Friday, March 28, 2014

Who Writes More Convincing M/M Romance--Men or Women?

I’ve heard of editors betting whether an M/M story was written by a man or a woman.

Now, depending on the degree of honesty in the proceedings, some editors reportedly have a knack for knowing, others not so much. I’ve heard arguments on both sides. Witness the debate…

“If M/M is written primarily by straight women for straight women, that means a straight woman knows best what another straight woman wants in an M/M story.”

Mmm…no. What readers want is a good story with well-drawn characters they can invest in. The author’s ability in this department is what readers want. The book can be written by an asexual purple polka-dotted Martian with numerous organs and orifices—as long as the characters are well executed.

“A straight woman can’t possibly have a clue what it’s like to be a gay man, let alone conjure one for fiction.”

Geez. For decades, M/F interactions typified romance. Women wrote the vast majority of this, including the male character. This “have a clue” business about male characters didn’t get the press then that it does now (if it ever did get press then). The gay character is still a character. Maybe he’s an accountant, likes golf, favors pepperoni on his pizza, is gay, likes T-shirts versus button-downs, worries about the mortgage, and loves red. See? He’s not defined by his preference. He’s a guy, first and foremost.

“Straight women can’t write believable intimate gay encounters (read: they have no reference for man-on-man sex).”

Well, folks, have to disagree. Sure, there’s the mechanics, but that’s pretty standard, isn’t it? Ninety percent of a good sex scene is in the mind of the character(s). The emotional investment, the chance to reveal the naked core of the character(s). The human sexual experience is emotional, regardless of the gender of the participants. Men who write M/M romance are not uniformly sputtering ‘that would never happen!’ with any more frequency than their female counterparts when they read these scenes.

“Gay men favor the work of gay writers, while straight women favor books written by straight females.”

My thought—no. Being human, gay male readers of M/M like what they like because of content, not because they know the sex/orientation of the writer. The same is true of straight women.
My favorite M/M writers are split evenly between men and women. Mostly gay men and straight women. There are a couple of ringers in there, though—transgendered writers. Notice they haven’t been accorded a spot in the above debate, which likely makes them giddy with happiness.

Sooo…coming back to the initial dilemma of our blindfolded editors, betting over the slush pile whether the author is male or female, my money’s on the horse called “You Can’t Tell.”


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Covert Delivery and Draven St. James

Today Draven St. James joins me to talk about her new release from the Loose Id Eostre's Baskets collection, Covert Delivery.
What is your name and occupation?  My name is Aspen Starr and I'm a psychometrist. Basically, I do the testing for psychological profiling.

How old are you? I'm twenty-four.

How did you come by your current occupation? I defied my good old dad and went to college to study psychological profiling. He had me slotted for a company position, all the way down to a corner office, an apartment, and a very creepy crypt keeper of a boyfriend. I snuck off with the help of a little destiny in the form of a mystery basket. Now, I'm working at a forensic psychologist office performing psychological evaluations.

Do you like your job? Why or why not? I love my job. It helps that my boyfriend, Dr. Garren Thomas is my boss. It didn't start off that way, but with working together, some wicked dance moves and his phenomenal phone…skills, I couldn't help falling for him.  Okay, I just completely rambled. Yes, my job is great. I get to help people and the brain is a fascinating organ. I'm constantly surprised, and at times a bit scared, but that makes things interesting.

Who is the person you dislike the most? Wow, I'd have to say I don't have a fondness for Christopher the Crypt Keeper. 

Who is the person you respect the most? I respect Garren. There is so much more to him than just the tough exterior.

Is there anyone special in your life? Yes, yes, and I think I've made that obvious with my above answers.  Lol.

What’s your favorite meal, and do you fix it yourself or have someone fix it for you? Fried chicken and I do fix it myself.

Football or baseball? Football. Men in tight pants running up and down a field.  Not to mention all the jumping up on one another and ass slapping. The locker room fantasies alone are enough to keep me coming back for more.

Favorite holiday? Given the year I've had, definitely Easter. I mean when a mysterious collection of life altering eggs comes to your door…well you can't help but fall in love with the holiday. I still don't know how Eostre's Baskets put everything together, but Essie changed my life. 

Favorite song?  Do not laugh, but Amazed by Lonestar. As, I'm sure Garren could tell you, I'm a closeted country music fan.

If you had one wish, what would it be?  I should say world peace or the cure for world hunger, right? But I'd kind of like to convince Garren to get a tattoo for me, something dark and sexy.  That way when he's walking around the office in his staid suits, only I would know the sexy ink that was beneath.


Aspen Starr is in a bind and not in a good way. His father is trying to use him to sweeten a business deal and being a bought boy toy holds no appeal. Just when he thinks he has no options left Sundae’s Custom Easter Baskets knocks at his door. Soon he finds himself blindly following a trail right into the path of a sexy new boss and a whole new mess of carnal complications.

Garren Thomas has rules and one of those is to never get involved with an employee. Easy to say, harder to enforce when Aspen is hired on. With each passing day Garren's control slips until all he wants to do is spend his days with Aspen in his bed.

When faced with giving into his desires, Garren sees his simple life being torn apart. Can he get Aspen out of his system without losing his heart? Aspen isn't much better off. He is drawn to Garren, but he can't help the fear that the secrets from his past will destroy it all. As Aspen begins to lose himself within the confusion of sex and love one question plagues him: who sent the basket?


Garren pushed away from the wall and into the light of the lobby. “Looks like I missed out on a lot.”

Aspen ducked his head and went to his desk to dig around in a drawer. The first time Taylor had sent him shopping for office supplies, Aspen had bought random sheets of kids’ stickers. On the rare occasion Taylor performed child evaluations, a little bribery to bring out good behavior never hurt. Aspen came away with two sheets of fairy stickers.

“Not too much. We’re working on crowns and a new kingdom.” Aspen swerved around Garren, his eyes twinkling. “Do you want a crown?”

Garren narrowed his eyes on Aspen. He put his hands on Aspen’s shoulders to stop him and leaned in to whisper, “That was low. There’s no way I can refuse those pixies. I’m going to end up with a glittery, construction-paper crown glued to my head, aren’t I?"

Aspen looked over his shoulder. “Don’t worry there won’t be glitter on yours. I’ll be the queen,” he murmured with a grin. “So you’ll need to fill the role as king.”

Garren shook his head. “You’re trouble.”

Aspen shimmied to dislodge Garren’s hands. “You just figured that out?”

With a resigned sigh Garren followed him.

“Girls, I found someone else who needs a crown,” Aspen declared, gesturing at Garren.

The tykes jumped up and down. Garren fought the urge to reach out and hug Aspen for giving them this moment of levity even at Garren’s expense.

Aspen held out the stickers, and the enthusiasm magnified until the girls were dancing around the room. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” the girls chanted in a singsong fashion.

A softly murmured, “Oh my,” came from behind Garren.

Garren turned to yet again see the shimmer of tears in Mrs. Burgett’s eyes, but a smile accompanied the moisture.

Aspen grinned back at her. “I hope you don’t mind. The girls have been fantastic. We’ve managed to make crowns and bracelets.”

“Even for you, Mommy,” one of the twins piped up and ran over to Mrs. Burgett to carefully hand her the items as though they were made of glass.

Mrs. Burgett cradled them. “Thank you, Maryann.”

“Becca and Mr. Aspen helped,” Maryann replied.

“And we ate apples and cheese crackers,” Becca added.

Garren looked briefly at Aspen. He’d seen Aspen eating the same things earlier in the week.

“That was very nice of Mr. Aspen,” Mrs. Burgett said with a hitch in her voice. “But we have to go now, girls.”

“Oh,” the girls replied with exaggerated pouts on both their faces.

“Say thank-you to Mr. Aspen,” Mrs. Burgett directed.

Both girls ran over to Aspen and threw their arms around his waist. “Sorry we didn’t get a chance to make your crown,” Becca said.

“That’s fine, sweetheart. I’ll be sure to make a matching one when you leave,” Aspen assured her.

“You need to make two,” Maryann interjected. “One for the big king behind you. That way we’ll know you’re helping rule the kingdom even if we can’t see you.”

Garren wanted to pick the girl up and hug her. Tell her that everything would work itself out and she’d never be hurt again. While it was a possibility if Mrs. Burgett went through with the charges, he wouldn’t make promises he couldn’t keep.

“Thank you, Mr. Aspen,” Mrs. Burgett said. “You don’t know how much I appreciate you taking care of my girls.”

“You’re welcome,” Aspen responded.

Maryann and Becca skipped over to their mom, and grabbed hold of her hands as they exited the office.

Garren stared after their retreating backs. He grimaced at the tattered clothes and worn shoes. His jaw clenched, and he pivoted and stalked back to his office. The lump in his throat threatened to shatter his control of his emotions. He made it through the door, placed his hands on his desk, and breathed deeply. Mrs. Burgett reminded him of his mother.

Aspen lightly touched his back, and Garren jerked around to gaze at him.

“I know you’ll do all you can,” Aspen confided.

“And you?” Garren cracked and cupped Aspen’s face with one hand. “You gave those little girls your lunch and made them laugh. You took away their stress and let them be kids.”

Aspen glanced away. “I did what anyone else would do. They deserve to have as much joy as every other child.”

“You’re wrong. Not everyone would do what you did. I think most would have set them in the lobby and spent the time telling them to be quiet.” Garren had seen that reality time and time again.

Aspen shrugged.

Garren caved and leaned in until his lips were mere inches from Aspen’s. “You are so beautiful.”

Aspen didn’t back away. His breath came faster, and his eyes flashed with that same glow Garren had seen in the past.

“Garren,” Aspen whispered with a thread of uncertainty.

Garren brushed his thumb over Aspen’s full lower lip, and desire zinged through his body when Aspen’s tongue peeked out to trace the path. Garren’s brain screamed what a huge mistake kissing Aspen would be, but at that point he wasn’t being ruled by his head.


~Author Bio

I’m a born and raised Oregonian. I’ve traveled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem to fill my books.  My ventures have been quite successful in inspiring a wealth of stories both sexy and humorous.  It gives me a great excuse to do some crazy stuff in the name of research. Of course at the end of the day, coffee within reach, laptop at the ready is where I find my peace.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I meant to write this blog last month.

Somehow, time got away from me. I've been working on the resurrection of an old story; it's taking a long time. Maybe too long. The fact that I've put it aside multiple times in favor of other projects doesn't help. This has been going on for three years. Despite my determination to finish the manuscript, I'm afraid I'll procrastinate yet again.

Writers procrastinate a lot, especially when they are stuck on a plot snarl, or facing a blank page, paralyzed by writer's block.

Writers spend too much time on Facebook, Youtube, and reading stories in publications like Buzzfeed.

Sometimes, writers want everything to be perfect. When it's not going well, it's horrible. The words squeeze painfully onto the page. It's like using a paper cut to donate blood. 

I know some advocate "just get something down on paper, even if it's garbage." I find this leads to massive deletion later. Instead, I leave this note:

        "NEED MORE HERE"

in bold red type and go on to the next scene. My manuscript has a baker's dozen of these, which I'm struggling to fill in. Perfection needs to take a backseat to completion.

If I ever finish the story, I'm sure it'll be awesome.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Rabbit Wars--What's Behind It

This is a romance, the tale of Jeff and Ash. Rabbits are in there too. It takes place in the fictional town of Crooked Creek, Colorado.
I love old things, historic things. Things with an interesting past...even a disreputable past.
All over the Rockies are small defunct gold mines. Colorado's gold rush was in 1859--pretty much eclipsed by the much bigger event in California a decade earlier. When the ore played out, jobs were lost, people moved away, and some of these towns faded into oblivion.
Over the last twenty-plus years, gambling has returned prosperity to these historic places. New residents have repurposed old buildings; tourists pour in; the City Council has money to work with once again.
If you've never visited a gold town, I encourage you to do so. They're everywhere, not just in Colorado.
I hope you'll check out Rabbit Wars and see what Jeff, Ash, and Rabbits have in common.

After two months in Dubai supervising a construction project, architect Jefferson Fontaine returns home to find his boyfriend boffing the dog walker. Reeling, Jeff grabs his dignity and departs. The arrival of a mysterious wicker box and a letter requesting Jeff’s presence for the reading of a local entrepreneur’s will sends Jeff to his hometown of Crooked Creek, Colorado. The last thing he expects is to encounter an old flame who disappeared fifteen years ago.

After high school, Ashton Eiker hoped to start a future with the boy he loved, but his world crashed when Jeff refused to bring Ash along with him to college. Ash ran from the rejection, but returned to Crooked Creek a year ago, bringing his confectionary talents and opening a chocolate shop. When the great uncle of a childhood friend names Ash in his will, he could hardly anticipate getting a helping of his past in the mix.

Jeff and Ash jointly inherit the historic Jeremiah Rabbit House, and are forced to work together to meet the terms of the will or neither will have the mansion. It’s a battle of opinions, shared personal history, and present attraction, but the true prize isn’t the Rabbit legacy. It's the chance at something better.

Loose Id has all formats--whatever you need for your type of e-reader!