The Number One Rule of Writing: Have Fun!

sorrow-and-worry-1434786-1918x1274I’ve been away from the keyboard for a while. The week before last, I was on vacation, and then I came home with a nasty respiratory bug that has knocked me flat for several days.

As per my norm when I’m ill, I tend to enter a weird shadow zone of ginger ale and crackers, comfort reads and cheesy television shows from the past. I don’t want anything that requires too much concentration. I don’t want anything that is going to blindside me or hurt. I read or watch TV until I doze off, sleep as long as I need (or until one of the dogs wakes me to go out), then get up, get a little something to eat and drink, and do it all over again.

As long as I don’t have to work while I’m sick, more and more these days, I don’t want the cycle of reading and snoozing to end. I am constantly on the go, and sometimes it seems nearly everyone’s needs come before my own. I’ve come to enjoy sick days. Once I get over how much time I’ve wasted being sick, I find I wish I could continue lying on the couch, binge-watching old television shows and reading favorite books.

Not all of the old favorites hold up to the test of time. Sometimes I reach for something I loved as a teenager and wonder what was I thinking when this was a favorite thing of mine. But there’s a common thread through most of my favorite entertainments: they know how to have fun.

Not just outright humorous stories, mind you. I rarely find the typical comedy shows funny. No, what I mean is a story or show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. That knows its premise is ridiculous and doesn’t mind poking fun at it. Bonus points if the *characters* themselves take it seriously–that just adds a delicious layer of irony to the whole process. Even the more serious shows, such as the gritty crime dramas I love, know when to place a ‘silly’ episode in between three or four more intense ones.

And after several days of re-reading and re-watching these old classics, one thing struck me about my current WIPs: I’m not having fun with them.

I’ve started and abandoned four stories in the last year–very unlike me. The first dealt primarily with job burnout, and whoa! Too close to home. I just couldn’t finish it. Not now. Maybe never.

The second is a Regency I’m revamping, adding in more secondary characters and fleshing out the backstory of the MCs. I love Regencies, but this isn’t my period or my forte. I know there are people out there who do this sort of thing better than I will and they already have an audience. Part of me wonders if it even makes sense for me to write this story when it’s not part of my ‘brand’.

The third is a contemporary story in which one of the MCs is a former solider and an amputee. It’s important that I get the details right, which means lots of research. Again, there are people who do this sort of thing better than I do. That’s not to say I’m afraid of hard work, just that again, is it part of my brand? I don’t really know. My ‘brand’ is all over the place, to be honest. I tend to write what I want to write when I want to write it. Perhaps a little more discipline and development of a recognizable brand would be useful.

The fourth is a major departure for me: set in the 1950s and dealing with an agency that investigates paranormal events (you read the part where I said my brand was all over the place, right?). Oh, yes, and instead of male/male romance, it would be more along the lines of a traditional romance, perhaps even with the sex scenes fade-to-black. It’s been so important to me to get the heroine right that it dawned on me the other day that the story has bogged down–and it took being sick and bingeing on my favorite stories of all time to see that I’m not having fun with this, either. I’ve been tossing obstacles at my heroine left and right in order to justify her attitude, and really, the fact she’s a woman in the 1950s who desires to be more than a housewife or secretary is enough of an obstacle right there. At least 25 K of what I’ve written so far needs to be scrapped. And what could be more ridiculous than Ward and June Cleaver meets the X-Files, which is how I refer to this story? I should expand on the wackiness here, not try to dress it up like a serious story. It was a relief figuring this out, let me tell you.

oh-these-photographers-1430111-1600x2400So yeah, first law of writing: have fun. Write what you want to write, not what you think will sell. Cross genres. Hell, mix them up. Don’t take yourself–or your characters so seriously. Sure, do the research (you have to respect the genre and the character) but don’t belabor it to the point of tedium. If it bores you, it will bore your reader as well. Let your wild creative side out to play. Sometimes you have to write 25 K to realize who your character is. Sometimes you have to write 25 K to realize who your character is not. Either way, they aren’t wasted words. Don’t dole out your sentences like each one is a precious heartbeat you can never get back again. Words are more like Doritos. We can make more. We can also trim them when they don’t fit the story we’re trying to tell. So don’t be afraid to be outrageous. You can always ‘tone it down’ in edits. When I look at which of my stories were wildly popular compared to others, they are usually the ones where I let it rip, threw in every trope but the kitchen sink, and in general said, “Yeah, I know this isn’t grand literature, but it’s fun.”

Have more fun with your writing. If you’re having fun, your readers will too. That doesn’t mean you need to turn every story (or piece of art, or whatever your medium is) into a 1930s screwball comedy. Some people find horror fun–I’m not one of them but I’m all for whatever floats your boat and makes you happy. These days, I think we could all use a little more fun in our lives.

Dear Weight Loss Experts: Tell It Like It Is

I had to laugh at this post I ran across this morning: 14 Easy Ways to Lose Weight All Day. I admit, I’m a sucker for these kinds of things. Easy weight loss! Sign me up!

I’m one of those people you probably hated when growing up. For most of my adult life, I’ve been at an ideal weight with little effort on my part. I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted and lived off cheeseburgers, Pepsi, and peanut butter crackers. I didn’t live for food–it was just something I ate when I got hungry. I didn’t even know what cellulite was until I hit my mid-forties. My hair grew so thick and fast, my stylist would jokingly tell me to stop putting Miracle-Gro on it. Lest you think I was one of the popular girls or thought I was the next Cindy Crawford, not true. I hated me too. I’d grown up hearing how homely and unattractive I was, thanks to Coke Bottle Lens glasses and a set of teeth only a gargoyle could love.

The point is, however, when middle-age and changing hormones finally caught up with me, I could no longer eat what I wanted and I hated everything deemed healthy. I’d never had a weight problem before, and so I didn’t know how to cope with the sudden spread. Hence my fascination with fitness magazines and diet information–most of which gets tossed out when said tips include things like eating Greek Yogurt and red peppers as a mid-day snack. BARF.

So, despite knowing better, I checked out the post. I found it full of helpful tips designed for women who live alone and don’t work for a living. Things like: 7 am: Do 2 minutes of jumping jacks, calisthenics, followed by 7:15 am cook a hearty breakfast, and 7:45 am hit the gym for some weight lifting…. I had to laugh because in this magical household, dishes don’t need to be washed and the gym isn’t a 20 minute drive away and there are no critters to feed or kids to put on the bus.

So I thought I’d create my own version of this advice post, with a more realistic outcome.

6:30 am: Hit snooze on the alarm. Because sleep is a damned precious commodity that you get very little of these days. You ignore the cat patting your eyeballs to see if you’re awake and hunker down under the blankets for ‘a few more minutes.’

7 am: Look at the clock and jump out of bed cursing. Leap around the room as you find clean clothing and dress in 2 minutes flat while the dogs bark and spin in circles in anticipation of breakfast. Feel good about your adrenaline rush. Remind yourself you’ve pre-made your lunch and that you have time to accomplish all the things you desire to do today.

7:02-7:30 am: Feed all the living creatures in the house except yourself. Walk dogs. Scoop litter boxes. If you leave up the baby gate to the litter box area, you can combine this activity with hip flexor stretches, but be careful not to fall over the gate and injure yourself. Pause to clean up vomit in the living room from the species of your choice.

tired-dont-care-despair-steve-carell-the-office-gif7:45 am: Consider cooking yourself a hearty breakfast but recall you haven’t been to the store yet this week and unless you can make an omelet out of cat food, you’ll have to settle for cereal. Convince yourself cereal is what you really want. Get bowl out of cabinet only to have work text you that they’ve added an extra appointment and now you have to be there a half hour earlier than expected. Swipe some peanut butter on a slice of bread and head out the door. Grab your previously prepared salad and your healthy snacks to take with you, feeling virtuous that you planned ahead.

glazed-doughnuts-recipe10 am: Completely and totally ignore the break room stuffed with baked goods: doughnuts glistening with glazed sugar. Fresh snickerdoodles. Bagels with cream cheese. M&M’s. You can eat your apple when you get a chance. Pat yourself on the back for being so virtuous. Of course, you aren’t going to get a break because you’re double booked this morning, but at least that will keep you out of the break room.

12:20 pm: Stomach growling, you wonder if it is close to lunch time yet. Realize you’re well into your lunch period but won’t be able to leave the building for the much-needed mental break. Eat your salad at your desk, (the first chance you’ve had to sit down all day) shooting surly looks at the constant interruptions to take this call or field this question. Vow you will take your full break tomorrow and actually leave the building.

the-little-shop-of-horrors-giant3 pm: Full-on hangry now. You’re Audrey from the Little Shop of Horrors. Work-stress has used up all your available blood sugar. You take a couple of bites of your apple but get interrupted. When you finally come back, the apple is brown. You say ‘screw it’ and get a doughnut. You stuff the whole thing into your face in a single bite because THAT’S ALL THE TIME YOU HAVE TO EAT IT.

6 pm: You’re just getting home. You now must feed all the living creatures in the house except yourself. You gauge the temperature outside to determine if it is too hot to walk the dogs. You know you must walk them before you eat or it ain’t happening. You love your dogs. If it weren’t for them you’d never get any exercise at all. But there are times when you wish they were cats and scorned the idea of exercise, period.

7 pm: Now suffering from decision fatigue (yes, that’s a real thing), you say SCREW IT and fix too much food for dinner. You try to stay healthy but that’s not what you want. You want meat and potatoes, damn it, with a whopping big dessert and a glass of wine. Hell, you’ll pour the wine right into the dessert. While eating dinner, you catch up on the day’s emails. You know you have a writing deadline but there simply isn’t any brain power left over from the day’s work.

8-10 pm: You watch two episodes of CSI:NY on Netflix, a show you didn’t like when it originally aired but now you’re too fried to give a shit and you don’t want to watch anything you care about.

10:20 pm: You take the dogs out one more time.

tiana-bed-flop10:30 pm: You get ready for bed because SLEEP IS A DAMNED PRECIOUS COMMODITY YOU GET VERY LITTLE OF. You pull out all the stops: shut off the electronics a hour before you want to close your eyes, take benadryl, take melatonin, take pain meds. You lie in bed hoping you don’t wake your partner because there is NO position that is even remotely comfortable. An hour later, you’re still awake but you’re hopeful you might fall asleep soon.

12:01 am: The phone rings. You have to get up and deal with the potential work-related emergency. This time, you don’t have to go in, but your chances of falling back asleep now are nil. You take a book out into the living room to read on the couch for a while. You try not to fret over the upcoming elections, climate change, and your own future. Or, if you don’t have a job that puts these kinds of after-hours demands on your life, insert your favorite teenaged family emergency/sick kid crisis here.

Okay, so I’m making some excuses here. But seriously, women’s health magazines–this is my life and I don’t even have children. It discounts those of us working full time jobs (and that seldom means 9-5 these days in the US) while taking care of elderly parents, young children, or both. It ignores the fact that most of us are so over-extended, so stressed, and so tired, there’s only fumes left in the tank. Your articles, while chipper and enthusiastic, aren’t even remotely realistic. I’d like to see a post that addressed some of these things. That’s all I’m asking. 🙂

In other (happier) news, I’m the featured Author of the Month over at the Paranormal Romance Guild–check out my interview and the reviews there!

 

Cover Reveal: Acceptance by Grace R. Duncan

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Acceptance

(Forbes Mates Book 3)

 

By Grace R. Duncan

Dr. Miles Grant acknowledges that his destined mate could be either gender even though his bisexuality cost him his family and his pack. Luckily he found the Forbes Pack, who happily accept him just as he is. What he never counted on was finding his mate in Pittsburgh or for his mate to be another species entirely—a cat!

Quincy Archer isn’t just any jaguar shifter. He is the heir to the leadership of his pride. Destined mates are nothing but legend to the nearly extinct and generally solitary jaguars, and Quincy certainly never expected to find one for himself, much less a male… or a wolf.

However, finding each other and coming to terms with their species is the least of their worries. Quincy is expected to select a proper female mate, father a cub, and take his place as heir to the pride. Except Quincy refuses, having no interest in women or leadership and knowing he isn’t right for it. But his father will stop at nothing—not even attempting to kill Miles—to get his way. Quincy and Miles must overcome many obstacles to stay together as the destined mates they’re meant to be.

 


Preorder – June 8, 2016


at

Dreamspinner PresseBook & Paperback

Release date – July 8, 2016

 

Excerpt

Miles flopped down on the end of the couch in the tiny break room and rested his head on the back. His eyes closed on their own before he could tell them to. He didn’t have long—maybe twenty, if he was lucky.

He was seriously regretting taking on so many shifts. But he’d been missing Quincy and needed something to occupy his mind, to distract him. It was ridiculous, he knew that; they’d met twice. But they were mates, destined, and their bond had already started forming. His wolf had been driving him crazy, pushing him to try to find Quincy and mate.

The problem was, whether he liked it or not, he didn’t doubt for a moment Quincy spoke the truth about why they couldn’t be together yet. He’d talked to Chad and Jamie a little and got the gist of the problems Quincy was having, though Chad wasn’t in good enough shape to do much talking yet. He was still recovering from the change, still learning how to filter sounds and light, still learning how to be a wolf.

But Miles’s wolf didn’t understand, didn’t give a shit about any of that. In fact, he was pushing Miles to protect Quincy, which was more than a little laughable. He’d been truthful—he wasn’t afraid of a cat—but he had no knowledge whatsoever of the jaguar world. It still killed him that Diana had given him a cat. He’d been ready for his mate to be either male or female; he would have been content with either, even if his family and former pack had other ideas about that. But no, he had to get a different species altogether.

And a species he didn’t know a damned thing about. He didn’t know how far someone like Quincy’s father would go to get his way. And Miles was a healer, not a fighter. He could fight—all shifters learned how—but that didn’t mean he relished it, so he wasn’t as good as most others.

He needed to see Quincy again, even for a little while. He could appease his wolf a little, make himself feel a little better, and maybe find some patience to wait more.

Quincy had sent a few messages since he’d seen his mate last—in the emergency room waiting area two months ago—mostly texts and a couple of e-mails to let Miles know he was still alive and still in hiding. They’d exchanged little bits about each other, but Quincy hadn’t wanted to say a lot lest it was intercepted. It wasn’t much, but at least knowing Quincy was okay helped keep Miles from going completely insane. He’d like to think he’d know if Quincy was killed, but he wasn’t sure how far their thin bond went, for something like that. When he’d asked Chad how Quincy had gotten his contact information since he’d never had a chance to give it, Chad had told Miles not to wonder about it. But Miles knew at least part of what Quincy did and wasn’t worried. He didn’t think for a moment Quincy would use it against him.

The last two months had been pure hell. He had no idea how Tanner had managed to keep Finley at arm’s length for two years. Granted, they’d been able to date, hang out together, that sort of thing, and he hadn’t so much as glimpsed Quincy in two months.

So he’d spent most of it working. A few times he’d been told point-blank to go home, that he’d been working too much. Whether he’d liked it or not, they’d been right. He’d been so tired he’d barely been standing. But after getting a few hours’ sleep—filled with some very vivid dreams of Quincy—he’d needed to do something.

Since he couldn’t go back to work, he decided to do the other thing he was good at: learn. He’d gone down to the Carnegie Library in Oakland and begun reading up on all things Ancient Egypt, starting with Bastet. He had no idea how much of it was accurate to the jaguars and how much was pure myth, but he figured having a basis to start from wouldn’t hurt.

Miles sighed and sat up again, eyeing the coffee machine in the corner. It was clear he wasn’t going to get any sleep, so he might as well get going the only other way he could. But as he stood and turned to the counter, he got hit with a huge tangle of emotion that wasn’t his. Anger seemed the primary emotion, though there was fear mixed in. And pain. Too much pain.

Quincy?

Miles raced out of the room, not thinking about how it would look—not thinking much at all. If Quincy was close, something was very, very wrong.

Just as he rounded the corner near the ambulance entrance, one of the nurses ran up to meet him. “Dr. Grant! Your pa—”

“Partner,” Miles interrupted, then stopped himself when the nurse simply blinked at him. He’d never told them about a partner—because he hadn’t actually had one, as far as he knew—but he’d deal with that later. “A friend called me,” he said, thinking quickly.

“Oh. Okay. They’re bringing him in now.”

“Thanks. How bad is it?”

Just then the doors opened and the paramedics pushed Quincy in on a stretcher. He was naked except for a sheet, his normally pale skin way too light. He had long gashes on his chest and stomach, but the rest was covered by the sheet. It looked like the scratches—probably caused by shifter claws, if he was any judge—had already started healing, though plenty more still looked wrong with him.

Miles had to take a quick breath, then a second as Quincy’s scent hit him hard—the hint of graphite and paper that overlaid a sweetness incongruent to Quincy’s outer personality. Miles had to shove hard on his wolf. He wanted out and wanted to go after whatever or whoever hurt their mate. Not now. We’ll help our mate, but not now.

With another breath through his mouth, he went into professional mode, falling back on his training and knowledge so he could make sure Quincy healed properly and didn’t raise too many eyebrows in the process.

* * *

Title: Acceptance

Author: Grace R. Duncan

Published: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: M/M Paranormal

Release date: July 8, 2016

If you haven’t read it yet, now would be a great time to check out the Forbes Mates series. Find out more about Devotion (Tanner and Finley’s story) and Patience (Chad and Jamie’s story) here: http://www.grace-duncan.com/books/out-now-2/forbes-mates-2

 

About Grace

grace_nohateGrace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

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Susan Mac Nichol celebrates Double Alchemy’s 2nd Anniversay!

DA tour bannerPlease welcome Susan here today as she celebrates the 2 year anniversary of the release of the Double Alchemy series! Be sure to check out the links–if you missed this series when it first came out, you’re in for a treat!

Double Alchemy

Release Date: March 24th 2014

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Powerful yet tormented modern warlock Quinn Fairmont must initiate the silver-eyed Cade Mairston into the world of witchfinders, Withinners, and what can happen when two men fall truly, madly, deeply in love.

THE WORLD IN SHADOW

In modern London there lurks a warlock, Quinn Fairmont. Dangerous, powerful, tortured, sharing his body with the soul of an ancient Welsh sorcerer, Quinn is never alone—and never wholly himself. He fights against all those who would exploit his kind. He takes pleasure where he can find it.

In the forest of Hampstead Heath, Quinn’s hometown, Cade Mairston appears to him like a waking dream. Lithe, lean and silver-eyed, he evokes feelings in Quinn unlike any other: lust with true affection, immediate and shocking. Cade is clearly more than he seems. And yet, if a man of the world, Cade is innocent. He knows nothing of warlocks, witchfinders or Withinners. He knows nothing of what he is, what he might be, or what he might feel. For him, the story is just beginning. Magyck, peril and passion await.

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on Goodreads

Buy Links:

Boroughs Publishing

Amazon

Amazon UK

All Romance ebooks

Smashwords

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Book Trailer

 

21480819 (1)Double Alchemy excerpt

Cade Mairston was no ordinary man. Quinn had known it from the minute he’d touched Cade’s hand, smelt his scent and heard the rushing of his blood through his veins. Cade was Fey.

Not overtly Fey, but something resided there, buried deep down within him. Quinn didn’t think Cade Mairston had any idea who or what he was.

Quinn shivered. The way Cade had crouched in a fighter’s stance, fierce glare and strong body ready to do battle— he’d been inspiring. It was only due to Quinn’s Warlock skills that he’d the ability to anticipate and deflect the other man’s moves and not be grievously injured. Cade Mairston was a strong, agile presence and Quinn wouldn’t have liked his privates to be on the receiving end of the other man’s foot, which was attached to a muscled leg which he wished would wrap itself around his legs as he pounded the man’s arse….

Quinn checked himself mentally.

Christ, Quinn. Get a grip! Hell, my hormones are running riot.

Thank God the man was gay. Quinn’s gaydar worked very well, thank you, despite noticing the evidence of the large erection the man had sported in his trendy cream chinos for him.

What were the odds of meeting another gay Fey? Quinn chuckled softly. If things had turned out the other way, Quinn would have been in danger of deflowering a straight man and that one never worked out for the best.

Cade had looked a little rattled himself. For a moment, from the look in Cade’s smouldering grey eyes, Quinn had thought he might be about to get savagely violated. While Quinn topped most of the time he was definitely not averse to being taken by a man like Cade. There’d been anticipation so strong for Cade to touch him, kiss him right there, that he’d lost his breath for a moment. Quinn had a really tight feeling in his boxers right now as his cock threatened to burst into song and dance a jig out of his pants.

He sighed. Best get home, have a cold shower and do whatever else was necessary to relieve the turmoil snaking through his nether regions. Cade’s sexy stubble on his jawline and light silver eyes were playing havoc with Quinn’s sexual urges. Next time they met— and he was sure there’d be a next time— he’d have to search his apothecary for something that would deaden the sexual attraction. If not he’d never make it through a next meeting without ripping off Cade’s clothes until his need was fully satisfied for the first time. After the first time, it became more controllable. Experience had taught both he and Taliesin that.

 

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Climax: Double Alchemy #2

Release Date: May 22nd 2014

BLURB

Powerful modern warlock Quinn Fairmont found ecstasy with the silver-eyed and not-quite-human Cade Mairston, but to know true happiness the pair must best both the shadow of a long-ago lover and an ancient enemy who seeks to destroy love, light and all they hold dear.
A BLINDING LIGHT
It begins with a Book of Shadows discovered by a London coven. The grimoire is as dangerous as it is rare, which is why it evokes modern-day warlock Quinn Fairmont’s desire. He collects objects of great power and beauty—like his lover, Cade Mairston.

Against all odds he and Cade found each other, but their perils have just begun. First is the ex-lover who once held Quinn in thrall. And, someone has been killing warlocks. Could it be one of his own kind? There are those too who would challenge Quinn’s power in their quest to overthrow him as Grand Master. Or is the danger something darker, something invoked inadvertently, rising from the shadows, building from the very inside of a man until it brings an end with a quick flash of light? Of the truth, the surface has only been scratched. Now Quinn and Cade must go deeper and find both answers and an end. They must learn what lurks in the hearts of men…and whether it seeks to love or destroy.

on Goodreads

Buy Links:

Boroughs Publishing

Amazon

Amazon UK

All Romance ebooks

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

 

64729591Bio

Susan Mac Nicol is a self- confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, geek, nerd and in love with her Smartphone. This little treasure is called ‘the boyfriend’ by her long suffering husband, who says if it vibrated, there’d be no need for him. Susan hasn’t had the heart to tell him there’s an app for that…

She is never happier than when sitting in the confines of her living room/study/on a cold station platform scribbling down words and making two men fall in love. She is a romantic at heart and believes that everything happens (for the most part) for a reason.  She likes to think of herself as a ‘half full’ kinda gal, although sometimes that philosophy is sorely tested.

Lover of walks in the forest, theatre productions, dabbling her toes in the cold North Sea and the vibrant city of London where you can experience all four seasons in a day , she is a hater of pantomime (so please don’t tar and feather her), duplicitous people, bigotry and self-righteous idiots.

In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.

Sue is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America and is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association in the UK.

My links

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New Release & Giveaway: Patience from Grace R. Duncan

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Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? Please join me in welcoming Grace Duncan to the site, to share about her latest installment of the Forbes Mates series: Patience, now available from Dreamspinner Press.

Hello! Thank you to Sarah for giving me time to ramble!

This is the fifth stop on the Music Clues part of the blog tour. Links to all the stops can be found on my website at the blog tour page.

I’m a huge music fan and when I sat down to write Patience, I’d figured out pretty quickly that Chad was, as well. He absolutely loves 80s music and has a tendency to quote (or, rather, refer to them since I didn’t want to get into copyright trouble) the songs. Twelve of those 80s songs were referenced by Chad throughout Patience.

For twelve of the stops on the tour, there will be a clue (the reference) to one of the songs and an answer with excerpt for one of the other songs. You can see which blogs are participating on the blog tour page above.

For today, the answer song is Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger.

The clue was: “The song changed, and even he recognized the opening piano chords. A few seconds later, Chad slid across the wooden floor in nothing but underwear, white socks and his button-down shirt. He was holding a hairbrush, not a candleholder, but Jamie knew what he was doing.”

You can see the video here.  (Please note: UMG has done its best to pull EVERY copy of the official video out there. This is someone’s version with a live version of the song overdubbed over the original, with the original video. UMG wouldn’t have this problem if they’d get with the times like the other record labels and put the videos up themselves.)

Also, here is the snippet from Risky Business.

And the excerpt from Patience:

The song changed, and even he recognized the opening piano chords. A few seconds later, Chad slid across the wooden floor in nothing but underwear, white socks and his button-down shirt. He was holding a hairbrush, not a candleholder, but Jamie knew what he was doing. He snorted. He couldn’t exactly laugh in wolf form, but he could chuff and snort, and he did so.

It only got worse when Chad turned around and his shirt was open halfway down. His mate was built much more nicely than Tom Cruise—especially from that movie—but he couldn’t resist another snort at what Chad was doing.

Then Chad started singing along, even doing the same hand gestures. Jamie flopped down, shaking his head. The little butt wiggle compensated for some of the goofiness. When Chad threw the hairbrush, though, and pointed, Jamie put his paws over his eyes. He didn’t think he could watch anymore.

He couldn’t resist for long, though and peeked to see Chad still singing along, playing air guitar in all the right spots. He had to admit, he was impressed when Chad did the kneel-and-lean-back thing. Of course, Jamie simply imagined himself straddling Chad in that position—not an image he wanted to entertain in that moment. He seriously didn’t want another wolfy hard-on. He put his paws back over his eyes.

When the volume went down a moment later, Chad snorted. “Everybody’s a critic. You gotta admit, I look better than Tom Cruise did.”

Jamie chuffed and stuck his tongue out.

 

And the next clue is here:

“He sang along with a ridiculous grin on his face as Modern English went on about stopping the world and the future being wide open.”

Each tour stop will have an individual prize as well as an entry into the grand prize.  Good luck! And thanks for participating!

Patience blog tour

Follow tour here.

Blurb:

Jamie Ryan was almost ready to accept he’d never find his destined mate. They’re uncommon to begin with and same-sex versions downright rare. Since his gay best friend found a destined mate, Jamie figured he was out of luck. Until end of semester stress forces him to go through the full-moon shift early. Stuck in wolf form, he runs into none other than his destined mate. Who’s human.

Chad Sutton has always had good instincts. They served him well as a detective and continued on when he went private. Those instincts tell him there’s something about the dog that comes up to him while running away from animal control that isn’t quite right. He works to put the pieces together, but is unsuccessful until his dog turns into a human before his eyes.

Jamie has no idea what a shifter’s mate bite will do to a human. He’s terrified to try—and possibly kill his mate. They hunt together for answers while working together on a case for Chad. It’s easy to see they belong together, but Jamie fears the gods gave him someone he can’t keep.

Buy links: Dreamspinner ◊ Amazon ◊ AReB&N ◊ Kobo

 

Bio:

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

noh8

Find Grace here:

Website  ◊ FacebookTwitterYouTubeGoodreads

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New release by AC Katt: Marking Kane

Welcome to author AC Katt here today, to share an extended excerpt of her latest M/M shifter romance, Marking Kane. I’m delighted to have her here today, so enjoy the excerpt.
I recently had to remove my 18 over only warning on my website, as it was playing havoc with anyone’s ability to enter the site. That being said, the following excerpt is for mature audiences only. Thank you!
 
~Synopsis~
Gabriel Martin has hope. Three of the Alphas on the council have found mates in the past few years. Returning to New York from Atlanta, he comes across a human who has been raped in an alleyway. The human is his mate, Kane Brady.
Kane has been teaching at the local high school and refuses to rubberstamp the education of their star basketball players—almost paying the price with his life. He’s unusual as he’s a Human Omega but he can’t be intimate with Gabriel because of his horrific experience.
It’s up to the Alphas and their Mates to help Kane recover and accept all that it is to be with Gabriel.
~Excerpt~

Prologue
 First Week in December Friday
 The faculty room at New York City’s McClellan High School
reeked of industrial strength cleaner,
sweat socks, and chalk. The walls were made of dirty beige
concrete blocks and the linoleum was beginning to
crack. Today it was empty save for Coach Tom Hughes and Kane Brady, the junior year English teacher, who were involved in a heated exchange.
“Neither Johnny Sanders nor Deon Jackson did the work. They didn’t turn in one homework assignment all semester, they refused to take all of their tests and didn’t even bother to do their term papers. I have to fail them.”
 “Do you realize that Johnny is the power forward and Deon is the point guard for McClellan High School’s basketball team? This year’s team has a shot at the state championship.”
“Tom, they’re not here to learn to play basketball, they can do that on the street or at the Y. They’re here for an education and they won’t get one if we continue to pass students along without them doing the work required to get a passing grade.”
 “Are you telling me physical education isn’t important?” Coach loomed over Kane, who was only five-foot-six.
“Physical Education is as important as English is to their development. If they failed to show up for your class, sat on the sidelines for every exercise and disrupted the class on a regular basis what would you do? I know you’ve failed students.” Kane’s eyes blazed.
 “I didn’t fail our two, star basketball players,” the Coach huffed.
 “Talk to them about what happened. I didn’t want to be unreasonable so when I realized they were on the team and failing my class, I told the boys in November what they had to do to pass. I also told their parents. They didn’t do it. They didn’t turn in one missed homework assignment or the term paper I assigned in September.”
“They don’t have time for all that shit, they have to practice. The other teachers go along. This is your first year here. You fail Deon and Johnny and you’re out on your ear.” Coach drank the sludge they called coffee and stared at Kane pointedly.
“And I’m out on my ear if these kids don’t pass the standardized tests at the end of the school year.”
“There are ways of getting around that.” Coach Hughes was trying to physically intimidate him, and Kane wasn’t buying it.
 “So which do you suggest, do I sacrifice their education so they graduate without being able to read passed a sixth-grade level? Or do you suggest I fail them and give them the incentive to pass next semester so they can play ball?”
“These boys can get scholarships for college if they play,” the coach said belligerently.
 “And if they don’t do the work here, their professors will fail them because they can’t keep up and they won’t be able to play or pay for the education they were promised.” Kane was practically begging the coach to put the kids and their futures first.
“They have difficult lives at home.” The coach got sanctimonious.
“No, they don’t. They have both of their parents and both sets of parents work. Deon’s father is a policeman and Johnny’s mother is a nurse. I’ve spoken to them and they agree with my decision. Their boys have gotten out of hand. They are aware that their sons have not done any school work for the past two years, with the school turning a blind eye. As I said, I have their full support. The parents would rather have their sons educated than have them only know how to play basketball.”
“They don’t have the mental capacity to do the work.”
“I’d like to see you tell that to their parents.  If they were incapable of doing the
assignments, I’d
suggest putting them in a remedial class, but they can do
the work, they just refuse to do it.” Kane glared at
the coach.
“One way or another, you’ll pay for this. Those kids were my ticket to coaching college ball and I’m not going to lose out because of you”,” Tom shouted. Kane shrunk back. The coach was six foot six and about two-hundred fifty pounds to his one-forty soaking wet.
“Get them another student to tutor them. If they catch up, I’ll change their grade,” Kane offered.
“Fuck you, Brady. Either you pass both Deon and Johnny, or you’ll pay the consequences. This is
what happens when you let fags teach school.”
“I could have you fired for that remark.”
The coach pushed him up against a wall, shook him and said, “Buddy, you’re not going to be around long enough to complain.” He let Kane go and Kane slipped to
the floor.
Tom Hughes tore out of the faculty room and down the corridor. Kane had stood his ground but was shaking in his boots. He wished he had someone to talk to about this, but this was his first year teaching and since he came in August from Indiana, he hadn’t had time to make friends. The coach had been at the school for five years. What is my word worth against his?
The coach approached Johnny and Deon in the locker room. “He won’t budge. If you get your papers in, he’ll pass you, if you don’t you fail. You should have made a token effort.”
“Why should we have to be in class with a fag? Why would I want to do work for a fag? He needs
schooling of a different kind. By the time Deon and I are through with him, there’ll be a new teacher in English three who gets how to play the game.” Johnny’s smile boded no good for Kane Brady.
 “Yeah, let’s see how much he really likes to take it up the ass.” Deon poked his friend in the ribs.
  “We’ll make it a team effort.” Deon laughed out loud.
  “Yeah sort of like a class project,” Johnny smirked.
“I didn’t hear you say that. Remember, if you get caught, it will go worse for you than if you fail,”
Coach told them. “You’re courting jail time and then no college or pro team will have you.”
“You’re just as guilty as we are for encouraging us not to participate in that fag’s class and you’ve threatened other teachers before this.” Deon spat. “This one is the first one to face you down. The fag has balls, who knew?”
 “If he fails us, you don’t get to coach college ball. If we get caught, you don’t get to coach college ball. It would be in your interest to let us know where he lives so we can take care of business, and to provide us with an alibi if we need one.” Johnny stood waiting for the requested information.
“He sometimes stays late to review papers and make up his lesson plans. You can follow him home. If you get caught, you’re on your own.”
 “No, we’re not. You’re right there with us. We told you what we’re going to do, if you don’t report s, you’re as guilty as we are. But, we all know you won’t make any waves because you want that college coaching position.”
  “All right, go, do your worst. If you get caught, I know nothing.”
 “Right…” said Deon as he elbowed Johnny in the ribs and smirked.
  Kane hadn’t realized it was after nine. He was grading papers. It was easier to do that at school. Here he could spread out unlike in his efficiency apartment. However, his apartment was only two blocks from work on the edge of New York’s trendy SOHO and convenient to shopping. It also had huge windows which let in more light than the usual city apartment. His was a neighborhood in flux. He lived in an old tenement and there was a pricey new high-rise down the block at Ten Sullivan. It was the tallest building in SOHO.
Kane sighed, gathered up his papers, put them in his satchel and closed up his classroom.
 “Good night, Ernie,” he called to the janitor as he left the building.
 “Good night Mr. Brady. You be careful. There’s a lot of snow and ice outside and they’re predicting another storm. Schools will probably be closed tomorrow.
“I’ll be careful. Thanks.”
Kane shivered in the cold. The walk home seemed more difficult tonight, feet dragging through the snow piles with the wind gusts almost picking him up off the ground. He kept on looking over his shoulder.
Kane was sure someone was following him. Every time he glanced backward he saw shadows in doorways.
He looked around again and watched five boys in ski masks come out of an alley. They were walking quickly toward him, with seeming purpose. As they got closer, he realized that they were following him. He began to walk faster. They also picked up speed. Kane started to run.
 
Chapter One
Second Week of December, Monday
Gabriel Martin was frustrated ever since he got off his private plane in Newark. They’d landed at a most inopportune time. He was dreaming about his Mate. It felt like a true dream, the kind the talented have.
His Mate was not how he always pictured him. He was small, fine-boned, not tall. He was a teacher, not a scientist, but he was all that Gabriel hoped he would be. His Mate greeted him at the door, jumping into his arms. Gabriel carried him up to bed. They slowly undressed, each putting on a show for the other until the tension was too high and they had to make love. Suddenly they were in bed. Gabriel had no idea how they got there. His Mate, after several
soul-stirring kisses, moved down his sternum past his navel to his cock. He l
icked around the top, pulling back the delicate foreskin, running his tongue around the rim. His Mate had no gag reflex and swallowed him whole.
 Gabriel touched his dirty blonde hair and his Mate looked up at him with blue-green eyes, he popped off his cock and yurned around presenting himself for Gabriel’s use. He had
prepared himself before Gabriel got home and was on his hands and
knees waiting for Gabriel to take him. Gabriel’s fangs elongated as he got ready to make love to his Mate, his everything.
A knock sounded at the door. He was awakened by his general factotum and driver, Leon Mercier. It was just a dream. A realistic dream, but a dream nonetheless.
“Alpha Martin, we’re landed. I have the car waiting on the tarmac.”
“I’ll be there in a moment,” Gabriel said in frustration.

His dream always ended on the same note,almost but not quite. He believed in portents. Gabriel was sure he’d met his Mate in his dreams. He hoped
soon to meet him in the flesh.
 The ride from Newark was tedious. The snow and sleet made for rough going on the road even with the new Navigator limousines Remy had them purchase. Once they finally reached Sullivan Street, there was the mother of all traffic jams. He needed to walk off the doldrums that his dream of someday always brought him. Gabriel tapped on the partition that separated him and
Gaspard from Leon.
“Take the limo to the garage. Gaspard and I will walk home, it’s only a block and with the traffic
snarled because of the accident ahead of us it will take thirty minutes to travel the distance in the limo.”
 “Alpha, it’s cold outside and you’re not used to this weather yet. Atlanta is very different than New York City.”
“We’re loup garou. We’re bred for this weather. I’ll be fine, you’re fussing over nothing.”
“Yes, Alpha.”
 Just as he got out of the car, he heard a moan. He turned his head and saw a man in an empty lot staggering, trying to remain upright and attempting to fasten his clothing which had been ripped to shreds.
There was blood dripping down his leg. His eyes were rapidly closing and his face swelling from many blows.
Through the torn clothing, Gabriel could see his white underwear was stained bright red.
He called Leon. “Wait.”
Gabriel ran toward the man to render aid. Gaspard yelled, “Alpha, you may not want to get involved. Call nine-one-one.”
 “You call nine-one-one, I’m going to try to help him.”
 The man staggered across the lot. “Please… I can’t see and I need to get to a hospital.” The man was small. He wore a cheap suit and scattered all over the empty lot were what looked like graded papers.
Gabriel put his arm out to steady the man. He smelled pears over the stench of urine, blood, and
semen. The moment skin touched skin his wolf cried, Mate, Mine.
 Gabriel shouted over the Alpha link, Get help now. This is my Mate.
His Mate started talking and couldn’t seem to stop. “There were five of them. They wore ski masks and had a gun. They called me by name. I’m no one. Why would they do this, for a passing grade?” He started to sob. “I’m going be sick.” The man turned around and vomited on the sidewalk. “I’m sorry. That won’t happen again. I think I need to go to…” The man attempted to walk but fell to his knees.
 Gabriel knelt down and put his arm around his Mate’s shoulders. “It’s going to be all right. I promise. Let’s get you to a hospital. I’m going to pick you up and carry you to my limo.” Gabriel stood and lifted him from the ground.
 “I can’t, I’ll make a mess. If you call an ambulance or a cab, I can sit and wait on the curb.”
“No, you can’t. You’re bleeding badly and your eyes are so swollen you can’t see. You’re coming with me.” Gabriel lifted him up off the ground and carried him to the limousine.
Miraculously, the accident had cleared and the traffic unsnarled by the time they got to the limo. The gods are kind.Gabriel placed his Mate in the back seat of the limousine and slid in beside him.
“Which hospital is closest?” he shouted at Leon.
“Beth Israel. Artis has admitting privileges there.”
 “Call Armand and get Artis over there now.”
 “What’s your name, baby?” Gabriel asked gently.
 Kane reached around for his coat to cover himself and felt in its pocket.
 “They took my wallet.” He started to sob.
“Easy now, easy. We’re going to get you help. I’m Gabriel Martin, just tell me your name.”
 Gabriel was trying to control his temper. Right now he wanted to rip someone’s head off. The rape of a Mate was the worst crime that could be perpetrated against an Alpha. I have to reign it in, my Mate needs me. He’s talking to me. I have to focus.
 “Kane Brady, I teach Junior English at McClellan. Oh my God, did I lose all of the student’s papers? They had a gun, they hit my face with a pistol and made me suck it.”
 Now Gabriel was about to be sick. “Don’t worry, I’ll send Gaspard to collect your things. We’re pulling into the Emergency Room. Let me carry you inside.”
 “No…too much trouble. I’ll walk.” With Kane leaning heavily on Gabriel, he limped into the waiting room. He moaned in pain. Gabriel wanted to tear someone apart now, his Mate hurt, he could feel his pain over the burgeoning Mate link.
“Baby, I’m Gabriel Martin, for tonight you are my fiancé.” He sought out the triage nurse. “I need
Dr. Artis, my fiancé has been raped.”
~Author Bio~

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. €She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. €At one time she owned over two thousand novels until she and her husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its great beauty.Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book.

She hangs out at ACKatt.com; or ackattsjournal.com. She is a very opinionated kitty and at ackatt.com where you may find snippets of her current releases, as well as some from works in progress. She also puts out a Newsletter once a month. You can sign up at ackatt@ackatt.com.

You can also follow AC Katt at:
@ackatt – twitter

 

~Buy Links~

His Omega (Book 1)

Remy’s Painter
(Book2)
 
Scarred Mate (Book 3)
http://authors-assistant-agency.com/

Cover Reveal for Patience by Grace R. Duncan


PatienceFSPatience

Forbes Mates, Book 2
Dreamspinner Press
Cover by Reese Dante
Release date: 3/7/2016
230 pages
Preorder:
ebook: http://bit.ly/1mgLZwP
paperback: http://bit.ly/1UODapT

 

Blurb:

Jamie Ryan was almost ready to accept he’d never find his destined mate. They’re uncommon to begin with and same-sex versions downright rare. Since his gay best friend found a destined mate, Jamie figured he was out of luck. Until end of semester stress forces him to go through the full-moon shift early. Stuck in wolf form, he runs into none other than his destined mate. Who’s human.

Chad Sutton has always had good instincts. They served him well as a detective and continued on when he went private. Those instincts tell him there’s something about the dog that comes up to him while running away from animal control that isn’t quite right. He works to put the pieces together, but is unsuccessful until his dog turns into a human before his eyes.

Jamie has no idea what a shifter mate bite will do to a human. He’s terrified to try—and possibly kill his mate. They hunt together for answers while working together on a case for Chad. It’s easy to see they belong together, but Jamie fears the gods gave him someone he can’t keep.

 

Excerpt:

 

Jamie threw back another shot and set the glass on the bar. It was days like this that made him wish to hell his metabolism wasn’t so damned fast. Thanks to his wolf, there wasn’t much he could do. His body processed alcohol almost as fast as he could drink it.

It didn’t help that he’d been feeling out of sorts the whole day. After his last final, he’d loaded the rest of his things from his dorm room into his car. All through it, he’d felt just… off. He couldn’t wait until he got back out to pack lands and Tanner and Finley’s house. They both insisted he take one of the spare rooms when he wasn’t on campus.

He hadn’t wanted to at first. He wasn’t sure he wanted to sit around and watch Tanner and Finley be loving and physical. It wasn’t so much that he still had feelings for Finley. He didn’t, thank the gods. It was more of a different sort of jealousy. Now that he’d seen what it was to have a mate, he wanted one of his own—badly.

Tanner and Finley had tried to set him up with their friend the pack doctor, Miles. While Jamie could admit Miles was most definitely hot, with his long red hair and lean physique, Miles wasn’t his destined mate. And they got along well enough, but he didn’t even feel the interest with Miles he had with Finley. Luckily for both of them, Miles felt the same. They’d been able to occasionally fuck and be good friends, but that’s as far as it had gone.

Thankfully, Tanner and Finley weren’t as bad as he’d expected. They kept most of their physical stuff to their bedroom, with the occasional touch and kiss in front of him. So going back there for holidays and breaks wasn’t as bad as he’d been afraid it would be.

And now he wanted nothing more than to get on the road and make the hour-and-a-half-in-traffic trip back. His wolf had been prodding him for a while, and he needed to shift and run, let him loose.

Jamie tried to think of the last time he’d shifted outside of the full moon. When he realized he wasn’t sure, it made sense that he was so antsy. He was rather surprised he hadn’t started chasing the mailman down the street or chewing on his roommate’s slippers. Their kind had an unfortunate tendency to display horribly doglike behaviors—in human form—when they didn’t shift often enough. The worst of the side effects included full-blown attention deficit issues. Considering he was at the tail end of his junior year in college and squeaking through finals, Jamie counted himself lucky he’d managed to keep from any of that.

The prodding was undoubtedly the reason he was feeling out of sorts. His wolf prowled just under the surface, and he wondered if he shouldn’t just tell his friends good-bye and head home.

Come on, man! You’re being a lightweight tonight,” his roommate, Dwayne, said, shoving another shot at him. “You usually drink all of us under the table.”

I gotta drive home, dude,” Jamie said. He wasn’t about to explain that it didn’t matter how many shots he had, he could sober up in no time and still drive.

You can crash on my couch,” Troy offered.

Jamie turned to his other friend and shook his head. “Naw, it’s okay. I guess I can do a couple more.” He picked up another glass and lifted it to his lips, then stopped when he realized the fine hairs on the back of his hand weren’t quite so fine. He blinked, confused, since his vision was still normal.

Right then, the colors faded to grays. Jamie downed the shot quickly and closed his eyes, pretending to struggle to swallow the liquor, trying to fight his wolf back into its place.

Not yet. Just a little longer.

When he opened his eyes, the color was back, but his wolf was even closer to the surface. He glanced at his watch—a digital with the moon phases on it, just in case—but the full moon was still more than two days away. The date didn’t seem to matter, though. Jamie was losing the fight against his wolf, and he needed to get out of there—fast.

Dude, you okay?” Troy asked, peering at him.

Dwayne was grinning from the other side. “I think he finally had one too many.”

Jamie jumped on the excuse. “Uh, yeah. Something with that last shot. Need some air. Sorry.” With that, he hurried out to the street and took a deep breath. Unfortunately, Forbes Avenue in the heart of Oakland—Pittsburgh’s college district—wasn’t the best place for fresh air. All he got for his trouble was two lungs full of exhaust and a burning nose. He knew better—he’d been fighting the stench of city for most of the last two years—and he cursed himself for doing it anyway.

Shaking his head at himself, he darted past the Dunkin’ Donuts and the door to The O, then around the corner, looking for a quick place to hide. His vision turned gray again, and he struggled to hold his wolf back at least until he could get hidden. He ducked into the alley just beyond the building and let out a breath.

Before he could think of how to handle this, his wolf broke through, and Jamie found himself forced through the shift. His gums itched as his teeth dropped, his claws extended, and fur erupted over his skin. His bones and muscles realigned, and seconds later, he landed on four paws.

He shook himself hard and gave himself just a moment to savor being in his fur again. But this was not the place for him to be in wolf form. He was too far away from Schenley Park, or any other park, for that matter. Never mind the fact that wolves didn’t wander around in city parks. They weren’t even truly native to this region, much less would they be found in a park completely surrounded by city.

He prodded his wolf, trying to nudge him back so he could take his human form again. However, his wolf refused to relinquish control. Jamie struggled, trying to internally reason with his wolf—if he could go back to human, he could get home to the forest and shift for a while. His wolf wouldn’t listen. He was getting truly worried now, when his human side couldn’t pull the lupine side back.

No matter what he did, he couldn’t seem to get control. Huffing, Jamie sat and considered his options, though there were very few. He could keep trying to shift, but he suspected that would be an exercise in futility. He could try to get to his car… except there was no way he could get the door open, even if he could get down the street and through the garage unseen.

He turned to his clothes and nosed through the pile of denim scraps that used to be his jeans. He managed to pull his phone out with his mouth, but the screen wouldn’t recognize the touch of his paw. Not that he knew what he’d do anyway. Call Finley, maybe. But that obviously wasn’t an option.

He looked toward the street but knew that was a bad idea, no matter how much he wanted to get away. Until he was human again, he didn’t dare risk venturing out of the alley. That left the other direction.

Jamie looked down at his clothes, then left them to explore the short distance to the back wall. He found milk crates, a huge trash compactor, the currently raised bottom of a fire escape, a couple of recycling bins, and not much else. A door that presumably led into the kitchen of The O sat in the wall to his right. At the end of the alley, it turned in an L-shape into a tiny parking lot Jamie hadn’t known was there.

It was dark enough no one should be able to see him, so he figured his best bet at this point was find a spot in the corner and wait. Hopefully, after some rest and time in his fur, his wolf would let go and he could get back into his human skin.

He nosed open one of the recycling bins first. It took a couple of trips, but he got his clothes, shoes, watch, phone, and wallet into the bin. Even if they ended up in a dump somewhere, he didn’t want them just lying out on the ground where someone could steal them. Once he was human again, he could fish them out, but until then at least they were out of sight.

He found a quiet spot under the fire escape and behind the door to settle in. With a sigh, he lay down and rested his head on his paws to wait.

* * *


If you haven’t read it yet, now would be a
great time to check out Devotion, Forbes Mates #1 and where you get to meet Jamie first. Find out more about Devotion and see how you can get Tanner and Finley’s story here: http://www.grace-duncan.com/devotion .

* * *

grace_nohateGrace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

Website FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

Today only: Unspeakable Words is free!

UnspeakableWordscoverWhat a whirlwind the last few weeks it has been! It seems like only a few days ago, I was saying, “Halloween already?” and now Thanksgiving has come and gone.

I have more to say on gratitude later, but I had to take a moment to get the word out: for today only, Unspeakable Words (Sixth Sense series Book 1) is FREE. That’s right, free! Snag a copyfree-sign from Dreamspinner Press until midnight tonight, EST. Even better, you can get the entire Sixth Sense series on sale until 11/30! Wait, not only the entire Sixth Sense series, but ALL my books are on sale! I know, right? That’s because Dreamspinner is having a 35% off sale  on the entire store until 11/30.15. In fact, you can even pre-order The Boys of Summer at the sale price (release date 12/21/15). So what are you waiting for? Go, shop, enjoy!

Feed the Right Wolf…

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the proverb ascribed to the Cherokee Indians about how each of us has two wolves inside battling for control.

Two wloves proverbA few months ago, inspired by others on Facebook who were making a determined effort to post something upbeat and positive every day, I gave myself a challenge to find three things I was grateful for or made me happy each day. Although I haven’t managed to do this consistently every day (sometimes you just run out of time and you know you should go to bed instead of writing another post…) I’ve kept up with it far longer than I thought I would. I’m on day 47 now. 🙂

I decided not to post to Facebook, however. Instead I’ve been posting these things to my fandom LJ account, so I could friends-lock the entries. Not necessarily to keep anyone out as much as to limit how many people I inflicted with pictures of my animals. On any given day, they *are* what makes me happy and grateful to be alive. 🙂

After a few weeks, I noticed a funny thing–the words “I hate my life” stopped being the first thought on waking each morning. If I was having a bad day, I would remind myself that it wasn’t over yet, and I still had to come up with three positive things to share–and that too, altered my attitude for the better. I began looking forward to drafting the ‘positive things’ post, and wondering what I would share. As someone who has a tendency to imagine worst-case scenarios and view the world as not only an empty glass, but as one cracked and unable to hold water at all, this was a big step for me. I was feeding the right wolf, but it was still weak. Some days, I couldn’t help but pepper my ‘gratitude’ post with all kinds of qualifications, with little Eeyore sighs about the things that had gone wrong instead of right. But I persisted, and I could feel the Good Wolf getting stronger.

Sunny Day TommyLately, with the terrorist attacks all over the world, the appalling rhetoric spewed by political parties in response to these attacks, the daily reports of a new mass shooting at a school or church that these same politicians refuse to recognize as domestic terrorism, and the saber-rattling and fear-mongering that is being used primarily to further a political agenda, it’s not that it’s been hard to find things to feel grateful for. It’s that it doesn’t feel right. It feels shallow and self-centered to post chipper updates about how I tamed the feral tomcat, or that Walk a Mile got an Honorable Mention in this year’s Rainbow Awards (something I wasn’t expecting at all!), or that the recently adopted dog has been an utterly delightful addition to the family. And don’t get me started on how feeling pleased over something like discovering I’d been nominated for a Best M/M Author poll on Gay Book Reviews (because that kind of thing never happens to me!) feels like boasting if I share that news–that’s a topic for a blog post another day. Bottom line, it felt wrong to be happy in the face of the unhappiness and tragedy of others.

But here’s the thing: I need those uplifting moments. I need to see funny animal videos or read George Takei’s latest pithy commentary. I need to share my joy over the upcoming season of Agent Carter (hey, at least we got 2 seasons before they canceled it) or the fact that John Scalzi is absolutely besotted with his new kittens. I need to squee with my friends over the things that keep us going every day–the shows we love, the characters we adore, the stories we found spell-binding and empowering. We are BOMBARDED with bad news every day. We need our talismans against evil and hatred. We need to feed the right wolf. That is not wrong or selfish. It is necessary.

My mother called me at a ridiculous hour this morning to say ‘it was all over the Internet that those IS people (as she called them) were planning a major attack on the US today.’ Well, I don’t know where my mom gets her information, probably FOX News. It doesn’t surprise me that the terror threat is high right now–after all, we’re heading into major holiday. But I wonder how this threat compares to the number of people that will be killed in car accidents this holiday week, or how many people have been killed in shootings since the beginning of the year. I tried telling my mom this, and advised that in all likelihood, this report was more fear-mongering by the far right to get her to vote for their candidate. Even if it is true, it is out of my hands and there was no sense in her getting into a stew about it.

She interrupted me. “I just wanted to tell you I love you. In case I never see you again.”

I found myself telling my mother we needed to live every day as though we were under threat of a terrorist attack. Not with fear, or barricaded in our homes clutching shotguns. We need to tell our loved ones how important they are to us every day. We need to share the things that bring us joy, hope, and strength. Fear makes us dangerous–not only to each other, but to ourselves as well. One of the most touching stories that has come out of the attacks in France is that Hemmingway’s love letter to Paris, A Movable Feast, has been selling out at bookstores. People are buying copies and leaving them at memorials in a show of defiance to the attackers.  My eyes are tearing up as a type this. Yes. What a way to feed the right wolf.

The Good ShepherdAnd so because many other sources, both internal and external, are constantly shoving food at my Evil Wolf, the one that believes in the darkness and despair, it is imperative I feed the Good Wolf. It is not shallow or callous or indifferent to the pain of others. It is vitally necessary, or else the wrong wolf wins. I invite you to do feed your Good Wolf too.

Have the Guts to Gut Your Story

frustrated-writerWell, it’s November, which means almost everyone I know is doing NaNoWrMo–the challenge to write a 50 K novel in 30 days. At least, it seems that everyone I know is doing it, based on the way my social media is exploding with word counts and updates, as well as posts on NaNo. Not me. I applaud anyone who does NaNo, I love the idea of having that network of support pushing you to write some every day. It *is* the best way to complete a story. But it doesn’t work for me. I don’t mean the part about working on your story a little bit every day–that is good advice and the best way I know to stay connected–and committed–to the story at hand. No, for me, the hard part about NaNo is the stricture that you not go back and self-edit, that you move ahead with the story as written each day. No massaging of text or tweaking the previously written material.

This is so much the antithesis of how I write that the one and only time I attempted NaNo, it sent me in to my first (and worst) case of writer’s block. NOT the intention of the challenge, I suspect. For me there’s a fine balance between moving forward and making sure your story has a strong enough foundation to support it.

Siege_of_Peking,_Boxer_RebellionThat’s the problem I’m having with my current WIP. I’m a good enough carpenter to know when something is off-kilter and out of balance, and yet I’ve been struggling for the better part of the last six months to make this story work as written because Jeez Louise, it’s sitting at 45 K, which means it’s halfway done. To stop now and have to go back to pull down walls because the floor isn’t level? Argh! Surely that can be overlooked, right? No one will notice. To say I’m at the halfway point is arbitrary anyway. There’s no set story-length. All those ‘rules’ of story-telling were created by the publishing industry in order to create a cost-effective and marketable printed book. All bets are off in the digital era, right? I don’t need your stinkin’ rules!

Um, no. It doesn’t quite work that way. In fact, the reason I’ve been struggling with this story for so long now is I can feel that the balance is off. I know in my gut that it’s wrong and I can’t keep forging ahead in the hope that it will somehow come out right in the end. In fact, the further out you go from a crooked starting point, the worse the deviation from the correct path becomes. And the last thing I want to do is pull down an entire house because there’s a serious crack in the foundation. Much better to solve the problem now, even if it means gutting a good bit of the existing work.

Yeah. Because I’m looking at having to cut about 15 K of extraneous story to get back to the structure of the thing and make it right. And ouch. That hurts. It hurts because some of those scenes are fun, and we all need fun in our lives. It hurts because we’ve been trained to think of word counts as the ultimate sign of a day’s progress, and yikes–this is like back-tracking several weeks for me.

But word counts are NOT the end-all and be-all of writing. To strain the metaphor further, at the end of the construction, what we want is a solid, sturdily-built house that will hold up for the next thirty or forty years–longer if we’re really lucky. And while the ‘rules’ of storytelling should be somewhat fluid, in that we shouldn’t wed ourselves to formulaic guidelines simply because that’s how it has always been done, most of us recognize when a story is off-balance. We know it because we read a LOT and we know what feels right. We know the difference between good storytelling and bad. You shouldn’t ignore that inner writer’s instinct that tells you when something isn’t working.

crumpleI’m not talking about that point in the story (and we all reach it) where you’re convinced you’re holding a sack of crap and nothing in the universe can transmute it into anything else. For me, that’s usually the 3/4 mark of any story, the point at which the writing becomes hard, when I’m certain I’m an idiot and there’s no hope for the story. No. I’m not talking about that. We need to learn our own writing cycles and when to ignore the routine run-of-the-mill crippling self-doubt. This is far more subtle. It’s sensing that an engine is running at less-than-optimum efficiency. It’s noticing that the floor is warped and things tend to roll to the right. It’s the certain knowledge that if you put a level to your story, the bubble wouldn’t be in the center.

A shoddy contractor would be tempted to hide this fact before it became apparent to everyone else. That’s a mistake. Because if it is apparent to you as the author, it sure as hell will be apparent to the reader. The longer you plug away at an inherently flawed story without fixing the underlying problem, the harder the edits will be too. And that, in a nutshell, is my problem with NaNo. Sometimes it’s smarter to stop what you’re doing and fix the problem before you cover it up with brilliant work that will only have to be torn down again. It’s easier to write a clean copy the first time than to repair a damaged one.

So don’t feel bad if NaNo is not for you. And don’t be afraid to follow your gut instincts and gut a story that isn’t working out. In the end, the revised story will be the better for your efforts. You’ll see.

In other news, Truth and Consequences was listed as an October Recommended Read by Prism Book Alliance, and there’s a giveaway going on at their page. Truth and Consequences has received stellar reviews from Rainbow Book Reviews and the Paranormal Romance Guild, among others, which just makes my heart sing.

Looking ahead to next month, The Boys of Summer will be re-released as a revised version Dec 21, so Merry Christmas to everyone!