Friday, June 27, 2014

Author! Author! RHYS FORD

This morning we have a little treat for you. Another installment of Author! Author! This month with one of my very first online friends, the adorable Rhys Ford.

Rhys was one of the very first readers I had contact with when I first stumbled into online interaction (back in the days of LiveJournal!). She was always friendly, supportive, and very funny. And now she's a talented writer in her own If you don't know her work, you should -- especially if you enjoy crime and mystery novels.

So without further ado...

Where did we first meet? Wasn't it that funny little café in Monte Carlo? Weren't you running guns at the time?


I think it was in Paris. It was raining. You stole my espresso from the waiter’s tray and told me I’d ordered it for you, I just didn’t know it at the time.


Wow. When did we first meet? I think I dropped you an email after I read Fatal Shadows when it first came out. Wow, long ride, no?


 Last movie that made you cry? STOP CRYING, YOU BIG BABY!!!


Huh… Brave? I tear up like a big baby at movies. Hell. Commercials sometimes get me. Dog rescue videos…yep, bawling.


Are you a full-time writer?


Yes and no. I do graphic design work on contract. Writing…ah, it sucks the brain, doesn’t it but oh so addictive. Heh. I write a hell of a lot.


What's the last piece of music you listened to? Did you sing along? Were you in key?


Last piece of music? Misirlou as played by 2cellos (Sulic & Hauser). Nope I didn’t sing along…no words. But um… last song I sang along to? Metallica’s Outlaw Born…and yes I sang along. And define in-key.


We play Rock Band a lot. I’m the designated singer. Mostly because the scrolling up streams for the instruments make me motion-sick.


What do you think is the most important thing to remember when creating fully realized main characters?


Make a personality. Fill in the back story. Even if I never show it on page, a main character should have a back story. But write to the personality. Fill in the blanks and hell, define even some of the little things like coffee or tea? Emboss characteristics and traits. Flaws as well as virtues.


 What's with all the nekkid in your newstream? Come on, explain. Don't hesitate to use visual aids.


I’m not even sure how it happened. One day I found myself in this daily posting thing of hot men. It’s an odd thing. Suddenly, it became a thing. :D


Um… David Gandy is always a favourite.


One of the great strengths of the Cole McGinnis series is the way you your own cultural heritage is reflected in the characters of Jae and Cole and Miki and Kane. Was this a conscious decision or was it instinctive? What has the response been from readers?


For the Dirty Series, it was deliberate. It’s actually harder for me to write for Cole because it’s first person and I’m writing it from the viewpoint of someone who doesn’t know much about Asian cultures. A lot of Cole’s responses and reactions are borrowed from friends who were experiencing things for the first time.


Most responses have been positive although a few times people have left me comments asking why I didn’t just choose “normal” names for the Korean characters. But really, everyone’s been welcoming of the culture clash between Cole and Jae.

The Morgans are… they’re really fun to write. It’s a good sprawl of a family and I’ve enjoyed bringing them and their brash Irishness to life.


Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had a ghostly encounter?


Ah, there’s too much in the world for me to say there’s no such thing as… whatever. Ghostly encounters? I’d say boo-wiggly things but nothing definitive. But oh, I can spin you a few old tales from my people.


Would you describe the Sinners series as mysteries or crime novels?


Wow. Crime? Suspense-thrillers? There’s a bit of romance in them but oh, I’d say crime.


Can you cook?


I’d say yes. No one goes hungry at my table. I like cooking. It soothes the savage beast. I actually enjoy cooking a lot. It’s like therapy. Food is always a unifying thing among people.


I love that you've really pushed yourself to try a variety of things -- steampunk, for example. Is there any genre you'd like to try but are kinda, sorta afraid of?


Contemporary. I’m writing one now and man it’s kicking my ass. I keep thinking… you know what would be good right now? A nice murder! A dead body! Really. Always a good thing.


I do want to stretch out and try new things on. I’s good for the soul and mind. *grins*


Do you still own that crazy classic car?


Oh yes. He’s my baby. Not crazy at all. It can do the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs. Heh. I just did a road trip up to Ontario, Ca from San Diego. It’s a good car.


What scares you? Does that fear ever find its way into your stories?


So much fear. Probably leaving nothing behind of worth. I think I work that into my stories. Fear of relationships, trusting — a lot of those trails in my books. A lot of people have those fears and I think by exploring those issues, it brings characters to some kind of closeness to the reader.


What are you working on now?


That contemporary I’m cursing out right now. Down and Dirty—Bobby and Ichiro. Then after that, a new series I’m currently trying to let cook in my brain.


Tell us something surprising. Anything. Go on. Surprise us! 


I like canned peas and mayo.


Wow…um… I have a fondness for really bad reality shows about fashion.


Thank you, Ms. Ford. It is always a pleasure! :-)

Thank you for having me along for the ride. Now get to work. I need some new Lanyon to read :D

Friday, June 20, 2014

Halfway Home

As we're halfway through the year -- my second year back from sabbatical -- I thought this might be a good time to take stock. There is good news and bad news here, depending on what you like to read and what you were hoping to see from me in the future.

I keep reading bizarro comments about how I've barely been writing since sabbatical, but actually I think my output is pretty much back to normal.

Written on or since sabbatical:

Green Glass Beads (this was actually completed at the point of my most extreme point of burn-out, when I could not bear to write, could not stand to even think of writing -- yet no one seemed to see this in the work, so maybe it WAS all in my head)
Perfect Day
Blood Red Butterfly
I Spy Something Christmas

Haunted Heart: Winter
In Plain Sight
The Parting Glass
Kick Start
Merry Christmas, Darling (Christmas Codas - various)
Stranger Things Have Happened: AE CYOA
Stranger on the Shore
Everything I Know

That's everything, I think.

Okay, well, I guess it looks like I'm writing less in general -- partly because I'm trying to stick to my sabbatical-conceived rule of taking enough time off and keeping the creative well filled. (Oh, and getting exercise.) And of course, I did always mostly write novellas, but I always did short stories too, and the sole post-sabbatical novel is longer than most of my other novels -- and there will be two more full-length novels this year -- so I think my output is back to normal. It's more a matter of smoothing out the production schedule now that I have so many other things to deal with.

Maybe I'm experimenting more? Yes, probably. With formats (the CYOA book) and content (Blood Red Butterfly). Some experiments are more successful than others, but everything has earned out. So far, so good. That said, experiments are kind of tricky because while we all, as readers, pride ourselves on being open and even eager for creative experiments, the truth is...are we? Of course not! What addict wants a supplier experimenting and getting creative with their fix? What we readers really want is for our favorite author to keep writing our favorite book, only make it somehow new in this version. In other words...can you somehow up the dosage?
And the answer is no.

But then again, I've always experimented with genre, theme, format. A Vintage Affair was certainly experimental. The White Knight. The Petit Morts. I like to try different things.

So maybe it's just back to status quo? Only now I'm a lot more relaxed? I'm having more fun?

I can see from the enthusiastic response to Stranger on the Shore that readers want more novels and they want those novels to be classic mystery novels. Which works for me. It's what I most enjoy too. I just have to time everything more carefully than I did this year. Six months between releases and then a flood of everything coming out in the final six months of the year is not ideal. Yes, I did notice that!

So taking a look at the remainder of 2014 and what I had initially hoped to do, I think realistically I'm cutting everything in favor of the two remaining novels.

Fair Play
Boy with the Painful Tattoo

Fair Play is November. BWTPT will likely be September/October. (And yes, it is half-written now, so it is really happening.)

Those are the two releases you can rely on for this year. Everything -- if there is anything -- else is bonus. And that leaves...a lot of very disappointed readers, I know. I'm not happy about that either.

So the newly revised Coming But I'm Not Giving an Actual Date list is:

Winter Kill
Ill Met by Moonlight
Slay Ride
Bite Club
The Mermaid Murders
Shadow on the Sun
Blind Side

These are things I know will be written. But I'm not giving dates. That just makes us all crazy.

There are other projects that I want to do -- the sequel to The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks (oddly turning out to be my most translated title) a number of holiday stories, etc. One thing post-sabbatical is I have so many ideas, and there really is not going to be enough time to write them all. And, in honesty, probably they all aren't worth writing anyway. Not every idea is strong enough to carry a coherent story.

And some of the ideas -- like the short story about a guy who is recovering from a stroke and is haunted by a ghost and ends up dying...I'm going to guess you probably wouldn't be too terribly thrilled with (genuinely creepy though it is).

Anyway, moving forward I'm going to try not to officially announce anything I'm not absolutely positive will be completed within eighteen months. I think that's less wear and tear on all of us. One project a year will be through a publisher and the rest will be through my own publishing imprint.

So that's where we are!  What do you think?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dis, Dat, and Da Other

Once again, this is not the post I had intended to write for this week, but there have been a slew of little updates, and I'm deep into Fair Play right now, so maybe we'll just do it this way.

Speaking of Fair Play, here's a little bitty snippet...

“Have you read the book?”
“No.” Elliot grimaced. “I forgot about it, to be honest. After he got that agent, he never really talked about it again. I figured nothing had ever come of it -- until he suddenly had a book deal and the damn thing was going to be published.”
“So you have no idea what’s in it?”
“Zero idea.”
“Any guesses?”
“He’s always talked about stirring people up, rattling a few cages. Christ knows what that means. He might mean cages in general or he might have a few specific cages in mind.”
“How much of a badass could he have been? I know he got a certain amount of notoriety from a string of arrests, but he never did any major jail time and he never made the Most Wanted list.”
“I know. I can’t imagine anyone reading the thing, let alone feeling threatened enough to kill him over it.”
“You could ask to read it.”
“The cops will ask to read it.”
“I wouldn’t bet on it. The prevailing theory is that this is just another right wing nut outraged at the idea of a high profile leftist memoir.”
“It’s not a bad theory.”
“No, it’s the obvious theory, but I can tell that’s not what Dad thinks.”
“But he’s not telling you what he does think.”
Tucker slid between sheets and groaned with relief.
Elliot tossed the report aside and leaned over him. “Welcome home, sailor.”
They kissed.
“What a long ass voyage,” Tucker muttered.

Fair Play is now available for preorder at Amazon. Hopefully soon at other places as well.

Also now available for order is the print edition of Fair Game. Remember, this print edition is an experiment for Carina Press, and therefore the clock is ticking as to how long it will remain available.

In other news, Stranger Things Have Happened, the Adrien English CYOA novel is now -- AT LONG LAST -- available for Kindle. Yes, it does have those gorgeous (black and white) illustrations by Catherine Dair.

And finally, a bit of good news for audio book lovers, This Rough Magic narrated by Jordan Murphy is now up for sale at Audible. (It should soon be available at iTunes and Amazon.) Regular viewers may recall that Jordan was the narrator who came in second place with voters during the Armed and Dangerous vocal death match.

Oh! I almost forgot. Next week is the release of the Male Male Contemporary Box Set from Carina Press which includes stories by LB Gregg, Libby Drew, KC Burns and me. (My story is Icecapade.) This is a great way to sample some excellent M/M stories from writers I'm pretty sure you'll really enjoy.

And I think that's it. I will be very hard to find on line for the next couple of weeks while I plow through the rough draft of Fair Play, so if I am slow in responding, the good news is I'm writing one of your most requested stories.

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's all relative

How the heck did it get to be Friday so fast?

Well, readers comment frequently on the interesting places I write about (I mean, the places I haven't actually made up -- although I hope those are interesting too). I haven't written about this place -- or been there yet -- but it's on my list.

I give you MOBA. The Museum of Bad Art in Boston.

Seriously. Take a moment to peruse the online gallery.