Wanna take a little quiz? Come and see which member of the Brimstone crew you're most like:
Which Brimstone Character Are You?
Shh-everybody settle down! Today we have the fabulous Lee Brazil who graciously agreed to stop by to talk about Cold Snap, Pulp Friction and, if you're patient and behave until the end, a contest. Good morning, Lee!
Good morning Angel & crew! I want you to know that being here is especially challenging for me as Angel is one of those words my dyslexic fingers always want to type wrong. I've made very sure though that I'm not addressing you as Angle. *blinks* Other words that I have trouble with are equally simple, like the. Ninety percent of the time it comes out as "the" when I type. *blows on coffee* I haven’t been here in ages thanks for allowing me to share my new cover here. I've got a gorgeous new cover to share and an advance copy to give away. *sips coffee* For those in the audience who don't know me, I'm Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance, and proud member of the Pulp Friction organization.
That's what brings me here today.
What's Pulp Friction? Well you might ask! It is about the most complicated undertaking I've attempted recently. 4 Authors, 4 series, 20 books, one fiery finale.
See, Laura Harner, Havan Fellows, Tom Webb and I create an interlocking web of mm romance serial fiction that culminates in a single story. Last year we took on Atlanta, and this year we're moving into Flagstaff.
I followed a character I created, who kind of got nudged out of what was supposed to be his primary role last year.
Cannon Malloy, neurosurgeon, was supposed to be Chance DuMont's partner. Things just didn't work out that way. He was, as they say, too late to get the worm. *blinks* Er…early bird gets the worm, right? So being late, by about five years, means Cannon gets no worm. Not that I'm saying Chance was a worm, though I hear some people *coughs* called him a variety of names during his interactions with Rory Gaines, who turned out to be the genuine love of his life.
Well, since I allowed Rory to steal Cannon's love, I figured I had to give him a second chance *hehe. See what I did there?*
So Cannon picks up and moves to Flagstaff to get away from a memory of a love he really can't have (among other things)…and that's when the snow starts falling. Which makes this gorgeous cover absolutely perfect.
In From the Cold: Cold Snap
at eBook vendors on January 31, 2014!
About Pulp Friction 2014
Laura Harner ~ Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ T.A. Webb
The Pulp Friction 2014 Collection. Four authors. Four Series. Twenty books. One fiery finale. Spend a year with an eclectic group of strangers brought together through circumstances, as they are tested by life, and emerge as more than friends.
The strongest bonds are forged by fire, cooled in air, smoothed by water, grounded in earth.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Now, I did promise to give away an advance copy- which will be available on January 30th. Leave me a comment here telling me what characteristics you look for in a hero and you'll be entered to win.
3 copies will be given away- all comments on each blog will count as an entry. So, feel free to visit each stop and leave a comment! (Note – each blogs asks a different question, so read carefully!)
THE FINE PRINT: Please read: All prizes are ebooks, in pdf format. Prizes must be claimed by February 7th. In order to win, you must provide an email address. If you do not provide an email, then you are ineligible. Although you may enter up to 7 times, you may win only one copy. Winner will be announced at http://leebrazilauthor.blogspot.com/ . Tour Hosts MAY choose to post winners but will not be obligated to do so.
When I was a teenager, there was a store stuck way in the back of a little indoor shopping center on Main Street. Yes. We have a Main Street.
This claustrophobic, cluttered space was one of the few places where a geek child (such as myself) could find cool stuff. Cool for us, that is. Gaming manuals. Cool miniatures. Super cool amulets. An astounding variety of dice in all shapes and colors. Advice on gaming if you were looking.
And buttons. Snarky, geek buttons that the mean girls at school wouldn't have gotten, but we did. I still have some of those buttons and thought it might be fun to share a couple.
(Yes, that's also an Eden Winters calculator on my desk,)
The reference in this one is obvious, but please remember that the Hitchhiker books began being published as novels when I was fifteen. Tell me there's no better age to read those books with your friends and fall over laughing and repeat lines endlessly.
There just isn't.
Those of us who had grown up on Asimov and Clarke and serious Science Fiction had never encountered an animal like Douglas Addams before. (Yes, there was humor in SF from time to time but nothing like this.)
So, of course, this was an in joke, a cool-geek thing (even if that was an oxymoron at the time.)
I've never been able to find the source of this quote. If you know, please tell me and make sure you include verifiable references. Even Goodreads quotes doesn't cite an author.
But as you can see, the quote's been around a long time and we found it hilarious.
Now, in the years when getting out of bed is becoming physically more difficult, and breakfast is a nirvana of coffee and a return to life, this isn't a funny saying. It's one of life's truths.
What? Zombie apocalypse is starting? Yes, yes. I'll be right with you. Need to finish this second cup.
Again, for most geeks, the reference should be obvious.
Just in case you joined us late or your only Doctors have been the Ninth and on from there, this line was spoken by the Brigadier during the reign of the Fourth Doctor Who (Tom Baker.)
Can I confirm that this was the first instance of this quote? No. Sorry. But it was the first time I had heard it and it left me rolling on the carpet laughing.
The line refers to all manner of beasties who keep up their menacing ways throughout hails of bullets and missiles and sometimes even small nuclear explosions. (See just about every giant something monster movie of the 1950's.) It was a trope so familiar by then that the Brigadier standing there looking at his failed assault in disgust and saying this with such unruffled annoyance was hilarious.
And only cool people got the joke.
This last one?
Self-explanatory. The need for teenagers to push boundaries is in there, sure, but there's something in that statement that is an integral part of my personality.
Tell me I can't. Go ahead. I guarantee it'll force me to find a way.
Anyway - thank you for joining me on my little romp through the past and allowing me to share a bit of my youth.
They still make me smile. :)
Oh, and the store? It moved to a bigger location and now serves a larger community of geeks. I was just in there last Christmas and bought my son a Cthulhu ornament. Sometimes the good guys win.
A little disclaimer about OTBT: I review books that I've read. I may have purchased them or been given them, but I will only review works I've finished and I will only review works I enjoyed. What kind of a review policy is that? you ask. Look, I'm an author. I have no right to post negative reviews of other authors work since we are in direct market competition, if you think about it. Also, the purpose of my reviews is to point people to books I'd like to recommend, not to draw attention to the ones I can't recommend.
Royce Ree Omnibus (The Emperor's New Clothes), Volume 1
Gay Science Fiction
Humor in Science Fiction is not a new thing. Readers seem surprised when they encounter it. Sometimes it's episodic humor in otherwise serious stories, (see most conversations between Miles Vorkosigan and his cousin Ivan) sometimes the story itself is farce/ satire (see Douglas Addams entire body of work) and sometimes we're looking at a Comedy of Ideas (see Keith Laumer's Retief novels.)
While there are farcical moments in Royce Ree's first full adventure, this really does fall into the third category and Royce, very much together and up to his eyeballs in plans within plans and contingency plans if those should fall through, is almost an homage to Retief, though Royce has some surprisingly vulnerable spots that he shows to the readers if not the rest of the universe.
While you can take The Emperor's New Clothes in small bites, (the story is available in separate "episodes") I recommend devouring the whole thing in one wild, multi-course feast. (Hence the Omnibus.) If you do decide on episodes, the first is available free on All Romance. But I suppose I should back up again...
This is (shocked face) not a traditional romance. Nor is the story told in traditional linear fashion as most folks are accustomed to with romance. There is a romance contained within the story - and it is a central driving force behind the story - but there's so much more going on here than boy meets boy.
We're well and fairly tossed in medias res and then jump backward and work our way forward (for the most part) until the final reveals. This is not a structure familiar to most romance readers, but should be familiar to readers of crime fiction, this ending first, here's what happened before, and finally here are the machinations behind the scenes are a structure we've seen there frequently. (See Reservoir Dogs, e.g.)And this is, among other things, a classic tale of the Big Job that had to be Planned Carefully and had Lots of Things Go Wrong Despite All the Planning.
Which works well for a comedy and I found myself snickering and bursting into surprised laughs more than once. Royce sets out, supposedly to steal a planet's impeccable sense of style. He ends up stealing oh so much more than that. What appears to be a simple break and enter soon evolves into a mess of, pardon the pun, royal proportions. I do wonder how Royce kept all the lies and machinations straight without his head exploding - but that's what he does. And he's good at it. Some plot points seemed a bit too convenient, even for a comedy, but it doesn't mar the overall sense of oh-no-I-can't-believe-that-just-happened fun.
Aldous Mercer's twisty mind (and I mean this in a good way) takes a traditional fairy tale, turns it inside out and plunks it on its head, lightly tosses with story traditions from far flung sources (don't think you slid the Buddha under the bodhi tree reference past me, ha!) and stirs with just enough chaos to keep you guessing.
This is his first self-publishing venture and if I have any criticism, it's that when you self-publish, you need to take your time. There were points where I had to re-read several times before I realized the wrong word had been used in error and some odd formatting issues appeared in one chapter where the font suddenly became gargantuan. But this is a learning process and nothing that a good editor and a second upload can't fix.
To say much more would be to give things away - and you really need to approach this story with a sense of wonder and have all the surprises jump out at you fresh and new or it won't be any fun. I still have questions. Of course I do. Royce's parentage. The structure of the Empire. Did Les ever forgive him?
I'm looking forward to more. Royce is arrogant, high-handed, outwardly cold and a lying bastard. And I think I'm in love.
Since last October, I've been doing quite a bit of two things. Besides needless, anxious worrying. I do that all the time. I've been doing a lot of novel reading and a lot of review reading.
Yes, I read reviews for my own works. I've heard the wise heads that say you shouldn't do this, that it stunts your growth as a writer, dashes your confidence on the shoals of grief and all that. *shrugs* Perhaps for some. For me, it can upset me in the short term, but I find I learn things as well. The one thing I've learned beyond all other things is that writing to a word count is often detrimental to the story. A story should be as long as a story needs to be. Forcing it into a pre-set number of words - well, the audience knows it. But I digress...
I also read reviews for other works. Some for works I've read. Some simply because the review itself sounded interesting. For the ones where I and the reviewer have (presumably) both read the work, I've often caught myself wondering "did they really read what I read?"
This brings me to my point - the Autonomy of the Reader.
Readers can be coaxed in a certain direction. They can be nudged, influenced, and tempted. But they cannot be led. The intent of the author is not necessarily what the reader will experience. The intent of the author, in many ways, becomes a moot point once the book is in the reader's hands. It is no longer the author's domain, to mold and carve as he or she pleases. The kingdom has suffered a palace coup and the reader is now in charge. Oh, yes. They'll read the words you wrote, in the order you wrote them, more than likely. But what they meant to you and what they mean to the reader? Don't count on them lining up in nice, regimented rows.
I've had readers say of the same character that he was brave and never surrendered his man card one day and that he was too girlie the next. I've had stories where there was not enough explanation and too much. That it was brilliant and ridiculous. That the sex scenes were wonderful and tepid. (Not from the same reader, mind you. I've never had anyone call a sex scene wonderfully tepid.) A story I meant to be amusing has been called scary and edge of your seat. A story I meant as study of the rebirth of hope has at times been called too dark.
But this is not a failure in communication. This is not a failure on the reader's part to understand my intent. This is simply the reader's reaction to the random words I strung together in some semblance of order. The reader's reaction is a complex equation that includes components of experience and influence. The influence portion is the reason I try not to read reviews of books I haven't yet read and would like to read.
It detracts from the autonomous experience.
I'm going to borrow an example I recall from college. Think of it this way: When you go to the Grand Canyon, it's beautiful. But you see it from predetermined angles, on paths other people have chosen, from an approach someone has carefully laid out for you. It's amazing - but there's a sense of having lost some of the wonder. Now imagine instead of the National Parks experience, that you're hiking up an incline, not certain of what's up ahead, and suddenly you reach the crest and find this amazing geological wonder stretched out below you. It's spectacular. It takes your breath away. It sears itself into your memory because you have not been led to this place. It was unexpected, a journey of discovery and no one told you how you were supposed to react to it.
Autonomy of experience.
As readers and writers, I think, this is how we should approach books as well. The writer creates, hoping for that bond, that connection with the reader. But we cannot dictate the reader's reaction, nor should we expect to. If the work has any depth at all, it should reach people in different ways and speak to them in different voices. Different parts should evoke emotional responses, not always where the writer expected, because of the reader's own collection of experiences and gut reactions.
I just read a novel by a writer I always enjoy and one who often pulls very deep emotional responses from me. I've cried while reading this writer's work before and I cried this time, too. But I'm not sure it was at the place where the writer would have expected. Or maybe it was. There is a spot where the hero sees his beloved in a hospital bed connected to all sorts of monitors and unspecified tubes and he silently compares it to the first time a parent sees their newborn in the neonatal ICU, behind the glass of an isolette. The image evoked a memory cascade for me - a series of flashes so sharp and painful... I recalled when my son, my only child, was born too early. I was allowed to hold him for maybe a minute before he was snatched from my arms and rushed to NICU. I hadn't even had a chance to give him a name. I was alone that first time I was finally able to see him, standing there in the muted light in front of his isolette, seeing his tiny body struggle to breathe, unable to touch him or help him in any way.
The memory hit so hard at those few words this author wrote, I cried as I did then.
(For those of you concerned, my child lived and eventually thrived. He's now 6'2" and 22 years old.)
But another reader might not have had the same sharp, memory-knife reaction to that paragraph. It may well be another sentence, word, image that makes them fly apart or laugh or shriek or wish to throw the book across the room (not recommended when reading on iPad.)
Approach books as you would something new and wondrous. Don't let anyone tell you what to think of them or how to process them. Discuss, compare, engage with others after the fact. But preserve that journey of discovery for yourself. Read in glorious isolation and let the words crash against you as a whole being, your experiences, your memories, your visceral, necessary reactions.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.