‘No Pouting’ Party contest winners!

The Gods of Random (or at least the generators of Random.org) have declared two winners in this weekend’s comment contest:

The necklace goes to Emily W.

The ebook goes to Judi P.

In Emily’s case, I’ll need a deliverable mailing address (no P.O. Box please). For Judi, I just need your preferred ebook format, since we can swing most of ’em.

I’ll see if I know your email addresses off the Yahoo site, but you have all week to check in with me at cranehanabooks (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks again for hanging out on my unknown little blog.

UPDATE: I’ve emailed both of you, so you should be getting the news today.


The ongoing spam collection

A quick break from the ‘No Pouting’ Party.

Like every blog, this one gets spammed. Often. Most of the time the spam filters lock it up,  but I go through occasionally to see if there are useful nuggets. If I get several dozen great ones, they might become further chopped up and turned into art. Text-based artists are always scrambling for content. I’m happy that people send me this stuff for free.

Here are the recent lucky keepers, scrubbed of their origin:

1. In my opinion positive attitude a good number of enjoyable out there, along with your fashionth. Your lower limb are constantly toasty the moment achieving these people.

2. cheap wow gold usually has finest wonderful and comfortable cheapo wow gold

3. celandine elitism shuffleboard heada jhelisa remastered aukin trubus obligatory

4. i really ate exhortation at the hands of the best cousin to take specific diet solutions. And i came across our lida deeply type. the product doesn??t fasten a new freezer within your but if you have some self-discipline, It may help you across the right path. until recently, i’ve had have fun with lida but not so much with others. there is granted me nowadays capability, it can simple and yet the present time.

5. Please don’t communicate all your felicity to one reduced fortuitous besides your business.

Winners, all. Maybe not in their command of English, but as existential poetry? Golden. A pity most of them are bot aggregates of other texts.

October 21 updates

As GayRomLit winds down in Albuquerque, the ‘No Pouting’ Party seems to be puttering along with excerpts, comments, and contest wins. I’ll post two lists of entrants later tonight, and draw via Random.org tomorrow morning. (Hint, hint, there’s still time to put your name down for an ebook or a necklace.)

I’m grateful for the chance to be a part of this madness, and for the dozens of new books I’ve added to my To-Buy list. So many great writers and publishers, in a genre that’s still new to me. I’d need a winning (minor) lottery ticket myself, to fund my book-buying for the next few months.

I’m grateful for the fans who commented here and offline, saying how much – and why – they loved MORO’S PRICE, and that they were waiting for the sequel. I’m writing, I’m writing! I am contracted for a second book, so we’ll see how well that one does before I close out the series. I have decent reviews across a variety of sites, and more reviews coming up in a few weeks. The first round of royalties were far beyond what I expected, thanks to the many, many buyers who took a chance on an unknown. A bit of a raspberry to those who bit-torrented the book. Okay, I get it, you don’t want to pay for reading material. Be kind and review the book somewhere, and maybe you’ll also be a part of getting the sequel(s) out into the world.

I am playing in a big, confusing universe, but that doesn’t mean readers have to know all of it. I’m considering a possible standalone novella or short novel, set during the events of PRICE but featuring Val’s friend Mateo and the DaSilva Leopard. It should be nice and hot, and hopefully a fast write. For the f/f crowd, Alys and Lia are apparently not content with my awkward cartoons. They want a real story about their meeting, and how Lia eventually tripped a professor into bed.

I was really worried going into this project in 2011, because I had complaints from both sides of the debate. SF&F-reading friends were appalled that I’d write something where on-camera sex was integral to the plot. Some of my erotic romance compatriots were equally upset at the prospect of too much plot and backstory taking away from the sex. I’m certainly not the first writer to merge genres with a reverence for both: I adore Catherine Asaro and Linnea Sinclair for their amazing contributions. But it was terrifying to trunk a gigantic fantasy novel that had brewed for over ten years, and start on something completely new to me.

You’ve made me feel welcome.

‘No Pouting’ Party, day 1, artwork

I am not a brilliant artist. I’m a 20 year veteran of commercial art and decor, so I know some insider tips and tricks that make my attempts look better than they should.

But like many writers, I want to know what my characters look like, even if it’s just for my own sanity. Sometimes I can browse images on the internet to get ideas. For Moro’s Price, most of my characters are human or humanoid, maybe with some minor cosmetic differences.

I can’t link to him here because of copyright issues, but a steampunk photography model gave me a chillingly-gorgeous shot of my lead villain Lyton Sardis. I knew what he looked like before I wrote his first line.

Features culled from a few dozen male models gave me baseline images of Valier, my feisty and slightly-warped aristocrat with dark golden skin and flyaway pale hair. I knew Moro, my brooding and damaged gladiator, would stand out even in the multiracial 50th Century future I imagined for humanity, with his nearly white opaline skin, blue-black hair, and black eyes.

At one point, I wanted a composite piece I could use as the foundation for possible cover art, if I had to go the self-publishing route. This scared the hell out of me, because I’m neither a portrait nor a cover artist. But a little photo manipulation and some work with Painter 12 digital art tools gave me something I could use. And of course, once I had that formal image, I wanted to showcase a more private, tender moment between Moro and Val: a non-graphic love scene with a little edge.

I’ve set aside a Photobucket folder with some of my digital sketches from the book, plus a cartoon of side characters, and the Loose Id cover for Moro’s Price:


Here’s a teaser:










Revving up for the ‘No Pouting’ Party

The 2012 ‘No Pouting’ Party begins tonight at 12:00 am, Pacific Standard Time in the U.S. Most of the action will be centered around Selena Illyria’s Offerings Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LoveRomancesCafe/cal There will be over 100 authors participating, with dozens of amazing prizes and exclusives.

To celebrate with other authors who could not get to GayRomLit in Albuquerque this year, I’m offering some of my own artwork for view in a special folder in Photobucket, editing-floor snippets, rough-draft bits of future Moro stories, a chance to win an e-book copy of Moro’s Price, and a chance to win a beaded necklace inspired by the book.

First, the boring stuff:

The e-book and the necklace will be determined by random selection of lucid and relevant comments on my October 17 – 21 blog posts, beginning 12:00 am PST Thursday, October 18, 2012 through 12:00 am PST Sunday, October 21, 2012. If you want to win one prize or both, simply mention that in your comments.  Because I want to encourage interaction, I will allow multiple comments from the same posters. To be kind to non-prolific posters, please don’t make multiple submissions without adding to discussions. My spambots and I can tell obvious spammers, too. The lucky spams will merely be deleted. The truly hilarious ones will turned into art and sold for profit at a later date.

Winners will be drawn at random, and will be announced during the week of October 22nd, 2012. Winners will have until 11:59 pm PST on Sunday, October 28th to check in. Any prize not claimed by then will be withdrawn and assigned to a new lucky stiff by Random.org. In the event that no one enters, the prizes will be donated to a future contest.

This is an international giveaway. As long as you’re on this planet, you can enter and win. I will need a deliverable address: no P.O. Boxes, please. The e-book can be delivered instantly in one of several formats, but shipping the necklace may take 6 – 8 weeks or longer for international mail.

To start things off, here’s a look at the necklace:

Iridescent blue-purple glass seed beads with black cut-glass accent beads and a beaded toggle and loop closure. Made by yours truly, off a looped chain pattern I created and published about a decade ago. 20″ long. Inspired by the austere and elegant Sonta aliens in my book.

When I began writing Moro’s Price in March of 2011, I had only one line: “Throw the fight, songbird.”

I was loosely inspired by Firefly, The Fifth Element, and Babylon 5; by the fiction of Andre Norton, Tanith Lee, Judith Tarr, Lynn Flewelling, and Lois Bujold; and the narrowing gap between mainstream sf&f and erotic romance.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Buy Link: at Loose Id Store http://www.loose-id.com/authors/l-p/mc-hana/moro-s-price.html

At Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Moros-Price-ebook/dp/B008ON1X1K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1350507454&sr=1-1&keywords=moro%27s+price

Cheated out of freedom and destined for lifetime servitude, gladiator and sex slave Moro Dalgleish escapes from a brutal arena. Valier Antonin, a lonely student, is tormented by sadomasochistic urges he’s forbidden to indulge. When the two men meet on the skyscraper roof where Moro plans to commit suicide, Valier offers a bargain. Sex with Valier will infect Moro with the sentient symbiont endemic in Valier’s part-human race, with death the likely result.

As one of the infection’s rare survivors, Moro learns he is now a free Camalian citizen. He’s also effectively married to Valier, crown prince of the Camalian Commonwealth. Expecting a shallow encounter with a doomed slave, Valier learns Moro is his Knife, the mate who can stabilize Valier’s undisciplined mind, slake his darkest lusts, and make him fit to rule.

But human supremacists want Moro as a weapon against an ancient race bent on humanity’s extinction. Moro’s ties to both enemies could destroy his life with Valier before it even begins.

some good news shared

Peter Salomon and the ever-wonderful, ever-incognito Authoress just sent me word that they mentioned me on Authoress’ blog ‘Miss Snark’s First Victim’.

I’d written to the blog in July, just before Moro’s Price was published, thanking Authoress for indirectly helping me to refinine my loglines and query letters. I’d built the original story around a strong logline. A precisely-targeted query letter helped me get several requests for the full manuscript.

Here’s the mention:


‘Miss Snark’s First Victim’, or MSFV, is an incredible resource for authors in many genres. Authoress runs periodic logline and First-Page contests; monthly Secret Agent contests in which the prize is consideration by a single ‘Secret Agent’ specializing in MG, YA, and Adult romance, thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, or fantasy; and an intermittent blowout called The Baker’s Dozen, which must be seen to be believed.

Short of spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars traveling to writers’ conventions, where else can aspiring and unagented writers have a chance to put their best work in front of 13 or more top agents at once? Entries are critiqued not only by the agents but by other MSFV readers. At the end of the circus, agents will ask for partial and full manuscripts. There have already been several major success stories out of the Baker’s Dozen, and the contest has garnered a reputation for exposing quality work to agents who might never have seen it. Authors who participate and don’t win or place can also benefit – many of them are contacted outside the contest by interested agents.

While entry to these contests can become a fought-over exercise in first-come, first serve random luck, shy lurkers like myself can benefit immensely from following the MSFV blog. Whether you’re intending to find an agent or become self-published, the marketing tips and tricks discussed here can help any author’s chances of standing out in a crowd.

As for the original Miss Snark blog, one of the best tough-love sites for writers and their misbegotten first attempts at query letters? It’s gone but not forgotten, and archived here: http://misssnark.blogspot.com/


“No Pouting Party” @ Selena Illyria’s Offerings Yahoo Group

Courtesy of Missy Welsh and Selena Illyria, an online party for writers of LGBT fiction. I’ll be posting excerpts from the editing room floor, links to artwork, and a chance to win a free e-book copy of MORO’S PRICE as well as a beaded necklace made by yours truly. I’ve pasted in the original message from Missy, because it sums up what’s going to happen:


Can’t attend the GayRomLit retreat in Albuquerque this year? Yeah, me neither. I’m determined not to pout about that, though, and Selena Illyria (Etopia Press) has volunteered to help keep us smiling by donating time on her Yahoo Group. Authors will share deleted scenes, character interviews, book soundtracks, artwork and more while also conducting giveaways in the loop or on their blogs. It’s a chance for those of us stuck at home to still have some fun with our readers and favorite/new authors of LGBT fiction.


Thursday, October 18 – Sunday, October 21, 2012


Anna Lee (MLR Press), Andrea Speed (Dreamspinner Press), Chris Grover/Christiane France (Amber Quill Press), Tinnean (Dreamspinner Press), Grace R. Duncan (Dreamspinner Press), Shawn Lane (Amber Quill Press), Michael Barnette (Dreamspinner Press), M. C. Hana (Loose Id), Adriana Kraft (Ecstasy Books), M. L. Rhodes (Amber Quill Press), Andy Dunn (Musa Publishing)…

PLUS ANY AUTHORS READING THIS WHO ALSO CAN’T ATTEND GLR12! You don’t need an invitation or permission to join us and have a little fun.

The group is just shy of 100 members, but they’re a talkative bunch, and readers of all genres are welcome any time.


Selena Illyria’s Offerings Yahoo Group

So stop on by for an hour, a day, or the whole event to chat and read and win prizes. Hope to see you there!

Thanks to Missy and Selena for organizing and hosting this event!

geek culture touchstones

Certain movies, TV shows, books, and bands are deeply-held secrets between true fans. Sure, these secrets might be largely mocked and/or misunderstood outside of geekdom, but we don’t care. We have our own fan groups, our own hidden languages, our own shared recognition of something amazing.

For the longest time, J.R.R.Tolkien was one of those secrets. After the hippie flower-children of the seventies, and Ralph Bakshi’s ambitious but incomprehensible 1978 film, The Lord of The Rings languished in geeky isolation until Peter Jackson dragged it into pop culture relevance and approval. ‘Frodo Lives!’ was as strong a geek password in the 1980s and 1990s as it was a generation earlier.

Likewise, geeks know that Rush (the Canadian prog rock band, not the bloated talk-radio toad) is one of the smartest, most literate, and most skilled musical groups ever. The fact that they are just now being possibly nominated to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is both an insult to their true status, and a grudging admission from pop music gatekeepers that millions of fans must not be wrong. I’m of the camp that hopes Rush declines this honor.

Bruce Willis is no stranger to cool, hip sf movies, but one of the best still has to be The Fifth Element, which is still in use among my friends as a test of geek worthiness. If you like it, you’re part of the family. If not, then we’ll keep you at arm’s length and be politely distant.

Tom Cruise may still claim 1983’s Risky Business, but he runs from his appearance two years later in the visually-stunning Legend. That’s all right. Geeks watch it for the atmosphere and mythic scale, and mourn what it could have been if it hadn’t been cut up and stalled in production.

Which leads me to Babylon 5, the intricately-plotted television opus from J. Michael Straczynski. Most sf&f fans have never heard of it. The ones who have, might hate it. It’s not a dilettante’ s show; you either start watching from the 1990 pilot on through the 1994-1999 series, or you take your toys home and watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or something even easier to process. B5 is one of those stories that actively punishes people who miss episodes and skip backstory. Because JMS wrote most of the episodes, he maintained tight control of the story arc. It shows. I started with Tolkien for a reason, because there are strong thematic links between B5 and Tolkien’s even geekier epic The Silmarillion.

I could geek out for several more elitist paragraphs, but I’ll point you to this article over at Tor.com instead:


Maps and world building

(Stands up, taps microphone, and says “Hi, I’m Crane Hana, and I’m addicted to world building.” Nine or ten other frazzled patients respond, “Hi, Crane.”)

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s why I am addicted.

First off, maps. Maps are wicked cool. They’ve had a bad rap in fantasy publishing recently, because they’ve been associated with interminable high-fantasy epics. They can even seem to be a publisher’s marketing band-aid, skirting wooden prose and banal plots with ‘Hey, look at our really amazing and detailed map! Come play in our world!’

But for writers, maps can be essential. They show us climate zones, realistic travel distances, and geopolitical boundaries. They give a sense of place and order to sprawling stories with thousands or millions of characters. (WarCrack, I’m raising a tankard to ya.)

And they’re fun to make, even if one is not a trained cartographer. There’s a little bit of love for pirate treasure maps in most of us. Go here to the Hand Drawn Map Association to see how some creative folks are using maps to tell stories and make art: http://www.handmaps.org/

In 1983 I doodled a map for a D&D campaign. I liked the map above more than the campaign, and gradually a universe coalesced around it. That part of my little universe looks almost nothing like it, anymore.

Map of Lonhra 2011

Making maps feeds into the human tendency to find meaning and order. Our oldest myths and newest scientific hypotheses all attempt to explain fundamental principles behind the chaos of perceived reality. When a writer either stumbles into a new imaginary setting – or deliberately sets out to create one – they’re doing nothing less than creating a new universe. Within the narrow margins of a writer’s words, it can seem very real. No wonder many religious faiths have been suspicious of fictional worlds!

World building can be a hobby without any need for outside influence or validation. J.R. R. Tolkien is only one example familiar to many readers. Islandia is a classic utopian novel by legal scholar Austin Tappan Wright, who worked on a 2300-page manuscript and supporting material up to his early death in 1931. His family published an edited form eleven years later. Henry Darger was a reclusive janitor whose creativity was channeled into In the Realms of the Unreal, his bizarrely illustrated, sexually-charged 15,145 page fantasy chronicle of a family of heroic young girls who fight evil. The volumes of Realms were unknown until they were discovered after his death, and are cited as some of the most important ‘Outsider Art’ of the 20th Century.

Like a Mandelbrot set of fractal patterns, universe-building can fold in upon itself with ever-increasing detail, often without completing anything like a coherent, traditional story. Other addicts liken it to real-world historic research or journalism: the need to fill gaps, to explain cause and effect, to explore an essentially unknowable Terra Incognita.

But what comes first, the map or the story? How do each change in response to the other? Deeply imagined world building can take an absurd amount of time, often years, a good chunk of that million words of crap that most writers are supposed to hammer out before they are ‘discovered’. And world building is never really complete, even from the most-detailed of wonks. Today, many genre writers have strict publishing schedules, plus the financial imperative to ‘build a backlist and build it NOW’. They’re not interested in the ancient history of their imaginary setting, only how bits of it interact with a well-told, fast-paced story. Too much world building can be a deterrent to readers, who might just skip all that backstory if it gets in the way. It can be abused, and often is by newer writers; editors and agents beg for great world building, not info-dumps.

The ease of digital self-publishing may also be part of the change. With the difficulty of getting past literary agents and publishers, writers once gave themselves the luxury of isolated development and revision before they submitted anything. Now, it seems like books are being rushed to publication long before they’re ready, before their creators have really thought out the interactions of setting and character.

Finally, there is the ghost of doubt that must have haunted Tolkien, Wright, Darger, and so many others: ‘What if no one likes this but me?’ As a member of several very large online writers’ forums, I see posts from people who are so terrified of criticism that they’re afraid to submit their work anywhere. While their map and their universe belongs only to them, it can be their secret treasure. It will never be mocked, dissected, or dismissed in the public sphere.

But it may never strike a spark of interest or recognition in another human being. I’m happy sharing my silly old map. It is the bedrock of 29 real-time years, 120,000 years of imagined history, a cosmology, two published short stories, and one published novel. It has ensured that I have far more than a million words of crap to spin into gold, if my skill can ever match my imagination.



Once upon a time, music was a crutch I needed before I could write at all. Like good chocolate and tea, or the perfect writing environment, the right music was part of many little rituals to activate my reluctant muses. I don’t write to music very much these days. The muses and I have reached some compromises. Writing time is too precious to be frittered away in foreplay. My mood alters so much between scene to scene, that most music can’t keep up.

But I still plot to music.

As I sort out plot lines for both MORO’S SHIELD and MORO’S CROWN, I’m going back to the tunes I listened to while writing/revising the first book. Are some of these songs really obscure? Downright quaint? Yep, and I shamelessly cop to it. These are the things that worked for this particular story arc, for me. If you want something more contemporary, I suggest checking out Amanda Downum’s playlists for her spectacular novels. They truly rock, and she is an incredible writer:  http://stillsostrange.livejournal.com/

Right now, during this session, here is my playlist: ‘Better Now’ by Collective Soul. ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Learning to Fly’ from Pink Floyd. Peter Gabriel’s ‘Solsbury Hill’ and ‘Don’t Give Up’. The entire ‘Tron: Legacy’ soundtrack from Daft Punk. Enigma’s ‘The Screen Behind the Mirror’. Queensrÿche’s ‘Silent Lucidity’. ‘Lunatic Fringe’ from Red Rider. ‘Into Dust’ by Mazzy Star. Mark Dwane’s ‘Angels, Aliens, and Archetypes’. Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells II’. Patrick O’Hearn’s ‘Indigo’, ‘Metaphor’, and ‘Between Two Worlds’. Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s ‘Lend Your Love to Me Tonight’ and ‘Closer to Believing’. ‘Rhythm of Love’ by Yes. Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’. ‘Bravado’ from Rush. Tangerine Dream’s ‘Horizon/Warsaw Gate’, ‘Three Bikes in the Sky’, most of ‘Booster’, and ‘Tyranny of Beauty’ (and many more).

They provided me with excellent scene prompts before. I’ll see if they help again.

October 4 updates

‘Maestro’ complete at 2800 words.

Revisions on ‘The Black Wave’.

Refined first two chapters of MORO’S SHIELD, sent rough synopsis to editor.

Research Russian resort cities for COLD COMFORT.

Epiphany on BLOODSHADOW: a way to cut another 5K off this 122K behemoth, and start the story faster.

Character and plot outlines for an untitled fantasy romance set in central Arizona and northern New Mexico.

Review links

Some review links for MORO’S PRICE:





As I said earlier, a good mix of different ranks with some very clear positive and negative comments.

In other news, I’ll be featuring my original character sketch for MP (done back in summer 2011), in late October. I’ll be part of a blog hop celebrating authors who can’t get to this year’s GayRomLit retreat in Albuquerque, NM.

So in the meantime, here’s the cover the fiendishly talented Fiona Jayde designed for Loose Id.

September 27 updates

Works in Progress:

‘Maestro’: contemporary erotica short story for a charity anthology: 700 words, researching subways and violins.

MORO’S SHIELD: m/m/f erotic romance sci fi, 9K first draft out of projected 70K.

MORO’S CROWN: m/m/f erotic romance sci fi, plotting series closure.

BLOODSHADOW: high fantasy, in revision, 118K.

LEOPARD’S LEAP: plotted, outlined, waiting on Mixed Martial Arts research.

MASK OF FALLING STARS: still plotting, changing from m/m to m/f romance sci fi.

‘The Black Wave’: in revision, 3500 words, fantasy short story for upcoming magazine call-for-submissions.

Linked group of fantasy erotica stories to go along with ‘Saints and Heroes’ as possible self-pub anthology.

(In other words, time to kick the plotbunnies out of the way, make strong coffee, and get to work!)



When a bad review is good

There’s been a lot of heated discussion on other online forums about reviews. I’m new to being reviewed, so I find the process fascinating. Yes, the negative reviews sting a bit. But I went into publishing knowing I wasn’t going to reach every single reader, just as my art isn’t for every viewer.

When I visit review sites and see nothing but glowing 5-star reviews of other writers, I get a little suspicious. Are these sock-puppet reviews by the author? His or her doting family and friends? Reviews rounded up by the publisher themselves? Paid reviews?

A mix of reviews, with clearly-written critiques backing up the ratings, seems much more honest.

Here’s the review range I’m getting at the moment with my book, across many different platforms: some 3 and 4-star ratings, a scattering of 1 and 2-star slings, and a few interesting 5-star notes with great things to say about my world building, plots, and characters. I’m not hitting it out of the park with every reader, but enough of them seem to understand my book and like it. Those are the folks who worry me while I’m writing the sequel, because I really, really want to earn their continued trust.

But of all of them, I cherish a 1-star review most. Why? Because it’s unintentionally hilarious. It shows no proofreading attempts, a limited command of written English, and the reader broadcasts a shallowness of reading experience that is nearly breathtaking. This review is the literary equivalent of that regrettable ‘Monkey Jesus’ restoration job in a Spanish church. I go back to this review and draw comfort from it.

Because I would not want to have written a book that this particular reader would enjoy and understand.


aw, you shouldn’t have

A knock-off clothing shill just gave me a wonderful piece of random-generated text. I can’t release it, due to my listed guidelines for this blog. Though I fully intend to adapt it, typeset it, print it out on lovely paper or fabric, and turn it into a piece of art. Which I will then sell.

Honestly, y’all are a goldmine. You do realize I’m never going post random comments intended solely to draw traffic to bogus websites? However, I will be making a fair amount of money off your provided copy. I’ll just change it around enough to follow legal precedent for copyright. So keep those cards and letters coming, hucksters. Every time you post something really juicy, I hear a cash register going off.

In contrast, I promise never to make such profits from genuine comments to this blog. You know who you are, and that I’m incredibly grateful for your input.

In the meantime, I’m back to writing my own fiction.


Heartfelt advice on posting

A hint, O Wise and Beloved Readers: while I love comments, I’m hoping to see cogent ones. Patchwork comments with no clear relevance will not be posted, no matter how entertainingly insulting. Likewise, if your email addy leads me to believe you’re pitching knockoff fashion items.

If you cannot pass a college-level Turing test, your post will not be seen on this site.

Added note: If you’re just doing SEO tricks to drive traffic to your commercial site, you will send vague messages with content lifted from online sources. When you use content lifted from online sources, and your email sig comes from ANY kind of obviously commercial site, my spambots will probably squash your message without me ever seeing them. Don’t let your real messages be squashed. Be coherent, be literate, be appropriate to the topics at hand. Convince me and my bots you’re a human.

Vera Nazarian’s COBWEB BRIDE Kickstarter

I honestly don’t know if this post will get noticed by anyone but spammers, but why not try?

A friend of mine is rounding up support for self-publishing a great new book. Most of the time, when I get news like this I either yawn or cringe. Let’s face it, self-publishing is a quagmire of mediocrity in which rare gems are hard to find. And while exceptions abound, I have noticed a definite inverse ratio of writing quality to stridency-of-promotion.

In this case, Vera Nazarian has the chops to do it right.

One: she’s been published, for real, by real publishers – and her work has had some great reviews.

Two: she’s the owner/editor of Norilana Books, one of the most elegant small-press publishers I’ve seen in years. Her self-published Jane Austen pastiches have been garnering glowing comments as a mix of deft, literate writing and outright comedic farce.

Three: she’s a fellow fan of British writer Tanith Lee. See Norilana for some reissues of Lee’s out of print fantasy novels, and you’ll see why I gush. If you know anything about Lee, you’ll know why serious fans sit up and take notice when Norilana plans to publish the never-before-seen continuations of the ‘Flat Earth’ series. Yep. That’s right. The books that DAW wouldn’t publish will eventually be in our hot little hands. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get the answer to Atmeh’s cryptic observation about her father: ‘If the sun can be a darkness, cannot darkness be a sun?’

Which is why I think it’s important enough to pitch COBWEB BRIDE in the meantime. Because editors – and their cats – need to eat.

What is COBWEB BRIDE? Think ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ meets the Persephone myth meets a dark and gorgeous alternate-history Renaissance romance.

Go here to see more :


But hurry, because the project ends soon.

October 16, 2012 UPDATE: I’m thrilled to announce Vera’s Kickstarter project succeeded on October 13. She met her goal and then some, so COBWEB BRIDE will grow up to be a real book sometime next summer. My thanks to everyone who read, followed the links, and maybe donated.

Anthology contributor’s copies

THRONES OF DESIRE is loosely inspired by George R. R. Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ novels, but consisting of 14 original stories by various erotica authors. The e-book version went live on the 11th, and the trade paperback will be available on the 18th.

I have a story in this one: ‘Saints and Heroes’, about a runaway husband, an altruistic seduction, and the cost of thwarting destiny. It is set in the secondary-world fantasy universe I’ve been developing for a ridiculously long time.

Here’s the link:


Here’s a shot about three minutes after I opened the envelope:

Antique desk! Contrib copies! The giant jade, bone, and horsehair sumi-e brush that partly inspired my story!