Pancakes

If you’ve read Astounding!, you know that John and Carter first get to know each other over a meal at a restaurant where you make your own pancakes. Well, you’ll be delighted to know that such a place actually exists in Portland, Oregon. It’s called Slappy Cakes, and I recently ate there.

003

How it works is you order a batter (there are several flavors) and whatever toppings and mix-ins you would like. This time, I opted for dried cherries and cinnamon crème fraiche. My 12-year old had blueberries. bacon, and white chocolate chips.
019 020

When your pancake makings arrive, you cook ’em yourself on the griddle at the center of the table. Your choice how artistic you want to get.

009 011

They have other menu items too, which I’m told are very good. But I’m very satisfied with the pancakes alone.

 

015

Rattlesnake Cover Reveal and Contest

I’ve been impatiently waiting for this for weeks… but it’s finally time to reveal the cover to Rattlesnake, my upcoming novel. Ta-dah!

Rattlesnake_Final

I have the very talented L.C. Chase to thank for this beautiful cover, which captures the book’s setting and feel perfectly. And I’m so excited about this one! Jimmy and Shane have totally stolen my heart. Here’s the blurb:

A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

It’s a contemporary with a bit of a Western drawl, and at almost 81K words, it’s a little on the longer side.

It will release August 31, and I have a fun blog tour planned, with lots of interviews and a giveaway. But why wait? You can preorder now from Dreamspinner Press! And you know what else? It’s 25% off, but only through July 31. So hurry!

And let’s celebrate the cover reveal, shall we?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
One randomly chosen winner will receive a copy of K.C. Kelly’s superb narration of The Tin Box, plus an e-book version of my recent novel, Astounding!

Please welcome Aidee Ladnier–plus a giveaway

Klockwerk Kraken

The KlockWerk Kraken cover (1)

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iBooks ~ All Romance ~ Kobo ~ MLR Press

Synopsis

When the right space pilot walks into his bar, a desperate bartender uses all his wiles (and tentacles) to talk the man into business and his bed–but the spacer is still enslaved by his past and isn’t sure he can deal with a two-handed lover, much less one with six.

As the supply shipments stop coming, Teo Houdin needs all his tentacles to keep his waystation bar open. Facing a riot by thirsty miners stranded in the backwater of the galaxy, Teo helps a greenie space pilot buy a ship in return for a regular haul of liquor. But he longs for the courage to invite the enigmatic spacer to fill his lonely bed as well.

Still smarting from his newly implanted navigational ports, Jimenez knows owning his own ship will prevent him from ever being bought and sold again. For a former slave, transporting cargo through the emptiness of space sounds like paradise, but after meeting the compassionate and sexy Teo, his heart feels empty, too.

At the edge of the galaxy’s spiral arm, can Teo convince Jimenez that the heart has its own tentacles and theirs should be entwined forever?

Excerpt

Jimenez opened the bar’s airlock and the urge to run out again washed over him like a splash of cold water. He commanded his frozen legs to shuffle forward and inside. This could turn ugly if he lost his concentration for even a moment. But he wouldn’t. He’d been practicing, becoming accustomed to groups larger than this for revs now.

He could be just like everyone else.

None of them would see the scars on his back or the brand of his tattoo that had marked him since puberty.

Men and women filled half the tables and booths, some laughing and drinking, a few puffing blue smoke. The gaming tables on the side were empty, while a lone player at the billiard table opposite pocketed ball after ball. The room rang with loud voices, clinking glasses, and raucous music.

Jimenez slid into an empty spot at the pale stone bar and caught sight of the clearest, happiest eyes he’d ever seen, a shade lighter than the man’s tousled brown mop above. A dimple quirked at the side of his full lips, mesmerizing Jimenez. The loud voices behind him slid away and for a moment, it was quiet in his mind. Jimenez flinched when his shoulder was jostled and the spell broke.

“Hey, you okay, buddy? First time? What can I pour for you?”

Jimenez blinked, realizing the tall bartender was speaking to him. The man’s smiling eyes crinkled at the corners of his bronzed face. Jimenez swallowed, and he ducked his chin, trying not to stare again, trying to hide his hot cheeks. He’d never been so close to such a handsome man.

“Did you want a drink?” The bartender quirked an eyebrow.

“Yeah… I mean yes. Whiskey neat.” His voice came out gruffer than he expected.

“Bourbon, Scotch, Rye…?”

“Surprise me.” It was a game Jimenez played. He’d order whiskey and discover what the bartender served. If he reached for the rail bottle closest to hand, it meant he would pour either the cheapest or the local favorite. If he pulled something from the top shelf, the bartender angled for a bigger tip. But if he grabbed a decanter off to the side or behind another bottle, he’d score the bartender’s personal pick.

“Coming right up.”

The bartender raised a tentacle in greeting, calling out to another patron.

Oh, God. The man was a Pod.

Of course he was.

In a joint named the Klockwerk Kraken, who better to tend the bar than a tentacled man?

guy with tentacles

Drinkcard

AideeNOH8About the Author

Aidee Ladnier began writing fiction at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.

You can find her on her blog at http://www.aideeladnier.com or on her favorite social media sites:


 

GIVEAWAY CENTRAL

Coloring Contest

Aidee is holding a Coloring Contest!! Visit the link below and download one of her coloring sheets and upload it once you have finished coloring for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus a signed LIMITED EDITION of the Klockwerk Kraken. So get some crayons and grab the kids because the more you enter the more chances you have to win.

http://www.aideeladnier.com/2015/01/coloring-contest.html

Blog Tour Giveaway

Aidee is giving away a prize pack filled with gift cards and lots of Kraken style goodies!

2015-06-14 20.32.10

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

So why Tentacles?

By Aidee Ladnier

 

pic 1By now everyone is probably aware of my fondness for tentacled science fiction heroes. I even have one, a bartender named Teo whose extra appendages come in mighty handy on a busy Friday night. He debuted in my book The Klockwerk Kraken.

But when I mention my hero, I generally get one of three reactions:

  1. Ewwww!
  2. Cool.
  3. Why?

Let’s address the first one. The Ewww! Factor probably arises from the visceral reaction to a creature so alien to oneself. After all, octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish have no bones; they live at the bottom of the ocean; and they have lots of arms–like spiders (another phobia-inducing critter).  On top of that, octopuses are really smart—way too smart for something with a squishy body. These animals are problem solvers. But a lot of people focus on the tentacles. They must be slimy since they’re under water. They can reach out and grab you. They have suckers on them that attach to you and don’t let go. But think about the hugs all those arms can give! There’s nothing Ewww! about hugs, right?

The second reaction I usually get is—Cool! I like that one. I’m partial to the coolness of tentacles myself. 😉 Really, when you think about it, wouldn’t a few extra arms come in handy when you’re say, carrying in groceries? Imagine being able to reach all those things on the top shelf that are just out of reach of your regular arms! Or being able to squeeze a tentacle into that pesky too small water bottle to wash it.

pic2And then the last one, why? Well, for this story, it really comes down to a panel I attended at RainbowCon 2014. The panel was on the subject of taboo. And tentacles are at the forefront of taboo subjects due to the resurgence of Japanese anime and something called “tentacleporn”. Really, the Japanese have been interested in tentacles since the 1800s when a book of erotic art included the image named “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife.” It is precisely because of the alieness of the Eww! factor that many people are intrigued by tentacles in a sexual manner. The panelists encouraged writers to step outside their normal prose and write something a little different, a little out of the ordinary. So I chose tentacles. I don’t think they are necessarily the sexiest thing about my hero, but even he admits that intimacy with him is adventure–it’s sex outside the normal two arms and two legs.

So my challenge to you is to step outside your comfort zone as well. Try reading my story The Klockwerk Kraken and see if you might be intrigued by a few tentacles.

Catch-up post

It is late July and I’m rushing to get my holiday story done on time. Ack! But I wanted to check in with you guys too.

Lately, my garden has gone phallic in a sort of sad way.

063 064

The sago palm–a male, obviously–is probably lusting after the female sago, which is unfortunately rooted about 25 feet away. I hope some pollinators come to the star-crossed lovers’ rescue. I don’t know what the deal is with that cactus.

What’s going on around here besides writing deadlines and sexually frustrated floriculture? Well, I have several contests coming up next week. Two are from Aidee Ladnier, who’s promoting her book, The Klockwerk Kraken. And one is from me to celebrate the cover reveal and preorder availability of my 13th novel, Rattlesnake.

Soon I’ll be taking the older kid to the airport. She’ll be hanging out at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. I have to take the younger one to get PE clothes for junior high, because apparently plain old shorts and T-shirts won’t do. And I have to prepare for the beginning of the fall semester (ugh) and my upcoming trip to Portugal and Croatia (yay). I’m also finishing the final edits on “Dei ex Machina,” my novella that will appear in the 4th Gothika anthology in October.

Oh! And thanks to the talented Catherine Dair and my sister, I have a cool swag idea for GRNW and GRL. I’m still working on deciding on my GRL costume.

So stop by next week for contests and book chat. And to find out about Rattlesnake. I’m really excited about this one. I fell head-over-heels for Jimmy and Shane.

 

 

 

Need your input, please

I’d really appreciate your feedback on something.

I know it’s only July, but I’m thinking ahead for the holidays. As you might know, I donate all my royalties from my self-published books to Doctors Without Borders. I’m able to send them a fairly hefty amount each year–and I’d love to go extra big this year. So I had an idea. What if I packaged up a bunch of my free stories and novellas and made them available in one volume? Yes, I know you can get them free now. But if I did this, I would add a new, exclusive bonus short. I’d make it available not just on Kindle, but also in print. Which could make a nice holiday gift. And there’s the convenience factor of having lots of stories in one volume.

So here’s my first question: If I did this, would you be interested in purchasing the anthology?

Second question: If so, in print or ebook version?

Third question: How much would you be willing to pay for the ebook?

Fourth question: How much would you be willing to pay for the print book?

If you have any additional thoughts to share, please comment. Thanks so much!

More dam photos!

Have you read Astounding! yet? You should. It’s been getting great reviews. 🙂

If you have read it, you know a pivotal scene occurs at Bonneville Dam. I posted some dam pics my daughter took; now it’s time for photos by my talented sister-in-law.

DSC_0764 DSC_0748 DSC_0739 DSC_0725 DSC_0715 DSC_0705 DSC_0700

And a very important thing happens right here:

DSC_0733

Dylan and Chris’s farm–well, sorta

If you’ve read my Bones series, you know about Dylan and Chris’s farm. It’s fictional, of course, but it’s based on a real place in Oregon. And since my brother and SIL own that farm–and since they’re on vacation–I get to farmsit for several days. Here are some photos.

No werewolves on the real farm, but there are some beasts.

136014

Yeah, not exactly terrifying. Well, one of them is, but she’s only visiting. I’ve seen a lot of different birds and lots of frogs. And something lives here, I think:

021 I’m suspecting an otter because it’s alongside the creek and when I walked by, something large went splash.

017 Yes, the creek. No pond in real life, but Karl would feel at home in the creek, I think. It’s a really pretty one.

110 The real barn is bigger than Ery’s studio.

038 See? Big barn. You can’t tell from this photo, but it’s on multiple levels due to the hillside. Dylan can’t keep animals for obvious reasons, but the real farm has various birds.

015 Which means lots of eggs.

112 Those blackberries Kay uses for her pies? Totally real. Many, many blackberries.

116 In the books, Chris rents the fields across the road to a guy who grows wheat. In reality, we have hay, and my family doesn’t own that land.

035 I’m afraid Dylan’s big old farmhouse–in perpetual need of renovation–doesn’t exist. Chris’s shack, does, sort of, although the real neighbor’s house is in better shape.

026 Also, the real farm has impressive thistles. These babies are almost 7 feet tall.

The jury is still out on whether a dream unicorn or Bigfoot drop by for a visit.

 

 

Camping

Do you enjoy camping?

The idea appeals to me, yet so do bathrooms and comfy mattresses.

The last time I went camping was in high school. I was in the school Outdoor Club, and a whole group of us went to the Oregon coast. In November, which was a mistake—it’s generally more than a wee bit damp then. And as luck would have it, we caught the tail end of a hurricane that weekend. Rain came down in buckets and the tents blew over. My friend Pam and I were lucky. We were short enough to sleep in the back of our advisor’s Subaru station wagon. I don’t remember why we didn’t all just give up and drive home.

So I haven’t gone camping since, but a few years ago my husband and I bought a tent and some other supplies, I guess in case the spirit moved us. A couple of weeks ago, my younger daughter erected the tent—which is huge—and spent the night in our backyard.

017 024

So at least the tent has come in handy.

Now, I might consider RV camping. I’ve always been fascinated by RVs. But I’ve never actually tried it.

In Astounding!, the guys take a trip to Yosemite in an RV. Surprises wait for them.

What are your camping experiences? Any advice?

Astounding! bonus 2: Deleted scene

This is an outtake from Astounding! by Kim Fielding

***This contains spoilers for Astounding!, so read the book first!***

 

The turkey was roasted perfectly, but John and Carter couldn’t take credit for that. Nor could a supermarket. It had, in fact, been cooked by Chris, who was a friend of Ery and Karl. Via some twists that happened too quickly for Carter to follow, their quiet Thanksgiving for four ended up an enormous meal at the farmhouse where Chris and his partner, Dylan, lived. Of course, Ery and Karl were there, as were Drew and Travis. Freddy and Keith made it too. But so did a somewhat dizzying array of people’s relatives—Dylan’s brother, sister-in law, and niece; a bunch of people who were somehow related to Chris; Ery’s grandmother and parents. Some other people were there too, but Carter had no clue whether they were someone’s kin or just friends.

Chris was an excellent cook and Dylan was the sexiest man Carter had ever laid eyes on—except for his own John, of course. John was always going to be at the top of his lists.

Everyone ate tons of food and laughed and teased. After the pies were gobbled—Dylan’s sister-in-law contributed a blackberry pie that deserved to be memorialized in poetry—Drew and Karl gave an impromptu concert and, with considerable urging from Dylan and Chris, Freddy did a reading from one of his books. Turned out their hosts were big Stonesfire Saga fans.

Among those present, several people were aware of John’s true nature, but they treated him just like anyone else. Just like Karl, who John now knew was a water spirit, and Dylan, who was a goddamn werewolf.

Carter’s life had turned really weird.

But Carter had fun, and John glowed so brightly that even those not in the know should have suspected he wasn’t quite run-of-the-mill. It was a wonderful holiday.

Late in the evening, the guests filed to their cars. Freddy and Keith had turned down Carter’s offer to lend them the Dart; they’d rented something modern and boring instead. It was parked beside John’s Chevy. The four men exchanged hugs, and Keith insisted that John and Carter take one more look at the twin toddlers he and Freddy were hoping to adopt. Both John and Carter stood well back from Keith’s phone as he held it up for them. “Doesn’t it drive you guys nuts to be barred from the Internet? No texting? No Amazon? No streaming video?”

Carter chuckled and wrapped his arm around John’s waist. “The loss of Netflix is a very small price to pay, my friend.”

“Gee, I don’t know if I could give up YouTube and Tumblr for Freddy.”

Freddy pretended to be stricken. “That’s it. Lady Trethayne’s dying as soon as I get to my computer. And when the fans complain, I’m telling them it’s all your fault.”

Keith responded by sticking out his tongue, and then Freddy tickled him. John kissed Carter’s cheek. Carter just sighed, his heart full.

Eventually Freddy steered Keith toward their vehicle. “See you both in the morning. Bring me coffee, Car. Lots and lots of coffee.”

Carter had convinced him to do a Black Friday book signing at Far Out. It was going to be an Event, and everyone was expecting huge crowds. Karl and Drew would be there, playing their guitars, Ery was doing a silent auction of a few of his paintings to benefit a community center for LGBT teens, and some restaurant pal of Ery’s was catering with Polish-Pacific Northwest fusion cuisine. Whatever that was. Tammy was beside herself, especially because she was participating in National Novel Writing Month and had only a few days remaining before she was supposed to finish writing her book.

Figuring the least he could do was supply caffeine, Carter grinned. “Done.”

“Remind me why I agreed to this again?”

Carter smiled at his friend. “Because you love me.”

“Ah.” Freddy’s eyes crinkled. “I do, you know. You’re pretty lovable. When you’re not eviscerating my prose.”

“Sometimes your prose really needs eviscerating.”

The drive back into Portland was nice. John was behind the wheel, Carter’s hand on his right thigh. Light rain began to patter on the windshield, and if Carter closed his eyes and inhaled, his head filled with the scents of turkey, cranberry sauce, and mint.

With his eyes still shut, he asked, “What if I’m dreaming? What if I passed out drunk after writing a toxic rejection letter, and when I wake up I’m on my crappy futon in my crappy apartment in Seattle?”

“Then get dressed, brush your teeth, and drive to Portland to apologize to that poor author.”

“Okay.”

Smiling, Carter dozed in a carb-fueled stupor.