Colour My World

You know how some people want to know your star sign? And as soon as you admit you’re a Taurus, they offer a sage nod before telling you stuff you didn’t really need to hear. Or have heard before. A hundred times. We Tauruses are not stubborn, by the way. We’re determined. Huge difference. For stubbornness, look to your neighbourhood Aries.

I don’t make a habit of asking people their star sign. Instead, I want to know your favourite colour. I know the favourite colours of all my friends. I don’t attach any mystical theories to the knowledge but it does come in handy when I’m buying gifts. Also, colour is important to me and always has been.

Orange and purple
Like this, but with more purple in between.

When I was a kid, my favourite colours were orange and purple. Together. My bedroom was a bit of an eyesore, but I loved it. I had these brilliant curtains decorated with huge orange flowers and purple leaves and when the sun shone through from behind, the flowers glowed. My wardrobe was painted bright purple and we called it the Purple People Eater. My chenille bedspread was orange and I had a purple rug on the floor. I loved my room. It was every four-year-old’s dream.

I don’t really remember what came after the orange and purple phase. We moved a lot and usually rented our houses, so I didn’t really get around to a lot of personal space personalization. When we finally settled just outside of Washington DC, however, I finally got to decorate another bedroom and I chose a blue floral pattern. Looking back, I’m not sure why? I think I was heavily influenced by my mother. We’d bought an old farmhouse and she had definite ideas about what it should look like, inside and out.

argyleAlthough I’d settled on blue as my favourite colour during my teens, I did go through an odd phase in eighth grade where I only wore grey and yellow clothes. I even had this amazing pair of grey and yellow argyle socks that I would wash out every night so I could wear them again. And again.

I was so weird.

(To my never ending amusement, Google completed my search for grey and yellow argyle with the word socks and then provided me with dozens of wonderful pictures. I might have to order a pair!)

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“Wagon Wheel” from the grey on grey on grey period.

In tenth grade I chose an art elective because I thought it would be an easy class. This simple choice would impact my life in a number of ways. It wasn’t an easy class. Our teacher was a working artist with an extensive knowledge of art history. We started with hard black pencils and gradually moved through the numbers. Then we got to use charcoal, then conte, then ink washes. Finally, after six months of grey on grey on grey, we were allowed to use colour. My first painting was a black stick figure surrounded by flecks of every colour imaginable. It was my mind exploding—in all the good sorts of ways—and it was during these months that I first thought I might like to be an artist. My love of art has coloured my life ever since.

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“Kissable Lips” from my more colourful period. (Portait of Solange)

One of the things I love to do is sketch the bare outline of a face and then flesh out my portrait with coloured pencils, building layer upon layer of colour until I get the right skin tone, the contours of cheek and nose, and every hint of colour in the hair.

Blue was still my favourite colour when I was a teenager, and I remember associating a lot of my personality with the supposed traits of blue: I was a loyal and steadfast friend. I was honest and fair. Or I wanted to be.

I had also decided around then that yellow was a terrible colour; that it stood for cowardice and shame. And grey wasn’t really a colour at all, was it?

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The Ballroom Forest (Cam Blake Photography)

As I grew into my twenties, my favourite colour changed to green and there’s a simple explanation for this. I traveled a lot and a lot of my travel included hiking up and down mountains and through rainforests. There is a place in Tasmania called the Ballroom Forest and it’s absolutely enchanting. The name comes from the green carpet of moss that covers much of the ground, and the way the trees curve around and up, giving the few clearings the feel of an enchanted ballroom. It’s a beautiful place, as is much of the untouched wilderness of Tasmania, and even now, I can never get enough of those shades of green.

My house now is decorated in a mixture of blues and greens, with blues for the sleeping rooms and greens for the awake rooms (kitchen, dining, family). I have twelve acres of forest behind me and one of my favourite things to do is to look out of the window from the couch to see the green of the forest framed by the green of the family room wall. It’s harmonious.

And right now, if you asked me my favourite colour, I’d probably say green.

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His name is Max.

But I just bought a red car and it’s the most gorgeous shade of red imaginable. Ford calls it royal crimson and it’s like a black cherry—dark and rich and delicious. I also chose red as the colour for the new logo for our bagel shop. A bright, vibrant red. Red is cheery. I always feel happy when I look at red. I like red wine! I also like red apples, but not those cheating red delicious that are never delicious at all. I love Twizzlers. Red is good.

I did think about getting a blue car. My previous car was blue and I loved the deep indigo colour. I also thought about a dark grey. But the other colour I considered did come as a bit of a surprise: competition orange.

competition orangeNow, I don’t really think I could drive an orange car forever, but look at this orange. It’s gorgeous. So warm and sunshiny! It’s a really nice colour and looking at it reminds me that orange is and has been for quite some time, my second favourite colour. It’s warmer than red. Friendlier. It’s hard to feel sad when you’re surrounded by orange. My four-year-old self was on to something.

Is there a point to this post? No, not really, except as an excuse to ramble on, because I haven’t had the chance to do that much lately, and so when I got the idea to write a post about colour, I got all excited. There hasn’t been enough rambling about nothing on this blog!

So, what’s your favourite colour?

It’s Release Day for To See the Sun!

Gael, Aavi, and Bram enjoying an Alkirak sunrise. Artist: SelkieMarie

Normally, in the lead up to release day, I pretty much want to pack my bags and run away. I make plans to ignore the internet and tell myself I don’t care what people think of my book. To See the Sun is different. I’ve actually had trouble containing my excitement over this release! I love this book, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to share it with everyone.

The idea for To See the Sun came to me while I was reading a Harlequin historical about a mail-order bride. I loved the pioneering setting, I loved the trope, and I knew that putting my own spin on it—having a mail-order groom—would require some colouring outside the lines. So I turned to space, fiddled with a plot, and sat down to write.

ToSeetheSun_3Dcover

More than almost anything else I’ve written, this book is for me. It has:

  • Swoon-worthy romance
  • A story of overcoming the odds
  • Sweet characters
  • Family
  • Cool gadgets!

I also wanted the science fiction setting to mean something—to be an integral part of the story.

Read the first three chapters of To See the Sun!

 

Follow the Tour!

As always, I’m doing a virtual book tour and this one has dozens of stops! Because I was so excited about this book, I went all out. Dozens of stops also means multiple giveaways, including gift cards, ebooks from my backlist, signed paperbacks of the Chaos Station stories, and a bracelet representing the colors of Alkirak. Follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to participate. All of my giveaways are open internationally.

Because listing all the tour stops would make this post very, very long, I’m only going to link a couple from today and let you follow on from there. I’ll be sharing future stops on social media, links to which are at the bottom of the page.

HEA~USAToday—Queer SFR Favourites https://usat.ly/2MGhZsy
Scattered Thoughts—Exclusive Excerpt http://bit.ly/2OuyPew
Joyfully Jay—Favorite Tropes http://bit.ly/2MHnWFD
Gay Book Reviews—Meet Gael and Bram http://bit.ly/2MGz3yz

Romancing the Game: My Digital Loves

I didn’t even know romance was a thing in games until Alistair Theirin gave my Warden a rose. I had suspected he was sweet on her up until then, but that one gesture was above and beyond what I had experienced before – which was a big fat nothing because I didn’t know romance was a thing in games. I’d either missed a cue (I suck at flirting) or was too busy lining up a headshot to notice the availability of the character standing next to mine… or understand their intent.

Dragon Age: Origins changed a lot about the way I play games. I expect better combat mechanics than I did before, and seriously mourn the loss of the macros you could write for party members in that game. I tend to look for a deeper story now, and a world that feels bigger than it is. And I’m open to the possibility of romance inside a game, as long as it doesn’t distract me from the main quest, because when it’s well done, having someone to fight for works just as well in a game as it does in fiction.

To celebrate Valentine’s, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite game romances.

Continue reading “Romancing the Game: My Digital Loves”

Coming Soon: Best in Show

Best in Show is the second title I have releasing in July! This story is one of my favourite things I’ve written. It’s cute and funny and has a little mystery wrapped around a sweet love story. Or the beginning of a love story. I have more adventures planned for Julian and Mac! It’s also the first time I’ve written paranormal and I had a lot of fun with Mac both as a house cat and as the sweet human being he is in between times.

Alexandria Corza designed the cover for this book. I’m so thrilled with it. I wasn’t as sure of what I wanted for this story, but she took my ideas and came up with the perfect blend of fun and mystery!

Best in Show is available now for pre-order on the Dreamspinner website. You can also add it on Goodreads. Read on below for the cover copy and a brief excerpt!

Solitary mystery writer Julian Wilkes doesn’t want a pet, but his sister persuades him to visit Lingwood Animal Rescue, where he is immediately taken with a large ginger tabby cat. Before he can settle into the joys of cat ownership, however, he discovers something very unusual about his new companion.

Macavity Birch is cursed. By day he is a large tabby cat. At night he can be himself—a human male with ginger hair and oddly yellow eyes. He didn’t mean to end up in the animal rescue, but he never meant any harm when playing the prank that resulted in his curse, either. Happily, Julian adopts him. But while exploring his host’s home, he discovers the diary of a long-dead relative.

Unfortunately, not all of Mac’s ancestors are dead and buried. His great-great-great-grandmother is very much alive, and she’s a powerful witch who doesn’t take kindly to the sharing of family secrets. When Mac reveals himself to Julian in order to save him from bigger trouble, he achieves just the opposite, plunging Julian deeper into a magical mystery with him.

Coming July 27, 2016. Available now for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press!

(And elsewhere: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | ARe)

Excerpt

No way was he adopting a female dog. Julian could too easily imagine the canine version of Alicia following him around his house, nosing him away from his desk chair or comfy chair, pantry, TV remote, Kindle, or Madeleine Lingwood’s diary. Anything that brought him joy. She’d stand by the door with a coiled leash dangling from her mouth, tilt her head, and make her eyes go all gooey. Guilt him into walking her through the neighborhood, or worse, to the park near the woods.

He didn’t want any sort of moth-eaten mongrel, either. The only thing worse than having his sister harangue him about his social life—or lack thereof—would be owning an ugly dog. Nope, he absolutely was not going to get suckered into adopting a three-legged, blind dog with no ears or tail. Nor would he be taking home any glossy showpiece of a thing. If he was going to do this—get a dog and walk it and try to meet people while out walking it—he needed one as unassuming as him. Brown-eyed, brown-haired, average height, a touch on the cuddly side, with a stubborn curve across his belly because he liked doughnuts (and danishes and muffins, but only the bite-sized kind) and the only sit-ups he ever did were getting out of bed in the morning.

There were no dogs on the other side of the window. He could hear them barking—a faint chorus of yaps and howls—but the cats lazing about on various towers and platforms, draped across carpeted tunnels and curled into the corners of litter trays, seemed unconcerned. They also appeared completely uninterested in the face at the window. Julian had never felt more invisible. Well, except to the cat staring at the window with wide, slightly panicked eyes.

Sitting at the top of the highest tower, the big ginger tabby wore an expression of quiet desperation. Its—his?—large amber eyes said: Get me out of here. A kitten clawed its way onto the platform beside the big cat. It clung precariously close to the edge for all of a second before the ginger tabby nudged it off with a distracted swipe of a rather large paw. The kitten tumbled from view. Julian thought to check that it didn’t lie broken on the floor, but he couldn’t shift his gaze from the ginger tabby. Forget the kitten, the large cat seemed to communicate. A darker patch of fur over one eye lifted slightly. Just take me home.

Julian touched a fingertip to the window. “I want that one.”