Serpentine Walls Release Party #3 — Locations Rock!

October 30, 2013

Location has played a role in all of my books. I usually set my stories in places that I’ve lived. My first novella, Electricity Sparks Inside Of Me, was set in the Washington, D.C. area where I grew up. I currently live in Oregon and most of Mercury In Retrograde was set at an Oregon river rafting lodge. Stay Right Here was set in another city I have lived in and dearly love: San Francisco.

Serpentine Walls is a contemporary novel set at the University of Virginia (U.Va. for short) in Charlottesville, Virginia. I chose U.Va. because I went to school there many years ago and it was fun to revisit the old alma mater in my imagination.

U.Va. has a beautiful and historic campus the core of which was designed by Thomas Jefferson in the 1800s. Central to the campus (called “grounds” at U.Va.) is The Lawn.

The cover of Serpentine Walls shows my two MCs, Pete and Matthew, standing on The Lawn with a bunch of white columns in the background. Those columns line a walkway that runs down each side of The Lawn and is called the Colonnades. Here’s a view of The Lawn and the Colonnades:

That building you see at the far end is Old Cabell Hall where the music department is. Pete and his other main romantic interest, Aidan, attend rehearsals for the student chorus there, and Matthew likes to play piano in the practice rooms.

Here’s another view of the Colonnades as one walks through them. Pete, Matthew and the gang do a lot of walking along the Colonnades as they go to and from classes.

The Corner is mentioned in the story (and the name confused my editors at first). The Corner is several blocks of shops and restaurants right across from the university.  Pete and his friends hang out in various places at The Corner:

And what about the serpentine walls alluded to in the title?  Here’s one:

The serpentine walls are only mentioned in the book once, when Matthew and Pete have a misunderstanding at Professor R’s party in his faculty home. Matthew splits and Pete runs after him through the back garden and along the serpentine wall.

I have loved every place I’ve lived, which is probably why I like to revisit them in my books.

GIFTS! Because it’s my birthday, I will be giving out some gifts.  All you have to do is answer one (or more) of the questions I’ll be asking through the day during the party. One of you will win a signed copy of Serpentine Walls and three more of you will win a free e-book of one of my novellas (your choice).

How about you?  Are you living in a place you love?  If not, where do you want to be? What has been your favorite place to live?

Serpentine Walls order link

CJane Elliott website

CJane Elliott Twitter

Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

Serpentine Walls Release Party #2 — The Story

October 30, 2013

Okay, all, I’m back.

GIFTS! Because it’s my birthday, I will be giving out some gifts.  All you have to do is answer one (or more) of the questions I’ll be asking through the day during the party. One of you will win a signed copy of Serpentine Walls and three more of you will win a free e-book of one of my novellas (your choice).

Let’s talk about Serpentine Walls. I love the cover by L.C. Chase:

Blurb:

Reeling from the news that his parents are divorcing, Pete Morgan starts his junior year at college cynical about love and commitment. Although his new openness to one-night stands does wonders for his sex life, fighting his romantic nature proves harder than he’d anticipated. He soon finds himself pining for a glamorous senior, Aidan, who doesn’t mind taking Pete to bed but shows no interest in commitment—at least not with Pete. And Pete’s attempt at a “friends-with-benefits” relationship with sophomore Jed leaves Pete feeling empty.

One bright spot in Pete’s year is Matthew, an easygoing graduate student who assists Pete in making his first film. Matthew has some baggage too, and has sworn off relationships and sex altogether, so Pete feels safe to enjoy their friendship. But he falls for Matthew anyway, not able to fight his growing conviction that Matthew is the perfect guy for him. Even if Pete can accept that he made a mistake when he turned his back on relationships, that doesn’t mean Matthew will feel the same. With a few life lessons under his belt, Pete’s ready to take a chance on love. As he finds the courage to bare his heart to Matthew, he can only hope that Matthew will take a chance with him.

Serpentine Walls is set in college.  It was fun to write college-aged characters and think back to how life was for me back then.  I was still trying to figure out what I wanted in life and who I was in the world.  I think you’ll see my characters going through the same process.

So here’s a question or two.  I can never ask just one question so feel free to answer only one or more:  Did you go to college (or are you in college now)? If so, what is one of your favorite memories? If not, what was behind your decision not to go?

Okay, I’ll be back again soon with more!

Serpentine Walls Order Page

https://twitter.com/CJaneElliott

CJane Elliott Website

Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

Serpentine Walls Release Party — Welcome and have some cake!

October 30, 2013

Hello! CJane Elliott here ready to chat with you and celebrate the release of my novel Serpentine Walls. It’s also my birthday, so thanks for helping me celebrate.  Enjoy some virtual birthday cheesecake:


Got a slice?  Good!  Enjoy and I’ll be back soon to talk about Serpentine Walls.

Serpentine Walls Order Page

CJane Elliott Website

CJane Elliott Twitter
Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

One Last Thing— An Excerpt

October 30, 2013

Why not end with an excerpt from The Gospel According to Cher? Good night, kittens.

Excerpt:

Hyperventilating did not enter into the equation. Rampaging nerves threatened Patrice’s muscles. He swore even his nose tip twitched in sick stress. His first big night sprawled before him and here he stood, ready to scream.

Tonight marked his debut at Club Mauve’s well-respected New York City drag review. The club’s mammoth interior made the Key West club Patrice had performed in appear tiny. Patrice refused to look through the curtains again. The sight twisted his intestines into little purple bows. Laughter and talk filled the space. The audience collected to pass judgment on the newbie.

Patrice wished panic would stop strangling his insides. The sensation slithered up to bother his throat. He needed to sing, not choke out the lyrics.

He shut his eyes and tried to relax. First he concentrated on his right fingertips, relaxing his arm until he attempted to defuse his tense shoulders. He focused relaxation down his left arm. Patrice commanded his silly nerves to stop messing around under his skin. He tried to untie the nasty intestinal bows. His serious problem almost made him laugh and cry, but he didn’t want to ruin his makeup.

Nothing happened. Tonight when he needed her most, Countess Dragonballz decided to ignore him. She hid in an interior mental closet, filing her long nails. Tonight she launched a sudden snit fit over not being allowed to come out to play, and slammed the door. The sullen diva needed to come the fuck out now! Patrice needed her style, the same style she had provided during his audition and the rehearsal. Only her style would save his ass onstage. If he blundered onstage as good old frightened Patrice O’Malley, he’d stand there and cry for sure. He’d be the classic colossal failure, the no-hit embarrassment of the night—or more like the turd of the town.

Now Patrice’s nerves felt as tangled as kitten-attacked yarn. He liked that analogy better than the yucky intestinal bows. Kittens and yarn seemed less disgusting. Before Patrice turned for another pacing session, cool fingers massaged his bare shoulders.

“Sweetie, even your shoulders look frightened. Relax for me.”

Patrice whirled into Hindy’s comforting embrace. “I’m such a stupid ninny. Fear of fucking-up hammers my head. Can’t you hear the noise?” He refused to voice his terror over Countess Dragonballz’s petulance. No. Maybe Hindy’s supportive love would coax her out. She loved to perform for Hindy.

“Nonsense. You’ll be a star. You look amazing, erotic and exotic.” Hindy tapped a fingertip against Patrice’s glamorous Egyptian-influenced eye makeup. “You should give a few of these tattered queens makeup tips. You understand color and contrast.”

Patrice almost purred in delight. Yes, this was what he needed. Hindy’s loving support worked wonders for Patrice’s terror.

The angry rattle of high heels clacked across the backstage floor. “Excuse me, no visitors back here right before the show, yo. Git yo skinny ass outta here right now.”

“Break a braid.” Hindy kissed Patrice into near orgasm. Panic over smudging his sparkly lip gloss tripped across his mind. Tough. Hindy’s devoted kiss meant far more to him. The kiss untied the intestinal bows.

The scolding voice swept closer. “Yo, who the fuck dja think—”

Hindy released Patrice. He winked at Patrice before he turned and straightened his shoulders in regal disdain. “Rhoda, I am Marc’s friend.”

Ouch, Patrice thought Hindy’s frosty voice froze the tall drag queen’s eyeballs.

A sputter prefaced a reply. “Oh, yo, look, real sorry, Hindy. I didn’t recognize yo from behind.”

“I’ll let the incident pass.” Hindy winked at Patrice one last time before he stalked from the backstage.

Patrice tried not to giggle. Long purple nails prodded his shoulder. Rhoda stared at him in high interest. “Yo, Hindy’s your man?”

“Yeah, he’s mine.” Hopefully forever and ever.

Before Patrice ducked, Rhoda Lottamen swatted her long nails at Patrice’s cheek. “Wow, yo one lucky girl. Hey, yo okay? Yo look rattled. Look, I heard yo in rehearsal. Yo gotta gift, girl.”

“Thanks.” Yeah, Countess Dragonballz had the gift. How could she come out to play at the rehearsal and hide away in such record speed?

“Our audience loves it when someone actually sings instead of lip syncs. Yo also know howta work your swag.” Rhoda tapped her talons against Patrice’s nose. “Like Count Dracula said, yo gonna be great. Yo, tell me yo feel peachy fuckin’ keen.”

Count Dracula? Why did everyone think poor Hindy looked like a vampire? He never acted dead, especially not in bed. This time Patrice giggled in acknowledgement. “Rhoda, I feel peachy fucking keen.”

“Hell yeah, yo do. Dragonballz, yo is gonna knock this hot mess outta the atmosphere. I hate sayin’ knock ’em dead, because who wants a dead audience, yo? Don’t yo worry, I’ll warm them up good for yo, cutie pie.”

“Thanks, Rhoda.” At least Rhoda Lottamen liked him. Patrice sensed getting on Rhoda’s bad side resulted in banishment. He knew the imposing mistress of ceremonies would teeter out to trash talk and crack jokes between acts. Offstage, Tomas Rodriguez talked street, but onstage his Rhoda developed a throaty contralto and perfect diction. The sultry Rhoda didn’t look as divinely divaesque as RuPaul, but she came damned close.

Piano music rippled through the club’s interior. Rhoda minced to the mirror for a last-minute inspection. She patted her towering fire-engine-red beehive and tugged at a crooked gold strap. “There’s the start of my intro. Girl, be ready to shine in like ten, yo.”

“Peachy fucking keen.”

“That’s right, sugah, we are all peachy fucking keen, every last one of us scintillating bright stars. We are here to bring joy to the pretty boys.” Rhoda Lottamen’s diction came to life.

“We do glitter!” Patrice fixed his smudged lipstick. Hindy had sparkles on his lips. The notion pleased Patrice.

He gave his presentation a long, hard look. Instead of embracing the standard Cher motif, he adopted a Cleopatra vibe. The look matched his gold-and-turquoise-beaded braids. Tonight he wore his favorite gown—a tight purple sequined sheath that showed off his lush ass and his right thigh via a daring side slit. He only needed to wear a little padding for his hips. Patrice never overdid his boobs. He added padding to create curves but no overkill. He left the major chest-packing stunt to the Dolly Parton queens.

The piano music swelled in crashing drama. Screams and cheers followed. “Hello, kittens, mmm, did you sweet boys become sexier since we last met? I should know; I Rhoda Lottamen!” Laughter pushed Rhoda into her act. “Like you, cutie. How many times did you pony up for me, Trigger? Mmm, I like to ride ’em high and drain ’em dry!”

As he grinned, Patrice hummed under his breath. Something shifted in his mind. A door banged his skull. Heat blazed through his mind to destroy his fear. Countess Dragonballz pranced into her dramatic center. She flounced and snapped her fingers.

Peachy fucking keen. Countess Dragonballz tossed her braids and swayed her hips. Time to shine.

“I am pleased to announce our first act, a virgin to the New York City stage, but I suspect not anywhere else. This newly found royalty wiggled her luscious ass to us all the way up from sultry Key West. Break a nail for the fabulous Countess Dragonballz!”

Countess Dragonballz mentally thanked Rhoda for stating her fine Southern pedigree. She had trained under and on top of a few drag legends.

The Countess thrust her right leg through the curtain opening. Next her right arm beckoned to the waiting crowd. Her silver and gold bangles sparkled in the spotlights. Cheers fanned Countess’s vanity. She strutted onstage in a hip-swinging sway, propped one hand on her hip, and surveyed her court. “Hello, my goodness, you’re all here to see little old me? I am utterly thrilled to see so many succulent gentleman callers under one roof. I hope you can handle the coming heat.” She swung her hips in anticipation. “I plan to turn it up to one hundred and twenty. Ready to melt, my dears?”

The applause tickled her. Countess Dragonballz smiled and rubbed her hands. “I have a little tune I’d like to share with you. I dedicate my song to my Hindy.” She blew a kiss toward Hindy. Dragonballz felt Hindy’s adoring smile slide over her body.

One last deep breath filled her lungs.

Showtime. Peachy fucking keen.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4280

Things That Bite, Bark and Bump in the Night

October 29, 2013

‘Tis the time of the year to read spooky stories. I’m into horror, ghosts, demons, and vampires. Still can’t quite get into shifters. I dunno, there’s something about “sorry, darling, now I’m gonna get furry and rip out a few throats” that stops me cold. Yeah, I know, vampires also rip out throats but they can be a little more elegant about the situation. The rebel in me also doesn’t like the whole “I’m the big, bad pack leader; listen to me or else” attitude all too common in shifter stories.

That hasn’t stopped me from writing a shifter story. Of course the story is a comedy and there’s no pack. Guess I already broke a few shifter rules, eh? I planned to make that story my NaNoWriMo focus, but I have a few loose ends I need to cauterize before things become bloody.

Speaking of bloody, I do have a vampire story in Blood Sacraments. My first published story!

What things that bump, bite or howl in the night do you fancy?

Let me know. Someone will win a copy of my demon dark comedy To Save A Shining Soul. Booo!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2376&cPath=55_394

Inspirational Overlook #1

October 29, 2013

No, tennis great Rafa Nadel is not in any of my books.

Weeellll, he might have inspired my character Marcelino Moya, object of romantic obsession in Cupid Knows Best and supportive secondary character in The Gospel According to Cher. Might have. A little. Halfway. Three-quarters of a way. Is that a measurement? *eye roll*

Gospel According to Cher: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4280

Cupid Knows Best:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3303&cPath=55_394

Hello, I’m Man Ray. I’m Harebrain.

October 29, 2013

I think I might have designed Word Press but I’m not sure. Then again, I am a Harebrain.

Hello, I’m Patrice, Write About Me Or Else

October 29, 2013

In the course of writing, new characters always pop into existence. A mysterious neighbor opens the front door and wham, becomes an important secondary character. A gallery owner created to supply comic relief evolves to the point where he’s special enough to deserve a spin-off story. Hindy Nardella, take a bow.

But what do you do with a determined character who struts across the mental stage sans plot or storyline? The character who, snap, has a name and location but nothing more? The character not vetted by your muse?

One such pushy little bugger arrived in my mind over a year ago. Patrice. The bold man introduced himself. He likes red leather pants paired with stiletto boots and fills in as a waiter. Patrice is proud of his round belly. He seldom wears a shirt at the bar. Hard belly pinches turn him on. He’s black-haired, green-eyed, and handy with a switchblade. He hides a tattoo. Judging by his sexy attitude, I know where he’s inked.

Patrice kept haunting me. He kept strutting across the dimly lit bar carrying a menu to a man sitting at a back table. Months ago he started performing this act on a regular basis. I often “write” myself to sleep, trying to work out a scene or where a story might go next. Just before deep sleep, Patrice always had insisted on strutting across the bar with his menu.

I tried to ignore him. Needy characters already waited in line for development.

Patrice won the battle and strutted to the front of the line. During last year’s NaNoWriMo, he strutted right into Hindy Nardella’s life. Patrice’s backstory grew into drag queen glory via The Gospel According to Cher.

Too often I’m writing along and suddenly characters hijack me onto a dirt road leading to somewhere only know to them.

How much unexpected fun do you tolerate in life? Can you drop everything to do something completely different? I have a hard time doing it in real life, but when writing, bam, I let the bastards drag me along that dirt road.

Let’s Talk Vacations and a Give-a-way!

October 29, 2013

Time for a book give-a way!

The Gospel According to Cher is the second story where I pulled on reality. Oh that sounds wrong. I based parts of the book on reality. Much better. Reality doesn’t like being pulled on.

In Cupid Knows Best, I used my vacations to France as a template for the book’s climatic scenes. Yep, I had been to Paris in autumn, had climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. I could describe these scenes base on memory. It had been damned cold up there but damned glorious.

In The Gospel According to Cher, New York City and the Adirondack mountains are major characters. I pulled ideas from a few hikes, particularly a memorable one plagues by a swamp and killer mosquitoes.

Tell me your favorite vacation story, be it funny or serious. Someone will win a copy of The Gospel According to Cher!


http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4280

Welcome from S.A. Garcia

October 29, 2013

Hello, S.A. Garcia here ready to chat with
my  kittens. Ooops, another character just
grabbed the steering wheel. Down, Amando…
you’re not even in a Dreamspinner book. Man,
did he just pout at me. He’s so pushy! Yeah,
Amando wants a sequel.

My latest comedy, The Gospel According
to Cher,
was released yesterday, October
28th. It’s a shiny, brand new release.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4280

A large part of the comedy is about wild and rough relationships.

Writing about rocky relationships is tough, especially when I’ve enjoyed a wonderful one with my partner Professor Sandy. We’ve been together forever. I consider thirty odd years forever. We’re the cliché peas in a pod.

“What’s for dinner?”

“Pasta.”

“I went out with Cindy and had pasta for lunch.”

“Veggie burgers?”

“Sounds good.”

How’s that for domestic drama? The last screaming fight we conducted was over a Scrabble game back on January 1st. We are that crashingly dull.

I wonder why I love writing about strained relationships. Writing about one night stands or S&M ships that flog in the night— it just doesn’t work for me. I want to write about the emotion which grows and flourishes.

I guess I’m a romantic because I’ve been blessed with a long-lasting romance. Does that make sense? I have been blessed.That doesn’t mean my characters have the same fate. I can slap oodles of pain and trauma on them, even in a comedy.

This leads me to obsession. “Cupid Knows Best” is very much about obsession. My new novel “The Gospel According to Cher” isn’t as much about obsession.

But it is about romance.

And I’ve planted plenty of myself in the story.

Now that everyone is running away…wait, come back.

Tell me what you like to see best in a M/M relationship. Trauma? Drama, Growth? Obsession? (snicker)