Monthly Archives: June 2014

Absolutely Erotic Blog Hop: Karenna Colcroft

Karenna is a prolific author, with a career stretching all the way back to 2006. She writes in a number of genres, but she’s best know for her Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series.

Salad-Sm The series is now complete, which is always nice if you’re just discovering it, and I’ve linked to its page up above. The six related novels, starting with Salad on the Side, follow the adventures of an alpha werewolf, his vegan werewolf lover, and his pack.


The_Pink_It_Burns_200She also writes contemporary MM, including The Pink, It Burns (have I mentioned how much I love her titles?). In this one, a quick stop at a coffee shop foils a child abduction and leads to afternoon romance.



I-Should-Tell-You_200Her penchant for introducing broken characters and redeeming them is well in evidence in her book I Should Tell You, in which a drag queen and a musician help heal each other’s old wounds.



HoochandHowls_200Another werewolf romance, Hooch and Howls introduces a reclusive werewolf and a couple of runrunners. What’s better than hot shapeshifters and booze? Coming from a runrunning area myself, I say nothing!



I also managed to tie her down for a few minutes and pry an interview out of her, and some info on her upcoming novel, Love Like Vampires, coming soon from Dreamspinner Press.

LoveLikeVampires200All Thaniel Robichaud has ever wanted is for his band to hit the big-time. All Shane McCarthy has ever wanted is Thaniel.

Friends since childhood, Thaniel and Shane started making music together while still in junior high school. In the ten years since, they’ve taken their band, Love Like Vampires, from struggling over chords in Thaniel’s basement to headlining at clubs, and recently they opened for one of rock’s biggest names. Along the way, Shane stunned Thaniel with a proclamation of love, and when Thaniel returned his feelings, their relationship gave them the strength to weather the rough patches. But with the band about to break apart, it may not be enough to hold everything together. Their dream is slipping through their fingers just as they’re perched on the cusp of success.

Which of your main characters is your favorite and why?
You know this is like asking a mom to choose which baby she likes best, right? If I have to pick one, I would say Kyle Slidell from my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series. He’s a complete wiseass, and was a lot of fun to write.

Why do you like writing this pairing as opposed to other pairings?
I don’t only write one pairing. I write male/male; male/female; and menages with a variety of combinations. I believe love is love and sex is sex, and as long as everyone’s a consenting adult it’s all good.

As a writer, do you prefer the aspects of paranormal, and its freedom to create, or do you prefer keeping it within bounds of the every day lives of contemporary characters?
I’ve written both, and I would have to say I prefer contemporary at this point. Paranormal is fun, and I get to play god a little bit, but there’s a lot more world-building involved.

Is there anything that makes you nervous about readers?
Wondering whether they’ll actually read and like my books. Every single time, I wonder about that.

What is the sexiest feature, to you, on a person?
Assuming you mean physical feature, I would say eyes; but honestly, I find intelligence and a sense of humor sexier than anything physical.

How do you feel about fetishes?
To each their own; as I said above, as long as it’s between/among consenting adults, it’s all good. I don’t necessarily understand the mindset behind fetishes, so I wouldn’t be likely to write about them.

Bio:
Karenna Colcroft is the alter ego of a shy, sedate wife and mother who began writing erotic romance on a challenge from a friend. She believes that love is love, regardless of gender or number. As a survivor herself, Karenna often writes about trauma survivors learning to heal from their pasts and find love in spite of what has happened. She lives in the northeastern United States with her husband, two daughters, and three cats.

I’m going to stop there, long before I’ve gotten to the rest of her extensive backlist, because I could just go on forever. Go visit her website and have a look around, or like her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/karennacolcroftauthor. She’s also written for a number of anthologies, and not only does she write MM, she also writes MF, so there’s something there for everyone.

Three Dirty Birds Talk About Story Trumps Structure: Escalation

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Here we are again–Three Dirty Birds, Talking about Story Trumps Structure. Today, we’re reading Chapter 4: Escalation.

Kate: By escalation, he’s talking about intensifying situations as the book progresses, making things worse for the protagonist as we get closer to the climax (*giggle*) of the story.

Ana: I thought that was a really good point. It’s not just that things have to go wrong, they also have to get worse, and they need to be connected.

Zoe: Yes—more “out of the frying pan into the fire” than “out of the frying pan, and I also got fired.”

Kate: I was a bit surprised that he thought that progress was counter-intuitive, though. I mean, if you’ve done any amount of reading at all, it seems obvious that everything has to get worse at each stage before you can resolve the story. Like the character has to bottom out before they can rise again. (Zoe is laughing because I used the word bottom)

Ana: I actually did some brainstorming this week with one of my friends who’s never read a book on writing, and even she knew that things have to get worse all the time. I guess it’s not that… Yeah, I’m just going to agree with Kate that if you read a lot, you know that.

Zoe: I guess the real warning is that it has to get worse in a related way—not just throwing in more horrible things to have horrible things. It needs, really, to come out of characters’ choices. Things get worse because they decided to do or not do things. Breaking Bad and Weeds are good examples of things get worse because of the characters. Everything that goes wrong, all the deeper shit Nancy and Walter get into, is because of choices they made.

Kate: A simple technique, but one that sometimes gets missed.

Ana: I also liked how he emphasized that action doesn’t equal tension. I’ve read some utterly boring action scenes.

Zoe: What I took away from that is that tension results from what the action (or whatever’s going on) means to the character, what’s at stake.

Ana: I think in his talk of rising action he also mentions that every sex scene means less and less for readers. Kind of bashing the erotica genre again.

Zoe: I don’t know if was so much bashing as just not considering it.

Ana: I wasn’t really serious about my bashing comment.

Kate: There is a point to it–if the sex is integral to the progression of the story, then it shouldn’t detract from it, and each scene should mean something. But I’ve made that mistake myself, where the sex felt right between the characters, given the situation, but came too close on the heels of another sex scene, and I think it reduced the impact and meaning of it.

Ana: I know I’ve been annoyed by ‘too much sex’ in a book before. Especially when two scenes happen closely together it can be difficult to build any sexual tension between them.

Kate: It’s a tough line to walk, especially when you write for a publisher that likes lots of sex in a book. How many scenes do you include, how often can you fade to black, before you get your knuckles rapped? And the other way around, getting your knuckles rapped by the readers.

Zoe: So it comes back to what you’re trying to accomplish in each sex scene—is it moving the story forward, creating tension, deflating tension? Or is it just there for the sake of more sex? In talking about repetition killing tension, James says that grief—not all the murders/deaths—is what readers respond to, and that brings it back to tension being created by what it means for the characters. Sex is the same way.

Kate: It’s all about the feelz, man.

Zoe: Right! And you can have characters get together early on, but hold something back—does your main character want to live out a fantasy but he’s afraid to? Then you’re growing toward that point. Does he just want a one-night stand and not to get involved? You’re growing toward overcoming that, etc.

Ana: Yeah, for me… or rather, for my characters, sex usually happens before the romance, so I’m often using it to build toward that.

Zoe: Because sex is easy. Love is hard.

Ana: Parts of sex are pretty hard. Or, the parts involved should be.

Kate: I would hope so. Though I just put a damper on the sex in one scene. Hard to be sexy with your mom just down the hall.

Ana: You’re pure evil. But we knew that.

Kate: Lol. It’s a common human experience. I’m sure everyone’s been there.

Zoe: James gets into ways even the smallest things can take the wind out of tension, down to verb choice, punctuation, sentence and paragraph length, adverbs and adjectives. You don’t want to get wordy when you’re in a tense moment in the story. You want readers to feel a little breathless.

Kate: Shorter sentences, crisper verbs, fewer descriptives. Or, long running sentences that leave you out of breath by the time you get to the end. Depends on whether you want to imply decisive action, or terrified pelting down an alley.

Ana: Yup, I think it’s also important to keep it simple in tense moments because you don’t want to confuse the reader and pull them out of the story because they’re wondering about your wording.

Zoe: He also talks about pace, and how you don’t want to stop in the middle of your climax to describe things, which reminded me of a book I read a while back—otherwise good book, but in what should have been one of the most tense moments, it all stopped for the characters to have long conversations about themselves, and then a long, leisurely sex scene, and it really bogged that part of the book down. I should have had my heart in my throat, but instead I was skimming and flipping pages.

Ana: He/she probably (falsely) assumed the tension of the approaching climax would carry you through the boring parts.

Zoe: I think what was going on was they were looking for a point where they could give the characters a chance to get to know each other and connect, since they hadn’t had much opportunity for that. It was just…the wrong place. I’m not sure its place was even in this book. But when you’re writing romance, you want to make sure the readers get why these two people are The One for each other, and sometimes you get it wrong.

Kate: Keeping the characters’ desire in the forefront is really important at this point of a book. Well, through all of it, really, but by the time you get close to the climax, dealing with these desires should be just about everything the character is interested in dealing with. It should be big, and overwhelming, and not give anyone time to wander away to check out the TV Guide.

Zoe: Yes, and that’s where this part of that book missed the mark. The character’s desire was to keep the other character safe from a threat to his life. Sex shouldn’t have been on his mind. (Or, well, it should have been on his mind, but he should have been thinking, “There’s no way I’m doing that right now when he could get killed.”) The danger to that other character was literally right outside the door.

Ana: “One last time before we bite it”? I’m wanting to sing ‘Can you feel the love tonight?’

Zoe: Lol.

Kate: I was just wondering if it was his mother.

Zoe: That would have been interesting, but alas.

Ana: Guess it wasn’t Kate’s novel.

Kate: Lol. I have too many of these walk-in things. There must be a part of me that’s never made it past the age of 12.

Ana: Some days I’m happy I even got to the age of 12.

Zoe: Right…so that wraps up this chapter. Next we get to the one we’ve all been waiting for: the climax! (Nudge nudge)

Hey, guess where I am today?

I’m over at the fascinating blog of MC Hana, the author of the fabulous space opera Moro’s Price. Read my interview, then come back and tick the box for a chance to win a print copy of Forgotten Menagerie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I know, I should get a paid WordPress site. One of these days, but not financially responsible yet.

My take on women writing MM Romance

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Coming from a scifi/fantasy/spec fic background, the argument that women can’t write gay romance because they aren’t gay men is null. I doubt Stephen King has ever been chased by an evil clown. Or that Burroughs ever travelled through a cave into a world where dinosaurs still existed. So, thank you, Jaime, for saying all the things I’d like to say, but can’t, because it turns me into a spitting little sarcasm monster.

Jamie Fessenden's Blog

SterekThe argument has surfaced again and again over the four years since I first published in this genre:  Are women really capable of writing MM Romance?  After all, it’s about men.  Shouldn’t men write it?

My answer to those questions is a bit complex, so bear with me.

First, a little history.  This is based upon my personal experience, supplemented by some cursory research, so don’t take anything I say as absolute fact.  I would love to see someone do a really thorough history of the genre someday.

I don’t know how old modern “gay literature” is.  I do know E.M. Forster wrote Maurice in 1913 (though it wasn’t published until after his death in 1971).  Blair Niles published a novel in 1931 called Strange Brother, which tells of the friendship between a heterosexual woman and a gay man.   Authors such as Christopher Isherwood and Langston Hughes…

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Three Dirty Birds Talk Story Trumps Structure: Chapter 3

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At Ana J Phoenix’s blog today!

Three Dirty Birds Talk Story Trumps Structure: Chapter 2

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Click here to go to the post at Zoe Rider’s blog. 🙂

Tuesday Guest Tickle: Technically Dating by Jena Wade

Jena’s got a new release. Hooray! Here’s all about it, including the spiffy cover.
TechnicallyDating

Coming June 25th (Tomorrow!) from Dreamspinner Press

Blurb:

Meek and mild Bruce Collins decides to set aside his life in technical support for the evening and try a wild night on the town. Self-described nerd Bruce meets suave Westley Taylor at a club, but the night doesn’t go as planned. When they run into each other the next day, Bruce is determined to get the details right and finish what they started. Westley is impressed and invites Bruce on date after date. Bruce figures they’re technically dating and might even be in a relationship, until he accidentally overhears a phone message intended for Westley. Every aspect of their time together comes into question. Now, it’s time for Westley to set the facts straight.

Excerpt:

“I’m sorry.” Bruce sighed and cupped Westley’s face with his hands. “Any chance we could postpone this until later?” The temptation to say yes lingered on his lips, but they still had the issue of where they were going to hook up. Mature Westley choose that time to remind him of his responsibilities. “I have to work early tomorrow.” He couldn’t exactly start his walk of shame at his place of work. Though, it was appealing.

Bruce kissed him hard and then smoothed Westley’s swollen lips with the pad of his thumb. “I’m going to dream about these lips tonight.” He stepped back, and Westley felt the loss in the pit of his stomach.

“I’m sorry,” Bruce said.

“Me too.”

Westley stood in the parking lot of the club and watched Bruce walk away. The sound of the club thumped in the background, and the laughter of the partygoers reached his ears, but he ignored it.

Seeing Bruce again was unlikely. If he was staying at the hotel, that meant he wasn’t local. Loss settled in Westley’s chest when Bruce got into his car and drove out of sight.

Where else can you find Jena and her other amazing stories?
Her website
Her Twitter