Archive for category across the east river bridge

some updates

This post is going to be all over the place, so bear with me, but updates!

• If you follow me on social media, you probably saw that my laptop finally bit the big one last week. I helped it along by spilling water on it, but it’s been on its way out for a while. It’s more than six years old. It was running super slow. I’ve been saving in anticipation of buying a new one this year. This just happened so suddenly that I was surprised and spent a whole day freaking out because I make my livelihood by typing on that stupid thing and… yeah. Not having a computer is a bad thing for a writer.

So that was stressful, and I haven’t replaced it yet for a few reasons, but things are okay. My entire hard drive was backed up on my external drive, so I haven’t lost anything (phew!) and I’ve got my tablet and a temporary loaner laptop to use until I can purchase a new one. This is going to slow me down a little, but I have so much going on in March I don’t have a lot of time for writing anyway.

• Barb put up a post Friday at Live Your Life, Buy the Book for her birthday in which she picked a sweet sixteen set of Loose Id books to celebrate. These same books are now on sale. They include Across the East River Bridge by yours truly as well as some of my old favorites including Duty and Devotion, Nowhere Ranch, and Long Tall Drink. She asked the authors of books she picked to write up a little something, so I talked about the ill-fated romance I found myself in when I was at a camp for overachievers at the University of Michigan when I was sixteen. I felt like that tied in nicely with the rival-academics theme of AtERB.

• I’ve got the final cover and blurb for The Silence of the Stars, so I’ll reveal that… soon. I’m not certain of the pub date, but I think May sometime. That’s the sequel to The Stars that Tremble, though it works pretty well as a standalone. This is Sandy’s story, and I put him through the ringer emotionally, but it’s actually not super angsty. More on that soon.

• Although if you plan to come to Liberty States in New Jersey next weekend, I’ll totally show you the cover. It’s gorgeous and I <3 it. (The big book signing is open to the public 4:30–6pm, so drop by if you’re in the area. A number of my favorite people will be signing books as well, including Tere Michaels, Damon Suede, and K.A. Mitchell.) Convention registration just ended, but the signing is open to everyone.

• I spent most of January and February reading books assigned to me because of contests or book club or research, so I finally got to read a book just for the hell of it this weekend, and it was glorious. (I find that, even if I’m enjoying a book, if I HAVE to read it, it feels like homework.)

I will say: reading books critically as a contest judge is tricky. It’s kind of like reviewing, I imagine, though for me, being an anonymous judge means I can be totally candid about how I feel about a book. Most of the contest books ended up being kind of middle-of-the-road for me: not terrible, but not that great either. There was competent writing and all the normal romance signposts, though some felt a little parboiled to me. (By which I mean: underdeveloped, not quite there yet.) It made me a little sad, actually; I guess if you read enough books that don’t really work for you in a row, you start to despair.

I think there’s value in reading critically in that you can analyze what it is that doesn’t work and apply those lessons to your own writing, so that’s my take away. But, for example, in a romance novel, I want that first “I love you” to be earned. I’ve read a lot of books lately where it feels like the characters are declaring their love for each other not because they actually are in love but just because we’re 3/4 of the way through the novel.

I want to write more on this topic—and on sex scenes, because I saw a few doozies in the contest books and in something I read over the weekend. (Short version: I’m noticing a lot of things that read to me as more “this is here because the author thinks it’s required” than “this is something the characters would organically do.”) I mean, romance is fantasy, no question, and there are things I can excuse in a story I’m enjoying, but a lot of what I’ve read lately doesn’t really match up with my own experience. (I have a lot to say on this topic, apparently, because I just wrote several paragraphs and then deleted them for fear I was getting too TMI, but suffice it to say we all bring our own experience to bear when we’re reading, and I have read some things lately that made me scratch my head and think, “Do actual humans behave in this way?” so.)

Anyway, this is a long enough post. Happy Monday!

five things on friday

This is a drowsy five things. I’m really tired. Zzz. But here’s what happened this week:

1. Thanks to everyone who bought and read Save the Date! It got all the way up to #2 on the All Romance eBooks bestseller list and has been on the Amazon top 100 for Gay Romance for the last week and a half or so, which I appreciate. I hope you all are liking the book!

BMMmzbmCUAA7N6N.jpg_large2. What There Is has a gorgeous cover done by L.C. Chase. Look for that (I think) next month. I just finished first edits on Monday. It’s a short (about 15K words) fluffy, sweet story, mostly about a guy who can’t play baseball anymore.

3. Ripped from the headlines: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here before, but one of my childhood best friends is currently DOMA exiled (he spent some time post-college gallivanting around Europe and fell in love with a Czech man; they currently live together in a large European city because the husband couldn’t get a visa to stay in the US). He’s been on my mind as the new immigration bill gets debated; I miss him a lot but totally get why he doesn’t want to live in the States.

4. I’m apparently procrastinating from my actual deadline by writing a new story, a contemporary that is super angsty! But my other WIP is a historical, which I am doggedly pursuing despite the fact that everyone is telling me the historical is dead. Which I suppose brings to mind the age-old problem of writing whatever the hell you want without regard for how much money you’ll make (which is generally how I try to operate, although the royalty checks are NICE, don’t get me wrong) and trying to have realistic expectations versus doing what the market demands. I can tell you I do a lot better with contemporaries than paranormals, but I’m not really known as a paranormal author, and I feel like Across the East River Bridge and Show and Tell are light in the paranormal elements. (AERB remains one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, though.) I dunno. I love historicals; you may have gleaned from reading AERB that I’m also a huge history nerd, so I suppose those go hand-in-hand.

5. I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately. Currently I’m wending my way through a history of Regency England (Our Tempestuous Day) and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach, both of which are really enjoyable in different ways.

five things: end of the year edition

Welcome to my last weekly wrap-up post of the year!

1. I hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday season. Things were quiet but nice here.

I considered doing an end-of-the-year wrap-up post—and I still might if I get my shit together this weekend—but in the event that I don’t, I want to say that this year has been super incredible on almost every front but most especially in terms of my writing career, and I’m still awed and humbled by all of it. So THANK YOU to everyone who helped me out this year (too many of you to name!), who bought a book, who talked up the genre, who said “Hi!” at a convention or book fair. You guys rock and make so many things possible. I’m really looking forward to 2013!

2. I spent a lot of last week with family. My mother just moved, so we spent part of the holiday weekend unpacking. My dad is still reeling from having attended a number of the funerals in Newtown—the short version is that he does enough work with kids in the area that he knows a few of the families whose children were killed in the shooting. It is so, so awful, the situation there.

Cup o Fireworks

Cup o Fireworks

3. Do you have big plans for New Years? I have friends who throw a party at their place in Manhattan every year, so that’s where I’ll be. I did the whole Times Square thing once, when I was twenty years old, and that was enough. I’m generally happy to stay inside and watch the ball drop on TV, frankly.

4. I’m going full-steam ahead on the new story I’ve been working on. I’m totally winging it, too; I never got around to making an outline. That could be good or terrible, I’m not sure; in the plotter vs. pantser debate, I am definitely a plotter. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned the story on the blog, but it’s an opposites attract story between a musician and a construction worker and I love these characters so much. I’m also trying to wrap up a novella; my beta reader has been poking me to send it to her all week, so I guess I should do that.

5. And the rest: Elisa reviewed Across the East River Bridge.

According to Goodreads, where I’ve been tracking my reading all year, I read 100 books this year. Some of those were short stories, but still… wow. If I do that yearly wrap-up post, maybe I’ll choose 10 good books at random. But I’m not making any promises.

The Rainbow Awards

I am thrilled, excited, honored to announce that Across the East River Bridge was awarded 3rd place in the Best Gay Paranormal category in the Rainbow Awards.

And Out in the Field received the One Perfect Rate honorable mention.

I was on the jury for the third year in a row this go-around, and I have to say, every book I read for the contest was really good, so I consider myself to be in some excellent company. So many excellent books were acknowledged; I bet your wallets are hurting now, eh?

Many thanks to Elisa for making the awards really special.

five things: GRL (OMG); swag disasters; reviews

Weekly wrap-up, comin’ at ya:

1. I was chatting with a coworker yesterday about my travel plans in October, and she said, “Why are you staying in Albuquerque? There’s nothing to do there.” Somehow, I don’t think that will be a problem for me.

So, YES, GAYROMLIT, LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. I am REALLY EXCITED, if that was not obvious from the caps lock abuse. We’re close enough now that it’s not too weird if I start pre-planning my outfits (not that I didn’t start that already, but now it’s not crazy… right?). Everyone in my social networks is atwitter about it. (Har har.) I would like to get on that plane right now.

I have run into one snafu, which is that the pens I ordered arrived last week and they were misprinted. (Seems to have been a font issue, so some letters were replaced with random characters.) Panic ensued, followed by ranting all over anyone who would listen, and then it took me two days to get anyone at the pen company on the phone. The customer service people, when I did finally get through, were really nice at least and they are sending me new pens, so now we play the game of hoping and praying that they arrive before I fly to ABQ. Man. I really want those pens. My thought process had been that the swag I always keep after conventions are pens. (I always need pens.) These ones I ordered are not top of the line, but they’re nice and they came in a variety of bright colors. *pouts*

Even if the pens don’t come in time, I do have postcards, bookmarks, Matt & Iggy baseball cards, and some other goodies for an event the Rainbow Romance Writers are doing. Between all that and the books I’m going to be selling, my bedroom is currently Box City.

2. BUT FIRST, I’m going back to my home state for the New Jersey Romance Writers convention next weekend and also kind of double-guessing the wisdom of doing two conventions two weekends in a row. (Who needs sleep? Bah.) I’m actually pretty psyched for that one, too, but my plan is to sit back and observe, figure out how these kinds of conventions go down. Well, also to represent the hot gay love contingent of the romance writing universe.

I was going to try to fit New York Comic Con in there, too (also next weekend) but then the part of my conscience that deals with my sanity laughed like a lunatic. So… no Comic Con this year. Maybe next year.

3. Dreamspinner is doing a Halloween Extravaganza, so they’re having sales all month. If for some reason you haven’t read Blind Items or Four Corners, you’ll be able to purchase them for 25% off during GayRomLit (sale is on the 19th–21st) and there might be some things you should pay attention to the @dreamspinners twitter account for.

4. I’m finishing up revisions on Show and Tell this week AND I got a release date yesterday: the book will be out January 22. (That’s soon!)

5. Reviews! I haven’t posted any of these in a while. The Novel Spot gave Across the East River Bridge 4.5 stars. Lisa says, “This is one of those books that not only entertained but also informed, which resulted in a really lovely read for me.”

Top 2 Bottom Reviews gave Four Corners 4.5 stars. Gabbi says, “I enjoyed watching both men work hard to find their way back to each other, and I appreciated the solid foundation of love and trust that they once again build between them.”

Announcement: Sports Week will be happening on this here blog the week of October 22nd, so you’ll have something to read during your GayRomLit hangover. I so far have 3 fantastic guest bloggers lined up, and we’re gonna talk about sports and romance and it will be fun! More details soon!

happy 2012!

Happy New Year!

2011 was a really amazing year both personally and professionally, and I’m hoping for even bigger and better things in 2012. I wanted to reflect a little on how this year has gone. As far as my writing goes, here were some 2011 highlights:

The Boy Next Door was published in January. This was my third book, and my second novel-length work. The story has a lot of emotional resonance, at least for me. And it’ll be out in print sometime this month!

• In March, I went to the Rainbow Book Fair here in New York City and spent the day hanging out with a bunch of my fellow Dreamspinner authors. Everyone I met was wonderful. I think I met a dozen authors that day, and they were each friendly and welcoming and I thought it was great to feel a part of this community of m/m writers.

• In June, my friend A and I went to the literacy signing that kicked off the RWA conference in NYC. I talked to a few m/m writers there and I got to meet Suzanne Brockmann, who is one of my romance-writer idols.

Blind Items was published at the end of July. It’s funny to me that this became my breakout novel in a lot of ways. I was so unsure of how it would be received. It’s a funny book, and it’s quite New York in its sensibilities, and it’s as much about the main character’s relationships with the people in his life as it is about his romantic relationship. But I continue to be delighted by the way it’s been received, and I’m thrilled so many people enjoyed it.

• Two big things happened in October. Across the East River Bridge was published, and that is a book I’m enormously proud of. That same week, I got on a plane to New Orleans and spent four incredible days at GayRomLit, an event I’m still giddy about. I had such an amazing time meeting authors and readers and talking about books and everything else. I’ve been looking forward to Albuquerque since I got on the plane back to New York.

• In December, my fourth published work (if you exclude freebies) of the year came out, a Christmas short called A Walk in the Dark. I also accepted a job that I’m really excited about, but we’ll get to that soon.

So now a new year! I rang it in last night with good friends who live in Manhattan. Just after midnight, we went up to their building’s roof to see if we could catch a glimpse of the fireworks being shot off from Times Square. We heard them, but the view was blocked by other buildings. Still, I had one of those moments, looking up at the familiar parts of the skyline, when I was reminded just how magic this city can be sometimes.

I have a lot to look forward to this year. I just this morning got the contract for my fourth novel-length work, a romance between two baseball players tentatively titled Out in the Field. I’m hard at work on a number of other things as well, but more about that later.

A happy, healthy, prosperous New Year to you all!!

news!

I’ve been too busy to post much around here, but a few things have happened in the last couple of weeks. So, without further ado…

1) I’m the featured author this week over at Lou Sylvre’s blog. You can click on the link to see everything, including an interview with me and excerpts of Blind Items and Across the East River Bridge.

2) Across the East River Bridge is now available from All Romance Ebooks!

3) Reviews! Across the East River Bridge got a great review from Sensual Reads. My Christmas short “A Walk in the Dark” got a great review from Queer Magazine Online.

4) The Dreamspinner Advent Calendar (in which you can find “A Walk in the Dark”) got a little shout out from Lambda Literary.

5) Now is as good a time as any to remind you that I’ve got a Christmas-related freebie over here. It’s on the website or you can download it as a PDF. It’s about two lost souls who find each other at the top of the Empire State Building on Christmas Eve.

Otherwise, I’ve been keeping busy, mostly with work, writing, and Christmas shopping. :)

reviews and things

I woke up this morning to find two new reviews of Across the East River Bridge:

MM Good Book Reviews gave it 4 hearts:

This is a great story that drew me in because of the interesting historical facts as well as a doomed 1870’s love story and the present love story. I must admit that I am a bit of a history nerd and love finding out new historical facts especially when it’s blended in with fiction and this author does that beautifully. This isn’t a light read; I’d class it as medium as we have two historical researcher’s digging into a mystery that is over a hundred years old and they are trying to figure out their attraction to each other; while one of them is fighting it and two ghosts are interfering with them as well.

And Cecilia Ryan at Three Crow Press gave it 4.5/5 stars:

The characters were engaging, and the mystery that formed the basis of the plot was interesting to watch unfold, with satisfying glimpses into history dotted along the way that were a bit like uncovering buried treasure. All in all, it was an entertaining read with perhaps a little more substance to the plot than you might normally find, and strong enough characters, setting and writing to hold up to the increased complexity. I can honestly say I just enjoyed reading it, in a simple sort of way that makes me perfectly happy.

(This was an especially nice review for me, since Cecilia and I are both members of the same online writing community, and we have had some, let’s say, spirited discussions. So I’m especially grateful that she took the time to read the book!)

I have crossed the 50,000-word threshold on my NaNoWriMo novel, and I’m currently about 60% of the way through my outline, so there’s still a lot of story to go. And there are fantasy elements! If you had asked me two years ago if I saw myself ever writing fantasy, I would have laughed at you, and yet here we are. Just goes to show it’s good to keep an open mind!

Saturday Snark

I figured I’d play along. Here’s a little Finn and Troy from Across the East River Bridge:

And now he was sitting in the same room as Troy, who was yammering on obliviously about gender relations in the nineteenth century, and all Finn could think was that Troy had a really lovely mouth, and he would very much like to kiss it again.

Troy interrupted his lecture to ask, “Do I have something on my face?”

“What? No.”

“Oh. You’re staring.”

Finn blinked a few times. “No, I’m not.”

Troy shifted his feet so that he was sitting with his legs stretched out. He leaned against the sofa, right next to where Finn was also leaning. “You weren’t even listening.”

Finn contemplated lying. “Eh, I guess I zoned out. Sorry.”

“It’s fine. Probably stuff you mostly already knew. Here, have a fortune cookie.” Troy picked up two and handed one to Finn.

Finn cracked his open. He read aloud, “Look in the right places; you will find some good offerings.

“In bed,” said Troy with a grin.

Finn rolled his eyes. “You are such a child.”

“I don’t think there is anything childish about showing you the offerings found in my bed.”

modern sensibilities

I have a guest post up at the RWANYC blog on having modern sensibilities but wanting to write history, which is sort of how Across the East River Bridge came about.

And right now, I’m twiddling my thumbs until midnight so I can get started on my NaNoWriMo novel, which I have been bravely sitting on for six weeks. (I seem to be writing… fantasy? That can’t be right. But it’s NaNo, so anything goes, I guess. I LOVE this idea, it’s all about New York through the ages and finding lost objects and… it’ll be good, I just know it. I want to start it!)