader to buy, or at least download a sample to their Kindle or iPad. "

Read the whole article here.

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