Cops: The Boys in Blue.

March 7, 2011

I’ve been fascinated by crime and law enforcement for my whole life and have a library of fiction and non-fiction books on the subject. I have high respect for anyone who will take on a demanding career that offers little to no mental benefit. Personally, I’ve had more bad than good experiences with cops, but I’ve forgiven and forgotten past ill-treatment.

Now, Gabriel in Undercover Sins is not a traffic cop or patrolling the city in a car, but let’s face it: majority of people come in contact with police officers when in a vehicle. I have no story to share about undercover cops because I’ve never met one. And if I have met one, I didn’t know. I have met my fair share of cops preparing to write me a ticket though…

When I lived on the west side of town I drove a car without registration. (oh bad girl, Hayley. That’s another story for another time.) I was pulled over frequently by a seasoned officer and his young partner. They were the sweetest and I never minded the expected twice a month traffic stop. The rookie never spoke and the older officer gave me two court dates and a lot of warnings. He usually only asked for an update on the drama that started after I purchased that particular vehicle. When I finally had my brand new license plate on it, he pulled me over just to tell me “Great job!” and that was the last time I saw them.

I’d love to hear some personal and memorable experiences with the police any reader is willing to share.

Release Event for Undercover Sins!

March 7, 2011

Hi everyone! I’m Hayley B. James, new author, and I’m here to celebrate my first published story, Undercover Sins, with readers. I’ll be giving away prizes and sharing excerpts from it as well. But first, I’ll share a bit about myself.

I work an 8-5 job behind a desk and write in my spare time. I’ve always loved reading and writing but never had confidence or desire to share stories. In 2006 I lost someone I considered closer than blood, and a friend suggested writing to release some grief. I was uncomfortable sharing my personal feelings, so I created a character, dropped him into a world of drama and watched him squirm and overcome everything I thought I couldn’t. That exercise gave me a writing addiction.

Undercover Sins was my second try at a police-centered story and it took me six months from planning to finish. I didn’t do too much planning for it outside of my mind. I wrote practically nothing down for an outline, and was terrible with research notes. I spent some time on Google looking up prostitution in Las Vegas (I took liberties after I learned the laws) and world-wide human trafficking information. I researched when I would come to a question I didn’t know the answer for. It worked for me at the time, but I’ve learned to plan a bit better.

I sent Undercover Sins to Dreamspinner Press in 2010 and now in 2011 it’s released!

You can read my blog here,Friend me on Facebook here, Follow me on Twitter here,And friend me on Goodreads here.

I’m very excited to be here tonight! Don’t be shy—ask me any question you might have.

Thank you for joining me!

“Cowboys and IT-ians” by Xara X. Xanakas, in the ‘Riding Double’ Anthology, Post #2

February 20, 2011

The day I got the notification this story would appear in Riding Double, something changed. I was sure it was going to be rejected – after all, I’m not AN AUTHOR. I’m a writer. I like to write fun little stories that make people smile. When the contract came in my email, I sat there, stunned. Thrilled. Overjoyed. Terrified.

Spouse was getting ready for work, so I printed out the stack of papers for him to see and left them on the kitchen island. He was in full-on Monday morning mode, not really seeing anything and pushed them out of the way as he  got a bowl of cereal. I moved them back, and he just kept eating!

I put his phone on top of them and waited. Can’t you see what that is? Can’t you see I’m jumping out of my skin?!?!? FINALLY he looked down, picked up his phone, and noticed the Dreamspinner logo on the top page. When he asked what it was, I faked being calm and nonchalantly answered him.

“That? Oh, that’s my publishing contract.” He was so excited, he forgot his coffee. After twenty years of telling me I could do it, someone’s proven him right.

The morning after I signed the contract, I donated my compensation to the Trevor Project, through the Goodreads M/M Romance Group fundraiser. It felt like the right thing to do; some tiny gesture I could make to repay the group that’s given me so much inspiration, support, and encouragement. Whiner and Connie would not have existed, let alone been let loose on the world if it weren’t for that group.

“Rode Hard and Put Away Wet” by Kate Sherwood, from the ‘Riding Double’ Anthology. Post #2!

February 20, 2011

I had a hard time with the ending for “Rode Hard and Put Away Wet”.  Actually, I think I have a hard time with story endings in general.  It sounds strange, given the genre in which I’m writing, but I’m really not much of a romantic.  It’s hard for me to believe in a fairy tale “Happily Ever After,” and it’s important to me that my writing be believable.  So even in my novels, I tend to slip towards “Happy For Now” endings.  It’s not that I don’t think my characters stay together – I really believe that they do.  I just think that they have to keep fighting for it.

This was really clear to me in the Dark Horse series.  (Dark Horse and Out of the Darkness) One of the reasons that I was happy to write as many extras for it as I did (they’re available at my website, www.katesherwoodbooks.com) was because I liked being able to show that the guys were still struggling, but still holding on.  So maybe that actually makes me a total romantic.  I believe in the power of love.  I don’t think it can erase all obstacles, but I believe that it can give people a reason to keep fighting, even through the toughest times.

With “Rode Hard and Put Away Wet” my first ending was “The kid took the towel.”  That line’s still in there, but I go on for another five hundred words after it, explaining and elaborating.  It’s a bit of a violation of the minimalist cowboy aesthetic that I was going for when I started writing, but I think it makes sense.  Even in a short story, people need some degree of closure, right?  I might know what was going to happen to the guys after the shower, but that wasn’t quite enough; I had to give the readers at least a bit more to go on.  And I know it sounds sort of ostentatiously artsy, but I felt like I had to give the characters a bit more, too.  I like both of them, and I don’t want to leave them hanging.  So, another five hundred words.

I think I made the right decision, but I’d love to hear what readers think.  I’ll be in and out of the blog today, but I can also be reached through my website (address above).

Mr. August by K.R. Foster

February 20, 2011

Hello, everyone! *Waves*

I’ll be the first to admit that I was nervous about writing for this anthology. I tend to dwell in the land of fantasy and science fiction, and honestly had no intention of writing a contemporary cowboy romance.

However, my younger sister always tells me that I should forever be willing to try something new; as usual, she’s right.

Sometimes writing is like trying to breathe underwater without an oxygen tank—useless and impossible—just one step away from death. But sometimes, on occasion, a story just wants to be told and the words pour from my fingers without hesitation. Those are the stories that I most enjoy working on. Luckily for me, Mr. August is one of the stories that doesn’t want to drown me. *Grins*

Mr. August isn’t what I expected it to be, certainly didn’t head where I thought it would, and proved to me once again that the words are the mistress and I’m their slave. I hope you enjoy this daylong ride outside my comfort zone; I know I did!

Synopsis:

Colby Fremont, owner of Ghost Creek Ranch, has learned everything he needs to know about city boys. They’re only good at one thing—leaving. But famous photographer Ethan Walker won’t get off Colby’s property, no matter how many times Colby tells the damned boy that he isn’t interested in being in Ethan’s cowboy calendar.

Excerpt:

Colby Fremont huffed in annoyance and yanked open his front door to stop the incessant knocking. He took one look at the man on his front porch, glared, and slammed it shut again.

“Mr. Fremont! I—”

“No!” he snapped, perfectly aware that his gruff voice would carry through the door. When the knocking started up again almost immediately, he turned and stalked across the wood floor of his living room, boots clomping loudly.

The doorbell started ringing at the same time as knuckles rapped again, and Colby barely restrained the urge to take his shotgun off the wall and blow a hole through the door. He most certainly was not going to participate in that… travesty. Ugh.

After turning the corner and entering his large and empty kitchen (his workers were actually out working like honest men), he strode toward the back door, scooping his beaten brown Stetson off the table and onto his head along the way.

Smirking once he realized the aggravating harassment of his front door had ceased, Colby twisted the doorknob, opened the back door, and walked right into the bastard who was no longer on the front porch.

“Mr. Fremont, I’m—”

“Can’t you read, boy?” Colby asked, looking down his nose at the overly hyperactive runt who couldn’t possibly have graduated from college yet.

The too-thin lips snapped shut for just a moment. “Of course I can!”

“You sure? Because I’ve lived here my whole life, boy, and I distinctly remember there being a Private Property: No Trespassing sign way down by the mailbox.” He gestured off east, toward the dusty road that led onto his ranch. “It’s black and orange—damn near impossible to miss.”

“I did see it, Mr. Fremont.” The kid stuck out his chin, which lacked even the barest hint of stubble. Had the runt even hit puberty yet? His brown hair flopped in his eyes like a puppy dog, that girly haircut all those actors in Hollywood seemed to favor.

“Then why’re you here, boy?” he drawled.

Additional Information:

To purchase Riding Double, the anthology that contains Mr. August and several other cowboy tales, please go here: Riding Double.

My other published stories can be purchased here: K.R. Foster.

Additionally, feel free to e-mail me if you would like to discuss my stories, offer constructive criticism, or just talk about writing. My e-mail is kamerreon@yahoo.com.

Thank you! Happy reading!

K.R. Foster

“Cowboys and IT-ians” by Xara X. Xanakas, in the ‘Riding Double’ Anthology

February 20, 2011

Blurb: Rancher Vidar Stendahl—known affectionately as “Whiner”—has a way of dealing with animals, but technology doesn’t cooperate with him. When his office computer crashes, a call to the “Dork Squad” brings Constantine Bagnoli—”Connie” to his friends—to Stendahl’s Stand, and a case of mistaken identity leads to a showdown they’d never have seen in the Old West.

Excerpt: The sky was threatening to open up any second, and the Hereford calf was still fighting, stuck in the mud along the creek bank. Once the rain started, the creek would fill up in no time. Whiner sat high in the saddle and slung his rope over his head, letting it loose on the front swing, neatly catching it around the neck.

“Ho, Fly!” He stopped the horse short, tied the end around the saddlehorn, and neatly dismounted in seconds. At six-foot-eleven, and over three hundred pounds of solid muscle honed on the range, he’d have no problem lifting the calf out of the mud, but he didn’t want the animal running off as soon as he was free. Dragging one massive gloved hand along the lead line, he carefully moved down the creek bank to the calf, talking to him in soothing tones, attempting to calm him down.

“Just what in the fuck did you think you were doin’ down here? Huh? Don’t you know you could get us both killed, you useless side of beef?” He cooed to the frightened animal just as lightning flashed across the sky and the rain started pouring down. “Shh. It’s okay, boy. Just calm it the fuck down so we can both get out of here and go the fuck home.”

Whiner reached the animal and started stroking his neck. The calf bucked and tried to rear away, eyes wide with panic as thunder clapped around them.

“It’s too late to make you veal and too early to make you spare ribs, so you better calm down,” he baby-talked, using his tone and his movements to soothe the calf. “I swear, I will leave your sorry ass down here and write you off my fucking insurance if you don’t settle down. And Bobby Joe, I see you up there. You could bring your lazy ass down here to help, you know.”

“I think you and Butterfly got it covered, Boss.”

“Sure we do, don’t we, meat?” Whiner asked the calf. He managed to work his long arms around the calf’s forelegs and haunches and lifted, working him out of the knee-deep mud. The calf kicked a couple of times and then was free on the firmer ground high on the bank, trying to scramble away. Butterfly stepped back and planted her hooves in the hard-packed dirt at the top of the ridge, pulling the calf back against the rope. Whiner started to follow the calf up, but his boot got stuck in the muck, making him lose his balance and fall into the slop, one clean white sock poking out of the bottom of his very dirty jeans. “Fuck!”

Butterfly whinnied, shaking her dark mane, and Bobby Joe laughed at his misfortune, not helping Whiner’s mood one fucking bit.

“You’re fucking fired, Bobby Joe!” He knelt down and started digging in the mud for his wayward boot. “Goddamn it!” He fished it out of the mire but slipped again and fell forward, covering his last clean spot in the sludge. He heard Bobby Joe’s cackle over the thunder and raised a glare up the bank toward him.

“Rode Hard, Put Away Wet” by Kate Sherwood, in the ‘Riding Double’ Anthology

February 20, 2011

Cowboys.  Sexy as hell, obviously, but kind of hard to write about, at least for me.  My characters like to talk, but the thing I like best about the cowboy ideal is that they’re laconic and stoic.  If I was going to write a cowboy, I wanted to make myself write a cowboy.

And them that don’t know him won’t like him and them that do
Sometimes won’t know how to take him
He ain’t wrong, he’s just different but his pride won’t let him
Do things to make you think he’s right.
(“Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys”, by Ed and Patsy Bruce).

But that wasn’t quite enough.  Hell, I wanted to write a desperado.

Oh, you’re a hard one
But I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin’ you
Can hurt you somehow.
(“Desperado”, by Glenn Frey and Don Henley.)

I wanted my guy to figure out that he needed to play the queen of hearts, and I wanted him to let somebody love him before it was too damn late!

And I also wanted to keep it short, because if I was given the opportunity, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from making the poor guy babble on like some character from Dawson’s Creek.  I knew I couldn’t do laconic long-term, but I hoped I might make it if I kept things short.

So, I wrote my first short story, “Rode Hard and Put Away Wet”.  I’m really pleased with it.  Some of my early readers encouraged me to expand it, and turn it into a novella or even a novel, but I didn’t trust myself.  I felt like I got it just right, as a short story – any longer, and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation to start babbling.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think.  I’ll be in and out of the blog today, or I can be reached through my website at katesherwoodbooks.com.

Facing Up

February 20, 2011

Donovan looked at me like he was still trying to figure me out, and I guess he was debating my honesty as well.  I must have passed muster after a while, because he reached down and took my hand in his and brought it back to where it had been.

“I like you too, Kyle,” Donovan replied. “I’ve been waiting a hell of a long time to hear you finally admit that.”

I was more dumbstruck by his words than the feel of his hands pressing against me once more. Maybe I was drunk after all.  I leaned toward Donovan, hoping I wasn’t reading this all wrong. A thing like that could get you killed out here, but I found I couldn’t care less about that once Donovan met me halfway and our lips touched for the first time.



 

It’s party time!

February 20, 2011

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Riding Double anthology release party! Normally Anne Regan, our intrepid editor, would be doing this post, but she’s traveling this weekend and asked me to make it in her stead.

We’ve got another great mix of stories for you this time around a long-time favorite theme of mine: cowboys! The anthology is a great mix of contemporary and historical, light-hearted and intensely powerful, but more than anything else, as always where Dreamspinner is involved, what you have are tales of love. Not always romance in the traditional sense, but always of love.

To get things started, we’re offering a free eBook copy of the book to one lucky winner who can e-mail the titles of the six historical stories in the anthology to ariel@dreamspinnerpress.com (Hint: Click the excerpt tab to read the blurbs.)

Treasure of Love – Coming in May

February 11, 2011

I hope you enjoyed the Wings of Love excerpt and that it piqued your curiosity enough to want to read the entire story.  And…please if you do read it, I would love to get your feedback.

I alluded in a previous post to an early glimpse at “Treasure of Love”.  I never want to disappoint -  so here it is.

Hunky straight Alaskan charter boat owner and dive master, Captain Jackson Cameron (Mac Cleary’s former brother in law from Wings of Love) gets a very secret call from openly gay acclaimed treasure hunter Daxon Powers to charter his boat for six months. When they meet, Jack learns that Dax and his sister Donatella, while investigating another shipwreck, accidentally stumbled upon documents that elude to the location of the wreck of the Anna Wyoming. The Anna Wyoming went down in the Lynn Canal during the 1898 Klondike gold rush heading to Skagway Alaska from an unknown destination and is said to have been secretly carrying a purse of gold worth ten million dollars in today’s market.

Jack negotiates a deal that has him absorbing the expenses on the front end of the expedition and paying him a quarter of the take in the end.  Without knowing if this will pan out and not wanting to spend extra money on a crew, Jack reaches out to his close friend and former brother in law Mac Cleary and his partner Brad Mitchell (from Wings of Love) to crew for him on the charter, promising them a portion of his take.

The tension between Dax and Jack builds with each passing hour as they find themselves continually battling for the top position.  Things quickly change after one particularly nasty confrontation between the two men in front of the crew and Dona tells them to either act on their man crushes or stop being dicks to one another and get on with the expedition.

As the expedition continues, they locate the wreck and soon everything changes.  As the crew starts to explore the wreck and Jack and Dax explore their feelings for one another, they uncover more than they’d bargained for on both fronts.  They quickly realize their progress is being watched very closely and knowing now that they are not the only one’s looking for the wreck of the Anna Wyoming, they take extra precautions to protect themselves and the wreck.  Dax knows that no one else could have stumbled on those documents, which means someone leaked the private information shortly after the permits were granted.  Now he’s dealing with poachers, a corrupt state government, and God only knows who else.

As the expedition continues Jack and Dax embark on a steamy romance while they try and figure out what they’ve stumbled upon that could put everyone’s life in danger.  Can they keep their heads below water long enough to unravel the secret, recover the purse and protect the lives of the crew?

“Wings of Love” along with “Final Encore” are available at www.dreamspinnerpress.com, amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders and most independent gay bookstores. As always you can find me at www.scottycade.com, Facebook, and on Twitter. Coming soon, “Treasure of Love” in May, followed by  “Bounty of Love” and “Foundation of Love”.

Thanks for taking the time to visit!

Scotty Cade