My reading from Saugatuck Summer at RainbowCon 2014

Today I had my reading at RainbowCon and I selected two excerpts from near the middle of Saugatuck Summer, where the affair Topher has been having with his BFF’s married, closeted father is coming to an end.

One month until Saugatuck Summer releases!

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April 19, 2014 · 7:32 pm

Now available for free: get your a first look at the Saugatuck universe with “The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams”

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Last summer for Goodread’s “Love Has No Boundaries” event, I wrote a novelette featuring two classmates of Topher (the main character of Saugatuck Summer, coming next month and available for pre-sale from Riptide.) The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams has, until now, only been available through the MM Romance groups website at Goodreads and in the LHNB anthologies, but now it has a new cover (courtesy of the lovely P.D. Singer) and I’m offering it for free through all the usual ebook vendors.

There’s a slight hitch that I need your help with, however. I have listed it free wherever I can, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble won’t allow you to list an ebook for less than $0.99. They will, however, price match if it’s offered for free elsewhere. So what I need you to do is go to the Amazon product page and click on “Tell us about a lower price” and then provide the link to All Romance eBooks (https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-thefieldofsomeoneelse039sdreams-1477916-149.html). If there is a similar process for Barnes & Noble, I haven’t found it yet, but hopefully they will get with the program soon.

The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams is also available for free at Smashwords. Hopefully iTunes and Kobo will be live in a few days.

 

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Coming Soon! The River Leith by Leta Blake

Originally posted on Leta Blake:

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Yes, that’s right! A new book coming soon-ish! Probably in May, if all goes according to plan. And, yep, Dar Albert has made another amazing cover for me! Thanks, Dar!

More information about the book will be coming before too long! I’m super excited, y’all!

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My final word on content warnings #unpopularopinion #publishing #contentpolice @StephenKing @AnneRiceAuthor @LKHamilton

There’s a disturbing trend in fiction today, particularly genre fiction published by smaller, niche presses.

Is it the prevalence of objectionable content? The normalization of the unacceptable? The crossing of taboo lines?

No. That has pretty much been happening since the dawn of literature. I guarantee you, the first time a cavewoman took a piece of char from the firepit and etched a story on a stone wall, another cavewoman clutched her animal-tooth necklace, gasped in dismay, and grunted something that would have vaguely translated to, “you can’t write that!”

No, this disturbing trend is far more insidious. It’s the infantilization of the reader.

The riff goes something like this: “Oooh, that content is objectionable! It might upset someone! We better warn people away! Quick, tag it! Oh, how dare that author not include warnings! What a terrible, insensitive person! I bet they wrote it because <insert ignorant and uninformed assumption of authorial motive>.”

Sometimes the content truly is objectionable. Like rape, extreme violence, sexual content including underaged characters, etc. And sometimes the content that gets the Content Police up in arms is as absurdly benign as lacking a nice, pat happily-ever-after ending.

Of course, the people usually howling to the moon about this usually aren’t the fragile flowers who would be disturbed by the content themselves. No, they’re a self-appointed, and moveover, self-important posse of content police dedicated to making reading safe for all.

Newsflash, sweethearts. Reading ain’t safe. It never has been, it was never meant to be, and that cavewoman with the char on her fingers knew it. It’s supposed to shake you up, to make you think, to push boundaries. In other words, to open up the world for the proliferation of IDEAS.

The problem here is that the content police have huge-ass savior complexes. They need to feel important, need to feel needed, need to feel they’re making a difference, and in order to do that, yes, they villify authors whom they feel transgress, but that is the least of the problems with this new system.

Where they truly, truly fuck up is in their utter, unmitigated condescension toward their fellow READERS. You know, the readers, the delicate, fragile, easily-bruised flowers who might be alarmed by encountering something that has been nebulously dubbed “objectionable” for reasons which are largely arbitrary and prone to change with the social and political climate.

As an author, I shrug these people off. They’re an annoyance. Misguided, yes, but nowhere near important enough to get steamed over or significant enough to engage with, thus making them in their own minds the long-suffering victims and martyrs they style themselves as.

But as a person who is also a reader? They infuriate me. It’s belittling and degrading to me, as a reader. How dare they assume that I, or any other person intelligent, educated, and motivated enough to pick up a book and read, need to be protected from anything, for any reason, much less protected by them? How dare they try to paint me a hapless and passive victim of the media I seek out? How dare they assume the authority to know what is objectionable and what isn’t, to designate some literature safe and other literature as something people need to be warned away from?

Talk about ego! I mean, woah! The sheer chutzpah is absolutely breathtaking. I mean, really, take a moment in the privacy of your own mind to imagine what sort of unbelievable vanity it takes for a person to assume they have the right, the moral authority, and the cultural license to do that.

No, apparently, not only are authors getting flack for not warning about content in their own books, they’re getting raked over the coals by the Content Police for recommending books that have what the Content Police consider to be objectionable content. So now the Content Police aren’t just going after ideas, they’re going after those who read, enjoy, and share those ideas with others.

Ridiculous.

Here’s where I stand on warnings (on and within books themselves, in other words, content labels): Unless and until I sign on with a press that includes content warnings in their books–which I almost certainly will never do–you will never see content warnings in my books. I may put them on a website listing or in a post, for those who actually care about such issues enough to do some research before they buy, but not in the book itself. Why?

Because “content warnings?” (again, within and on books themselves; aka labels). Are the mark of amateur publishers. Whenever I see a press that includes them, I automatically lower my expectations of the quality of the content I will find coming out of that press, because I know they are not approaching their craft as a professional publisher would. Content warnings are a standard that was born in fanfic circles that fanfic readers have carried with them and expect to see applied in professional publishing.

I’m not am amateur. I will not apply amateur standards to my books. It’s really that simple.

Did Stephen King’s publishers warn for domestic violence, extreme violence, child abuse, extremely underaged sex, attempted rape and attempted molestation in IT?

No.

Did V.C. Andrews warn for abuse, rape, incest, and underaged sex in Flowers in the Attic?

No.

Anne Rice?

No.

Why should I hold myself to a different standard from any other professional author? Because I’m not as well known? Because I don’t have their sales figures? Fuck that. I’m a professional author and I will handle my books as a professional author would.

But those are publications from a different time and political climate! you wail, wringing your hands anxiously at the notion that maybe readers don’t need to be warned away from iffy material. Need something less old-school?

Jacqueline Carey infused her Kushiel books with not only consensual BDSM, but also non-consensual situations that were extremely disturbing. Were there content warnings on those books? No.

Laurell K. Hamilton. Content warnings? No.

Do I need to go on? Because I could. I could list hundreds of authors present and past who write “objectionable” content and don’t warn about it in the book or on the Amazon product page or anywhere else.

The Big 5 publishers don’t warn for content, and if we, the self-publishers and smaller niche presses, want to be regarded as being just as professional, and producing content which is just as high-quality, we need to not start off from the get-go handling our product as if we were amateurs.

But more importantly? I would never, ever dare insult my readers by assuming they are fragile or incompetent enough to need to be protected from words and ideas. I may have the ego to consider myself professional enough to play in the big leagues, but I don’t have the ego to do that.

And those who do need to get over themselves.

(P.S. Unless you’re quoting me from an interview or have spoken to me personally, anything you say which starts off as “the author clearly wanted <whatever>” is almost certain to be wrong. You want to know my motives for writing what I write? Ask me.)

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Catch me semi-live over at the @RiptideBooks authors chat on the Goodreads #BDSM group!

Today and tomorrow, myself and several other Riptide authors are answering your questions over at the Goodreads BDSM group. You can find us here!

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Continue reading our FREE TPR bonus short on the “To the Very Last Inch” blog tour! @HeidiBelleau @RiptideBooks #mmromance

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Okay, so I’ve fallen behind on updates on the blog tour, but Heidi and I are still reading your comments and entering them in the contest for the giveaway for an ebook copy of An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2). We are also still sharing our six-part FREE The Professor’s Rule bonus short, Every Inch an Exhibitionist, along the way!

Here are the stops for this week:

Monday, March 10

Tuesday, March 11

Wednesday, March 12

Thursday, March 13

Friday, March 14

Saturday, March 15

And in case you missed the first three parts of Every Inch an Exhibitionist, our FREE TPR bonus short, here is last week’s schedule:

Monday, March 3

Tuesday, March 4

Wednesday, March 5

Thursday, March 6

Friday, March 7

Saturday, March 8

Remember that each comment you leave at one of these stops offers you another chance to be entered in the drawing for An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2). So be sure to swing by and comment!

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Catch “Every Inch an Exhibitionist” Part TWO by me and @HeidiBelleau today @BrandilynRC #mm #erotica @RiptideBooks

I didn’t have a chance to update yesterday, so here’s a quick recap of where the Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) Blog Tour has stopped:

Monday, That’s What I’m Talking About hosted Part One of Every Inch an Exhibitionist, our FREE 6-part TPR bonus short, and Mrs. Condit had Heidi and me swing by for a quick spotlight stop.

Yesterday, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words hosted a spotlight stop yesterday, as did Pants Off Reviews.

Today, the Prism Book Alliance is hosting the second part of Every Inch an Exhibitionist. Live Your Life Buy the Book is also having us over for a quick spotlight visit.

Remember that each of these stops you join us at and comment qualifies you for another entry to win an ebook copy of An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2).  Please be sure to leave some means of contacting you; a Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or Tumblr ID (assuming your ask box is open) will do if you don’t want to provide your email. You can see the full blog tour schedule at Riptide so you won’t miss any stops!

Tomorrow, Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews will have Part Three of Every Inch an Exhibitionist, so be sure to tune in for that as well!

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Today, the “Every Inch of the Way” Tour: “Every Inch an Exhibitionist” Part 1! @HeidiBelleau @RiptideBooks @twinmom

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Today is the first day of the Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) Blog Tour. You know what that means? It means you get to read the first of six parts of Every Inch an Exhibitionist, an exclusive, free, bonus short featuring Satish, James, and Carson from The Professor’s Rule.

Heidi and I are making two stops today, each with chances to win an ebook copy of An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2) in your format of choice. Just be sure to leave a comment including some means of contacting you. You can leave your email, if you wish, or some other form of social media ID: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Goodreads.

In the first (VERY EXCITING) stop, we’re at That’s What I’m Talking About, with part one of Every Inch an Exhibitionist. This short, set at some indeterminate time after The Professor’s Rule series ends, weaves the past and the present together just as Heidi and I did throughout The Professor’s Rule, as James reveals more of his past with Carson to Satish. (Tune in also for me getting in a few cheap shots at the hyper-glamorized urban myth of kink culture versus the reality as I’ve experienced it.)

In our second stop, Mrs. Condit and Friends Read Books are offering you another chance to get your name in the drawing for TPR #2, so be sure to comment there as well!

EveryInchOfTheWay_400x600Satish Malhotra is in over his head. What appeared to be the hookup of his dreams turned out to be another man’s kinky sex game, and thus ended his relationship with sweet, submissive James Sheridan before it’d hardly begun.

Or so he thought. Being used in someone else’s domination/submission play should have been a deal breaker, yet James—bruises, boyfriend, and all—is too compelling to let walk away. But James has needs Satish isn’t sure he can fulfill, and it seems his mysterious Professor isn’t willing to share.

Can Satish keep James happy in bed and in life, or will James be forced to choose between his dominant and his burgeoning vanilla romance with Satish?

Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) and To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5) are now available at Riptide, and just about every other major ebook retailer. Or, exclusively at Riptide, you can get The Professor’s Rule: The Complete Collection for 40% off! And if you want to “try before you buy”, you can grab Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) for absolutely free.

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Coming this week: A COMPLETE free bonus short from #TheProfessorsRule! @RiptideBooks @HeidiBelleau #mmromance #erotica #blogtour

Exciting stuff coming this week and next on the blog tour for Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) and To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5)!

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This week, March 3-8, my co-author Heidi Belleau and I will be on tour for Every Inch of the Way with the first three parts of Every Inch an Exhibitionist, a nearly 6000-word free short featuring Satish, James, and the Professor. The short will be serialized over several stops along the blog tour, so be sure to follow each day, and comment for your chance to win a copy of An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2).

Satish Malhotra is in over his head. What appeared to be the hookup of his dreams turned out to be another man’s kinky sex game, and thus ended his relationship with sweet, submissive James Sheridan before it’d hardly begun.

Or so he thought. Being used in someone else’s domination/submission play should have been a deal breaker, yet James—bruises, boyfriend, and all—is too compelling to let walk away. But James has needs Satish isn’t sure he can fulfill, and it seems his mysterious Professor isn’t willing to share.

Can Satish keep James happy in bed and in life, or will James be forced to choose between his dominant and his burgeoning vanilla romance with Satish?

TPR5_TourBannerThen next week, March 10-15, we’ll be on tour for To the Very Last Inch with the last three parts of Every Inch an Exhibitionist. During both tours, we’ll also be featured in some really great spotlight stops, and each one gives you another chance to win!

Just days after their scorching reunion, Professor Evander Carson has kicked his one-time pupil James Sheridan to the curb—and tried to sabotage James’s new relationship with Satish Malhotra. Something isn’t right here, but James isn’t sure he should bother trying to figure out what. Carson isn’t good for him and will never change. He needs to accept that and move on.

Satish knows something is up, too, but he thinks the relationship between Carson and James is worth saving. To do the right thing, Satish will have to make James and Carson confront the secrets they’ve hidden for years and help them to overcome the pain and mistrust they’ve caused.

But if Satish succeeds, where will that leave him and his intensifying romance with James? Will the three of them be able to find the right balance, or will James be forced to choose between the pain and submission he craves with Carson, and the sweet, vanilla stability he’s found with Satish?

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Don’t forget also that the very first The Professor’s Rule book, Giving an Inch, is now free at Riptide as well as at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and any number of other ebook retailers, if you want to see what it’s all about! The Professor’s Rule is also available as a complete collection at Riptide for 40% off!

There’s so much going on I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention something. We’ll see you on tour!

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The STRAIN blog tour drawing results

Congratulations to Trix, Valerie Davila, and Jen, whose names came up for the drawing of three copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy for commenting on the Strain blog tour. You should all have already received an email asking for your preferred format. If you haven’t received the email, check your spam folder, then contact me using the form on the “About” page here. Thank you so much for following the tour, and congratulations!

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The first week of #STRAIN: a recap #postapocalyptic #erotica #mmromance @RiptideBooks

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Friday wrapped up the Strain blog tour, but there is still time to comment and enter to win one of three copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy. Entries will remain open until February 28, with the drawing being held on March 1, so be sure to comment at each stop and leave contact information (you can leave a Twitter or Facebook ID if you don’t want to leave an email.)

I tried to structure this blog tour a little differently, making it like the extras on a DVD. Along the way, I shared not only a deleted scene and a sneak peek at Bane, the upcoming prequel to Strain, but also a lot of behind-the-scenes discussion of the world-building that went into Strain. Here’s a brief recap:

Part One: Project Juggernaut (The Jeep Diva)
Part Two: The Juggernaut Battalion (Pants-Off Reviews)
Part Three: Does a Sex Scene Have to be Sexy? (3 Chicks After Dark)
Part Four: The Women of Delta Company (Queer Town Abbey)
Part Five: Oh, But This Darling was Tough to Kill (a deleted BDSM sex scene at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews)
Part Six: Fluid Exchange in Strain (The Book Nympho)
Part Seven: A Sneak Peek at Bane, the prequel to Strain (Book Reviews and More by Kathy)

There were also a number of stoplight stops. Be sure to check those out as well!

Coffee and Porn in the Morning
Words of Wisdom from the Scarf Princess
TTC Books & More
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Also, in case you missed it, on Valentine’s Day, The Book Bella shared bonus content not only from Strain, but also from books by Lisa Henry/Heidi Belleau, Andrea Speed, and Reesa Herberth. As far as Strain goes, I wrote a brief scene that pre-dates Strain, dealing with Joe and Toby and the genesis of their relationship. Be sure to check it out!

Since it’s still February, I am still Riptide’s Author of the Month. That means you can find an interview with me at Riptide’s site, and get Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) for absolutely free! (it’s also available for free at Amazon, ARe and other retailers.) There are also significant savings on a number of my other titles, including An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2), The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, and finally, pre-sales of Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) and To The Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5) are only $0.99 each–67% off! If you pre-order at Riptide, you get to download the books two days in advance, which means they’ll be available at midnight this coming Friday!

Speaking of pre-0rders, Saugatuck Summer is available at Riptide now, as well, for 22% off. If you’re a reviewer, the ARC is also available at NetGalley, so go ahead and check that out. Saugatuck Summer is coming in May.

Whew! That was a lot of links.

On the professional level, I really don’t have much of a basis of comparison for how well Strain is performing. It has broken the Top 10 Bestsellers in Gay Fiction and the Top 20 in Sci-Fi > Post-Apocalyptic over at Amazon. Of course, seeing as how the book is a Riptide release, I have no way of monitoring sales in real time like I do with my self-pubs, except for the Amazon sales via NovelRank, which isn’t always accurate. I do know that it is much higher in the rankings at Amazon than any of my other releases have ever gotten, and has stayed there longer.

BestsellerIcon100X100 It has also made its way to #15 on the All Romance eBooks bestsellers list, which, again, is better than any of my other titles have done. And it is on the Riptide best sellers list for this month, along with three of the five The Professor’s Rule titles (no doubt that has something to do with all the discounts!) The reviews at Goodreads and elsewhere continue to be overwhelmingly positive. All in all, this has definitely been my most successful title so far, and I’m absolutely thrilled to see it doing so well. It was a long, hard slog to get this book to market, but I’m glad it’s finally here.

I’m sure I had something else to say about all this, but apparently I’ve lost track of what all I meant to say in this post. All in all, it’s been a great first week for Strain, and I’m thankful for all of you who have come along for the ride.

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The #STRAIN #blogtour, last day: catch a sneak peek at BANE, the prequel to STRAIN @BookReviewsMore @RiptideBooks #mmromance

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Today I wrap up the Strain blog tour over at Book Reviews & More by Kathy with a very special post: namely, the first chapter of the (rough draft) prequel to Strain, titled Bane.

While Strain deals with the aftermath of the apocalyptic plague, some ten years after it begins, Bane deals with its genesis. It looks at the political state of the world leading up to the catastrophic decision to implement Project Juggernaut, and focuses on a few pivotal people involved in the events leading up to and immediately following the beginning of the plague. You’ll meet some new players, as well as encountering a few familiar names from Strain.

This book is still very much a rough draft WIP–not even my editor has seen it yet–so anything in the excerpt I’m sharing is subject to extreme revision. So take it all with a grain of salt.

Author TM Smith is also hosting a spotlight stop, as well as sharing her review of Strain, so be sure to drop by her site as well. Remember that each stop you comment on qualifies you for another entry into the drawing for one of three ebook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy. The contest will remain open until February 28, with the drawing to be held on March 1.

Finally, in an interesting twist, Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) has released over a week early at All Romance eBooks. It’s still available for pre-sale at Riptide, as well, and on sale at that, but if you want to get your hot little hands on it even earlier, here’s your chance! Also tune in the week after next for the Every Inch of the Way/To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #4 & #5) blog tour, during which Heidi Belleau and I will be sharing a complete bonus story from The Professor’s Rule, divided into pieces among the stops.

Thank you to everyone who has hosted and participated in the Strain blog tour. This has been an incredible amount of fun!

 

 

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The #STRAIN #blogtour Day 4: Fluid exchange @TheBookNympho and a deleted #BDSM scene @SinfullySexyB #mmromance @RiptideBooks

Today is a really exciting day on the Strain blog tour! I’m over at The Book Nympho with an article discussing fluid exchange and subverting tropes, and then I’m at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews with an entire deleted sex scene from Strain, complete with some heavy BDSM action.

Remember that each stop you join me at and comment gives you another chance to win an ebook copy of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, so be sure to check these out. Also stay tuned tomorrow, for the final stops on the tour, one of which is the 4000-word sample first chapter of the (rough draft) of Bane, the prequel to Strain. This book is still a WIP so I make no promises about how much of this first chapter will change, but you’ll at least get a look at what’s to come!

Enjoy!

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A tardy #Strain blog tour update! Today @queertownabbey and ‏@MelanieMarsha10 #mmromance #blogtour @RiptideBooks

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Okay, so as most of you who have been following me on Twitter know from my copious whining, I’ve been laid low by the flu. While I can now breathe again and my sinuses are no longer squeezing my brain to pulp, I have developed a lovely cough that keeps waking me up, so I’ve spent most of the last two days trying to sleep. Which is why I’m a little late on today’s blog tour update.

Today, I’m over at Queer Town Abbey with an article on The Women of Delta Company. One of the major movers and shakers in Strain, and just general all-around badass, is Xolani, Darius’s second-in-command. God, I loved writing her. So I thought I would share my thoughts on Xolani and the other women of Delta Company.

Melanie M. at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is also hosting a spotlight stop for Strain today. Tomorrow she will be posting her review, as well, and I really can’t wait to know her thoughts, because her reviews are always incredibly insightful, whether they’re favorable or not.

Remember, each comment you leave at each stop along the way offers you another chance to win one of three ebook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, so be sure to stop by these sites, and also follow the rest of the Strain blog tour. The contest will be open until February 28, with the drawing being held on March 1, so make sure to share your thoughts!

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The #Strain #BlogTour Day 2! @DarienMoya @3ChicksAftrDark #mmromance @RiptideBooks

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Today, for Part Two of the Strain blog tour, I’m swinging by Pants-Off Reviews to talk  some more about Project Juggernaut, particularly what happened to the Juggernaut troops after the plague. After they overthrew the military government, the civilian population could turn their attention to rebuilding their lives, but not the Jugs. So what did they do instead?

I’m also stopping at 3 Chicks After Dark to discuss the uses of sex content in books. I had actually written this article (titled “Does a sex scene have to be sexy?”) before I read the advance copy of Janette’s review, but once I saw her review, it was so apropos to some of the remarks she made, I knew I wanted to share it there.

Finally, Jody at Words of Wisdom from the Scarf Princess has shared her review of Strain and is hosting a brief spotlight stop, where you’ll get yet another chance to register for the giveaway!

Remember that anyone who comments to the blog tour posts will be entered to win one of three ebook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, so be sure to share your thoughts and questions about the articles with me.

Check out the Strain Blog Tour schedule for more chances to enter. Please be sure to include some way to contact you with your comments (if not email, then a Twitter or Facebook ID will also work.) The contest will be open until February 28, with the drawing being held on March 1st. Good luck!

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Join me today @TheJeepDiva! #Strain #BlogTour #mmromance @RiptideBooks

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Today, for Part One of the Strain blog tour, I’m over at The Jeep Diva discussing some of the world-building behind Strain. In particular, this article focuses on Project Juggernaut, which started the plague that doomed humanity. The article can be found after Vanessa’s review of Strain, which you should definitely check out as well. :D

Remember that anyone who comments to the blog tour posts will be entered to win one of three ebook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, so be sure to share your thoughts and questions about the article with me.

And just to give you another shot at entering, today Cup-o-Porn is also hosting a spotlight stop for the tour, so be sure to comment there as well!

Check out the Strain Blog Tour schedule for more chances to enter. Please be sure to include some way to contact you with your comments (if not email, then a Twitter or Facebook ID will also work.) The contest will be open until February 28, with the drawing being held on March 1st. Good luck!

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Coming this week: The Strain Blog Tour

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Do you like DVD extras? Yeah? So do I. It’s entirely possible I’ve watched the appendices on the Lord of the Rings extended editions more times than I have the movies themselves.

So for the Strain blog tour, I’m going to try to make my posts a bit like the “behind-the-scenes/making-of” documentaries you might find on a good DVD. A lot of things the world-building and events that Strain depends on happen long before the events of the book itself, and while an in-depth recap of them during the course of Strain got in the way of the flow of the story, I find some of the back-story fascinating and hope you will as well.

Monday, February 17: The Jeep Diva

In Part One: Project Juggernaut, I’ll be discussing the Bane plague: how it began, what its effects were, and what the survivors did afterward.

Cup o’ Porn will also graciously be hosting me for a spotlight stop!

Tuesday, February 18: Pants-Off Reviews and 3 Chicks After Dark

In Part Two: The Juggernaut Battalion, I’ll discuss the workings of Delta Company and their comrades within Project Juggernaut, particularly as it relates to events involving Bravo and Charlie Companies. (Pants-Off Reviews)

Part Three, “Does a Sex Scene Have to be Sexy?” will be a documentary on the use of sexual content for non-erotic purposes. (3 Chicks After Dark)

Words of Wisdom from the Scarf Princess will also be hosting a Spotlight tour stop that day!

Wednesday, February 19: Queer Town Abbey

In Part Four: The Women of Strain, I’ll be doing a featurette on “The Women of Strain.” One of the most important and driving characters in Strain is Xolani, Darius’s second-in-command, and life within Delta Company has some interesting implications for its female-bodied troops.

Melanie M. at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words (I just adore her, she’s so nice) will be hosting me for a spotlight stop that day, too.

Thursday, February 20: Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews and The Book Nympho

Part Five: Deleted Scene from Strain will include a scene from near the end of Strain that didn’t make the cut. (sex scene, including BDSM content, be warned) (Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews)

Part Six: Giving Life will be another documentary discussing the issue of fluid exchange and STDs and how I subvert those tropes within the book. (The Book Nympho)

Friday, February 21: Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Finally, Part Seven: Bane, Chapter One will include an excerpt from the rough draft of Bane, which is one of my works-in-progress. Though technically it could be called a prequel, it’s not necessary to understand Strain. I wanted to go back and tell the story of the beginning of the Bane plague. Where Strain is a post-apocalyptic story, Bane will be “peri-apocalyptic.”

I will also be doing a spotlight stop at Dawn’s Reading Nook.

Be sure to check the blog tour page at Riptide to see when each of these posts is scheduled.

 

Commenters at each stop along the way will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of three ebook copies of Impulse: The Complete Trilogy, the all-in-one edition of my novel-in-three parts. Please include your contact information, either email, Twitter, or Facebook. The Contest will be open until February 28th, with the winner being announced March 1—just in time for the Every Inch of the Way/To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #4 and #5).

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A moody #ValentinesDay ficlet from the Strain universe over @TheBookBellas @RiptideBooks

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So, the world of Strain is a dark and tragic place, and at the end of the world, when everyone you loved is gone, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have the same meaning as it does today.

Joe is one of the most enigmatic side characters from Strain, and for Valentine’s Day, I thought I would give a little insight into the start of his relationship with Toby.

There are no real spoilers here. This ficlet pre-dates the timeline of Strain by about five years. Forgive the formatting. I’m not sure why the paragraph breaks didn’t work there on their site.

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In a world with little hope and no rules, the only thing they have to lose is themselves.

Rhys Cooper is a dead man. Cut off from the world since childhood, he’s finally exposed to the lethal virus that wiped out most of the human race. Now his only hope for survival is infection by another strain that might provide immunity. But it’s sexually transmitted, and the degradation he feels at submitting to the entire squad of soldiers that rescued him eclipses any potential for pleasure—except with Darius, the squadron’s respected, capable leader.

Sergeant Darius Murrell has seen too much death and too little humanity. He’s spent a decade putting plague victims out of their misery and escorting survivors to a safe haven he can never enjoy. He’d rather help Rhys live than put him down, so when Rhys can’t reconcile himself to doing what’s necessary to survive, Darius is forced to save Rhys in spite of himself.

But with each passing day, it looks less and less likely that Rhys can be saved. And that means that Darius might soon have to put a bullet in the head of the one person in years who reminds him of what it means to be human.

Strain releases tonight at midnight for those of you who pre-order direct from Riptide! There’s still time!

Also stay tuned next week for the Strain blog tour, and a chance to win a copy of the Impulse Trilogy!

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Like Hate Sex and Figure Skating? Read Cold War by Keira Andrews #mmromance #gay #figureskating

Originally posted on Leta Blake:

Review: Cold War by Keira Andrews — Joyfully Jay.

Read the above review of Keira Andrew’s novella, Cold War! 4 stars! Or click on through to buy below!

After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most surprising and intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira needs to refocus. He’s worked for years to win Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Distraction in the form of steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life. But with the Games only days away, they can’t keep their hands off each other. Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be on…

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50% Off Training Season for Valentines Day! #Coupon Expires February 15! #mmromance #ebook

Originally posted on Leta Blake:

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SMASHWORDS COUPON CODE: XU64P

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Click on through to Smashwords to use the coupon code above!

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Interneting while Female: women and online harassment

Let me tell you a little story. Actually, let me tell you a few of them.

Let me tell you a little about Jennifer Hepler. She was a writer for BioWare, a gaming company known best for their Star Wars, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect franchises. She wrote some very popular characters, but one day she made the catastrophic mistake of creating a Twitter account. Within just a few days, trolls had dug up a quote of hers from years before about the direction of gaming (most notably that games would probably adopt a “story” mode for players who were playing for the narrative rather than the combat) and had declared war on her. They targeted not just her Twitter, but her personal life. If you want to see even just a fraction of the abuse she was subjected to in those few days, check out this entry for her at Encyclopedia Dramatica, where the trolls continue to take their pot-shots. (I recommend you take anti-nausea medication before you do so.)

Then, right on the heels of the Jennifer Hepler harassment, there was another major incident in gaming circles.

Now, understand that I don’t even know the whole of it, only what I’ve read in articles and blog posts. I would really love to sit down with Anita Sarkeesian and talk about it someday. If you’re a woman on the internet, particularly a woman in “male-dominated” communities like sci-fi and gaming, this woman is a hero and you need to be aware of her. She’s on the front lines fighting the fight so we don’t have to.

Anita Sarkeesian runs a website called Feminist Frequency, which is dedicated to analyzing the representation of women in pop culture. Instead of telling you what happened when she took on a project dealing with the portrayal of women in video games, I’ll let Anita do it in her own words:

The TED-talk in the video was over a year ago. The harassment it details was nearly two years ago. Now look at the date on that tweet at the top of this post.

It’s still going on. (Though Anonymous has disavowed any involvement.)

“Every day I’m encouraged by the women who persevere, who continue to engage, and who refuse to be silenced.” — Anita Sarkeesian

This. So much this.

Some of you may know I hang out on Tumblr pretty regularly, and I follow a number of feminist blogs there, particularly http://fandomsandfeminism.tumblr.com/. So every day on my dash, I see dozens of messages from the person running that blog, dealing with not only sexism, but minority representation, homophobia, transmisogyny, and racial issues. A lot of those messages are asks–messages sent directly to the blow owner–that are very hostile, and I don’t know if she responds to them all, but I know she responds to a lot of them. Enough so that I’m exhausted watching her do it.

I honestly don’t know how every day, she and Anita Sarkeesian go back out there and take on the fight. I’m not sure I could do it. I’d like to think I could, but realistically? I think I would get too weary and disheartened.

Homophobia is another issue in online gaming spaces, though I admit I’m not as conversant on the subject. But take a look at this video:

The tenor of homophobic harassment in gaming seems to be different, but it’s still quite toxic.

What’s the point to this?

About a year ago I decided I wanted to pay some tribute and shine a spotlight on these issues in a book I was writing. The book is called Third Wave, and it’s an honest-to-God whodunit, a mystery who’s main characters are a pair of gay twin brothers and their female boss at a video game production company called Third Wave Studios. The boss, Rosena, is a bit of an amalgamation of all the women I’ve mentioned above, dealing with the same sort of harassment as she attempts to run a studio dedicated to creating video game titles which are not only successful, but also present positive and non-stereotyped LGBT, POC, and female heroes. One of the twins is the lead writer on the studio’s most controversial franchise (controversial because of its LGBT characters and content) and the story deals heavily with the battles they face.

I’m almost at the end of writing the story, then I need to go through and make some revisions because the plot took a few turns that I need to account for earlier in the story. But I really want to present this story as a sort of homage to the people on the front lines of the battle of gendered and homophobic harassment in online gaming spaces, do my part, however small, to spread awareness of what is going on in the underbelly of our pop culture.

But this post isn’t to pimp my WIP. It’s about the people I’ve mentioned here, the ones who wake up every day and fight the fight I don’t know if I’d had the guts to. Read the links. Watch the videos. And just…be aware. Know that this is going on, even if it’s not happening in your line of sight, and that if you’re not in the middle of it, it’s almost certainly far, far worse than you assume it is.

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ICYMI: Saugatuck Summer now available @NetGalley! #mm #newadult #romance #comingofage @RiptideBooks

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I just realized this never got its own dedicated announcement here on my blog.

Saugatuck Summer (coming May 19 from Riptide, now available for pre-order) is up on NetGalley for reviewers.

One summer can change everything.

Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.

My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.

Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.

Some of you have heard me gush about this novel before, but for those of you who haven’t, allow me to say that this novel is a huge event for me. Huge. This novel… sometimes I don’t even have the words for it. I love all of my projects, but this one was something else, something uniquely personal. It came straight from my soul and poured itself onto the page, and as I wrote it, I knew it was going to be amazing, and it is. That’s not ego. That’s not me congratulating myself or thinking I’m brilliant or anything, because I’m not. There was just a spark of something absolutely magical that went into writing this novel, something I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to find or capture again no matter how many other books I write. Writing it moved me in ways nothing else ever will, and I’m really excited to be able to share that magic with the world.

So if you have access to NetGalley, by all means check it out!

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Attn: Reviewers! HEA video book club is looking for new members

Once I met Nicole Forcine at GRL2013, I became a huge fan of the HEA book club videos, and I just saw today that Lisa from Attention is Arbitrary has had to bow out and they’re looking for new reviewers to join them for doing a regular video book club review/chat. So check it out!

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February 6, 2014 · 11:45 pm

Up on NetGalley, excerpts, reviews and more!

Lots of news this week as we get closer to the release of Strain and TPR #4-5!

First of all, an excerpt of Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) is available at Riptide. For all you Satish lovers, we get his POV in this one! Because they’re being released simultaneously, I’m not sure if we’ll get a preview excerpt for #5 (it would spoil the end of #4) but if we do, it should be available soon so keep checking back!

Also, remember that because I am Riptide’s Featured Author of the Month for February, there are lots of discounts on The Professor’s Rule right now:

Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) is FREE all month!
An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2) is $2.25–25% OFF!
Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) and To The Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5) are $0.99 each–67% OFF!
And if you want to catch up on TPR all in one go, The Professor’s Rule: The Complete Collection is available for $8.97–40% OFF!

Most of these discounts will expire at the end of February, so be sure to grab them while you can! If you pre-order at Riptide, TPR #4-5 will be available on-site starting at midnight on March 1.

In other news, Saugatuck Summer is now available at NetGalley! I know some readers have really been looking forward to this one and, well, I’ve made it pretty clear a number of times how I feel about this book, so I’m really excited to get this into the hands of readers and reviewers! Saugatuck Summer is also available for pre-order at Riptide for 22% off–only $6.99!

Finally, with less than two weeks to go, more reviews are starting to come in for Strain, so if you’re still wondering if it’s for you, check out this list of review links, as well as the link to GoodReads, here on my Strain page!

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Guess who’s @RiptideBooks February featured author of the month?

Yep, that would be me!

This means, of course, that a whole bunch of my titles are on sale this month at Riptide. You can get The Laird’s Forbidden Lover for 50% off ($1.99), An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2) for 25% off ($2.25) and–get this–pre-orders for Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4) and To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5) are 67% off ($0.99!!!)

And, of course, there has to be a freebie! That would be Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1), free all month!

Also, pre-orders of Strain and Saugatuck Summer are both still 22% off, or $6.99 each. And the entire The Professor’s Rule collection is on sale at $8.97, 40% off.

So, uh, yeah, get it while the getting’s good, huh?

While you’re there, be sure to check out the interview I did for Riptide, where you can also get a little info on my upcoming projects!

Also, Kazza K. at On Top Down Under Book Reviews has named Strain her Book of the Month for February! If you haven’t read her incredibly generous review, be sure to do that! (caution: may contain spoilers)

So February is going to be a hopping month for me! Just over two weeks until Strain releases, and just over four weeks until TPR #4-5 release. Come along for the ride!

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