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Happy Saturday

Green Man
I hope you're having a great weekend so far and sincerely hope you are somewhere high up or well drained, preferably both.

One of the nicest things about the weekend, especially a cold and rainy weekend, is curling up with a book so here is one of my Saturday Recommendations.



I'm a big fan of historical action stories, and of action stories in general. Until I found the growing M/M genre knocking on for 10 years ago now, I had never read romances - preferring Fred Forsythe or Patrick O'Brien to Loretta Chase or E L James - and I still have problems getting my head around the tropes. Some of the best stories I've read play all kinds of games with these 'set in stone' rules.

Because I know that I have problems with romances I scan the ebook displays very quickly, screening by book cover. I usually ignore all the naked torsos and cuddling contemporary couples, and pounce on anything with a gun or a spaceship, a suggestion of noir or a whiff of historical costume. The Boys of Summer went on my To Read List the moment I saw the gorgeous cover.



Boy, did I feel daft when I read the blurb properly and realised that it was a contemporary romance but actually it was that glorious thing - a twofer! As in two for the price of one.

The contemporary romance concerns David, a location prospector for the film industry checking out sites in the Hawaiian archipelago, assisted by Rick, a pilot, whose skill at the controls is the only thing between them and death when a tropical storm blows up. There's action right from the first page and the pace continues, with quieter moments that allow the reader to catch up and realise just how much trouble the protagonists are in. Neatly inserted into the contemporary narrative is a slightly slower paced story set during the Second World War where another David and Rick carry out an exquisitely agonised courtship against a backdrop of code breaking and far too many sorties as a fighter pilot. This part of the book was beautifully done and impressed me very much - a clear 5 star read. When we return again to the present, it's with a greater sense of purpose and urgency.

How one story fits with the other would be a spoiler, as would how the past impacts on the present so I'll say no more about it other than that it was a damned good read and kept me entertained throughout.

Now I'm off to read something by S E Jakes and toss another log or two on the fire. Stay warm!

Absence

Llol
I've been MIA for a long time due to lack of brainwidth. The old energy has been pretty badly depleted for most of 2013 as well.

But I miss the people I follow on LJ so I'm going to try to do a bit better in 2104.

For now - have a "Comfy Chair" author interview, crossposted from my Wordpress blog.

~~~

comfy chairMy guest today is Mina Carter, renowned for her beautifully produced book covers [I still get a bit of a lump in my throat when I look at the one she made for On A Lee Shore] and for her many romance series. She is here today to publicise the latest instalment of her Lyric Hounds series, Sex, Wolves and Rock and Roll, which has a strong M/M pairing at the heart of it.

Welcome, Mina, and thank you for answering my questions.

###

Elin: Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

Mina: Nope, no 'day' job as in going out to work for someone else, but in addition to writing I'm also a cover-artist and a photographer, so at any given time I can be wearing one of three hats :) Other than that I'm a married mother of one with a bad reading habit and far too little respect for correct amounts of sleep :) I'm also addicted to coffee.

Elin: Normally at this point I would be asking about your other creative outlets but since I first got to know you through your fantastic cover art, I'd like to ask some questions about that. In view of the highly imaginative works produced by artists such as Nathie, Ann Cain, Paul Richmond and yourself, do you think the day of the stock photo nude torso on MM romances may be drawing to its close? Where do you start in designing a cover? The characters? The overall tone of the work? Do you accept commissions?

Mina: Hmmm, it's possible. I'm getting a lot of requests for more than just a torso. While I understand the thinking behind it (so the reader can imagine the perfect hero), it's a creative challenge to take the information from the cover art form and create a cover that tells a story in itself.

Generally I start by reading through the form and the information provided by the author. I'll also go and have a look at their website to see any previous covers, and have a look around the stock sites. Different genres have different requirements so then it's a case of picking the stock that matches both the characters and the genre. Sometimes if I know I need something specific in advance, I'll organise a photoshoot with the intent of getting that image.

I do occasionally accept commissions, but it very much depends on my writing schedule :)

Elin: What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you'd written yourself?

Mina: Currently I'm reading City of Bones, the Mortal Instruments series. I can heartily recommend Zero Dog War by Keith Melton, which I would love to have written. (But he wrote it WAY better than I could have)

Elin: In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

Mina: Any and all of the above. Sometimes it's a line of a song, an image in a film, or my brain idly playing 'what if?'. It's more a case of trying to turn the ideas off before they drive me mad o_O

Elin: Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?

Mina: Some are pretty much fully-fledged, like Sav in the Lyric Hounds series, but he still had a surprise for me in that he used to be a cage fighter. Others are just a thought and a feeling so I need to chip away at their story to reveal their full potential.

Elin: I know that you have written a successful series of books with paranormal theme combined with crime combined with het romance, but that your latest book is M/M. What inspired you to make the change from het sex to same sex?

Mina: Love is love, a heart is a heart. Same emotion whether it's MF or MM or FF. Sav arrived and told me his story was with Karlan, so I sat down and wrote it as I saw it.

Elin: Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one where the romance is a sub plot?

Mina: All stories for me follow a certain ebb and flow. I always write romance or stories with a romance somewhere in it, so early on I need to make the choice whether the romance or the action is predominant. Action-heavy stories tend to be longer for me, and more complex in planning to ensure all the players on the board so to speak are in the right places at the right time.

Elin: Put together your ideal team of men/women – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?

Mina: Ohh, this is an interesting one. How many do I get? I think I'd want Andy from Reaper (nothing gets past a woman who is basically Death personified), Darce from Blood Mate because he can talk his way out of anything and perhaps Calcite from Hard as a Rock/Between a Rock and a Hard Place because a Gargoyle would put a serious crimp in any muggers day.

Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it's finished.

Mina: I'm currently working on the next PPA story, which will be Duke's story. All I'll say is that this story will open up a whole new area of the PPA world, and potentially launch a new sub-series.

Elin: Could we please have an excerpt of something?

Mina: Oh, go on then. It's a tiny, unedited snippet of my next release, Reaper and the Cop.

~~~
Death is inevitable. For most that means worrying about the how, and more importantly, when. It’s an obsession the marketing industry has latched into like a leech and from one person to the next ranges from the absent worry about leaving loved ones behind through to narcissistic panic at leaving this mortal coil.

For some of us though, death is a job. I would say it’s a nine to five daily grind, but really it’s more of a 24/7/365 deal. Let me introduce myself. I’m Laney Larson, and I’m a Reaper. Yeah, you heard me right. I said Reaper. As in the big, bad dude with the robes and scythe...looks like he could do with a few extra squares in his life? That guy.

Kinda.

Well, not quite.

It’s probably more accurate to say that I’m his great-god knows how many-great grand-daughter. Hard to tell really since no one has seen his Grimness since the middle ages, but each and every Reaper carries a piece of him, their Grimm, inside us. It’s what gives us our abilities and lets us see things that others can’t. Without a Grimm, a Reaper is just a standard human with an interesting family tree. Nothing more, nothing less. With a Grimm? Yeah, even I don’t know everything we’re capable of. I don’t want to think what we’re capable of. Not with how many of us there are.

It’s a bit like the Santa deal, but instead of presents, there are lots of souls to be reaped on a daily basis all over the world. I have no clue how the big dude in red manages it (yeah, he’s real too. And the Easter Bunny? Don’t get me started on that asshole) but us Reapers spread the load.

###

Mina's latest release is available NOW from all the usual ebook outlets.



Sex, Wolves and Rock 'n Roll

He'd loved Karlan forever. Now he must face forever without him...

Karlan Rixx is the epitome of the playboy rocker. Sexy and gorgeous, with that feral edge that marked a werewolf, Sav's been in love with him for years. The trouble is, Karlan's Mr. New girl every night, as straight as they come, and Sav doesn't stand a chance. Unable to bear it anymore, he makes plans to leave the band, even though it will break his heart in the process. But anything's better than seeing the man he loves and not being able to touch. Ever.

K loves being a Lyric Hound. The only time he truly feels alive is on stage, a guitar in his hand and the beat of Sav's drums flowing through his veins. Despite his image as a womaniser, it's the other wolf who makes his heart pound and his body ache. Before K can admit his feelings though, Sav leaves and rips his world apart.

Enter Madam Eve and a very special 1NS date. Can she succeed where so many investigators have failed and find K's lost wolf?

Read an excerpt here

Buy from:
Decadent Publishing
Amazon
Amazon UK
B&N
ARe

You can follow Mina at her:

Website - http://mina-carter.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/minacarterauthor
GR - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2920063.Mina_Carter
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/minacarter77
Twitter - http://twitter.com/minacarter
Amazon author page - http://www.amazon.com/Mina-Carter/e/B002BOH5R4/

Procrastination

Green Man
This is what I'm writing about at the moment:



I've always enjoyed the idea of secret places underground, though I find them a bit scary too. I did some caving when I was a gel, and quite liked splashing around in the mud, but there's something very romantic to me about man made caverns. I'm not thinking about 'romantic' in a Romance sense - no hearts and flowers and angsty protestations of undying adoration - but a passion of a different kind. A passion that organised and provided and planned and ensured that every single brick in that picture was delivered on time to men who knew what they were doing and who were concerned to do a good job. This bricks were laid in 1855 and are showing their age but are still watertight. To Sir John Bazalgette and his workforce, well done, guys.

Well, when I say "I'm writing" I mean that theoretically. I type a few words, sneer at them and do something else for a bit. Like write blog posts. The point is that the story got bogged down with minutiae in the soggy middle - the way they do - and my inner editor is shrieking about re-writing the bits that have got off message before I get any further off the point, but my commonsense reminds me that if I do that I'll probably never finish the damned thing.

Sod it. Let's have some more photos.


This is Eglwys Faen. I can see the above ground bits from my kitchen window. Not man made at all, it is part of a huge network of limestone caverns that extend around to the north of the Silurian coal fields. Very scary, very wet. Sadly not everyone who goes in has managed to get back out!

Here's the entrance to Agen Allwedd



Very heavily locked and this is why:



It's a deeply scary place. Ha! deeply - dija see what I did there?

*sigh* back to the sewer.

Ho Hum!

Green Man
I'm astonished how long it is since i last updated. Frankly the past twelve months have been pants and I've run right out of oomph. I update the sort of serious semi-professional blog where I pretend I know what I'm doing but here is where I'm at least partially me and being me feels altogether too raw and vulnerable right now. So instead of nattering on about stuff I'm going to put on my wellies and dance in the mud with Wilfred while I listen to Seasick Steve.


Sunday

black knight
Here have a kitten.



It's Sunday. If you're enjoying a nice peaceful day just revel in the fluffiness of the picture and click on it to be taken to very good website with a whole load more. O

Alternatively you can look past the break for another kitten.Read more...Collapse )

Blog Guests

Green Man
 I really must remember to post here more often because I miss my old mates and it's silly not to make the extra effort to keep in touch.

What's going on then? I know I have to congratulate Julian Griffith on the release of what I'm sure will be the first of many novels. Love Continuance and Increasing was published by Storm Moon Press last week and she has a bit to say about it and sundry other subjects here. Well done Julian.

I've written a little this past week and feel a bit brighter. Not writing, for whatever reason, and my reasons have been good the past  couple of months, makes me edgy and miserable. Achieving even 1k a week is so much better than nothing. At present Eleventh Hour is standing at just over 35k words and I have another 10k to go before going back to add all the bells and whistles, like the sex scene that I abandoned when I got bored with writing it. 

I'm sort of resigned to not having a book of any kind out this year. I submitted a short story in February but I understand it's still somewhere in the selection process. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another 2 weeks then I might ask if they mind if I submit it elsewhere. If they do mind I'll keep on keeping my fingers crossed until I get a definite no, then I'll see if I can self pub it on Smashwords or offer it as a freebie, just to get another title out there. Can anyone recommend a good editor who won't ask more than one kidney?

Hot.

Green Man
Too hot to think and too hot to be cheerful. Even the castle ant population is too hot because they stormed the gates of th museum this morning and clambered all over me and my desk. I even had ants in my keyboard. :( they made tiny sad crunching sounds as I typed.

But my upper lip is still stiff, even if it is rather soggy, so here re some interesting things to look at.

Here's some video of a house in Worksop that hasn't been altered since 1932.

Here's Wales' oldest piece of wood carving, dating back approx 6,000 years.

IAnd finally, in case you haven't had vertigo today, here's a video of some athletic youth doing parkour with the video camera strapped to his chest:



I hope to be more intelligent when the weather breaks.

Blinking hardware

Green Man
Or "blikig ardware" as if would have been earlier this week. There's not much more annoying than a dicky keyboard, unless its a dicky ticker [something that only people of a certain age and nationality will giggle at]. I'm trying not to be too disappointed with a word count of zero for the month of June. Frankly I've been loafing. Also, moving my 'office' to the other side of the room and mirroring the lay out of my bookshelves has thrown me all for a loop. I used to be able to lunge at the bookshelf and be within one or two of the book I wanted, now they could be anywhere. Anyone else here a creature of habit?

But my keyboard is better now and I've posted for the Equal Rights Blog Hop. If you wanted to you could click that link and leave a comment and not only might you win my prize but if you leave an email addy you might win one of the stunning prizes offered by the blog hop organisers, Queer Town Abbey. I've also got a guest spot on Brandon Shire's blog, talking about how much history to put in, and homelessness in the 18th and 19th century.

Next week its the annual UK Meet. I hope I'll see some of you there.

Book giveaway today

Green Man
As part of the run up to the UK Meet, Elisa Rolle of Reviews and Ramblings is hosting a giveaway for books by UK authors and today it's my turn! So if you like free books, or you like pirates and especially if you like free books about pirates click here and leave a comment and you may well win a copy of On A Lee Shore.

It's a rompy, generally good humoured, action adventure story set in the early 18th century and following the adventures of a young naval officer, in deep trouble, who takes himself all too seriously until he finds himself in association with a gang of pirates who don't take very much seriously at all. There are sea battles and chases, masses of pieces of eight, all kinds of skullduggery, betrayals and 'orrible murders and a pirate captain a little the worse for drink. If you like the kind of 1940s pirate movies with Errol Flynn, Robert Newton and Basil Rathbone, only with a bit of added gay romance, this might be the book for you!

That's my version of the hard sell by the way. Did it work?

Hey it's Saturday

Green Man
So have something silly :D



Hands up anyone who remembers the original?