Monday, July 30, 2012

Quick update-added some reviews!

So I added in some links to the reviews of my books that have popped up around the internet. I'm very grateful to those who took the time to read and review them-thanks all! You can find them under the new "Reviews" tab.

Also, you'll notice that my site added a welcome page. I'll have to think of a fun picture to add.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Flash of Memory

            What Herman loved most about Nicholas was his strength.
            “Don’t move,” the dark haired man whispered as he placed firm metal hands on Herman’s hips in the dark. “And don’t make a sound.”
            Herman bit his lip as a wet tongue trailed down his stomach, past his navel, tracing a path onto his hips. The metal hands-cold at first, but warming on Herman’s hips-moved down too, to rest on Herman’s thighs, where his flesh joined the metal of his own enhanced legs.
            Nicholas pinned Herman’s legs down, hard. He was one of the few cyborgs in their platoon that intimidated Herman with his sheer power.
            Then he swallowed Herman’s weeping erection in his soft warm mouth, and Herman forgot about everything but the sensation of being sucked. Fire traveled through his body, peaking at the root of his cock, and coiled there, surging with every movement of the dark haired man’s mouth.
            “Nicholas…” He breathed a moan, fighting not to buck his hips. “So good.”
            He nearly cried out when Nicholas released him. “Be quiet,” Nicholas hissed, a smile evident in his tone. Herman nodded, wondering if Nicholas could see it. He didn’t know if the other cyborg had infra red or not.
            Nicholas returned to his task, and Herman choked back another moan. The other man’s tongue wrapped around the head of his cock as he pulled back, his lips tight, and Herman surged, the darkness of their shared room obliterated by pleasurable nothingness.
            Nicholas leaned down and kissed him hard on the lips, sharing Herman’s semen. “Tomorrow will be my turn,” he whispered. “I want you inside me tomorrow night.” He kissed him again, then left, padding across the floor to his own bed.
            Herman nodded once more in the dark.

Herman had learned quickly that he had to duck to fit through the doorways of the ship they flew on. It aggravated him, all the more so because he had so little to do.
“Another day of inactivity.” Reiner grumbled from his place at the table as Herman and Nicholas sat down. “The pilots get to do all the work.”
“It’s not so bad,” Nicholas said, grabbing a piece of dried rations from the center of the table. “They don’t find transports, we get to relax. They do, they blow them up-we get to relax.”
“I want to board and take prisoners, like we’re supposed to.” Reiner raised his voice. “I was not built this way to sit around.” He clenched his metal fist.
Nicholas shrugged, brushing crumbs off of the finger of his gloved hands. He peered at Herman out of the corner of his eye, and Herman shifted, his face heating. Nicholas could do a lot when his hands were gloved…
“Well if we never see any combat-” Reiner began to protest, and then the alarms rang.
“Looks like your prayers are answered,” Nicholas said with a frown. “That’s the tone for one of the King’s defense ships.”
“Finally.” Reiner stood up, heading toward his room to get his weapon. Herman followed suit, his heart already beginning to pound.

Herman knelt by Nicholas, gripping his laser tightly while gunfire pinged around them, lead bullets bouncing off the metal walls of the ship.
“There are four of them,” Nicholas whispered. “I’m going to shoot out the lights. Infra red and take them out while they’re blind and confused.”
So he did have infra red. “Yes.” Nicholas raised his laser and fired, the sizzling red beam slicing through the cable that jutted from the ship’s wall. As the room plunged into darkness, Herman activated infra red and stood, the defenders moving in shrouds of red and green.
He fired his own laser, just once, slicing through all four-but not before a bullet pinged off of the metal wall behind them. Nicholas thudded to the ground, the sound like a club.
“Nicholas?” Herman dropped his laser, placing a shaking hand on Nicholas’s shoulder. His blurry form shifted in Herman’s infra red vision, as blood pooled below him.
“I’m hit,” Nicholas wheezed. “Bad. Ricochet.” Herman swore aloud. The only advantage the defenders’ ancient weapons had were those ricochets. How stupid to forget that! He hit the button on his belt, the one that would send an emergency signal to their ship. Help would come. It had to.
“Can you get up?” Herman’s heart pounded sickeningly in his chest. Nicholas…no. The only person Herman had ever met who was like him, who knew what it was like to be a cyborg and would indulge in pleasure…This couldn’t be happening. Chilling fear tightened his throat. “Nicholas, can you get up?”
“I don’t know,” Nicholas coughed. “I’m bleeding. A lot.”  Herman swallowed against a sick anxiety.
            “Relax, Herman,” once again he heard the familiar smile in Nicholas’s words. “I’ll be fine. We won, right? I just have to get to sick bay.” He gave a tired sigh, tight with pain.
            A door crashed open, familiar popping sounds filling Herman’s ears as three other men entered the room, bursts of heat as they fired through the door visible in infra red. He heard Reiner’s bellow of rage.
            Another laser blast, and the men went down. It took every bit of training Herman had not to call for help. If there were other enemies, that would only bring death down on them both.
            The room was silent, the only sound Nicholas’s labored breathing. It began to grow softer, and Herman’s heart raced, even faster than it did during battle. He had never lost anyone before. He couldn’t lose Nicholas. Where were the medics?
            “Nicholas!” he hissed.
            “Sh, Herman…” His voice was weaker, labored with pain. “Go on. Win the battle. Help can’t come otherwise.”
Herman’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not leaving you here.”
“Don’t be stupid,” Nicholas ground out, and his words stabbed. “Fight for me.”
Herman’s gut twisted as he leaned down kissed Nicholas softly on the lips. “I’ll come back. I promise.”

He met up with Reiner in the hall outside the room. The two cyborgs teamed up without a word, taking down everyone who approached.
Every minute of battle felt like hours. Herman couldn’t keep his mind off of Nicholas, off of the bleeding form of his lover on the ground and the sensation of his soft lips. That wouldn’t be the last time they kissed. It couldn’t be. He would fight, and Nicholas would live.
Every shot he fired was perfect. When a desperate soldier tried to sneak up on him from behind, he whirled and used the hidden blade in his artificial arm to dispatch him with little effort. He ignored Reiner’s nod of appreciation.
Sweat dripped down his neck-and then the communicator at his belt buzzed. The ship shuddered.
They had won.
Herman whirled, heading back down the halls to where Nicholas lay. The lights came on, power from the generator, as he entered the room.
A pool of blood lay on the floor. Nicholas was gone.

“Where is he?” The small medic outside the sick bay backed up against the slate gray wall, his eyes wide. “Tell me where he is!” Herman demanded.
“Soldier!” Herman froze, the voice of Commander Nitle echoing off of the ships walls. “You are out of line. Come with me.”
Swallowing his fear and anger, Herman fell into step behind Nitle. He towered over the unmodified man, but he would never dream of disobeying.
“It was a hard battle?”
“Nicholas was injured,” Herman tried to keep emotion out of his voice, and failed. “I…he is a friend.”
“Yes, I see.” They turned the corner, and Herman stifled a sigh. The Da Vinci’s. Maintenance after a battle-routine.
“Relax, Herman. This will take a bit longer than usual.” He wanted to ask why, but he would never question the commander. As soon as this was done, he would go and see Nicholas.
He closed his eyes as the Da Vinci bots spread over him.
Some time later, he sat up, testing the strength in his modifications. His head hurt, just slightly, but that could just be a stiff neck from lying on the metal table for so long.
“Greetings, Herman,” Commander Nitle said with a smile. “I am pleased to inform you that you will be reassigned after helping to win the battle today. Your belongings have been collected. Report to the shuttle bay.”
“Yes sir.” Herman stood, and for a moment he wondered if he had somewhere else to go-someone to see.
No. There was only one other cyborg on this ship, and he and Reiner had never really gotten along. “Thank you, sir.”


            “Herman?” Blaze’s voice intruded into his thoughts. “Does it work?”
            Herman removed the electrode-covered tiara, staring down at the looping wires. Ancient technology, but powerful. They had discovered a lot in this dead city.
            “Yes, it does.”
            “That’s great!” Blaze’s green eyes shone. “What did you remember?” Blaze leaned against him, his lips cool on his forehead. “Anything interesting?”
            “A few things.” The number flashed through his mind from Aver’s computer. 25-61S. And now he had a name.
            He would never be able to keep his promise. The Distant Rule had made him break it.
            Herman pulled Blaze closer, the smaller man gasping as Herman hugged him. He would never break such a promise again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Congrats to the first winner!

Congratulations to Kari over on Goodreads, who won a free copy of Remembrance! The prize has been sent out!

The contest to win a free copy of Air is still on over at Hearts on Fire reviews!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012


Hey all, who's up for a game?

This game is easy. All you have to do is check out the Goodreads Gay Science Fiction group and post in my Author of the Month thread. If you do, you enter your name into a hat (it's a virtual hat, very spiffy) with a chance to win my newest release! Below you can find the blurb and a sneak peak at the first chapter.

So what is being released? Drumroll please:

The war is over. The majority of humanity has fled the dying planet to live in space, leaving behind a chemical called Overgrowth that will speed up the restoration of the war torn world.

Some were left behind, and not all by choice. As one chapter of humanity comes to a close, a soldier who thought he had nothing left and a historian who sees potential even in destruction will make a life out of what remains. 

Chapter 1

A man strode out of the forest, his blond hair gray in the ashy light of the streetlamps and the roiling fog, which clung like a cat to his legs. A loose hinge on the side of his tattered briefcase rattled lightly as he walked.
“Got anything?” A leathery man held out a hand from the shadows, his voice creaking as he spoke. “Just a bit?” The tall man passed by without answering, and the beggar became lost in the fog.
The man walked by metal structures, some of them leaning crazily to one side or the other and some standing firm. Flickering lights and fluorescent hums marked those that had survived, though the signs spelled only gibberish in the roiling mist. Pictures could still be made out, mostly of red lips, long legs and huge breasts. Words were unnecessary. The man turned down a narrow street, putting his back to the signs.
There were no leaning buildings here, and the grit from the main street had amassed in full so that the man’s footsteps crunched rather than clacked. Wooden buildings, dwarfed by the metal ones still visible in the skyline, promised light and food. Voices could be heard here, female and male, laughing uproariously at some common joke. The words here were etched or carved into the wood. The man took his chances on one, a sign that waved in the damp wind with faded letters that promised “Bes Drosoph in the City.”
A woman whose ribs showed through the skintight clothing she wore opened the door for him, a smile plastered on her face. “Lemme guess-pounds over pity?”
The man nodded, the pupils of his eyes constricting painfully in the light. He didn’t usually stay long in these places, where those who had been left behind scraped to live as they could, indulging in the glaring phosphorescence of the buildings that surrounded them.
His feet thudded heavily on the wooden floorboards, making them creak. No one looked up save for one young girl bedecked in plastic pearls, and she smiled at him as winningly as she could with a mouthful of graying teeth.
The man looked away, focusing on the rough grain of the wood as he took a seat. A group of men to his right slapped their table, making the dishware rattle.
“Over here, Nella!” The girl’s wide hips swayed invitingly as she walked, the folds of her blue dress brushing the man’s ear as she strode by. She turned to smile at him, a ruby rictus, before a long haired man grabbed her with one arm, pulling her into his lap.
“You’re good luck, beauty.” He chuckled, and she bit her lip as she adjusted herself to straddle the burly man’s knee. His thick arm completely covered her waist, and she slumped in his grasp.
The tall man turned away, carefully placing the battered briefcase under the table. For a time he closed his eyes and basked in the presence of other people, letting their conversations wash over him. He had traveled alone for a long time.
“Ouch! Don’t bite me!”
“Four aces!”
“Have you heard? Another youth gang hit the food stores.”
“Oh really? Then why do we have this then?”
“You think this is any good?! I shoulda ordered the pork. And this beer tastes like weasel piss.”
“There are no weasels here, idiot.”
Forks clanged on plates, feet tapped on the floor, and laughter rose and fell. Low voices discussed sweet nothings in the room above the lounge, and he tried to make out what they said.
A tap on his shoulder finally stirred him from his concentration. “You can’t sleep in here, you know. You need a room for that.” The slim hipped woman from before stood over him, a twang of annoyance in her voice hiding behind her plaster smile.
“I’m merely relaxing,” he spoke, his voice a rasping whisper. “May I order a meal?”
The woman blinked long lashes in surprise at his voice, and her mouth turned down. “What do you want?”
“The pork.”
“To drink?”
“Just water.”
The woman sashayed away to fulfill the request. The man closed his eyes, letting the voices in the room wash over him once more. When his food arrived he ate slowly, waiting for the water that was supposed to accompany it. Then a clatter at the table caught his attention.
A dark haired man had sat down across from him.
“What’s your name?” he asked hurriedly, his voice pitched low.
“Aldric,” the man answered, pain finally blooming in his throat as he spoke. He tensed as he watched the other man’s eyes rove around the room like a hunted animal. His damaged, rasping voice, ordinarily off-putting to the people he met, didn’t seem to faze this one.
“Alright, Aldric, I’m Daniel. Just pretend you know me. Please? Just…talk.”
“What about?” Aldric listened. There was nothing dangerous here that he could sense, no indication of what this man could be running from. Then again, with no real law enforcement, no structure since the end of the war save for one rulesurvive as long as you cana certain amount of paranoia was expected.
“Where do you live? Around here? I don’t recognize you.”
Aldric sighed. “I am a traveler. I’ve come from…inland.”
“A traveler?” Some of the tension left his companion, replaced with curiosity. “How far have you come?”
Aldric looked away from the other man’s gaze, watching as the woman who was supposed to be serving him water got waylaid by two men who stared at his new companion out of the corner of their eyes. One of them palmed the woman’s breasts, and the other whispered in her ear. She smiled and her eyes met his. “A long way.”
“I’d love to hear about your travels,” the man said, speaking just a bit louder to get his attention. Aldric shifted his gaze, wondering if his new table companion had noticed the two men. His eyes were fixed on Aldric. “No one here has ever left and come back.”
“Is it…nice here?” Where had the two men gone? Now there was only the woman, filling the pitcher, and the other one, called Nella, shrieked as some other man tickled her.
Finally the other man followed his gaze. “Look, I’ll buy you a nice woman for the night if you just
Aldric stood and caught the knife that had whistled through the air inches from the dark haired man’s ear, the blade slicing through the fabric of his glove and then stopping. He turned and locked eyes with one of the men, the one who had whispered to the girl, who ran out the door. Voices quieted for only a moment before the buzz resumed. Something like this was not uncommon here.
The dark haired man’s eyes boggled. “Are…is your hand alright?” He reached for it, and Aldric snatched it away, pocketing the knife.
“There’s still one more. You should leave.”
“Alone?” the man squeaked. “Why not come with me?” When Aldric narrowed his eyes, he continued, “If you’re a traveler, you need a place to stay, and you’ve already saved my life once. Let me repay you? C’mon, I need your help.”
Aldric raised an eyebrow. If he was desperate enough to be begging strangers… “Lead on then.”
The two stood up together and headed out into the dirty night air. Aldric had never gotten his glass of water, but he threw a few coins onto the table anyway.
As he followed the man, who walked hunched as if to hide himself, the dingy shops gave way to shacks and houses, gaping holes in the sides on some of them signaling either the presence of an inhabitant or lack of one. No shortage of housing here. Mud began to squelch around Aldric’s boots as he walked further, and though the streets were more mired and pitted, at least the houses began to look nicer as they moved away from the heart of the city.
Aldric watched his new companion closely. He had seen his like before, the same furtive, nervous walk that betrayed a long time of persecution, coupled with a strong desire to live. What did this man have to live for? Who targeted him? This curiosity led Aldric to walk silently behind Daniel, using years of training to accomplish the same vigilance that Daniel clumsily tried to perform.
He sensed them long before Daniel did, and gave no sign of it. Three men and a dog. The dog attacked first, growls cutting the night, and Aldric stepped in front of its target, throwing him arm up as the animal leapt for Daniel.
Teeth clamped down, and Aldric spun and threw the animal to the ground, shoulder muscles straining under the weight. With a pivot he faced the men who had begun to run toward them with clubs held high. The fingers of his right arm twitched, as though preparing to fire a gun he did not hold.
The men slowed and stopped when they saw the dog limping away, realizing their ambush had failed. The two groups faced each other for a moment before the men shrank back into the shadows, scattering and disappearing behind houses and fallen wood.
“Once again, thank you.” Daniel moved close to him, so close Aldric could smell his piney scent. He kept clean, too. Unusual in a place like this.
“Is you arm alright?” Aldric took a step back, giving Daniel a firm nod. The man stared, his gaze fixed for a moment, before shrugging and turning.
“Come on. We’re almost there, and I don’t think they’ll try anything again tonight.”

* * * *

They crossed a muddy, pitted track that was once probably a creek or stream, the forest looming close and the lights and stink of the city receding. Fitting.
“Here we are.” Daniel jogged up the steps of a stone house that looked to once have housed at least two families. Unlocking numerous deadbolts from keys on his belt, he thrust the heavy metal door open and waved Aldric inside. Fluorescent lights stung his eyes as he entered, ducking through the warped doorway. It looked almost like a bunker.
“Let me see your hand. Take off your gloves.” Daniel moved toward him, arms outstretched.
“No.” Aldric firmly stepped away. “I am fine.”
“That dog bit you! I saw it! And the knife…” He trailed off in the face of Aldric’s firm stare.
“So you’re really fine?” Aldric nodded, standing stiffly in the foyer.
“Fine then. Well…I guess I owe you hospitality, and breakfast too, since you saved me twice. Do you want to sleep now, or maybe you could tell me about your-”
“Sleep,” Aldric said gruffly, ignoring Daniel’s disappointment. “Do you…have running water here?”
“I do. There’s a bathroom and sink down the hall. You can sleep here on the floor, or if you don’t mind, we can share the bed in the other room.”
The offer tempted him. Once such an offer would mean something, but now Aldric knew that sharing a bed was simply a necessity of the times, a comfortable place to sleep snatched whenever and wherever it could be. Even so…he couldn’t risk it.
“The floor is fine.”
“Really? Well, if you’re sure…”
“I am.”
“Alright. I have extra blankets. There’s no heat, but that hasn’t been a problem for years now.” He flashed a sad smile. “I guess I’ll head to bed. Um, thanks again for your help. I hope…I mean, well…”
Aldric cocked his head, waiting.
“It’s nothing. I’ll take you out for breakfast in the morning. Good night. Give me ten and then the bathroom is all yours.”
Aldric ran a gloved hand through his hair, then set up his blankets into a makeshift bed on the floor. Daniel confused him, being kind, or perhaps desperate, enough to invite him into his home after having barely known him. Other people in his travels had rarely been so caring.
It would certainly not last, so he might as well try to enjoy it. Aldric prepared for sleep after Daniel entered the bedroom, shutting the door behind him. Rummaging through his suitcase, Aldric moved his gun and tools out of the way and took out a change of clothes, then locked it up again. He slept in the clothes he had worn that day, down to the gloves. He would change in the morning, before Daniel awoke. It would not do if the other man saw him.
Sleep came easily, unusual for Aldric.

Want more? Check out the Goodreads Gay Science Fiction group and post in my author of the month thread for a chance to win it! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Time for a checkup

Children have pediatricians that they see every year or so of their lives. The receive preventative care. After all, it would be ludicrous to never send your kid to the doctor until something went wrong. Adults also get checkups yearly to make sure everything is in good working order.

This is all for physical ailments. What about psychological ones? Why do we wait until the situation is dire until we see a mental health professional?

Any researcher or clinician will tell you that millions of people are walking around with undiagnosed mental illnesses or subclinical symptoms. These people could benefit hugely from a simple half hour check in with a psychologist.

Why don't we have psychological check ups, the same way we have physical checkups? This would be hugely beneficial in multiple ways. One, it would aid in the identification of people who are at risk for or who are developing serious mental illnesses, like depression or schizophrenia. Two, it would help those with less severe illnesses or personality disorders, who could benefit from a few therapy sessions or group therapy. Three, it would aid in the norming of the population-part of the problem in psychology is that there is no clear definition of healthy. This may also prevent over diagnosing, as the clinician wouldn't be operating on the assumption that simply because a patient walks in, there's something very wrong. Four, it would be a way to refer children who are at risk of developing into a potential problem to get help. Five, it would be another way to identify children who are in risky or unsafe situations. And six, it would reduce the stigma of seeing a psychologist in the first place.

And, of course, it would give all those psychologists who are being churned out of graduate schools a secure job.

Everyone knows physical health is important. So is mental health, and preventative care is something that should exist.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Amazing Spider Man

It's been a long week at work for me, but I finally got free time this weekend to see a movie: The Amazing Spider Man!

I figured I'd post my thoughts here.

Let me preface with the fact that I did enjoy the movie. I got my money's worth. But I do think that this remake was unnecessary, and the movie is unfortunately less enjoyable and coherent than the previous SpiderMan movies (with the exception of Spider Man 3, which I like to pretend doesn't exist).

Spoilers below:

So, first we have the origin story. Like in the last Spider Man movie, Peter Parker gets his powers by being bitten by a genetically engineered spider. This is the first thing that bothers me. There is an entire room of these spiders in the lab he enters. One bite from any of these spiders could apparently give someone spidey powers. And yet we're expected to believe this is the only time it happens, and the rest of the time these spiders are totally ignored? Peter Parker, who is supposed to be a very intelligent character, doesn't think to tell Dr. Connor that the spiders in his lab bestow super powers? I miss the comic version of the origin story-the radioactive spider.

Second, Peter learning the ability to control his powers is glossed over in an unsatisfying montage. I felt very much like I was expected to know a lot of things already (like the fact that one of Spiderman's most important abilities is his "spidey-sense" that lets him predict upcoming danger) in order to understand how Spiderman did the things he did. Also, he repeatedly shows off clearly superhuman strength to his classmates, but no one reacts, which makes it feel more cartoonish than it should.

Third, the romance was just annoying. It wasn't unrealistic or anything, but Peter's character during the romance scenes was inconsistent with his character at other times. His awkward-teenager act was just obnoxious, and the love interest was so bland I don't even remember her name. Again, Peter Parker is supposed to be an intelligent character, but he doesn't act that way throughout the movie, and especially not in the romance scenes. It was inconsistent and annoyingly immature.

And last, Lizardman is an unsatisfying villain. His motives were clear at first, but then I guess we're supposed to assume he just goes crazy after using the serum. There's no real reason given for why he goes crazy, or why the algorithm didn't work, or why lizards seem to follow him around. It just happens.

Again, I liked the movie. It was entertaining. But for a more satisfying, more coherent version, check out Sam Raimi's version from 2002.