Read me for free* with Kindle Unlimited!

*Sort of free.

If you’re not familiar with Kindle Unlimited, it’s a subscription model available through Amazon enabling readers to pretty much read as much as they want for one monthly price. There are two catches – you can only borrow ten books at a time, and you’re limited to books made available to the Kindle Unlimited program.

Also, technically, you can’t actually read me. It’s my books that are available to read. More specifically, all of my Dreamspinner Press titles. But, seeing as I put so much of myself into the characters I write, you could be reading alternate versions of me. (Is this getting a little weird?)

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So, What’s Available?

As I mentioned above, all of my former Dreamspinner Press titles are now enrolled in KU. They’re also available for purchase at Amazon worldwide.

Now

Links!

Best in Show
Block and Strike
Counting Fence Posts
Counting Down
Counting on You
When Was the Last Time

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Sexy New Covers!

Additionally, I redesigned the covers for two books, one a former Dreamspinner Press novella, Out in the Blue, and the other a story I wrote for the Don’t Read in the Closet event, organized by the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. Wrong Direction is now available for sale for the first time ever, and to read through KU.

Check out these pretty new covers!

OBCover0806    Wrong Direction

Links!

Out in the Blue
Wrong Direction

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No Longer Free*

*Even though they never really were free? 

Anyway, the Aliens in New York series is no longer enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program. For those of you who missed out, I might enroll them again if I write a new book for the series. It’s a pretty big IF right now. I’ve got a lot of projects I’d like to write and limited time to devote to any of them. But, a writer must write, and write I must.

Rambling aside, what this means is that Uncommon Ground and Purple Haze are now available for purchase from, well, just about anywhere. Universal links below!

41aryKS98RL    41f0Sk6mSiL

Links!

Uncommon Ground
Purple Haze

 

 

The View

When Out in the Blue released as part of Dreamspinner’s “Never Too Late” Daily Dose collection, I planned to write a post about the trail Jared and Fin hike during the story. Well, a part of the trail—my favourite part: The hike up to the summit of Mt. Tammany. In many ways, the short hike is a perfect metaphor not only for life, but for writing, and for Jared, for whom I wrote Out in the Blue. I didn’t get to the post then, as I wasn’t able to tackle the hike for a number of reasons. Thankfully, this year I’m back on my feet and fighting fit.

It’s a short hike, just over a mile and a half each way, but the elevation gain is twelve hundred feet. That’s a lot over a mile and a half and, appropriately, the trail is marked as difficult. It’s steep, it’s a definite hike, it’s hard work. This trail is not a walk in the woods. But the climb is so worth it, which is why this trail is one of the most popular in the Northeast. You do get a glimpse of success early on; a view through the trees of the Delaware River winding south, shouldered on each side by the Gap—Mt Tammany on one side, Mt. Minsi on the other.

The Gap

The trail wanders a little after that, steep, but we’re not climbing Everest here. Then we sort of are, without the snow. There are several sections where you’re on your hands and knees and you’re wondering why the heck you decided to climb a mountain today. You’re crawling, not hiking, and your thighs are burning, and you left your bottle of water in the car. It’s not feeling like fun. And all you can see ahead are more rocks and more trees.

The Trail

Where’s the view?

That’s life, isn’t it? We’re always looking for the view. We work toward goals, lured forward by the promise of a view at the end. The first sight of our finished project, or the pleasure it brings others. Financial reward, satisfaction, a job well done. They’re all the ‘view’. And the trail is rough. There are easy sections, but they’re never long enough to make up for the steep climbs.

Writing feels like that sometimes. I think any creative process can feel like that. Life is just so much like that, until we get to the view…and the climb is worth it.

The Summit

For Jared, it’s different. He’s stopped looking for the view. His life has flat lined. For uncounted years, he’s been walking the woods without looking beyond the trees. He hasn’t climbed, he hasn’t caught a glimpse of what’s around the next corner, or up the next slope. What drives him up Mt. Tammany (and along the Appalachian trail for two days before then) is something else. He knows he’s missing something, but he doesn’t know what it is. So I wrote a story to help him find it.

He climbs a mountain:

After an hour of huffing and puffing, and two false summits, they finally reached the peak of Mount Tammany. While the elevation barely scraped a thousand and a half feet—a thousand feet more than the town they’d spent the night in—the view was spectacular. Jared could see the interstate snaking into New Jersey, the river curving south. Though he’d probably see more from the window of a plane, he preferred being on the ground. The scent of old mulched leaves filled his senses, as did the pride of having accomplished something, even if it had been a relatively tame ascent. He’d climbed a hill. He’d walked for two and a half days without collapsing in a heap, and he’d climbed a mountain.

Feeling the warmth of Fin beside him, Jared turned to study the other man’s face. Fin’s expression echoed his.

“Never gets old?” Jared asked.

Fin shook his head. “Nope. Doesn’t matter how high or how far, it’s just being out here.” His lower lip disappeared beneath his teeth a moment. “Being out here is part of the essential human experience.”

Rather than ask him to qualify the statement, Jared simply nodded. He got it. He felt it.

 

Then he takes a chance with Fin:

“I want to kiss you.” He’d kissed so few men. None after Brian.

“That’s a good thing.” Fin’s breath tickled his lips.

Jared opened his eyes, sought the clear blue of Fin’s, and found only an indistinct blur pressed close. “I’m not good at this. What if—”

Fin’s lips touched his in a brief caress. “Shh. If the sex sucks, we’ll laugh about it when we get together to watch a game on Sundays.”

Oh, God. They were really going to do this.

The pressure landed, pushing air from Jared’s lungs. He didn’t understand it, his panic. He just knew it had been getting worse over the past couple of months. Since the company had grounded him, since he’d turned forty-five. Every time he contemplated being stuck in one place, his lungs locked and his ribs dug into his sides. He wouldn’t be able to ignore life when it no longer passed by the window of a plane, constrained to a view of six inches by twelve, cornered in soft angles, obscured by clouds. He’d be out there in the blue, trapped in one place. Trapped in a vastness. An emptiness. His loneliness would be real.

Canting forward, he claimed Fin’s mouth in a rough kiss. His lips were hard, stiff, teeth in the way. Jared pulled away with a gasp. He reached up to frame Fin’s face, thumbs sifting through sideburns to rest against his ears, fingers spearing into dark hair. He sucked in a quick breath, one scented by all Fin was, then kissed him again, this time with less need. Lips softened and parted beneath his.

Spoiler alert, the sex doesn’t suck. 😉 But what I loved about writing this particular scene was the promise of friendship between these guys. Because this is a love story, and the best lovers should also be best friends.

Out in the Blue is one of my favourite stories. I loved writing an older character and Jared’s journey is proof that it’s never too late to start looking for the view, or to simply learn to appreciate it for what it is.

OutintheBlueLGOut in the Blue

At forty-five, Jared Tailler suddenly feels old. When his employer grounds him, he starts thinking in terms of measuring his coffin. Well, not quite, but he’s creakier and hairier than he was ten years ago, and his closest relationship is the one he has with his frequent-flyer card.

It’s time to get out there.

On the first day of a five-day hiking trip, he meets Finley Macrae, a younger, seemingly brighter man. As they inch together in halting steps, Jared learns he’s not the only one lost out in the blue—Fin’s good cheer hides a turbulence deeper than Jared’s midlife crisis. Maybe together they can find the trail to happiness.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Daily Dose package “Never Too Late.”

Amazon | ARe | Dreamspinner Press

What I’ve Been Reading!

The good, the great, and the even better.

I always read a lot outside of the books I pick for particular challenges, and my reading challenge updates always ramble on into what I’ve been writing as well. It could be worse, I could ramble on about all the movies and TV shows I’ve seen as well… 😀

2015 TBR Pile Challenge

When We Were Orphans

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro devastated me–so much so, that I hesitated to pick up When We Were Orphans for about five years. I didn’t want to spend another two weeks sniveling into my hankie and generally embarrassing myself.

While the narrative voice of When We Were Orphans is familiar, the story is very different. It’s still emotionally charged, and the revelations are…sad. No other word for it. What really struck me, will stick with me, though, is Christopher’s naivete. A good portion of the story is recollections from his childhood and even as he pokes through his memories, his view of them is clouded by what he thought and perceived as a child.

This makes Christopher a somewhat unreliable narrator, which is a hallmark of Ishiguro’s fiction. His truths are coloured by his emotions and ambitions, and while he can be self-deprecating, just as often he’s simply human. It’s in these moments the novel shines. I envy Ishiguro’s ability to write this way, to offer these imperfect memories, and to build the story of a man whose life is shaped by just such.


Way of the Wolf (Vampire Earth #1)Way of the Wolf
by E.E. Knight has a really cool setting. I picked it up because it’s post apocalyptic and the idea of alien vampires intrigued me. The actual story is much more interesting. There is a system of gates that connect parallel universes. It takes an incredible amount of power to open and use these gates, and to maintain the longevity of the beings who are using them. So, the Kurians are lifesforce vampires rather than bloodsuckers, but have absolutely no problems with draining a human of just about everything that makes them tick. Yeah, there’s some gruesome stuff here.

The Kurians are the new overlords of Earth, hence the subtitle: Vampire Earth. Humanity is either subjugated or living in small pockets of rebellion. One of these rebellious factions has access to gifts from another alien species that is like the Kurians, but not evil. They teach the Way of the Wolf, Cat and Bear to humans who have the mental and physical stamina to adapt.

The story starts out slowly with an extended introduction to David Valentine and his world. I didn’t mind the pace, though, as I found the world fascinating and David is easy to like. The plot really picks up at the two thirds mark with the last quarter of the book passing in a blur. I will be reading on. I already have the next two books on the shelf.

Random Favourites

Seeing as I didn’t read a lot from my challenge list over the last few months, here are a couple of random reviews of books I really enjoyed:

BlinkBlink by Rick R. Reed

It’s been a long time since I read past my bedtime – which is, admittedly, early. But I’m old, and that’s one of the things that drew me to this book, the age of the characters in the second part. There is not enough romantic fiction about older couples. The other thing that drew me to this book was the premise. The thirty second love affair, as Andy puts it. Who hasn’t met the eyes of a stranger and wondered ‘what if’?

I enjoyed the elaborate ‘what if’ scenarios in this book as much as I did the actual story of Andy and Carlos. I loved the pushmi-pullyu reference. It was apt in the beginning and throughout the ebb and flow of the guys’ lives. More, I loved that Andy and Carlos had to take such a journey before reconnecting, and that that was the focus of the story.

Finally, the afterword: I already knew the facts as I’d discovered this book through a blog tour where Rick Reed shared his inspiration for Blink. And that story was the reason I picked this one up. 🙂

City of StairsCity of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Long, but ultimately worth it. The world building is phenomenal.

I listened to City of Stairs on audio and it was one of those rare treats. New SF and Fantasy titles don’t show up on the library’s list very often. It’s even more rare for a book on my wishlist to show up, so I fell all over this one–and then listened obsessively for days until it was done.

I loved the world. If I hadn’t listened on audio, I might have been tempted to skim some of the description, history and world building because there is a lot. Most of it’s relevant and it didn’t really feel like the author showing off all his research, particularly as it’s Shara’s business to know all of this stuff.  I really enjoyed Shara as a point of view character. I also enjoyed the glimpses we had of others. My favourite? Sigrud. And I did not begrudge a single minute of his history. His story was worth a novel all it’s own, and adds so much depth and substance to this book.

A highly recommended read!

The Girl with All the GiftsThe Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

My Goodreads review:

Holy @#$%. Just…WOW. This book really crept up on me, and then refused to let go. Feeling kinda wrecked.

Excellent. Deserves all the stars.

Really, there’s not a lot more I can say without spoiling the magic of this book, except to tell you to keep going. It starts out a little slow and the plot is quite obscure, but OMG, the ending. I cried–and I can’t even really tell you why. But, like Never Let Me Go, I carried this story next to my soul for weeks afterward and I can still feel the wrench of emotion. I really, really hope M.R. Carey writes another novel. Soon.


Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy
by L.A. Meyer

This was an Audible daily deal and I bought it with the intention of passing it to my daughter. Then I saw a couple of reviews and decided to try it for myself. I ADORED this book. Not only was Jacky’s voice absolutely charming, but the narrator did a wonderful job of bringing her to life, accent and all. The story is equally engaging, being the tale of an orphan who goes to sea pretending to be a ship’s boy. As she matures, it becomes more and more difficult for her to hide her gender, leading to many sweet and not so sweet moments. Meyer perfectly captures adolescence and I loved the boys. I also really loved the inside look at life aboard one of the King’s ships and the excitement of chasing pirates, neither of which was diluted or dumbed down for a younger audience.

If I pick up the sequel, it will definitely be on audio!

View all my reviews on Goodreads.

Writing

I’ve had three books published since my last update. I blogged about each one, but I’m going to show them off again here as they represent a lot of hard work. Covers link to the relevant posts.

   OutintheBlueLG   WDCover500

In addition, Jenn and I finalized Skip Trace (Book three of Chaos Station), as in it’s fully edited, copy edited and proofread. It’s due out in October. We’re hoping to put out a short story between now and then. We’ve also finished the first draft of Inversion Point (Book four of Chaos Station). I think this one was the hardest yet to write. We’ve learned so much writing the first three, through simply writing a series and being edited so competently (and thoroughly) by our editor at Carina Press. So we put a lot into constructing book four. That leaves one more for this series–Phase Shift–which we’ll begin writing over the summer.

So far, the series is getting really great reviews. We’re hoping readers will enjoy the ride all the way to the end with us.

Available Now: Out in the Blue

I really enjoy writing short stories. Despite the word count limit, a short story is an invitation to examine something more closely–an idea, an event, a slice of life. In “Out in the Blue” I take a look at what it feels like to be forty-five and ever aware of the big question: Is this all there is? I’m two years older than Jared and not single, or male, but I’ve never written my characters with an extreme bias toward one gender or another. I write people. So I found it easy to slip into Jared’s thoughts and examine what it must feel like to be alone and lonely, not as physically capable as he was twenty years ago, and facing a career change after years of allowing himself to become very isolated.

Every time I finish a new story, I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. Until I have had to rip it to pieces, stitch it back together, and read it ten more times, it’s my favourite. It’s usually right around the copy edit phase that my co-writer Jenn gets a note from me saying: I hate this story. Everyone is going to hate this story. Why did I write this?? That never really happened with “Out in the Blue”. I hope everyone else likes it as much as I do!

“Out in the Blue” will be released to subscribers of Dreamspinner’s 2015 Daily Dose Package “Never Too Late” sometime in June. For those who did not subscribe, you can buy this story now at the Dreamspinner website and other major retailers. Links below. 🙂

OutintheBlueLGOut in the Blue

At forty-five, Jared Tailler suddenly feels old. When his employer grounds him, he starts thinking in terms of measuring his coffin. Well, not quite, but he’s creakier and hairier than he was ten years ago, and his closest relationship is the one he has with his frequent-flyer card.

It’s time to get out there.

On the first day of a five-day hiking trip, he meets Finley Macrae, a younger, seemingly brighter man. As they inch together in halting steps, Jared learns he’s not the only one lost out in the blue—Fin’s good cheer hides a turbulence deeper than Jared’s midlife crisis. Maybe together they can find the trail to happiness.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2015 Daily Dose package
“Never Too Late.”

 Amazon | ARe | Dreamspinner Press

Reviews

“This short novella is sweet and sexy and touching…”
— Goodreads review

“I truly loved this story. It’s short…will only take about an hour to read, but it’s packed full of depth and emotion.”
— Smitten With Reading