Friday, October 30, 2015

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

But maybe less lonely thanks to events like Queer Romance Month.

Tomorrow winds up what is becoming one of the biggest and perhaps one of the most important annual events in the M/M Community. I'm honored to be part of QRM this year and you can find my post here-ish.

There are many, many wonderful posts to browse and consider at QRM. Posts from authors I know but more posts by authors new to me. Posts I agree with wholeheartedly and posts that encourage me to consider a fresh perspective, a new viewpoint.

That said, I confess the older I get, the less patience I have with labels. I consider myself a humanist and while I write many stories featuring gay characters, I don't feel--have never believed--that the sexual identity or orientation is the most important or even interesting thing about the "people" I create. It certainly is not the most important or interesting thing I know about people in real life.

I think I belabor that point a bit in my QRM post, but it occurred to me as I was typing and deleting and typing and deleting that someone else had actually already said what I wanted to say--and probably said it better--in the afterward of the Japanese translation of The Hell You Say.

And because I am--and have always been more interested in what unites us, the things that are universal about humans everywhere--I'd like to share with you a bit of Japanese author and reviewer Shion Miura's words regarding Adrien English (courtesy of Aki Fuyuto, the series translator):

It may not be the problem for gay people only. Every person has a possibility to become a 'minority', if not by sexual orientation. Everyone is minority in some ways. But we hang onto the vague term as 'normal' or 'opinion of the society', comply with the voice of 'majority', we even sometimes foolishly  discriminate against other person by that.

Adrien said to himself "what chance did the rest of us have, especially those who had never quite managed to find someone to share their life?".

Can you think that feeling is only for gay men? Can you tell that? I can't.

Most people have that loneliness in their heart's core like Adrien. Because we are all 'minority', we are all different person from each other. We have different opinion, different feeling. There is no 'majority', just the minority persons gathering to organize the society.

The varieties and differences of all people, which I have a hope and faith in.

Adrien English series is for everyone who has loneliness in your heart.
Adrien is fair, he has faith in the society and believe there is a bridge to reach other people even they have different opinion.

Waiting the next book, I wish him the happy ending from my heart!


Isn't that what we all wish for ourselves--and each other? To be listened to. To be accepted. To be loved for who we are.

We may not all be lucky enough to find our Happy Ever After, but we sure as hell have a right to tell our story. Please pop over to QRM and read some of those stories.

Friday, October 23, 2015


I'm starting a four-day green juice cleanse/detox this morning, and I always feel horrible at first during this process, so I'm going to be rather scarce for a few days. I'm still trying to catch up to where I was before I left for Scotland, but my focus is just not there--one of the things I hope juicing will help with--and I find myself postless this morning.

So I'll leave you with a Sneak Peek of next year's first book (something I forgot to mention last week when I was touching on upcoming projects).

This is from The Mermaid Murders, scheduled for a February 1st 2016 release. I'm going to do something a bit different with preorders this time, so at the moment TMM can only be purchased through Smashwords (that will obviously change!)


Special Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.

The Huntsman is still out there…and the killing has begun again.
Summer heat shimmered off the blacktop.
In that shivery, humid light, the big, blond man casually leaning against the silver government-issue sedan—and checking his watch—looked a little like a mirage. But no such luck. Special Agent Sam Kennedy was not a trick of the light.
Kennedy looked up, spotted Jason, and grimaced. Maybe it was supposed to be a smile. Probably not, given Kennedy’s reputation.
“Special Agent West,” Kennedy said. His voice was deep, and he spoke with a suggestion of a drawl. “I thought maybe you stopped off to see if you could solve the Gardner Museum heist on your way over here.”
Funny guy, Kennedy. Special Agent in Charge Carl Manning had already warned Jason that Kennedy was not thrilled to be partnered again, let alone partnered with an agent seconded from the Art Crime Team. But that’s what happened when you screwed up your last high-profile investigation to such an extent the governor of Wisconsin denounced you on the nightly news. An agent with less seniority would have been “on the beach” for the foreseeable future, but Kennedy was a legend in the Bureau. One of the great “manhunters.” His career would survive, but he was under a cloud, no question. His kind of success earned enemies—and not just from the usual suspects. A successful career wasn’t just about closing cases—and Kennedy didn’t strike Jason as the tactful type.
“Nice to meet you too,” Jason said, reaching the car. Kennedy did not offer his hand, so Jason shoved his own in his pocket. “Just to be clear, I’m supposed to be on vacation. In fact, I busted my ass to get here. I was at Boston Airport about to catch a flight home to L.A.
“Duly noted.” Kennedy turned away, going around to the driver’s side of the gleaming sedan. “You can throw your bag in the trunk.” He reached in and popped the trunk hood.
Jason opened the trunk and slung his brown leather carryall next to Kennedy’s black Tumi. That was some serious luggage. The luggage of someone who lived out of his suitcase. Primetime TV notwithstanding, it was rare for agents in the Behavioral Analysis Units to leave Quantico and travel around the country, but Kennedy was the exception that proved the rule.
“We need to hit the road. That girl’s been missing over eight hours already.” Kennedy threw that comment over his shoulder, before sliding in behind the wheel.
Jason started to answer, but restrained himself. SAC Manning had clued him in to a few facts about his new—temporary—partner. And, ostensibly, this urgency to get to the crime scene out in rural Kingsfield was all part of what made Kennedy so good at his job—not to mention the reason they were meeting in a diner parking lot instead of the division office at One Center Plaza.
He slammed shut the trunk, walked around to the passenger side and climbed in. The car was still cool with air-conditioning, so Kennedy hadn’t been waiting long.
Kennedy turned the key in the ignition. More cold air blasted out along with news radio. “So you know the area? Your family used to have a vacation home in Kingsfield?”
“That’s right.”
“How nice.” Kennedy’s tone was more like Oh brother. He wore too much aftershave. The fragrance as aggressive as everything else about him. Top note sandalwood, bottom note obnoxious.
“I guess so.”
Kennedy threw him a sardonic look as they exited the parking lot. Or at least the twist of his mouth was sardonic. The dark Oakleys he wore concealed his eyes. He was not handsome, but he had the kind of face you didn’t forget easily. Although Jason was going to try his best the minute this case was over.
Jason said, “Clarify something for me. The Kingsfield Police Chief asked specifically for you because he thinks he might have a copycat killer on his hands?”
“It’s too soon to say, but yeah. That’s the concern, of course. No girl is going to go missing in Worcester County ever again that people aren’t going to fear it’s some kind of copycat crime.” Kennedy began to bring Jason up to date on the case.
It was a swift and concise summation, but then the facts were few. Rebecca Madigan, the teenage daughter of wealthy local residents, had disappeared Saturday night while hosting a party for friends. Rebecca’s parents were out of town, so her boyfriend had reported the girl missing. A search had been organized, but so far there was no sign of Rebecca.
“There could be a lot of reasons a teenage girl disappears,” Jason pointed out.
“Yep. But like I said, the folks of Worcester County have long memories.”
Jason stared out the window at the slideshow of skyscrapers and historic buildings. Parks, playgrounds…ponds. The dazzle of bright sunlight on green water. He removed his sunglasses, passed a hand across his eyes, and replaced the shades.
Worcester was an old city with a modern attitude. It was only about twenty-four miles from Kingsfield, not much more than a forty-five-minute drive, but it could have been a different planet.
He said, “I remember the original case. You were behind the capture and conviction of Martin Pink.”
“I played a role.” Kennedy was displaying unexpected—and undue—modesty. There was no question the Kingsfield Killings had stopped due to Kennedy’s efforts, which was no doubt why the police chief had been so quick to call him in this time. It was a little surprising the Bureau hadn’t waited to see how things developed in the Madigan case, but maybe this was as much about putting Kennedy on ice as finding a missing girl. That was certainly the way it had sounded to Jason when SAC Manning had asked him to cancel his vacation.
“What kind of a party was it?” Jason asked.
“What do you mean?”
“It’s June. Was it a graduation party? Birthday party? Sweet sixteen? Secret baby shower?”
Kennedy’s laugh was without humor. “It was the kind of party you throw when your parents are out of town for the weekend.”
“Was everybody invited or was it private?”
“We don’t have the details yet. You know everything I know.”
Yeah, probably not. Kennedy was one of these lone-wolf types who no doubt “preferred to play his own hand” or whatever bullshit macho phrase he’d use to excuse not being a team player. It made for good TV, but in real-life law enforcement, not being a team player was how people got hurt.
Sometimes you got hurt even when everyone was playing for the same team. Jason’s shoulder twinged, and he rubbed it absently.
There was a large heart-shaped sign by the side of the road on the outskirts of town. The sign read IN OUR HEARTS FOREVER Honey Corrigan June 15th 1998.
The sign had not been there the last time Jason had driven this road. But it was probably familiar to Kennedy. He’d probably passed it a hundred times that long ago summer.
Neither of them spoke, and a couple of minutes later they were out of the green woodland and into the shady streets of the picturesque and rustic village of Kingsfield. It was classic New England. Pretty and quaint. Clapboard houses surrounded by wide lawns or gardens of old roses, renovated nineteenth century commercial buildings of red and yellow brick, war memorials—that would be the Revolutionary War—white churches with tall steeples, all artfully positioned around the large and lush village green. Nothing like California, that was for sure. But then that had been the point of spending summers here.
“Just like you remember?” Kennedy’s voice jarred Jason out of his thoughts.
“Doesn’t seem to have changed much.”
And that was the truth. They passed Beaky’s Tavern. Bow windows and a hanging, hand-painted sign featuring a bewigged gentleman with a nose like a hood ornament.
“When was the last time you were back?”
“Years.” His parents had sold their vacation home right after Honey had disappeared, and Jason had not been back since. He was not going to share that information with Kennedy, even if Kennedy had been listening.
Which he wasn’t. His attention was on the information his GPS was providing in crisp, mechanical tones. His big hands moved with easy assurance on the steering wheel, his gaze raked the pretty little shops and cafes.
The police station was located in the center of the village, housed in the former Town Hall building. It was a two-story structure of faded brick complete with a clock tower—including a rooster weather vane—and gray columns supporting the front portico. The arched windows had a nice view of the Quaboag River, a blue shadow in the distance.
Jason and Kennedy parked in the rear beneath a row of maple trees.
“I’d expect to see a lot more cars here,” Jason said, studying the nearly empty lot.
“They’re out searching,” Kennedy replied.
His tone was neutral, but yes. Of course. The problem was it had been a long time since Jason had worked a violent crime. Or at least since he’d worked a crime where there was an expectation of violence. People were always unpredictable. Especially when they felt cornered.
He walked beside Kennedy around the building. The air was hot and humid, scented of warm stone and daylilies. Kennedy didn’t say a word from the parking lot to the front portico. Not a chatty guy.
They went in through the old wood-frame glass doors. A matronly-looking officer was busy answering the phones. She barely glanced at their IDs, indicating with a nod of her head that they should proceed down the dark-paneled hallway—all the while calmly answering the caller on the other end of the line.
An incident room had been set up on the main floor. It was abandoned but for one lone deputy who was erasing something on the large whiteboard. Jason’s heart sank as he recognized Boyd Boxner. It had been a long time, but Boyd hadn’t changed all that much. Square shoulders, square jaw, square head. Well, his head wasn’t square, but his towheaded crew cut gave that impression.
“Special Agent Kennedy,” Kennedy offered his ID again. “This is Special Agent West.”
“We’ve been waiting for you,” Boxner said. He glanced at Jason without recognition—suits and shades provided excellent camouflage—and that was fine with Jason. “Chief Gervase is directing the search for Rebecca. He asked me to escort you to the search site.”
“Fine. Let’s get moving,” Kennedy said.
Jason said, “You don’t think we should maybe head over to the girl’s house? Take a look around. See if there’s a reason she might have walked away voluntarily?”
Kennedy stared at him as though he’d forgotten Jason was present. He’d removed his sunglasses. His eyes were blue. Arctic blue. A hard and unforgiving color. He turned back to Boxner. “We’ll start with the search site.”
Okay. That could have been handled with a little professional courtesy. But fair enough. Kennedy was the senior on this investigation. Jason was just riding shotgun. This was not his field of expertise. By the same token, he wasn’t there just to fill a second suit.
He said, matching Kennedy’s blank face and tone, “Do they need us to join the search? They’ll have plenty of volunteers. Maybe we could be of more use taking a look at the case from a different angle.”
Kennedy stared at him for a long, silent moment. It was not a friendly look. Nor the look of someone considering another viewpoint.
“You want me to leave you two to work it out?” Boxner was looking at Jason more closely now.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to have a word with my colleague,” Kennedy said with ominous calm.
“I’ll bring the car around.” Boxner was clearly in no doubt as to who would win this round. The old floorboards squeaked as he departed.
Kennedy didn’t say a word until Boxner had vanished down the hall. He turned to Jason.
“Okay, pretty boy. Let’s get something straight.” His tone was cold and clipped. “We both know your role here is to run interference between me and everybody else. All you need to do is stay out of my way and smooth the feathers when needed. And in return you’ll be the guy who gets to pose in front of the cameras with Chief Gervase. Fair enough?”
“The hell,” Jason said. “I’ve been asked to try and make sure you don’t step in it again, sure, but I’m not here to hold your cape and deerstalker, Sherlock. I’m your partner on this case whether either of us likes it or not. And, for the record, I don’t like it—any more than you do.”
“Then make it easy on both of us,” Kennedy said. “You stay out of my murder investigation, and I’ll let you know if I hear about any paintings getting stolen.”
He didn’t wait for Jason’s answer. He turned and followed Boxner down the hallway.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

And so on and so forth

Today's post is a day late because yesterday the SO and I did something we haven't done since January. We took the day off in order to have lunch and go to a movie.

The movie was Sicario and it was an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours. I always like Emily Blunt. Lunch was okay. I am increasingly bored by chain restaurant food. I don't miss the lesson afforded by it, however, and that is that in a world full of tired, harried people, opting for the tried and true--even if the tried and true is mediocre--is frequently the best, or at least the usual, choice. This is just as true in publishing as elsewhere, which is why "discoverability" is such a challenge for writers. And why they spend so much time talking about writing rather than actually writing.

This has turned out to be a very strange year. Granted, the only real unexpected turn of events was buying a new house. Everything else was planned out last year--and went pretty much according to plan. But buying a new house...I had no idea how time consuming and complicated that would be. We're still not completely moved out of the old house, and I am increasingly nervous about the items that were left behind. Like all my Christmas stuff. All the vintage Christmas ornaments handed down through my family...that stuff worries me. The other stuff...well, I can't say I'd rejoice at losing several years worth of tax papers, but it wouldn't break my heart the way losing those 1950s mica Christmas angels would.

Once upon a time a couple of novels and two short stories would have been considered a productive year. Now days...not so much--despite the distractions of moving house, two trips to Catalina, the uproar resulting from connecting my real identity to my pen name, and a trip to Scotland. That's a pretty big year with almost no "down" time.

The one creative casualty was my story intended for an anthology to benefit the Trevor project. Unfortunately I ran about a month behind on Jefferson Blythe, which meant that I was packing for Scotland and dealing with emails from readers when I should have been writing my story for charity. Now, I can--and will--donate the cash the story would have earned to the Trevor Project. That's not an issue. But I wanted to write that story--and I hate not fulfilling my commitments. I'm sorry to disappoint those of you who were looking forward to my contribution, but the anthology is still going to be terrific. Please support the effort of these wonderfully generous and talented authors and others! I'll keep you posted on the release date details.

I'm reluctant to commit to anything for next year.  Which is to say I've already committed to a huge and complicated non-fiction project and beyond that...there are two novels contracted to Carina Press: Murder Takes the High Road (Scottish tour bus who-dunnit) and Fair Chance (3rd and final story in the All's Fair trilogy). I know what I would like to do--and that's a number of tightly written mystery novellas in the vein of the things I wrote early on--but we'll kind of have to wait and see.

As for what is still coming this year...

Well, the release of Jefferson Blythe, Esquire (as an ebook and in audio). That's November 16th.

Several audio books including Winter Kill, Murder in Pastel, Dark Horse White Knight, Baby, it's Cold,  and the M/M Mystery and Suspense Box Set are still to come.

I'm contributing an essay on James Colton (Joseph Hansen)  to Curt Evans for his untitled but upcoming book on LGBT mystery to be published by McFarland Press next year.

jbe-inspired artwork for coloring book
There are a number of Italian and French translations in the works for a 2015 release. Lone Star in Italian. The Dark Tide in Japanese. A Dangerous Thing in French. The Darkling Thrush in Italian...  I'm sure I'm forgetting other titles!

 There will be a Josh Lanyon coloring book called Love is a Many Colored Thing, illustrations by Johanna Ollilia. If you love coloring books for grown ups, there's a good chance you'll enjoy the art and excerpts in this one.

There will possibly, probably, be a Christmas story, but again, I'm leery of making promises.

And there will most likely be a number of Holiday Codas.

And that's all I want to commit to just at the moment. It seems like a lot to me, but compared to other years...well, the only less productive year I've had from a writing standpoint would have to be the year I took off. My sabbatical year. ;-)  But it's been a really good year. A really satisfying and productive year from a personal standpoint. A year of growth and change--a year that gives me a lot to write about. And that is always a good thing.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Memorable Moments from Scotland

Other people's vacations are simply not that interesting, so I will not subject you to the entire slide show (which according to my iPhone consists of nearly two thousand photos!?) but will instead just share a couple of quick pics and memories of what was truly an outstanding trip.

On our way from Glasgow to Orkney. Forty-three (or was it forty-four? Can we include the driver?) on our tour bus. Thirty bottles of booze--primarily whiskey. A long and winding road.


Standing stones - Orkney. The sea breeze, the cries of birds, the hum of bees. A very ancient place.

Details of the Italian Chapel on Orkney.

Inverness bike tour. Okay, not really. Bike shop and coffee house next to an abandoned mansion/school that would be perfect for a ghost story. ;-)

Inverness garden.

Philosophical observation...

And a final view of Urquhart Castle with a glimpse of Loch Ness.