Tigers on the Run: Melbourne with Sean Kennedy

July 13, 2015

Let’s talk about Melbourne.

 

I often say that Melbourne is a character itself in the Tigers and Devils universe.  It was the city I was born in, the city I returned to live in for a decade, and it is the city of my heart.  You know how you just feel you belong somewhere?  I belong to Melbourne.

 

So I thought I would talk about some of the things I love so much about the city.  Some of them have already been adopted by Simon as his favourite things.

 

Here we go:

 

  • the MCG, obviously.  The home of Australian Rules Football.  Richmond train on the grounds in front of it on Punt Road.  It was also the stadium used for the Melbourne Olympics.  Where I lived you could often hear the crowd roaring if the wind blew in the right direction.
  • PICEDITOR-AGE

 

 

 

  • Pineapple donuts.  ‘Nuff said.ADP_7c10_detail

 

 

 

  • The Cheesestick.  A lairy art installation on one of the major freeways which a lot of people hate but I love.
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  • The Antarctic winds blowing straight through you.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Hanging Rock – a place of legend that most people still believe is real.  MIRAAAAAANDAAAA!
  • picnic-at-hanging-rock
  • Trams.  Trams makes a city magical.
  • Good vegetarian food on every street corner!  Believe me, that’s heaven for a veggo.
  • BOOK STORES.  Perth City justclosed down its last book store.  You now have to travel out to shopping centres in the burb to find a book store.
  • There is just a spirit in Melbourne that is like no other.  It really does feel like a city that accepts you, no matter who you are.  It is the perfect city for Simon and Dec to live the rest of their lives.

Does Melbourne feel like a city you would like to live in?

In Honor of USA Marriage Equality: My Marriage, My Story with Rick R. Reed

July 12, 2015
Bruce and I shortly after we met, summer 2002.

Bruce and I shortly after we met, summer 2002.

For my husband Bruce and me, June and July are celebratory times. Our anniversary was June 15 (yea! we have made it to thirteen years now as a couple…and I see many more ahead of us) and both of our birthdays fall in July (mine on the first, along with our Boston Terrier Lily) and Bruce on the 12th.

Unlike many straight married couples, though, Bruce and I always celebrate two anniversaries: the June 15 date I mentioned above and our legal wedding anniversary on December 12. This year, we celebrated our second anniversary as legally-wed husband and husband. We are overjoyed that our marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Can you imagine how it felt for it not be? But until June 26 of this year, if we went to my home state of Ohio, we would not be a married couple in the eyes of the Buckeye state. Thank god the madness has been laid to rest.

On my birthday, Bruce and I were having dinner at a little French bistro in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle and, as the wine flowed, we talked. Bruce told me how content he was with his life and that, really, there was nothing else he could wish for. I felt exactly the same way. It’s nice when you’re on the same page. He said we had something special and that one word summed up what we had. Can you guess what that one word was? I’ll get to it at the end of this post.

But, you know, it wasn’t easy getting to this page in the book of our lives. And thinking about Bruce and me has made me think about my other special love, and that’s writing. If any of you out there have followed my career at all, you’ll know that, lately, my stories have plotted out the course of love just as much as they have the build-up of suspense or horrifying revelations. I can proudly say I am now just as much a romance writer as I am a horror or dark suspense writer. Heck, even my haunted house story being re-released this year by DSP Publications, A Demon Inside is, at its heart, a love story.

You may wonder why my writing has slipped off in this new direction. I certainly did, once upon a time. But now I know that it has a lot to do with Bruce. See, we’re happy. We’re content. We’re settled and in a love that only continues to grow with the passage of time.

I don’t know if this is a leap of logic that makes sense but I think that I am more drawn to writing stories that map out the connections made by the human heart these days because I am not expending as much energy seeking out that connection in my own personal life. Now that I have found my one true love, my soul mate, I can open up and write more freely about what draws people together and what keeps them apart. I find those connections fascinating and I don’t believe I could write about them objectively until after I had found, after much searching, a relationship that would work for me, one that would nurture and sustain.

Before Bruce, there was a marriage to a woman and a child. Both of those were–and still are–wonderful in their own ways. But trying to live a life that was not my own was not only emotionally exhausting, it was dangerous in many ways. With a lot of heartache, I had to let that dream, which really was never for me, go. I came out in my early thirties, in a world where gay marriage was not really even being discussed yet and the specter of AIDS loomed large. It was not necessarily a good time for a gay man to be experiencing the world and finding himself. But then, when is it ever a good time? But my point is I went through a lot of searching, a lot of experimenting, a lot of bad choices, always in search of love, and always coming up empty-handed.

A lot of those disappointments occurred because the real love I needed–the love of myself–I had yet to discover. I look at my thirties as my true adolescence, with its attendant growing pains.

It wasn’t until I was 43 that I met Bruce. Gone were the hopes that I’d meet a special man in some bar or even a gay social group. The era of the Internet was on us in a big way and I placed an ad with the headline, “What’s Your Story?” Bruce was one of several who responded, and the only one with whom I connected. He sent me some pictures of himself and I was, shall we say, quite taken. He said things in his very first response to my ad that resonated, things like, “OK- as far as “fun” is concerned– at least the fun that isn’t entailed in my listed interests above- I mentioned I’m a pretty versatile guy, though that includes being romantic as well. When guys say they like everything “mild to wild”, I chuckle. Just strikes me as funny, I guess. ( Humor is a big thing for me– gotta have a good sense of humor.)” and “Ambivalence is a turn-off for me. And attraction is such a subjective and somewhat nebulous thing. I’ve learned to trust my gut instincts about it.”

I wrote back. He wrote back and we started a daily correspondence that would last two weeks, two weeks before we even laid eyes on one another, even though we lived less than two miles away from each other. We began to get acquainted. We both liked what we saw, what we read in our lines to each other, and what was between them. We had both reached a stage where we were ready for the other. Timing is everything.

We met in person and it was magic.

I won’t say we didn’t have some bumps in the road, though, getting to where we are today. Nothing really good ever comes easily. But Bruce and I were always willing to talk–whether it was face to face or through e-mails (and now texts and Facebook updates!). The line of communication has always been open and I think that’s what’s made the difference with us.

It’s also made it possible for me to be able to sit back and be more objective about writing romance because finally, at age 57, I finally, finally, have a handle on what works and what doesn’t. Until I had that key, I honestly believe I couldn’t have written convincingly or effectively about romantic love.

So you can expect two things from me–one, that I will always be in love with Bruce and two, that you will enjoy many more stories of love and romance between two men–because of Bruce and the heart he so generously gave, and continues to give, to me.

Oh, and that one word I alluded to above? The one Bruce used when he said it summed up what we had?

That word is family.

Congratulations to couples everywhere who have found their happily-ever-afters. It’s what we romance writers build our stories upon and what we romantics build our lives on.

And because this is a Dreamspinner Press blog, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my most appropriate work that goes along with this post: Legally Wed.

Legally Wed by Rick R. Reed

BLURB

Love comes along when you least expect it. That’s what Duncan Taylor’s sister, Scout, tells him. Scout has everything Duncan wants—a happy life with a wonderful husband. Now that Seattle has made gay marriage legal, Duncan knows he can have the same thing. But when he proposes to his boyfriend Tucker, he doesn’t get the answer he hoped for. Tucker’s refusal is another misstep in a long line of failed romances. Despairing, Duncan thinks of all the loving unions in his life—and how every one of them is straight. Maybe he could be happy, if not sexually compatible, with a woman. When zany, gay-man-loving Marilyn Samples waltzes into his life, he thinks he may have found his answer.

Determined to settle, Duncan forgets his sister’s wisdom about love and begins planning a wedding with Marilyn. But life throws Duncan a curveball. When he meets wedding planner Peter Dalrymple, unexpected sparks ignite. Neither man knows how long he can resist his powerful attraction to the other. For sure, there’s a wedding in the future. But whose?

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I’ll Write You a Story… with Roan Parrish

July 10, 2015

Hi, all! Roan Parrish here, visiting the blog because my debut novel, In the Middle of Somewhere, is coming out today!

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In the Middle of Somewhere is a contemporary romance, featuring a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog. Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.

When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.

In the Middle of Somewhere came about rather by accident while I was working on another project entirely. I was visiting my dear friend A in Phoenix, and we were talking in her kitchen while we put together an elaborate cheese plate—talking about books in general, talking about M/M in particular; talking about various real life annoyances, dissatisfactions, and desires. The usual. A said that she wished someone would write a romance about someone in her situation: having recently moved to a brand new place to take an academic job and having a tough time adjusting. Never one to let dissatisfaction fester when there’s cheese to eat, I blurted: “I’ll write one for you!”

On the plane ride home to Philly the next day, I wrote a little story and emailed it to A. It was about Daniel, who was just finishing his Ph.D. in Philadelphia, and has to totally turn his life upside-down when he moves to small-town Michigan for his first teaching job, but ends up meeting the love of his life there. I assumed that, my duty dispatched, I’d go back to the grim urban horror story of capitalism I was working on. Except that A wrote back, “Send me MORE!!!” So I did. That story was the first chapter of what became In the Middle of Somewhere and I just kept sending her more.

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As an ex-academic who worked for years on a book that only about five people in the whole world ever read, knowing that there was someone on the other side of those emails who was reading what I was writing and actually enjoying it was like a drug. After I’d written five or six chapters it stopped feeling like something I was writing just for fun. The characters started to feel real so I knew I couldn’t abandon them in the middle of the story. That is, I started thinking of it as a real book. Then as a series.

And that’s what I’m working on now: the second book in the In the Middle of Somewhere series! It features a new couple, who you’ll meet in book one, but Rex and Daniel definitely make an appearance. The second book is a bit darker, so that’s been a nice change (what can I tell you; I’m moody). I’m also having a smashing time working on a brand new project. It’s a series of novellas set in 19th century New York City, each of which revolves around one of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective stories. What do you get when you combine a very practical detective, an eccentric Poe enthusiast, and a copycat killer who may or not operate in a supernatural realm? Intrigue, horror, and a whole lot of heat. More nerdiness and ratiocination coming your way soon!

Thanks for hanging out today, everyone! I have two copies of In the Middle of Somewhere to give away. So: our hero, Daniel, has a lot of tattoos (with a tattoo artist for a best friend it’s kind of to be expected). To win an e-book of In the Middle of Somewhere, tell me your best tattoo story in the comments. If you have tattoos, you could tell me the story behind your favorite one; if not, tell me about the best (or worst!) tattoo you’ve seen. Have you always wanted a tattoo but never gotten one? Tell me what it would take to make you take the plunge. Extra credit (can you tell I used to teach?) if your story includes getting a tattoo for love. Spill all your inky tales in the comments for a chance to win!

 

Find In the Middle of Somewhere on:

Dreamspinner Press   |  All Romance eBooks

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Kinky Experiences with Grace R. Duncan

July 6, 2015

kinky experiences

Hello everyone! This is Grace R. Duncan and today is the release of my new contemporary BDSM novel, Turning His Life Around.

I actually started Turning a long time ago. When I first started writing it, I was just beginning to understand all that BDSM was about and what it meant to me. Make no mistake, I’ve been kinky for almost as long as I’ve been sexual. But I didn’t really understand what it all was or how it worked.

Not all of my kinky experiences happened within a romantic relationship. In fact, many of them were with people who are just friends. Sometimes, play is just that—play. Two people have fun and enjoy something mutual. One thing to remember, here, is that BDSM doesn’t require sex. One of the best scenes I’ve ever had involved me getting my ass paddled (and spanked, among other things) but the guy spanking me never touched me sexually. Another time, I volunteered to let people learn fire play with me and though I was naked, there was nothing sexual about it. Sure, sex can be involved, but it doesn’t have to be.

But sometimes kinky relationships stem from existing romantic relationships. Couples—or more—who discover kink after being together for a long time. It’s often a natural progression to go from vanilla sex to experimenting with other things—tying someone up, blindfolding them, a swat here or there—all of which can lead to even more.

However, it’s not always that clear cut. Sometimes what seems so to be only friendship between two playing starts to feel like something more. BDSM—especially D/s and pain play—involves a lot of trust, on both sides of the relationship. For a submissive to be able to let go and simply experience, they have to be able to trust their Dom. Some level of trust is necessary if they’re going to go into that oft-coveted place: subspace.

It can mean that the lines between simple play between friends and that of a romantic relationship can be blurred. It’s even worse if those boundaries weren’t that clear to begin with. What happens when two best friends who’d been so all their lives start to realize there’s more between them then occasionally fucking or saying, “Yes, Sir?”

Turning explores that. Things have always been relatively simple for Kane. They were rough when he was little, but still fairly simple. He avoided his mom’s boyfriends. He spent his days with his best friend, Ian. As they got older and away from his mother, that didn’t change all that much. Now, he didn’t have to worry about the boyfriends, but he still simply hung out with his best friend and focusing on being a teenager like most others—except for being gay, of course.

But that friendship was always there and Kane never questioned that. Until his life turns upside down and he’s faced with a whole mess of change he never expected. And through it all, the one person he’d come to depend on is still there, still his rock.

They’re not just best friends, though. They’ve been happy to be fuck buddies when neither was dating anyone. And a few years before Kane’s life goes so crazy, they start exploring BDSM.

So when it does get more than a little crazy, those already-fuzzy lines get much blurrier. Kane is asked, on more than one occasion, what Ian is to him and he discovers he’s having a hard time explaining. Everyone seems determined to label Ian as Kane’s boyfriend or partner, but Kane keeps refusing… until he tries to list all the things Ian is… and isn’t quite sure where to stop.

A big portion of what pushes him further is when they start playing more often. Kane needs the grounding the scenes with Ian gives him, with all the changes in his life. And the more they play, the harder it is for him to find those lines once again.

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Have you had relationships where the lines blurred for you? Could you play with a friend? Tell me about these for a chance to win a copy of any of my backlist titles!

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Be sure to follow the tour for more opportunities to win and learn lots more about Kane and Ian! Check it out here!

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About Grace:

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.

Find Grace here:

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Turning His Life Around

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Writing Series with Anne Barwell

July 6, 2015

WITH LOVE

 

Thanks for hosting me.

I’m Anne Barwell and Family and Reflection is my 9th release with Dreamspinner Press. I live in New Zealand, and in my other job I work in a library. Family and Reflection is also book 3 of The Sleepless City, an urban fantasy series which is a joint project with Elizabeth Noble.

When we started discussing ideas for The Sleepless City we soon realised that it would need more than one book to tell the story. As our writing schedules and styles are quite different, we decided to alternate writing the books. I’ve written book 1, Shades of Sepia, and book 3, Family and Reflection. Elizabeth has written book 2, Electric Candle, and book 4, Shifting Chaos.

One of the reasons I love writing series is that it gives the opportunity to explore characters and their world in much more depth. With each book I learn something new about these characters, and given that several of them are vampires, there’s a lot of history to catch up on. It reminds me in a way of peeling an onion, in which each new layer reveals itself when something triggers a memory or relates the past to the present. Also, with the focus of each book on different characters, although keeping the ensemble feel of the series, it meant that all the characters had the chance to grow as the overall story progressed. Several minor characters also demanded more air time, and turned up with hints of interesting back stories. It’s a good thing we’re both writing spin off series after The Sleepless City arc is finished.

The other reason is that a series lends itself to a much more complicated plot. While each book has closure in regard to the immediate crisis/mystery, strands from earlier books come together with each subsequent part of the story to give a more complete picture. Continuity is really important when the series is an arc rather than stand alone stories set in the same universe, so many of the story elements were plotted out before book 1 was even written. Then, as things happened when we wrote our parts of The Sleepless City, we added to our already extensive series and character notes.

Most of my other books are part of series too… Who am I kidding? They all want sequels or have sneaked into a series by becoming a prequel to something I haven’t written yet. I can’t write a standalone story to save myself, although I like to leave my characters in a good place at the end of each book and tie up the immediate storyline. I also like to include enough information so new readers can read out of order and still follow the plot, although there are references to things that have happened in previous books too.

My current WIP, One Word, is a good example of this. This story is a side novel to my first book Cat’s Quill—it’s Donovan and Ethan’s story as to what happened while Tomas and Cathal were… oops sorry, spoiler for those who haven’t read the series. Anyway, it’s a fun juggling act, so that readers who haven’t read my Hidden Places series can follow this story, but not info dumping to the point that others have to re-read what they already know. One of my beta readers has read all my books, while another is new to this series and deliberately hasn’t read the others so between them they can make sure I’m getting that balance right.

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Giveaway:

Do you like stories which are told over several books, or do you prefer everything to be tied up in a neat bow at the end of one book? I’d love to know which, and why, and am offering a free ebook from my backlist to someone who comments on this post. DSP will draw the winner after 48 hours.

***

Blurb:

Family and Reflection
Book 3 of The Sleepless City, Sequel to Electric Candle
For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Flint—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.

Declan has been away from Flint for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.

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Buy Links:
eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6464
Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6465

 

***

Excerpt:
“Someone has stolen from the council, Mr. Declan,” Hillary said. “Are you denying you’re responsible?”

“That depends. Are you accusing me?” Declan replied, giving her the incredulous look her comment deserved before continuing. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Lassiter, but if I was a thief, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to steal from the council. My friends work for you, as do I on occasion. We have no argument with you.”

At least they hadn’t lately, Declan added silently. Anyway, just because he could break into the council vault, it didn’t mean he had.

“The items stolen did not belong to the council itself. This is personal.” Hillary stood. She sounded angry. “Someone broke into my home last night and stole something from my bedroom while I slept!”

“Well, it wasn’t me,” Declan said. No wonder the council was upset. Whoever was doing this either had a death wish or was trying to make a point. He shrugged. “You need to read up on vampires. You’re human. I can’t enter your home unless you invite me in.”

“Some of your kind don’t need to follow that rule,” she said.

Jacob cleared his throat. “Declan isn’t old enough, Hillary.” Only a very old vampire could enter a private home uninvited. “There are ways around that rule, however, and we are not sure this burglar is working alone.”

“What if he had already been invited in?” she said, ready to argue the point. “My husband’s family has owned the house for over twenty years. It was robbed fifteen years ago, the day after we’d had a tradesman there to fix the phone. People invite tradesmen in all the time. I checked the council records. Declan was in Flint then too.”

“That still doesn’t mean it was me,” Declan pointed out. He thought back. Lassiter. Lassiter. Oh, right. No wonder her name seemed familiar. That robbery fifteen years ago probably had been him. He’d burgled a few homes in Flint around that time by posing as a tradesman a few days beforehand. Once he’d been invited in, it was forever, or at least while that particular human was still living there.

“It doesn’t mean it wasn’t, either,” Jacob said. He steepled his fingers, his brows creasing in thought.

“Mrs. Lassiter implied this meeting was because I needed your help,” Declan reminded him.
“I don’t. Don’t accuse me of something unless you have proof.”

“Do you have an alibi for last night?” Jacob asked.

“Yes,” Declan said. He took a deep breath and blew it out. Jacob was going to love this one. “Lucas. Your son.”

Jacob didn’t seem surprised at the revelation. Was he keeping an eye on Lucas despite telling his son he wanted nothing more to do with him? Perhaps he still cared. For all their differences, Lucas was family, and that was important to the pack.

“All night?” Jacob asked after everyone else in the room had turned their heads to stare at Declan.

“No,” Declan had to admit. He wasn’t sleeping with Lucas and wasn’t about to imply he was. Lucas had enough family issues without them thinking he was involved with a vampire. Which he wasn’t. “We got home about three this morning.”

***

Blog: http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com/
Website: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
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Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/anne.barwell.1
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115084832208481414034/posts
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Dreamspinner Press Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/anne-barwell

Astounding future

June 26, 2015

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the release party for Astounding! I have to sign off soon to go pack for tomorrow’s trip. Ugh. I travel a lot, yet I still hate packing.

While I’m in the Pacific Northwest, I’ll be participating in a couple of author readings. If you’re in the Seattle or Portland areas, I’d love to see you. Details are here: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/events/

I also hope to do some writing while I’m up there. I’ll be spending a bit of time on the farm that inspired my Bones books. I’m hoping to catch sight of a sexy water sprite, sexy werewolf, or sexy handyman while I’m there. Or maybe a dream unicorn or Bigfoot. I’ll also probably be finishing up the edits on my 13th novel, Rattlesnake, which comes out at the end of August. And my novella for the 4th book in the Gothika series, Spirit. That one comes out in October, with ghost stories by Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden, and B.G. Thomas.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out Astounding! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

Now, as you finish off your cool drinks and desserts, and perhaps plan your marriage equality celebrations, I have one last question for you. What do you most wish I’d work on next? You can take a peek at my upcoming releases if that will help: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/upcoming-releases/ . Is there a genre you’d love to see me tackle? A couple you’d like to hear more from? Do tell!

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The Astounding Central Valley?

June 26, 2015

Okay, so, California. What comes to mind? Palm trees and movie stars? San Francisco? Big Sur? Napa? Yeah, we got all that—but not where I live. I’m in the middle part of the state, the San Joaquin Valley, the part everyone else drives through on their way to somewhere else. We are the Nebraska of California.

This is what it looked like around here hundreds of years ago:

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Grasslands, wetlands, a few trees. Nowadays we have almond orchards, dairy cattle, and strip malls. Not the most exotic place in the world.

Not too many books have been set around here. Um, except Grapes of Wrath, which doesn’t exactly add to our mystique. But some pivotal scenes in my new book, Astounding!, happen right here, halfway between Yosemite and San Francisco. In these very strip malls!

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Something very unfortunate happens in that Fairfield Inn.

I’ve lived here for a couple of decades, long enough to appreciate some of the local charms. Like produce stands where I can get wonderful fruits and veggies much of the year. There are several within a few miles of my house. The cost of living is reasonable by California standards. We have lots of diversity. My neighbors speak Punjabi, Assyrian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Filipino. When I go for my daily walks, I see dozens of adorable little fence lizards and a wide range of birds. And when the heat and the boredom get to me, I can hop in my car and be in the mountains, the desert, the coast, or the Bay Area, all within a couple of hours.

So here’s my second giveaway. Tell me what some of the unsung attractions are wherever you live (remember to include your email address). On Sunday I’ll randomly choose one commenter to win the audiobook of my novel The Tin Box, narrated by the amazing KC Kelly.

 

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

Astounding Career Changes

June 26, 2015

So… career changes. Have you ever found your job life dead-ended or heading off in an unexpected direction? It can be stressful, but it can also be a chance to start something new and maybe better.

Last year, my husband got laid off from a job he wasn’t all that thrilled with. But then he spent a couple of months being a househusband, which—aside from the lack of paycheck—was wonderful. He taxied the kids everywhere, did the shopping and made dinner, and fixed a bunch of things around the house. We were both pretty happy, apart from the drop in income. And then he eventually found a new job with a fire department (he’s an accountant, not a fireman). But… firemen! I was thrilled. And he loves the new job. So this story had a happy ending.

firemen

 

No, neither one of them is my husband.

As for me, I’ve kept the day job that I’ve had for the past 22 years. But a few years ago I published my first novel, and now I have a whole other career—my dream career!—as an author. I am… not a kid. I guess you’re never too old to start something new.

In my new novel, Astounding!, Carter Evans is facing the end of his job as editor because his magazine is dying. He’s not handling it well. He sees it as a failure rather than an opportunity, and the booze isn’t helping any. And then he meets John….

What career twists has your life taken? Is there a new job you’d love to try? What do you want to be when you grow up?

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

The Astounding Tab Hunter

June 26, 2015

Let me tell you about Tab Hunter.  I’ve been reading his autobiography (http://www.amazon.com/Tab-Hunter-Confidential-Making-Movie-ebook/dp/B003ZYEZ8Q/ 1). He was one of the big teen-heartthrob actors of the 1950s, although that was an image created for him by his agents and the studios. But you can see why:

tab1

 

Heck, the man’s in his 80s and still looks good:

tab2

 

Like several other actors of the time, he had to keep quiet about being gay. In his book, he says Hollywood people knew about him and others, but kept that aspect private. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to lead a double life while being so much in the public eye.

I’m really enjoying his book. And one of the main characters in my newest book, Astounding!, looks just like him. John Harper claims to be an alien who arrived on Earth in the 1950s and took on the appearance of a popular actor, then stuck around. The other protagonist, Carter Evans, is highly skeptical. But he certainly finds John attractive.

You can read more about them in the book: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

Do you have a favorite actor from the ’50s? James Dean maybe? Cary Grant? Rock Hudson? If you were an alien come to Earth, which actor or actress would you choose to look like?

 

Road Trip and a Giveaway

June 26, 2015

So we’re here to celebrate the release of Astounding! (among other things), and I want to talk about road trips.

Astounding_postcard_front_DSPhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6587

 

In the book, Carter’s friends invite him along on a road trip in a rented RV, and he impulsively asks John Harper to join them. John is a terrible writer who looks like Tab Hunter and claims to be an extraterrestrial. So it might end up being a slightly strange road trip, but hey. I’ve driven cross-country with toddlers. I’d prefer an alien.

Carter’s trip begins in Seattle, continues south through Portland, and ends up at Yosemite National Park. And the timing is perfect, because tomorrow morning I’ll be making almost the exact same journey, only in reverse. I live a couple of hours west of Yosemite. With my husband and younger daughter, I’ll be driving up to Portland (where my older daughter has spent the past month) and then eventually to Seattle. I will be traveling with a teen and a preteen—travel companions as mysterious as any alien could be.

Have you taken a memorable road trip? Or do you dream of one? Tell me about it in a comment here (and be sure to include your email address). I’ll randomly choose 1 commenter on Sunday, June 28—when I’ll be in Portland!—to win an e-copy of my novella Grown-up.