Thursday, December 20, 2007

On the banks of the River Rancid...

I was going to do a Thursday Thirteen on why I love, adore and worship the comedian Kathy Griffin, but this takes precedence.

Go here. Read this.

Now, I'm the first one to admit to my own mental deficit when it comes to business. An MBA I shall never be. But I've pondered this and pondered it, and I'm really not seeing the connection between PBW -- or any other author -- giving away free ebooks and the "undercutting" of other authors' advances.

One would think that if any undercutting were going on, it would be in sales of the professionally published books of the author giving away free samples of her own work. Because basically, we're talking about a well-published, best-selling author doing a little self-publishing on the side. A reader MIGHT think..."Hey, why should I buy her books if I can get other work by her for free?"

Of course, that's not what happens. Hence that whole "best-selling" thing.

But for other authors to point to self-pub-as-promotion being the cause of lower advances? Not huge with the sense-making. Also, reeking strongly of the rancid bitterness that too often flows like a river through the hills and dales of Romancelandia.

"PBW doesn't play the game. She writes in too many genres. She's not a member of anything. She doesn't attend conferences. She doesn't do signings. She doesn't do chats. She pays no attention to reviews. She doesn't send bookmarks or postcards or widgets. Her books aren't even really romance. Plus...she gives them away for FREE. I do ALL that useless self-promo stuff, yet SHE sells like ribbed-for-her-pleasure condoms on the first day of Spring Break, and MY advances are down. Clearly, SHE'S the problem here." *

Me? I think advances are down across the board. I think the industry is in trouble -- much the same kind of trouble with which the music industry seems to be afflicted.

I think publishers as a whole are so busy staring myopically at the bottom line that they can't see how badly they're screwing themselves (doesn't that make an interesting image?)

I think marketing departments have more power than editorial departments, and this makes for shortsighted choices that reward mediocrity and reject originality.

I think people are reading less, and are less interested in books that challenge them in an age where just catching a flight out of state for Thanksgiving dinner with the cousins presents seemingly insurmountable obstacles that could conceivably include a strip search if you happen to wear the wrong damn bra.

I think nothing about this is going to change anytime soon.

What I don't think? Is that PBW -- in ANY of her incarnations -- has much to do with it.

Well. Maybe the global warming thing. Jeez, we gotta watch her every minute, don't we?

*This is me being merely sarcastic again and trying to imagine what could POSSIBLY be going through people's brains when they make these amazing accusations. I apologize to anyone who thought I was quoting a real, live individual. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Zuzu's petals!

For the past several days, I've had the Eagles' recent top forty hit "How Long" running on an endless loop through my head. Which is sort of weird. Love the Eagles, but generally it's "Little Drummer Boy" that gets stuck this time of year. So last night, I sat down and listened to the lyrics. Apparently, my subconscious has been telling me to get a grip, already.

me and Christmas have never been the best of buds. For years, I blamed my distaste for the season on a difficult childhood that made Christmas a crapshoot from one year to the next. Too many presents under the tree invariably meant that somebody, somewhere had cut corners on the light bill, the rent, the necessary amount of fuel oil for the furnace, and we’d be paying the price sooner than later. Add to that the added layer of excitement that celebrating the holidays with an alcoholic in the house always lends to the proceedings, and...well. I used to figure I had a good reason to be Grinchy on a regular basis.

And every year, something happens. Usually it’s something small. Inconsequential. Nothing more than the merest excuse to ruin my mood and churn up a whole butt-load of “Bah! Humbug” in my wretched little soul. Next thing you know, I’m drowning in a toxic brew of eggnog and self-pity.

Like a bluebird with his heart removed
Lonely as a train
I've run just as far as I can run
If I never see the good old days
Shinin' in the sun
I'll be doin' fine and then some

How long, how long
Woman, will you weep?
How long, how long
Rock yourself to sleep

Last year? It was the fully-decorated tree crashing down TWICE into the center of our living room and smashing ornaments right and left that ruined Christmas for me. It made me ANGRY. And part of me STAYED angry, although it was nobody’s fault and like I said...just an excuse.

I've been doin' time in a lonesome prison
Where the sun don't shine
And just outside the freedom river runs
Out there in that shiny night
With bloodhounds on your mind
Don't you know it's the same sad situation?

How long, how long
Woman, will you weep?
How long, how long
Rock yourself to sleep

This year? Not such a little thing. Darling Daughter has come down with a painful illness. Until yesterday, said painful illness stumped the local medical community – including her sainted and hardworking father – and had her mother (that would be moi) scared shitless and courting nightmares of flesh-eating bacteria.

There were puzzled frowns, and long recitations of health history, and threatened tests that involved needles and CAT scans of her skull, while Mama Bear tried to drown her stress in raw cookie dough and neglected her writing, her domestic duties, and most everything but Darling Daughter and the obsessive playing of online Solitaire to quiet the demons that whispered of evil, face-consuming microscopic bugs.

Everybody feels all right
You know, I heard some poor fool sing...
(Somebody oooh...)
Everyone is out there on the loose
Well, I wish I lived in the land of fools
Where no one knew my name
But what you get is not quite what you choose

Tell me, how long, how long
Woman, will you weep?
How long, how long
Rock yourself to sleep

But today? Dawned new and bright and shiny. Modern medicine prevails, Darling Daughter is nearly back to her charming self, and that cookie dough is about to meet a hot oven by way of a greased pan. There are presents to be bought and other presents to be wrapped, clothes to be laundered and meals to be cooked, homework to be checked and writing to be done. And long can one woman weep over stuff that happened thirty years ago?

I’ve decided that just as I can choose to be happy on a daily basis no matter what circumstances serve up, I can choose to enjoy Christmas.'s a work in progress. But I'm really, really trying.

And this I know for sure: Self-pity is for suckers, and it is, in fact, a Wonderful Life.

How long, how long
Muddy river runs so deep

How long, how long
Goodnight baby, rock yourself to sleep
Sleep tight, baby, rock yourself to sleep
Buh-buh-buh bye bye, baby, rock yourself to sleep – Romance of Dubious Virtue

Friday, December 14, 2007

Well, butter my ass and call me a biscuit.

There was a glitch in the EPPIE judging for the GBLT category. They announced the new list today:

Category K – GLBT

The Lost Temple of Karttikeya
Laura Baumbach
Loose Id

Phaze Fantasies III
James Buchanan,
Jade Falconer, Eliza Gayle,
Jamie Hill, Selah March,
Yeva Wiest
Mundania Press/Imprint - Phaze Books

Jenna Jones
Torquere Press Publishers

Finding Jason
Lyndi Lamont
Amber Quill Press

Olivia Lorenz
Torquere Press Publishers/Imprint TOP SHELF

For Better or Worse
Jodi Payne
Torquere Press Publishers

Hearts & Bones
M. L. Rhodes
Amber Quill Press

Persistence of Memory
J. M. Snyder
Amber Quill Press


Six Phaze favorites deliver stories of homoerotic passion and romance.

Mask by James Buchanan: Don Hector Luz Aritza and his mayordomo y compañero Martín have been lovers since they were boys. Now that the Don is to wed a Frenchwoman, Martín must use magic and love to fight of the woman who wants to tear the lovers apart. Set in Colonial Mexico, Mask weaves the mysticism, suppression and magic of legends of the old southwest into a tale of two men who must fight to be together.

Devotion by Jade Falconer: Marcus was Prince Wilhelm's personal slave. The prince desires his lovely slave, and they share a bed every night. Their love transcends all convention; but when a new slave, Frederic, threatens their idyllic existence, will their love prevail? Or will misunderstanding forever tear them apart?

Dragon's Fate by Eliza Gayle: Called to service after a Bone Oracle reading, Kian strives to become the best D/s trainer that he can. But after meeting the bad-tempered and wildly sexy Fae Prince who would prepare him, Kian can’t deny the overwhelming attraction he feels for Garon. Can he let go of his life long belief of Dominance in favor of a different role?

Forced to train a Dominant Dragon, something he swore he would never do, Garon took him home. Irritated with his Father’s demands, Garon sought to quickly train the Dragon and send him on his way. But he didn’t count on Kian responding to every demand he made or the repercussions of bringing him to his knees.

Heads or Tails by Jamie Hill: Jeff Roberts' life is all planned out for him. He's engaged to the boss's daughter, and eventually he'll run the construction/real estate company he works for. It's going to be the perfect life.

When Kurt Lacey joins the construction crew, Jeff is suddenly fighting urges he'd forced himself to repress. There were male lovers in his past, but deciding that wasn't what he wanted, Jeff proceeded to 'go straight'. Kurt has other ideas, and one night together has Jeff rethinking his life. Does he want to be secure, responsible and boring? Wild, exciting and nontraditional seems like lots more fun. It all comes down to the flip of a coin—and whether Jeff chooses Heads or Tails.

Hardcore by Selah March: Disgraced police officer and psychic empath Jesse Bonham is a man with a mission -- eliminate the thug that ruined his life. Student and part-time bartender Sean Carr wants no part of Jesse's vendetta, no matter how hot he finds the ex-cop. When Jesse kidnaps Sean to use as bait, they discover the meaning of "out of the frying pan and into the fire."

Behind the Beard by Yeva Wiest: Madly in lust, handsome young counselor Byron Jones hides his secret self. The object of his attraction: Lord Richard Kincade, the Queen’s most sought after barrister. With the help of two conniving old codgers, a mischievous miss, and some six-legged buggers, Byron “wigs out” to capture the heart of Lord Kincade.

This story proves the bell of the ball just might be a beau, but everything depends on who is really hiding behind the beard.

Length: Quasar (114K words)
Rating: 4 Novas

Excerpt from "Hardcore" by Selah March:

"You need to use the john?" Bonham asked him, his voice gruff but subdued. "Maybe take a shower?"

Sean shook his head. "I'm good." He slid out of his damp jacket and shivered as the cool air struck his bare arms and neck.

Bonham began rummaging around in the oversized duffel he'd carried in from the truck. A few seconds later, he came up with a fresh set of clothes. "I'll be twenty minutes or so. Then we'll see what Manuel left us to eat, and maybe start a fire."

Before he could think, Sean heard himself saying, "You're not gonna tie me up?"

Bonham shot a glance over his left shoulder. "I thought we'd save the kinky shit for when we know each other better."

"Funny. You're a real comedian for a convicted killer."

Bonham was next to him in under a second, his fingers digging into Sean's bicep. He stared up into Sean's face, his lip curled into a snarl, and said, "Watch your mouth, kid. You know nothing about me, so don't pretend you do. You won't like the results."

Sean knew he should let it drop. He knew it like he knew he wanted to feel Bonham's hands on more than his arm or his wrist. Which is probably why he said, "You mean like the Incredible Hulk? I won't like you when you're angry?"

The pupils of Bonham's eyes dilated, just like they'd done back at the bar, the first time he'd touched Sean. The corner of his mouth twitched. "Something like that, yeah." He let go of Sean's arm and stepped back. "It's an eight-mile hike to the highway. With the rain like it is, you'd drown before you made it, and that's without me chasing you down and knocking your dick in the dirt."

"And you're so sure I can't hotwire that piece of shit you parked out front?"

Bonham stepped back again, far enough to make a show of looking Sean up and down. He snorted. "Yeah, I'm sure." Then he went into the bathroom and shut the door.

Sean listened to the creak and thud of the pipes as the shower came on, and considered his options. He could make a run for it, but Bonham was right -- an eight-mile hike in the dark and mud and pouring rain didn't exactly appeal to him, especially since he'd likely get lost. And he couldn't, in fact, hotwire a truck or any other kind of vehicle. So that left two choices: seduce Bonham and disarm him that way, or try to get the jump on him using good old-fashioned violence.

Everything being equal, the first option was a lot more attractive. But for all his jabber during the drive to the cabin, Sean didn't have the first clue how to handle a guy like Bonham, who was plainly a hell of a lot more complex than Paco Sanchez. He suspected Bonham wouldn't be taken in by a submissive pose and a blowjob, and Sean wasn't sure he was willing to go any further with a stranger.

Even a beautiful stranger? Even if it might save him from eventually being murdered by said beautiful stranger? Yeah, okay. That was reality here -- Bonham was a killer, and he'd do well to remember it.

He heard the shower turn off and looked around the room with rising panic, searching for a weapon. There, by the fireplace. A poker. He grabbed it, positioned himself to the left of the bathroom door, and waited.

The door opened, letting out a rolling wave of steam that smelled like soap and freshly-scrubbed male. Sean watched Bonham step through the doorway and

He felt it all before he saw anything...mostly because he'd shut his eyes, which only proved he'd never make much of a ninja. Bonham's hand came out of nowhere, grasping his wrist and twisting until he released the poker. Bonham's body, in nothing but jeans, pressed full-length against his. The older man's wet hair dripped cold on his chest, the water seeping through his tee shirt. Sean took a deep breath, opened his eyes and looked down.

"See," Bonham said, smirking up at him yet again in a way that made Sean want to bite right through that pretty lower lip, "See, now...that was a mistake."


Happy weekend, everybody. :) - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Donning the shiny purple hat of pimpitude.

Winning the Rita your first time at bat: A boatload of blood, sweat and tears.

Going to hardcover for your third contract...on a partial, no less? Countless hours of toil, revision, and IMing your crit partner while mainlining coffee and M&Ms.

Being chosen as "chica lit" author Mary Castillo's top pick for 2007 in the New York Daily News: Priceless, my friends. PRICELESS. (click over to page 3 and scroll down) - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Monday, December 10, 2007


Look! She's not only brilliant and stylish, she's got a hot ride!

In other news, our Phaze anthology, FORTUNE'S FOOL (previously available only in electronic format) has been released in print.

Four mistresses of erotic romance present a collection of tales destined to get pulses racing. Sexy psychics offer delectable divination in the past, present, and future.

KING OF SWORDS - Biana D'Arc: Sparks ignite when a psychic meets a special ops warrior aboard a space station. When enemies attack, will close quarters and danger draw them together?

TEMPTING FATE - Eva Gale: An up-and-coming banker falls for the town palm reader. She might be breathtaking, but a spinster from a notorious psychic family is hardly the career boost he wanted.

MIRANDA WRITES - Cassidy Kent: A novelist becomes a fortune-teller for book research. When an FBI agent mistakes her for a counterfeiter, danger and romance ensue. Will she meet her deadline... or wind up just plain dead?

FLESH AND BONE - Selah March: Captured by the murderous dominatrix Madre Donnatella DeTagliera, Detective Marcus Colton is about to suffer a slow and agonizing death. Only English professor and reluctant psychic Leah Benjamin has any hope of finding him in time. But Leah's history with the Madre puts her in a dangerous position. Can she save Marcus? Or will Leah be caught in the Madre's web of torture and death a second time?

December 2007
ISBN 978-1-59426-855-7
Length: Quasar (96K)
Rating: 4 Novas
Price: $15.00 in trade paperback

5 Angels: "A darkly disturbing, yet well written novella, 'Flesh and Bone' brings the dark side to life. Full of disturbing imagery and debauchery there is still a wonderful romance and a believable bond between the hero and heroine. I am truly amazed by the fact that a normally unpalatable topic drew me in and kept me enthralled. Very well done Ms. March.

...FORTUNE'S FOOL is an amazing anthology that I do suggest you pick up."

5 Coffee Cups: "'Flesh and Bone' by Selah March carries the reader into the dark macabre of something so sinister and alarming, one wonders will Leah and Marcus ever escape the madness. Ms. March pens a great tale that pulls the reader into the visualizations and depravity, yet allows passion to stir between Leah and Marcus.

...FORTUNE'S FOOL is a stirring selection of stories that lend great creativity between four talented authors. Each character has an individualism that stands out and brings a certain aura to the storyline. I found the themes cleverly created and look forward to more pleasant tales from these amazing storytellers."


EXCERPT from "Flesh and Bone," part of the FORTUNE'S FOOL anthology, available now in print from Phaze:

"It didn't work," he said. His voice was a gritty rasp.

"It's all right." Leah stepped forward and tried to catch his eye. Couldn't let him get too much into his own head, or this would end in disaster. "I thought maybe it would take more than once."

"More than once?" He sounded more weary than surprised. "Can't do that again. It'll kill me."

"Don't be so dramatic. I'll tell you what will kill you -- the Madre, and she'll take joy in doing it slowly if she comes back and you're still...all worked up."

He shook his head. "And you're so sure she won't kill me anyway. Why?"

"I'm not sure. But which way would you rather die, Detective? A quick slash to the throat, or..." She glanced over her shoulder at the glass-fronted cabinet in the corner. She knew what was likely inside. Bladed instruments crafted for flaying skin from muscle. Vises made to crush small extremities. She looked away and shuddered.

"Point taken."

She nodded. "And if we're lucky, she'll only beat you and leave you alive to play with tomorrow. That would buy us some time."

His smile was wry. "Yeah, that sounds like my kinda luck." He cleared his throat and shifted his knees on the floor. His cock bobbed with the movement. "I probably should've asked you this before, but...even if you could find a paper clip or something, you probably can't jimmy the locks on these, right?" He shook his wrists in the shackles.

"Sorry, Detective. I'm an English professor, not a cat burglar. I could quote you some Shakespeare if you're bored."

He grinned. "Thought so."


"Never mind." He sighed and rolled his shoulders. "All right, let's get on with it."

She saw the muscles in his abdomen quiver as she approached. She reached out her hand to touch him, and he said, "Wait."


He inclined his head, looking every-so-slightly sheepish. "I feel like I should...I dunno...kiss you or something."

She felt her face open up into a smile -- her first since she'd landed in this awful place. "That's not necessary. This isn't a date."

"No, but I'd feel better about it."

She stepped back again and considered him. "I'm going to say no, Detective. But I'll tell you what -- if and when we get out of this alive, I'll let you buy me dinner. And if that goes well, I'll let you kiss me good night."

"Are you always this tough?"

She thought of Ray Delacroix's poor, twisted ear and smiled wider. "You have to catch me in the right mood. I'm going to touch you now."


Happy Monday. :) - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hit and Run.

I'm not really here. No. Really. Not.

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Prowling along the candy store, attacking with a sharpened screwdriver, cometh Selah March! And she gives an ominous roar:

"I'm seriously going to reduce you to ash, and sell you as spice!"

Find out!
Enter username:
Are you a girl, or a guy ?

created by beatings : powered by monkeys - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Humpity II.

Two posts in one day?? InconCEIVABLE.

So Ferfe has commented on a post at Boxing the Octopus. And while I'm not necessarily all about theme and subtext in my day-to-day writing -- which is not to say I never consider it, just that I don't obsess over it -- I do think what Ferfe has to say about voice and building characters that breathe rather than cutting out paper dolls is spot on.

Also, my process is fairly torturous (PBW? If you're out there? You might want to look away at this point.) in that I pick apart and rewrite every phrase, sentence, paragraph and scene until it portrays exactly what I want it to portray, as deeply in the characters' voices and heads as I can possibly get. Which means I'm slow. VERY slow. But when I'm done, I have a complete work that may need editorial revisions, but never full rewriting.

So whilst the "just write" thing might work for some, it leaves me thoroughly unfulfilled. And since I'm doing this as much for the serotonin rush caused by accessing the creative parts of my brain as anything else, I guess I'll keep doing it my way, which is apparently the exact definition of "trying too hard." - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Shockingly Crass.

Am I happy? Oh, I'm HAPPY.

Because it's the holiday season? Because my kids' report cards were stellar? Because my family is healthy? Because my writing is going well?

Nah. Looky:

November 2007 Top Ten Bestseller List for the Allure imprint at Amber Quill Press:

1. Out Of My Mind - M. L. Rhodes (Gay / Contemporary)
2. Secret Lovers - Cassie Stevens (Gay / Contemporary)
3. My Only Home - Pepper Espinoza (Gay / Contemporary)
4. Sully's Heart - Adrianna Dane (Gay / Contemp. / Western)
5. Seven Year Ache - Selah March (Gay / Contemp. / Western)
6. Saved By Sam - Deirdre O'Dare (Gay / Contemporary)
7. Crushed - J. M. Snyder (Gay / Contemporary)
8. ...And To Hold - Pepper Espinoza (Ménage / Bisexual [M/M])
9. A Matter Of Necessity - T. D. McKinney (Gay / Suspense)
10. Take Me Out - Gabrina Garza (Gay / Contemporary)

It's all about the cold, hard cash, people. Or, as a Rhodes Scholar once put it, "It's the economy, stupid!"

In other news, Kate Rothwell holds forth on the nifty varieties of crazy you can stumble across at your average RWA chapter meeting.

And my brilliant and ever-stylish crit partner, Barbara Caridad Ferrer, has a guest-blog up at the blog of her lovely agent, Caren Johnson.

Next up, pics of my electrified front yard, because I KNOW you can't live without sharing in that special joy. - Romance of Dubious Virtue