Time Is Eternity

Today is the last day to get Dreamspinner’s Time Is Eternity package for $39.99. The price goes up by $10 tomorrow. With the package, you get a new story every day in June–including one of mine, Violet’s Present. If you don’t want to commit to the whole package, my story will be available for individual purchase in late June.
I’m really pleased with this particular story of mine (she says modestly). It’s angsty and has some 1940s pieces.


I’m working on a new novel right now and I’m in the middle of a dinner scene. It’s making me hungry. So I decided to write a post about one of my favorite ingredients: Meyer lemons. I had never even heard of Meyer lemons until I moved to California. I guess I just assumed the grocery store kind (which are Eurekas) was the only kind. Happily, I was wrong.

 Meyers are sweeter than Eurekas, with a more complex, almost floral taste. They smell wonderful even before you cut into them. Right now my Meyer tree is blooming, perfuming the entire back yard and even the house.

 I’ve been trying to use up the current crop, so in the past several weeks I’ve made to-die-for lemon pie (4 of them!) as well as lemon pudding cake and lemon cranberry muffins. I’m considering lemon custard ice cream too, if I feel ambitious.

 What are some of your favorite but slightly obscure ingredients?


I’m not someone who spends a lot of time telling people about my feelings—although certain family members are usually well aware when I’m pissed off. But you know who generally spends even less time talking about their feelings than me? Men.

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t men out there who openly share their thoughts and emotions with the people they’re close to. But most don’t, at least not often and, usually, not easily. I’ve read some works that suggest that this state of affairs is tied with our society’s views on masculinity: that a real man does, not feels; that manly men should be tough and stoic and bullet-biting and up-sucking (hey, that’s a phrase, right?). Childhood socialization undoubtedly plays a part: girls tend to play games that involve sharing and cooperative interaction, whereas boys are encouraged to play games that involve physical action and competition. Other factors may be involved as well.

Whatever the causes, in my experience few men—gay or straight—talk about their feelings very much, whether to women or to one another. When I read gay romances, one thing that never fails to pull me out of a story is when the two guys sit down (or lie down) and have a long, deep, carefully thought out discussion of how they feel. These scenes just ring false most of the time, especially when the characters are generally macho or taciturn types to begin with.

For example, I just cannot see the protagonists in my novel Good Boneshaving this kind of talk, at least not until their relationship is very well established. Neither of them is especially chatty, Dylan’s used to hiding things about himself and unused to intimate company, and Chris has some pretty major self-esteem and abandonment issues. When I was writing Good Bones, there were plenty of times I wished I could tie Dylan and Chris to chairs and not let them go until they were completely open and honest with another. I bet Kay would gladly tie them up for me. Ditto with Miner and Ennek in the Praesidium trilogy.

Instead, my characters and others have to show their feelings in more subtle ways. When Chris cooks dinner for the two of them, or when Dylan in wolf form pisses around Chris’s house, that says something about how they feel about one another. I think there are some really excellent authors who can convey a character’s emotions and thoughts with a good description of a body movement. Sometimes even what the characters don’t say can be very telling.

What do you think? Am I on the right track with this or totally off?


So today I’m going to let you in on one of my not-so-secret loves: travel. Seriously, I love to travel. The actual travel part–schlepping myself via plane, train, or automobile–isn’t the good part, although I do enjoy trains and boats, and I like the uninterrupted and guilt-free reading and writing time that a long plane rides gives me.

My favorite part is exploring Someplace Else. It doesn’t particularly matter where the Someplace Else is. A lot of my favorite S.E.s are less than two hours from my house: San Francisco, Yosemite, Gold Rush country, the beach. But even better if the S.E. is more exotic.

Last year I was extremely fortunate and was able to live and work in Croatia for 5 months. I got to see lots of that beautiful country. Plitvice Lakes has to be one of the world’s most beautiful locations, and Dubrovnik is like a dream, made slightly bittersweet by what happened there during the Homeland War. But during my European adventure I was also able to travel to Spain, Scotland, England, Italy (twice), Austria (twice), and Slovenia (many many times). I saw some fascinating things, met some wonderful people, and ate amazing food. I learned to decode menus and manage basic interactions multilingually. It was a blast. It was also exhausting.

So when I returned to the US and collapsed into my bed, how long did it take me to yearn for travel once again? Three weeks.

I’m not sure what it is about travel that so captures me, but I know one thing: it gives me endless inspiration for writing. My next novel will, I believe, be set in Venice, where I spent a wonderful week. And I’ll be able to describe exactly how the fresh fish tasted, eaten raw or just lightly sauted in olive oil. I can describe the sound of thousands of tourists in Piazza San Marco, the smell of the lagoon, the feeling of a vaporetto bumping into a dock, the way the local women blocked the narrow streets–some so narrow you can easily touch both sides at once–as they chat, and the way waiters made a fuss over my 8-year-old daughter.

Give me one day in a city not my own and I can give you a novel.

Now, there is one part of travel I truly hate, and that is packing. Hate hate hate it. I can barely decide what to wear each morning–how can I choose for a week someplace I’ve never been where the weather is unknown? I always give myself the Going to Mars Talk: “Pack lightly, as best as you can, and if you need something when you get there, you can buy it. You’re not going to Mars.” Actually, some of those purchases end up being fun souvenirs. My rainjacket will remind me of Edinburgh everytime I wear it (Edinburgh in June=cold and rainy), and my watch is a daily reminder of Trieste, Italy.

What travel do I have planned for the rest of this year? San Francisco, Yosemite, Cambria, Palm Desert, Portland, Croatia (and somewhere else in Europe TBA), Albuquerque, Mexico.

Where do you love to go?

New story

Dreamspinner’s Time Is Eternity anthology will include one of my stories. You can wait until June and buy the story on its own, or you can buy the entire anthology–a story a day in June. If you preorder the package now the price is lower. My story, “Violet’s Present,” is an angsty one set partly in the 1940s. More information here.

Here’s the blurb for my story:
When Matt’s Great-great-aunt Violet dies, she leaves him a precious gift: a photo album he loved as a child. Then Matt starts having dreams—very good dreams—about Joseph, one of the men in the pictures from the 1940s. One morning when Matt wakes up, the bruises are still there. Could there be more to Violet’s present than he thought?

Men of Steel released today

Men of Steel was released today! And the ebook format is 20% today and tomorrow. As a bit of a tease, here’s a brief excerpt from my story, “Act One.”

He ended up with only a fifteen-minute break instead of the half hour he was due. That would give him barely enough time to wolf a sandwich and gulp a Coke, but a desperate Brittani promised him an extra hour on his time card in exchange. She even gave him a brief smile when he agreed.

The back room was crowded with boxes and smelled like leather and rubber, so Garret took his break on the walkway outside. He chewed his ham on sourdough and leaned over the railing. If he angled his head just right he could look through the mall entranceway and catch a glimpse of Nourish-Man. Sometimes the superhero posed for photos, but mostly he stood and waited as people passed him by in favor of Captain America, Superman, and Ironman.

Not for the first time, Garret wondered why the guy had chosen such an obscure character to portray. The Nourish-Man cartoon had only lasted a season or two back in the late eighties, maybe three dozen badly drawn episodes of a guy in green and orange who admonished children to eat healthily so they would grow up strong like him. Garret used to watch the series now and then, but even his eight-year-old self—seated in front of the TV on a Saturday morning and munching on a Pop-Tart—had realized the cartoon was only a thinly disguised message to eat more broccoli.

Now, Garret took one last look at Nourish-Man before wadding up his paper lunch sack and tossing it in a nearby trashcan. The guy certainly looked the part of a superhero. He filled out his costume very well with what Garret was fairly certain were real, hard muscles—not padding. His carrot-colored tights stretched nicely over a magnificent ass and impressive package—assuming that wasn’t padding either. Most of his face was obscured by his mask, but a square jaw, cleft chin, and plump lips were left uncovered, as were his flashing brown eyes.

“Oh, for Christ’s sake,” Garret said out loud, startling a woman with a baby stroller. Here he was with his sad little life, reduced to mooning over third-rate costumed characters. He turned and headed back into Shoe Starz to finish his shift.

Good Bones

I am really thrilled to announce that my new novel, Good Bones, will be available on April 20. It will be available in print and ebook formats, directly through the publisher or through Amazon. It has a gorgeous cover by Christine Griffin.

Skinny, quiet hipster Dylan Warner was the kind of guy other men barely glanced at until an evening’s indiscretion with a handsome stranger turned him into a werewolf. Now, despite a slightly hairy handicap, he just wants to live an ordinary—if lonely—life as an architect. He tries to keep his wild impulses in check, but after one too many close calls, Dylan gives up his urban life and moves to the country, where he will be less likely to harm someone else. His new home is a dilapidated but promising house that comes with a former Christmas tree farm and a solitary neighbor: sexy, rustic Chris Nock.

Dylan hires Chris to help him renovate the farmhouse and quickly discovers his assumptions about his neighbor are inaccurate—and that he’d very much like Chris to become a permanent fixture in his life as well as his home. Between proving himself to his boss, coping with the seductive lure of his dangerous ex-lover, and his limited romantic experience, Dylan finds it hard enough to express himself—how can he bring up his monthly urge to howl at the moon?