Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Music: Kind and Generous

Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant

This song reminds me of an interesting and exciting time in my life, and a very dear friend who journeyed it with me. Thank you, Joseph. Love you always.

And to all my amazingly wonderful and cherished friends, thank you for being you. xoxo

Friday, September 23, 2011

Remember to Smile

I have just one thing to say. I love Davey. Okay, two things. He has a beautiful smile. Oh fine then, I have three things to say. YOU have a beautiful smile, so do the world a favour and share it. :-D

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Music: Touch, Feel & Lose

I love the smokey, growly quality of Ryan Adams' voice. Add some kickin' soulful blues to back it up it and yeah... just like that. *sigh*

Thursday, September 15, 2011

At the Bloody Bar & Grill with Seiran Rou


I stifled a yawn and took another sip of my coffee. It’s late for an interview, but this is the only time Seiran Rou, male earth witch, would give me, right after his shift at the Bloody Bar and Grill. Seiran’s boyfriend, a vampire named Gabriel, and a big blond man named Jamie, sit at a table a few over. Far enough away for privacy, but close enough to overhear. Seiran finally sits down with me, a cup of tea cradled in his hands. Long dark hair hangs over his eyes like a shield he’s trying to hide behind. He looks uncomfortable.

Thank you for indulging me, Mr. Rou. If you’re ready?

       As ready as I’ll ever be, I guess.
Okay, then, we’re officially on the record now…

How do you feel about your life right now? It must be difficult being one of very few male witches.

It’s a little easier now that more witches are entering the magic studies program. I have a lot of other guys ask me what sort of things to expect in the classes. I tell them to do like I do, study hard, keep your head down, and try not to let the teasing get to you.

If you could, what, if anything, would you like to change about your life?
       It may be odd to say this, but I think I’d rather not be a witch.

Would you want to be a vampire, like Gabriel? Or just a regular human?
       I’d rather be a regular human. I think if I were normal like most folks I might have a mom who loved me more and maybe a more normal childhood.

I don’t know Seiran very well, but my heart breaks a little hearing this.
Did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?

       My mother still wishes I were a girl, or that I was just a simple-minded guy who she could have wed to some powerful witch like Rose Pewette. Sometimes I think she’s proud of me though, even though she doesn’t smile or hug me. Life is easier when my mom’s happy.

If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?
       More time with Gabe, an endless supply of books and equality among witches.

What kind of books do you like to read? What’s your favorite?
       Romance and mystery. Cookbooks too, but you don’t really read those, you cook from those. I sort of remake all the recipes the way I want them to be. My favorite romance is a book by Catherine Hart called Fire and Ice. I’d totally do the Jean Laffitte in the book. That book actually made me want to learn history. Pirates are hot.

LOL. Yes, pirates are pretty hot. Especially Johnny Depp.
       Maybe I can get Gabe to dress up as a pirate. I’m sure he’s got a sword and a fluffy shirt somewhere...

LOL. Okay, no details for me...
       Gabe gets growly when I talk about sex to other people when he’s in hearing distance.

I shift in my seat. The last thing I want is an angry vampire breathing down my neck. Okay, moving on. What is one physical attribute you are proud of?
Seiran holds his arms out and pulls back his sleeve to show me his pipes.

      Um, I guess my arms? They have good tone to them. Not crazy like Jamie’s are, but you can see my muscles. If I’m wearing a sleeveless shirt there’s no doubt I’m a guy.

Impressive! What one physical attribute would you change?
      That I’m small and pretty. I guess that’s two, but it sort of goes hand in hand. If I were large and pretty that would probably be kind of scary. People are already intimidated by me, or at least that’s what Gabe tells me. If I were less pretty I’d just be short, and short guys really get a bad deal, you know? If I had to choose one, I’d rather not be short, cause then it would be easier to kiss Gabe.

When you walk into a room, what do you notice first?
      How many people are in it. Then how clean it is.

Why do you notice how clean it is?
      Cause I like places to be clean wherever I go. I don’t like lingering where there’s dirt everywhere.

How do you decide if you can trust someone?
      Trust is really hard for me. I think it comes from a lot of time spent with a person. Gabe tells me he won me over by doing all the small things. I’m not sure what he means by that.

You and Gabriel have been together for a while now. What parts of loving him come easy for you? Hard?
      The easy parts are physical. He’s hot. I love when he fucks me. The hard parts are the ones I can’t see. He says pretty things and stares at me and I just wonder what he’s thinking. Is he humoring me? Does he say those things just cause he wants to keep having sex with me? Is this thing real? That’s the hard part.

From the growls coming across the room right now, I highly doubt he’s humoring you, Seiran. So, what's the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn't/couldn't/wouldn't? What would happen if you did do it?
      I wanted to be a chef. To own some sort of fancy little bistro that served sandwiches and soup and dessert that would make you salivate. But all the food would be healthy. I don’t mean like low fat or calories or whatever. I mean the food would be made with real ingredients and have nutrients that would help power your body to do what it’s meant to do. Sort of like fertilizer makes the earth stronger, lets roots dig deeper and flowers bloom more vibrantly. People can do that too. If I did do it, I’d probably be cleaning all the time.

I think its a great idea. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?
      Choked and almost barfed while sucking someone’s cock. I’ve gotten better at it since.

I not-so-gracefully snort coffee through my nose. Okay. Uh...Do you have any deep dark secrets?
      I’d like to think so. I don’t tell many about my past. Gabe knows about Matthew, who is really the worst bit of my past. But everyone has secrets, right?

So as not to risk pissing off Gabe, I won’t delve. What are you most afraid of?
       Being alone.

I notice a slight shake in Seiran’s hands as he picks up his cup and frowns. He puts it back down on the table with a clank. Empty. I’m just about to ask another question when Jamie’s huge shadow, darkens the table.

Sorry, ma’am. It’s time to lock up and Mr. Rou is tired.

Jamie reaches for Seiran's teacup and Gabe is already crossing the room to our side.

Okay, thank you very much for taking a few minutes to chat with me, Seiran. I’m sure I speak for many when I say I’m looking forward to seeing more from the male earth witch on record.
Seiran blushes.

       Thank you for speaking to me.

* * *

If you want see what Seiran's up against with the Dominion, be sure and pick up INHERITANCE at Dreamspinner Press! You will not be disappointed. For upcoming stories and the latest scoop, visit Lissa Kasey's website.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Music Monday: Passenger Seat

Passenger Seat by Death Cab for Cutie

This song... this song is one of those I play on repeat. Its haunting, contemplative -- it takes me back in time to a profound and cherished moment in my life. One that always leaves the mark of its memory with a heartfelt smile.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Author Interview with Stuart Wakefield


I’m thrilled to have author Stuart Wakefield here to talk a little about writing and his debut release, BODY OF WATER.

LC: Thanks so much for dropping by, Stuart.
SW: Thank you for having me, LC. *snuggles into chair* I’m very flattered that you asked me along.

LC: To kick it off, tell us a little about your first release, BODY OF WATER. What was your inspiration?
SW: It all started with a person who became my ‘friend’ on the Internet who turned out not to be who they said they were. I thought to myself, OK, if you can take someone else’s photo and make up a story around it then so can I. I’ve always loved the water, so started researching water-based myths and legends in the UK, and it snowballed from there.

LC: What was your favorite chapter, or part, to write, and why?
SW: For me, it was Leven meeting Beth. I really liked the way she developed on the page when she was originally intended to be a simple conduit to his second meeting with Shaun. I felt very free writing her and looked for excuses to bring her to Orkney later but nothing felt right. I even constructed a Beth-clone on Orkney but, again, it felt wrong. She’ll be back in the sequel, MEMORY OF WATER. Beth embodies all the charming things about being young.

LC: I look forward to meeting up with Beth again in the sequel.
What do you think your protagonist thinks about you? Would he want to hang out with you, his creator?

SW: Oh boy! I doubt Leven and I would ever have occasion to meet, let alone hang out. He’s very cautious with other people and rarely left his London home. We’re very different guys so I doubt we’d get along well. I’m caring up to a degree but I think I’d get impatient with him. I help people who help themselves and it takes Leven quite a while to get going...

LC: If I came to your house and looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
SW: Cans of Coke Zero, tonic water, a bottle of sparkling Pinot Noir, and stacks of pre-cooked chicken. I bought the Pinot Noir to celebrate the release of BODY OF WATER but haven’t seen anyone yet to drink it with!

LC: I will join you for a virtual toast! Salud.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

SW: I’ve always scribbled dialogue and scenes here and there. As an actor I was always too busy learning lines to bother writing new ones but it was always fun improvising. I entered National Novel Writing Month in 2009, and drafted BODY OF WATER but I didn’t pick it up again until January 2011. I’d co-founded a writing group called Writebulb by then and during our first meeting I said that I’d finish BODY OF WATER by September. I never looked back.

LC: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you, either growing up or as an adult?
SW: When I was younger, I devoured anything by Jilly Cooper before shifting over to Carrie Fisher. I love both their senses of humour. Jilly’s is very British and Carrie’s is painfully self-deprecating. My first M/M book was Apprenticed to Pleasure by Brandon Fox but I didn’t pick up another one until I read Death’s Head by Mel Keegan. They both taught me that fantasy, sci fi, and gay men mix perfectly well. I’ll read anything that takes my fancy now. I read all all the Harry Potter in six weeks in case someone spoiled the end of the last book for me. I’m currently reading Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear (speculative fiction) and Demon Day by Penelope Fletcher (YA fantasy).

LC: What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating your books?
SW: I always knew it was going to be a long-term commitment (also known as a bloody hard slog) but I had no idea it would get easier the more I wrote. I was also surprised that when my circumstances changed, and I didn’t write for a month, the urge to write became overwhelming. It hadn’t gripped me like that before. Now, if someone asks me to do something, I weigh it up against the time that would be better spent writing. That’s a very new feeling. I like it.

LC: What was the best thing before sliced bread?
SW: Unsliced bread! You could cut the thickest wedges of bread, smother them in butter, and load them up with happy, happy, crispy bacon. Sliced bread killed that for me. My mouth is watering now and I’ve already wolfed down toast and tea. I might have to go back for more. *looks around* Where’s your kitchen?

LC: LOL. I’m afraid you’d be sadly disappointed. There is rarely any bread in my kitchen.
What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?

SW: Tapping into the places where I don’t want to go. I found it hard as an actor and I find it hard now. Back in 2003, I was coming out of an eleven-year relationship and I started rehearsing for Closer, a play about four people who keep going out and then breaking up. I just couldn’t do it and dropped out. Facing regrets in life, mistakes made, and how I feel about them, is tough for me. I am harder on myself than anyone will ever know. I’m going to have to go there in my next book and I know I’m putting those scenes off. At least I’ll be able to sob at home instead of on the stage. Also, spotting typos - I’m rubbish! - I read my work on the screen, on paper, and then have my iMac read it out to me and still I miss stuff. Makes me madder than a bag of cats. Thankfully I have a cast of readers that I can rely on to spot them before I go to print.

LC: Yes, going to the dark places is hard and scary, but at the same time, I think its cleansing. We learn and we grow. And I can’t say I’ve ever heard the phrase “madder than a bag of cats” before. LOL
Why did you decide to start out going the self-publishing route?

SW: The YA Fantasy and Paranormal Romance author Penelope Fletcher convinced me it was worth a shot. I was way too scared to send BODY OF WATER out to a publisher and her own story was such an inspiration (she came along to talk to us at Writebulb in the Spring of this year and had shifted 75k copies by then). I thought, why not? Some established authors told me that M/M Romance publishing houses were much less picky but I’d made my mind up by then. I didn’t want anyone interfering with my story or my cover. The romance hits you when you least expect it and I consider my cover to be more reflective of the content than the naked-torso covers that seem prevalent. Yes, I know they sell, but I’m not about the money. BODY OF WATER topped Amazon UK’s Gay Fiction chart on August 27th and *goes to check* it’s still there!

LC: Congratulations on your chart standings! That is fantastic, but then, I happen to think BODY OF WATER is pretty fantastic. Naked torso or not. ;-)
Have you come across any drawbacks to self-publishing, as you wear all the hats?

SW: It’s a bit daunting not having an editor but, then again, no one is telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s my work and I take it where I want to. I don’t feel that I have to stick to the romance angle, the fantasy angle, or the action angle. I can mix them up and give readers something they can’t find anywhere else. I might use an editing service next time, but I’m still mulling it over. I directed in the theatre as well as acted so I feel I have a lot of tools to help me consider each scene. I think about the staging, the costumes, the set, and the lighting as well as the motivation and dialogue. As a creative, I have full control over every aspect of the work from cover, to trailer, to the finished work. It’s not self-indulgent though and I think that has been reflected in the positive reviews and feedback I’ve had so far. From a marketing perspective, the more I talk to traditionally published authors, the more I see how similar the amount of work that we have to put in is. I don’t feel like I’m having to put in hours more marketing time than anyone else.

LC: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
SW:
Commit. Make a public declaration of what you’re going to do and DO IT. That’s what National Novel Writing Month gave me, and Writebulb - a self-imposed deadline that my pride wouldn’t let me miss.

Start calling yourself a writer. When I did that my life changed. I got web copy work, a screenplay, I’ve been offered a musical and the chance to ghost-write a three book autobiography.

Enjoy the work. It is work but it’s also tremendously rewarding. I also think that it’s jolly good for one’s soul.

LC: Excellent points. Especially point three.
What can we expect to see next for you?

SW: I’ve written a screenplay for a short film called Life After Death that’s in pre-production now, I’ve completed a short story with an established M/M Romance writer that is with Dreamspinner for consideration, and I’m about 50% way through the edit for MEMORY OF WATER (the trailer for which is out now).

LC: Wow! A lot going on. Good luck with the Dreamspinner submission. You know I’m dying to know who you co-authored with. ;-) All right, one last question—and probably the most important. In a battle between a ninja and a pirate, who would win?
SW: I know the ninja would win but I’d much rather it was the pirate. I think that unskilled brawling is so much more impressive than all that dancing about and showing off. A good fist to the jaw looks so much more exciting than a shuriken to the forehead. I like my fighting up close and personal.

LC: LOL A real down in the mud kind of guy, eh. Thanks again for taking time out of your very busy schedule to hang out, Stuart. I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. Good luck with BODY OF WATER, and all your upcoming releases.
SW: My pleasure, LC. Can I also thank you for challenging us writer’s on the Goodreads M/M Romance group Hot Summer Days project? The great response I had to the story I wrote for your photo, THE ELEMENTS OF LOVE, gave me the extra confidence to get BODY OF WATER finished early! Now, about that toast... Oh, and do you mind if I put the kettle on?

LC: All thanks go to you, Stuart. You wrote a fabulous story, well deserving of the wonderful responses it received. Enjoy your toast!

BODY OF WATER is available now on Smashwords and Amazon.

Body of Water Trailer
Memory of Water Trailer

Get the latest happenings and exclusive excerpts at Stuart’s blog.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Our Stories: Traveling to Better


I am a member of a wonderful group on Goodreads.com, the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). The goal of the group is to provide a safe and supportive environment where members, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can discuss and actively promote political and social equality in schools, the workplace and society as a whole.

Teens and young adults have so much to deal with in today's world. Unfortunately, one of the problems is that when they read books, or see the people in the media who are representing the LGBTQI community, these young people are sometimes left feeling like they don't measure up. Many of them feel discouraged because they don't look like the "beautiful" people whose lives are "perfect".

The Gay-Straight Alliance wants to help change the way our youth see themselves by providing stories where people like them are faced with the issues that young people deal with every day. In an effort to offer the youth of the community stories that reflect them, the GSA has started project Our Stories: Traveling To Better.

The GSA is looking for young people, as well as adults, to write and post "Dear Author" letters on the GSA's discussion board about their experiences, their lives and the issues they face day-to-day. Authors joining the project can tag those letters that speak to them as the core to build short stories around. These stories will make up an anthology meant to empower by showing our youth that they can persevere and overcome the challenges life throws at them.

The GSA is looking for stories about life and all it entails. These need not be strictly romance stories, but they should be encouraging and inspiring. The kind of story that will give young adults hope for their futures. Authors can also write their own "Dear Author" letters about their lives, in addition to contributing by writing a short story.

If you're an author and would like to contribute by writing a story, simply join the group and post your desire to participate, or contact group moderator, Laddie, for more information.

These stories are meant to help uplift teens and young adults, so please come over to GSA and show your support by writing a letter, creating a story, doing both or just posting to let the younger generation know that they're a pretty amazing group of people.

For more information the Traveling to Better project, please visit the GSA group:
Dear Author Letters/Stories
Story Suggestions

Monday, September 5, 2011