Sneak Peek Sunday snippet: Moro’s Shield

(Six paragraphs from my current WIP, the sequel to my debut novel Moro’s Price. I’m posting them on Saturday night because I intend to be comatose on Sunday morning. Enjoy.)


“Dear girl, I’m sorry deprive you of fresh berries,” said the articulated, eight-foot-high steel skeleton waiting for Syene in Fortunero’s docking bay. Benny’s exo-chassis was Camalian military stock, a burly war-bot he’d bought at auction years back. He’d be more terrifying if he didn’t still have a white and red-striped fabric apron around his waist and gleaming chest. A legacy of their customary post-landing breakfast. He couldn’t ingest food, but his taste and smell sensors were remarkable. Sy was a lackluster cook, so she was happy to eat the more savory leftovers of Benny’s experiments.

“If you’d let me upgrade our hydroponic booths, I could grow them,” Sy said as she hopped out of the hovercraft. She grinned up at her employer. “I didn’t say berries. You were listening in! Having doubts about Dolan’s Rock, Captain Fortunero?”

Benny wrangled the last crate onto the hovercraft. His deep masculine voice routed out of speakers in his shoulders: “Hardly. I knew Dolan’s great-grandmother when she was an infant. We’re not upgrading the booths. Who would take care of them?”

“I will, as long as you cook. Think about it. Blackberry pie,” she intoned.

“Ah, Syene, you won’t be with me forever. Should I interview all my new candidates about their gardening skills, too?”

Sy clenched her jaw to keep from blurting out: I’m not going anywhere. Benny always spoke of her moving on to better employment. She meant to spend the next few hundred years out here. She might even make the final choice Benny had, and upload her consciousness into an AI-driven robot chassis. Then the silence in her mind would be complete. Would that be worth giving up a flesh and blood body?


Read more Sneak Peak Sunday snippets here.

Sneak Peek Sunday alert

For my wonderful readers who keep buying my crazy book, and telling other people about it, I’m working up a tiny reward.  This upcoming Sunday I’ll be posting a rough draft excerpt of Moro’s Shield here, and linked here:

This will be a non-explicit, six-paragraph look at what the boys will be doing in the forty-eight hours after Moro’s Price wrapped. Hint: it’s just as tumultuous as the first forty-eight hours of their relationship.

EQ interview and Moro’s Price relaunch party (adult content advisory)

Good morning, everybody! We are gathered here to celebrate the hidden good luck in Amazon glitches, the brilliant resource that is Exquisite Quills, and my ability to type before the assimilation of laaaaarge amounts of coffee.

This is the semi-official relaunch party for Moro’s Price, my debut novel that apparently had to be published again a few days ago. (Not by Loose Id’s fault – they worked overtime to solve this.) The response has been amazing.

To thank all my old and new buyers, I’ll be posting and linking to snippets of Price, its in-progress sequel Moro’s Shield, and an in-progress spinoff novella called Leopard’s Leap.

From now until next Saturday (January 18, 2014), I will be collecting posts from everyone who comments on this blog or the EC interview post. After January 18, the Gods of Random at will draw one comment, and that poster will receive their format-choice of Moro’s Price in e-book. I will weed out obvious spam and probably mock trolls, but beyond that, anything goes.

(I was trying to reactivate comments at the following posts, but it’s a bit of nightmare narrowing it down. So go, read, enjoy – then come back here and talk at me.)

Here is a teaser for Moro’s Shield. I can’t post much of this manuscript because my editors would yell at me, but it’s going to fun. Also shorter, at around 70K. But I promise, there is no let-up on plot or shenanigans.

Here’s a character interview with Moro and Val.

Here are three teasers for Leopard’s Leap. What the hell is Leopard? Alert readers may figure out this spinoff novella will follow the relationship of two Price side characters: Val’s friend Mateo DaSilva and Mateo’s distant cousin Jason, who is one of Moro’s repeat adversaries in the arena. It will be unvarnished M/M angst, adventure, snarking, lots of sex, and sexual tension – and some outside glimpses of both Val and Moro, even though they are not POV characters.

I will be back later with more fun stuff. After I’ve found coffee.

The Next Big Thing

Missy Welsh invited me to tag along on The Next Big Thing blog hop, and talk about my current works-in-progress (WIPs). What better way to celebrate the start of a new year?

1. What is the working title of your book? I have two WIPs jostling for attention at the moment. Book #1 is Moro’s Shield, book #2 is Bloodshadow.

2. Where did the idea come from? Moro’s Shield is the sequel to my first-published novel Moro’s Price.

Bloodshadow Stalking

Bloodshadow is set loosely in the same universe as the Moro books, but thousands of years earlier on one of my alien Sonta homeworlds.

3. What is the genre of your book? Moro’s Shield is gritty M/M/F erotic romance space opera.

Bloodshadow is a dark fantasy with space opera overtones and M/F romance.

No matter what genre I write, I make a point to include LGBT characters and cultural quirks in most of my writing, so few of my characters are 100% straight or gay. Tel Girshanha

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I couldn’t, for the simple reason that I’d probably go with an anime and/or CGI adaptation over live action – certainly for the lead in Bloodshadow. (It would be really tricky to live-cast someone who half the time looks like a Utahraptor crossed with an African lion.)

That said, early physical inspirations for Valier Antonin included the models Phoenix James and Andrej Pejic, and younger photos of actor Jared Leto.

Moro has no specific physical counterpart (I haven’t been 100% happy with my sketch models of him), but I will admit to my jaw dropping when I first saw David Giuntoli in ‘Grimm”. Sure, Moro is taller, paler, with longer hair and odd eyes – but that’s the fun of writing fantasy!

Moro, Val, and disc pencil version

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Moro’s Shield: On the run from two human empires, Moro accepts Sonta help for his damaged nervous system, while Val discovers unexpected friendship among the Sonta’s masters of sensual torment.

Bloodshadow: The shapeshifter Tel confronts her dark and alien heritage while uncovering a plot to invade her planet.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher? Pending approval, Moro’s Shield is on contract to Loose Id, who published the first book.

Pending revision, Bloodshadow may be represented by my agent or self-published.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I had a lot of necessary interruptions in 2012, so it took me a few months to plot both Moro’s Shield and its possible sequel. I’ll have the 70K final draft done by the end of February.

Bloodshadow is one of those on-again, off-again epics that I work on when I feel like it. I started it in 1998, dropped it in 1999, picked it back up in 2009, finished 150K of it, pitched it unsuccessfully to agents, won honorable mention or second place in a few high-level contests with it (Thank you Random House and Writers of the Future for giving me hope!), and am now trimming it to a more readable 110K.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’d say that folks who like Belinda McBride’s ‘Coalition’ erotic romance space operas might like mine. In the broader sf&f field (and if sf&f readers can handle the graphic M/M sex), the Moro books might appeal to folks who like C.J. Cherryh’s science fiction or Lois Bujold’s ‘Vorkosigan’ space operas.

For Bloodshadow, I think it feels a little like Jacqueline Carey’s ‘Kushiel’ novels blended with James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ movies, or Andre Norton’s ‘Witch World’ series meets Scott Lynch’s ‘Gentlemen Bastard’ novels – a secondary world mingling fantasy and science fiction elements, an immense history, and a main character whose self-discovery guides readers through bloody action and political intrigue.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? As a hobby, I’ve been developing the universe of Bloodshadow for almost 30 years. My very first inspirations would be the epics of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the space opera/metaphysical crack of the first ‘Star Wars’ movies.

Movies, TV shows, and anime sagas like ‘The Fifth Element’, ‘Babylon 5’, ‘Firefly’, ‘Cowboy BeBop’, and ‘Ghost in the Shell’ inspired the world building and ‘feel’ of the Moro books. The actual inspiration came from an erotic romance editorial test I took in early 2011, after trunking Bloodshadow yet again. I learned three things from the test: I was not cut out to be an editor. I thought the editorial sample provided was derivative and so clunky it needed more developmental than mechanical editing. But I really enjoyed the idea of cutting loose with a new genre. I’d loved writing M/M stories in obscure fanfiction, received some thoughtful praise and critiques from them, and I wondered if I could write original M/M and M/F erotic romance commercially. Ninety days and 100K later, I had the first draft of Moro’s Price.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The Moro books are as much space opera as they are erotic romance, because I find plot as much a turn-on as sizzling sex scenes. If you like layers of story, plot twists, some fairly intricate world building, plus hot and damaged guys building friendship out of lust and a nearly-accidental marriage – give these books a try. Dark Music tapestry

On Bloodshadow? It could be my epic foray into mainstream fantasy, or an epic fail. I’m a fool for working on it and its plotted sequels when I have no outlet other than self-publishing, but it’s a big, fun story that keeps pulling me back. You can get a hint of Tel Bloodshadow’s world in the erotic fantasy short story ‘Saints and Heroes’, in the Cleis Press anthology Thrones of Desire:

To get you started, here are purchase links for Moro’s Price. 

At Loose Id, my publisher.

On Amazon.

At AllRomance e-books.


Now go forth! Check out these great writers, their past works, and their Next Big Things coming up next week or so:

Meredith Booke

Belinda McBride

Vera Nazarian

A.G. Carpenter



October 26 updates

Compiling plot change notes on COLD COMFORT. 18K that I’m happy with on MORO’S SHIELD, with another 11K to be condensed from notes. BLOODSHADOW in revision. I’m holding off on MASK and LEOPARD until I finish SHIELD. I kicked all short stories out of the way for now, since I don’t need any more plotbunnies underfoot.

The wonderful Emma Lai has posted a teaser for MORO’S PRICE on her blog. Please check it out, and read her books. They’re worth tracking down:

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 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.