Saturday, April 30, 2011

No Cookies?

I've never considered how the Cookie Monster might feel about my privacy settings...


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jump First by Charles Edward

My friend Charles Edward will have his first novel released by Dreampsinner Press on May 4, 2011. I can't tell you how excited I am for him. I can't wait to pick this one up.

Here's the blurb:
For Heath, the star highlight of every week is attending his writers’ group meeting. The leader, Marguerite May, writes romance novels, and not just any kind: The dude/dude kind that are so freakin hot, Heath gets embarrassed to critique them. But don't tell anybody: He secretly adores her books and buys them all. With a fake ID.

Marguerite’s son, Ryan, just happens to be the most beautiful guy in the universe. Confident, athletic, and with such a cool mom, Ryan’s got everything a high-school senior could want—which is everything Heath lacks. Too bad Ryan is straight. But thanks to a flaky computer and an unexpected request, Heath will get to know his idols better, and he’ll discover that nothing he believes about them is true.

Jump First by Charles Edward comes out in days.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weigh-in Wednesday #15

Believe it or not, I have actually made changes this week. I know - my track record isn't great, so maybe I shouldn't really talk about it this yet. But here I am anyway.

I've started a strict detoxing program. Today, it's going fine. I'm a whole day and half into it now, so of course I'm still in the gung-ho, let's go get 'em, good-bye fat ass, hello, hot pants stage of it. We'll see if I'm still in it next week.

In a way, it's the hardest and the easiest thing for me to do. Hard because of sticking with it. You're cutting out almost everything from your diet - absolutely no oils, fats, sugars, carbs, processed foods, dairy. This also means no coffee, because I won't have the cream to go with it. By this weekend, I predict I'll be learning how to drink it black. It's easy because the choices are so limited, there's really nothing to think about. Extra lean beef, skinless chicken, and organic vegetables. Apples and grapefruits.

So, can I keep this up for a month? Time will tell....


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monkey Squirt

Why do we keep doing things the way they've always been done? Especially when those ways of doing things make no sense? 

Sometimes we do it because it's tradition. We're carrying on the customs of our families or our culture. It's a way of honoring those who came before us. There's also rituals. Established ceremonies groups use to commune with their deities. Recipes make sure things turn out the same way every time. Verified repeatable results.

But then there are policies and procedures we always follow that make no sense. For example, printing out a document and copying it twice to document something, when an electronic copy can be filed in two different locations for backup purposes. Things no one ever asks "Why are we doing it this way?" And if you do ask why, then answer is probably "It's the way we've always done it." 

It's what I like to call "Monkey Squirt". I started calling it that after reading about a social conditioning experiment conducted with monkeys.

Begin with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result, and all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon the monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done around here.

When is time to stop just going along with what's always been done and ending the cycle?


Monday, April 11, 2011

What was I going to say?

Believe it or not, I actually had something planned for today's post, but all my thoughts got derailed on my drive into work. Seriously, I had it all planned out. 

What happened? The fireman were washing the truck at the little station house on my route to work, and anything I had planned to say went down the drain with the soapy water splashing over their big biceps on its way down their rippling bodies, making their uniforms cling to every bulge....

What was I saying? Oh yeah. Wet firemen. In uniform. Wet uniforms.

I promise to try to say something more insightful tomorrow.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Now that's a picnic

Make sure to pack your basket with everything you'll need.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

I do no think that means what you think it means

Be careful with your abbreviations. You may wind up selling something you didn't mean to...

I wonder if sales were down for Spearmint gum that week. Think they figured out why?


Friday, April 8, 2011

Character Interview - Aaron Thorne

Questionnaire #1 -- The Basics

Your Name - Aaron Thorne – That’s Thorn-E. Thorn with an E.

Your age - 20

Describe yourself – Jeez, I don’t know. I’m just an average guy. I coach little league and I’m a police officer.

Describe your mate (if applicable) – I don’t have one

Where (and when) do you live? – Austin, Texas

What's your favourite sweet? (It is so a basic!) – I don’t eat too many sweets. I can’t handle the sugar

Questionnaire #2 -- Favourites
What is your favourite...

Season? - Summer. That’s baseball season. :-D

Food? - Grilled fluffer-teller and banana sandwiches. That’s Nutella and marshmellow fluff with bananas sliced on it. Then you butter both outsides and grill it. The guts get so gooey. I’m going to have to go make one after this.

Animal? - I guess I have to say monkeys

Colour? - Blue? Green? I like them both. They’re both very soothing for me.

Time of day? - Afternoon - baseball practice with the kids. I love it. :-)

Weapon? - I don’t really like weapons. As an officer, I have a gun, but I really hate thinking about using it.

Questionnaire #3 - Background
Tell us about...

Your place of birth. - Austin. The hill country is so pretty, with all the hills and the lake.

Your childhood. - Okay, I guess. I watched baseball with my dad. And we played it. Mom worked a lot after he left.

Your parents. - My mom is great.

Your siblings - I don’t have any. Well, Jeff and Brad are like big brothers to me. Jeff worked so hard to help me succeed. I have to make him proud.

Your (current) home. - My apartment.

Your favourite "hang out". - The baseball diamonds, or the pool at the complex.

Questionnaire #4 - Skills

Can you read? - Yes, I can. Slowly, but I can read. The dyslexia makes it a little hard.

Can you write? - Yes. The guys always have me fill out the reports. I work late a lot to get them done.

Can you sing? - * laughs * Not too well.

Can you play an instrument? - * laughs again * None. If I tried, you’d run out of the room.

What languages do you speak? - I barely speak English. I can talk to the other monkeys, too.

What weapons can you use? - My service weapon and a taser. * blushes* And, I’ve been known to fling poo sometimes.

Questionnaire #5 - Secrets

Are you good at keeping secrets about yourself? - Probably not. I don’t really have any secrets, so I guess I’d have to say no.

What is your best kept secret? - The time–wait. I can’t tell you that.

What is your worst kept secret? - * blushes some more * Probably my virginity. Everyone seems to know about it.

Are you good at keeping secrets about others? - * blinks * Of course. I’d never tell something someone asked me not to.

What secret about someone else have you kept and wish you hadn't? – Miles told me some things, but I can’t really talk about them.

What secret about someone else have you not kept and wish you had? – I can’t think of any that I’ve told.

Questionnaire #6 - Sex

Are you a virgin? - * blushes * Uh, yes.

Do you mate for life? – I don’t know. I’d like to think so. I really hope so?

Who was your first lover? – Jeepers. I’ve never had one.

Who is your current lover? – I don’t have one.

What is your favourite sexual position? - * blushes * Do I have to answer these? I really don’t know.

What are your kinks? – Kinks? Babe Ruth, this is embarrassing.

[... continued next week]


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weigh-in Wednesday #14

Jeepers! Over a quarter of the year is gone already? What have I done with it?

Stop Eating Crap? Still too lazy/bored/set in my ways to stop eating crap. And I feel like crap for it. You'd think I'd know better, huh?

Start Moving?  Started walking on the treadmill, and then stopped again. I did pay for another year at the gym. Does that count?

Blogging? I've been in a 'radio quiet' mode lately. Current events have turned my empathy meter up to 11, and I haven't had a lot to really say, so I haven't been blogging much. I've had my moments on twitter, though.

What Did Work?   I resubmitted Crazy Wind, the novella featuring a certain cock-blocking sheriff, and I had my first experience with a Cover Spec Sheet. We'll see what they come up with. Since it's Dreamspinner, I am sure it will not make the Hall of Shame. 
Snakeskin Boots, my wereboa story, was finally accepted. Waiting turned me into a manic depressive ball of nerves. It looks like that one will have a Sept/Oct release, and it's a long novella/short novel length. I just need to remember to sign and return the contract. I have a clear idea of what I think the cover should be for this one, so I won't have any trouble filling out the spec sheet on this one. Maybe I should go ahead and get that started....
What's Next?  Blurbs. Why do we have to write blurbs? I'm thinking I should get ahead of the curve on the these two stories. They're going to come asking for them, so I might as well get them ready.

I've given my spider monkey his new friend. He's really cute, and Aaron is going to have a lot of fun with him, I think. Not that much fun, though. Gotta save something for his HEA.

Another plot bunny hopped by, so I'm also working on a holiday story. What holiday, you ask? Well, No Pants Friday, of course. Doesn't everybody celebrate it?


Monday, April 4, 2011

Three for Four

Saturday was a great day around Casa Xanakas. Well, parts of it were, anyway. The hauling and distributing of a truckload of mulch for a friend wasn't exactly fun, but it felt good. But visiting the monstrous home improvement store was fun. I love my new cordless drill, and I captured a plot bunny that hopped on by me, his orange apron flapping in the breeze.

What made Saturday special was getting the email that Snakeskin Boots was accepted. My wereboa will see the light of day. 

After seven long, arduous, crazy-making weeks, getting that email felt like ripping a gorilla off my back. I had gotten to the point where checking my email was an emotional roller coaster - anticipation, trepidation, realization, and all kinds of other -ations, before depression and anger kicked in. Why, oh why, wouldn't they just freaking tell me already! I couldn't write anything else while I waited. It zapped my creative energy down to zero, while amping my nerves up to 11. Maybe now my spider monkey will finish telling me his story, and my pantsless writer will hook up with the model that was making eyes at him.

But do you know what made my acceptance even better? Hearing that two other manuscripts from my little writing group were accepted the same day. I was Snoopy dancing for everyone Saturday night. 

My friend Lissa has a great story that will be out in the fall. You guys are going to love Seiran. I can't wait for the world to meet him.

Piper Vaughn and M.J. O'Shea collaborated on a novel that will be out this fall, too. Shane will push his Luck, and break your heart in the process. 

So, while I am thrilled and excited for my own good fortune, I am over the Moon(light) for Lissa, Piper, and M.J. And, all three of them will be at the GayRomLit Retreat in New Orleans. Make sure to say hi to them. And yes, they're WINNING!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Let me guess

Even when you know, you never know, you know?


Friday, April 1, 2011

Character Interview - Whiner Stendhal

Questionnaire #1 -- The Basics
1. Your Name - Vidar Stendhal. Folks just call me Whiner.

2. Your age - Why do you ask?

3. Describe yourself - I'm big - bigger than most people. And blond.

4. Describe your mate (if applicable) - You mean the little fucker that gave me this shit to fill out? I bet Bobby Joe found it on that web thing for him.

5. Where (and when) do you live? - On my ranch. What the fuck kind of questions are these?

6. What's your favourite sweet? (It is so a basic!) - I don't have time for this shit. You're fucking fired. Connie! Get in here!

[Author's Note: The rest of this questionnaire shredded under press of bodies. All attempts to get Whiner to complete the questionnaire were unsuccessful. He says you can find out everything you need to know about him in Cowboys and IT-ians, in the Riding Double anthology.]