Articles for the Month of February 2015

Teaser Thursday- Stepping Stone Not Doormat

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Mitch nodded. “You need good things. Just don’t let him take advantage of you.” He bit his lip. “Yeah, I’m one to talk about taking advantage of you. I’m sorry, Sol. For every time I shit all over you trying to help me.”

Solara blinked. She had no clue what had brought that out of Mitch, and it took her a moment to respond. She rested her hand on his shoulder. “Boo, you didn’t take advantage of me. Not even a little. You took what I offered, nothing more.”

“I kept screwing up, though.” He looked at her with watery eyes. “You kept trying, and I kept screwing up.”

“Mitch…” Solara couldn’t even begin to figure out what to say. She looked at Hunter, hoping he would help out.

“In therapy, he’s been working on deciding who he should apologize to,” Hunter said. “You know, the whole twelve-step thing. He said you did the most for him, which means you’re the one he took the most from.”

“I see.” Solara was all too familiar with the concept of making amends. Not that Mitch had to make amends to her, as far as she was concerned. “Mitch, baby, you didn’t do anything wrong by me. Not ever. Sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into that skinny little body of yours, but you don’t owe me any apologies, okay?”

Mitch nodded again. “I guess.”

“Boo, I am a stepping stone, not a doormat.” Tears came to Solara’s eyes, and she blinked rapidly. She was not about to get emotional in public. Mitch was doing enough of that for both of them. “I gave you what you needed to make a good life, and I haven’t regretted it yet. Don’t be down on yourself, okay? I accept your apology if you feel you need to give it, and I forgive you for whatever you think you need my forgiveness for.”

“You really don’t think I did anything wrong, do you?”

Solara considered her answer. Mitch was strong enough to hear truth now, and if he was going to truly recover, he had to know how his actions had affected others.

“I think you did some wrong things,” she said slowly. “Not to me, though.”

“Okay.” Mitch pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes for a few seconds, then smiled. “Okay. I know you wouldn’t lie.”

Solara’s curiosity got the better of her. “Why are you bringing this up right this second?”

“Because I know what I did, and I want to make sure no one else does it to you.” Mitch tilted his head. “And because if you’re a recovering addict, you probably did some of the same things as me. You forgave me. And Hunter forgave me for what he saw before I went into rehab. If you guys can both forgive me, Navon should have forgiven you. And he should definitely tell you now that he does.”

It took a moment for Mitch’s words to sink in. Sometimes the boy was just plain astonishing. Solara grinned. “You’re pretty smart for a young guy, boo.”

“I have hidden depths.” Mitch looked proud of himself. “We have to go see Hunter’s mom. See you tonight, okay?”

“Absolutely.” Solara hugged him, then Hunter. “Drive safely.”

The two of them walked over to Hunter’s car on the far side of the parking lot. Bemused, Solara watched them get into the car and drive away.

Random Thoughts

I haven’t done a “random list of thoughts” post for a while, but I couldn’t think of anything else this week…

There’s way too much snow outside. But it rained yesterday, which wasn’t good.

My cat doesn’t understand that when she stands on my lap, it hurts…

Fortunately, the cat does understand that when she stands on my keyboard, I get annoyed.

I’ll be really, really glad when it’s spring.

Sometimes my brain just plain doesn’t want to cooperate. With ANYTHING.

My kids are very intelligent. And they apparently have a “mom’s working” radar that leads them to wait until I’m actually doing something important to interrupt me with random things.

My cats do the same thing.

Next week, I’ll have something more coherent…

Teaser Thursday- Last Chance Tattoo


Dorsey didn’t expect to see Rad again. The kid—the guy. He’s an adult. I need to remember that—didn’t really strike Dorsey as the type to get a tattoo. Even though Rad had seemed excited about the idea, Dorsey suspected Rad would back out on the reality. Dorsey was damn good at his job, but there was no way to do a tattoo without needles and some pain, and he wondered if Rad would be able to handle either.

Yet after Dorsey opened the shop at ten that morning, he kept looking out the window. Not for just any customer this time, but for Rad.

Thinking about the guy sent small, barely familiar jolts through him. The longer Rad had hung around the shop the day before, the more intriguing Dorsey had found him. Rad had an almost feminine softness to his features, but when he’d rolled up his sleeve so Dorsey could see a possible location for a tat, the muscles in Rad’s upper arm were obvious. He was several inches shorter than Dorsey, and that plus Rad’s young appearance gave the impression he needed to be taken care of.

But the way he’d talked about his family and the people who’d bullied him proved otherwise. Rad might have considered himself a fuck-up, but he could clearly take care of himself. Maybe not financially, but in other ways. Rad’s cuteness and size hid a lot more strength than Dorsey would have expected.

Dorsey was attracted to Rad. He couldn’t deny it. Something in him that had slept since Chester’s death had begun to wake, and it wanted Rad.

That lithe body in Dorsey’s arms. Somewhere… The location didn’t matter. Somewhere no one would find them.

Both of them nude, skin to skin. When they stood together, the height difference was too much for Dorsey to rub his cock against Rad’s as he wanted. Rad’s cock was larger than Dorsey would have guessed, perfectly shaped and hard as steel. Just like Dorsey’s cock.

Dorsey shuddered and hitched in a breath. Three years of denying any release other than quick, sometimes bitter masturbation, of believing he would never want anyone again. Now this skinny little guy walked into his shop and turned him right the fuck on. Without doing a damn thing other than talking and acting like a scared little rabbit.

The shop was far from the right place to indulge in fantasies, let alone to get himself off. He had to keep it together. The weather was better than the day before, sunny and windless, so customers might actually show up.

Rad might come back. Anything was possible.

Thoughts on a Certain Movie…

NOTE: I posted this on my Tumblr last week, but I felt it bore repeating.

As an erotic romance author, I’ve tried to be quiet about my opinions of 50 Shades. Respect your fellow author, and all that. Plus when I have said anything about 50 Shades, I’ve been shouted down with “Don’t judge if you haven’t read the books.”

My TEENAGE DAUGHTERS are savvy enough to know that the relationship portrayed in 50 Shades is abuse veiled as “BDSM”. The sad thing is, a lot of teenage girls–and adult women, and probably men and boys–are not that savvy. I worry for the people who think that what Christian does to Anna is “love” and “romance.” Especially the teens and young women who haven’t yet experienced a positive, healthy relationship to which they can compare what they’re reading/seeing.

I’ve read more than one blog post in which the blogger described a strong, visceral reaction against the books/movie depicting seeming abuse as “romance.” Even ones in which the blogger was triggered into memories and flashbacks of their own abuse at the hands of a partner. And I will say right now that, as a survivor of extreme emotional abuse, I will not read these books or see these movies. I write romances about survivors. More than once, I’ve triggered myself while writing or editing one of my books. I won’t knowingly read something by another author that I know will trigger me.

Don’t get me wrong. 50 Shades is not *responsible* for domestic/relationship abuse. Abuse has existed for a long frigging time. But in a time when 12-year-olds are online posting things like “My boyfriend hit me because I was talking to another boy, so I know he loves me” (something my 19-year-old actually saw on social media), and when teenage girls are being murdered by boyfriends or exes (as happened just this week in Springfield, Massachusetts)… ANYTHING that glorifies abuse is part of the problem.

Teaser Thursday- I Should Tell You

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Tentatively, Mitch brushed his fingertips over Hunter’s cheek. Hunter pushed the kiss a bit further, still tender but with a little more hint of what he truly wanted. Mitch’s tongue touched his. For a moment the kiss became as hungry and desperate as the one they’d shared the night before.

Heat coursed through Hunter, and he fought to keep his hands on Mitch’s shoulders. He was used to kissing and touching leading to fucking, and he wouldn’t have objected a bit if this had gone the same way. But he’d promised Mitch they wouldn’t go so far.

He broke the kiss and looked into Mitch’s startled brown eyes. “You can feel how much I want you.”

“Yeah.” Mitch licked his lips as if trying to taste Hunter’s kiss. “So do I.”

“I told you we were just going to kiss and touch.” He smoothed Mitch’s hair. Hunter had to be crazy to turn down sex with such a gorgeous man, but he was determined to keep things on a level they could both handle. If Mitch learned to tolerate Hunter’s touch without drugs, he might be able to tolerate sex.

Except Hunter didn’t want mere tolerance. He wanted Mitch to genuinely desire him and enjoy sex with him without anything numbing the emotions.

“It’s torture,” Mitch said. “The only person who’s gotten me off lately is me, and that’s not much fun.”

“I’m horny too.” Hunter kissed the tip of Mitch’s nose on an impulse he didn’t even try to understand, and Mitch gave a surprised bark of a laugh. “You’re fucking hot and cute and everything I’d love to have wrapped around my dick, but it isn’t happening this morning. When we fuck, I’m going to take my time with you so you can stop me if you need to, and so you can like it and want it so bad the nightmares won’t be able to touch you.”

“Nightmares?” Mitch ran his fingers down Hunter’s arm. “I don’t think I’ll be asleep.”

“People like us don’t need to be asleep to have nightmares.”

“No, I guess we don’t.” Mitch rested his hand on Hunter’s thigh again, this time with a bit more distance between it and the bulge of Hunter’s cock. The contact still added heat to the arousal already raging inside Hunter, and he took a deep breath to cool himself down.

Mitch’s eyes gleamed. “God, I want you. Please?”

“No.” Hunter had to force the word out of his mouth. “Not now. Not in a rush, and not after last night. I’m not walking away from you, baby.” The endearment, one he’d never used, fell from his mouth and sounded more right than anything he’d said in the past few days. “We have to figure out how to make this work so you don’t need the pills and I don’t have to keep picking you up. Not that I won’t be here for you, but I can’t be your strength. I can only help you find your own.”

“I don’t think I have any.” Another of Mitch’s tears fell onto Hunter’s chest. “I’ve always been weak.”

“I don’t believe you. I think you just haven’t had anyone tell you you’re strong.” Hunter tightened his arm around the other man, hoping Mitch would take it as the comfort he intended. “You’re one of the stars of that club. You’ve made a life for yourself despite whatever you went through. You kicked the pills, even if you relapsed. That’s strength, baby. Don’t ever doubt it.”

10 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Since Saturday is Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d offer some suggestions of ways to spend it with your special someone…

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1. Cuddle on the couch watching TV or a movie

2. Make tissue paper flowers together

3. Go to dinner at a restaurant you haven’t tried before

4. Go to dinner at your favorite restaurant

5. Lie in bed together talking about your dreams for the future

6. Order dinner in and eat it by candlelight

7. Share snippets of your favorite books with each other

8. Try something new in bed

9. Go dancing–or dance at home

10. Say “I love you”

Teaser Thursday- Stepping Stone Not Doormat

“You’re going out with him?” On the other end of the phone, Mitch’s voice rose. “How can you go out with him?”

Solara held the phone away from her ear and took a deep breath. Mitch was looking out for her. That was all. Even if it pissed her off, his heart was in the right place.

She sank onto her couch and propped her feet on the coffee table. “If I’d known you were going to act like this, I wouldn’t have told you.”

“He hurt you,” Mitch said more quietly.

“Yeah. In the past.” Solara closed her eyes. If Mitch hadn’t called to invite her to spend the day with him while Hunter was at work, they wouldn’t be having this conversation. Usually when Mitch needed company for the day, she was there. But today, she couldn’t be, and he’d demanded to know why.

She should have known he wouldn’t react well to hearing she was giving Navon a chance.

“Right, and if someone hurts you, they’ll hurt you again.”

“I don’t know that,” Solara said, trying to keep the anger out of her tone. “That’s why I’m spending the day with him. He wants another chance. It’s been fifteen years since he fucked me over. Fifteen years is a long frigging time. People change. I sure as hell have.”

“So what if he’s changed?” Mitch snapped. “What are you going to do, move him in with you?”

“Whoa. Stop right there.” If Mitch didn’t keep his mouth shut, Solara would completely lose her shit. He had no right or reason to be jealous. The couch wasn’t his bed anymore. He had a home with Hunter. A life with Hunter, and Solara hadn’t begrudged him that for a single second. She deserved the same respect from him.

Mitch didn’t say a word, but Solara could hear him breathing heavily. He didn’t do confrontation well. Even though he’d started it, he was probably afraid of what she might say or do to him for standing up to her.

He had guts. She would give him that. A couple of months earlier, he wouldn’t have dared to speak to her this way.

Once she was sure she could sound calm, she said, “You’re trying to protect me. I get it, and I appreciate it. But this is a case where I have to make my own decision. If it bites me in the ass, so be it. I can handle it. What I can’t handle is wondering what if, and that’s something I’ve been wondering for a decade and a half. What if things had gone differently between him and me? This is my chance to find out.”

“He might hurt you again,” Mitch said in a small voice.

“He might. Or I might hurt him again. Or maybe neither of us will hurt the other.” She hesitated. If Mitch was reacting this way just to the news that Solara had a date with Navon, she could only imagine how he would respond to hearing about Navon’s planned move. But that was the reason for the date, and maybe Mitch would understand that.

“He’s thinking about moving out here,” she said. “He doesn’t know anyone else in the city. I want to see if we can at least get along enough to be friends. Maybe more, maybe not, but at least that.”

She stopped again as a realization came to her. Mitch had never been jealous of other men when it came to Solara, and maybe he wasn’t jealous now. Maybe he was afraid she wouldn’t have time for him anymore with Navon in the picture, the same way he always feared she would abandon him like most of the other people in his life.

That fear was something she could address. “And it doesn’t mean you’re going to lose me, boo. No matter what Navon is or isn’t to me, you’re my family, and that isn’t changing.”

“Okay.” Mitch sounded relieved. “You’re my family too. That’s why I want you to be okay.”

“I know.” Solara sighed, wishing again she hadn’t told Mitch what was going on. “Look, I have to go get ready. He’s going to be here in a few minutes. I’ll try to give you a call later, but don’t worry if I don’t. I might not have a chance until tomorrow.”

“Yeah, if you’re naked, I don’t want you calling.”

Release Week! Stepping Stone Not Doormat

Tomorrow is the official release of my new male/male novella Stepping Stone Not Doormat! This is the third book in what wasn’t intended to be a series about drag queens who perform(ed) at a club in Boston. The series started with I Should Tell You, which released in March 2014, and continued in Last Chance Tattoo, which released in August 2014.

Although Last Chance Tattoo takes place in a different state and shares only one character with I Should Tell You, Stepping Stone Not Doormat is a direct sequel to ISTY. The main character is Solara Flare, first introduced as the “drag mother” of one of the main characters of ISTY.

When I wrote ISTY, Solara, inspired by real-life drag queen Latrice Royale, stood out as an incredibly fun character to write, and I made up my mind that someday, she would have her own story. And apparently readers liked her too. In one review of ISTY, the reviewer questioned whether Solara would become the lead in a future book. After that, how could I say no?

Meanwhile, my publisher Loose Id put out a call for reunited lovers stories, and so I gave Solara a former lover, Navon, who shows up in Boston unexpectedly. But as I began to brainstorm their story, something was missing. I knew why Navon and Solara had broken up: Solara is a recovering drug addict who used heavily during their initial relationship, and Navon ended the relationship when Solara was arrested for burglary and possession. What I didn’t know was how Solara had found her way from Los Angeles, where that occurred, to her current home in Boston. Nor did I know why she chooses to use her stage name and female pronouns in her daily life despite identifying as male.

As I was struggling to put the pieces together, I saw a link on Facebook about domestic violence in gay couples. The link led to an article that included statements about how often male victims of male abusers aren’t believed; that male-on-male domestic violence is sometimes passed off as “just a fight”, or the victim is blamed for not defending himself.

As soon as I read that, I knew the rest of Solara’s story. How she fled across the country and changed (not legally) her name and pronouns to escape an abusive lover, believing that he would face no consequences. And that gave me Navon’s reason for finding Solara: To tell her that her abuser was dead and had left behind something that had once belonged to Solara.

Solara is a strong character who has overcome a lot, but even now, nine years after coming to Boston, sometimes her past weighs her down. But she fights to have a good life, and I hope readers will take encouragement from her.