Thursday, September 26, 2013


GRNW is around the corner and m/m authors around the country are madly ordering personalized bookmarks, pens, lens cleaners, etc. to give away. Lately I've been pondering their practicality. The most useful swag I ever picked up was one of those rubber jar opener thingies—I use it all the time. However, I couldn't tell you at gunpoint the name of the author it was from.

I became convinced that the best giveaway for an author is a story. From now on the only swag I'll do printed booklets of short stories and sample chapters. I mean, they are only good for two things: reading and starting fires. They'll have at least a fifty percent chance to be read, probably more thanks to the prevalence of central heating.

Price wise they are at par with pens and pins. The cost depends on length but I know for fact that I can get a 5,000 word short done well under two bucks, shipping and handling included.

For anyone interested, I get my booklets printed at The Book Patch. Setting up a book there is similar to CreateSpace but simpler. Also, you don't have to put your book up for sales anywhere. Their templates are easy to use. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Word: Debridement

debridement |diˈbrēdmənt|noun Medicinethe removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound.ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French, from débrider, literally ‘unbridle,’ based on bride ‘bridle’ (ofGermanic origin).

I learned this word from the back of a hydrogen peroxide bottle. It's another one that doesn't mean what it should. My imagination is conjuring up the disengagement of suitable ladies from hapless young man--something that would happen in a P.G. Wodehouse novel.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Word: Aslant

aslant |əˈslant|adverbat an angle or in a sloping direction some of the paintings hung aslant.prepositionacross at an angle or in a sloping direction rays of light fell aslant a door.

Such a simple, straightforward word, yet I can't say I've ever used it. This oversight must be remedied.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Joyful Giveaway

Another chance to win a copy of Dead in the Desert--this time at Joyful Jay's place. There's also a lovely review there. :)

Manic Monday

I spent the (long) weekend in Seattle, at GRNW. Tracy (ttg) did a superb job organizing the event. She has my admiration.

It was a strange and exciting experience to meet people I'd only known online before. I have slightly anxious the whole time, especially before and during my panel appearance, but I managed not make a huge ass of myself, and that's good.

By the time I got home on Sunday night I was exhausted and still recovering. No rest for me though—I have a crap ton of stuff to do.

At the time it sounded like a good idea to time the release of Dead in the Desert with GRNW, but it meant that I was mostly off-line during the release day crazies and now I'm still catching up.

It was great to see glowing review of the book at Reviews by Jessewave and Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books.  They certainly put my mind at ease. The romance in Dead in the Desert is low-key, and I've wondered/worried if I was slipping out of the genre too much for the readers. All seems well, however.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sinfully Sexy Giveaway

There is a chance to win a copy of Dead in the Desert at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews.

I was tickled pink to read Monique's review of the book. It was like butter to my soul.

Wednesday Word: Patois

patois |ˈpaˌtwä; ˈpä-|
noun ( pl. same )
the dialect of the common people of a region, differing in various respects from the standard language of the rest of the country the nurse talked to me in a patois that even Italians would have had difficulty in understanding.• the jargon or informal speech used by a particular social group the raunchy patois of inner-city kids.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.French, literally ‘rough speech,’ perhaps from Old French patoier ‘treat roughly,’ from patte ‘paw.’

"By the way, would you convey my compliments to the purist who reads your proofs and tell him or her that I write in a sort of broken-down patois which is something like the way a Swiss waiter talks, and that when I split an infinitive, God damn it, I split it so it will remain split, and when I interrupt the velvety smoothness of my more or less literate syntax with a few sudden words of barroom vernacular, this is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed and attentive. The method may not be perfect, but it is all I have."

                     - Raymond Chandler

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

You Don't Have to Shout

The other night I watched Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on TV for the umpteenth time. I'd seen it on the big screen too, but every time it comes up on the small one I can't resist.

I suspect some people might find this film too sedate, especially for a spy thriller. It's definitely no James Bond—no car chases, explosions, and very little nudity.  I, however, love the subtlety—layers upon delicate layers of backstory and drama. Outwardly the film is about finding the mole at the top of the British secret Service (the "Circus"). But it's really about men who live secret lives and sacrifice everything for the job.

In best British tradition, emotions are suppressed, but they are there, in abundance, churning under the surface. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is full of troubled relationships. The main character George Smiley (played by Gary Oldman) has marriage troubles, his wife, Anne, has left him, again. If you take only his words in consideration you'd think he's unaffected by it, but the depth of his feelings are expressed in nonverbal means. The most telling is probably at the end of the film—she has returned and we see only her back and legs through the kitchen door. Smiley notices her just as we do, and he stops dead for a second and reaches for the balustrade. Interestingly, we never once see her face in the whole movie.

There are other dramas as well. Another agent, Peter Guillam, (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a gay man who has to give up his lover for the job. He watches wordlessly as the other man packs, ask for explanation, then breaks down crying when finally alone. It happens quick and the camera stays in neutral distance. If you blink you might miss it.

And there is the charming and callous Bill Haydon (Colin Firth) and Jim Prideaux, (Mark Strong) the man carrying the torch for him.

Most other movies would shout these things at you, but Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy whispers. And that's why I love it so much.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday Word: Twaddle

twaddle |ˈtwädl| informalnountrivial or foolish speech or writing; nonsense he dismissed the novel as self-indulgent twaddle.verb [ intrans. archaictalk or write in a trivial or foolish way what is that old fellow twaddling about?DERIVATIVEStwaddler |ˈtwädlər; ˈtwädl-ər| nounORIGIN late 18th cent.: alteration of earlier twattle, of unknown origin.

A lovely, old-fashione word, with plenty of present day potential. I won't rest till I use it in a conversation.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vintage Monday: Laborers

I think it's fitting post a picture of working men on Labor Day. This photo was a rare find--photography at that time was mainly the province of the middle class. I also find fascinating that someone hated the man standing on the right enough to scratch his eyes out of the photo.