Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween! Have a lovely horror podcast.

Violetta Vane's Imaginarium: Happy Halloween! Have a lovely horror podcast.: It's a busy time right now, in my personal life and in my writing. I'm sewing costumes for kids. Solidifying trick-or-treat routes. And when it comes to writing, it's tie-in time.

Short story tie-ins feel a little bit like writing fanfiction of our own stories. We're using them to fill in the blanks and spin off threads into new directions. However, we're also making sure that each of them have an internal logic and can stand on their own as stories. The one we're releasing into the world now is called "Out of the Tombs, Exceedingly Fierce."


Violetta blogged today a little bit about the behind-the-scenes process of writing our free Halloween short story, Out of the Tombs, Exceedingly Fierce, but she also podcasted it, for those who prefer to listen to her dramatic reading (sex scene and all!). Hop over to her blog for a download link for an mp3 you can listen to on itunes or whatever mp3 player you happen to own (I won't say "ipod" because my dad has a Zune and I imagine he's not alone... is he?)

Or, check out this embedded version you can stream on the web!

Out of the Tombs, Exceedingly Fierce from Violetta Vane on Vimeo.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Free-Read: "Out of the Tombs, Exceedingly Fierce"

Just in time for Halloween, a spooky Scottish ghost story with an M/M twist by Violetta Vane and yours truly!

Ah, Scotland, an Art History student’s wet dream. Gorgeous old castles, great booze, sexy locals with even sexier accents, and even a gory ghost story or two. Maxwell Lewis is here for two reasons: to get a few great photographs, and to forget about his boring commitment-obsessed ex, in that order. Knock Castle seems to have offered him opportunities for both -- all the excitement Maxwell’s ever wanted and a hot guy to enjoy it with. If only the ghosts could stay in the story...

Northeast Scotland, 29 October, 2003

Maxwell, who had grown up with consistent parental praise for his vivid imagination, vividly imagined the fog curling away to reveal the severed heads of seven Scottish lairdlings neatly impaled on their own peat shovels.

“And the poor laird fell from the top of his tower as he heard the tragic word,” declaimed the tour guide. Maxwell had been in Scotland a week, long enough to realize that the guide was laying on the r’s a bit thicker than necessary. The other tourists seemed to appreciate the performance: the Italian woman to his left vibrated her breasts in perfect rhythm with his sonorous “hearrrrrd”.

“Shit was hardcore back then,” said the American teenager, who wore a Linkin Park t-shirt and an awed expression. “Dude. All seven of his sons. Whack, whack, whack...”

Maxwell didn’t wait for him to finish the exact count. He wandered off a few paces, rubbed his chin and tried to focus his mind’s eye. Celtic feudalism, ritual sacrifice, penny-dreadful gore, Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, Damien Hirst’s dead cow museum pieces? So many ideas spawned by the imagery, but then, of course, so many ideas already done before. Definitely not a painting, no.

He reached out to touch the green lichen crawling across the stone—

“Can you take our picture, son?”

—and drew it back. His flash of irritation faded, because the elderly couple beaming at him were so stereotypically quaint and squat and jolly, wearing matching fanny packs. “Oh, of course,” he said, with a genuine smile.

The wife of the pair seemed pleased. “Gosh, that’s a lovely accent you’ve got,” she said as she handed him her middle-of-the-road point-and-shoot. “Are you from around here, then?”

He fumbled the camera for a second before finding and sliding the on-off button. “Canadian actually, but my parents are from London. I live in Victoria. That’s on the West coast.” He added that last detail quickly, before they assumed “Victoria” was the name of some posh London suburb instead of a Canadian island populated mostly by retirees and anarcho-hippies. “Um, say cheese!”

“You just—” the husband tried to direct.

“He’s got it, Bill. Cheese!”

“Scoot to the left, would you? So the castle’s right over your shoulder. That’s it!” He raised the camera and squeezed off three shots, the third of which was ruined by some guy wandering in from the left side. He looked up from the viewscreen, squinting at the man who’d ruined the third shot, and then sucked in a deep breath.

What really caught his eye was the tan. Sure, he’d seen plenty of hot guys — blokes? — since coming to the UK two weeks ago, but they all seemed to have the pasty malnourished coloring of someone who spent too much time in the rain. Which made sense, of course, because they did. In fact, it was kind of a minor miracle that it wasn’t raining now.

The man in front of him apparently didn’t have that problem, and Maxwell guessed it wasn’t because he spent a lot of time in a bed lined with lightbulbs. He looked perfectly outdoors-y. His hiking boots were well worn, and by the way his khakis and flannel shirt draped, Maxwell could tell he had a cut, lean body underneath — not quite broad enough for a weightlifter, but a rock-climber, maybe.

“Can we have our camera back?”

“Oh, huh, yeah,” he muttered, stuffing it unceremoniously back into the woman’s hands. He thought he said something like, “Enjoy the rest of the tour,” but he couldn’t be sure. Too transfixed to be subtle, he made a beeline for the man who’d ruined their shot. But not his.

Only a few more paces. He just needed to work his way through this knot of Korean tourists posing with the guide, scrabble over a bit of brush...

At this distance he could see the tanline where his man usually wore a watch, but had foregone one today. Sandy blond hair, wavy, not quite short enough to be called a buzz-cut, but not long enough to get your fists in, either. A tendril of arousal laced through him, at that image.

Shake it off. Don’t make an ass of yourself by getting all eager.

If the man was interested, Maxwell was most definitely available. And why wouldn’t he be interested? As long as he wasn’t Scotty McStraightbloke, anyway, Maxwell figured he had a pretty good chance.

Read the rest for free on:

goodreads | livejournal

And if you like what you see, add us for more!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Friday's Gay Video: Yep

What can I say about this video? Oh, I know. Word is that when they filmed this scene, the actors were told to just kiss for a long time, like really make out and go at it, and then the kiss would be cut down to its best parts. Except it never got cut. So we got a passionate, fierce makeout, following on the heels of a sweet, understated declaration of love.


If you haven't watched Torchwood yet, you're missing out! Season 1 starts out a little rocky, but if you can get through a couple of the campier episodes, it's got a real beating heart inside it and a wonderful cast of deeply developed characters. Ianto here is the fan darling, (with good reason! suit! little snub nose! accent!), but every character gets their moment to shine.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Research: An Biobla Naomhtha

I do a fair bit of research to write what I write, so I thought maybe I'd start sharing a bit of it. There's no theme to this, and I don't know how helpful it will be, but damnit, I'd be remiss not to share the bounty of the internet (especially its less-tread quarters) with you!

So without further ado...

An Biobla Naomhtha, the holy (Christian) bible in Irish Gaelic!

You know, just in case.

(Can you believe I actually needed this resource? My world. It is a hurricane of mad brilliance.)

Here's some cool things you might not know about Google Books, while we're on the subject. Notice how the book I linked is kind of a cruddy scan? Looks a bit like a captcha? Well, let's say I need a verse from it; how about Genesis 1:2 for simplicity: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." So what if I wanted to take that same verse from An Biobla Naomhtha without painstakingly switching windows back and forth to copy out each letter? Like say, if I wanted to do this?

If you look at the top right hand corner of the book window (not quite up to where you'll see your own username sign in), you'll see a couple of ways of interacting with this text. I used the "clip" button to get that section of text. Select around it, and voila, it makes an image of that section of text for you. Of course, it's not quite as useful as being able to copy and paste the normal way, since the selection for the clip function is limited to a rectangle or square, but it is useful for pages that don't have copy and paste functionality.

But what if I didn't want to use an image, say I was using the quote in-line in a stor? (Not that I am or anything, cough!) Well, once you clip the text a pop-up window will appear that gives you several options on what to do with your selection. The first is a window out of which you can copy and paste the text you selected, say to paste into this blog, the second creates an image (as seen above), and the third spits out some html for you that creates and image AND hyperlinks it to the source. Neat! (And man do I wish this was a readily available feature in all books, especially back when I was doing my undergrad!)

One word of caution, though. The above text turns into the following:

3 Açus do bhi an talamh gan fhoirm ages iolamh agus do bhi dorcliadus ar tNoub an aiätin Agus do chorruigh tpx rad Dé ar aghaidh na nuisgeadh

Notice any differences? Yeah, a few, largely in the arena of punctuation, although a couple of letters get borked, too. So double check what you end up pasting before you send it out into the world, just like you would were you typing it out by hand (like I had to during my undergrad).

Found any other cool books (research-related or otherwise) for free on Google Books? Got some guesses as to why the hell I'm looking for Irish Gaelic translations of bible verses? Let's hear it in the comments!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wednesday WIP: Rubber Glove

“I don’t even know what he looks like,” said Troy. “Is he in the room here now?”

Franchetti looked to Pliers, exchanging a cruel laugh -- once again at Troy’s expense. “Amato? No way, he’s too good for this shithole. You go to the library, you sit around there looking... like you do... long enough, he’ll come to you. If not, well then...” He pulled out a cell phone, tossing a quick look over his shoulder -- not that anyone was likely to report Franchetti and his crew for contraband -- which he scrolled through until he found a unfocused picture of Amato. Dark hair, a low craggy brow, strong jaw with a cleft in his chin. Brown eyes. Beaten-looking but full lips.

Troy swallowed.

“Like that, do you?” Franchetti taunted. “I knew you’d be perfect for this job.”

Franchetti, God fucking damn him, was right. Troy did like what he saw. He told himself that that didn’t make any difference, except that it made the first part of the job easier to stomach. That was all.

He’s just like they are. Mobster psychos. This isn’t murder: it’s a shark hunt.

“So we can count on you?” Franchetti asked.

Troy looked point-blank at Pliers, at the tell-tale scars on his knuckles and sadistic gleam in his eyes. Don’t have much fucking choice, do I?

“Yeah. Sure.” He swallowed whatever bile was in his throat and tried to mirror Franchetti’s cool indifference, Pliers’ obvious knack for violence. “Just get me something to do it with.”

“I hear they cut a finger off a rubber glove,” Franchetti mused, deliberately misunderstanding Troy’s meaning. Shame flushed up Troy’s face.

Outside, it had started to snow.

From "The Saturnalia Effect", the short story I wrote with Violetta Vane, out on submission now. It's a mafia Christmas in prison story with a fantasy twist! Here's the logline:

Christmas in prison isn’t just lonely -- it’s murder. New fish Troy Khoury learns the hard way when he’s forced into a mafia revenge plot, and the only way to get close enough to kill his man... is to get in his bed.

What are you working on right now? Anybody got seasonal stories on the go?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Monday Music: Bonus Post! New Decemberists

Paste Magazine has a track off of their new EP streaming! It's called "E. Watson" and here's what they had to say about it:
This acoustic folk track is classic Decemberists storytelling at its best, featuring Meloy and contributing vocalists Laura Veirs and Annalisa Tornfelt spinning the narrative of a lawless cane sugar plantation owner named Edgar Watson. Taking inspiration from Peter Matthiessen’s 1990 fictional novelization of the man, Killing Mister Watson, the material works great for the band’s return to stripped-down instrumentation and their exploration of the American mythos. 

My favourite! Click the album cover below to hear it.

What do you think? Are you a fan of this type of music and songwriting?

Monday Music: Cheer up!

Nine weeks now since we submitted our MS and I'm starting to get seriously antsy! So have a small sample of some of the tunes I listen to when I need a pick-me-up.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

ATTENTION: This is an important public service announcement

Learn it. Love it.

That being said, I am a strict adherer to the rules of the Oxford comma. My co-author Violetta, however, couldn't care less. As such, when we're writing together I always end up adding commas to her list-type sentences. 

Where do you stand on this crucial issue? (And I do mean crucial! Just think of poor JFK and Stalin!)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday's Gay Video: Shelter

I'm watching this movie this weekend!

Forced to give up his dreams of art school, Zach spends his days working a dead-end job and helping his needy sister care for her son. In his free time he surfs, draws and hangs out with his best friend, Gabe, who lives on the wealthy side of town. When Gabe's older brother, Shaun, returns home, he is drawn to Zach's selflessness and talent. Zach falls in love with Shaun while struggling to reconcile his own desires with the needs of his family.

Anyone else seen this? What did you think? And what should I watch next?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Finishing What You Start

Reposted from a blog on Aug. 5, 2011:

Our first draft is complete, and we're three chapters away from finishing our line-by-line edits from our champion ballbuster of a beta reader, who is apparently some manner of comma-splice killing machine. (And avid hater of martyr complex heros, but that's neither here nor there... we think). We've gone through three versions of our synopsis and seven (7!) of our blurb, from 800 words down to 100 and everywhere in between. We've written (and edited) our query letter after reading multiple websites and Noah Lukeman's free (and informative!) e-book How to Write a Great Query Letter.

If you'd have told me at the beginning of this year that I would ever finish a manuscript and get to this stage, I would have laughed, and then cried, and then laughed while crying. If I wasn't pregnant, I'd probably also polish off a bottle of white wine in one sitting. I always figured that no matter how much I loved writing, I'd always only ever be this guy:

So yeah, to be finished a first draft and nearly finished a second, and getting ready to send a manuscript that I'm proud of writing and being a part of to publishers -- real publishers that pay you for your books and make this thing official, man! -- feels absolutely bloody awesome. I haven't felt this damn good since I handed in my last research paper (about sexuality and masculinity in the Victorian era, complete with filthy pictures!), or since I walked across the stage at convocation. Not only that, but we're at this crucial stage right when I'm about to finish something else pretty major: gestating a baby! And a lot like a baby, this novel has taken a lot of effort and tears and suffering (and absolutely indescribable happiness and accomplishment, too!) to get to this point, but I got here only to realize I've got even more work and hardship and rewards ahead of me.

So tell me. Where are you at? Are you still working on that same unfinished manuscript, writing and rewriting, fighting through writer's block and inertia? Are you a git-er-done kind of writer who always finishes what they start? Someone like me who never thought they could do it... but have? Got something on the go right now you're wondering if you'll ever finish? Is it a novel? A degree? A promotion? A musical piece? A building project? Let me know what strategies you use or what things you need to get things done.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday's Gay Video: Buddy Cole

What's better than spoofs of 1950s PSAs? Real 1950s PSAs, duh! But the real ones never looked quite like this...

From Canadian 1980s-90s comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, who often featured the quite subversive (especially for the times) queer humour of gay comic Scott Thompson. (Be sure to check out the various clips of his character "The Bar Fag" Buddy Cole on youtube!)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wednesday WIP: May I?

From our WIP smutty short story, "Galway Bound" (check out the writing tab above for a blurb!):

“Hey,” he said, his voice quiet and strained. “Come on. Can we go now?” 

A warm curl of pleasure twisted down Cormac’s abdomen and he smiled, eyelids low. He took another sip of his espresso. “I don’t know,” he replied, “Can we?”

Sean’s face twitched in a mixture of annoyance and recognition, but it didn’t take long for him to relent. “May we go now?” he amended. He tried for sarcasm, but the desperation in his tone undermined it beautifully.

God, Cormac wanted him.

But not yet. He shifted his chair until they were side-by-side, thighs touching under the table, and leaned in. “May we go now, Cormac,” he corrected, at a whisper.

Sean’s jaw tightened. His eyes tried to narrow. Cormac half-expected a round of cursing, a fist slammed against the table and possibly some spilled coffee, but that was all right... they’d iron it out. Instead, Sean blinked purposefully, took a deep breath and said, in a quiet, careful voice, “May we go now, Cormac?”

Monday, 3 October 2011