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So, I said last week I had some good news.

The Wolf's-own series is now officially off the market. No, wait, that really is good news!

Dreamspinner Press is launching a new imprint--DSP Publications--this autumn for genre fiction with M/M content to complement their romance line. Since the Wolf's-own series is fantasy and not romance, they'll be launching its re-release as a second edition run beginning in November. So, all of you who've bought the first editions-- they'll be collectors' items now! *snort*

Also, I'm pleased to announce that DSP Publications has contracted to publish Blue on Black (BoB!), a fantasy/sci-fi novel with an Old West flavor.

Kimolijah Adani—Class 2 gridTech, beloved brother, most promising student the Academy’s ever been privileged to call their own, genius mechanical gridstream engineer, brilliantly pioneering inventor... and dead man. But that’s what happens when a whiz kid messes with dynamic crystals and, apparently, comes to the attention of Baron Petra Stanslo. Young and brilliant and killed for his revolutionary designs, Kimolijah Adani had been set to change the world with his impossible train that runs on nothing more than gridstream locked in a crystal that shouldn’t even be possible but nonetheless works.

Bas is convinced the notoriously covetous and corrupt Stanslo had something to do with Kimolijah Adani’s tragic and suspicious death. A Directorate Tracker, Bas has finally managed to catch the scent of Kimolijah Adani’s killer, and it leads right into Stanslo’s little desert barony. For almost three years, Bas has been trying to find a way into Stanslo’s Bridge, and now that he’s finally made it, “shock” is too small a word for what—or, rather, whom—he finds there.


The release is tentatively scheduled for June of 2015.

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5 pith & vinegar...ths or Insert pithy comments here:
carolecummings
Originally posted by jordan_c_price at New PsyCop Flash Fic
Don't miss the new PsyCop flash fic in today's JCP News!

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carolecummings
Dear Horrible Woman with Clipboard:

Something I didn't get to tell you yesterday, when you were looming importantly over my daughter and trying to bully her into removing her dog and herself from the soccer complex: that clipboard? Doesn't mean you're omnipotent. No, seriously. I know it's hard to believe. I mean, someone gave you a clipboard, right? That makes you Important. It makes you In Charge. It makes you Right.

Except, you know, it really doesn't.

I've seen so many like you over the years. I know the Power of the Clipboard sometimes goes to one's head. I know it's difficult to understand that people without clipboards have rights and might know what they're talking about better than you do. So let me just go over the course of the conversation point by point so that I can tell you all the ways your Mighty Clipboard led you astray.

You: You need to leave.
Daughter: Um. What?
You: You need to leave. No dogs. There are signs. *waves clipboard*
Daughter: He's a service dog.
You: For what? You don't look disabled.

Okay, so stop right there. Not so I can say things like Did you really just say that? or Somehow I can tell already you vote Tea Party More just so I can pause and rein myself back in so I don't mangle my laptop in a fit of resurgent rage. Also, so I can make sure you see how very awful you were, right from the start. Go read that last line again. Are you starting to get it yet?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

*deep breath*

All right, moving on.

Me: Is there a problem here?
You: I'm taking care of it. Please mind your own business.
Me: Wow. Okay, before you say another word, you should know that this is my daughter. My minor daughter. Anything you'd like to discuss should be discussed with me.
You: If she's your daughter you shouldn't have allowed her to bring the dog to the field. There are signs.
Me: And as I heard her tell you, he's a service dog. He's exempt.
You: If he's a service dog, where is his vest?

And pause, because no, he wasn't wearing his vest. This was our first outing in a public place with the dog, and my daughter was reluctant to use the vest for two reasons: 1) Because she didn't necessarily want to advertise "Hey! Look! I have a disability!" and 2) Because she knew there would be a lot of kids at the fields and she wanted them to be able to pet the dog if they wanted to. (When he's got his vest on, he's On Duty and no petting.)

So. Deciding to err on the side of Don't punch the ignorant, I answered:

Me: We decided against the vest today. But you can see his tag on his collar, stating that he's a service dog.
You: Anyone can buy one of those.
Me: *blinks* ...Yes, I suppose anyone could. Anyone could buy a service vest, too. But why anyone would want to, if their dog isn't a service dog, I'm sure I don't know.
You: Maybe so they could bring it to places it doesn't belong and think they can get away with it.
Me: (Um. I didn't say anything at this point. I was too busy gaping.)
Daughter: The vest is in the car. I'll go--
Me: No, you won't.
You: Do you have papers to prove he's a service dog?
Me: ...I'm sorry, are you kidding me?

At this point, I kind of stared around at the other soccer spectators who'd gathered. They all stared back.

See, right about here is when I seriously started wondering if this was some kind of punk or something. Because I was having a genuinely hard time believing I was having this conversation with you at all, let alone the tone and the length of it, and I started to wonder if the surreal feeling I was getting meant I had fallen asleep in my soccer chair and was dreaming all this.

But, alas, no.

You: No, I'm not kidding. There are signs! *waves clipboard* No dogs. And unless you have proof he's a service dog, I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
Me: You can ask all you like, but my daughter's rights, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, say she doesn't have to. What's more, they say you're not even allowed to ask any of these questions or make any of these demands. Now, if you'd really like to turn this into the shit-storm you're asking for, I suggest you call the police to make us leave, and then they can educate you properly on why you're an unbelievably reprehensible human being.
Daughter: Mom, why don't we just--
Me: No, hang on, I know this whole thing is embarrassing you and I'm sorry, but we can't let this one slide.
You: He has no vest! *waves clipboard*
Me: Because my daughter is not used to having to proclaim her disability to the public in general, and because a vest is not a requirement she is obliged to meet in order to utilize her rights or to compensate for your ignorance.

You see, Horrible Woman with Clipboard, a vest is nothing more than a signal to other people to leave her alone so she doesn't have to be subjected to this kind of ignorance--the kind of ignorance, I have to say, I didn't think we'd encounter at a kids' Sunday afternoon soccer game.

You: Well....

And right about here is where I could see your inner flailing begin. I could see you trying to decide if you should back down and (maybe, though doubtfully) apologize, or if you should keep trying to make what we both knew by now was a ludicrous point.

You, unfortunately, Horrible Woman with Clipboard, chose unwisely.

You: Well, you know, some kids are allergic to dogs. Some are afraid of them.
Me: I'm sure that's true. In which case, I'm also sure those kids will stay away from the dog. As you can see, he doesn't stray from my daughter's side, so none of those things are a problem unless a child who's afraid or has allergies approaches the dog, and in that case, I'd say it was the child's or the parent's problem and no fault of the dog.
You: There are rules! *waves clipboard again, with emphasis*
Me: Yes, there are. And no matter how much you wish it were otherwise, those rules do no apply to this dog.
You: You can't have the dog at the soccer field. If you won't leave, I'm going to have to call someone to have you escorted out of the complex.
Me: *turns to daughter* Sweetie, why don't you take the dog over and sit with Dad? I think Mommy's about to get ugly.


And, you know, I did. I thought maybe, in retrospect, I'd be a little ashamed of myself, because I wasn't just angry--I was incandescent. And I had stopped worrying about making a scene right around "anyone can buy one of those". I did not want to prolong or deepen my daughter's embarrassment--already worse than what she had been trying to avoid in the first place--and I did not want to continue to give those who'd gathered more of a "show". But I felt this was too important. There were examples to be set here, Horrible Woman with Clipboard; there were those kids you were so concerned about, watching you trying to bully a 5' 2" 95lb disabled teenager, and there were the parents of those kids, who would later either tell their kids that you were right to accuse my daughter of trying to pull one over on you, or that you were wrong for letting your clipboard go to your head. And I knew which example I wanted those people to walk away with. So, while I do regret that I was forced into handing you your ass in public, I do not regret educating anyone who was listening about the kind of person you are, nor do I regret showing my daughter that some things should not be borne.

Because, you see, Horrible Woman with Clipboard, my daughter has been in the hospital this year more than she's been out of it. It's why we even have a service dog. She's shy and prone to being too easily bullied. And she has very few Good Days right now. She was well on her way to having two Good Days in a row when you decided to wield the Power of the Clipboard, during which you took a Good Day and turned into a Bad Day, and it has now morphed into a Worse Day, and I can see the week ahead and it's not looking good.

So thank you, Horrible Woman with Clipboard. Thank you for teaching my daughter the valuable life lesson that people are awful everywhere, that they'll take something that's private to you and fling it out in front of all and sundry so they can make their uninformed point, that they'll hang on tightly to that uninformed point and continue to harass, accuse and malign, simply because they don't want to be proven wrong in front of the crowd they've gathered to witness what they thought was their authority but turned out to be their own awfulness.

Thank you for teaching my daughter that, if she doesn't want to have to deal with someone like you again, she'll be obliged to forfeit her privacy and put the dog's damned vest on. Not that it's any guarantee.

So, fuck you very much, Horrible Woman with Clipboard, and congratulations. I have no doubt this is a lesson my daughter will never forget.

Sincerely,

Me

~~~~

Honestly, I've been trying all morning to come up with a calm and less-snarky way of wording a letter to the soccer league's administrators, if for nothing else than to see that their people are better educated, but I think I'm still too pissed off. So I did this. I'd hoped it would give me an outlet and lance some of the rage, but... er. Not really, no.

God, people are such assholes. I can't even.

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carolecummings
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Thanks to all who participated in the blog hop and the drawings!

The winners of the grand prizes can be found on Ana's blog HERE. Congratulations to all the winners!

The winner of my individual drawing for a novel of their choice from my backlist is...

Pao!

Congrats, Pao. I'll be emailing you shortly.

Thanks to everyone who played, and make sure to watch for the Sci Spanks Anthology, which will feature authors and stories from the blog hop, some with brand-new material.
Available soon!

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SCI SPANKS 2014

Sci Spanks 2014 is finally here! Please visit Governing Ana for the prize list, sign-up sheet, and free books. You can win from a prize pool valued at over $1,000, including a Kindle Fire or Nook HD donated by Blushing Books!

Many authors will also offer a contest on their individual blogs. Your comment on their blogs automatically enters you in both the main contest and the individual contests!

How do you play?

1.Visit each blog between Wednesday, June 25th and Sunday, June 29th to read the posted stories and excerpts.

Note: Natasha Knight’s story takes place in a nonconsensual setting, meaning the heroine has not consented to getting spanked. If you are offended or alarmed, you may prefer not to read her story.

2. Leave a comment answering the story question on each blog. You will receive one entry per blog for the grand prize drawing. You will also be automatically entered in that author’s individual contest, if she has one.

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4.Deadline is midnight EST (UTC -5) on June 29!!

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Excerpt from Blue on BlackCollapse )

And now the excerpt:

~~~~


Er. No spanking in this one. Sorry.  :(

Title: Blue on Black

Blurb: Kimolijah Adani—Class 2 gridTech, beloved brother, most promising student the Academy’s ever been privileged to call their own, genius mechanical gridstream engineer, brilliantly pioneering inventor... and dead man. But that’s what happens when a whiz kid messes with dynamic crystals and, apparently, comes to the attention of Baron Petra Stanslo. Young and brilliant and killed for his revolutionary designs, Kimolijah Adani had been set to change the world with his impossible train that runs on nothing more than gridstream locked in a crystal that shouldn’t even be possible but nonetheless works.

Bas is convinced the notoriously covetous and corrupt Stanslo had something to do with Kimolijah Adani’s tragic and suspicious death. A Directorate Tracker, Bas has finally managed to catch the scent of Kimolijah Adani’s killer, and it leads right into Stanslo’s little desert barony. For almost three years, Bas has been trying to find a way into Stanslo’s Bridge, and now that he’s finally made it, “shock” is too small a word for what—or, rather, whom—he finds there.

~~~~

“Kimo....” Bas growls and paces a few jerky steps in front of the wide barn door. “Goddamn it, I don’t want to threaten you, I don’t want to make it worse for you, but I have to know what—”

“Okay,” Kimolijah cuts in. “Yeah, okay, then.” He turns slowly, eyes huge in the slats of graying gloom skimming in through the laths of the loft window. His smile is... strange, like he’s embroidering it on in slow, carefully hidden stitches, and still it’s probably one of the most heart-grabbing sights Bas will ever see. “Did you know,” Kimolijah says, soft and with a coy glint in his eye, “that most men become”—he pauses for a second, gaze traveling to the ceiling, like he’s thinking, then looks square at Bas with a smirk—“aroused during conflict?” He shrugs and slinks a step toward Bas. “It’s a primal thing. Asserting one’s dominance and such.” He pauses then shakes his head. “You really do have pretty blue eyes.”

He takes another step and it’s all Bas can do not to back away. Or step in. Because okay, yeah, there’s the adrenaline flooding his veins and shoving all his blood south, and his head’s telling him it’s an inconvenient bit of reaction he needs to ignore, overcome, but everything else is rushing at his libido like iron filings to a magnet, and the heady pull is dragging him in and in and in.

“What?” says Kimolijah, right up close now, staring up at Bas with gigantic eyes leaking doe-eyed vulnerability and teeth-gnashing sexuality all over the place, and God, he knows what he’s doing, he has to know what he’s doing. As if he's heard, Kimolijah smirks and says, “Did you think I don’t know exactly what I’m doing here? That I don’t know what my life is and how to keep living it?” He grins. “Did you think I don’t like ‘a rough night between the sheets’ now and then?”

Bas opens his mouth and then promptly chokes, because Kimolijah’s hand settles right over Bas’s groin, squeezes. The sensation shoots right into Bas’s gut and fountains up into his chest, and the resulting explosion takes out every reasonable thought in his head in a scatter of principled shrapnel. This is wrong goes up with the slide of strong fingers. It’s deflection and distraction dies a quick death with the quick rush of cool air over abruptly burning skin as Kimolijah deftly opens Bas’s trousers.

“I’ve seen you looking,” Kimolijah whispers, “watching me,” hot breath fanning over Bas’s collarbone, right down the open V of his shirt, and swathing his chest. “Did you not see me looking back?” It’s sultry, nearly breathless, almost believable. And then he licks.

“I know what you’re doing,” Bas manages, just as Kimolijah gets a hand on him, and yeah, he’s hard, Kimolijah knew he was, that’s the point, and Bas’s head knows that, but he can’t seem to talk the rest of him into doing anything but shoving forward into the grip that latches on and strokes.

Bas has so lost this game.

“Oh good,” says Kimolijah, and he grins. “I was worried for a second I’d have to explain the concept of blowjobs to you.”

And then he’s on his knees and Bas is choking again, and he doesn’t really have so much as a second to process the words that have just melted his brain, because Kimolijah’s wide, sinful mouth is on him, hot and wet and bloody fuck God, Kimolijah knows what he’s doing. Swirling tongue and scorching suction, he doesn’t mess around, gets right to it, and Bas’s hand is buried in Kimolijah’s—soft, so soft, God, I knew it would be—hair before he even remembers that he has one. Two, actually, and the other goes to grab for something, anything to steady him, and ends up brushing against his holster before finding the rough boards of the door behind him.

His holster, with the gun inside it he’d only minutes ago had tucked beneath Kimolijah’s chin. A spasm rocks through Bas, and not the kind he usually has when someone’s sucking his brain out through his dick. His other hand inadvertently fists in Kimolijah’s hair, and Kimolijah fucking groans, which almost, almost scatters Bas’s mind again, but he clings to the wispy thread of reason he’d snagged only a second ago and wrestles it into an actual thought:

Threats and accusations of spying, and manhandling Kimolijah into a deserted barn in the wee hours and interrogating him. Getting him alone and holding a gun beneath his chin. And fuck, Bas knows exactly what this is. Most of him doesn’t care, because guys don’t say no to blowjobs, they just don’t, but there’s a tiny bit that knows it’s wrong, horribly wrong, and that bit fights for and, after a violent bloody struggle, wins control of Bas’s motor functions.

He clenches his teeth, tightens his fist in Kimolijah’s hair, and pulls.

Kimolijah’s obviously surprised, because he goes at first with hardly any resistance, but then he’s pulling against Bas’s grip, leaning in, then gripping at Bas’s hipbones through his trousers. Kimolijah makes a noise of protest that vibrates right through Bas, and Bas almost forgets why he’s fighting this, but reason has been prodded into morality, weak-willed though it may be, so Bas sets a palm to Kimolijah’s forehead and almost shoves.

Kimolijah wobbles back and off with a slick, dirty pop that almost melts Bas’s knees, but he sets his jaw and doesn’t let go. “Playing the whore so easily, Kimo?” he says, embarrassingly hoarse.

The black wing of an eyebrow goes up, and Kimolijah narrows his eyes. “Didn’t anyone ever teach you it’s wise to be nice to the man with his teeth right next to your dick?” He tilts his head, annoyed. “What's the problem? From what I hear, you have a bit of a thing for little boys on their knees.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Bas mutters. He’s never going to hear the end of that one.

“Aw.” Kimo lifts his eyebrows, all innocence. And then the little bastard pouts, and blinks his giant eyes up at Bas. “A little too old for you?”

Bas’s knees have been unreliable since the second Kimolijah set a hand to him, so he figures fuck it. He drops down into the scattered straw, gets a hand behind Kimolijah’s back and wrenches him in, slides his thigh tight between Kimolijah’s. It’s kind of a toss-up between wincing and smirking, because—

“God, you’re not even hard.”

And, okay, the wannabe-badass in Bas is a tiny bit emasculated and petulant. Because some part of him, even the part that knew, wanted Kimolijah to want this, want him, wanted this to be real. The idealistic illobook geek in him—the one that couldn’t stop reading those journals, couldn’t stop admiring those formulae and theories, and fantasizing about the mind behind all of it—is hugely relieved, because this is not brilliant, promising Kimolijah Adani corrupted and ruined and content to be a trophy for a wealthy desert baron; it’s brilliant, promising Kimolijah Adani stuck in a no-win situation and using whatever tools he has to turn it to whatever small advantage he can wring from it.

Kimolijah’s teeth are set tight, his back up like a wary porcupine, and his mouth heels a curve, like he’s trying to dimple up into that sultry grin again and just can’t. “What d’you care?” he says, almost a growl, and he slips his hand through the fly of Bas’s open trousers.

“The fact that you even have to ask that question,” says Bas, as mild as he can make it as he snaps hold of Kimolijah’s wrist and stills his hand, “and that you’re serious about it....” He trails off and shakes his head. “A decent man prefers that everyone is willing and gets to have equal fun. A decent man takes just as much enjoyment out of his partner’s pleasure as his own.”

Kimolijah smirks. “Good thing there’s no decent men here then, yeah?”

“You keep telling yourself that,” Bas says then jerks Kimolijah yet closer, chest to chest, and dips his head down to lick at the strands of black ink slicking up the side of Kimolijah’s neck, pauses for a second when he tastes lemons, and it pings at something in the back of his brain, but then Kimolijah puffs out a surprised breath, heat all over Bas’s throat, and the thought just... skitters away. There’s no resistance, merely a barely-there shudder, so Bas bites down gently, black swirls over brown skin, enough so Kimolijah feels the pressure but not enough to leave a mark. Bas shuts his eyes for a moment, sucking in the heady cocktail of salt and sweat and leather and peppery ozone, then he slides his mouth over the crook of Kimolijah’s neck and breathes, “You don’t kiss.”

Kimolijah’s chest hitches and his breath stutters out over Bas’s ear, hot and damp. He doesn’t say anything, but Bas feels a small jerk of his head, just once, back and forth. No.

“You’ve never kissed him.” Not a question, not really, and Kimolijah doesn’t answer with words, or even a shake of his head this time; it’s a small, startled sound, down deep in Kimolijah’s chest, and a slight dip of his head to the side, baring his throat beneath Bas’s mouth, inviting.

Bas takes hold of Kimolijah’s hair again, fists it, then pulls his head back until Kimolijah looks him in the eye.

“But you’ll kiss me.”

Again, Kimolijah doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t negate it this time, doesn’t do anything but stare at Bas, eyebrows quirking then smoothing, quirking then smoothing, like he can’t decide if he should be pissed off or not. So Bas slides his hand in between them, lays it over the bulge in Kimolijah’s trousers that wasn’t there just a moment ago, and presses.

“You’ll kiss me,” Bas says, through his teeth this time, and he tightens his grip on Kimolijah’s hair, smoothes his palm over Kimolijah’s groin, and smiles a little when Kimolijah sucks in a quick, tight breath. “And better yet,” Bas goes on, low and smooth, “I’ll kiss you. And then we’ll see what it’s like when we both want it.”

He doesn’t wait for Kimolijah to speak or move or even breathe. With a rough jerk of his hand, Bas wrenches Kimolijah’s trousers open, dips in, and drags Kimolijah into a rough, wet, searing-hot kiss.

It’s not perfect. It’s sloppy, for one, and there’s a thick, shameless high in knowing that it’s clumsy because it’s one thing Kimolijah’s not good at, one thing even a brain the size of a planet can’t figure out without at least some practice, and the lack of finesse means the I don’t kiss thing wasn’t a come-on and it wasn’t for show. Kimolijah doesn’t do this because he doesn’t want to do this, not with Stanslo, and how Kimolijah’s managed to maintain that stipulation is something Bas wants very badly to know, but not so badly he’ll actually stop and ask.

None of it’s enough. Bas wants a bed, he wants soft, worn sheets, he wants time, and he wants to map with careful fingers every swirl and flourish of all that black ink on brown skin. He thinks he could, he thinks he might even be able to trace the shapes without even looking, because it’s all been imprinted behind his eyes without him even realizing it. Bas wants it all, but there’s only this, only here, only now, right now, so he takes what he’s got and shuts away everything that’s wrong with it.

Kimolijah’s frowning when he draws back, all pinched and confused, like he can’t figure out exactly what’s happening and how he got here, on his knees in a barn with Bas’s hand down his pants, but when Bas tightens that hand, pulls and strokes, Kimolijah merely groans and arches, pushing his hips in, in, in, then he dives back in for another kiss. It’s bolder this time, more raw and a little bit dirty, teeth nipping and tongue swiping, and when Kimolijah’s hand finally, finally starts moving on Bas again, Bas gives him a groan back and just moves.

It’s not perfect, it can’t be perfect, and it’s not anything like what Bas never allowed himself to imagine back when he’d thought Kimolijah dead, and the ghost Bas had made up in his head was a wisp of a fantasy he’d never actually have in his hands. It’s not an illobook scene with everything drawn in soft sepia tones and no wrong moves, no accidental pinches, no tugging of sensitive hairs that result in quick hisses and apologetic nips. Grunts instead of breathy moans, grasping that’s a little too rough and gets desperate a little too quickly, slick slides of lips that are too slippery and too breathless, and God, hips shoving and hands taking and mouths demanding more in vaguely syllabic mumbles that never really turn into words but manage to convey meaning.

It’s crude and a little bit raunchy, grips gone slippery with sweat, and lips too swollen to be skillful, and arousal too high for dexterity and a touch of flair. But it’s good, so fucking good, Kimolijah with his tiny noises that get stoppered up at the base of his throat, and Bas has to—he has to lean in and lean down, run his tongue over the knot of them as he speeds his hand, firms his strokes, and holds tight as Kimolijah’s spine bends and his head falls back.

He’s not all elegant curves and rhapsodic beauty when he comes. He’s clenched teeth and scrunched face and hands that clamp too hard onto Bas and fucking hurt so bad that it wrings Bas’s own orgasm from him in a hard, hot tangle. But God, he’d fucking magnificent, the gray of dawn lumbering in through the loft slats and lending brown skin soft, fuzzy radiance as Kimolijah peaks hard and too obviously clamps a yell behind his teeth. His whole body shudders with the force and he looks so much like bliss and abandon personified that it wrenches something hot and tight from Bas’s chest and pushes another few waves of pleasure into his climax.

He watches, panting, as Kimolijah comes down, drags in one long breath after another and then slumps into Bas like he trusts him, like he’s wrung out and raw and knows Bas will keep hold of him ’til he’s not anymore.

So Bas does, just reels him in, presses the mess between them, hot and sticky, and molds his palms to the curve of muscle and the solidity of bone, dips his head down until his face is wedged into the crook of Kimolijah’s shoulder and just... breathes.

(Blue on Black will be available from Dreamspinner Press in late 2014/early 2015)

~~~~

In the meantime, try the Wolf's-own series. Assassins! Magic! Conspiracy and intrigue and gods and family and betrayal, and somewhere in there, an unconventional love story that may mean the difference between sanity and... not.


WolfsOwnGhost_smallWolfsOwnWeregild_smallWolfsOwnKoan_smallWolfsOwnIncendiary_small

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Your answer to the story question below will automatically qualify you to win not only the prizes in the main Sci Spanks prize pool, but also an ebook of your choice from my backlist. Have fun and good luck!

Okay, so the story question: What color are Bas's eyes? (Don't forget to leave your email address!)

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carolecummings
You know that angel story we never finished? Yeah, don’t. And stop angsting about it. Seriously, you don’t know this now, but we end up letting it make us crazy for the next 10 years—get over yourself now and save us a lot of worry lines. We’ll be prettier when we’re my age.

I know, I know, you’re all But I’ve got, like, 80K words! I can’t just let them sit there! but yes, yes you can. In fact, you should. There is such a thing as authenticity in plot and character evolution—stop rolling your eyes at me, it’s a real thing!—and it may be difficult to recognize it and define it when you’re looking at it, but you know when it’s not there, even if you don’t know what’s missing. You’ve read—and subsequently very quickly forgotten—enough books with cookie-cutter plots and 2-dimensional characterizations by now to understand why you even write in the first place, so don’t try to force something because you can’t get past your own impatience and the sometimes unreasonable things you expect of yourself.

Also, that disk we save it on and subsequently guard with our lives for the next 15 years or so? Yeah, just take a hammer to it now. We don’t need it. Anything that was good about the story is still hunkering down in the back-brain and waiting it out, and that disk will morph from a kind of safety blanket into a symbol of failure after a while, and it’s not failure. It’s going to take us a long time to figure that out, and we do get there eventually, but we could’ve saved ourselves a lot of false starts and hits to the confidence if we hadn’t so desperately and wrong-headedly held onto the hard evidence of the initial launch delay. (And you know we never like our old writing anyway—which is why we never once open that disk the whole time we have it—so keeping it “in case we can use some of it later” is pointless and just causes us more angst than necessary.)

Anyway, the story won’t die just because we let it hibernate in the back-brain for longer than usual. I know you worry we’ll forget, but trust me—we don’t. That shiny little coal the seed of the story started out with is still there; you’re just not ready to turn it into a diamond yet. You’ll have to leave that to Older Us. I’m not guaranteeing it’ll be a diamond treasured by all, but it’ll be our diamond, something we can be proud of, and we’ll make that first delicate cut when it’s ready to be made.

And it’s not like any of the original stuff goes to “waste” so quit thinking like that. Every “failure”—or even delay—adds to our maturity as a writer, and everything we do or try enriches our next project in some way. We’ve already used some of the traits of the angel story’s protagonist to build Dallin, and he turned out better for having let his characterization mature. We’ve used some of the characteristics of the world to give backstory and depth to Temshiel and maijin, and their history and evolution is a lot more interesting than what we had going 20 years ago.

Oh, and let me warn you about this now and save our psyche some whinging: We will, in about 15 yrs your time, read a book very similar to the angel story—right down to the occupation of the main character—and we will have actual palpitations, because it’s so close, what the hell, how did that author get in my head?! but relax. The author was not in our head, don’t be a ninny. (That’s what the tinfoil hat is for, idiot.) It’s just that it was a good idea and we’re not the only ones who have them. And it’s good that we read that book, because it makes us understand why we didn’t fail by not writing it, and it also frees up our head to the different direction the original story wanted to take right from the beginning and we just didn’t see it back then. ’Cause we were young and stupid. (Oh, don’t get all uppity; Carole +20 yrs—Carole + 40 yrs to you—will be telling me the same thing.)

Now, you will meet someone in about 5+ yrs time who will eventually become your sounding-board, your confidante, your writing partner and your BFF. You will meet because of writing and the mutual respect thereof, and thereafter discover a kindred spirit with enough polar-opposition in various opinions and methods and philosophies, etc. to keep it constantly interesting, educational and evolving. This BFF will one night have a few too many glasses of wine and drunkenly tell you during a late night IM session—during which she will actually slur her typing, and you will be unable to figure out how she manages it—that she really wants that angel story and you should be writing it for her as a personal favor, because I deserve it, damn it! And while yes, she kinda does, you will nonetheless metaphorically pat her on the head and chuckle and head off to a bed that doesn’t spin when you close your eyes, secretly wishing a mild hangover on the BFF, because she knows, she knows damn it, she knows BoB is all over us like a cheap whore and is giving us fits—we’ll need to have a talk about BoB another time, because holy shit AUGH!—and there are 57 other stories that want out, and there was a reason the angel story never got finished, damn it, we should never have told the BFF about it, we should’ve just let it fester back there like a sore tooth we can’t help poking now and then, because MATURITY! AUTHENTICITY, damn it!

And while we’re busy rolling over and petulantly knocking the husband off our pillow, the angel story will spring forth whole-formed into the front-brain. And it will shine behind our eyes in the watches of night and keep us from much-needed sleep, because it will be good. It will be better than what we could’ve done 20 years ago. It will be the reason it refused to cooperate back before we’d lived a little more, had specific experiences, acquired a different kind of awareness and a subtle shift in perspective. We will curse the BFF her drunken ego-coddling, but we will also (somewhat reluctantly) abruptly understand that the time is drawing near and (very reluctantly) thank her for it.

When we do, finally, write the angel story—and yeah, it’s making demands now, and we’ll probably start it just as soon as BoB stops being such a dick—it will be because the story is ready to be written, because we are ready to write the story it needs to be, and not because we have a shiny idea we have to take our jeweler’s tools to now, regardless of whether or not we should. “Should” is very close. Closer than it was 20 years ago. We’ll know it when it gets here. Probably because it’ll take us by the hair and beat our head against our laptop, but sometimes we like it a little rough. ;)

Sincerely,

Carole +20 yrs



P.S.—Oh, and one more thing: Don’t start dying our hair. Yeah, I know, 25 is a little young to start going gray, and we do still like the freedom of changing colors every once in a while when we get bored. But we’re at the age now when we actually should be starting to go a little gray, and salon people apparently have no idea what you mean when you tell them that. The last time we tried to explain we wanted a little bit of natural gray mixed in so we didn’t have to let the color grow out and look like a weird, elderly inverted skunk, we ended up blonde with blonder highlights. We are not blonde. We haven’t been blonde since we were 8 and got fried at the beach. So just suck it up now and let the husband—who is, yes, eight years older, and how fair is that?!—look like your boy toy for a while. It’ll even out eventually.

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carolecummings
jtulloshennig and I are over on the Armchair Reader today talking about Tropes, Archetypes and Expectations. We’d love to hear from you!

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carolecummings
Shut up, they asked me to!

Interview over on Tim Flanagan’s blog where we talk about writing, inspiration and publishing.

(I really liked the questions on this one!)

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carolecummings
Originally posted by jtulloshennig at New Book trailer for SHIREWODE
The countdown has begun... Shirewode, sequel to Greenwode and Book Two of the Wode, will release 09 September!  Here's the trailer--enjoy!


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carolecummings
The new Doctor is rather yummy, isn't he?

*approves*

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carolecummings
J Tullos Hennig and I are over on The Armchair Reader today talking about Spec Fic and why we’re not really qualified to be spirit guides. Come join us and tell us what popped your Spec Fic cherry!

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carolecummings
Giveaway of The Queen’s Librarian continues through 11:59pm Pacific time on Sunday at The Novel Approach. Rules are listed at the bottom of the post.

(Lisa’s review is here.)

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carolecummings
The Queen’s Librarian

All Lucas Tripp wants is happiness and prosperity for the tenants of his family’s estate, some good weather for the upcoming harvest, suitable matches for his six older sisters, a little money leftover at the end of the month, to never ever come within distant brushing distance of an ascension to the throne, and more quality time with Alex. That’s not so much to ask for, right? Oh, and for his dog to listen to him. And for his cat to stop plotting against him. And for his mother to stop being disappointed in him. And for his sister Clara to someday forgive him for stealing Alex away from her. Not that Lucas did that!

When Clara’s new suitor suddenly disappears, Lucas absolutely will not have it and is thus drawn into an adventure of a lifetime—kicking and screaming all the way. All right, complaining and grumbling. (Because Lucas neither kicks nor screams, no matter what Alex says.) Magical beings who were supposed to be banished hundreds of years ago, coming through portals that were supposed to be shut against them—that’s only part of Lucas’s problem. Missing princes, breaking and entering, suspicious magicians, arsey cousins and far too many well-meaning women who are far too interested in Lucas’s sex life doesn’t really cover the rest of it, but give Lucas time; he’ll come up with more.

Wooster and Jeeves meet Monty Python and Doctor Who, with a side-visit now and then to the Three Stooges. The Queen’s Librarian is a romp through absurdity and intrigue and humor and schmoop, with a healthy dose of real adventure. And while Lucas spends most of it decidedly Not Amused, he’ll get over it someday. Probably. Because there is, after all, always Alex.

Now available at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major distributors.

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carolecummings
I just watched Immortal Beloved for, like, the bazillionth time, and it got me all blubbery for, like, the bazillionth time. I know it's kind of like an AU fanfic of Beethoven's actual life and music, but day-um it's an effective one.

I don't think it will surprise anyone if I admit I've been a nerdy classical music fangirl since forever--my dad used to play 78s and 33s of the Masters on the gigantic cabinet-sized stereo in our livingroom when I was growing up. (Along with the Clancy Brothers, the Beatles and the Carpenters, Jesus Christ Superstar, the Chipmunks singing the Beatles' hits, OMG, but we don't need to go into all that right now, because yes, that's exactly how old I am.) And Beethoven's 9th symphony has always been one of those pieces of music that can make me conduct all by myself in my car and not care what someone in the other lane thinks. But the way Immortal Beloved portrayed the 4th movement of it just... gah. No words. Or, you know, lots of words but very teary ones. That little boy running and running and grasping for some kind of freedom then immersing himself among the stars. If I wore pearls I'd be clutching them. (Shut up, I have a lot of feelings.) If I could do for a reader what that scene and that music does for me...

Sublime.

On another note, there are apparently now just as many links to torrent downloads for my books on a Google search as there are legitimate sales links. Sigh again. Which might not be so bad, if it wasn't for the attitude on some of them. See, I don't generally worry overmuch about the torrent sites, because I figure those aren't people who were going to buy my book anyway. If they couldn't get it by stealing it, they weren't going to buy it, so it's not like I'm losing anything. (Unless they go around one-starring me on review sites or something, because that would just be... wrong. Somehow. Insult to injury, or something.)

But the cheek on some of these people is truly amazing sometimes. I saw one where the girl (I'm assuming--the pseud was kind of chickish) posted every single one of my books, and left a note on the post that said it would be nice if anyone who steals downloads them would leave her a thank you.

0.0

Seriously. A THANK YOU. I was kind of tempted to sign up for a membership just so I could leave her a note that said, yes, thank you for stealing my books and making it so easy for others to steal them as well. I didn't. I'm so freaking lazy. Plus, I'd probably be the one coming out of it looking like the troll. Anyway, you send out one desist order and ten new links crop up, so feh. Entitlement, man. It's a goddamned epidemic, I swear.

I remember Josh Lanyon once talking about a comment on one of his books threads, where the person said they were a huge fan, had read every one of his books, and proudly stated they hadn't paid for a single one of them--they couldn't afford it, see, but they'd gone out of their way to hunt down a free download, because that's just how dedicated they were. And you know, I get that a lot of people can't afford to pay for their reading habits. I really do. (You have no idea how poor I was at one time, and I've been a voracious reader all my life. Except I generally tend to reread the books I have on my shelves when I can't afford something new. 'Cause, you know, the stealing thing.) And it totally sucks to desperately want a new release from an author you love but you can't afford it. But Jesus, stealing it really doesn't make you a fan. Stealing it makes you a thief who happens to be a tiny bit discerning. No one is actually entitled to reading material, and certainly no one's entitled to steal it if they can't afford it. But there are tons of people who seem to think they are.

I'm not really griping, I swear. I mean, I kind of am, but like I said, I don't see myself as losing anything to the free downloads. It's a sincere lack of respect for the authors from whom they steal, but I'm a mother of four--I'm used to no respect. It's the principle. And the entitled attitude bugs the crap out of me.

Er. Sorry. I really just logged in to see how everyone's doing and to gush about Immortal Beloved. I'll stop now.

Hope everyone's been having a great, if unreasonably hot, summer.

xoxo



Extra shout-out to Julia and Marlene! Hope you're both doing better, <3 <3 <3 <3, and check your inboxes! Michelle, don't check your inbox just yet. (See, you should never forgive me for late correspondence, because I'll just be later the next time.) This week, I swear. You know I adore you, right?

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carolecummings
Star Trek? Fucking AWESOME. I had moviegasms. Story, characters, EFFECTS, OMG. I swear I'm still high. I need to see it again RIGHT NOW.

And when it got to the point where I understood that I was watching alternative echoes, I wanted to climb into J.J. Abrams's lap and cry for the sheer nerdy joy of it. And Benedict Cumberbatch! Holy shit! Can't tell you what I loved so much or someone will kill me for blurting spoilers. But seriously--holy shit!

Also, saw Iron Man 3. (Hey, holiday weekend, I can spend it geeking out in a movie theater if I want to.) I can't say I was equally affected, but it was a close thing. I mean, Tony Stark, duh, but same thing with the story and the characters and the effects.

Both of them were definitely worth the price of admission. Again and again, really.

God, I love SF/F. Keep The Girl With the Pearl Earring. I want tribbles and hobbits and spaceships, oh my!

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carolecummings
Originally posted by jordan_c_price at Channeling Morpheus Special: Payback $1
Deliciously Dark

Think all vampire books are the same? Think again.

Michael is a reckless vampire hunter who lures in his prey by posing as bait, captivating his quarry with kohl-rimmed bedroom eyes. Wild Bill is the enigmatic smartass in ripped jeans and black leather he can’t seem to shake. And Channeling Morpheus is their story: a sultry slice of Americana served up with a steamy helping of dark obsession. No fancy club owners or city lords here—the gritty action goes down in abandoned buildings, shabby strip malls, and the back of a rusted out van.

By turns poignant, wry and disturbing, rich with lyrical language, hard-hitting eroticism and unflinching violence, Channeling Morpheus is character-driven erotica you’ll want to read again and again.

This week, pick up the first Channeling Morpheus novelette, Payback, for $1 with the following coupon codes:

PBMOBI

PBPDF

PBEPUB
(select the code according to the file type you're purchasing)

Take me to the Payback page!

JCP Books also offers great bundle deals on the 10-novelette series every day. Read the first chapter of Payback free, get hooked, and grab the bundle!

If you’ve already read and loved this series, be sure to tell your friends about this deal!

Coupon code valid through midnight CST May 2, 2013


The guy who’d wanted the light was smiling. Still standing practically on top of me, too. Staring me right in the eye.

You’d think that would be all. He asked for a light. I didn’t have one. And then he would move on. But maybe it was more than that. Maybe he’d just been looking for an excuse to talk.

He slid himself onto the barstool beside mine. I did my best to look nonchalant. He was…amazing. Tall and lean, with ripped up jeans and spiked blond hair, earrings, a snake tattoo on his neck and chipped black nail polish. And he wanted to talk to me.

Couldn’t I have run into him any other night? Like, a night that I didn’t already have a date with a vampire?

“Got a name, Mister Lung Association?” he asked me.

“Michael.”

“Michael, Michael, Motorcycle.” He tucked his cigarette behind his ear and shook my hand. Well, more like he jammed his hand toward me, and I either had to shake it or be knocked off the barstool. “Wild Bill.”


Take me to the JCP Books website!

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carolecummings
So, life goes whacko for a while and it seems my brain takes that as a sign that it must generate a bazillion new story ideas that must be written right now omg! and then I get all flustered and have to slouch down to my cave for a while until life calms down and The Muse stops whipping plots at me like darts through her bony fingers. Life has not exactly calmed down, but I’ve been working steadily on one story for a while now, when I can, so I’m taking that as a good thing.

Now, usually I don’t name a story until it’s finished. I go with a horrible computer filing system wherein my WIPs are labeled stupid things like ‘#515’ or ‘Mage with scar’, but at least they’re all in one place now (I used to have them scattered all over my computer and had to search random folders just to find the one I wanted to work on; I found one once in a folder labeled ‘recipes’ so go figure) so that’s an improvement. But this one has ended up with a name-- Blue on Black. There is a reason for that, and it does have something to do with the plot and the characters, but I have to confess that the main reason I went against my usual (stupid) system was because I realized that if I allowed this story to name itself Blue on Black, I could then call it BoB. So I am currently writing a steampunky fantasy involving a train and I call that story BoB. Thank you, yes, I realize my head makes no sense to anyone who lives outside of it.

Anyway. Oh, look--more clowns!Collapse )

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carolecummings
Why do I watch Rent every time it's on when I know Angel is going to wreck me and make me useless for days? :( Quick someone hug me!

Paranorman next because it looks cute and I need cute.

Hey we never did the post-Christmas thing. Whad'ya get? (Clothes and kitchen stuff for me because apparently I am a poorly dressed kitchen wench. :/ Well okay last year it was a car so that's kinda hard to top. See? I can be reasonable!)

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carolecummings
THIS made me cry soppy emo tears of wedding-y happiness. Only look if you have time to touch up your eyeliner. (No, I really really mean it.)

And I have to link THIS ONE, too, because I miss my hockey (damn you, NHL lockout!) and I used to love watching Sean Avery on the ice.

There have been some really good strides made toward acceptance in pro sports this year, which I think is a very important stepping-stone. I think one of the ways to make ‘the gay issue’ the nonissue it should be is for those who are seen as iconic examples of masculinity to expose nonacceptance for the shameful thing it is--Neanderthals will usually only listen to someone they view as an equal or superior Neanderthal. Sean Avery started his advocacy several years ago, back when he was still with the Rangers, and the example seems to be catching on.

For those of you who don’t follow sports, THIS story from this past autumn will make you want to stand up on your chair and cheer anyway.

Still too slow, but progress nonetheless. Not a terrible way to end a year. :)

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carolecummings
And WTF Keebler Elves? while I'm at it.

There are no Almond Crescents! ANYWHERE!! Every year I wait for my Almond Crescents, and this year? No Almond Crescents! *weeps* Have the Keebler Elves gone on strike? Did their tiny little tree factory burn down? Did they switch their tiny elf religion and don't believe in the joy of almondy goodness anymore?

Apparently, I looked so distraught this morning while searching the Giant grocery store that the manager came over to see why I was attempting to climb behind the cookie shelves and shoving little children out of the way of the Keebler displays. (ME: 0_o Obviously, I'm looking for Almond Crescents. Duh.) And he told me he's going to check with Ernie Keebler (I swear to god, that's what he said) and relay my WTF? sentiments. And then he patted my head and told me he'd call if they got any, and then asked me to go wait quietly at home and stop scaring the other customers. (Not really.) So there's hope. Tiny little elf hope, but still.

*sniff*

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