Friday, November 9, 2018

Something Wicked Good This Way Comes

One of the best parts of this year--and I have to give a big chunk of credit to my Patreon group for this--is my newly restored creative energy.

This has been a good year for me. By the end of  2018 I'll have published five new novels, produced a slew of new audio books, compiled several boxsets and collections, launched a successful Patreon, attended my first GRL, taken back control of my print backlist...  So, yes, the most productive year in, um, years, but it's also been a really inspired year. Not that I've had time to put every single new idea into action, but a surprising number of projects are at least in the beginning phase--and although it's still really, really early--we don't even have our cover art yet!--I want to announce one of those upcoming projects now.

Footsteps in the Dark is an anthology of original contemporary M/M Mystery-Romance novellas by seven of my favorite authors in the genre:

 LB Gregg 
Nicole Kimberling
Josh Lanyon
Dal MacLean
Z.A. Maxfield
Meg Perry
CS Poe
S.C. Wynne  

Eight original stories with plenty of suspense and romance and at least Happy For Now endings.

Expected release is May 2019.

There really has not been anything like this in M/M Mystery, and I'm hugely excited about it. I'll keep you posted--I can't wait for the cover reveal!

Friday, November 2, 2018

What's Black and White and Read--Uh Oh!

As previously warned, most of my print list is now pretty much unavailable as we begin the process of moving everything from Createspace/Amazon to IngramSpark.

Why are we making this change? Because, generally speaking, bookstores do not--and will not--stock Createspace books.

Why would this be the case?

A - Most indie print titles don't sell enough to make it viable for bookstores to stock them, and B - Most bookstores view Amazon (Createspace) as their mortal enemy.

Why am I complicating life for readers by turning to IngramSpark when most of my print titles will be sold online anyway?

Because I refuse to hand over complete control of my writing career to the Zon--even if it means taking a financial hit in the short term. Or even in the long term. I just won't do it.

When will my print backlist be available again? Hopefully by the start of 2019 everything will be moved over and back into circulation. We've already started moving titles, but the holidays are coming and life gets complicated. Not just for me personally, but for the entire publishing industry.

So I am sorry for the inconvenience (I've been warning this would be coming for the past three months) but the good news is I have not abandoned print, and if all goes well, my print titles will actually be more widely available and possibly even less expensive.

Monday, October 29, 2018

GRL 2018

This was my first time at GRL (the annual GayRomLitRetreat) and I flat out loved it.

I mean, I knew I would enjoy meeting readers and fellow authors, getting to talk books and writing and publishing for hours on end, but I didn't expect to love it quite so much!

I loved the city of Portsmouth, VA--beautiful old homes and gardens, plenty of quaint shops and wonderful restaurants (Fish and Slips, I will remember you and the lump crab dip fondly forever) within walking distance. I loved the hotel (yes, it took forever to get a drink and the restaurant was so-so, but when is that NOT the case at a conference hotel??). I loved all the events which were organized to give authors plenty of opportunity to interact with readers. I loved the ferry and hugs and the she crab soup and the white caps on the water and all the churches and statues and old trees of the city. I loved the fact that we didn't miss our flight going home--which was a near thing after I realized Sunday night that I'd arranged for the shuttle to pick us up five minutes before we were supposed to board our plane!

Highlights...almost too many to list: meeting LE Franks for lunch the afternoon we arrived (possibly the last moment of quiet sanity for the entire week), the Fanyon dinner (FINALLY meeting the legendary Marilyn Blimes), the first dinner at Fish and Slips with S.C. Wynne, Felice Stevens and C.S. Poe, the author lounges--love, love, loved getting to talk to so many readers--getting to hang out with narrator Kale Williams, singing karaoke with S.C., the spotlight panel with S.C. and Felice (so many great questions from the audience) the Patreon breakfast on Saturday, the MEGA book signing that followed...and this is where I start to lose track, but that's the sure sign of a great trip. When there is simply too much good stuff to recount in a single post. 

Was it worth it from a professional standpoint? I would say so. Networking. There's something to be said for meeting your peers face-to-face. But what I thought was especially well done about GRL versus other conferences I've been to was the effort to create a variety of events for authors to interact directly with readers. Two lounges, a panel and a signing mean there's a lot of opportunity to meet and greet readers--and that's really what this kind of event is all about. The readers.

Was there room for improvement? Undoubtedly there is always room for improvement. From my perspective, next time I'd try to schedule a little more one-on-one time with the author friends I didn't manage to connect with. I probably spent too much time in the bar hanging with the usual suspects (but that's kind of what happens when you only see your pals once or twice a year). I'd bring a pair of boots. I'd try to get a little more quality sleep because by Saturday night I was whipped and just couldn't make it to the big 80s party. I would make more of an effort to eat healthy (in fact, I've never had so much fried food in a single week in my entire life). I'd schedule the Patreon breakfast for earlier in the week. I'd bring a smaller selection of print books, but more copies (who knew Fatal Shadows--Fatal Shadows?!--would be my big seller :-D). I'd do a way better job of bagging my preorders. I'd buy one of those banners that drape OVER the table...

Anyway, that was GRL. A big thank you to the organizers (I'm guessing it takes the better part of year to pull that event together). And another thank you to the readers who took the time and trouble to attend. I can't tell you how much it means to hear that a book helped you get through the dark times, still makes you laugh aloud, taught you something new or gave you a Come to Jesus moment.

If you're an author or a reader and you've been trying to decide whether to attend GRL in the future, well, like any event, a certain measure of what you get out of it will be equal to what you put into it. But you're unlikely to find another real life event so tailored to the things we spend most of our online lives thinking and talking about. And, after all, despite our shared love of fiction there's still something to be said for real life. ;-)

If You Don't Vote, You Don't Get to Complain

And I know complaining is such a vital part of social media these days, so Be Aware.

But seriously.

When I was researching Murder Between the Pages, I remember reading a contemporary (1940s) account of women being dragged off a parade float celebrating their newly gained right to vote. Yes. Women being dragged off a local parade float by their male FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS AND FAMILY MEMBERS because of their outrageous demand to have a say in politics.

And by politics, I mean legislation that affected these women intimately and immediately--as all legislation does.

Now, in fairness, many gentlemen in the crowd came to the assistance of these ladies--this is why we all need allies. We cannot do it alone. No one can. Allies are required. Allies are a non-negotiable component of success. To affect political change you need the good will and strong arm of the majority behind you--and even then, you're in for a hell of a fight. Make no mistake.

Anyway, women won the right to vote--the right to even cast a vote--in 1919. Please pay attention, girlfriend, because some of your great-great-grannies did not have the right to vote. My grandma could remember a time in which she did NOT have the right to vote. (That's right, I am old--and I wear it proudly.)

This right that you take so much for granted that you don't bother to use it...well, think about it. African American males won the right to vote in 1870.  (As well they should have.) But our right to vote is still relatively new and pretty damned fragile. I have heard females argue that women have innate protections merely by virtue of being white or middle class or pretty or whatever.

NO. Get your head out of your ass, my dear. What are you, British? (That's a joke--British women only got the right to vote in 1918.) Wake the fuck up.

We still live in a time when men (some men) take it for granted they can legislate everything from our health care to whether we have children.  We live in a time where OTHER WOMEN take it for granted that men should have the right to legislate our health care and whether or not be have children.

You think "it" couldn't happen here? That's what people always think. Look at history. And then weep. Or not. Because big girls don't cry. They VOTE.

Friday, September 14, 2018

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like, er, Autumn

Which means, gulp, Christmas and the winter holidays are right around the corner.

Time to start thinking of Ye Olde Advent Calendar.

I know! But yes. Really. It's that time again.

I want to extend an invitation to all and sundry (okay, maybe not -- rather to all fans of my work and this blog) to contribute to this year's calendar. Stories, art, games, contests (giveaways), essays... Basically anything that relates to my characters and worlds and/or the winter holidays would be most welcome.

I'm aiming to do six codas this year. I haven't settled on the character pairings yet, but that's the goal.

Which leaves a LOT of room for reader/fan contributions as well as giveaways and all the usual holly-jolliness.

If you're interested in participating, drop me a line through my website OR through Facebook or Goodreads or Twitter or any of the usual places. The more the merrier, IMHO. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Just Another Morning in September

I love mornings like this.

I woke up around 5:30--even too early for Marlowe the Mutt!--and went outside to water and just breathe in the quiet cool fall morning. So quiet. All around me house lights are coming on, people waking for school and work, but the buzz has not yet begun, is not yet audible. This is my favorite time of day. When there are still infinite possibilities for the day ahead.

What does my typical Friday morning look like?

The dark and cool garden smelling of earth and damp flowers

Email & coffee & thinky-thoughts (So many thinky thoughts!)
1 - Am I making a mistake not letting Amazon control my print backlist?
2 - Can I talk about this new series without getting reamed for daring to think of new books before I have delivered old?
3 - Could an art gallery be used as a front for the mob?
4 - Is audio still viable in the age of subscription services?
5 - Why do people with two stunningly mediocre books under their belt feel comfortable giving writing advice to other newbies?
6 - Will the plane crash on the way to GRL?
7 - Could a publishing house be used as a front for the mob?
(You see how it is...)

Maybe a little bit of social media (So. Much. Talking.)

The SO wakes and the TV goes on (BOO! I knew I should have remained single!!!!) :-/

The SO brings me another cup of coffee and asks what I want for dinner (YAY! I KNEW getting married was a good idea!!!) :-D

Massage and more thinky-thoughts
1 - I will resume yoga
2 - I will eat more veggies
3 - Could a film company be used as a front for the mob?

The day begins for real...

What is your Friday morning like?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Nothing Gold Can Stay

I dread the end of summer.

Which is strange because I actually love the fall--and then winter brings the holidays, which I also love.

But somehow I feel melancholy as summer begins to wind down. Not that there isn't plenty of bounce left in summer because although the nieces and nephews are headed back to school (college for three of them and the final year of high school for the youngest) we've still got many, many days of scorching temperatures ahead.

Many long, lingering twilights and moonlight swims. Fresh picked fruit and grilled salmon suppers and homemade ice cream experiments (the red chili coffee ice cream was an interesting one). Listening to the chimes through the open windows at night--and songbirds at the crack of dawn.

Anyway, it's been a busy and eventful couple of months--I feel like I'm finally FINALLY beginning to catch up a little. Maybe. 

I'm hoping to finish up Seance on a Summer's Night by the end of the month. It will be available for sale in print only--well, and eventually audio. It's going to be our first experiment with Ingramspark and the beginning of maneuvering my print backlist away from Createspace/Amazon.

After Seance I get back to work on The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out. That's slated for a fall release. (It will be available in print and audio as well, yes!)

Speaking of audio, Kevin R. Free is back to narrate In Other Words...Murder (that's likely an October release) and I've been talking to Joel Froomkin about narrating Green Glass Beads (that would be more like a November release--although I'm hoping to have it to my patrons for Halloween). ;-)

That's probably going to be it for the year. I'm attending GRL in October--my first time!--and then we'll be into the holidays and the annual Advent Calendar and THEN before I know it, the next Sam and Jason will be due... Yikes!

Hope you're making the most of these final golden days of summer...