Sunday, October 25, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Backlist post on Rick R. Reed's blog!

Hello everyone,

Today my book Remembrance is being featured over on Rick R. Reed's blog! Be sure to check out the post!


Monday, August 31, 2015

Apple Bites Anthology!

From the Wednesday Briefers, we bring you....




Back to school takes on new meaning in this collection of eight mini-stories which run the gamut from sweet to spicy! No children in these tales, they’re for adults only! And each one features an apple in some way.
In this mixed bag of apple bites, you’ll find seasoned authors as well as newcomers. Teachers and students. Both M/M and M/F. There’s something for everyone’s taste.
Going back to school has never been so naughty!
M/M STORIES
JC Wallace – An Officer and a Gentleman (and an Apple)
Holden isn’t sure how much longer he can survive without the man he loves, whose return from a six-month deployment has been delayed. On the first day of classes, Professor Holden finds a shiny, red apple on his desk, mocking him. A cruel joke? Or something much more shocking…

Carol Pedroso – Have a Break, Have a...
Kevin is acting principal of another troubled school filled with idiotic teachers. His new husband had been sent half way round the world. Kevin is lonely, hungry, horny, and pissed off at life.
A surprise visitor at lunch time offers Kevin the break he so desperately needs…
Julie Lynn Hayes – Rivals  
John and Bryce are heads of competing fraternities at upscale Westover College, as well as fierce rivals. On rush night, John finds Bryce has crashed his soiree, seeking recruits. Verbal swords are thrust. When Bryce pushes John’s buttons, the challenge is on—and winner takes all.

Nephy Hart – Apple for the Teacher
Going back to school is difficult for Rage. He has no reason to think this year won’t be filled with more marginalization and abuse. When his boyfriend gives him an apple for the teacher, Rage has no idea what difference an art project will make, or who will get the apple.
Perry’s Cherry – Avery Dawes
An unfortunate earthquake shakes Perry from a freshman room to sharing with a grumpy senior. Too bad Nick is so sexy… and sullen. Labor Day finds them both on campus. Nick suggests a trip to a private club. Perry is about to get a college education of another kind…

M/F STORIES

Elyzabeth M. VaLey – Good Teacher, pet
Ready to start the new school year, Anais’ boyfriend and Dom, Ian, plants the seeds of doubt in her mind. He tells her she’s forgetting something that only the best teachers receive. Ian gives Anais a lesson and shows her how to earn herself a juicy treat.

Cynthia Dawn Griffin – Gatekeeper
Kate loves her job as Head Secretary. The students adore her, calling her Gatekeeper. Kate’s job may be in jeopardy because of her passionate affair with one of the staff, who acts as though it never happened.
Will she be able to focus on her job and win her man back?
Renee Rose – Hot for Teacher
Lucy's nerves have her wound up for her first Biochemistry 101 lecture. Fiancé Dr. Todd gives his T.A. a wicked distraction. While he tortures Lucy with edging and public arousal, she must somehow get through her class without losing all control.

Facebook Ready Post (just copy & paste if you are willing):
It's back to school with eight authors who are dying to show you just how naughty they can be! Read to find out if the characters in these stories can survive their back to school surprises.
#RomanceAnthology #BacktoSchool #MM #MF
Apple Bites: A Romance Anthology  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014AY2YR8

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: The Stormlords part 3


“Would you like to come with me?” The man asked. His voice was deep, reverberant in Rowen's chest. Around them, the storm raged, thatch blowing off of soaking roofs and water pouring from eaves and out of overfull water jars. 

            Rowen opened his mouth, but of course he could not speak. He shut it, blinking slowly. Was this death? 

            “Will you come?” The man moved farther away, hovering, and looked up. “If you don't, the storm will probably kill you.” 

            Rowen could not speak. But he reached out, and the man smiled. 

            “Come then.” He knelt down, grabbing Rowen and hoisting him like a child. Pain from the sunburns screamed across his body, but he could not cry out. If this was death, it was not what he had expected. 

            He didn't have the strength to hold on, but the man gripped him as they hovered higher into the air, then flew, up above the village and into the storm. Rowen did not look down, staring at the man's neck, secure in his muscular arms. The sky around them was gray-black with clouds, but here he felt none of the violence of the storm that was being wreaked below. Spots flecked through his vision, but he no longer felt like giving up. 

            “I'm going to take you somewhere safe.” The man's voice rumbled. “Don't worry. I will explain everything to you.” 

            He talked as though Rowen cared. His village had sacrificed him to die. He was not dead now, he was flying above the village he had grown up in...The world spun around him, and for a moment he thought he was falling, or flying faster. Then he passed out.

            ***
           
            He woke to a feeling of cold, a slimy surface chill that masked deeper thrums of pain. As soon as he opened his eyes, a flask was thrust in his face. 

            “Don't move. Just drink.” The cool water was poured into his mouth, spilling over his chin. He couldn't quite grasp the concept of drinking for a moment, the water splashing on his dry mouth and chin, but soon he guzzled it greedily, suddenly so thirsty that he felt as though the water was merely going down his throat without being touched by his tongue or being absorbed, as though he were drinking water in a dream. When the flask was taken away he felt no relief, only more thirst, and he followed it with his eyes, obeying the order not to move. 

            The man who had saved him knelt beside next to his head, the flask in one tanned hand. The place Rowen lay was dark, cold stone beneath and above him. 

            “I know you're thirsty, but you can't drink too much too fast. Small sips.” His voice echoed slightly, and Rowen wished he knew where they were. A year without being able to speak had taught him patience, however, and he merely accepted the flask when it was given again, swallowing the precious water. 

            “Do you feel better?” The man asked, and Rowen inwardly cringed. This man didn't know he couldn't talk. He nodded, unsure of how to communicate the problem. He wanted to thank him, for taking him away from the village and saving his life, but there was no way to do it. 

            “I'm Kristoff. What's your name?” The man spoke as though to a wounded animal, and Rowen realized that's essentially what he was. He lay naked on a stone floor, covered in caked mud, which he presumed was for the burns. The man looked concerned, even more so when Rowen wouldn't answer. 

            “Can you understand me?” He asked, brows furrowing. Rowen nodded once, holding his gaze, hoping Kristoff would understand. 

            “Will you tell me your name?” Kristoff pressed. 

            Rowen dropped his gaze. He moved his arm, the skin shrieking with pain as it left the cold floor, and pointed to his throat, giving a small shake of his head. 

            “More water will help.” Kristoff didn't understand, and Rowen drank a bit more, before shaking his head again and motioning once more to his throat. He drew a small X in the air above it, his hand shaking just from that small gesture. 

            Kristoff's eyes widened. “You can't speak at all?” 

            Rowen nodded once, and then felt something, an emotion he couldn't identify. Everyone in the village had known it, discovering it days after it happened, after his parents had lain, rotting, in his house until the heat spell broke, Rowen too weak to report it their deaths and no one concerned enough to check. No one had spoken to him since except to command, or tease, or sacrifice, not until now. And now Kristoff, the man who had saved his life, who had flown in a storm, would know that speaking to him was pointless, and it would begin again. Pain blossomed  in his chest. Whatever the reason was for saving him didn't matter. He was useless if he couldn't communicate. He looked away, not wanting to see the disappointment on Kristoff's face. 

            “Can you write?” Rowen shook his head. Only Alain and Erik had been able to write. Rowen had been destined to dig wells, as his parents had. 

            “Please, look at me.” He obeyed, finding a strange kindness in the other man's features. “That doesn't matter for now. I mean, I guess it does matter, your name is important, but...” He sighed, looking up as though for help. “I'm guessing you have questions that you can't ask, so I'm going to explain things to you as best I can. Bear with me. I've never had an apprentice before.” He said the last almost to himself, and Rowen realized that Kristoff was nervous. “Can you, uh, answer a few yes or no questions for me first?”

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: The Stormlords part 2


“He will suffer the way his parents did.” The woman said, and people around her agreed. His neighbors, the ones he had watched bring their water to the gathering, scowled at him and turned away. 

            Rowen didn't try to fight. There was no point. There were too many, and running during a heat spell would only bring on his death faster. 

            “Tie him up!” 

            Rowen heard Alain protesting, and then he was silenced. Those tying him worked quickly and quietly, stripping his clothes off and binding his ankles with cord, his wrists behind his back. For a sacrifice, it was all very civilized. Everyone knew not to waste energy in this heat. 

            “Leave him in the sun,” the man spoke. “One less to take your water, and one more death to bring the storms faster.” 

            Hot tears formed in Rowen's eyes, but he was too old to let himself cry. He hadn't wanted their water anyway. 

            They dragged him into the sun, and the ground underneath him burned. He shut his eyes tightly, and the sun baked him. Nobody watched.       
            
***
            Rowen knew that death would come quickly. 

            The sweating had already begun, and his head swam in the heat. He didn't dare open his eyes, to see the merciless sun beating down on him. His skin was pale, and if he lasted long enough he would be covered in blisters. 

            He tried to think of his parents. He had been close with them, as an only child. His father had introduced him to village girls, and had not shown disappointment when Rowen had confessed to feeling nothing for any of them. 

            He thought of Lucas. Lucas, blacksmith's apprentice, a boy his age with blond hair and an eager smile, full lips and bright blue eyes. Rowen had never told him how Lucas had made him feel, quickening his blood and stirring him in his dreams. 

            Lucas had died in the same heat spell that had killed his parents. Since then Rowen had felt nothing. Too much loss, all at once. He groaned on the heated ground, but it was useless. 

            He had survived the heat spell. It should have killed him, like it killed his parents, but he had lived, eating pit seeds that silenced him forever and leaving him mute to defend himself to the villagers when they claimed he stole his parents water. 

            A wave of nausea surged through him. Heat sickness was setting in. He rolled over to vomit, nothing coming up but whitish bile. Rolling made him dizzy, and that made the sickness worse. 

            Soon, nothing came up at all. Heat surged through him, but he could no longer sweat. The ground spun.
            This was fitting. He couldn’t survive again. 

            He opened his eyes, and was greeted with darkness. 

            Night had not come. He rolled, impossibly slow, to look up. The sun had been covered, a thick, dark cloud blanketing the village. 

            Rowen almost smiled.  He had been sacrificed, and the storm had come.

            Rain began to pelt the ground, the drops hitting as hard as thrown stones. Rowen opened his mouth, instinctively hoping to ease some of his dehydration, before thunder boomed, a fork of lightning splitting the sky and unleashing torrents. 

            More died during the heat spells preceding the storms, but the storms themselves were deadly too if caught outside. Wind lashed rain into his face, hard enough that if he were not already prone he would have been knocked over. He could no longer look up; opening his eyes only invited the rain, the cold drops making his dry eyes burn. 

            Rowen lay on his side like sodden rags, listening to the power of the storm. He had not expected to die this way. Water began to pool around him, the flood coming fast despite the dry ground underneath absorbing it. Eventually it would absorb it all, filling the underground wells, but for now the water would run into Rowen's nose and mouth, drowning him because he was too weak to move. He tried to drink; it tasted like dust. 

            Gusts of wind blew over him, whistling in his ears and hair, and he began to shiver with cold despite being overheated just a short time ago. The thunder deafened him, the flashes of lightning only visible as a red sheen behind his eyelids. If one struck him, at least it would be over quickly. 

            Suddenly, everything calmed. The darkness was accompanied by silence, the pelting rain gone, and for a moment Rowen knew he was dead. 

            “You.” A voice called, one that he did not recognize. He opened his eyes, watching the water flow by him. 

            “You. Look at me.” The voice called him again. Without the rain hammering him down, Rowen managed to roll over. If he was dead, why was the weakness, the pain, not gone? 

            A man stood over him. No, hovered over him, his feet not touching the ground. He was clad in dark green, a rare color here in this desert village. His short dark brown hair was plastered to his head, dripping onto his nose and chin, and he wore a necklace with a grayish stone around his neck. Rowen focused on the deep blue eyes, like a clear summer sky, so different from the hazy blue that had accompanied the heat spell. They promised something.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: StormLords part 1

Hey everyone! For a few weeks or so, I'm going to post the first few chapters of The Stormlords. Eventually it will be its own book, but for a while it will be my weekly Wednesday Brief!


            The heat hung over the village like a smothering blanket. 

            Rowen watched his neighbors carry buckets of water out of their hut, the image dancing in the heat waves that wavered off of the baked clay. The entire village was preparing for the daily gathering, always necessary during a heat spell. The gathering was a time for people to spread out precious goods like water and pit seeds, which would cool down the body and prevent heat death. 

            In normal times, goods were traded as per their worth. During a heat spell, however, nothing could match the worth of a simple bucket of water or a single pit seed. As a result, all shared, carrying the village through the spells that sucked the life out of the area. 

            Rowen had nothing to share. He only benefited, and he knew others resented him for it. He walked to the gathering with a heavy heart, his scalp burning from the sun as though his red hair were aflame. 

            The others who passed him glared, their eyes full of suspicion. None offered help when he stumbled in the heat. His store of food, the food he hunted for himself, had grown small, and the water bucket in his home was mostly dry. 

He would never steal water, but no one would believe him. Not after what happened.       
            Alain, the village elder, called the meeting to order, his powerful voice carrying over the throng.  There were fewer people here today than the day before. A bad sign. 

            “Report any losses.” This was how the meetings always began. Heat spells killed the young and the old first, and in the first week of this one there had been dozens of deaths. This heat spell was in its third week, the longest Rowen had ever experienced. 

            Hands went up, and Rowen looked down at the shady ground. “Talia.” An eight year old girl who had loved to play outside in the rain during winter. “Edericks.” An older man who dyed fabrics. “Abigail.” The seamstress. 

            Had they died during a normal time, they would be cremated. Fires were too dangerous during a heat spell, so they would be buried on the edge of town instead. 

            “This is day 22 of the current heat spell, the second of the warm season.” Alain intoned. “We have suffered greatly so far.” 

            “Too much!” A man cried out. Rowen looked up. He had lost his infant daughter in the first few days. 

            “Something must be done!” A woman cried. 

            “There is nothing that can be done.” Questions like these always arose. People yearned for the old times, when belief in mythical rituals that could bring the breaking storms was rampant. The old beliefs had fallen out of favor, people realizing that the advent of the storms was unpredictable, but the longer the heat spells stretched on the more desperate people became. 

            “Erik has measured the temperature currently at 134 degrees, dropping to 100 at night.” Alain continued. “This is unusual, but it should only mean that the storm will come soon.” 

            “The heat spells are longer and hotter. We should go back to the old ways!” A man on Rowen's left stood up, redfaced in anger. Andrew, the blacksmith, who's shop had lain abandoned for the last three weeks. “This would never have happened when I was a child!” 

            “There is no point in wasting energy on a ritual that won't work.” Alain didn't bother raising his voice. “The best thing to do is to wait and keep calm. Exertion will bring death.” 

            “We must do something!” The same woman who had been ignored before yelled again, louder this time, and people responded, turning to her and some agreeing, whispering under their breath.

            Rowen's heart picked up speed. The mood of the crowd was turning, from a tired group of people willing to help each other to get through hard times to something else. Something dangerous.
           
 “What would you have us do? The dances will only cause heat death faster.” Alain was trying to quell the crowd. 

            “There is no need for dances.” A man spoke up from the back of the throng, an accent shading his words. Rowen didn't recognize him until he turned to look. 

            The speaker was a man with pale hair and eyes, a traveler who had settled here from the north only a year ago. The heat had been unkind to him, his skin burned red from the sun. He always told tales of his travels, and people naturally paid close attention to him when he spoke.  

            “Where I come from, heat spells never last this long.” He spoke slowly, calmly, with a soft commanding voice that bade you listen. Rowen immediately didn't trust him. 

            “How?” Andrew asked, some of his belligerence gone. 

            The man chose his words carefully. “Where I live, heat spells are...harsher. Everyone fends for themselves. We are not as quick to share.” 

            A few people seemed concerned, and the man quickly picked up his tale. “But we have found a way to deal with that. Some people are not worth sharing with, after all.” 

            Someone glanced at Rowen. He swallowed, looking away. 

            “Surely this is not necessary.” Alain spoke up. He too sounded nervous. “We will begin the dispersal of water and seeds-” 

            “Where I come from, we give up the people who do not deserve resources.” The man continued, ignoring Alain, and the crowd hung on his words. “Sacrificing them to the Storm Gods brings the storms faster, and makes those who survive more comfortable.” 

            Rowen took a step back. People were nodding, smiling. Someone behind him grabbed Rowen by the arm. 

            “This one killed his parents by stealing their water!” Andrew yelled. Rowen opened his mouth to deny it, but of course no sound came out. He had never been able to speak, not since it had happened. 

            “Criminals make perfect sacrifices.” The man said, looking at Rowen but not meeting his eyes. “The Storm Gods are vindictive.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention Epilogue




Kenneth took a breath, stabilizing his magical strength as he got close enough to feel it double in power. Thorn was nearby, down the hall and in the small, cramped conference room in the inventor’s college.

The lightbulbs that illuminated the long hallway remained steady. After their week together, Kenneth had long gained control over his magic.

And, it seemed, Thorn had learned to focus on his work and his relationship. The past week, a week after their time together, he had finally finished his new prosthetic. Kenneth didn’t want to distract him, but he wanted to see it, and show his support. And there was something important Thorn needed his help with.

The conference room wasn’t too full, but Thorn’s friend Saul widened his eyes when Kenneth stepped into the room. He took a seat near the back, but the amount of heads turning made Thorn look up too.

He met Kenneth’s eyes, and Kenneth gave a small smile. Thorn sighed, obviously nervous, but smiled back.

Mutters bloomed around the room, but when Kenneth did nothing but sit and wait, they died down. Finally, Thorn cleared his throat after a stabilizing breath, holding up his project.

It looked different than when he had shown Kenneth weeks ago. It was sleeker, more refined, and more silvery than before.

“Greetings, everyone,” he began. As he spoke, he settled into the tone Kenneth was used to hearing from professors and talented students presenting. “And I’d like to thank Inventor Charles for mentoring me. With our work, the ultimate test is if we’d use it ourselves. And, today, I intend to begin doing so, to demonstrate my mastery of prosthetic engineering.”

He placed the new hand on the table.  “Of course, I’ll need an assistant’s help. Kenneth?”

More heads turned, more eyes going wide with surprise, as Kenneth got up and crossed the room. He wouldn’t use magic for this.

Thorn had explained the mechanism several times when Kenneth kept having trouble with the locking piece. Now, though, he unhooked it deftly, and the old prosthetic came off.

A brief look flashed over Thorn’s face, something that wasn’t pain but maybe fear. Kenneth knew why, or at least he could guess. But he didn’t care about the stump. Without missing a beat, he picked up the new prosthetic and fitted it, helping attach the small wiry bits that according to Thorn would sense the muscles and transmit those small twitches into hand movements.

One, two, three. Three locks, and it was secure.

“And now,” Thorn said, stepping back. His hand came to life, the fingers waving as though they were real. “I can do anything he can do.” He laughed when one of the people in the room snorted. “Well, almost anything.”

***
“Thanks,” Thorn said. He sat across the table in the cafeteria of the inventor’s college, holding a cup of water in his new metal hand. Saul sat next to him. “It went perfectly. Although with the way the professor investigated it afterward, I think he thought you had done some magic to it.”

“My magic couldn’t compare,” Kenneth said. “I wouldn’t know the first thing about making something like that.” No mage had ever had to. It was something talentless did—something magi could benefit from, and would benefit from, if one day they worked together.

Once they were Enforcers, they could make that a reality.

Saul sipped his drink. He still sometimes eyed Kenneth as though he expected the mage to suddenly attack, but those times were getting farther and farther apart. “It was a good project. And not everyone who makes prosthetics has the benefit of being able to immediately use it and test for any mistakes.”

Thorn laughed and drummed his metal fingers on the table. “True.”

The doors to the cafeteria swung open, and Kenneth caught sight of a familiar face. George, the man who had destroyed his gift to Thorn and threatened their relationship, strode in. His eyes met Kenneth’s.

Anger flowed through Kenneth, but he forced it away. His magic stayed under control, and he looked to Thorn, who hadn’t noticed George and was still tapping the table. He smiled when he saw Kenneth looking at him, and any residual annoyance flowed away. He ignored George, putting the angry, bitter man out of his mind.  There was nothing more he could do.

George had made his point about talentless and magi becoming lovers. And they, by staying together, had made theirs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention part 29


Part 29.

Thorn walked with his head held high and his mage lover by his side. They passed the stables, where they tied up their horses, and then strode down the hall, Thorn’s body fizzing with excitement and no small amount of arousal.

George didn’t matter. What other people thought, mage or talentless, didn’t matter. What mattered was Kenneth, here and now.

The door to his room was still splintered, but it closed, and Thorn paused once inside, staring at his lover. Kenneth’s face was flushed, his eyes bright, and he leaned against the wall. The robes he wore were tight on his shoulders and loose around his slightly spread legs, but they didn’t hide the bulge that was obvious to Thorn’s trained eye.

“How’s your magic?” Thorn asked, taking a step closer and trailing his fingers along Kenneth’s sides.

The mage hissed, raising his head and exposing his neck. Thorn didn’t take the bait, opting to move his hands lower, undoing buttons. “Well?” Thorn asked again.

“It’s…under control,” Kenneth said. Thorn flicked his gaze to Kenneth’s hands, which were flat against the wall, but no tell-tale electricity or heat gathered around them.

“Good,” he said. “You’re doing better.”

Kenneth quirked a smile, his body shuddering as Thorn undid the final button and put his hands on him. “It’s good to be around you.”

Thorn smirked. “I feel the same.” He loved touching Kenneth this way, feeling the mage beneath his hands, quivering under Thorn’s power. He may never understand magic, but he understood this. He knew where to trail his fingers, where to be firm and grab and where and when to be soft, to tease. His own cock twitched, thickening painfully, as he grabbed Kenneth’s thigh with his metal hand, squeezing hard and digging his metal fingers into the muscle to pull Kenneth’s legs apart.

“Thorn, yes….” Kenneth threw his head back, his eyes shut. “Please.”

“Please what?” Thorn stood straighter, facing his lover. “I’m not even undressed.”

Kenneth’s face reddened, his blue eyes opening halfway. “Do you want me to undress you?”

“That would be nice.”

Thorn stepped back, but Kenneth didn’t move. Instead, he spoke in that deep, sensuous voice of his, saying words to the aether that sounded like the burbling of a creek, or maybe the whistling of the wind. But Thorn’s buttons came undone, his pants loosening, and his coat shrugged itself off his shoulders.

For a moment it was frightening, Thorn’s heart pounding as his clothing unfastened itself. But thrill replaced fear, and he let it happen, letting Kenneth’s controlled magic render him naked for his mage. He used his metal hand to make Kenneth moan. It was only fair.

Soon enough, cold air washed over Thorn’s naked body, his erect cock jutting out in front of him. Kenneth stared, hunger in his eyes, and Thorn had to smile.

“Alright, let’s get you the rest of the way then,” he said, and grabbed the silk robes his mage loved so much. With a wrench, he tore them off Kenneth’s shoulders, creamy pale skin revealed. Kenneth moved with him, falling against Thorn’s chest, and Thorn held him. He relished the mage’s warmth, and the sensation of the other man’s body against his own aching cock.

“Thorn…” Kenneth turned in his arms, facing him and moving their bodies closer together. “I love you.”

The words added something, the evening suddenly less about naked lust and becoming something deeper. Thorn grabbed Kenneth’s arms, connecting their mouths in a slow kiss, as if trying to communicate everything he could in one act. He loved Kenneth. In the end, that was what mattered. This was what mattered.

Kenneth’s mouth opened, letting Thorn inside, and Thorn relished his taste and the feeling of Kenneth’s slick tongue and soft lips. His cock ached, and he desperately wanted to push Kenneth down and enter him right then, but another part of him was happy enough just being with him like this.

His future was with this man, for who knew how long. He could be an enforcer, and most likely learn skills he had never even imagined before. As he kissed Kenneth, possibilities flittered through his mind like shooting stars, possibilities that involved being with Kenneth, like this, over and over.

And to think it had all started with a flash of lust at seeing a sexy blond man on a nice horse.

“You know what makes the magic easy to manage?” Kenneth whispered into their kiss, breathless.

“What’s that?” Thorn said.

“When I don’t care about it. I don’t care what you can do for my magic. I don’t think about it. I just want you.”

Thorn smiled. That was exactly what he wanted to hear.

“Then I’ll have you,” he said. “Get on the bed, because I want you just as much.”

Kenneth obliged, and as Thorn was lost in the familiar, wonderful sensations of their lovemaking, all other worries faded from his mind. Whatever happened, Enforcers or not, mage or talentless, he would fight to make this relationship work.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

New release stats and signed print book giveaway!

I'm sure some people are wondering how sales go for new releases. I don't have all the info, but I have some. This is all since July 3rd, the release day for Freshman Blues, with a smattering of pre-release sales.

On the Dreamspinner website, I've sold 62 copies, all but one of which are Ebook.The majority of these sales took place in the first few days, when I had my little events and the book was on the "New Release" front page.

On Amazon, I've been hovering between the top 30 and top 100 for gay fantasy. In raw sales, though, according to salesrankexpress.com, that's about 20 since release. (That's what happens in a niche market). These are all Ebooks.

The other two major retailers are Barnes and Noble and All Romance.  I don't know the numbers for these retailers, though I know I've gotten some sales since I have the "customers who purchased this book also purchased..." thing appear. On average from self-pubbing my cyborg shorts, All Romance sells slightly more than Amazon and Barnes and Noble less, so we can estimate, if we're being super stingy since I like to play it safe, 21 at All Romance and 1 at Barnes and Noble. (I did say I was stingy. I don't like getting my hopes up).

I want to hit 100 sales in the first month, and it seems I'm well on my way!

So, now for the giveaway. I will give away a signed print copy of Freshman Blues once I hit my first 100 sales between Dreamspinner and Amazon (Sorry, but I can't truly count sales from All Romance or Barnes and Nobles since I don't have raw numbers). So, how do you win?

Easy. Comment on the blog about Freshman Blues. Anywhere, really. Tell me about the book. Tell me about your favorite character. If you haven't read it, tell me how you found my blog or why you'd want to read it. From all the people who comment, I will draw names from a hat once I hit 100 sales and that person will be contacted so I can send the signed book.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

Freshman Blues out today!

Hello everyone!

Today my newest book, Freshman Blues, is now available from Dreamspinner press! 


When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.

Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.

But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.



Also, check out the Dreamspinner Press blog today--I'll be chatting all day!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Celebrate!

Let's celebrate the Supreme Court's decision today! Equality in marriage for all!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Check out what came in the mail!

My print copies arrived! (Try to ignore the cat foot).

Release date for Freshman Blues is on the 3rd! I'll be hosting an event on the Dreamspinner blog on the 3rd, and then on the Dreamspinner FB page on the 7th, so stop by for a chance to win one of these free print copies!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention part 28




Part 28

It had been a frantic hour since leaving the slums. He had run into Saul at the stables, and been told that Thorn had gone looking for him.

Gone looking for him. The words had warmed the last bits of worried ice in Kenneth’s heart. Thorn wanted him too.

And when he saw him on the road, he felt the familiar flare of magic, warming his body and making Jade’s pounding hooves feel like he was gliding on air.

He stopped when he got close, staring at his lover. It had only been a few hours, but it felt longer. His magic thrummed beneath his skin, as though it too was glad to see his lifemate again. Thorn was beautiful in the evening air, his head cocked as though waiting for something, his eyes sparkling with what Kenneth hoped was happiness.

“You didn’t get very far, did you?” he said with a small smile.

“I…you said you needed time to think.” Kenneth chose his words carefully. “I wanted to give you time, but I did some thinking of my own. I know you don’t need me. You’re an independent, wonderful man, and I know that me being a mage might create problems. But its your independence that makes me love you.” His cheeks warmed. “You’re my equal, Thorn. You’re any mage’s equal. Don’t let anyone else make you think differently. Your choices should be made yourself, just as mine are.”

 Thorn twisted the reins in his hand, his gaze distant for a moment. “It’s good to hear that,” he said. He patted his horse’s neck, then dismounted, hopping down on the ground. Kenneth followed suit, very aware of Thorn’s nearness.

 “I know you’re right,” Thorn continued. “I’ve always made my own choices. But I always think…what would my parents think?” his smile slipped for a moment. “I know its foolish. So many people who’s parents are alive rebel against them and their wishes for their children. But I do want to honor the memory of those who’ve gone before. We talentless don’t get to do that with surnames, so we cling to memories, I suppose.” He shrugged, Kenneth’s heart going out to him.

“Your parents, I’m sure, would want you to be happy,” Kenneth said. “I know mine wish that for me, no matter what. Things will work out.”

“I know,” Thorn said. He turned to Kenneth. “It’s just that fool George put concerns in my head, about my parents and other talentless and…everything, really. But it was a moment of weakness, that’s all.”

“Not weakness,” Kenneth said. “You could never be weak.” Thorn was stronger than any mage Kenneth had every known. Most talentless, Kenneth had to admit, probably were too. All he had learned in this short week proved that several times over.

“I do love you, Kenneth,” Thorn said. “And I’m glad I get to make that choice.”

Kenneth’s heart swelled, and he moved forward, going to envelop Thorn into a hug. Thorn hugged him instead, the inventor’s arms crushingly strong and his body strong and firm against Kenneth’s.

“I know things won’t always be easy, but love never is,” Thorn whispered. “Is it?”

Kenneth didn’t answer right away, letting himself be folded into Thorn’s arms. He knew things would get tougher in the future. He had no idea what sort of challenges would face them, both as men and then as Enforcers. But he was sure they could handle it.

“If it were easy, it wouldn’t be as rewarding,” he finally said, and Thorn laughed before pulling him into a slow, languid kiss, his lips soft, and then his tongue warm and slick against Kenneth’s. 

"C'mon," Thorn said, his voice husky. "Let's go back to my place." 

Friday, June 19, 2015

New Title Announcment from Renee Stevens!

***Available Now from Dreamspinner Press***

Blurb
Phillip Jorgensen tried to live the straight life and ended up divorced. But he wouldn’t trade his two kids, Jacob and Samantha, for the world. His ex-wife has kidnapped them and he's been searching for them for six long years. But he’s not giving up—never, not for anything. His twin brother has encouraged him to start living again, but how is he going to find romance with all his baggage?
When he meets Vance Pierce at the new gym, Phillip sees a chance to find some happiness.
Phillip has to explain the whole sordid mess to Vance and pray that he understands that he’ll never stop looking for his children. That’s easier said than done. Telling Vance might be risky. Is their connection strong enough to convince Vance to stay? Or will he think that Phillip is too damaged to love? This is Phillip's chance at the life he never thought he could have. But is it possible?
Excerpt
Bree was pulled away from him, and he was doused from head to toe in ice-cold water. He wiped his face and turned, only to be met by his brother’s laughing face.
“Hey there, little brother.” Robert smirked and pointed the hose at him.
“You’re so going to pay for that.” Phillip advanced. He was already drenched. It wasn’t like Robert could get him any wetter. “And you’re how much older? That’s right, ten minutes.”
“I’m still older.” Robert grinned evilly. He covered the tip of the hose with his thumb, and the ensuing spray engulfed Phillip. “Do you really think you can best me?”
“I think so,” Phillip answered with a mischievous grin as his gaze settled on movement behind Robert. Bree and Corey had gotten their hands on the other hose and were sneaking up on their dad. “You are going to get so wet,” Phillip warned. Seconds later the kids turned the hose on Robert, causing him to drop his own hose as he yelled in surprise. Phillip dove for it and proceeded to help them drench their dad. “You give yet?”
“Never.” Robert roared playfully. He launched himself at his brother, sending them both sprawling in the mud and struggling to gain control of the hose. Childish laughter reached their ears and water showered down on them, courtesy of Bree and Corey.
“On the count of three, you get Bree,” Robert whispered to his brother as they wrestled in the mud.
“Sounds good.” Phillip kept his own voice low enough that he couldn’t be overheard. They maneuvered until they were in a position where they could get to their feet quickly.
“One… two… three,” Robert yelled, and Phillip lunged to his feet next to Robert.
Author Bio
Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties.  Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal.  When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.
Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters.  Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.
When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors.  She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby.  Once back at home, it’s back to writing.
Twitter * Blog * Facebook * Goodreads

Friday, June 5, 2015

Freshman Blues--Out July 3rd!

Freshman Blues has a release date! It's out on July 3rd from Dreamspinner press in both Ebook and print!

You can check out the coming soon page here!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention part 27

Part 27



Thorn’s feet thudded against the floor of the hallway, and the thuds turned to a steady rap as his path took him outside on the gravel of the entranceway, and finally to the stone path that led to the stables.

The fresh scent of hay and horses met his nose, and one of the animals whickered at him as he headed toward the far stalls.

His heart sank. He should have known. Jade's stall was empty. Kenneth was gone.

“Thorn?”

He whirled at the voice. Saul stood at the entrance, and his friend beckoned him out of the back of the stables. The day had wound on toward evening, the sun sending the sky into the red of a furnace with the promise of the purples of late dusk coming soon. By now Kenneth was probably back at the collegium already. 

“Are you alright, Thorn?” Saul asked.

“I…yes. I’m alright.” He couldn’t help but look back at the empty stall where Jade had once stood.

“Kenneth left.” Saul’s words stung, even if they were obvious.  Thorn looked down at the ground, at the dust on the floor of the stables that Kenneth must have walked through a short time ago. He hoped Kenneth wasn’t too angry. Or too sad.

“What happened, exactly, Thorn?” Saul asked.

The words brought back the confusion and uncertainty, but only for a moment. Thorn sighed, leaning back against the wooden wall of the stable. “George,” he said after a few moments. “It was a stupid…a stupid thing he did, and a stupid choice on my part. He broke some stuff in my room.” Saul’s eyes widened. “A gift Kenneth had gotten me. I got…scared, I guess, or angry. I told Kenneth to go.” He regretted it even more all of a sudden, the pain a twist in his shoulders.

“He did leave,” Saul said, and Thorn frowned. “I talked to him, though.” Thorn looked up. “He didn’t tell me much. But…” Saul rolled his shoulders, his artificial leg thudding against the floor as he shifted his weight. “Well, I know you’re hurting, or upset about George. But Kenneth…he only left because you asked him to, for what that’s worth.” Saul met Thorn’s eyes. “He’s not afraid of George. He just wants you to be happy. He loves you, you know. He told me.”

The words both warmed and stabbed Thorn’s heart. He had sent him away, stupidly, in shock at something someone else who didn’t even matter had done. “I know,” he said. And he did love Kenneth. He was certain of it now. Mages, talentless...it didn't matter. It never should have mattered.

He had to go after him. He moved away from his spot against the wall.

“What will you do?” Saul asked. “He’s a mage. Your life is going to change, a lot, if you live with him.”

“I know that too,” Thorn said. But now, it seemed somehow less important. “But who’s life doesn’t change after they find the person they love?”

Saul smiled. “You’d better go find him, then.”

Thorn nodded. It would be dark soon enough, but he knew the way to the collegium. Kenneth had wanted to stay with Thorn for a week, and that wouldn’t change.

He turned back, unlatching a familiar stall. Behind him, Saul called “Good luck.”

Soon enough, he was mounted up on Chocolate and heading away from the college, toward the road that would take him back to the magi collegium. The air had grown unseasonably cool, and beneath the shade of the buildings that made up the slums of his hometown, he shivered.

Saul supported their relationship, in his own way. Saul, a man who had every reason to fear mages. The thought made Thorn smile. George may not be able to see Kenneth’s kindness, his understanding, but Saul could.

If enough talentless could see the good in it, or at least more than those like George who couldn’t see past the war, then it would be fine. For a time, he wondered what his parents would have thought of Kenneth, had they survived.

But that didn’t matter. The past didn’t matter, or at least it shouldn’t.

Hoofbeats clattered on the road behind him, and he pulled Chocolate to a stop, craning to look.

The first thing he made out was Jade’s sleek, shiny green halter in the fading light of the dusk, and then the sight of his lover galloping towards him filled him with joy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention part 26



Kenneth didn’t want to go back to the magi collegium, but he needed to give Thorn time.

The air outside the inventor’s college was warm and full of the gritty, smoky scents of the nearby slums. He had learned a lot about the twisting roads that led between the buildings, and knew enough to not lost or stumble into an area where a rich-looking mage on a fancy horse would get his pocket picked.

But there was no area in the slums where a mage like him would actually belong, save for by Thorn’s side.

Kenneth tried not to worry. He loved Thorn. Thorn loved him. If Saul was right, it would work out.

He clucked his tongue as he led Jade from the stables, pleased at her glossy coat and finely kept mane. Clearly the students who worked the stables to earn their keep at the inventor’s college took their work seriously. The stables themselves were cleaner than the ones at the collegium, Kenneth had to admit.

Jade swished her tail, and when they set off she pulled at the reins in the direction of the collegium, eager to run in the rolling hills that surrounded it. Kenneth clucked his tongue, pulling her back toward the slums. He supposed she felt out of place too.

Kenneth rode Jade away from the inventor’s college, his mind full of hope for his time with Thorn and with curiosity. He had learned a lot from Thorn, had heard the stories about talentless, but knew so little. He rode further, away from the places he knew, disregarding every bit of advice his father had given him when he had first begun to attend the collegium with the knowledge of the slums that lay beyond its grounds.

Wagons pulled by bony horses strolled past on the potted road, and smoke belched from a contraption that was attached to a house. More smoke poured from chimneys, from homes too poor to afford the engineer made heaters for hot water or for furnaces. Few people walked by, the homes boarded up or surrounded by shoddily constructed wooden fences. Noise, voices and arguments, streamed from the larger buildings, where cracked windows offered glimpses into families that were packed into tiny rooms.

Despite it all, a cheery tune played on a violin wound down the street, one Kenneth didn’t recognize, and the sun illuminated the city. Someone had painted on a wall, a drawing of a tree and some sort of flying contraption, or perhaps just a poorly drawn bird.

Kenneth’s father’s voice echoed in his mind. How could the talentless be happy living like this?

But no matter. They had their own lives, and could be happy despite what had happened during the war. The music continued, the violin joined by a flute and a drum, and Kenneth found the source in a small inn called J’s. J for Jaquin, certainly.

He didn’t go inside. It wasn’t his place to be.

Thorn could be happy without him, Kenneth knew. He didn’t want to believe it, of course. But the talentless didn’t need mages, and Thorn didn’t need Kenneth. In fact, Kenneth needed Thorn more than Thorn could ever need Kenneth.

He twisted the reins in his hand, the sun suddenly too bright and too hot. He had been foolish. He was convinced he had everything to offer Thorn, that his power and influence and money was enough, that his willingness to learn about talentless was enough.

But he had to offer Thorn more than just that. It was Thorn’s choice, of course. But fires, Kenneth cared about him. He loved him, and he had to show Thorn that. Kenneth wasn’t going to just give up without a fight.

Putting his back to the music, Kenneth headed back toward the inventor’s college.