Thursday, May 26, 2011

New cover for ECHOES, coming in July!

It's always exciting when you see what an artist comes up with as the "face" of your book. In this case, it's the cover for ECHOES, my urban ghost/love story coming out from Amber Allure in July.

Trace Edward Zaber did a wonderful job! Below is the synopsis. How well do you think the cover matches the story?

Rick and Ernie have found the perfect loft apartment on Chicago’s west side. But before they are even settled, Rick begins having strange “dreams” that seem all too real. A young man, emaciated, with sad brown eyes, appears to him, frightening and obsessing him.

From their next-door neighbor, Paula, Rick learns of the gay couple, Karl and Tommy, who lived there before them. Paula had been close to them and Tommy’s mysterious disappearance still pains her. When she shares a photo of her with Tommy and Karl, Rick is shocked and troubled. Tommy is the man who has appeared to him in his dreams.

The dreams and the revelation put Rick on a quest to discover the truth about Tommy’s disappearance. It’s a quest that will lead him to Karl, Tommy’s lover, who may know more about Tommy’s disappearance than he’s telling, and a confrontation with a restless spirit who wants only to, finally, rest in peace.

“Echoes” blends mystery, suspense, and romance as only the writer described as the “Stephen King of gay horror” can.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Review for HOW I MET MY MAN

Just got this nice review for my novella from Amber Quill Press's "Masquerade" series, HOW I MET MY MAN. In part, the Romance Studio reviewer said, "...a good read for those who like a mystery that leaves you guessing to almost the very end..." She also said (and this seemed like a puzzling comment for a review to make about a romance that's also suspense/mystery because it really is more about the reviewer than the author): "I am glad it was short though as I do tend to get impatient trying to figure out what is going on."

Read the whole review here.


Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 23, 2011

4.25 stars out of five for DIGNITY TAKES A HOLIDAY from the Bookwenches

One of my favorite reviewing sites, the Bookwenches, gave a very favorable review for my "sitcom for the taste-challenged in 24 episodes", Dignity Takes a Holiday. About my oddball love story, reviewer Bobby D. Whitney said, in part:

"Pete Thickwhistle, forty-seven year old virgin and full-time mama’s boy, is looking for love. Unfortunately, love doesn’t reciprocate. What is looking for him is a whole lot of trouble, more than his fair share of humiliation, and a generous serving of maternal abuse. Pete is a bumbling, walking faux pas with no fashion sense ...But when Pete looks in the mirror, he doesn’t see a loser...He sees a dude magnet. Ever hopeful, perpetually positive, and hornier than a lovestruck rhinoceros, Pete knows that Mr. Right is just around the next corner...Pete is determined find him, even if he has to sacrifice his non-existent dignity to do it...if you’re looking for larger-than-life and sometimes gross-out, bathroom humor that doesn’t take anything – least of all itself – seriously, then you may just want to give Dignity Takes a Holiday a shot..."

Read the whole review here:

Get your copy from the publisher in print or ebook here.
Kindle version here.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hate Mail: A Snake Waiting in My Mailbox

UPDATE: I just had an e-mail from one of my publishers, who said they had forwarded the letter in question, which had been sent to their corporate office--and not my home address. So that does releive the creepiness of this whole experience a bit. A bit.

A couple days ago, I received a disturbing letter in the mail. I was unnerved for a few reasons:

1. Who gets hand-addressed letters in the mail anymore, anyway? What used to be a delight has become odd in the era of e-mail, texting, and instant messages.
2. The letter was addressed to me at my new home in Seattle, a home I had moved to only three days ago.
3. The letter had no other purpose than to tell me how much this reader despised one of my books.

It was this last reason that really bugged me. Now, I have written and published enough material to understand that not everyone will love what I'm doing, nor even like it. I expect and accept the occasional bad review along the way. I comfort myself with knowing that even the best authors, classic ones, can and do get bad reviews.

And I certainly know that, for an artist of any stripe, having the expectation that he or she will please everyone, all the time, is folly.

But reviews are something else entirely. They are not ostensibly written expressly for the author. They're for publications, online or print, and for readers, who may be looking for guidance in their reading selections.

But a personal letter to an author at his home? I don't know; to me that's crossing a line. And yes, I do believe it's a different matter from writing to an author to tell him or her you loved something he or she wrote. That's just good manners and an act of kindness.

What puzzles me most is why someone would take time out of a their day to sit down and write a hateful and mean-spirited letter to an author, track his address down (I assume via the Internet through property logs or something). The author of the letter was not about correcting errors I made, but simply to inform me what a terrible book I had written. Curiously, he ended his letter by saying he was getting another one of my books and hoped that next time, he'd be writing a "rave review."

My response? At first, I suggested to my partner that I write a check out for the cost of the book and mail it back to the disgruntled reader. Wisely--and this is part of the reason he's my partner--he counseled me to not "engage" this person, to just forget it.

Which is what I did. I tore up the letter and threw it in the garbage. Life is too short to dwell on unkindness. Writing this now will also help me expel the bad feelings I got from this experience. Still, I am a little creeped out that this character knows exactly where I live...

What would you have done had you received the same letter? Do you think readers should write to authors personally, telling them they despised their work? And if so, what's the point in that? To teach them? To counsel them? To ensure they never do the perceived wrongs again? I don't know. My mother taught me that giving advice, good or bad, unsolicited, is just rude.

And I agree with Mom. God rest her soul.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, May 8, 2011

NEW RELEASE: Class Distinctions at 35% Off This Week Only!

I'm pleased to announce my latest release, a romantic ebook short from Amber Allure (the GLBT imprint of Amber Quill Press) called "Class Distinctions."

This week only, the story is available for a 35% discount from the publisher for all ebook formats (for Kindle, choose .prc). Click here to get your copy.

"Class Distinctions" will be available soon for Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other ebook readers.

Here are the details for "Class Distinctions":

Kyle and Jonathan were perfect for each other, the two halves that, once together, made a whole. And then one snowy night just before Parents' Weekend on the campus of Hamilton University, Kyle drops a bomb: he's breaking up with Jonathan.

Class Distinctions follows the couple through the stormy (in more ways than one) night that ensues. Why has Kyle suddenly decided to throw away something so precious and good? The answers lie in their backgrounds, and will gradually come to light as a winter blizzard rages around the young couple. Their tortured paths bring them to the covered bridge where their love had come to life on a hot summer day. But will the warmth of that memory and the heat of the love they once shared be enough to outclass the storm, and more importantly, bring them back together?

...He had come to the bridge almost without thinking about where he was going, but when he arrived there, he knew his feet had had a purpose in bringing him to this place. The snow swirled around him and pitted against his face like needles. He watched as the flakes vanished into the rushing water beneath him.

The bridge was a special place for Jonathan and him. It had been where they had shared their first kiss, back in August, shortly after they had met. The bridge had been a different place, almost of a different world, in August. The sun was bright, beating down relentlessly, bringing the temperature of the day into the mid-nineties. The air was thick, like a damp cloth thrown over one’s skin. Mosquitos hummed…and the leaves on the trees whispered whenever an all-too-infrequent breeze came along.

Jonathan had led him to this bridge, after they had spent the morning hiking the woods surrounding it. The two of them had forged a path along the creek that ran below it.

“You have to see this…it’s really cool.” Jonathan took my hand and led me through a copse of trees to a clearing. He gestured grandly as the vista opened up before us—the weathered bridge, with its stones and faded boards, rose up against the brilliant blue sky like an ancient treasure. On either end of it, weeping willows sagged in the heat.

There wasn’t a soul around us.

Jonathan took my hand in his own and the touch was electric, almost like a jolt, as it coursed through me. It was the very first time he’d touched me and I think that simple pressure of palm against palm and fingers intertwining let me know I was in love with this boy. It also opened the door to a hunger for thousands more touches from him, ones as simple as grabbing my hands and ones a lot more complex.

We fought our way up through cattails growing along the shoreline and further up the rise, brambles, but at last we reached the planks that would lead us inside the covered bridge. Its shade promised cool.

Jonathan pulled me into the darkness and turned to me, smiling. “Isn’t it something? I wonder how old it is?”

I looked in his robin’s egg blue eyes, amazed I could still make out their pale color even in the shade of the covered bridge. “It’s great. Thanks for bringing me here.” I let go of his hand so I could reach up and touch his face. “But it doesn’t compare to you, to just being here with you.”

I leaned down then and kissed him. Even though he had taken my hand, I wasn’t sure until that moment that Jonathan was even gay. We had started the morning as buddies, classmates, fellow students at Hamilton University on our way out on a hot Saturday for a hike. But when he lifted his face and parted his lips slightly to meet me, I knew not only that he was gay, but also that my feelings were reciprocated.

And that filled me with an inexpressible joy.

The kiss lingered for what seemed to me like a half hour, but was really only a minute or two. My tongue probed the inside of his mouth, which tasted sweet, slightly of cinnamon. He reached up and laid his hand on the back of my damp neck to twine in my curls and pull me closer to him. Our sweaty bodies meshed.

It was a moment of pure, undiluted happiness. It was a moment I would never forget...

Click here to get your copy.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hooray for Judy Mays - The Teacher Parents Tried to Oust Because She Wrote Erotica

Parents who tried to oust a published erotic romance author (9 years) and well-loved teacher (more than 25 years) have seen their cause backfire. The teacher will not lose her job and probably will see a sharp uptick in her book sales.

Common sense and decency have triumphed over small minds!

In an interview with Publisher's Weekly, Judy Barunich (who writes under the pseudonym, Judy Mays, which, by the way, was never revealed to her students), told Publishers Weekly that, "...the entire fiasco backfired on the parents who complained. The support I have received from around the world has been unbelievable. Two complete strangers started a support page for me; and, the last time I checked, it had over 9000 “like” hits. However, it’s been the support from my current students...and their parents that has humbled me and warmed my heart. I was always pretty sure I was respected, but the outpouring of support from “my kids” has brought tears to my eyes...Also, the support of the romance community, both authors and readers, has been overwhelming. So, I want to thank everyone who has joined me on this wild ride from the bottom of my heart..."

You can read the whole article here.

And click on the links below and buy a book for Judy Mays and show your support for a persecuted writer who overcame those who have little better to do that conduct witch hunts and try to undermine a dedicated English teacher.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Dreamspinner Press

I love to share a bargain! And-heads up--if you love to read, you don't want to miss this.

Go to the Dreamspinner Press website for to see how you can claim your discounts and free reads.

Happy Birthday Dreamspinner Press - May Specials
Now through midnight EST May 31, 2011.

20% off all ebooks in the Dreamspinner Press store (including my own Dignity Takes a Holiday and Homecoming).
A drawing each week for an ebook reader of the winner's choice: Kindle WiFi, NOOK WiFi, or Sony PRS 350SC
49.99 on the 2011 DD set - First Time for Everything until May 25

Week One Specials:
40% off all ebooks that are turning 4 with us:
A Summer Place
To Love a Cowboy
Slight Details & Random Events
Caught Running

Week Two Specials:
30% off all ebooks that are turning 3
Far From Home by Madeleine Urban
Alliance in Blood by Ariel Tachna
The Archer by Abigail Roux
Murder Most Gay by John Simpson
Love Ahead by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Condor One by John Simpson
Sparks Fly by Clare London
Selfless by Michael Powers
Children of Bacchus by Andrew Grey
Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Task Force by John Simpson
Covenant in Blood by Ariel Tachna
Irish Winter by John Simpson
True Blue by Connie Bailey

Week Three Specials:
Download the first book from seven of our most popular series FREE - a different book each day.
Sunday - May 15 - Condor One by John Simpson
Monday - May 16 - Litha's Whim by Amy Lane
Tuesday - May 17 - Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban & Abigail Roux
Wednesday - May 18 - Promises by Marie Sexton
Thursday - May 19 - His Hearth by Mary Calmes
Friday - May 20 - Love Means... No Shame by Andrew Grey
Saturday - May 21 - Luke by Jan Irving

Week Four Specials:
All Dreamspinner Press Anthology ebooks 50% off!
A Brush of Wings
Games in the Dark
Know When to Hold 'em
Make Me a Match, Vol. 1 & 2
Making Contact
Mr. Right Now
Myths and Magic: Legends of Love
Reflections of Love
Riding Double
Sandals and Sodomy
Sindustry Vol. 1 & 2
Uniform Appeal

Check the Dreamspinner Press Homepage May 29, 30, and 31st for three special surprises.
Bookmark and Share