Thursday, February 18, 2016


Greatings, readers (and random people who stumble across this post),

I have moved my blog to my website. Click here to keep up with me.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Women and Gay Romance

Over the last few years, I've come across a number of discussions debating the role of women in gay or male/male romance fiction and erotica. There's no question this genre has grown a lot in the last few years, due in large part to women readers and writers. I was surprised to learn quite a few people are not happy about this.

The phrases I've heard tossed around are things like “culture appropriation” and “gay fetish” to describe the interest (presumably) heterosexual women have in gay romance. I've held my tongue when these debates have happened, partly out of self-interest (as a writer, reputation online is more important than ever these days) and partly because it's difficult to weigh in when I see both sides of the issue.

Of course, I don't feel like I personally fetishize gay sexuality. I like to read and write about all kinds of things, a great many of them having nothing to do with sex. But I can imagine how gay men feel when it comes to women looking at pictures and videos of men together and reading their comments. To be objectified like that, even if it's not about you, feels dirty. I've read comments that made me want to distance myself from the woman who wrote them. I've had women give my books low ratings because there wasn't sex on every other page, or what sex was there was tame compared to a lot of other books out there. It's disheartening to realize there are people who come across like that's all they're interested in – many of them may not even realize it. Naturally, this results in men who hate how women are taking up such a large part of “their” world – to the point of being openly hostile to readers and writers just for being a part of this group. Some of them feel any woman who reads or writes gay romance or erotica is wrong, just because.

I liken the situation to the major political parties in the US. There are extremes on both sides who feel strongly about their position and they can be the loudest when it comes to disagreements. But, as in politics, even people within the groups sometimes don't agree with how the extremists represent the whole.

I'm not an innocent when it comes to this particular issue. I've done and said quite a few things I'm not proud of and I can't imagine the kind of impression I've left on gay men I've spoken to, either online or in person. I used to say things like “that's so gay” because I was young and silly and it never occurred to me to question why I or others said it or how it may make someone feel. I'm more aware of how I speak to people now and I've largely changed the way I think. I'm cognizant of how connected I am to the world around me and the world I've aligned myself with, not because I'm a woman most presume to be heterosexual, but because I sometimes still feel I'm on the outside looking in. I want people to respect me and my opinions and know when they speak to me I am genuinely interested in them and not attempting to correlate them with a gay stereotype in the media. I don't know if thinking this way now makes me more mature or less self-absorbed. I like to think it makes me more open to getting to know people, across the board. I like to think it makes me more attuned to how people respond to me. I like to think my attitude will allow people (read: gay men) to get to know me as a person and not assume I'm a hetero woman ogling them as entertainment.

But I'm just one person. There are millions of other women out there with their own variation of this story. I can't speak for any of them.

Where am I going with this?

A little over a year ago, I got an idea for a story about a woman who gets to experience what it's like to be a man for a day. Naturally, because of what I write, I thought it would be fun if she tried to have a sexual experience with another man. I asked around and the majority of women I spoke to agreed: If they could do it, a lot of what they'd want to experience would be sexual, either by themselves or with another person. Once I knew I was going to write this story, I realized I couldn't do it without linking it to a larger argument: What would happen if this woman had a lot of preconceived ideas about gay men that were challenged by her firsthand experience?

It was difficult writing this story. There were a few times I flat-out quit because I was putting so much pressure on myself to get it just right, to prove certain points. I suppose I was writing it in lieu of responding to all those arguments I kept seeing online. I pushed myself and finally wrote a story that explains, in small part, how I think some women feel when they're reading and writing these stories. This is by no means an excuse for some comments and behavior. It's just one possible version of reality for some people wrapped in a story.

Is the main character Jamie really me? No. Sort of. She's a more extreme, sillier version of the me from three years ago. I learned a lot of the lessons she has to learn in the book a long time ago and I'm better for it.

I don't expect people to love this story. I expect it to get people talking, for better or worse. I'm still trying to convince myself I'm doing a good thing. It's not a romance. It's...general fiction/fantasy, for lack of a better description. I think I'm prepared for the various reactions the story will get. Maybe.

This is not an easy to read story. It's social commentary. It's a thinly disguised critique of my social group, groups we interact with, and a segment of our environment. I may hurt feelings. I may hurt my chances of selling books in the future.

I care about those things, but I still had to tell my story. If you're curious how I did that, click here to read the beginning and find out where to get a copy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Art of Teasing

A little while back, this beautiful specimen inspired me.

 photo 894504_457214727729073_1068415657_o_zps745cd28c.jpg

I wrote The Art of Teasing, a short m/m story available for free on Goodreads.

BTW, the photo is from the lovely and talented Dan Skinner, whose work you can find on Facebook and deviantART.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

the food porn chronicles

Oh, Lee, you sexy, sexy beast.

Currently working on the sequel to See Right Through. Remember Lee, Sam and Devin's tall, athletic neighbor? No? Read the novella. It's free.

So, yeah. Working on the story now. Have finally figured out how most of it's going to happen, and I'm making a concerted effort to get it finished soonish. But there's an issue.

Bacon. Strawberry cream frosting. Peach eclairs. Chocolate ganache cupcakes. Chipotle chocolate crisps. In other words: Food porn.

In the (as of now, unnamed) sequel, Lee starts a new job at a bakery. It's a food porn romance. Just planning what my characters do at work makes me stop what I'm doing to search online for recipes and then I get lost updating my own recipe collection. Like this morning, I just thought, hm, for breakfast (for his love interest) Lee will be making bacon cinnamon rolls (or cinnamon roll pancakes with applewood smoked bacon on the side), fluffly scrambled eggs and strawberry-pomegranate tea.

This guy has to fall in love with him. I think I'm in love with him. And I realize writing this story is going to constantly make me hungry. Especially for sweets. How did I get myself into this? Now I'm wondering if I should include recipes in the book. Pictures. That would require lots and lots of testing. Help?!

Title suggestions (and recipes) are welcome.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Rainbow Briefs - a gift

I don't often talk about why I write male/male romance. It's a bit of a convoluted subject for me. I suppose the best way I can explain it is to connect my journey as a writer with my discoveries about my sexuality. Looking back, I always assumed I would end up married to a man, have children with him and be happy with the existence I was taught was “normal” growing up. But I've always been attracted to women. Even as a little girl, though I dismissed it then as just acknowledging that other girls are “pretty.” As I got older, I realized there was more to my feelings with regards to some women. I'm not a fan of labels, but for those who are, they would consider me bisexual. I've never considered coming out, because as far as I am concerned, to my friends I am an open book and always have been.

Being able to talk about it is still something of an issue for me. When I spend time with members of the GLBT community in my hometown, I get the impression everyone either assumes I'm a lesbian or a hetero supporter of the community. I don't correct anyone's assumptions, because I often feel like I'm being nitpicky in emphasizing that I'm attracted to the person and not their parts. I suppose part of it is the stigma that comes with bisexuality. The urging to “pick a side” or the idea that I'm only claiming it because I'm at an experimental time in my life and I'll settle down with a man once I get it out of my system.

So, I don't talk about it. Not frequently, anyway. A few years ago, I started to get involved with my local GLBT community. First, I attended a Rally for Equality. The outpouring of love and community support I felt that day moved something inside me and I wanted more. Later that year, I volunteered for the Queer Power March. I think that experience cemented something for me. I had been so cut off from the people around me, from the sense of belonging I could have, without knowing it. In the years that have followed, I've volunteered for my local Pride organization and that sense of belonging and community has only grown stronger.

When I wrote and published my first gay romance novel, I still felt a little cut off from my community, though I was just becoming aware how much I was missing. I began talking to people online, spending more time with community members outside of big yearly events, getting to know how people were different from media portrayals of marches and rallies. I began to embrace individuals rather than ideas. I put what I've learned and what I love into my stories.

The last few years have been a revelation for me. Connecting with people in a way that I couldn't before, I have come to appreciate my community as a source of love and support. I have come to feel the way we rally to each other's sides – in spirit if not in person. When the It Gets Better Project began, I cried over each video, because that was the kind of outreach I wish I'd had when I was younger. I had the feeling it would be a valuable resource for years to come.

When Kaje Harper told me she had a group of Young Adult stories and was toying with the idea of putting them into book form under her other pen name, I was excited. I've been touched by her work so many times and I had the same sense I got from It Gets Better – that the full scope of what could be accomplished would be so much bigger than either of us imagined. So, I urged her to publish it. I found a collection of her stories in the Young Adult GLBT Books Group at Goodreads and formatted them into an ebook-ready doc, hoping she would take it seriously as something that would be rather than could be.

Then, I waited.

A few months later, she contacted me to tell me the book was a go. She'd rewritten several of the stories and added new ones to round out the collection. When Kaje emailed me the draft of the ebook, I sat down to read the stories and something came over me. I smiled. I laughed. I cried. And I got a good feeling. The feeling that people reading these stories would be touched, would feel loved, would know there was a bigger message, a greater purpose, a worldwide community that loved them, just because. As we worked on editing the stories and getting the book ready for publication, that sense we were doing something greater than merely putting out a collection of short stories grew until the book took its final shape.

Rainbow Briefs is finally ready.

It has felt like a long time coming. From April 14th, when I first suggested it, until November 2nd . It feels like a lifetime. I don't know if everyone will get what I get from reading these stories. I don't know if everyone will feel the love and support behind the words, the meaning behind the broader messages, but I hope someone does. If just one person feels more loved, more accepted, more hope for a brighter future, all of the work we put into the book will be worth it.

I find it difficult to put into words just how much this collection of stories means to me, but I hope you've gotten a sense of it today. I am so proud to have been a part of publishing Rainbow Briefs and I'm ecstatic that I get to share it with you. The best part of all? The ebook is free. Go to your local retailer – Amazon*, All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, Goodreads, and others – and download the book. Share the links with your friends, your family, someone you know could use an uplifting message. Help us bring this gift to the community. And please, leave a review. Let the author know how much you appreciate her effort. I, for one, will not be able to thank her enough.

*A note. Because the book cannot be listed as free on Amazon, it will be 99 cents until enough people vote that it's available for free elsewhere. All author proceeds from the sales will be donated to The Trevor Project. There is also a paperback version of Rainbow Briefs available on Amazon and CreateSpace. The author will not be taking a commission from those sales.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

inspiration and one-handed reading

I know it's been a while, but I have some news. I have a new story! Short, sexy and to the point, but it's a new thingie from me and I'm excited about it.

A few months ago, I decided that one of the things I would do to make myself more excited about my own writing would be to be more active in my writing group. One of the members suggested a section of writing prompts. Some of the prompts are written, some are pictures like this one:

He's quite inspirational, isn't he? I'd add copyright info, but I have no idea where the pic came from, other than a friend on facebook. Anyway, he's pretty, but I didn't feel the urge to write even after I'd posted the picture and this prompt:

 I almost didn't believe it when he'd said yes. But he ended up back at my place for what turned out to be one of the greatest nights of my life. Now we're both up and I need a way to make the awkward morning after a little less painful. Does waking up have to end in a walk of shame? 

I looked at it again a few weeks later and got an idea. A dirty, sexy, fun idea. And wrote all of 33 words on it. Yeah, my muse wasn't feeling it that day. But the next day? I sat down and wrote something so hot my computer screen got all steamed up and I had to put the laptop on ice after I finished - the story, that is. A few passes through my betas and several cover changes and I present you with Morning.

If you blush easily, I recommend not reading this one at work. Morning is available from All Romance Ebooks, Amazon and Smashwords.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

still alive, etc.

I've been a bad, bad girl. I know, shocking right? I didn't mean to neglect my blog for nearly eight months (almost long enough to have a baby), but, life happens. I don't really have any excuses. Actually, that's not true. I have a long list of excuses, but nothing I want to type here. (Like Google screwing with the posting format on blogger. I swear, they buy every website I like and systematically take away everything I like about it. Hello, feedburner.)

So, what have I been up to? Writing, writing issues, work, therapy, being more active in my critique group, lurking on facebook, neglecting twitter, more work, sprained my ankle, moving, an epiphany or two, less writing, broke my ereader, wondering why I haven't updated my blog, chastising myself for not releasing any new stories in nearly a year, crying over ER bill, putting too much pressure on myself to write, trying to get back into the groove of writing, whining a little about my absent muse, a little (okay a lot) vodka and tequila, watching Supernatural, watching Bleach (loving the anime) and generally waffling about life.

Sounds fun, yes?

Anyway, I'm going to try to post again... hm, let's say before the end of the year. Can't guarantee I'll stick to it otherwise.