Reesa has a new book out!

a banner for In Discretion, Reesa Herberh's latest story from the Ylendrian empire

Follow Reesa’s tour.

In Discretion is the story of two idiots who spend entirely too much time A) lying to one another, B) lying to themselves, and C) feeling guilty for shit that’s not their fault. It’s awesome.

Okay, okay, the blurb actually says this:

Thanson Nez thought his career as a Discretionary would take him to the stars, not strand him on a space station at the ass-end of the Empire. Thanks to his last client, he’s carrying a secret he can’t get rid of fast enough, but his oath to the guild means a swift, painful death if he shares it. Already desperate for help, he runs into yet more trouble: his ex, and an explosion that paralyzes the station moments after their uncomfortable reunion.

Kazra Ferdow, Station 43’s communications officer, is almost as blindsided by the return of his first love as he is by the sudden loss of power and life support. The station is a floating graveyard in the making, and something is turning its inhabitants into savage killers. Fighting human monsters and damaged tech, Kazra and Tanson must put aside their past long enough to try to save everyone.

The more light they shine into dark corners, the more Thanson realizes how many people might die for the secrets locked in his head—and what he’s willing to sacrifice to make sure Kazra isn’t one of them.

In Discretion is another stand-alone story set in the Ylendrian empire, featuring places familiar from the other Ylendrian books–as it stands alone, however, you don’t need to read any of the other Ylendrian titles. (You should, though, ’cause they’re awesome.)

The plot moves fast; the bickering-to-resolution between Thanson and Kazra is believable; it’s by turns funny and awful and frustrating and wonderful — and you know me, I don’t rec anything that’s not worth it. It also has one of the best dedications I’ve seen in a book (and no, it’s not about me).

So yeah. Go check out Reesa’s blog tour, get the book, and sigh sadly when you realize that the next Ylendrian book won’t be out until next YEAR.

What’s that, rising from the deep? Is it a monster? A large blob of seaweed? No…

…it’s just me. Hi. *Wavewave* Still not dead! Just reeeeeally busy, with spotty internet access. That’s not important! What’s important is that I have an announcement:

Michelle has a new book out! If Wishes Were Coffee, published by Less Than Three Press. It’s not a direct sequel to Enchanted Grounds, but there is a family relation. Set in the town of Playa Escondida, it’s the story of two guys who really need to get their acts together and the coffee-shop patron that gives them the kick in the pants that just might do it.

Michelle’s also going on a blog tour, the details of which can be found on her post here. Go! Comment there for a chance to win a copy of your own! Reeeeeead it! (It’s Michelle. You know it’s going to be good.)

New Book! (A.K.A I’m not dead yet.)

the cover for Sexy Sailors, featuring an American naval sailor with ribbons on his shirt and his sea bag over his shoulder

Sexy Sailors, edited by Neil Plakcy.

Sexy Sailors is out! You can grab a copy from Cleis Press, if you’d like.

Mine is Boots For The Goddess: the story of a fisherman and the blacksmith who stays behind; of sacrifice and loss. It’s also full of sex, cute nicknames, and I gave Kelvi my hair’s lack of cooperation with combs.

As for my continued presence among the living… Yeah. I’m still swimming back to the surface from my most recent plunge into fandom!, so I’m still pretty distracted by the pretty. And the funny, and the shiny, and…

I’m aiming to wrench myself away from the distracty fun and get back to work sometime soon, because as much as I love my newest insanity-laden community, I love getting paid for my work more. …But I might wait until the first of the year before I do, what with the holidays and stuff coming up.

Also, I leave you with an example of the insanity that BBC Sherlock inspires: The Benedict Cumberbatch Song (CAUTION: Catchy. Loud. WEIRD.) (Cumberbatch plays Holmes.)

Finding New Things To Read

Because that To-Be-Read pile isn’t going to grow on its own… And besides, I don’t think it’s possible to have too many books. Even if the garage is currently full of boxes of books. Anyway.

So! Smaller publishers often have the first chapter or so up for free, right on the buy page for the book; sometimes they have a link that opens a pop-up window with the excerpt. If you’re looking for M/M stuff in particular, you can try:

Dreamspinner Press (full disclosure: they’ve published two of my stories and I love them to bits)
Samhain Publishing (I can definitely recommend The Balance Of Silence and The Slipstream Con)
Torquere Press (GLBT publisher)
Amber Allure (the GLBT arm of Amber Publishing)

If you’re looking for a community with which to interact, you can try:
The Goodreads M/M Romance Group (It’s a restricted membership group, but not hard to get into; if you don’t want people to know your precise birthdate, use the proper month/year and pick a different day. It’s also very active, with lots of author/reader interactions; for the past two years, the group has put together an annual anthology of over 100 free stories. It’s a great way to discover new voices.)
The LoveRomancesCafe mailing list (Two important things to know: 1) it’s VERY busy, and can/will swamp your inbox, especially on Mondays and special-event days and 2) the age-restriction is due to the adult excerpts (M/M and het) that get posted. As for the list itself: There’s usually a monthly Dreamspinner chat and a GLBT-only day every month/6 week. Monday is open promo day, which means you get some of everything. Also a great way to find other groups, since some people cross-post like crazy without bcc’ing.)

And if you’d rather have someone else read it and give you an opinion, here are a few review sites to get you started:
Rainbow Book Reviews (Run by Serena Yates and friends; freshly revamped and reopened)
Reviews By Jessewave (Reviews, giveaways, and gratuitous pictures of lovely men.)
Mrs. Condit Reads Books (Not exclusively M/M, but she does review it on a regular basis.)
A Bear on Books (thoughtful reviews of M/M only)
– and not least, the tag ‘read this you might like it’ right here (I do my best to avoid spoilers.)

Despite what I said on Twitter…

I did actually manage to get something written today (once the cat stopped standing on me). I have no title for it, but it’s just over a thousand words about an android and a little room; you can read it right here. No rating, because it has nothing in it to offend anyone, with the possible exception of math purists and/or English teachers (run-on sentences without punctuation).

As for the ending… Make up your own mind.

Have you been waiting for More Awesome Story?

Well, you’ll have to keep waiting–it’s not quite done, what with the editing and the cover art and the pineapples and all–but Reesa posted a little taste of the next Ylendrian Empire novel.

Change and Conflict

So my weekend was full of change. Granted, a fair amount of it had needed to happen for a while–my mattress and my bed frame were not playing well together, to the point that I not only added a couple of boards to the frame, but then stuck all of my old pillows between my frame and the mattress.

On Sunday, one of Mom’s friends called her up and said, “Hey, I’m getting rid of the bed in the guest room. It’s practically brand new–do you want it? If so, come over and get it.” Mom, knowing about my bed situation, said “I’ll round up Connor and we’ll be there by 4.”

So I spent most of Sunday blitz-cleaning my room, discovering both things I thought I’d lost forever (my new carry-everywhere-just-in-case notebook; my microSD card for my new Nook) and things I only wish I’d lost forever (some lube packaging that was supposed to have gone into the recycling bin months ago turning up, happily bright orangey-red and obvious, among the stuff under my old bed).

I also discovered that I own entirely too many clothes. I don’t need all of them, and I certainly don’t wear all of them. In a bold move, I actually threw away some socks because I didn’t wear them, they didn’t have mates, and they weren’t worth giving away. Some things went into a give-away box, but not nearly enough. Since the idea was to get enough room for my new bed, I didn’t take the time to do a thorough cull–but I will.

My new bed is awesome, by the way. No head or foot boards, but that’s not a big deal–I can get those later. The lady who gave it to me threw in two sets of sheets, two standard pillows and one body pillow/bolster, a memory-foam topper, a bed skirt, and a heated mattress pad (though we walked off and left the cord behind, oops). Oh, and a dark purple blanket-with-sleeves-that-isn’t-a-snuggie-as-far-as-I-know, though that was intended for the Unofficial Nieces.

It’s taking a little getting used to, both in terms of sleeping in it and in its presence. It’s been a while since I’ve had a bed this tall, not to mention one where I’m in danger of falling out of either side. (My old bed was a twin-sized mattress (no box spring) that was in the corner, so I tended to end up against the wall. The new one is a double/full with box spring, and only the head is against the wall.) I’m exceedingly happy with it, though, especially after having discovered the hard way that a saggy mattress really does affect your back, and that in turn affects things like, say, being able to walk. Sleep. Think.

What does all of that have to do with conflict? Everything! No, wait, bear with me.

Once upon a time, I was grumbling about conflict. That fighting made me tired, and writing characters who fought all the time was just as tiring. Reesa, who is wise beyond her years, pointed out that just because the usual word used as shorthand for “stuff that moves the story forward in small, smooth increments” is “conflict” doesn’t mean that it’s all about fighting.

This fascinating (and totally worth reading!) article starts with the statement that, “In the West, plot is commonly thought to revolve around conflict: a confrontation between two or more elements, in which one ultimately dominates the other.”

The author of the piece argues that there are other options, but the premise–that “conflict” is inherently violent, requires a “winner”, and that violence is the only tool in the western story-telling arsenal–is the same one I started with. And it’s not true.

Part of the problem is with the connotations of the word “conflict”. People have used the word “conflict” as an euphemism for “war” (or massacre, or genocide) for so long that probably at least two generations have grown up internalizing that connotation.

You can find conflict in the most mundane of tasks. Take changing a light bulb, for instance. The first conflict is one’s desire for light, but alas, there is none. No one wins or loses anything, in this case — it’s just a fact: I want the light on, but the bulb is burned out. So I have to go find a new bulb, which isn’t too difficult, and something to stand on.

Ah! The stepladder. It’s downstairs. So I have to put the new bulb somewhere safe (so the cats don’t knock it down and break it, and where I won’t forget it), then tromp downstairs to find the ladder. I find the ladder, but… It’s behind a bunch of boxes, which I have to move before I can get to it. And before I can move the boxes, I realize that I have to go to the bathroom, which means I have to go back upstairs…

See? You thought changing a light bulb was boring! Getting ready for my new bed was the same way. Very little actual violence (there was a bit of recyclable-tossing), but plenty of conflict that didn’t necessarily have a winner or a loser. There are ways in which it is possible to have a negative outcome–dropping the vacuum’s dust-cup full of, well, dust and cat hair and fuzz and crumbs and God only knows what onto the freshly-vacuumed floor, for instance. Or attempting to adjust the blinds and having them fall down. Or any of a million other ways that things go pear-shaped.

The point is, you can write a story without violence, without people clashing and without defining who/what “wins” and who/what “loses” — but you cannot write one without adjectives or adverbs.

Other Love Is Always Write Reads:

These are the stories that grabbed me, for whatever reason, in no particular order. If they’re not already available for download, they will be! Also, these are all pretty much NSFW (but if you’re here…), so there’s that.

Roses In The Devil’s Garden, by Charlie Cochet. Prohibition-era cops! Bad guys! Former lovers and secrets!

Into Deep Waters, by Kaje Harper. The story of two guys who meet in the Navy in WWII. Bring tissues/a hankie, you’ll need it — trust me, if it was Misery Lit, it wouldn’t be on this list.

Altered States, by LE Harner. Looks like a cop/buddy story at first glance… And then you get to the end! If you really want to be surprised, skip the informational post at the beginning.

Louder Than Sirens, Louder Than Bells, by KD Sarge. I don’t know why I can’t get into Florence & The Machine, but I just can’t. However, the song from which the title is taken seems to be a good fit for the story — which is not-exactly-friends (but not entirely enemies) to lovers, featuring lovely stubborn characters that you want to whack with a shoe even as you want to give them a hug. (…I apparently have A Thing for that kind of character. Learn something new every day.)

Feels So Good When You Stop, by Eve Ocotillo. For me, the hints that perhaps Tomas isn’t what he seems were really what made the story.

By Design, by Kate Islay. I like architecture, and while this story doesn’t require a degree in engineering or design, the architectural details add another layer of interest to it.