Moro’s Price mood board

Since I’ve a nice uptick in sales lately on this M/M space opera romance, here’s a mood board of my original art inspired by the story, cover background from Natasha Snow, and images from Alphonse Mucha, The Nature Conservancy, and Pinterest.

I don’t know any other way to respond to the anniversary of 9-11, or the creeping insanity and denial that darkens our world today…but to write and make art, find joy in it, and hope sharing it makes someone else’s afternoon a little better.

If you want to know more about MORO’S PRICE, go here.

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Help keep the power on so I can keep blathering about art, jewelry, writing, and politics! I’ve joined Amazon Affiliates and Rakuten Marketing, so your click on the link below will give a micropayment.

Taschen is one of my favorite publishers of beautiful, thought-provoking …and sexy…books in fine art, photography, culture, and the humanities.

TASCHEN - Beautiful Books

Moro’s Shield snippet

In honor of a great opening week for my M/M space opera romance MORO’S PRICE, here’s a snippet from its direct sequel, MORO’S SHIELD.

Basically the start of the second chapter, because I can’t post the first chapter (it’s that smutty). But this is not just a series about sex: it’s about adventure, intrigue, and the definition of humanity. And (gasp!) it has a woman MC in it. (I have warned y’all repeatedly that Moro and Val are both bisexual, and I do not tolerate bi-erasure in ostensibly LGBTQI books.)

Say hi to Syene, who is not going to be the love interest you expect.

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The stocky, gray-bearded miner slotted a supply case into a deep storage bin, stood up, and waved a hand in front of his face. “Why the rebreather and air tank? We have good atmosphere inside this rock, Sera Turan.” He sounded more puzzled than insulted.

Syene Turan tapped on the strips of colored tape across her dark gray mask’s forehead and cheeks. “I can breathe your air, Sero. You probably don’t want me to. See these stripes. Orange? Danger color? Remind you of anything?”

“Well, yeah, those cloth masks the Camalians wear when they’re on League worlds. We do things differently out on the frontier.” He squinted at the name tag on her heavy black flight jacket. “Sera, ah, Sy–”

Sy grinned and took pity on him. “It’s ‘Sahy-EE-nee’. Or Sigh-EE-nee, if you like. After a city on Old Earth where some science happened. My parents are scholars.”

“Interesting name, Sera Turan.”

“At least it’s not boring. My sisters got ‘Alexandria’ and ‘Geneva’. Please, call me ‘Sy’, Sero Dolan,” she said, eying the badge on his own battered canvas jacket. She wrestled the next case off Fortunero’s old hovercraft and handed it off to Dolan. She’d done something right, because the man’s voice and posture opened up.

“Sy, then. You won’t infect us by breathing our air. Not a man or woman on this asteroid would dare kiss you, true, but we like seeing new faces. We’re harvesting fresh blackberries tomorrow from the hydroponic gardens. Cook’s making some kind of soy angelfood cake with real sugar. It’s my youngest’s tenth name day. You and Captain Fortunero are welcome to stay. You’ve made a fair trade for the air you’d use.”

Sy felt ashamed of her automatic caution.  In more civilized parts of the Terran League, a Camalian woman wouldn’t be assaulted outright. She could be verbally harassed, discriminated against, and stolen from with almost legal impunity. Sy had expected worse treatment out on the frontier. It rarely manifested on the supply routes Benny Fortunero had cultivated during his long career as a supply-ship captain.

Like Sy, Benny was one of the rare Camalians who felt more comfortable away from their Commonwealth and its throngs of symbiont-linked citizens. He left because he couldn’t bear being unable to access that affectionate and disciplined group-mind.

Sy left because she couldn’t shut it off.

She popped two latches at her jaws, and lifted the mirrored visor up over her forehead and short, sweat-curled hair. A faint breeze slid across her skin. The air smelled almost planetary, clean and cool, the circulated atmosphere redolent with water, vegetation, and traces of machine oil. Not bad for a tunneled-out asteroid ten miles across. She took a deep, happy breath, noting Dolan’s proud response at her open appreciation.

“Well met, Sera Sy Turan,” said the miner as he returned her smile. “You’re easier on the eyes than the old man is, I admit. If he wants to come along, we can drape a sheet over him to keep the kids off.”

“We–I–haven’t been out this way before,” said Sy, as she clipped the helmet to a belt latch. “Would he scare them?”

Dolan snorted. “He’s a community legend. They’re a pack of baby engineers. They’d probably figure out how to commandeer his guns before we could stop ‘em. Captain Fortunero isn’t our only supplier, but he’s one of the most welcome. Go on, ask him to stay, please?”

Sy guessed what Benny would say, but she wouldn’t second-guess her employer. She flexed her right jaw in a certain way, activating the com link stuck to her skin between her jaw and right ear canal. “Boss? Can we stay a day longer? They’ll have fresh fruit tomorrow. We’re invited to a name day party for Sero Dolan’s youngest.”

The com crackled with static for a moment, then Benny’s voice came from the speaker in Sy’s helmet. “Yeremina’s day, is it? She’d be what, eight?”

“Ten,” said Dolan. “It’s been six since you saw her, but she still remembers you, Captain!”

“Alas, Sero Dolan, I wish we could linger, but the schedule rules us all. Syene, I’ve got the last load crated up for you.”

Moro’s Price 2nd Edition

(Just because I love this Natasha Snow cover so much.)

Now that I have your attention: on Monday June 26, the second version of my M/M space opera romance goes live.

The paperback version is already selling on Amazon, but all the other links will be active on Monday.

NineStar Press formats e-book link

Amazon US Kindle link

Amazon paperback link

Kobo link

Smashwords link

Barnes & Noble link

For some reviews of the first edition, go here.

I’m pleased that my longtime friend Sherwood Smith bravely took up an ARC of this version, then gave me this jewel of a blurb:

“For fans of C.S. Pacat, m/m passion set against a space opera world of violence, power, and dynastic intrigue!”
(That one still makes me fall over. Thanks, Sherwood!)

 

Moro’s Price revised edition now on sale!

The rewritten, expanded version of my smutty M/M space opera romance, Moro’s Price, is now up for pre-orders at NineStar Press. It should hit other vendors in a few days to a week after publication on June 26, 2017.

A shout out to my brilliant editors, and to cover artist Natasha Snow. She managed to craft a cover that is gorgeous, sexy, kinky, relevant to the actual book, and still somehow mostly Amazon-safe.

Here’s the blurb:

Crown Prince, techno-geek, and secret sadomasochist Valier has lusted for years after the gorgeous gladiator called “The Diamond.” Meeting the escaped slave on a rooftop, Valier discovers Moro Dalgleish wants suicide before his former masters can reclaim him.

Infected with a deadly symbiont, Valier proposes empty sex to satisfy his urges and grant Moro’s release from a horrible life. Neither man plans for Moro to survive, or how the morning after will shake three empires to their foundations.

If you read this book in its first version from Loose Id in 2012, this is not quite the same book. I hope it’s better. If you didn’t read it, and you’re a fan of space opera and smutty bisexual romance, the TV shows ‘The Expanse’, ‘Killjoys’, and ‘Firefly’…you might like this one.

Here’s another selling point: not only is this a bigger and tighter book, but its digital version will also be cheaper. NineStar is premiering Moro’s Price at only $4.99. That’s right: a 100K+ book with mainstream space opera elements, M/M sex, and it’s cheaper than the first version by at least $2.

There’s a pretty good chance this one will have a print version, too!

 

Character names and titles

Character names and titles are important in fiction (duh!)

Different genres have different naming trends and types, if not outright rules. A clever writer can exploit or twist those, while a tone-deaf writer can suffer for them. Of course, it helps to read massively and currently in your target genres.

I have a perennial problem with names. Many of my characters go through name changes during their story’s evolution (Tel from ‘Bloodshadow’ has had five different names). Or they’re called by different names by different people or groups (Moro from ‘Moro’s Price, poor lad.)

Some characters will stubbornly keep their names, no matter what plotty bribes I throw their way.

I’ve got two naming problems right now, with two separate projects.

My editor felt uncertain about a 52nd Century character calling himself ‘Bill’, with a given name of William (which he hates, hence the nickname). Realistically, linguistic drift and culture changes should result in very different name structures.

But this is a smutty M/M space opera, not literary fiction with scholarly linguistic projection.

The character has good reason to go by a jaunty, unassuming nickname. So I left him as ‘Bill’.

I gave him an Eastern European version of ‘William’ that links back to part of his family’s heritage. He still hates it, because it makes him look even more like a rich mobster. And, like the rest of the book, it offers an indirect political comment on RL current events.

My second name problem is an honorific, a job title, a threat, and an insult…applied to one of the founding characters in my secondary-world high-fantasy Lonhra Sequence books. I’ve had this (mostly background) immortal character in his/her/their current form for over three decades. (What happens when you worldbuild as a hobby.)

That character’s given name changes often due to marriage and politics, but their title is a bedrock of Lonhran history.

Imagine my reactions when I read today about a new YA author using almost that same title in her fantasy book! After the initial jolt passed, I examined my problem logically.

I doubt she ‘stole’ it, even though my version has been trade-published since early 2012. The title is a combination of two common English language words. It’s likely many people have used it.

Could I use the Lonhra language version: Tilurak? It means the same thing. I like both, but the longer English version is more familiar and approachable for me.

If an agent or editor brings up the coincidence, I’ll have to explain and justify my reasons.

Until then, that character title stays.

The lesson for other writers? Names can be a battleground. Be prepared to fight for, alter, or jettison them as needed.

When writing goes exceptionally well

I’ve been at a plateau for a while on the big fantasy project: polished, but not quite gleaming. This weekend, three things happened:

I wrote a decent pitch for an upcoming pitch contest.

Image result for ronan dance off GIF

I tightened the first chapter, and bridged new and old versions with really strong scenes. I forced more emotion into one character, and more agency into another.

Image result for maleficent cartoon GIF

Both beta readers on this project (who are neither lazy slouches nor easily won over) have given me their vast approval.

So even if the pitch contest doesn’t work, I’m far more confident about this book than in its previous versions. It’s not wasted effort, if it improves the manuscript.

The only catch: it all has to be done by Friday the 24th. That’s when the pitch contest begins…but more importantly, it’s when I have to start work on a major art project AND wrangle incoming edits for the brand new, shiny version of Moro’s Price (coming from NineStar Press this summer).

New version of Moro’s Price coming soon!

 

My debut novel MORO’S PRICE, a M/M space opera erotic romance, was first published in 2012. I’m pleased to announce that a newly revised version will be coming soon from NineStar Press.

If you liked the original version, I think you’ll love this one.

If all goes well, you’ll also be seeing the direct sequel to MORO, as well as a spin-off M/M novella featuring two side characters.

Thanks for your patience and support!

Painter 17 teaser art

Corel’s new digital arts platform Painter 17 is out now, and I’m fiddling around with it this week.

I finished this teaser art piece for the new version of Moro’s Price in about 30 minutes, and that was because I was slowly playing around with some of the new Artist’s Favorites brushes. I should have been able to do it in 15 minutes.moro-diamond-for-blog

Of course, I’d already photographed the emerald-cut crystal myself, and long ago designed the palm tree insignia. But now it’s a useful bit of art that may or may not end up as a cover design, once I fiddle with it some more.

Painter 17 so far: gorgeous. Controls are more integrated and intuitive. Customizing brushes, filters, etc is much easier. The help menus make sense. Corel seems to finally be listening more to its coveted base: artists who have some real-world skill with drawing, painting, and mixed media, and who want to recreate those looks in digital media. (And go lightyears beyond!) I’m not alone in my esteem.

If you’ve ever waffled about buying Painter as an actual, real, not-Photoshop digital arts platform, this version is probably the best entry into the Painter world that I’ve seen in 20 years. It’s not cheap, but if you are a student, you might be able to score the more affordable Educational Version.

Update 9/27-2017: Time marches on, and Painter 18 is now available. I’ve been playing with it for a little while, but don’t have a full review of it yet. I can say that Corel continues its upward path for intuitive user interfaces and spookily realistic digital paint effects. Painter’s greatest strength has been its ability to create effects *you cannot achieve* in ‘real’ media. I’m looking forward to playing some more. In the meantime, check out Painter 18 in the full bells-n-whistles version disc form. There are more affordable student grade editions for around $100, but the full package gives you the most versatility.

 

First look: Moro’s Price revisions

I’m having too much fun completely re-writing this book. Should revisions be fun?

Leopard of Saba

 

Slightly different names, timelines, inciting incidents, backstory. Still a big, messy space opera romance. Still familiar to the 1500 – 2000 of you who read the first one, but hopefully much better.

The new first line of the new Chapter 1 (subject to change, of course):

Fourteen hundred spectators watched Jason Kee-DaSilva, the Leopard of Saba, ruin his career two minutes after his comeback victory.

 

(Digital sketch after this article on Muay Thai.)

Valier, digital pastel, 8-26-2016

So, since I didn’t get Singer In Rhunshan into PitchWars (and knew it would be a longshot), I’m back to the revisions on Moro’s Price.

For those of you who didn’t know, the latter is a big space opera-ish M/M erotic romance set against a futuristic but by no means scientific background. When wrote it in 2011, I deliberately placed it into the far future of the Lonhra Sequence. Bits of ‘Firefly’, ‘Dune’, ‘Bablyon ‘5, and the Vorkosigan saga inspired it; since then, I’ve been watching ‘Killjoys’, ‘The Expanse’, and ‘Dark Matter’ intently for more inspiration.

I get to do crazy wonderful things to this book, now that I have it back from the original publisher. Fun things. Like substantially change the opening chapters, condense some of the dragging middle, and weave it better into Moro’s Shield, the sequel, and The Leopard of Saba, a spinoff novella set before and during Price.

It helps to know what people look like, while I write them. This round of revisions, I changed Valier Antonin, with slightly stronger facial features and curlier hair. Makes sense: his mother has major curls, and she’s the stronger genetic donor in the mix of people who made Val.

This isn’t the teenage Val I had been sketching, but the man in his mid twenties, when Moro meets him.

Val 2016 for blog

Moro’s Price first edition 2012 to 2016

I say ‘first edition’ because I have several future paths for my first published novel, now that its association with Loose Id LLC has come to an end. Moro’s Price no longer exists as an ebook on Amazon.com, or on the Loose Id website. Over the next month or so, it will leave AllRomance Ebooks, Barnes&Noble, and its other vendors.

If you see it there and want this version, this will be your last chance.

I’ve enjoyed working with Loose Id, and wish the company and its authors the very best going forward. For me, rights reversion came at a good time, letting me revise the story to better fit its planned sequels and the larger universe it inhabits.

Moro Jade Disc

What happens next to the story of Val and Moro? That very much depends on what happens with the (very slightly) related mms I’m currently shopping. I have a lot of options, all of them interesting.

When I know, I’ll pass the word.

My deepest gratitude to Loose Id for taking a chance on the book in 2012, for Cherry Weiner for going to bat for me over contract issues, and all the people who read, enjoyed, and reviewed the book.

Spotlight on Maestro, news on Moro’s Price

Follow this link to my interview with the talented and tolerant Theophilia St. Claire, as we talk about the creative process, my experiments with contemporary M/M romance (aka my novella Maestro), and some ‘taboo’ writing subjects.

Some purposefully vague news: If you’re interested in my debut novel Moro’s Price (a M/M erotic romance space opera) and its sequels, keep an eye on my ‘original published fiction’ page over the next few months. And if you’ve ever wanted your own Kindle copy of this version of Moro…now is the time to get it, folks.

For those of you at BookExpoAmerica (BEA) accept my grateful thanks for all the vicarious tweets, blog posts, and news articles. I feel connected and uplifted.

Phoenix Comicon is just a few short weeks away now, for those of you in the Southwest or planning to be here at that time. 110F daytime temps, a huge convention center, a veritable cosplay mecca, and probably 80,000 people. Do we know how to party in Phoenix, or what? Come join us and make memories!

Tour of the Universe, day 22

Well, my turn has finally rolled around in Bitten By Romance’s Tour of the Universe. I actually had to go check my notes for what I wrote about…oh, yeah, heh heh. The Sonta. I hope you enjoy the article.
MCH_MorosPrice_coverlg
If you want to know more, follow the Author’s Notes on the left side of this blog. Post comments (on any of our Tour entries!) at the Bitten By Romance site to win a chance at your digital format choice of my debut novel Moro’s Price. (If you liked Dune, Firefly, Babylon 5, and Killjoys on TV and cable, you might dig this book.) You might also get a chance to win this glass bead and blue cord necklace.

Crane -- Blue Millefiori necklace

Tour of the Universe! (Adult content warning)

Bitten By Romance’s new fall blog tour begins today, September 1st, 2015 with a post from Eve Langlais, who lists her perfect science-fiction heroes.

The button above will take you to the main BBR website, with the Tour schedule including live links. (Second warning: this link will take you to an 18 and over blog! Material on this page may not be suitable for those under 18, yadda yadda. You know the drill. Kids, stay off, please. Adults easily squicked or offended, this isn’t your territory, either.)

What is a Tour of the Universe? Just what it says: backstage glimpses into the minds and universes of many different Science Fiction Romance authors, my demented self among them.

Go to each stop, as new links will be added daily. Read. Comment. Enter the giveaways…there should be a bunch of them. Including a digital copy of my debut M/M erotic romance space opera Moro’s Price:

MCH_MorosPrice_coverlg

And this 18″ convertible necklace/choker in blue polyester cord, Czech pressed glass beads, and Chinese millefiori beads, one of my best-selling ‘Nest Necklace’ line:

Crane -- Blue Millefiori necklace

If you like science fiction with a bit of romance, or romance with a bit of science fiction – and you aren’t afraid of some settings that are as big and bold as the characters inhabiting them – come join the Tour!

Bitten By Romance’s ‘Tour of the Universe’!

Tour of the Universe BBROFTW (1)

During the month of September, I’ll be part of this shindig:

http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2015/08/tour-of-universe-2015-schedule.html

There will be excerpts, behind-the-scenes backstories, prizes…and maybe…just maybe, a special announcement. I’ll also be giving away a digital copy of my debut M/M romance novel Moro’s Price, as well as this glass and fiber necklace:

Crane -- Blue Millefiori necklace

Bear with me while we finalize exactly how this party is going to run, and watch this space and BBR’s site!

 

Moro’s Price up for an award!

There’s an old saying: I wouldn’t join any club that would have me. I’m considering all sides of that argument, right now, for reasons I’ll clarify in this post.

A very kind and enthusiastic reviewer just nominated my M/M erotic romance space opera Moro’s Price for the 17th Annual Preditors & Editors ™ Readers’ Poll. Since the novel was technically re-published in 2014 after an Amazon glitch, it is eligible.

Here’s the link, if you want to see that and the other entries:

http://critters.org/predpoll/novelsf.shtml

I am honored and thrilled the reviewer thought that much of my work (like, quietly-fizzing with warm joy and a teeny bit of smug triumph. I won’t lie about that.) Ten years ago, or twenty? I would have a complete pest to everyone I know. I would have been over the moon with giddy delight. You might – gasp! – have seen me dancing.

But I’m more of a cynic and realist now. I’ve learned how many branches of publishing really work (sausage factories have nothing on it). That’s why I tend to shy now from many open-nomination polls in my genre. They get flooded by self-nominated authors whose only barrier to entry may be an entry fee. As in the art world, it means a little more if someone else likes your work enough to nominate it.

I love Preditors & Editors’ watchlist of players in the publishing industry. It’s one of the first places I check when researching a publisher, lawyer, editor, or agent. While the reasons for negative or cautionary ratings may be held private, I rest assured there *was* ample reason. Like Piers Anthony’s ‘Hi Piers’ publishing overview, Pred-Ed gives me a good baseline to spot bad publishing behavior.

The Pred-Ed Readers’ poll is a genuine reader-based assessment of notable works published every year. It’s been going since 1997, and it is sponsored by some very well-known groups in the publishing field.

But somehow, sometimes, that contest has appeared to be co-opted by less-savory players. Anyone can nominate an entry. I’ve seen claims that votes on it often appear to be gamed heavily by self-published and vanity-published authors, or by publishers who may have themselves been downgraded by Pred-Ed. In other writing forums – and behind closed doors among some professional circles – some wins at the Pred-Ed Readers’ poll have often been met with shaking heads.

Even a nomination in the Pred-Ed Readers’ poll seems to be a level of separation between new authors and seasoned authors. New ones are giddy; experienced ones offer conditional approval, with some version of, ‘Yes, that’s good, but -‘

Some authors have claimed they would bow out of the poll, because of those previous allegations. So what? All that mediocrity needs to win, is for skilled people to shun these contests. So I’m staying, and shilling as gently for votes as I can.

I don’t know that many of my fellow contenders. I’m not wasting my time to go looking for who was vanity, self-pub, or commercial…and who may be the genre equivalent of Monkey Jesus.

I like my readers. I trust them far enough to tell me what they like. Is Moro’s Price my absolute best work? Nope. But it was pretty strong when I queried it. Some amazing editors helped me turn it into something better. I think the book’s actual reviews show that, for all its obvious debut-novel flaws, it’s a good story.

I’m happy that some other people seem to think so, too.

The poll runs through January 14, 2015, so wander over and check out the entries.

 

 

Moro’s Price first chapter (adult content advisory)

(Adult content warning, just in case you’ve forgotten the disclaimer on the left sidebar: the following post contains male/male erotic references. Don’t read or follow the links, if that’s not your thing.)

(Note added 12-6-2014: Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you to all the readers who have tweeted and re-tweeted the link to this chapter! You are all wonderful people, and I’m not on Twitter enough right now to properly thank you for your support. Does it help if I tell you I’m writing?)

This week, the DRB1stChp blog will be hosting the first chapter of my (very adult) M/M erotic romance space opera Moro’s Price.

Thank you Zenobia, for hosting me on your blog! First chapter reads are a necessary luxury for both readers and authors. Sometimes digital publishing platforms don’t provide sample texts, or they’re too hard to find in the sea of published matter. Blogs like DRB offer targeted snapshots of books to readers interested in that genre. If you like it, we give you links to learn more.

In the case of Moro’s Price, Chapter 2 is the teaser snippet on Amazon and other platforms. It’s about as raw as the book gets, so readers know they’re wandering into angst, some dubious consent issues, and probably way too much political intrigue for an erotic romance novel. But I did actually write (and Loose Id published, bless ’em) a first chapter that introduces my little genius/crown prince/sadist-in-training Valier and his best friend Mateo, on their way to a questionable adventure.

Yes, I’m still typing away at Moro’s sequel. But at the same time, I’m working on a smaller, more intimate M/M story: how Mateo DaSilva gave up his impossible dreams of romancing Val, and focused on someone only slightly less out of reach and socially unacceptable.

This is the very rough first chapter of the novella called ‘Leopard’s Leap’ (for now). If you search through my posts on this blog, you’ll find a few more bits and pieces. I can’t release more than that, sorry.

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Mateo’s life changed on his fifteenth birthday, in a Taverna DaSilva storage room. Far from the chaos of his extended family’s party, he’d hidden behind a stack of crates to get away from a female guest’s fumbling gropes. He calmed his breathing in the dark, spice-scented peace; no longer puzzling over why he’d run away, but how to break the news to Papa DaSilva.

The door began to slide open. Expecting the girl, Mateo flattened himself on the wooden floor. The room blazed with light from a panel in the ceiling. Gruff voices announced the arrival of Papa and another man.

“Be reasonable, Vidan,” began the stranger.

As soon as the door shut, Papa’s voice rose. “Heral, pimp your son as much as you’d like, as long as he’ll stand it. But no child of my family will go to school on such evil credit. How dare you bring a fighting-whore into my house?”

The other man said, “He asked, Vidan. We know the restaurant is in trouble. You can barely pay your suppliers. How will you pay for Mateo’s school? Sign a slave bond for the rest of your children, until Mateo frees them? He’s a bright boy. I’ve seen his holo recordings. They’re good. If he gets hired by the bigger entertainment channels, he might pay back our investment in what, five years? Your Lena talked to us last night. Jason is making more than enough money in the fights. We’re almost free ourselves, fifty years early! My grandchildren will be free-born.”

“Lena and I are free. None of my children are slaves,” said Papa with brittle dignity.

”Keep them so,” Heral urged. “Jason suggested it first. He is Mateo’s best chance.”

Mateo finally placed Heral. A distant kinsman, some third or fourth cousin impugned in scandalized whispers at family gatherings. When Heral’s grandfather lost a bad business gamble, he and his children were sold into bond to pay it. That would have meant a century or two of grinding debt. But Heral had a son who was a god of the arena, whose earnings in a single fight were more than Papa’s restaurant made in several years. Heral’s family had new clothes and the newest-model hover cars. They did not carry themselves like the cringing, dispirited bond-slaves Mateo had recorded as a school project, in the east Cedar-Saba produce markets.

Mateo heard new footsteps in the corridor, pausing in the doorway. “Father?” asked a rich baritone voice, “Did you ask him?”

“I did. The stubborn old fool said no.” Heral sounded more insulted than Papa.

“Jason Kee-DaSilva, I am honored by your offer,” Papa began.

“But you cannot take a whore’s credits?” Jason asked. “Would it help if I said I chose this life? I like money. I like helping my family. I like fame. I love sex. As long as the gladiators are willing to fight me, I’m willing to take their credits – or their bodies.”

“And to give up your own, when you lose?” asked Papa. “With crowds watching?”

Laughter purred in the fighter’s voice. “Every credit they don’t take goes to my family. And I like to be watched.”

Mateo’s mouth went dry and his heart hammered so loudly that everyone must surely hear it.

 

Thanks to Canadian and UK readers

Since Moro’s Price stumbled off Amazon last January and was relisted through heroic efforts from Loose Id, I’ve been watching mostly domestic sales in the US.

I don’t know why, but the last month has seen a strong sales spike from Canadian and UK buyers. Thank you so much! You have my heartfelt gratitude, and my promise that I am busy writing the sequel (unrelated legal delays over the last two years, job stuff, health issues, yada yada yada.)

I don’t have a street team, or print books, or even a book that would benefit from flyers and giveaway swag. I don’t promote my work that much in my local area, for various reasons including slight stage fright and extreme laziness on my part. So I’m thrilled whenever a new review (good or bad, it’s still a review) comes out, or when readers discuss my work online.

Your interest helps get the word out about this book, and makes me feel like I’m not writing on a desert island.

 

 

Writing updates and snarks 8-22-2014

Updates:

I’m taking a break from the Sex Scene Championship for my latest writing updates:

Moro’s Shield: M/M/F space opera romance. 50K written of 70K needed, now that I’m back on track from a two-year legal delay that had *nothing* to do with my own writing.

Singer in Rhunshan: M/M/F non-explicit fantasy romance-quest set in the Lonhra Sequence universe. 39K written and polished, out of projected 45K final length. Not bad for something that was originally a 6.6K short story.

Red Amber: M/M erotic romance in fantasy paleolithic setting. 15K written out of projected 40K final (last 7.5K already written as short story, just needs to be incorporated.)

Leopard’s Leap: M/M erotic romance set in the Moroverse. 26K out of projected 48K final length.

Mask of Falling Stars: M/M erotic romance standalone in science fantasy setting. Halfway through outlining, no projected length yet.

Damn, that’s a lot of words to catch up.

***

Snarks:

1. My excerpt didn’t win in the Sex Scene Championship. Shockingly, I’m okay with that. I wasn’t planning on getting past this stage for my first-ever try at this contest, and I’m having a lot of fun reading everyone else’s steamy scenes. It’s like a free online workshop presented by some of the best writers in erotic romance.

2. Again, for the umpteenth time that I’ve written about this, I am not just a M/M writer. I write and read all kinds of romantic and sexual interactions. I want to read hot scenes, but more importantly, I want them to be true to the characters. Being a cynical romantic, I treasure all aspects of romance, in real life and in fiction.

So, when I bluntly say that my main male characters in Moro’s Price and Moro’s Shield are bisexual, I mean it. Moro and Val are as attracted to women as they are to men. I thought I made that plain from context (Moro had a girlfriend as well as a boyfriend, back on Ventana; Val has always known that he has several potential female mates, though he’s never been allowed to meet them) in the first book, but I guess some readers didn’t get that. I’m sorry. Not sorry. There is just the teensiest possibility that there will be a female love interest later. It will not be instalove first based on selfishness and expediency, like Moro and Val’s meeting. It’s going to be hard and emotionally trying and the results may surprise some readers. Because I really don’t like the long-standing trope in much M/M fiction, of making the female characters into total bitches. They are people, too. Or the one about ignoring or downplaying bisexual characters. Nope, sorry. Bisexuality actually exists, so why not have it in fiction, too?

3. Several different conversations this week have drawn my attention toward reviews and new writers. This is one of the hardest things to learn, as a newly-published/exposed author: how to deal with negative reviews.

The best and most-often-given advice is to ignore them individually. They are meant for readers, not writers. If a number of readers pick up on the same flaw and talk about it, it may be worth the author’s time to address it in future writing. That’s why this blog has a rudimentary Moroverse glossary buried over on the left side.

But vicious, individual reviews? Don’t answer them, try not to dwell on them. Everyone has their trigger points that make them lash out, often not even at the thing bothering them most. Laugh about the reviews from obviously clueless people, but try to recall that every reader comes to the book with different reading skills and expectations. No book can satisfy every reader.

As for trolls, those reviewers spouting vitriol solely to get a rise out of the author? Ignore them, do not reply, do not feed the troll. They don’t care about your book; chances are, they’ve never even read it.

But what to do when another writer takes it upon themselves to start a feud in social media or review forums? I understand we writers are in general competition with each other, but this isn’t a zero-sum game. Readers are voracious, and are always looking for more of their personal fixes. Otherwise Amazon’s ‘Also Bought’ service would be useless. Writers ganging up on other writers just makes the aggressors look stupid, and wastes everyone’s time.

Sure, there are writers whose work I don’t like. A much smaller subset of writers whom I’ve actually met, and didn’t like in person. Other than rolling my eyes and writing some general blog posts, I’m not going out of my way to spread one-star trashy reviews about them. I’ve adopted the policy of disinterest: if I’m not in love, love, love with someone’s story, I won’t review it. I may give a three star review on something I like, but I’ll make sure it’s a reasoned review hitting the good points, too.

Most of us are not in junior high or high school anymore. We certainly don’t have to act like it.

2014 AbsoluteWrite Erotica Writers blog hop Day 8

Wow, we’ve made it this far, folks.

Today, Kate Lowell interviews Karenna Colcroft here. I have no idea what they’ve cooked up between them, but it’s sure to be fun and spicy. While you’re over there, make sure to register for Kate’s Rafflecopter giveaway.

Remember, if you’re into jewelry, I’m still running my own giveaway on this blog: post a comment on any of my entries here between 6-23 and 7-7, and get a chance to win this thing (see Day 1 entry for description):

Garnet dusk necklace

I’m not as good at some art as I want to be. But I thought this older digital sketch of Moro and Val (and a scene that didn’t make it into Moro’s Price), would still be a good teaser ending for this post. Who’s actually against a wall, here?

Moro and Val pose 3