Tired of the holidays already? Yeah. I kind of am, too. All the fuss and hoopla. The running around, the agonizing, the spending, the general hysteria. Don't get me wrong. I do like a lot of things about this time of year - those quiet, peaceful moments of magic only cold and snow and bright lights can bring.
If only it could all be like that.
In honor of those moments, I thought I'd offer some new release news for the remainder of the season. You know, so you can hunker down by the fire with a couple of furry friends, a cozy blanket and a book (one of mine would be nice - feed an author, buy a book?) while the cold winds and the crazed shoppers howl outside.
First Up - Releasing 11/29 at Totally Bound!
50's Mixed Tape Anthology
A few friends kidnapped, er, persuaded me to get involved in a Mixed Tape antho - I've never been so glad to be shanghaied. These were such fun stories to write. (And it was with some of my favorite people :) )
‘Chantilly Lace’ by Em Woods
When appearances aren’t everything…
‘Rush Around the Clock’ by Silvia Violet
Finn McMurphy convinces himself his spoiled dogs are all the company he needs. Then he meets Crawford, his sexy new neighbour, and everything changes.
‘It’s Only Make Believe’ by Havan Fellows
Dyer’s whole life is nothing but a game of play pretend. When he attempts to drag Derrick into his make-believe world, it tips on its axis. Suddenly Dyer doesn’t want to play anymore.
‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ by Hank Edwards
Floyd has trouble staying interested in men, but meeting Gavin changes everything. Until Floyd learns his boss is dating Gavin. Now Floyd wants him even more.
‘His Dream Lover’ by Lee Brazil
Through the gates of the sun lies the land of dreams, and beyond that…the realm of the lost.
I‘The Line’ by Angel Martinez
Rafael Schiller, vampire and sexual god without peer, believes himself the top of the food chain, until a bizarre creature feeding in an alley scares the deathless hell out of him.
A mere week later, we have the anthology the Mischief Corner Authors are so excited about! Releasing 12/7 from Mischief Corner Books:
Hot Off The Range
(Toni Griffin, Silvia Violet, Freddy MacKay, Mathilde Watson and Angel Martinez)
We asked out readers what type of anthology they wanted next - the overwhelming winner (much to my dismay) was Cowboys. I can't write about cowboys, I said. Yes, well, with the right encouragement, apparently anything is possible.
Riding and herding. Those spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle. What is it about cowboys that so doggedly fires the imagination? Join the Mischief Corner authors as they give you their own unique takes on the cowboy mystique and mythos, from the American West, to Australia, to outer space. The cowboy story will never be the same…
In between, you can always pick up my newest SF novel from MLR - you know, to get away from it all.
Rarely Pure and Never Simple
These boys are trouble - and they'll be back for a second round, never fear ;)
Damien just wants to be left alone. Too bad his variant talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for the government's missing person cases. He can refuse, but it's not so easy when the missing are variant kids.
Blaze Emerson is a sparker. People fear him as much for his ability to call fire as his obnoxious, violent temperament. He's good at what he does, though, and he's intrigued by the quiet man who can find people with his brain. Conspiracies, treachery, and wild rumors are only the start. First Damien and Blaze have to survive each other.
Then for New Year's when you need a little humor to help you get over that hangover you've been nursing for days - releasing 1/4/14 as an individual story from MCB:
Hell For The Company, Brimstone #1
Originally featured in the Horns and Halos anthology, a Rainbow Awards finalist and nominated for Best Anhology in the M/M Romance Readers' Choice Awards - we have Shax, the Demon Prince of Thieves, his business partner Verin (the demon of impatience) and Ness, an angel quote definitely out of his element.
Oh. Did I mention the anti-gravity cows? Yes. You heard me.
This is the very first Brimstone adventure - the boys return in Fear of Frogs (in the Hot Off The Range antho) with more in the works for next year.
Sure, the holidays are busy. But too busy for reading? I know you guys. That would be like too busy for breathing.
Stay safe this season, stay sane, and make sure you take your mandatory reading breaks.
Sam's stopped by today for a little bit on fairy tales and the newest Sam Singer release, Beautiful Dreamer (November 4 from Dreamspinner.) Take it away, Sam :)
I love fairy tales, but that wasn't always the case. Growing up I didn't like them so much. Now that I’m older I realize the reason. There were no fairy tales that reflected my own interests i.e. downtrodden maiden being rescued by a princess.
The fairy tale theme kept coming up in my work when I first started writing again; although, my stories are M/M rather than F/F because that is what I enjoy reading. Even now sitting on my hard drive is a Cinderfella novella and I recently subbed an M/M rework of the Kipling classic The Jungle Book with a shifter twist. I'm very at home in the fairy tale genre and believe fairy tales are for everyone.
My first novella Beholding Beauty was an M/M retelling of Beauty and the Beast—available from Dreamspinner Press. My last short story The Prince in the Cowboy is a rework of The Princess and the Pea—available from JMS Books. Now, with my first novel, Beautiful Dreamer, I have tackled Sleeping Beauty.
The idea began with the simple premise that what if while Sleeping Beauty is asleep he dreams of his prince charming, and his prince charming dreams of him? It took off and grew from there to include detailed back story as to how and why the curse befell Sleeping Beauty and the boys growing up and falling in love with each other in their dreams. It was a fun challenge to interweave their stories but I think I succeeded and I hope readers will enjoy it.
From the time he was a child, Nicholas Crittendon, oft-overlooked second son of the Duke of Sanburne, has been outcast because of his fascination with the myth of the Lost Kingdom. As legend has it, the entire population was wiped from existence when its prince was cursed into a deathlike sleep.
by an evil sorceress.
Convinced that the Lost Kingdom is real, Nicholas devotes his days to reading and research, trying to pinpoint its location. As he grows older, his nights become haunted with dreams of a blond, green-eyed young man calling to Nicholas for help. Nicholas’s interest spirals into an obsession that drives him away from the comfort and safety of his life and toward the unknown of his dreams. Those slumbering visions may hold the key to everything he’s searched for and a lover he never believed could be real.
Nicholas closed his eyes and allowed his mind to drift. He imagined the looks on people’s faces when he told them he finally knew for a fact the Lost Kingdom was real and showed them incontrovertible proof. He would crow and strut like the cock of the walk. He couldn’t wait for that day. And the recognition would be his and his alone.
Nicholas’s eyes fluttered open and a baldachin came into focus. He smiled, realizing he was in Ian’s bedchamber. He reached out for his lover only to find the other side of the bed cold and quite empty.
“Ian?” He sat up, the sheet falling from his bare chest and twisting around his legs. It wasn’t like Ian to not be with Nicholas after they made love. Usually Ian curled around Nicholas like a vine, his soft breath fanning across Nicholas’s neck, playing with the hair on his chest or toying with a nipple, waiting for Nicholas to recuperate for another bout of lovemaking. There were times when Ian was insatiable.
Nicholas pulled himself from his erotic musings. They were not helping him find Ian.
He stood up and was fully dressed. He looked down at himself, at the odd antique garb he was in: trunk hose, doublet, jerkin, white stockings, and knee-high leather boots. He couldn’t remember ever dressing in such a fashion before. These were clothes like those Ian always wore.
What was going on?
“Ian?” he called once more, his voice filling the cavernous room, but received no answer.
Shaking his head, he walked over to the door and exited. He headed down the corridor and up to the third floor, making his way to Ian’s secret tower room. As he hurried past he noticed the tapestries and paintings that adorned the walls seemed faded and washed out, the sky outside the window was not as blue, nor the grass as green.
Upon reaching the door to the tower room, Nicholas burst through it only to find the room empty. He gasped as if in pain. If Ian wasn’t here, where would he be? Had something happened to him? Had they fought and Ian ran off?
Nicholas turned and ran down the spiral staircase, down corridors, through the palace and out into the grounds. The muscles in his legs felt as if they were going to give out, but he kept going. He couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop, until he found Ian.
“Ian!” Nicholas called as he ran through the gardens and to the stables. His eyes stung and his throat constricted. His lungs burned and it was as if a great hand were squeezing his chest.
Nicholas quickly surveyed the stables, finding no sign of his quarry. He mounted the first horse he found and kicked the beast into a run. He struggled to catch his breath and contain the panic that clawed his insides like something alive. The horse ran flat-out but seemed to be covering no ground even though scenery whipped past and wind blew Nicholas’s hair back. The horse’s stride began to slow. Everything around Nicholas seemed to be melting, colors running together. In the distance he could see Ian lying on the ground beneath their tree. Nicholas needn’t stop the horse because he was no longer on a horse. He looked around, trying to figure out what was going on, why the landscape was changing. He had found Ian and it no longer mattered. He started to run toward his lover, but the ground was like quicksand, sucking Nicholas in every time he tried to take a step.
“Ian!” He shouted at the top of his lungs. “Ian, please!”
Ian appeared to be asleep—he was asleep, he had to be asleep—at the spot where they frequently made love. So close but so far away. What sorcery had transformed the ground to keep him from reaching his beloved?
“Ian!” Nicholas called desperately, trying in vain to move closer to the sleeping young man. Tears spilled from his eyes, racing down his cheeks, blurring his vision. He would not give up! He would not!
Nicholas sat up in bed, a cry on his lips, breathing as if the devil himself were on his heels, his heart slamming against his ribs. He struggled to remember his dream, what had him shaking with fright and feeling as if he had just lost something most precious to him.
Sam Singer first discovered her love of writing in grade school, and it’s an affair that has continued to grow and flourish. She dabbled in traditional romance before finding her one true love: male/male erotica and romance.
When not writing about beautiful men getting hot and sweaty, she works part time as a librarian and enjoys baseball, feeding her caffeine addiction, and watching classic movies. She lives in a small town in the Midwest and is owned by her fickle Muse and insane cat, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Well, kids, it's happened again. I will once again be leaving a publisher soon.
I won't go into details - I signed the agreement, so legally, I can't.
It is, I believe, sufficient to say that Silver and I are parting ways as of 11/15 and certain of my books will be unavailable for a bit. With any luck, not for long.
Which books? It pains me to say that Finn will be homeless for the second time in his life. He's rather miffed with me about that. So the first three in the Endangered Fae stories will be unavailable for a bit:
It's been a long time since I've written a full review. To be honest, I don't write many anymore partly because I don't feel right reviewing close friends and partly because I refuse to do slam reviews. As Kaje Harper said in her Q&A at GRL: "I don't write negative reviews...I only write reviews for books I'm excited about and want others to be excited about."
So. Mr. Arvin's book was recommended to me by a dear friend who said it was just the sort of thing I might like - fantasy, but dark. Complicated. Oh. yes. It is that and so much more.
Probably the best way to start is to state what this book is not. I truly think that readers often ruin their enjoyment of a work by bringing too many preconceived notions about what the work should be with them. You can't hear the melody if you're tapping out percussion to another song. This is not a M/M erotic piece. If you come to this story looking for hot monkey sex, you will be disappointed. This is not gay romance. It is a roman in the old sense of the word, and there are gay couples contained within, their love stories integrated into the tale, but it is not romance. Leave that at the door.
It is also not a diatribe against religion. There may be some temptation to glance at the surface and find this, but that would be dipping your toe into the Pacific and declaring it small because it didn't get your whole foot wet.
What is it then? This is a complex literary fantasy full of archetypal symbolism reminiscent of the dreamlike works of Paul Hazel. It skims around the edges of magical realism, broody and twisting as a Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is a parable of the dangers of extremism, of blind faith and of how drastically our world changes with our perceptions of it. It is a warning against the destructive temptations of power and of forgetting that we are the stewards of this world we've been granted, not its masters.
The valley could be anywhere and it is nowhere. The human characters are all achingly flawed, each in his or her own way. The limited omniscient viewpoint is a daring choice in modern literature but it allows us to tag along for each character's decisions. While we never know everything, each character gets to keep some secrets, we understand their actions and their inaction, their hesitations and headlong charges. There is terrible evil here but not that of a single human villain. No, this antagonist is one of ideas, of obsession, of the consuming blind hunger the need for power creates.
It all could have been so silly. So melodramatic. But Mr. Arvin's prose winds and leaps like the river running through the story. Unexpected word choices, beautiful turns of phrase keep the reader buoyed and delighted. (Once in a while, I did find the unusual phrases a bit over the top e.g. "the pretty little cupcake with the chunky vomitous filling" but jarring moments were incredibly few and far between.) It does start slowly, gradually, almost lulling the reader into complacency. Do hang on. The ever-increasing avalanche gathers quickly and will leave you breathless by the end. A caution though with unusual word choices - I think the editors became a bit flummoxed toward the end. There are some actual errors in the last couple of chapters that I had to puzzle over, wondering if the incorrect homonym really did work in that sentence.
The meat and bones and soul of this work are what matter, though. There is horror and wonder here in equal measure, a story of heroes as ancient as stories themselves and yet delivered in such a way that we forget we have heard this before. And then it reminds us that we have heard it all over again and reminds us why it's so important to remember.
Thank you, Eric Arvin, for a transportive, transcendent read. This will have pride of place on my top shelf next to Eco and Rushdie.
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.