Monday, December 22, 2014

Old things and new...

That sounds almost wedding-related, doesn't it?

But it also applies to books, and being an author, books are what rock my world.

I participated in the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway for Torquere, and maybe some of you decided to take a chance and get a copy of my novella, Ghost's Sight. I certainly hope so! First of all, free is a budget choice we can all get behind, especially with the holidays dipping into our wallets. But second of all, the next book in this series, Ghost's Dilemma, is scheduled to be released on February 4, 2015.

I'm really excited about that, too. I've been working with my amazing editor, Nicole, and she's been so helpful in getting me to prune a lot of the tedious parts, and brighten up the good bits. I love having a chance to revisit Ghost and Gerry, and explore a little more of their world. Of all the things I've written, these two characters really stick with me, and it's a world that begs to be explored.

That's the essence of a series. It's the something old -- familiar characters that we've gotten to know and love -- and a new adventure, a new setting, a beginning or even an ending. Some of my favorite books have been part of a series, and I've come to think of the characters as friends. It's just us here, so I can spill, I'm sure, but Martha Grimes' wonderful Richard Jury mysteries are foremost. I even described someone the other day as being a "bargain basement Aunt Agatha." Or Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti, and the intricacies of life in Venice, eased by the enigmatic Signorina Elettra, who knows everyone.

Now, I'm not in their league, mind you, but I would love it if Ghost and Gerry could at least lure a few readers into following them through their travels. That's the best reward any author can get. Fellow travelers...

'Twas the days before Christmas...

...and of course, things must go wrong!

I was all set this morning. I had my day planned. I was going to do some laundry, blog a bit here, run out to the store and pick up some of the groceries for Thursday's lasagna feast, and maybe hit the pet store up for more treats.

I got the laundry done.

My husband's car, which had decided it couldn't start on Thursday night, had come home from the mechanic on Saturday with a brand new starter and battery. He drives a 2001 PT Cruiser, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, he loves this car. He's happy to spend money fixing it because it's his baby. So, this morning, he was so happy to jump in his baby at 5am to head in for an early start today.

Except his baby wouldn't start again.

He's a resourceful man, my husband. He jumped in my car, went to work, and sent me an email. He's also a wise man, because I really, REALLY needed my car today.

On the bright side, I have a really nice tow truck driver. He's sweet, and doesn't laugh at me for being stuck with a dead PT Cruiser on an all too frequent basis.

So, with inspiration fleeing in the face of adversity, and groceries now being delivered, I'm finally here to wave a very late hello.

How's your holidays shaping up?

Contest winner

Congrats to Debbie236, winner of my contest from last week!

Happy Holidays to all!

Sean Michael
smut fixes everything

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Night Before Christmas Eve, Excerpt #2 (NSFW)

Here's another excerpt from my Santa's Little Kinksters story. It's NSFW, so there's a small jump before the excerpt.

Sean had tried to find Jack after he had finished his cup. His housemate had disappeared, and Sean was beginning to feel overheated, so he had ditched his coat and here he was now, filling his second cup.

He scanned the crowd while he sipped -- it was mainly people Jack knew, and he noticed that he seemed to be the most clothed person here. All of the women were either wearing skimpy lingerie trimmed with tinsel or naughty elf outfits.

Many of the men were wearing red briefs trimmed with fur and Santa caps. A couple were even wearing red satin G-strings. Their over-developed muscles gleamed in the low light, the result of many hours in the gym.

Sean never liked the body builder thing. In fact, he remembered that when he was younger, he had loved to stare at photographs of male ballet dancers for what seemed like hours. He had stopped when he had gotten a little older because he had thought that he was attracted to girls.

Now, the thought of those slim, athletic bodies was making his groin tingle; and that feeling continued when a set of perfect abs drifted into his field of vision.

They were an eleven on a scale of one to ten. Lean and defined, but not the monstrous rippled six-pack that most gym rats sported. The pecs on top of the abs just continued that same flawlessness, and Sean drunk it in like a man dying of thirst.

Once Sean's eyes actually reached the guy's face, his jaw dropped when he saw that he had been drooling over Matt.

Matt had dated Jack for a record three weeks and had practically lived in the house during that period. Jack had moved on, but Matt had become a fixture at that point. Sean liked him -- he was a Theater Arts major, too, so they had spent many long hours talking about their classes.

Sean had no idea Matt was this well built, and he felt like a moron for staring at the guy like a piece of meat. He was going to take off, but Matt suddenly blocked his way. "Hey, there."

"Um," Sean said. How in hell could he explain his scoping out?

"Guess you're enjoying the party," Matt said in a low purr. "Or did you see something else you like?"
Sean tried to reply, but his tongue wouldn't work. His legs couldn't hold him up for some reason, so he tried to brace his hands on Matt's chest to steady himself. As soon as he touched that warm, smooth skin, a crackle of electricity surged through his entire body.

Matt seemed to be fascinated by something that was happening behind Sean's back. "Oh, now we're having a good party. Curtis is a lucky man."

Sean turned around to see what Matt was talking about and almost swallowed his tongue. A guy in a red leather harness studded with jingle bells and the briefest scrap of red silk was being blindfolded next to two makeshift poles in the middle of the living room. His arms were tied to the poles and a shirtless Jack made his entrance soon afterward.

Sean's mouth went dry. The shiny red satin highlighted the curve of Jack's perfect ass and the length of his legs. The smooth skin of his chest was dusted with a little bit of gold glitter, and the light reflecting off of his pale flesh made him look ethereal.

Jack pressed himself against Curtis' back and reached around to caress his nipples. Curtis writhed under Jack's ministrations, arching up while delicious noises poured out of his mouth.

Sean was instantly, painfully hard. He watched several men join in -- one swallowed Curtis' whimpers with his mouth, while the other two got on each side of the prominent bulge outlined by the silk. They mouthed his hard-on simultaneously through the cloth, getting it so wet that Sean could see that Curtis' dick was uncut.

"Matt? What is..." His voice had a weird, choked quality to it.

Matt hissed in his ear, "You like that, don't you?"

"Yeah..." Matt caressed his side, and as the hand traveled upward, it felt like it was leaving a fiery path in its wake. He leaned back and when Matt kissed him, it was like the whole world fell away. This was nothing like kissing Wendy. It was hot, more primal, and his entire body throbbed with need.

Sean had been fooling himself this entire time. He was attracted to men; there was no denying that any longer.

Santa's Little Kinksters Giveaway

Another item that shows up in "The Night Before Christmas Eve" is mulled wine. I've seen recipes that ranged from mostly sweet, lightly spiced wine to glogg, which is a Scandinavian mulled wine that packs quite a punch.

I never really liked eggnog. I think it's from my Dad buying the cheapass non-alcoholic stuff when I was little. It was overspiced and gross when I drank it, probably because it's supposed to be cut with alcohol and had been sitting pre-mixed on the shelf for who knows how long. I had some freshly made alcoholic eggnog as an adult, and it was much better. I still prefer mulled wine, though.

So, for the giveaway, just leave a comment with your favorite alcoholic holiday drink to enter, and I'll put your name in a hat. (Or just a favorite holiday drink if you don't like alcohol.) If you also leave your email address in the comment, I'll contact you directly, otherwise just check back here on the evening of Dec. 22nd and I'll announce the winner.

You have until noon PST Dec. 22nd to comment.

Excerpt #1

December 22, 2014
Los Angeles

Sean Masterson rubbed a weary hand over his forehead and through his dark hair. It was streaked with a little gray now that he was in his forties, but unlike most dancers his age, he was free of aches and pains. He had realized that he couldn't perform forever, so he had made plans to open his own studio as soon as it had been feasible.

He had enjoyed many good years, but the last few had seen his enrollment dip. People just didn't have the money, it seemed. Plus there was the fact that his personal life was in the dumps right now.

His spirits lifted a bit when a very handsome blond man wearing glasses walked through the front door. Jack Wilson was dressed in a Hugo Boss suit, and his short blond hair was styled expertly to compliment his face.

He owned two of the hottest nightclubs in Los Angeles and had known Sean since college. They were the best of friends, and Sean knew that he could always rely on Jack to make him feel better.

He stood up when Jack came into the office, because you'd have to tie him to a cement mixer and drag him around the entire city before he would turn down one of Jack's great hugs. As soon as those strong arms wrapped around Sean, he felt the tension draining from his body. He buried his nose in Jack's shoulder, enjoying the smell of vanilla and spice.

"Thanks," he said.

"I had a feeling," Jack replied in his husky voice. Sean wasn't surprised by that statement at all -- Jack always seemed to know when hugs were needed. "What's wrong?"

"Numbers are bad this season. We'll survive, but it's going to be a little lean. I'm just glad that I won't have to lay any of my teachers off."

Jack rubbed his back. "Don't harp on it for now. Why don't you let me do all the cooking this time? Or we could order some to-go food."

The stress immediately flooded back in. "Fuck, the night before Christmas Eve is tomorrow!"

Jack grunted in surprise and then hugged Sean tighter. "All right, out with it. How much in debt are you?"

"It's not that bad," Sean replied.

"The last time you dropped an f-bomb was when the studio almost burned down. And you just completely forgot about something we've been doing for over twenty years. Talk."

"Bill and I... We split up last night." Sean grimaced.

He and Bill had been a couple for seven years, but they had spent all of 2014 fighting. They were going to go out of town together on Christmas Eve as a last attempt to patch things up, but everything went up in flames after they had the fight to end all fights.

Jack was opening his mouth to speak, but Sean cut him off. "I don't want to talk about it. What's done is done."

He felt bad about being so curt, but he didn't want Jack to ask what the fight had been about. That would stray into bad territory.

Jack took the hint and didn't pry. However, Sean didn't like the change in Jack's expression. Jack was pulling out The Look -- his wide blue eyes took on an intense pleading quality that only a ravenous zombie or a stone statue could resist.

Sean both loved and hated The Look. It had been used for good in the past to charm stubborn college bureaucrats, but when Jack used it on Sean, that meant that he had an insane plan in mind.

"Well then, since you're free, I'm going to take my Christmas trip early. And you're coming with me."

DIY gift wrapping

A constant joke I have in "The Night Before Christmas Eve" is that Jack always forgets to buy gift wrap, so he wraps his presents with whatever he has within reach. Which means it's usually newspaper.

However, DIY is not a bad idea, at least for gift bags. When I went shopping last week, I needed a wide, but short, gift bag. My only options were wide and tall gift bags or short and narrow gift bags.  And the short ones were $5 a piece. Pretty expensive.

DIY is actually not that hard, but you need to find a method that works for you. These directions use more of an origami method... which I fail at. My corners for the bag were pretty pathetic.

What worked better for me was to use a box as a form, as detailed here.

And if you have some sort of patterned or glitter elastic, you can make your own bows, as detailed here.