Queer Fear by Erin Sneath, EE Ottoman, Zach Sweets, Ariel Graham and KA Merikan


Title: Queer Fear
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 121
Characters: Multi-Characters
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Dark Themes, Horror, Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb:

It’s long been known that fear and arousal create the same type of response inside the human body. Putting them together, then, is a recipe for a scorchingly hot time. Queer Fear does just that by exploring the world of erotic horror. It’s the ultimate marriage of lust and terror, the perfect blend of dark horror elements with sensuality and erotic content. This isn’t some safe and sparkly paranormal romance; this is the place where angels fear to tread, and so would you, if you had any sense. Turn back before it’s too late!

We begin with Reading Arteries, where a new designer drug engineered to force feelings of lust in those who take it. When the men hired to steal the formula decide to try it out, they end up addicted to love. Then, in The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis, following the death of his father, Lawrence has returned to his family’s ranch, but is quickly set upon by a demonic presence. Hope for release comes with the conveniently-appearing Elijah, but the deal he offers may be just as unholy as the demon itself. Next, The Dark Revelation brings us Derek, constantly at war with his darker half, a demon who uses Derek’s body to rape and kill. And though Derek tries to isolate himself from people, nowhere is truly empty, and Derek’s demon hungers again. The Pain Cycle follows Luke, despondent over the disappearance of his lover six months ago. When he witnesses a friend dragged into a tunnel by a hideous creature, he gives chase, only to learn the chilling truth about his lover—and who knows how many others. Finally, in Matthew Powers Lives!, a porn shoot in a former mental hospital is plagued by strange equipment failures, leading the crew to believe the site is haunted. For Matthew, those fears are confirmed when a restless spirit confronts him personally, and he’s a hottie!

Review:

Anthologies can be a tricky read. I’ve read several of them where there might be a story or two that didn’t keep my interest. I can honestly say that Queer Fear definitely delivered! Between the mystery, scary moments and steamy sex, this is Queer Fear is an anthology not to be missed!

Reading Arteries
by Erin Sneath 3 out of 5 Kisses

This story disturbed me a little. I thought the premise to it was interesting, but maybe because it felt rushed, it didn’t jive with me in some way. I did like the chemistry between the two men. I thought the whole scenario of taking a drug to make them fall *temporarily* in lust with each other was interesting and disturbing at the same time. If the author meant to creep me out, then it worked!

The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis by EE Ottoman 4.5 out of 5 Kisses

I enjoyed this story a lot. It read like a fast-paced novel and before I knew it, the story was over. There is plenty of action, mystery and intrigue that kept me anticipating what was going to happen next. I found myself liking Lawrence and Elijah and I hated to see it come to an end.

The Dark Revelation by Zach Sweets 5 out of 5 Kisses

Wow! From the first sentence to the last word, this story kept me on the edge of my seat. It read as if it was a true horror book, but with a romantic twist. I liked how Mr. Sweets seemed to really know his characters and wrote them in a way that I found myself really caring about them. I’m definitely going to be looking out for more books written by him.

The Pain Cycle by Ariel Graham 4.25 out of 5 Kisses

This short was filled with action and intrigue. I really liked the main hero Luke and found myself really rooting for everything to go alright for him. I thought the secondary characters were interesting and enjoyed the action filled fight scene. Very enjoyable horror story!

Matthew Power’s Lives!
By KA Merikan 5 out of 5 Kisses!

I really enjoy KA Merikan’s stories. They always have a very unique voice and I love their characters. This story definitely had a creepy feel to it. Between the spooky things that went on at the mental hospital and the hot chemistry between Matt and Will, this was one of my favorites. I will say it had a little bit of a bittersweet ending to me, but I still loved it and wished there was more of it.

Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

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Agnes Merikan of K.A. Merikan is here!

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Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Agnes: I’m happy to be here. As a person who goes to sleep at 6am, I never say no to coffee.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Agnes: I’m a twenty-seven-year-old psychologist from Poland, currently residing in the United Kingdom. But here are the important facts about me: I love having purple hair, ice cream and chocolate, dressing over the top, and hate my tiny T-Rex hands. But hey, at least they don’t make writing harder.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Agnes: I believe it was something along the lines of ‘Hah, now someone can appreciate Matt Powers in all his naked glory’ ;D Because Matt, the main character of the short story we submitted for the Queer Fear anthology is an aspiring porn actor.

What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?

Agnes: I was interested in yaoi as a teenager, and then I got into slash and started writing gay-themed fiction myself. I did write lesbian and trans* characters in the past, but the main story is usually focused on gay men, because that is what I am drawn to. Ultimately, I am writing the books that I want to read: I like grit interwoven with comedy, bad boys who don’t turn into melted butter whenever their lover looks at them, general weirdness, and stuff that’s plain wrong. Not always combined, obviously.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Agnes: I’ll take the cake if it has a layer of cream; otherwise, peanut butter. I only discovered the greatness that is peanut butter a few months ago, because it isn’t popular where I’m from.

chocolatecake

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

Agnes: On a typical day… four to ten hours, depending whether you’d count editing as writing. Me and Kat (my co-writer) are currently finalizing a few big projects, so I am very focused on that.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

Agnes: Writing with someone has the advantage of double-checking the text as we write, but most of the time, we do major edits at the very end. This makes detecting possible plot holes much easier.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

Agnes: First comes brainstorming, and then one of us writes the basic outline. Most of the time, we cover the major plot points, but as we get to know the characters better, things sometimes change, so there is quite a bit of freestyle writing going on as well.

Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

Agnes: I enjoy Aiden, the main character of “The Carnivorous Vegan”, one of my freebies at Storm Moon Press. He is a bit of a whack job, but very lovable and straightforward in what he wants. Plus, he has dreadlocks. I’d only love him more if he were a redhead.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

Agnes: I don’t suffer of them. I love writing, it’s my favourite pastime, so it doesn’t really happen. Sometimes, I am too tired to write, but I wouldn’t call it a writer’s block. What does happen, however, is that sometimes I don’t feel like writing a particular story, but that doesn’t matter that much, because me and Kat always work on more than one project at a time.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

Agnes: The only place I don’t write in is the bathroom, but if I were to write a story about clowns again, then that would be the best place to do it. I live with my co-writer, and we have a somewhat… unusual preference for decor, so as a result, we now have a clown-themed bathroom, complete with a creepy bathmat with a juggling clown and an empty-eyed girl in an empty circus arena. Fun fact: it was advertized as ‘perfect for the nursery’. I bet the Addams family would be delighted.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

Agnes: Me and Kat live together, so there’s no need for that, fortunately. I tried to do that when I lived with other people, but it wasn’t very effective. People assume that if you work at home, you are free to bother, so it was either moving or making my room sound-proof.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Agnes: My favourite comedy of all time is the British WWII-themed show “Allo! Allo!”, I love Monty Python, but I also enjoy “South Park” and “American Dad”, which is reflected in some of my writing. I love ridiculing my characters whenever I can get away with it. Otherwise, my sense of humor tends to be dark and abstract, so I often use puns and wordplay.

What question is your most frequently asked as an author?

Agnes: My mom keeps asking me why I don’t try to make a fortune writing medical thrillers, haha. Other that that, most people want to know if I clash with my co-writer, and how is it that we work.

What are you working on now?

Agnes: We’re finalizing two novels. First is the second book of a pony-play/slavery trilogy set in an alternative Victorian setting (we hope to have book one out this year or early next year), the second one is a contemporary comedy about a disabled emo boy and his hunky caretaker. There is also a serialized contemporary fantasy novel inspired by Inuit mythology. It has vampires, shifters, and it will be updated weekly at http://blood-ontherocks.com.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?

Agnes: I don’t remember ever having trouble with coming up with new ideas. We have a backlist of concepts and notes for books that we simply cannot start because of more urgent projects. Everything can be an inspiration, from a movie I watch, to a guy who passes me in the street.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?

Agnes: Mostly monographies, both for research and fun. I have lots of books about sexuality throughout history, costume, and mental health. Other than that, I enjoy some fantasy books and historicals.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.

Agnes: I’d pick horse trainer as a boyfriend and scientist as a career for myself. I wouldn’t mind going back into research.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Agnes: Traveling. I grasp every opportunity to take a break from my daily life and see something new. At the moment, I’d love to see more of Great Britain, but Italy and the United States are among my priorities as well. As soon as I have the funds (and a visa) that is. Since Kat loves traveling too, and we enjoy doing similar things, she’s my preferred companion, so we make notes and write during holidays as well.

Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?

Agnes: There is “The Carnivorous Vegan”, an erotic short about a freegan hippie and a store security guard. It came out as a free read, so it is a good opportunity to get a taste of K.A. Merikan.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

Agnes: We have an official site, a Facebook account, and two Twitter accounts. The official account that is run by Kat @KA_Merikan, and my account is @AgnesMerikan.

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Agnes: *Puts on rubber gloves* Gimme some bleach.

dishwasher-with-dishes

Please Welcome the Fabulous, Zach Sweets!!

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Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was an army brat, so I got to explore what was out there growing up. I used to live in Germany, but unfortunately, I don’t really remember it much. I finally settled in Arizona with my husband-to-be. As soon as Arizona legalizes same-sex marriage, we’re going to get married. 😀 Until then, that’s when I get lost into writing world where I can explore my fantasy on paper. I often add deafness to my characters because I myself am deaf.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Since I’m deaf… I signed furiously with excitement to my husband-to-be. At first, he didn’t understand what I was trying to say because, really, I didn’t sign appropriately. LOL I kept saying, “My demon got accepted! My demon! Holy F***, my demon’s gonna be out to public!” It took my partner a while to understand what I meant. I had to take a deep breath and explained to him, “Remember I told you I wrote a short demon story?” He nodded. “That’s the one that got accepted!” Of course, my punishment: sore in my cheeks after smiling too much. haha

smile

What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?

It just happened. I didn’t read enough gay books that had a deaf character in them, so I decided, why can’t I attempt at writing a gay story with deaf characters, which happened in my very first story I wrote for the M/M Romance Goodreads Group’s writing event back in 2011, Luscious Love. I mostly prefer to write a bit of horror in my stories. Zombie Rain was my first published story that had plenty of horror aspects to it. Dark Revelation, which is in Storm Moon Press’ Queer Fear anthology, is actually the first demon I have ever written. The first erotic horror, too. I want to expand my writing comfort zone by including different pairs in sexual orientations. It was only my second year of writing, so I have plenty of years of writing ahead of me.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Mystery one…? I’m intrigued. I’m going to be brave and choose the mystery one. 😀

cookies

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

It was never the same every day. Sometimes, I couldn’t write for several days or even weeks and then finally found my muse to write. I ended up wrote at least 4-10 hours in one day at that point. My muse pretty much makes the decision whether I should be writing or not writing. It’s so annoying! haha

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

It depends on my mood. If it was short, I tried to revise as I go along. Most of the time, I just write the first draft as fast as I can, and then I’ll go through to revise everything and, of course, send it to my writing group for grammar and typos. Then, I send it to beta for plot holes.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

Every time I tried to plan everything in advance, it went into a dead end. So, I write freely. It works for me.

Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

Oh boy, that’s a tough question. My favorite characters are Joss from False Assumptions and Derek/Kered from Dark Revelation. Joss—he’s the first character I wrote that is a cross-dresser. He was inspired by a friend of mine, and when I sent him a copy of False Assumptions, he said he loved it so much that he would tell it during his interview with Silent Grapevine. I was so relieved because I was afraid I’d be offending him, but he went speechless and loved it so much.

As for Derek/Kered, man, he’s such a fun character to write. He’s a demon in Dark Revelation. I nearly wept when I finished the book. I knew it was necessary to make that decision. As much as I want to tell you why, I would be spoiling the story. You can check it out in Storm Moon Press’ Queer Fear anthology.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

It happens to me more than often, sadly. I usually read when I’m having a writing block. Anything to keep me up with writing and the books helps me a lot. I often find my muse back from one of the books I read. Sometimes, it takes me few days up to few weeks. It’s really no fun.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

That’d be in my own office. With television connected to sound system so I can play my music loud. (Yes I can hear a little with my hearing aids on, in case you were wondering.)

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

Not really, if I am in serious writing mode, I just give my partner a face, and then he closes the door and keeps our dogs with him while I write. He understands my needs whenever I need to not be disturbed. But lately, I don’t mind being interrupted.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Um, my sense of humor would be from the comedy horror movies. Shaun of the Dead, for example. With regular comedy movies, I rarely laugh. I don’t know why.

What question is your most frequently asked as an author?

I’ve had some people ask me how I could write deaf characters before they realized I am deaf. Some ask me if I can beta their work. Most often, I can, and most of their work has deaf character in it. I will always find a way to help other authors to make sure they didn’t describe being deaf in a bad way. It has been fun.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m in my first round of edits on Unheard Destruction (It’s a continuation story from my short Valentine’s Day story Rusty’s Surprise.) I am hoping to finish a short bear story for Storm Moon Press’ Bear Season Anthology. There are a lot of projects I’ve been putting it on hold. Most of them would be horror ones. One of them is to expand the Luscious Love short I mentioned into novel-length piece.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?

Watch plenty of horror and romance movies, read many books, and balance my time with my partner. Sometimes, it only takes a glass of wine to get my creative mind going. Being away from technology for a couple of hours or days helps a lot, too.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?

Horror, Mystery, Thriller, and Sci-Fi.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.

Astronaut.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Reading, watching movies, and spending time with my partner and furkids.

Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?

Dark Revelation in the Queer Fear anthology just came out a couple months back. Hopefully a bear story in future for another of their anthologies.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

I’m everywhere! Beware! Haha You can find me at my website, @zachsweets on Twitter, my Facebook page, and my Goodreads.

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Thank you for having me. Muse is calling me, so I can’t help you out with the kitchen. 😉

YAY! Look who is visiting us! Cornelia Grey

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Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Definitely tea. 🙂 I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to that. (And mugs. By now, I have to sneak new ones in the house, since my boyfriend keeps threatening to relocate my entire collection out of the window…! ^^) Last week, I came back to Italy from London, and half of my luggage was filled with tea boxes. Ditto when I went to Japan last April! I still have a small box of kelp and plum tea that I dare not taste… sounds quite an odd combination, don’t you think?

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, let’s see! I’m a 25-year-old Italian, and I’ve spent the past five years bouncing back and forth between my hometown and London, where I’m currently a PhD student.

Last year, I completed my Creative Writing BA, did a few internships, and now, I split my time between writing, translating, and researching. I quite like constantly moving from the excitement and variety of London to the quiet and stillness of my hometown in the hills.

I studied fine arts for a long time, and I visit art galleries as often as I can (God bless London’s free museums!). I have a soft spot for the Italian Renaissance and will shamelessly drool on anything by Michelangelo, especially his later, rougher works; I also love the expressionists, especially Van Gogh and Egon Schiele, and odd performances and installations like the ones by Yayoy Kusama.

Theatre is another passion of mine; I used to perform in a theatre company, and I run to see performances whenever I can afford it. The latest play I saw was the ‘Tempest’ at the Globe Theatre, and it was absolutely wonderful – it moved seamlessly between touching and bittersweet and insane and hilarious. Plus Colin Morgan, playing Ariel, was just dreamy! 😉

I’m a little random and constantly hopping from one interesting thing to another like a hungry grasshopper. I love pizza and tea, I can’t help petting any animal that crosses my path (and that doesn’t chew my hand off if I try), and, of course, love cats… which I’m sure doesn’t surprise anyone :)!

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Eh eh, actually nothing, because I was at the university’s library and I couldn’t really celebrate out loud. But I may have fist-pumped a little. 😉

What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?

I never really made a conscious decision to write GLBT fiction – it just happened. It started when I was 13 or so, writing fanfiction, which is a really good training ground to practice writing without yet having to worry about world- and character-building. There was a manga I really liked, and it featured two male characters that had this amazing chemistry and an intriguing past history that were just begging to be explored (they were Kurama and Hiei from Yuu Yuu Hakusho). I remember thinking: ‘if they were a man and a woman, it would be taken for granted that there’s something romantic going on between them. But, just because they’re two guys, it should all be brushed off? That’s not fair!’ So I set about correcting this, and writing myself the love story I wanted to read.

It was several years before I heard the term ‘heteronormativity’ for the first time, and I was able to pinpoint exactly what irked me so much. I get annoyed when, in movies, two guys have the deepest, most complex relationship, and it’s all brushed off – or even worse, made into a joke – because ‘ewww, no homo!’, while the male and female leads can look at each other sideways and, without having a scrap of chemistry or any reason except having the customary combination of genitals, automatically fall in love. There are still too many people who react with completely irrational hatred to relationships other than cis-het monogamy, and I really hope that writing about these can help improve the situation.

Actually, many of my characters are bisexual, even though I think it’s only been obvious in a couple of stories. Sometimes, they are bisexual but, for a series of circumstances, so far have only ever had romantic relationships with men; it’s a situation I’m familiar with and, according to some corners of the internet, it means they don’t have the right to identify as bisexuals. I am aware that there are several issues – such as, for example, bisexual erasure and discrimination – even within the QUILTBAG community, and I hope to explore these themes further in my future works.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Oooh, cake please! My favourites are the soft spongy ones, without any filling, either lemon or chocolate. My French roommate is a cake fairy and often bakes those. Needless to say, with 7 flatmates, the cakes never last long… 😉

angel food cake

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

That really depends. When I’m on a roll, I can spend five or six hours writing (which is not as good as it sounds, because I also have to work on my PhD and translate in order to pay for, uh, food and stuff, so I can’t devote all my time to writing); and then when I’m stumped, it’s a miracle if I can squeeze an hour of work without interruptions.

I am embarrassed to say that I usually swing like a pendulum on steroids from one extreme to the other, and never really settle on a sane middle ground for long. I am working on it, though, because freelance work and academic research absolutely require better time management skills. In fact, I am testing out a schedule this summer – and if any of you have any tips, by all means go ahead and share! 🙂

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

My first drafts are just this side of unreadable. I’ve discovered that what works best for me is to just get the ideas on the page as fast as possible, otherwise I’m going to lose track of what I wanted to say and stumble to a stop. Plus, it really takes the pressure off: the chance of just getting it out there, knowing that I will be back later to sort everything out, gives me a lot of freedom. So, the first drafts barely have any punctuation, there are typos, repetitions, entire chunks of prose that will be surgically removed later because the complex feeling I wanted to convey can actually be summed up in one more refined sentence; usually the text is part in Italian and part in English, depending on what language I’m thinking in at the moment.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I’m definitely a plot person. I didn’t always use to be, but now, I firmly believe that a solid, balanced structure is the backbone of a good story. I like to sketch down the plot diagram, with the tension growing and growing until it peaks in the climax, and then set out to put in place the key elements: the inciting incident, the turning points, the escalation of disaster, and the final explosive resolution. The first couple of days are devoted to working on the plot to make sure it’s airtight, that every step is logical and the escalation is as urgent as possible – I don’t want any lagging tension!

After that, I like to figure out what the scenes will be and in what order. If I can’t fit them all on a timeline, then I make little cards I can shuffle around as I please. I have rough summaries of what’s going to happen in each scene – this is also the stage where the rough character ideas get fleshed out and I get a clearer sense of who they are.

And that’s when I finally start writing, picking up from whatever scene strikes my fancy and usually working bouncing back and forth – very rarely in chronological order. In fact, usually the very opening scene is the last thing I write! It’s a lot of pressure having to get the hook right to instantly suck the reader into the story, and I don’t want to get stuck on that halfway through the work. 🙂

Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

This is a difficult one! I am a bit smitten with all of my characters, each for different reasons. 🙂 A few months ago, I would have answered James Campbell, the bandit from my Bounty Hunter short story (and its upcoming sequel!). It’s probably because I was writing from William Hunt’s – the other character – perspective, and I could clearly see why William was in love with James, and I was a little bit, too.

But, in the sequel, I was writing from James’ perspective, too; and the result is that now I’m a little bit in love with William, instead, and I’d say he’s my favourite. Now I can see him through someone else’s eyes; I see how beautiful he is, I see how hard he tries to carry on and do the right thing no matter how much it pains him, I see him struggle with his decisions, and I love him for it. I love his determination, how strong and reliable he can be, and also how he loses his temper sometimes and takes the occasional wrong turn, but then tries his best to fix things. And I love how he tries to always put James’ choices and freedom first, even though it’s the hardest thing he’s ever done. And he’s all dark and mysterious and rough and handsome, too – which never hurts, right? 🙂

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

I suppose so, yes. I guess everybody has their slightly different brand of writer’s block… mine is not a lack of ideas, but rather a sort of paralyzing procrastination that prevents me from getting those ideas on paper. I think it stems a bit from performance anxiety, really! I remember that, back when I was just writing for myself, I used to write smoothly and serenely. Now that I know that editors will look at it, and then readers, and that everyone will expect it to be somewhat better than my last story – now that I’m acutely aware that there is a certain standard I need to achieve… well, gosh, that can be quite intimidating sometimes! (Of course, I get it multiplied by 100x when it comes to academic papers. Somebody break out the chocolate cookies, stat!)

Sometimes, the (very unproductive) response to performance anxiety is to just retreat in one’s shell and keep procrastinating, because until something is actually on paper, there’s always the chance that it will be better, that it will be the best thing ever.
Of course, this is a very bad course of action, because any story actually on paper is better than a story that hasn’t actually been written. And besides, the way to improve is to keep practicing and work through the challenges, not panic and drown in chocolate chips. 😉

So, I don’t really have any magical remedy for it. When I’m sick of my procrastination, I just make myself sit in front of the computer, open the document and just remain there until something gets done. The first paragraphs are torture, and they take ages to complete, since I keep finding excuses to stop and procrastinate some more to escape the stress. But really, it’s just a matter of being stubborn – and after the first bumpy page or so, usually the juices start flowing more freely, the words start pouring on the page and suddenly I can’t remember why I was even so reluctant to get writing in the first place. And that, dear friends, is the best feeling in the world! 🙂

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

Not really! I haven’t really had one in a while because of student life – you move around a lot and you always have to share your house/room with other people, and you usually never get to have a decent desk and chair. For a year or so, I was always using the computers at the university library, since I went there with another student and we worked quite well spurring each other on. Then, for a few months I was routinely taking over the couch in the living room at night, and writing with the laptop propped up on a chair. Often I just sit on the bed with four pillows piled behind my back, but then I get the worst muscle pains and I end up crawling around like a turtle for a week. 🙂

Now that I’m back in Italy, living with my boyfriend, I’m trying to create a corner just for me, so I can get into the habit of using it as an office of sorts. I’ve only just started setting it up two days ago, so it’s still work-in-progress… but here’s a pic! Top2Bottom - Cornelia Grey Picture

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

Not really – I don’t really have a place where I can lock myself in. And it doesn’t even work – people see you at home on the computer, and they really struggle to see that as being ‘at work’, so they just interrupt you whenever, even just to chat for a minute, because it doesn’t look like you’re really ‘doing anything’ anyway.

The strategy I’ve come up with is simple: I work at night, when everyone is asleep and no one can interrupt me. In London, since my roommate is sleeping, I take over the living room and write peacefully until dawn – we’re 7 flatmates in the house, so it’s pretty much the only time there is any peace and quiet in the house! 😉

Then, I take a break around 5:30 when one of the guys comes back from the club where he works. We have a snack and chat for a bit, and then he goes to sleep and I get back to work until the first flatmates start getting up to have breakfast. Then, it’s my clue, and it’s my turn to go to sleep. 🙂 I have to say, it really messes up my schedule, but it works wonderfully!

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

I’m not quite sure! I laugh easily and find a lot of things funny, and I tend to play the jester whenever I’m with friends. I find that being silly and using self-irony is a good way to break the ice and put people at ease, and I’m unnerved when people instead try to mock and embarrass others in order to be funny.

I really like what I would call ‘Italian humour’ – it’s a sort of bittersweet humour, about the little petty dramas of everyday life, often paired with subtle social or political satire. For example, the humour of the characters of Pulcinella, from the Commedia dell’Arte, or Fantozzi, from the movie series.

What question is your most frequently asked as an author?

Curiously enough, in Italy, the question I get most often is: “So how much did you have to pay?”. Unfortunately, over here the concept of ‘vanity press’ is still not well known, and many people believe it’s normal to have to pay in order to get published. There have been a few cases in which publishing houses have sued websites for listing them as ‘vanity presses’, even though it was true (and in fact they lost the suit, but still).

I did fall into that trap as well when I was 16 and didn’t know any better. There are even a few new-sprung self-proclaimed literary agencies that follow the same policy, charging hundreds of euros simply to read someone’s manuscript. I sincerely hope these practices will soon be weeded out, because I think it’s a terrible way to take advantage of people who just don’t know any better.

What are you working on now?

I’m actually working on a steampunk series that’s been a long time coming. Over the past two years, I wrote three novels and the full outline of a fourth, and then just… left them languishing in their folder. I’m pretty much specialized in short stories, and such a big project is a little bit daunting, I suppose. But I believe that it’s important for authors to constantly push their boundaries and never settle in a comfort zone, so this is a step forward I am determined to take. So, I am currently halfway through the revision of the first book, and I hope to be finished with them in the Fall – so stay tuned! 😉

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?

Usually, I don’t really need to keep it alive – if anything, I need to try and tone it down, because the creativity wants to pour itself in a dozen different activities, and there is just not enough time to do everything. I’d say the hardship is to keep the spark “focused” on the same activity for long periods of time: no, Cornelia, you’re not allowed to drop everything and make a bouquet out of recycled paper / try that new stitch on a scarf / decoupage a jewelry box, you have to finish the chapter and that’s final!

Inspiration for creative stuff is everywhere – I can’t go for a stroll or browse a magazine without ending up brimming with ideas and possible projects. The problem is that the creative genius is adept at starting a billion things and then just abandoning them unfinished to move on to newer, shinier ideas. Learning the discipline to finish what I started has probably been my greatest conquest in recent years, and I’d say it’s an ongoing struggle.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?

I love fantasy books, but not high-fantasy – more like weird fantasy, the ones with strange creatures and weird worlds and preferably a good pinch of humour and irony. I’m also very fond of the steampunk genre, with its strange machines and resourceful characters; and I love the classics, especially Italian literature dealing with historical and social issues.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.

I’m going to have to steer clear of retail – after two summers of drama in the Supermarket of Doom near my town, I’ve decided I’d much rather muck stables for the rest of my life!

I find science endlessly fascinating, but that’s mostly because I don’t understand the least thing about it. I mean, I’m still half-convinced electricity is actually black magic and chemical reactions are the work of wizards. 😉 So, I suppose I’m probably not the best person for the job… and there go my chances at being an astronaut, too!

I love animals, so horse trainer would be wonderful. However, I have to confess that my one and only experience with horses was when I was 8 and tried to ride old Tex, my aunt’s white-and-brown leopard… I just clung on for my life and couldn’t even persuade him to move! Do you think I could just… pet them and sneak them treats? 😉

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Quite a few things! I enjoy most creative hobbies and crafts, really. I used to act in a theatre company, paint and sew handbags, but I haven’t really had time for those in the last couple of years. At the moment I’m focusing on knitting, which is quite handy to carry around with me, so I can sneak in a bit of work on the bus or in waiting rooms.

When I’m in Italy, one of my favourite ways to relax is to hang out with my grandma on her balcony, basking in the sunshine, chatting and pottering about with the plants. She’s also very fond of crafting projects, and we should really stop hanging out on websites about creative recycling – we have to stop keeping stuff because ‘it might come in handy someday’… 🙂

Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?

Actually, yes! After much cajoling, my first sequel is finally about to be released. I often get sequel requests from the readers, and I’d very much like to oblige, but alas – I always end up getting sidetracked by a new shiny project instead! This time, however, I finally managed to buckle down and get it done. It’s the sequel of Bounty Hunter, my Western short story about bandit James Campbell and the bounty hunter on his trail, William Hunt. It will be out this winter – and a steamy encounter in a stifling hot Mexican prison is just what’s needed to warm up a chilly day… 😉

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

Sure thing! Here are the links:
Website: http://www.corneliagrey.com
Twitter: @CorneliaGrey
Livejournal: http://corneliagrey.livejournal.com/
Blogger: http://corneliagrey.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/corneliagrey

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Ehehe, unfortunately I seem to be the only Italian woman I know who is absolutely hopeless when it comes to cooking… did I mention I once managed to set the spaghetti I was cooking on fire? Are you sure you want me to help in the kitchen? 😉

Hi, Arielle Pierce

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Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Cup of tea, a bit of sugar, very little milk please!

tea

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a mama of one boy; I live on the side of a mountain in Wales where we never have summer (I’ve heard about it, though)… erm, what else? I bake just a tad too much (hides gut and backside) and were I not a writer, I’d be in my garden, digging about all the time.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

I think it was a sound that only small dogs could hear

What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?

Ah boy. Well, first off, my mum is gay, and I grew up reading her lesbian romances on the now defunct Naiad Press and wishing one day to write a book that they would publish, so I suppose there was a huge desire to write in this genre from way way back. My mum even asked me this same sort of question the other day (was I happy writing this sort of romance) and I told her it was my dream, I’ve never been so happy.

Because I’ve started out self publishing erotica, so far I’ve only written about gay men, but I’d love to write the entire QUILTBAG spectrum and, in fact, am writing my first novel and the main character is a transgirl. Storm Moon put out a call for more lesbian and trans* novels, so I’m leaping at the chance to really sink my teeth into a longer format than I’ve been writing so far. I’m super chuffed about it!

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Peanut butter, please! I’m a peanut butter fiend.

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How many hours a day do you spending writing?

Oh, about three hours writing, five hours staring out the window, checking Facebook, emails, Goodreads, etc etc. It’s pathetic, really. I really need to knuckle down a bit more.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

All the way through until the end. It throws me out, otherwise.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I try to plot out the major points, just to make sure the story stays on pace, more than anything. It never really works the way you want it to, though. That’s the problem with characters, the sneaky little gits have their own minds!

Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

A couple of favorites. One is Rafael, an equine shapeshifter. He’s the one that got me publishing in the first place, so without him, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.

A huge huge love is the transgirl I’m working on right now. She was formed one day nearly 20 years ago when Mazzy Star sang ‘you believe you are a woman and I am someone else’s man.’ She just popped into my head then and there. It took around 10 years to find a proper plot and background for her, and then another 10 years to believe that a Press would be interested in her story. But thanks to Storm Moon, maybe now she can have her own epic story told.

Sometimes, more than a love of one character, I fall for the setting the story takes place in. The one I have coming out with Storm Moon’s Dark Menagerie anthology is more like that. The setting is Key West, a place I’ve loved since I was a teen and, even as I was wring it, more of the secondary characters were tip-toeing up and asking for their own stories. After I clear my desk a bit, I’ll be writing their stories. I can’t wait!

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

I’d say I suffer more from writer’s panic. And yes, I do. The first time was when my fifth self-published story did so well, I went into ‘OMG what do I do now??’ mode and couldn’t write for about two weeks. And the only way out was to write more, and force myself to write on those days I could feel that panic start up again. It’s the only thing that makes it go away. That and being talked off the cliff by other m/m writers.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

Being a mum, no, not really. Basically, anywhere that gives me 15 minutes of peace. I wrote my first six self published stories via my iPhone and about half of the story that’ll be in Storm Moon’s Anthology Dark Menagerie was, likewise, on the phone.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

Ha! I wish! If I tried that, it would guarantee that would be the time my kid dangles the cat out the window by her tail!

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Oh, pretty silly, really. Who makes me laugh? Hmm… Mel Brooks, Buster Keaton, the entire film of Some Like It Hot, Jon Stewart, Eddie Izzard, Russell Howard, anyone sharp witted who doesn’t takes themselves seriously.

What question is your most frequently asked as an author?

“You write WHAT???”

What are you working on now?

Oh dear, how much time do you have? For Storm Moon, I’m working on this trans* novel, fingers crossed it’ll be 90,000+ words. I’m also writing for their angel Anthology call, Angelic (I just can’t resist a good Antho Call!), and have plotted out the story for another call of theirs, on Mythological shape-shifters. On the self publishing front, I’ve got two novellas that are both halfway through, both taking place here in Wales. One’s about a young man in Victorian times finding out he’s really a merman; the other is about a stroppy little fiddle player getting kidnapped by a handsome faerie fella. And I’ve got two shorter stories almost finished, one of which is the second to last of a series I’ve been doing.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?

Read obsessively, watch documentaries, look at anything that is interesting and try to create a character that would be happy in that world. I absolutely love traveling, and a lot of fun for me is to create characters that live in the places I love the most. As I said, my first story for Storm Moon is one that came about that way.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?

History! I love history! Basically anything that’ll spark my imagination and tease a character and a story out of my mind. So yeah, history, anything to do with Carl Jung (I love the unconscious and all that), gardening, alternative photography, science, I inhale all of those subjects. I just find them fascinating.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.

Horse trainer!

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Between this and raising my kid, there’s no time to do anything else!

Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?

Yes! A story in the Dark Menagerie Anthology this winter about a spotted dolphin shifter in Key West and the man he falls in love with… and the big hurricane bearing down on them. It was a story I wasn’t going to write, as I thought I hadn’t the time to get it done. But then it just poked at me until I submitted and I agreed to do it and, to my complete shock, it was accepted! Mad! It’ll be my very first story published through a press… yay!

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

You can try my blog or Twitter @AriellePierce. If I’m not in, the best place to reach me is on Goodreads.

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

You get the dishes; I’ll start making the brownies! To hell with the diet!

brownies

It’s Good to Be King

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Aw, yeeahh. You know that feeling, when all the perks of your position make it the best place in the world to be. Everything’s going right. Nothing and nobody can touch you. Unless you want them to, and even then, you feel in control of the situation.

That’s how I often feel about my position as Marketing Director, Co-Owner, and Author at Storm Moon Press. It isn’t because the job is without stress. Oi, the number of times I’ve wanted to pull my hair out because things don’t go as planned, I’ve fallen behind in my duties, hit a wall with my writing, or some correspondence gets me wishing I could grab someone through the computer screen and just tell them to pipe the fuck down. It’s not an easy job, that’s for sure. I have a lot of hats to wear and more work than I have hours in the day to accomplish… But! There are things that I’m doing for (and through) this press that I feel are very important and make all the hardships and mini-dramafests completely worth every scrap of my time and effort.


Putting Quality First

At Storm Moon Press, our number one priority is to put quality first. This isn’t just us wanting to acquire great manuscripts, but doing our utmost to provide a superior final product. We want to have a high standard for our cover art, the quality of editing that makes the authors’ works shine, and even the typesetting that takes print books to the next level. When S.L. Armstrong and I first founded the press, it was because we wanted those things for ourselves. We wanted great editing and cover art that we could hold to a high standard. We’ve worked with some amazing editors and cover artists so far, and we hope that our authors and readers always have exemplary experiences with us as a press!

Taking Chances on the Unknown or Taboo

One of the fun aspects of being a publisher in a genre such as GLBT fiction is that there is a HUGELY diverse spectrum of content. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve encountered something new in this genre, topics or taboos I’d never given the time of day. Authors in this genre like to pull out all the stops, and it makes for some amazing fiction… if it ever reaches the light of day. As a small press, Storm Moon Press has the ability to seek out some of the more obscure topics that a larger press might sweep to the side. We especially like getting multiple authors’ takes on a taboo, so you’ll see a lot of our anthologies with subjects like bro-cest (Fraternal Devotion), non-con/dubious consent (Like It or Not), gun-kink (Weight of a Gun), and even tentacles (All Wrapped Up and the upcoming Tall, Dark, & Wriggly). Most presses would consider these fringe subjects unworthy of their time and effort, since their appeal isn’t as broad as contemporary gay romance, but as a small press, we get to choose what is important to us, and we love providing the readers in this genre with something a little different!

Exposing the Typically Invisible

The market for GLBT fiction has definitely been expanding the last few years. Books in this genre are starting to gain recognition and turn some heads with readers that had never given it the time of day before. What we noticed early on when we first began thinking of opening Storm Moon Press, however, is that the focus typically stays on the gay fiction. Such a pity! There is some amazing fiction that deserves to be published, and with most presses only having room for the ‘mainstream’ heterosexual romance along with ‘M/M’ gay romance, we started Storm Moon Press with the firm desire to give visibility to quality fiction all over the spectrum of sexual and gender identity, expression, and orientation. Our press was, is, and will always be QUILTBAG-friendly. You don’t see a lot of bisexual, lesbian, and trans* fiction out there from other presses (heck, most don’t even acquire anything other than cis-gendered gay fiction), but from Storm Moon Press, we want readers to get a taste of just how amazing the other parts of the rainbow can be in fiction. We hope that giving visibility to the QUILTBAG community as a whole in our fiction brings about a hint of tolerance, if not outright acceptance, of the fact that no matter who you are or how you identify and express yourself, your stories are worth being told.

Giving to a Great Cause

Being a small press, and a business in general, opens up opportunities in the way of pooling resources for a great cause. Storm Moon Press had the opportunity to do just that when we released our first charity anthology, Legal Briefs this year. We invited authors who had published through Storm Moon Press to donate short stories that were then edited, compiled, and formatted into an anthology, all proceeds of which would be donated to Lambda Legal, an organization representing and defending the QUILTBAG community. It was important to us that different sexualities be present in the anthology, and our authors really stepped up to the plate, giving us three different flavors of trans* characters in addition to cis-gendered gay and lesbian stories. It was a fantastic process with some really amazing fiction, and I love that we were able to give back a little to a cause that benefits the community we depict so often in our fiction.

Bringing QUILTBAG Fiction to a YA Audience

Last, but certainly not least, what I love about running Storm Moon Press with my colleagues is the opportunity to bring QUILTBAG fiction to a younger audience. While SMP was certainly first founded with the intention of publishing erotic and erotic romance in particular, we’ve broadened our horizons as a press through our imprints to include non-erotic QUILTBAG genre fiction (Thunder Moon), het erotic fiction (Wild Moon), and my personal favorite, QUILTBAG young adult fiction (Budding Moon). It’s very important to us that we show younger individuals identifying and expressing themselves along the entire spectrum of gender and sexuality. While erotic content doesn’t typically come into play, younger characters face many challenges as they come of age, and we want to send the message as a press that there is hope and strength and acceptance out there for today’s QUILTBAG youth, despite opposition. For readers young and old alike, we want to bring a new wave of fantastic young adult fiction to the genre that embraces the entirety of the spectrum.


All in all, this press means everything to me, and it’s been an amazing ride to come this far with the genre. I look forward to continuing to push the envelope, to expose readers to new topics and new parts of the QUILTBAG, and to bring great fiction and great authors into the genre! One thing is for certain: it’s good to be the king, and we decree more QUILTBAG fiction for ALL!

Storm Moon Press

Blaine D. Arden!!

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Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Tea, please. Preferably, herbal tea, but I’ll drink almost anything where tea is concerned.

tea

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a purple haired, forty-something, genderqueer writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes, and the colours black, purple, and red, who sings her way through life, and wants to be in a band when she grows up.

I little over twenty-four years ago, I met the love of my life, moved in with him less than two months later, and married him August the year after that. Together, we’ve tried to turn two mischievous boys into polite young men and managed to gain a foster son along the way as well. Now we form a five-adults-household… in theory. In practice, only our dog could be considered an adult.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

The first sound was a loud and enthusiastic SQUEE, but the first words were probably, “Honey, come read this,” while barely unable to contain further squeeing (as to not deafen hubby). We were at a campsite at the time, but had few neighbours, so I don’t think I startled any of them.

What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?

Forces? I’d say the media, or rather the very annoyingly negative portrayal of homosexuality in the news. Which is also how I started writing gay characters in lead roles and gay romance. I was a young, dreamy, and naïve sixteen-year-old, and it was the mid-eighties, so most of the news was about AIDS at the time, but it irked me. I couldn’t stand the way gay people were treated, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to show the world how beautiful love between men could be.

I mostly focus on m/m, but I’ve started writing trans* stories as well. The part of trans* that I draw from features stories that are still m/m at heart. It was my first love, and will always be precious to me.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Oh… my diet screams go for the oatmeal ones, the plain ones. But I can smuggle a bit now and then, so, got any chocolate cake? *licks fingers at even the idea of digging in*

chocolatecake

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

Between appointments running my family—which often means staring at my men in the hope they’ll do my chores, and make sure they don’t forget their appointments and actually get out of bed in the morning—I strive for a full day of writing, but it varies a lot. Some days, I can manage six hours of writing, while others I get barely two.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

I mostly write right through. Though, with shorter stories, I’ve been known to revise while writing as well. I try not to go back and make changes as I write, but sometimes I can’t avoid it. If the bit of plot changes the story in a major way and a simple note doesn’t cut it, I might as well go back and change it immediately.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I tend to make backgrounds of my characters and put down some basic plotty things, like the world they live in, some rules about their culture(s), their magic. Other than that, I write freely. I’ve tried planning in advance, but I can’t seem to do it. It doesn’t work for me.

Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

You’re really asking me to play favourites? Damn, and after I’ve managed for years not to do that to my kids…

I once said that the Guide from The Forester was my favourite character, but I can’t help say that right now, Callum from my WIP Wisc’d Away is my favourite. I just absolutely love him. He’s a transman nearing forty, working as a field agent for a security company. Though he pretends it isn’t, his upcoming birthday is a bit of a thing for him. Mainly because his stepsister—and boss—has been threatening to put him on desk duty permanently if he can’t cut it in the field anymore, just ’cause he broke his leg while scaling a building. He’s a driven workaholic (is there any other kind?) in an open relationship with a man who won’t be tied down, about to fall for a purple faerie…

I love him because he’s the sort of guy I wish I could be… well, maybe not the scaling buildings part. I don’t tend to do well with heights.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

Writer’s Block, for me, is mostly a motivation and concentration problem. Something I suffered from a lot the first few months of this year. I’ve been tired a lot, and really struggled to get something on paper. The only measures I’ve taken is just sticking to it. I didn’t care how long I stared at the screen, I needed to get the story done. Can’t say it worked very well, since it took me more than two months to write a 16K story. So, I could do with some tips.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

My office. I’m surrounded by all sorts of ‘me’ things there. I can look out the window and see the sky (yeah… rest of the view isn’t that impressive), or watch at the bits and bobs I’ve hung on my walls. Everything I need is within easy reach.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

It’s no use. No matter where I sit, there’s always someone who seems to have forgotten that mummy is working, and will start talking to me until I glare at them. Of course, by then, my concentration is shot anyway, so I’ll ask them, in a very unfriendly tone, what they want, so I can get back to writing again… hopefully.

When I put up my noise reduction headphones they tend to get the hint quicker, but I can’t wear them all day, I need to have time without hearing my own heart beat while I work. They’re a brilliant short term solution, though.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Dirty, and a bit black, I think. A lot makes me laugh, even things I really don’t think should be laughed about, but I love the way my husband makes me laugh. Because he’s a very quiet sort of man, you don’t always expect it, but I think he’s very funny.

What question is your most frequently asked as an author?

You write in English? Somehow, that seems more important than the fact I write about men falling in love with men.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Callum’s story. I wrote most of that story during NaNoWriMo, but I started out from the wrong POV, so I still have plenty to do.

As I mentioned above, Callum is a security agent, and he and his team are looking for a thief who manages to break in to highly secured buildings, and whom they can’t seem to catch. It involves espionage, a plan to kill the Faerie Ambassador, and a young Faerie who seems to be the only one capable of solving the case, and who manages to steal Callum’s heart. In short.

I’m also working on the third part of my Forester trilogy. The second part was recently acquired by Storm Moon Press and will be released in December.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?

Nothing consciously, really. Even the littlest things can spark my writing. My mind constantly comes up with new ideas, that I often have to write down and shelf for another time. I do need to quiet my mind down regularly, though, to keep from tiring myself out. My singing lessons are really good for that, because my singing teacher is constantly trying to make me be in the here and now, instead of constantly living in my head.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?

I’m reading PG Wodehouse at the moment. His The World of Blandings is hilarious. Aside from that, I love Fantasy and mysteries.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.

Scientist. Just the word is enough to make me think of Rodney McKay and Sheldon Cooper. Great characters, both of them.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I sing in a choir and have singing lessons—I hope to be in a band some day, but I can’t seem to find the time to actively look for one. I’ve also taken up knitting earlier this year. A friend challenged me, and I have to admit, it’s a nice way of winding down. And I read… a lot. Not a day goes by without reading at least a page or two.

Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?

At the end of April, Legal Briefs came out. It’s a Storm Moon Press Charity anthology, of which all net proceeds go to Lambda Legal. It’s a mix of m/m, f/f, and trans*. It’s legal themed, which was a challenge for me, since I didn’t know much about any legal system, aside from attending a truancy hearing once. “Oren’s Right” is a trans* story about Legal researcher Daru em Caron, who starts his first day at Surim Court by getting shot as he protects Defender Illan em Murq, his idol and team member. Daru can’t help falling in love with his idol when he sees the human behind the Defender, and the attraction seems mutual. But Master Illan is skittish about being touched after suffering a bad experience, and Daru has to work hard to break through his defenses and show Illan he is no less than any man

I don’t have anything coming out soon, but in December the second part in the Forester trilogy—The Forester: Lost and Found—will come out. I’ve never written a series before, and getting back into my characters’ heads after a year wasn’t easy, but once I finished the first draft and started editing, it was much easier to connect with Kelnaht, Ianys, and Taruif again. In this part, Truth Seeker Kelnaht struggles with a missing stripling, sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, and waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to reduce Taruif’s sentence.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

You can find me at blainedarden.com, Twitter,Facebook, and Goodreads.

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

It was fun. Thanks for having me! *eyes widen at the sight of the kitchen* Oh, man! Buddy from Cake Boss would be appalled to see your work surfaces. *grabs a towel and wonders where to start*

dishes

Aliens, Smith and Jones by Blaine D. Arden


Title: Aliens, Smith and Jones
Author: Blaine D. Arden
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 200 pages
Characters: Connor Smith & Noah Jones
POV: Third Person
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction
Kisses: 3.5


Blurb:

Connor Smith works for Primrose, an organization tasked with monitoring and tracking aliens and alien technology. It’s a job that doesn’t know the meaning of “nine-to-five”. It also doesn’t leave much room for a social life, a complication that Connor hasn’t minded, until now. At the prodding of his best friend, Connor reluctantly puts himself back in the dating pool, even though it means lying about his remarkable life.

Elsewhere, Noah Jones has led a remarkable life of his own. Stranded on Earth in 1648, Noah was forced to transform himself permanently into human form to survive. He soon learned that in doing so, he’d become effectively immortal, aging only at a glacial pace. Alone, with no way to contact his people or return home, Noah becomes a silent observer of human civilization — always in the world, but never of the world. Then, hundreds of years later, he sees a face in a crowd and instantly feels a connection that he thought he’d never feel again. But he’s too late: Connor’s already taken.

Destiny is not without a sense of humor, though, and the two men are pulled inexorably closer, snared by the same web of dangers and conspiracies. Worse, Primrose is now aware of Noah, and they aren’t ones to leave an alien unrestrained. So while Connor struggles to understand the strange pull he feels toward Noah, forces without as well as within are working against them to keep them apart.

Review:

Having read some of Blaine D. Arden’s other tales, this one seemed a much more dry read than they were. I was a little disappointed by this story. It had a great deal of possibility, an interesting plot and storyline, and an original character in the way of Noah. I found Noah to be well written in that his experiences were believable, even down to why he chose “Noah” for a name.

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into the story. The start was intriguing, and the way Connor and Noah first meet is very interesting, but the bad guy is given away to the reader far too early (even though the main characters remain unaware).

Overall, it was enjoyable enough, but I marked it down 1/2 a kiss for the too-early reveal.

Reviewed By: Alison

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From Storm Moon Press: Lor Rose

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Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

I’m a water kind of gal…

water

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I write gay sex for money. I am a polyamorous, demipansexual, genderfluid crazy. Two horses, a dog, a cat, and Child call me mom. The Child isn’t biologically my child but she’s mine nonetheless. The crazy is courtesy of my five partners.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Words from my mouth? “How can we be out of toilet paper?” I was talking to Ryan, one of my partners, at the time when I received the news. We kept chatting for awhile and he finally asked if I heard any news. “Oh, yeah…” Needless to say he was “mad” when I didn’t tell him right away. I suppose you could say I don’t get very excited about things.

What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?

I started off with fanfiction at a very young age. Probably twelve or thirteen I found it (explicit sex scenes and all) and kept reading for years. My focus is what I read in my fanficiton days: M/M. I am currently writing a polyamorous, BDSM, bisexual vampire novel. There’s also an androgynous transgender novella in my backlist. I suppose I write what I do because I wanted to read the type of things I write.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

I’m not really a sweet eater… Do you have fruit?

fruits

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

That depends. Actually writing, maybe five or six. Sometimes that’s broken up into research or plotting. Some days, I don’t write at all. I do keep a planner I call the Bible. It contains everything I’ve done and what needs to get done. I’d die without it.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

Since I plot beforehand, I write all the way through. I don’t do extreme revisions, usually. If something is off, I can’t even write it ’til I figure out what that something is in the outline.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I think I answered this in the previous question… But yes, I plot everything. The only thing I didn’t “plot” on paper is my freebie Freeing Pain. Anthologies have overall outlines; whereas books have overall outlines and individual chapter outlines built from the overall outline.

GLCBQ_ARe

Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

Dominik Lew, hands down. His story isn’t out yet, but his struggle is powerful and real. His first book made me cry more than once while writing it but it was worth it. I hope when his book comes out, someone will be able to relate and take comfort in his story. He doesn’t get his happily ever after in the first book, but by the end of the second, the hope is real.

Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

Everyone suffers from it. Usually, I set the project aside and work on other things. Four months ago, I set aside two projects because they just wouldn’t flow. Last week, I finally figured it out. They cannot be written at the same time due to timeline issues. Now, I can do a thousand words in about forty-five minutes on the one that must be finished first. Doodling and scribbling on a blank piece of printer paper helps. Sometimes, I talk it out with whoever happens to be listening to me at the time. I’ve been known to tweet my frustrations… “Talking to myself” on Twitter has done the trick a time or two as well.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

My desk. There, I can spread out and get things done, but truthfully, I don’t write at my house very much. With five men and a child (not to mention the pets), writing in my house is close to impossible. Most of my writing I get done at work. I’m lucky enough to have a job where I am able to do this. So, I essentially have a portable office in my backpack.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

I’m the only person at my office (since I work nights) besides my cat.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

I suppose, to give an example, children’s movies make me laugh most of the time. Stupid comedy as well. I’m usually very dry when it comes to humor. All of my partners make me laugh, as does the Child. Some days I laugh so much I start crying or can’t breathe.

What question is your most frequently asked as an author?

“How did you get published?” or “YOU WRITE BOOKS? WHAT DO YOU WRITE?” with that much enthusiasm… If they annoy me enough, I answer “Gay fuck-me-now, hot, sweaty, dirty talk sex.” Their face is always worth it.

What are you working on now?

I’m just going to list things since that’s easier:

  1. Multifarious – polyamorous, bisexual, BDSM vampires
  2. The More the Merrier “Triplex” – menage anthology submission for Storm Moon Press
  3. Uncommon Valor “Tyke” – WWII anthology submission for Storm Moon Press
  4. Angelic “Never Close Your Eyes” – angel anthology submission for Storm Moon Press
  5. Hold Me Close – the fourth book to a series (Storm Moon has the first two)

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?

I honestly have no freakin’ clue. Stuff just happens or comes to me. I don’t do anything specific to keep things flowing.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?

Fantasy, science fiction, high fantasy, mythical, historical, steam-punk, and young adult.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.

HORSE TRAINER. BAM!

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I have two horses and have been riding for the past seventeen years. I’m very good at it. Me and my dog, Willow, enjoy trail rides together. Shopping with my partners is always fun, and confusing the high hell out of people always gives me a sense of twisted, evil pleasure.

Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?

Hmmmmm… My most recent release was the Dracones anthology; my title is the complicated one in French. My next release is in the Serve Me anthology. “Life is Unforgiving” takes part in the world of my Life is Priceless series. Convicted felons are sentenced as slaves to vampires. “Blood-bags” have no rights and have no hope of release unless their master sets them free.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

I’m on Twitter a lot, @Lor_Rose9009, and very easy to get ahold of there. My website LorRose.com has a contact section where anyone can email me at any time.

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

Dracones by Averly Vanderlyle, DK Jernigan, EE Ottoman, Lor Rose, ER Karr, Tam Ames and Megan Derr

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Title: Dracones Anthology
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 235
Characters: Anthology—Many Characters
POV: 3rd and 1st
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Almost every ancient civilization has stories of some form of dragon, from the winged serpents of Asian lore to the traditional Western image of the fire-breathing behemoth. Literature is filled with stories of valiant heroes riding into the jaws of danger to slay the beast and rescue the princess. But sometimes, the knight in shining armor is less interested in the maiden in distress than in the dragon he’s supposed to slay. Dracones brings together seven stories detailing the power and majesty of a dragon’s love.

Most of the humans in Fugue in Gold and Fire are unknowingly animals in human form, and when the Vesti Moon rises, the animal forms break free, with no memory of their human lives. Lovers Adri and Dru search for a way to recognize each other during the change, but when Dru’s true form turns out to be a dragon, he considers never changing back. Peter Harington aspires to be a Teller of Tales when he submits his fictional dragon manuscript for publication. Tom, the editor assigned to work with Peter, though, finds the worldbuilding a little too real and is determined to learn the truth. When the dragon Daire is wounded, only the Weird Magics of alchemist Cyras can heal him. But when one of the fae is found killed and her blood drained, Daire suspects his savior of illegal experimentation and murder.

Then, in Chanson Commencante de Guerre, the ancient dragon Rayvak finds himself strangely drawn to the young dragon shifter Stormy, despite the years of war between the dragons and the dragon shifters. The two must overcome centuries of animosity if they are to find any happiness together. Psychic David and his dragon lover Ferdie are literally Two in the Bush when their camping trip is interrupted by the magical guardians of their forest. They can sense the power of the dragon, but believe that David and Ferdie have it bound and demand that they release it or die! Finding the Rain is the task charged to Buwei, sent with offerings to the Dragon Lord Shenlong in hopes of ending his province’ drought, a journey none have ever returned from. But the dragon’s temple keeper, Tian, wants Buwei for himself and is willing to defy even the great dragon to keep him. Finally, in Lukos Heat, a mission of revenge sends the dragon Najlah into the mountains and into an unlikely partnership with the wolf shifter Barkus. And the closer they get to their quarry, the more they realize that nothing is as it appears.

Review:

Fugue in Gold and Fire by Averly Vanderlyle

Scholar Adri and his lover Dru, a tavernkeeper and an inventor, are preparing for an event that last happened a thousand years ago. When the purple moon Vesti rises, everyone except children and the elderly change shape into animals, real and mythical. This change is permanent unless the person remembers who they are within the beast form they take. Most never do, says the chronicles. When the day comes, what happens to the two men who love each other when one’s real shape is a mythical beast and the other’s is… a man?

We are shown an intricate world preparing to lose a major part of their population, and a city on the verge of almost steampunk discoveries of electricity and other technical inventions, and yet facing a magical, divine event. The culture is fascinating, and the bond between the two heroes is shown with warmth, friendship, and shared humor. Rebuilding a ravaged world and a bond with a dragon are matched in a very effective juxtaposition. We get details of a larger world expanding beyond the confines this story, and that made this a truly enjoyable read for me. Recommended.

Teller of Tales by D.K. Jernigan

Peter Harrington is a dragon who has lived as a human among them for centuries. He’s been banished from his own people because he’s gay. Now, once learning about a new modern dragon stories in the making, Peter starts his own story about dragons. Doing so, he attracts the attention of Thomas Dougherty, an editor. Once they meet, Peter realizes Tom is a virgin, therefore attracting Peter’s dragon instincts to mate. And Tom begins to sense there’s more to the story then he’s being led to believe. But knowing the bond is for life, Peter fights the urge—until Tom takes matters into his own hands.

This takes place in modern Las Vegas. There’s an instant attraction between Tom and Peter. Tom likes his job as an editor, always on the lookout for a new creative tale, but not having much of a personal life. Peter lives in an upscale apartment, a rich and cultured individual with some old-fashioned notions. In short, they are very different, distinct characters who come through clearly. Peter goes through a lot of introspection and Tom has doubts, but you know these two belong together. A good story which I quite liked, told in both 1st and 3rd person.

Weird Magics by E.E. Ottoman

Daire is a wyrm dragon, a powerful cold seas-preferring creature who has had his magic stolen from him by a blood curse from an unknown alchemist. Daire has come to New York to search for the alchemist, but without his powers he’s as weak as a human. To heal him comes Cyras, an alchemist who has been treating supernatural beings for a long time, and is just learning that these creatures are being killed and drained of their blood by mysterious foes. With Cyras’s help, Daire learns of a method to rekindle his magic—and the hunt is on.

The industrial revolution is well on its way here, and new technologies work alongside magic. The supernatural beings are a well-known secret. What we have here is a tight-spaced action adventure that ends in a magic-and-gun-fight. Cyras is a sweet positive characters, idealistic and smart, where Daire is cynical and always expecting the worst. Yet, these two bond together, though initially mostly hostile. I liked the way this story fused together different genres, from fantasy and paranormal to steampunk and action tales. I quite liked this.

Chanson Commencante de Guerre by Lor Rose

For hundreds of years, a war has raged between dragons and dragon shifters. At first glance this seems like the sillies thing to fight over, but there you have it. Rayvak is an ancient dragon, a hermit-like loner who no longer likes to reminisce his battle days and now lives far from his own kind in a cabin in the woods. One day he comes across a hunted, badly wounded young man, Stormy, who also happens to be a dragon shifter—and Rayvak’s mate. This is strictly forbidden, but the mating call is strong. But what happens when five dragons come in search of their quarry?

There’s a lot of ponderings and inner musings in this one. But the reasons for the war are not give, and the ending is abrupt, without much closure. Rayvak is protective and strong, while Stormy is smaller, shyer, and filled with resentment over dragons who have abused him through violence and rape. Having a dragon for a mate is not to his liking, and he tries to flee. But Rayvak is possessive too. They do find a rapport of sorts, but I never got to know these men very well, let alone the situation they find themselves in. Everything is only alluded to, nothing told or shown. Frustrating. And the present tense didn’t really help matters. Still, an okay story.

Two in the Bush by E.R. Karr

David, a PI, and his boyfriend of six months, Ferdie, a dragon without much magic as his heartstone is broken, are supposed to be having a fun camping trip in a national forest. But then they awake bruised and battered with little memory of what happened only to find their tent, their car, and all other campers and rangers around gone. And when giant flying beings land from the skies to punish the humans who are keeping a dragon prisoner everything goes from bad to worse. Ferdie cannot change to his true shape to convince no one is being held captive, so for David he makes a big sacrifice—without David’s approval.

Told in first person from David’s point of view, we’re shown a telepathic man who has come to know and love Ferdie, the dragon who due to youthful recklessness cannot shift to dragon form very often. This is written like a stream of consciousness. It’s funny. And the giant flying guardians are scary and very effective. One wing stroke, and it’s adios muchachos. The caring that these two men feel for each other is shown with little details and humor, and I liked their interaction. I liked this story.

Finding the Rain by Tam Ames

Buwei is a lonely farmer taking care of his mother and grandmother during a draught that’s lasted for years. He is tasked by the Governor of the province to find Lord Shenlong, the dragon who controls rain, and give him tribute to end the draught. Having no choice, Buwei leaves. At the temple high up in the mountains it rains all the time. Lord Shenlong is a no show, but a beautiful young man, Tian, bids him welcome and asks him to tell him stories. But their time together is limited. When Buwei returns home, the Governor has gone back on his word to take care of Buwei’s family while he’s gone, and they are dead. But a leader should know better than to defy the morals of highly ethical dragons.

This was by far my favorite story in this anthology. Reading like a fairytale, this story shows us a poor man who is by nature good and honest, and he knows many stories. Tian’s attraction baffles him, but through little touches, kisses and closeness they are drawn together. It was wonderful to read about another culture where dragons are seen as wise, benevolent, highly ethical, and in many ways more civilized than humans. Lord Shenlong is no beast, but a god in his own right. I loved the culture, the plot, the lessons we’re given, justice, love, and happiness all rolled into one. Highly recommended!

Lukos Heat by Megan Derr

Najlah has dragon features even when he is in human form, and due to his fangs and tongue he cannot speak. He is part of a royal shifter corps on the trail of an attempted assassin of the king. Najlah’s brother was injured in the attack. Now the corps have entered the Shide Mountain range, far too cold for Najlah. They are met with the inhabitants of the wilderness, the Lukos pack, or wolf shifters. Their leader, Barkus, takes an immediate interest in Najlah who hasn’t sough company of any kind because his dragon plays too rough for any potential lover. Barkus doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. Their adversary, however, seems to posses powerful magic, sending blizzards, golems, and wild mgic after them. But when they find the assassin, however, they’re left with more questions than answers.

This one was a great read. Irritating at the end when things cut off so darn abruptly, but a great story that reads like a prologue to a set of tales. Everything feels detailed and thought out, a fully fledged world. We get hints of this larger world, Najlah IS a dragon with dragon behavior and facets—more than any other dragon in this anthology—and he and Barkus find new and exciting ways to communicate since Najlah cannot speak. This is a wonderful conclusion to the anthology, but I do hope the writer gives us more of this world later on. I want to know what happens next!

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Reviewed By: Susan