Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Man, a Jersey and a Tight End available today at Loose id!

A Man, a Jersey and a Tight End, the sequel to Goldilocks and His Three Bears is available today at Loose id. It is a re-release with new editing and a few tweaks by yours truly.

Here's the blurb:

Since Brian and his three bears first set up house, the demands of Paul’s long distance job have put a strain on all of their relationships. Jim feels that everything is dumped on him; Scott is still unsure about being a sub; Brian's brattier than ever; and when Scott brings home a ‘stray’ in the form of a young brat named Joshua, the household is set on its ear. Of course, the brats handle the situation in their own fashion and Jim and Paul have their hands full.

They've got their plays scrambled and it's going to take a lot of hard work to find the proper balance between discipline and love.

Find it here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Of Gratitude and the Gridiron

Happy Football Day! Oh, and have a nice Thanksgiving if you live in the U.S.

Tuesday, November 29th, Loose id will re-release my m/m/m/m domestic discipline "A Man, a Jersey and a Tight End", the sequel to "Goldilocks and His Three Bears". It begins during a football game (American football, not European).

I rose early this morning to turn on the oven and run the vacuum one more time before the first guests arrive. And, of course, I switched on the television to watch those excited clean shaven men with their blue suits and crazy ties talk about the football games coming up today.

So, I've got a little football on the brain right now.

My father was a college quarterback and he loved the sport. At least I think he loved it. The way he screamed at the players and coaches while he watched made me wonder. By the time I was five I could throw a decent spiral about thirty feet into his arms. I think he saw me as the first great professional female football player, but when the boys grew big enough to kill me just by landing on my prone body, I abdicated.

Sports are awesome. I know a lot of men and women who were traumatized, via their father's and schoolmates, by sports, but they are still the best way for men and women to vent their aggression and competitive ambitions without killing innocent people. Mostly.

But they are brutal. And for the young. And yesterdays victories are only memories and not as important as today's. Wait, am I talking about sports or the film industry? Or Wall Street? Or life as we know it these days in general?

Which brings me to gratitude and giving thanks. I'm thankful for the past, for what I've been given and what I've been spared. When I think of it. I spend a lot of time struggling to get over the next mountain, as I'm sure do you all, so I don't spend much time dwelling on the past. Today, while checking my fantasy teams stats, and counting forks on the table, and gossiping about work with my sister, I'm going to stop for just a second and feel grateful for my health and my loved ones.

And my editor, Judi, who slogged through another one of my books just in time for its release. :)

I hope you all have a great day, whether you celebrate or not.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Who are you?

I love that 'The Who' song "Who are you?" where Townsend sings about waking up drunk and wasted sleeping in a doorway on the street. The policeman doesn't arrest him but sends him home because he recognizes him. But of course the bigger question that all of us adolescents loved to hear in the song was about identity. I mean, who the 'f' are YOU?

I use a psuedonym. I'm not trying to hide anything. I'd rather that the people who watch the (mostly PG) movies on work on not have the information that I also write adult erotica. Mostly because the studio would rather its public not know that. At least, not have it as readily knowable as a google search might make it.

Other than that, though. I'm an open book. Female, middle aged. Bisexual, which, no does not mean I kissed a girl in college. It means I'm gay dominant and my parents booted me out and cut me off because of it.

I grew up in affluence and moved into poverty and fear territory in my early adulthood. But I was lucky in my childhood and it benefited me enormously. I speak like a well brought up young lady. I know how to behave, dress and address authority figures. I went to really excellent grammar and high schools. This made it much easier for me to get a scholarship and survive once I found myself on my own.

I'm a radical feminist. I think if you are female and don't know you're oppressed, then you are living in willful ignorance. I think any man who thinks he gets it, is wrong. Maybe your father was disappointed in you because you weren't a jock, or a business man, or straight. My father was disappointed in me THE MINUTE I WAS BORN because I didn't have a penis.

I'd be surprised if all of this doesn't somehow trickle into my books. However, I write fiction and if I can't sketch a believable character who is NOT ME, then I'm a crap writer and should give up. I might have some amazing insights into being a man if I WERE a man but, hell, Hardy wrote the most amazing women EVER and he didn't have a vagina. (Yes, I just compared myself to Hardy. Probably the last time that will every happen.)

In other words, I don't care who you sleep with, share your spit with or vote for. If I like the book, I like the book. If I hate the book, I don't care how gay/straight male/female you are. Anyone who buys a book because they like the author is wasting their money.

I do wonder at authors who feel that their readers are too stupid to make this value judgment on their own, and so perpetrate huge hoaxes, but whatever. Who cares?

Who are you?

Friday, October 21, 2011

still sick

I thought I was getting over it, but last night was all fever and dreams about wolves and dragons. Today, I'm too weak to walk downstairs.

I'm working on Elf stories this week. I have three and in each, the nature of the elves is slightly different. I wonder what you all think of Elves. Are they good? Evil? Neither? Are they the souls of the dead who pay tithe to the devil or just the 'little people' from the 'old race' forced underground by modern technology?

With a fever and the weird tilt it puts on everything, I think elves are a little naughty and little bored and love the taste of burnt sugar. What do you think?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why does Google want my phone number?

Okay, I'm sick. I get these bugs that don't really cause any symptoms but a low grade fever, around 102. Funny thoughts happen inside my heated brain. I start to see things clearly. The fever seems to clear out a lot of the underbrush, like a fire in the Los Angeles mountains.


Or maybe I'm hallucinating and paranoid.

I can't stay home sick more than the one day I took so I'm dealing with the entire studio thing while walking around with my brain on fire. And, of course, a coworker chose this week to come unglued and have a psychotic break right in my face.

Another coworker, a kind and sensitive soul, stops by my office. Takes a look at my face. Comes in and says, "are you okay?"

NO. I'm not okay.

When I log into Google, I get a page that requests my mobile number. Seriously? I Maneuvered around that and remembered that my daughter told me the last time she typed my REAL name into the White Pages she got all of our personal info. Including our REAL physical address. I see people are yelling and screaming at each other online again, hitting each other's facebook pages and accusations are flying around and I'm starting to think that the entire planet has a brain fever.

I don't feel safe anywhere anymore.

I'm going to go drink some Orange juice and listen to meditation tapes and try not to imagine my coworker showing up with a weapon one day...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Roman has a brain tumor

I don't follow the AWZ episodes religiously. I tune in about once a month or so, for a little eye candy and to beef up my German.

Roman has a brain tumor? A FATAL brain tumor? I can't stand it. I really really can't. (if you don't know what or who I am talking about don't worry. That just means you are a little more sane than I am.)

Nooooooo! Deniz' heartbreak is breaking my heart. Damn this show!

Somebody tell me it's going to be okay. There will be a miracle.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Goldilocks and His Three Bears released

Goldilocks and His Three Bears is available again! Loose id has re-released my m/m Domestic Discipline menage a quatre, with new editing and a bit of re-writing here and there, plus yummy new cover!

Check it out!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Searching for the story

So, I've got a junk drawer. I suppose everyone has one of those, but I'm a little overly organized (not OCD! Really!) And so the junk drawer is a source of great shame. But there are things that even I have no place for. Bags of safety pins. Partially used boxes of birthday candles. Batteries I'm not sure are old or new. And odd little objects that find their way there, I swear, all on their own. Like the headless Statue of Liberty magnet. Why is that there? I would have thrown it out. The three separate one year pins from Disney. A drawing compass. Yeah, no idea how that got in there and I only found it because when I was rooting around in the drawer for a chip bag clip, it stabbed me.

Stuff. Homeless interesting stuff.

Currently, I'm writing a murder mystery that is at the junk drawer stage. I just got stabbed in the virtual finger by a character. Every time I start a new book I SWEAR I'm going to do the outlines and the chapter plans and all that. And every time I end up in the junk drawer stage. What is this thing? How did it get there? Why can't I throw it away? Argh and fie...

So. That's my weekend. How's yours going?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dogs At Work

Mr. Adorables looks so cute curled up on the sofa some mornings, I just can't stand to leave him there. And, well, this morning he and Benton were being kind of snippy with each other. Plus there was the cocker spaniel incident while we were out walking that got everyone in a tizzy.

So I brought Stanley to the studio. I know, I know, what a moron. As if there aren't enough out of control things happening here. And then... he got out.

I opened my door for just a minute and Stanley leapt down off the chair where he had been snoozing (pretending to sleep just to catch me off guard). Down the hallway as fast as he could go, so fast his hind legs were outpacing his front legs, and around the corner. As I tore down the hallway after him, I could hear people laughing and shouting 'look at him go'.

Oh god he's headed right for the office of 'X' who will not be pleased...

Tongue hanging out of his crazy laughing mouth, he disappeared amongst the cubicles OF COURSE in the production area where the people with less humor sit.

And then he was gone.

So I'm running along as quietly as I can in high heeled boots calling in a whisper, 'Stanley! Stanley! Come back here you ratfaced little demon...' Hoping to God 'X' or somebody like 'X' doesn't come round the corner and see me acting like an idiot.

Way to go from 'professional' to 'nutty chick' really fast, Ann.

And I turn around and Stanley is just sitting there with his head cocked sideways and this big grin on his face like he's laughing at me. So now he's tied to a chair in here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Goldilocks and His Three Bears re-issued by Loose id

Loose id will re-issue my m/m/m/m domestic discipline tour de farce 'Goldilocks and His Three Bears' on July 5! It's had a little editing and my few years of experience applied to it this time round. Hopefully good news for those of you who've written wondering where you can purchase a copy.

'A Man, a Jersey and a Tight End' will follow and a sequel that takes a little more serious turn and features two minor characters from the first two books.

I'm struggling with blurbage writing this weekend. Haven't seen the cover yet, but Loose id excels at covers as you all know.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Son of a Gun gets 9 stars at Outlaw Reviews!

A nice review of Son of a Gun at Outlaw Reviews! here

Nine out of ten stars and insightful comments. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 18, 2011


We see all the statistics about crime going up during a full moon. And hear about unbalanced people becoming more unbalanced and animals getting a little wacky. So I guess I should be grateful that my luna only results in ghastly insomnia.

I'm not even a little sleepy. The dogs are asleep. All the lights in the neighborhood, except of course the street lights and those on the freeway nearby (this IS Los Angeles) are dark. Even the weirdo who lives in the building behind mine. Who stands out in the driveway sometimes at 2 a.m yelling things like, "where are my pants?" and "well I can't find my keys. They're in my pants. hee hee". Even he's asleep. Or passed out in a gutter.

But I'm wide awake. Like a cartoon of awake. Eyes wide open, bloodshot, craaaazy looking.

A long time ago my girlfriend said I must be a werewolf.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to read a review

I love a good review. What writer doesn't? Sometimes I feel like a chimp scribbling in a cave, here, with very little feedback from anyone but my editor and my best friend (who still thinks its amazing that I've been published at all, so the bar is a little low). The positive feedback is heaven. AND a well-written review can give you some clues as to what you are doing right. Which is super nice.

But I get icky reviews. sad face. Of course I do. I'm not going to point them out because a: I'm not telling you this so you can go kick the crud out of that mean reviewer. and b: I'm kind of hoping that minimal attention will make the review disappear, if not from the internet, at least from my memory.

But what to do with it? I mean, it's a well thought out review. Written by an intelligent person who knows the biz.

Let me tell you about my very first bad review:

I was in fifth grade and had just written what I felt was an interesting and exciting story about a dog who defended a child from some bad person. I felt that it was the most brilliant and facinating thing I had ever penned. It was written as an assignment and when the teacher spoke to the class, having graded our stories and before handing them back, she offered up two which she hoped we would use as examples. One being an example of a good story, the other an example of a horrid one.

Guess whose was the horrid story?

Sad face. With tear.

After the mortification, instead of hating the teacher, whom I actually adored. Instead of complaining to my mother or my best friend. I studied the notes on the paper. It was kind of hard to ignore the big fat red 'D' at the top, but I think I have managed after a couple of decades to avoid the errors that my fifth grade teacher pointed out. Now I've got a whole nest of new nasty habits and problems, of course, but I'm slowly scaling the mountain and I hope I get a little better every time.

So, what to do with a bad review?

Learn from it. And next time, write better.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Want to write a compelling blurb?

Amber Green, author extraordinaire, bullet points the process of writing a winning blurb on my website today: http://www.amriley.net

Amber has just released her third in the Turner and Turner trilogy 'Turncoat' and demonstrates her power of blurbage for her book.

Go over there and check it out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Big Thrill

The Big Thrill asks a number of writers "What Can Thriller Writers Learn from the Movies" this week, and I'm one of the writers who weighed in. Although belatedly. I'm lame.

Check it out. Neil Plaksy and Charlie Cochrain among others are bringing up some very interesting points.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

AM Riley has a shiny new website!!!

An anonymous donor took pity. Or maybe was just fed up with my ineptitude. And buffed and shined and forced my idiot self to figure out enough Wordpress to post.

Now my site is functional, informative and timely. Deus Gratias.

Please come by and oogle the new banner and tell me if there is anything else you'd like to see.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Blackhawks make the playoffs by skin of their teeth

The Minnesota Wild rose up in one glorious and defiant moment to defeat their despised rivals, the Dallas Stars (formerly the Minnesota Northstars, so you understand their fierce hatred) for the first time this season and DENY the Stars the eighth seed in the playoff line-up. So Chicago held onto their spot, despite losing to the Redwings earlier in the day.


I was physically ill watching the Redwings vs Blackhawks game early Sunday. Dallas has been coming on strong in the back stretch, and Chicago lost Sharp to injuries at the same time, so we've been sinking in the ranks, and Dallas has been rising. Two points saved our bacon.

There must be a psychological term for a level of fandom where one feels an urge to vomit when ones team gets eliminated?

Anyway, nausea averted for the time being. Our first match-up will be Vancouver. So we'll get one round and be out, but I'm okay with that. The Canucks deserve a good year.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

ten stars for 'Death by Misfortune'

I stumbled over a review of 'Death by Misfortune' at Outlaw Reviews today. It's been there for a week, but I'm such a lame internets surfer I only became aware of it through a google alert.

It's an amazing review written by a talented writer. The sort of review that writers print out and paste on the wall above their computers to warm them on those chilly days when no words will come...

Since today's to-do list includes the following:
1) finish taxes, write ginormous check to federal government may they rot
2) clean dog pee from carpet
4) look at the current mystery WIP again and try to figure out what is wrong with a principal character and why he seems made of cardboard.

I really needed this little boost today.

so, yeah. squee.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kindle, Smashwords and out of print books

I have a few books that have fallen out of print in the past several years. They were written some time ago and need re-writing, re-editing and maybe a sexier cover or two. One of them has a sequel in the works.

I've published one on Smashwords, the infamous "Of the Clan O'Grady" which was originally published with Changeling Press. I have two sequels just malingering on my hard drive here. I wonder if I should publish them as Kindle books at reduced prices.

Would it be wise to publish them on Smashwords AND as Kindle on Amazon? Or is there some legal deal with that? After all, I am the publisher in both cases, am I not.

It would be satisfying to see them up and available again. In a sort of non-financial spiritual way.

But I wonder if it would be worth (now I'm talking $$$$) the considerable time it would take to dust them off, fix them up and format them.

Any opinions or requests will be duly noted and considered.
I very nice review of 'Death by Misfortune' over at Joyfully Reviewed.

And someone volunteered her time and expertise to get something like a decent website up for me. I'm so excited. I'll keep everyone posted.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I was interviewed by The Big Thrill

I was interviewed today by The Big Thrill

I was thrilled to be interviewed by Michael F. Stewart at The Big Thrill.

I'm still sorting out how to do these interview via mail thingies, but he was very nice and there are a lot of interesting articles on the site. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Okay, so I'm going to give a book on Goodreads a 'star' rating...

I Am JI Am J by Cris Beam

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't going to give star ratings anymore, but this book is exceptional. J is a teenaged boy who was born with a girls anatomy. I've never read a more insightful piece about this subject. It's a YA and I hope it will make its way into the hands of young people who need it. I'm on my second reading of it and still amazed by the character and his story. Highly highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I live in a dog park.

So I already introduced Stanley. He's the newest addition to my little crew.

Since Buddy is moving out soon,
I thought it would be nice to get Bella a new playmate

Stanley is insane. And he seems not sure yet that we are going to keep him so he varies between very very good doggy to very saucy and disobedient doggy. It is really hard to resist him when he's saucy but I am trying to be strong.

Meanwhile, Benton has been my best friend since 2007. Here's Benton at the beach zoning out on the waves and the smells.

There are two stories in my place and a narrow set of stairs leading to the bedrooms. These days it sounds like a thunderous herd as the pack follows me up and down the stairs. The kids now refer to my place as The Dog Park.

I love it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rape is not a compliment

Recently, I saw this blurb on a book at Goodreads.

There is one upside to almost getting raped. It proves that you're at least desirable to someone.

I have no reason to believe that the author of the book meant any harm by it. I also do not believe that the author thinks rape is a good thing. The blurb is unfortunate. In my opinion, it should be taken down.

Here is just a little information about rape from the 'Rape Myths and Facts' site:

Myth: Rape is caused by lust or uncontrollable sexual urges and the need for sexual gratification.

Fact: Rape is an act of physical violence and domination that is not motivated by sexual gratification.

Myth: Women provoke sexual assault by their appearance. Sexual attractiveness is a primary reason why a rapist selects a victim.

Fact: Rapists do not select their victims by their appearance. They select victims who are vulnerable and accessible. Victims of sexual assault range in age groups from infants to the elderly. Sexual attractiveness is not an issue.

From the US Bureau of Statistics:

Fact #1: 17.6 % of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. Of these, 21.6% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, (woho those sexy children!) and 32.4% were between the ages of 12 and 17. (Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women, Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, November, 2000)

Assault causes sometimes life long damage.

Fact #13: Rape victims often experience anxiety, guilt, nervousness, phobias, substance abuse, sleep disturbances, depression, alienation, sexual dysfunction, and aggression. They often distrust others and replay the assault in their minds, and they are at increased risk of future victimization (DeLahunta 1997).

Fact #14: According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, more than 260,000 rapes or sexual assaults occurred in 2000; 246,180 of them occurred among females and 14,770, among males (Department of Justice 2001).

Fact #15: Sexual violence victims exhibit a variety of psychological symptoms that are similar to those of victims of other types of trauma, such as war and natural disaster (National Research Council 1996). A number of long-lasting symptoms and illnesses have been associated with sexual victimization including chronic pelvic pain; premenstrual syndrome; gastrointestinal disorders; and a variety of chronic pain disorders, including headache, back pain, and facial pain (Koss 1992).Between 4% and 30% of rape victims contract sexually transmitted diseases as a result of the victimization (Resnick 1997).

So, when I read a blurb that says: There is one upside to almost getting raped. It proves that you're at least desirable to someone. I'm sorry, I can't just let this go without saying, it is exactly this sort of attitude that makes recovery so difficult for victims. Shame on you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bad blurb no bisquit.

A Dish Served ColdA Dish Served Cold by Andrew Ashling

The reviews look good. The blurb for this is horrible, offensive and should be changed.

"There is one upside to almost getting raped. It proves that you're at least desirable to someone"

Are you effing kidding me? Rape is NEVER about attraction. It is ASSAULT. It is about power and sickness and hurting another person, not about sexual attraction.

From the reviews I get the impression that this unfortunate blurb does not reflect the opinions of the author.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stanley Kowalski

Stanley Kowalski is the name of our newest dog. I think. After the 'Due South' character, not the 'Streetcar...' though I suppose there might be confusion.

My other dog's name is Benton after Benton Fraser. It's a slash reference.

Isn't he Mr. Adorables?

Friday, March 18, 2011

I love L.A.

Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
- Frank Lloyd Wright

This is the view from my editing room. The building next door is under construction so my view also includes cool entertainment I.E., men in hardhats driving destructo machinery around. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, so a view of the mountains will never seem old to me.

Inside, I work with the coolest people on the planet. Artists, writers and film makers, of every race, creed and life style preference you can imagine. It's like the United Colors of Beneton here. If you are looking for diversity in employment, I highly recommend Disney Studios.

Of course, this being the second largest city in the United States, it's a big plus to make a decent living here. Nobody likes to live in the economically challenged neighborhoods of a super large city. I think most of what people see on television is about the scary parts of town and the people who must struggle for survival in those neighborhoods.

It took fifteen minutes for me to get to work this morning. I drove here in a convertible with the top down.

I love Los Angeles.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Things that make me wonder...

When did 'politically correct' become a bad thing? I mean, if an institution seeks to update themselves with an eye towards greater fairness, why would they be criticized, with snideness, for trying to be politically correct? Isn't that a compliment?

When did Christianity become the National Religion? I missed the memo.

And when did Christianity come to mean conservative? Jesus was a liberal, people!

And since when did Conservative mean 'we care what you do in the privacy of your own home'? The conservatives I knew growing up believed whole heartedly that their private lives were none of the governments business. When did that change?

No wonder it is so hard to have a rational discussion anymore. Somebody has taken the words and packed them with agendas, misinformation and skewed meaning.

Some days I think the greatest threat to this country is our ever decreasing standards in education. Less money to guns and more to teachers, IMHO, is the solution.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Back Amongst the Living

Frightening things happened to the world while I was safe in my downy white bed. I was watching the sunrise and the finches hopping around in the palm tree outside and thinking that if it weren't for the internet, and the media, I'd never know about the horrible events in Japan. And isn't it strange to think that there was a time when a woman walking the Mil Potrero Highway in California would have NO IDEA what might be happening in other parts of the world?

Today at work I realized that there is an illumination problem in my room. I've thought it was my glasses, and then my contacts, and then just my dreamy lazy brain, but after spending several days in a properly illuminated bedroom I realize that there is something wrong with my office. I can't see anything in here!

I don't want to turn on the flourescent lights because they give me a headache. Maybe I need some new bulbs for my desk lamp. Are there better kinds of light for computer work?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Contest - Win a copy of Death by Misfortune!

The Erie Gay News is running a contest online to give away copies of Death by Misfortune. They've got a lot going on over there, so check it out!

Day Four - The Road to Recovery

Mr. Hyde has withdrawn somewhat and I'm wobbling about today. I may even manage to take the dogs for a walk. I'm dissecting the plot of a book I'm working on. Taking out characters, blending them and changing the interaction between two of them... it's like re-knitting a cable sweater, but it has to be done.

On Book Two of a Reed Farrel Coleman series that Val recommended, Redemption Street. It's the second in the Moe Prager series. The first was Walking the Perfect Square which I read yesterday.

The books seem terribly dated, so I was surprised to see that the publish date for the first was 2002. I'm not sure whether they were reissued (I did look around the web trying to find out) or if Mr. Coleman is an expert at writing decades gone by. Even the 'witty' dialogue is dated. So much so that it was like listening to my older relatives trying to be funny. The flavor and feel is so consistent that I found I didn't mind too much. It does look like the series comes into this century eventually, as Innocent Monster is a post 911 mystery.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Home Sick - Day Three and Cranky

Whine #1: It is completely unfair to introduce supernatural elements at the end of an action adventure and not explain why. I'm fairly miffed with T. Jefferson Parker at the moment.
Whine #2: Despite my best efforts, I dribbled RED #28 dyed cough syrup onto my white coverlet. I hope there's a way to get it out.
Whine #3: There's a person outside loudly contructing or deconstructing something. I want to drop heavy objects onto him to make him STOP.
Whine #4: Everything tastes like soap.
Whine #5: I don't particularly care for first person narrative. Yeah yeah I know. I shouldn't complain since I've written first person narrative, but it's like listening to someone who can't shut up talk about themselves for 300 pages.
Whine #6: The bottoms of my feet itch. But I'm super ticklish so I can't scratch them. But they itch.
Whine #7: I've watched all of my DVD's.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Home Sick - Day Two

The view from my bed is pretty. Those green 'berries' hanging from the palm tree out there are the food source for quite a few squirrels, rats and birds. And the orchids on my desk are one of my hobbies. I've been reading a lot about orchids lately. I'll post something later when my brain is working in a more linear manner.

Continuing to read. I've read several Lisa Gardner books lately. I just finished The Perfect Husband which seems kind of her typical theme. Abusive men, abused but courageous women. Children threatened. There are romantic elements to the stories, but I wouldn't call them romances. Very strongly written tales, so it's hard to put the book down, even if you know how it's going to end. The pov shifts carry the story forward quickly and keep the reader freaked out, because we see the bad guy at the end of the block just a chapter before he intersects with our heroine.

I recognize the same 'trope' as in m/m romances. Big strong manly men who are protective and almost superhuman in their abilities. Sex that is totally penis based and, of course, dramatically repeatedly orgasmic. You know. We read it all the time and it's super hot. Not realistic but super hot, perhaps because it's not realistic.

Pleasure is easy in romances. Our heroes don't retain water or feel fat and ugly at inconvenient times. The gorgeous hunk or hunkette turns out to be good in bed, too, with an almost psychic ability to know what is needed and wanted. Great sex means love. Just like we all wish it would. This happens as much, or more, in m/m romance. I'm not a gay man but I know a few. It just isn't that easy. For anybody.

Maybe that's why I'm getting tired of the romance genre right now. I want to read about people who manage despite the difficulties. I want to read about love that isn't easy. Sex that people make work because they care enough about each other to do so.

I loved Crazy Love because it was that sort of romance. So I've been picking my way through books by David Lozell Martin. He's really not a romance writer but he does have emotional depth and realism. Maybe that's what I want to head towards.

Meanwhile, I have soup and Switch. A weirdly magical lesbian story.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sick Day

I'm home sick. I'm bored. I feel too rotten to actually do anything.

When I have free time, I write. Granted, sometimes 'writing' really consists of me grousing while trying to sort out the latest mess I've made of a plot and the hapless characters stuck in it. For instance, I have this unhappy dude who is suspected of murder traipsing off to an adventure and thought 'easy peasy this plot writes itself'.

Ho ho! says my plot. Take this! And I have a sudden dump of too many characters... I mean, it looks like the Alewives in Lake Michigan during a red tide. All writhing around bitching and complaining. I know what I have to do. But I'm sick and just the idea of rolling up my sleeves and sorting this mess is like asking a sick person to wash the three days of dishes that stacked up when the washer broke. Did that metaphor turn into a snake in my hands? Yes it did.

Like I said, I'm sick.

Snakes and dead fish. What the heck?

So... I opened Kindle and read a bit. This would be good except of course my eyes are burning and my muscles ache and I can't concentrate. I finished 'Soulless' which is the vampire book Jane Austen never wrote. (that's a good thing) but I read it while reading 'The Border Lords' which is a book Miss Austen would have probably had the gardener take out and burn. Not because it is bad but because it is intensely violent.

How did I get from dead fish to drug cartels? Well, it seemed like a logical progression a few minutes ago. I think my fever is going up again.

You know how when you're sick after day three or so you run out of Kleenex and opt for the roll of Charmin? But my roll of tp has toppled off the bed and disappeared and the maid seems to have taken the day off. I need lemon tea! I need a cold compress! Wait, what era am I in?

Back to the book. How is it I've written fifty thousand words and only five thousand of them are any good? How does that happen? This would have never happened to Jane who, I understand, wrote in ink pen on paper.

Now my head hurts, my nose is both stuffy and uncomfortable, I'm itchy and irritable and I can't write worth a damn. Jane would call me Pathetic.

Where is that frickin' maid?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Literary Nymphs gives Death by Misfortune 5 stars

Literary Nymphs gave "Death by Misfortune" five stars and a very nice review. It's just a little spoilerish, if you haven't read the book yet.

Of course, if you know me then it's not that spoilerish. I do like to stack up the bodies.

And Pottery Barn delivered my bed at 8 oclock this morning. They almost had to roll me out onto the floor to deliver it. But, yay! A bed!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mule by Shane McCrae

MuleMule by Shane McCrae

I think this book came up on Carol Guess' blog. Since I really enjoy her style, I bought it on faith.

What a nice surprise.

It reads a little like an echo, both the way it is written:

As we divorced Nicolas rode

Internal horses /And watching him

from the bench at the edge of the park/In wildflowers

him in wildflowers him in fileds/Of wildflowers him in fields on playgrounds which

Blossom from the ground

Must be covered over with foram with bark

It was and was possible

To love him just enough to sit there watch-/ing not enough for us to stay togehter

Not more enough than us

And the subject matter is seen as snatches of memories.

The author describes his divorce and he and his wife's emotional state about their autistic son.

I'm usually old school with my poetry, 20th century lyrical poets with a modern twist are to my taste, but this is a lovely little book that I highly recommend.

View all my reviews

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Critique partners/ Beta buddies/ the quest for 'The One'

They should have a match.com for critique partners.

You know, post photos of your most recent books (all pictures are recent!). What you like, what you don't like. What you can't stand. Your ideal.

I started writing back in 2001. I had a beta reader who tirelessly and for free (!) checked everything I put on my fanfiction site before I posted it. That poor woman taught me rudimentary skills that I ought to have already known. She squawked when I let the angst draw out too long. She gurgled when scenes worked and was kind but honest when they did not.

So, you see, I was spoiled.

I'm on the hunt again and I find I hold everyone up to her standards. A little tough.

How does one find a partner? Besides ones relatives or SO, who in their right mind will read this stuff?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BDSM and Domestic Discipline

I haven't learned what I know of BDSM or the Leather lifestyle from google. I know some people. and I've been in it for a minute. There are things I understand, viscerally, and things I only 'get' because it's been explained to me. And then of course there are areas in which I remain utterly clueless. Because I am not a man and that's just how it goes.

I ALSO know a few people who are in domestic discipline relationships. But here, I'm only getting things as they've been explained to me., because I have NO experience with dom disc relationships.

There's a wibbly line between the two, as I see it. The only traditional leather-type relationship to which I was privy was very much like a domestic discipline relationship. There was a similar exchange of power and trust. However, I KNOW there are arrangements out there that run the gamut. From non-sexual to only sexual and beyond.

I'm working on the sequel to my old domestic discipline books, "Goldilocks and His Three Bears" and "A Man, a Jersey and a Tight End" and I'm trying to examine the different ways these relationships evolve. I wondered how readers feel about the differences and similarities, if any between BDSM and DD.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

But why do we write?

Or make art at all?

My mother kept one of my first drawings. It is a figure drawn on red construction paper. When she asked me what it was I said, 'a girl in a red dress'. What this tells me is I had nothing in mind when I drew it. I only named it after being asked.

But what compelled me to draw it?

Trust me; there was nothing in my environment, at the age of three, that would encourage me to draw pictures. I may have been receiving positive feedback by the time I was five because by then I was in public school and scribbling like a demon. But WHY?

Nobody seems to know.

I hopped in the Wayback Machine and returned to CalArts where we discussed this subject ad nauseum sometimes in our right heads, sometimes not so much. People feel compelled to make things, to communicate. It is only later that they articulate reasons for these actions and, of course, by then there are all kinds of grown up people type reasons. "I want to make a difference." "I want to communicate my feelings." Still, there is no answer to the question But WHY?

A blog I sometimes frequent, The Greater Good, interviewed several artists and asked them this question. The one that resonated the most strongly for me was Kwame Dawes:

"I write in what is probably a vain effort to somehow control the world in which I live, recreating it in a manner that satisfies my sense of what the world should look like and be like."

That comes close to the little-me who drew a girl on red construction paper. I have Aspergers and was very withdrawn, so I drew a lot. Later, I escaped into books and still later I attempted to alter the world of books in a way that suited me and my reality. I. E. a world peopled with Lesbian, Gay and gender queer people trying to re-write the rules and find some kind of happiness.

Somewhere in there come the readers. I haven't yet figured out where, except I am pleasantly surprised to find you here in my little world... hello!

Just as I wrote this, I read Nathan Bransford's blog and saw that he is writing along the same lines, but of course more fluently.

Why We Write -- Revisited

Everyone asks it and there are many many blogs about it. Why do writers do what they do?

I've been thinking about this question and thinking about the effect of the internet on writers. It used to be a solitary job, but now it can be much more public. Actually, it behooves one to stay in the public eye as much as possible as it does appear to influence sales.

How many writers are hooked on the twitter/chat/group interaction, though? I only wonder because I can imagine how gratifying the attention could be to an individual accustomed to working in solitary. I work in public and squeeze in writing time, so I'm not quite as starved for feedback, but during a brief period when I had no work I got addicted to the internet.

It made me want to write faster so I could get a book out there. And is that messed up or what?

Because that is NOT why I write. I'm a storyteller. I make up people and events and wrap them around each other. I'd do it if no one ever read a single book of mine. And I worry that I might be more particular if publication were a distant foggy dream, not practically immediate upon finishing the first draft.

How does the instantaneous internet interaction affect the quality and subject matter of our books? I'm just wondering...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Does the Art excuse the Artist?

There was a hypothetical question my best friend and I argued while we were still getting our degrees in Art History: If a building were on fire and you had a choice between saving a Rembrandt and saving a cat, which would you choose?

Okay, besides the fact that those stupid hypothetical questions are always too simplistic, and besides the (also) fact that my best friend HATED cats so the question was more whether she would throw a cat into the fire...

I'd save anything alive before I'd save a painting. A pointsettia. Anything living is more important than art. It was her opinion that Art was superior to Life. And so the argument would begin.

Certain 'great' artists were morally reprehensible human beings. Surprised? No, I didn't think so. Matisse, for instance, who painted the famous "Dance of Life" impregnated his wife repeatedly and then gave his children to an orphanage. They were an impediment to his lifestyle, you see. Keep in mind, orphanages were a lot worse then than they are now.

Kind of ruins his art for me.

The same goes with authors. I loved Dean Koontz for many years. His descriptive passages are vivid and exciting. I could read them over and over. Sadly, he is reported to have said many disparaging things about Asian people. The man is a bigot! Who knew. It has spoiled my enjoyment of his skill. Sadly.

Now, my friend's argument was that all people are wicked and that their art redeems them on some level. She has a point, right? My question is, where do you draw the line? CAN you draw a line (I'd say, 'no') For instance, how can I read books written by mysoginists, given that I've spent most of my life fighting for women's rights? Or how can I read books written by men who subsequently supported Hitler?

Does it ruin books (or other art) for you if you know that the person who created it was an asswipe? Does it matter, or not?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

on Arrogance, Greed, and the Reasons We Make Art

I love capital letters. One of my all-time favorite authors, Jane Austen, used them incorrectly and in excess. They successfully place ones tongue firmly in ones cheek. So when I say Arrogance, I mean it with the capital 'A'. As in 'nobody does it better than I and here I sit on my mighty highchair pronouncing judgment on all of you' Arrogance. I.E., the king of the dump is feeling mightier than his other vagrant friends.

And Greed. I write, currently, in a small pocket of a fan base. We aren't making the New York Times Bestseller list anytime soon, are we? We aren't talking bazillions of fan dollars. Snarling and worrying over a few hundred, or even a thousand, purchases more or less makes us small and mean.

Man makes art for no good reason, evolutionarily speaking. (Evolutionarily? :) Oh, dear.) Obviously, there is a certain amount of ego involved. We slave away and see others (perhaps) getting praise for work we might not like and we feel??? offended??? outraged??? We forget that EVERYONE HAS DIFFERENT TASTES and we get on some high horse and freak out. Writing is insecure and lonely and scary. And we all worry about money. And then there is the Love factor. It's hard to work in isolation and get no Lurve all day. It makes you nuts.

But, I'm lucky, in that my 'day job' is a creative one. I get feedback. I get praise. I get smacked upside the head and I've learned to appreciate that feedback as well because it makes me better at what I do. I observe, every day, how hard it is for creative people to praise other creative people. How difficult it is to accept that someone else might take a concept and use it differently. We are Opinionated. We Care. We are Outraged at Incompetence. lol We are Arrogant and Greedy and have to smack ourselves periodically because truthfully, humility makes us better artists.

Sadly, I don't see as much of that being learned by writers. I am painfully aware of the emotions and feelings that writers suffer. Hey, I'm not immune. But I hope I have learned something from working in Animation. Arrogance and Greed. God save me from it. I mean that. If I ever have an 'off' day and I put down other authors, or set myself up as some kind of standard (trust me, this won't happen anytime soon, but if it does) smack me upside the head and make me go read Thomas Hardy. Remind me to be humble.

Okay. Done. Going off to read some old school BDSM that teddypig recommended.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

omg mom I want to have Taylor Mali's baby...

I Could Be a Poet

by Taylor Mali (www.taylormali.com)

I think I could be a poet because I like to wear a lot of black.
And I can think of incongruous images like a Marxist with a trust fund.
A Porsche pulling a U-Haul, a lobsterman in Birkenstocks sipping a cappuccino,
with his pinkie pointing toward the sky.
I have studied the poets who sing song out their lines
for no other reason than that’s how it’s done,
in love with the sound of their own voices,
ending each line going up,
every single line going up,
as they read, and read, and . . . read?
See, declarative sentences that in prose would go down,
in poetry seem to go up
as if it adds some hidden meaning:
I know what I’m talking about and you should too.

And I am not afraid to get pissed off!
I am not afraid to use that ONE requisite swear word
to let you know I am FUCKING serious, man!
I’m not afraid to




And still you can hear the lines going up.
And the words, the vocabulary words—
Glaconian, distemic, irrepscenteelia—
Thrown in to remind you
“I am a writer! Eat my Verbal dust!”

And then the end
Spoken softly, hauntingly tender,
Though not devoid of irony,
Ending abruptly as if there is more . . .

Monday, January 24, 2011

Plot and Structure

Write Great Fiction: Plot & StructureWrite Great Fiction: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I have quite a few 'how to write' books.

Some are awesome to read just because they are inspiring. For instance, "On Becoming a Novelist" by John Gardner, made me feel like it was a holy journey to pick up pen (or place fingers on keyboard) and compose a story.

Some are absolute garbage that tell you nothing you don't know and without any kind of details, so you're left feeling like you just read a synopsis of a synopsis. Or like an Apple software user manual that is nothing but press for the author's other products.

I found this one while going down in the quicksand of a novel in which I knew the characters, knew their motivations, knew the beginning middle and end and yet could NOT find the story in the mass of words on the page.

He spells it out. Yes, it's what you already know. You know good story. You know the so-called "Hero's Journey" But it helps very much to have it pointed out clearly. At least it helped me.

I do love Dean Koontz, and so the frequent quotes from his and Stephen King's books did not bother me. If you are an anti-Koontz reader (I know of a few) then you might not be as tickled.

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 23, 2011

sick again...

I thought I'd gotten over whatever that was, but last night my throat started to hurt and tonight I have a fever and I've lost any desire to move. I've changed the colors of my blog in an attempt to make it easier on the eyes, but it unfortunately resembles burnt split pea soup.


bye bye Bears

The did better than I thought they would. If I gambled on sports I would have made a fortune on my prediction that Cutler wouldn't survive the game uninjured.

the heartbreak of it all...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm going to call it research

I love animals of the canine persuasion. Especially square headed toothy, battlescarred dogs whose backhair goes all prickly when they growl at the man who delivers packages to my door. So some time ago I thought I might try my hand at a sort of were wolf story.

Well, a sort of were dog, weir dog? Hmm.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little better today but not 100 percent so I decided to play with it a little. And I ran into the problem with the images in my head.

Not romantic. I can't even ::shudder:: imagine finding that attractive. So I used goodreads "Genre" search function for the first time. Not only can I look for werewolf stories available as ebooks, but I can see which ones my 'friends' have enjoyed.

This is so cool.

I read Amber Green's "Bareback" today. And now I think I sort of understand how the animal thing can be sexy. Then I downloaded "With Love" by J.L. Langley.

(Kindle via Amazon is wicked. There is virtually instantaneous satisfaction. My card is auto charged and I don't even feel the blood leaving me, so to speak. Evil.)

Anyway, then I purchased Stephanie Hecht's "Primal Passions" (despite the hideous cover)

It's research!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Never read reviews...

I know better. I'm my own worst critic and I agonize over every book. The fact that I write slowly and don't come to it naturally, but by painstaking labor, makes me hyper aware that I'm undoubtedly attempting to do something nature never intended me to do. : )

But I persevere and usually have the good sense not to read my reviews. They will only mess me up in the head and echo there while I'm trying to write.

Maybe I can blame the fever. Or the boredom of being bedridden. But I read a couple of reviews today.

Stupid stupid stupid.

feeling gross

Do we still say 'gross' or am I showing my age?

I feel wretched and yet I can't just hang it up and go to bed. I wanted to finish a short I'm editing (film) and write quite a bit of a book I've got in the works. My head is throbbing, my eyes are burning. If I take my temp I know what I'll discover and so I'm not going to do it.

My stomach is grumbling and feels like a volcano about to blow.

Stress, germs and rock 'n roll. It'll get you every time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flashing Teddy-pig

Teddy-pig has a new thing "Show me your Scrivener" He's asking all the authors who use the software to send him a screenshot of their WIP. I'm still in the 'trial' version and I love it to bits. This is the first writing software I've ever found not to be more trouble than it's worth and I sent a screenshot of "If Not for You" to teddy.

And now I feel like I've flashed my undies at the world. There is my novel all naked and stuff. Typos and curse words and all...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yahoo comments - OR- Has the World Gone Mad?

I have a yahoo email account, so I get the latest news, as reported by Associated Press, right next to my 'mail' box. I often click on the links and read the articles and sometime, if I find the article particularly interesting, I'll scroll down to read the comments of other readers.

Or.. I USED to read those comments. With complete anonymity, the unmonitored yahoo comments section has become a place where people can spew their sociopathic vitriole without ever needing to take responsibility for their words.

The recent shooting of Representative Gifford, for instance, spawned this comment: "shooting a Dem in the head isn't life thereatening. they've got no vital organs there." (sic)

Seriously? You post this on the internet? "Who are these people?" I asked -E-.

"They don't live in California," she tried to soothe me.

I don't believe her.

Well, someone has decided to TRY to get yahoo to at least moderate their comments section. He's started a facebook group here and I encourage you to join. If you're into facebook , that is.

And check out this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/opinion/30zhuo.html?_r=1

regarding the same topic.