laylah: a person wearing high boots and a sleeveless shirt lounging with a book open in hir lap (storyteller)

My m/m sci fi vampire short "Cultural Hospitality" is now available from Torquere Books! This was one of the most straightforwardly fun stories I’ve written in quite a while — the submissions call wanted vampires and masquerade balls, both of which already felt like deeply self-indulgent ideas for me to play with. So I piled on some interspecies romance, a bit of literal intoxication, and the sweetness of “I didn’t think I could have this happy ending, but I was wrong,” and basked in the entire writing process.

Here, have an excerpt:

Dracula, hmm? )

The publisher and I both make the most money per copy with direct sales from their website, so they put up new releases on their own site first. If you don't want to create an account there to buy, though, it should be available through the major ebook retailers within the next week.

And if the vampires-in-masquerade theme is as much catnip for you as it is for me, you can always pick up the entire anthology's worth of the theme. ;)
laylah: a person wearing high boots and a sleeveless shirt lounging with a book open in hir lap (storyteller)
My next short story release will be available next month! "Ivory Black, Flecked with White" appears in Dreamspinner Press's Snow on the Roof anthology, a collection of m/m romance featuring older men. "Ivory Black" is a historical, established relationship piece:
Renaissance painter Felice has enjoyed Lucio's patronage, and his love, for years; neither of them are young men anymore. When the youthful good looks of Felice's latest model make Lucio jealous, Felice must find a way to convince his lover that in a painter's eyes, there is no conflict between age and beauty.

The anthology is available for preorder now on Dreamspinner's site, in ebook or in paperback. Once the book releases, on February 11, it will be available through all your favorite online retailers as well. :3

and here's a quick excerpt from Ivory Black )
laylah: pine needles and a pine cone dusted with snow (all the trees in the green wood)
My contribution to Dreamspinner's 2012 Advent collection, "Safe Harbor," is now available from DSP's site. Sailor Blake ran away from home seven years ago to avoid having to face his grief over his father's death or his tangle of romantic feelings for his best friend Tom. Now, his ship has come in to port on Christmas Eve, and he's going to get a second chance at family and love.

This story is a warm fuzzy blanket in prose form; the excerpt available on the site is a little bittersweet, but the sweet chases off the bitter by the story's end (spoilers!!!).

If you're in the mood for some nice cuddly Christmas fic, give it a try!
laylah: pine needles and a pine cone dusted with snow (all the trees in the green wood)
Evergreen, Dreamspinner Press's 2012 Advent Calendar collection, is now available for preorder! The collection contains 31 short holiday-themed stories, one of which is mine. You can preorder the entire collection at the link for $49.99; if the price is too rich for your blood, or if you'd prefer to sample some a la carte dishes instead of buying the entire buffet, you'll be able to buy individual stories on December 1st. (The "Excerpt" link on that page is actually a list of all the stories, with their summaries, so you can see what sorts of things you'd be in for.)

My contribution, Safe Harbor, is a warm fuzzy blanket in story form: lonely sailor Blake comes in to port on Christmas Eve to an unexpected reunion with the best friend he's loved—and thought he could never have—for years, and it turns out they're both exactly what the other wants for Christmas.

I can't wait to share it with you! Especially now that DST has ended, and the dark sets in early this far north.
laylah: a person wearing high boots and a sleeveless shirt lounging with a book open in hir lap (storyteller)
This week I'm struggling to keep reading Karin Lowachee's Warchild, which is wrenching, excellently-written, serious sci fi about a boy orphaned in wartime and trained as a soldier. It's powerful. It's smart. It's unflinching.

And the problem is that I'm flinching. I can see it winding up for more crises, more emotional hurt and confusion, for its main character, a writer I can respect the craft with which it's done, but as a reader I don't want to go along.

It turns out this is why I am so drawn to the romance versions of my favorite genres: it isn't the sex (though that can be a bonus), it's the emotional promise. The crucial difference for reader-me between, say, military sci fi and military sci fi romance is the reassurance the latter gives me: the connection between these characters will be strong enough to survive. The connection between characters is the central thing I read for—which may also explain my failure to be interested in a lot of modern literary fiction; stories about detachment and lack of affect leave me cold. I don't believe there's some kind of powerful commentary or deep truth inherent in the literary thesis, "people fail to understand each other"; that's pessimism, not a law of the universe.

(By counterexample, in Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane's The Druid Stone, which is urban fantasy/romance, the scene that undid me and made me fall for the book was Sean coming along to Cormac's family's Beltane party. The warm, welcome chaos of that scene made me feel like my heart would be safe with this story—it clearly valued kinship and camaraderie as highly as I did.)

I don't know. I'm going to keep trying with Warchild, but maybe slowly. And probably with doses of something more comforting in between, because I care so much about Jos's relationship with his mentor and I fear it's going to be a casualty of war. Damnit.
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