New Release: With Proper Maintenance

My latest release, With Proper Maintenance, a M/M steampunk romance novella, releases today! I am hosting a blog tour and a giveaway to celebrate! More stops are being added all week, so check in to see where we’ll be next!

Tour Stops:

October 10th- Lorraine Pearl, paranormal romance author

October 11th- Yeah Books!

October 12th- Kathryn Kane, romance author

October 13th- Sonya Grady

October 14th- Caffeine Crew

October 15th- H.C. Brown

October 16th- Jerri Drennen

October 17th- J.J. Ulm

If you buy a copy of my book from the Jupiter Gardens Press website and use the promo code GAYSTEAM, you get Angelia Sparrow’s Sky Rat for $0.99! Good on JGP’s site only through 10/31.

Enter the giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


With Proper Maintenance-highres

Named the youngest head engineer in the history of his company, Ethan Cole’s first voyage on the Platinum Bow is his chance to stand out from his father’s shadow. His dream is dashed by the roguish Cecil Goode, promoted to Ethan’s position just before the ship sets sail. When the Bow is hijacked by pirates, Ethan and Cecil have to work together to bring the pirates’ nearly wrecked ship to safety. Will they make it to port before the ship plummets from the sky? And what will become of the combustible passion between them? Will it outlast the pirate attack?

Pick up your copy:

[Jupiter Gardens Press]  [Amazon]  [Barnes and Noble]


 

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Once a roleplayer, always a roleplayer

This comes from the lovely Michelle Bellanger. I, as an old school Vampire: the Masquerade player, am intensely interested in reading the culmination of one Storyteller’s rendition of the world. This was too good not to reblog.

Stories and Dreams

As many of you know, I’ve been a gamer since about the time I could roll dice. I was in fourth grade when my remarkably progressive public school introduced us to Dungeons & Dragons, encouraging my gifted class to play the game as the perfect union of math and creativity (if you remember how to calculate old school ThAC0, then you definitely remember the math part!). D&D was set in worlds inspired by the fiction of Tolkien and other fantasy greats and while I enjoy high fantasy well enough, I didn’t find a game world that really gripped me till Vampire: The Masquerade came along in 1991. They had me at vampires, but the World of Darkness against which White Wolf’s storytelling system played out was what really seized my imagination.

Set in a modern world a step off from our own where magic and monsters existed in the…

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Updates!

Time flies when you’re having fun! My Steampunk novella With Proper Maintenance releases on the 9th. Since I signed my contract, I’ve planned a giveaway of handmade steampunk jewelry. It’s only fitting I break the news on my blog and show you what the prizes look like.

Each of these necklaces were constructed by yours truly. Each pendant includes a section of my story With Proper Maintenance as a backdrop behind the gears. Each one is secured with clear resin. These will be given away via rafflecopter beginning with my facebook release party on 10/10/14. I will also be on a blog tour beginning the same date, so watch for posts from me!

steampunkjewelryfirstprize

First prize

steampunkjewelrysecondprize

Second prize

steampunkjewelrythirdprize

Third Prize

Why I am a Feminist

As I was cruising through Twitter as I do instead of writing like I should be, I found a retweet from Chuck Wendig: HeforShe: Yes, I am a Feminist. His post is amazingly apt and I left a couple comments on his blog, but I thought it important to clean things up a bit and post it on my blog as well.

I just recently declared myself a feminist. Despite being a woman for thirty-six years, I only started calling myself a feminist in the twilight of 2014.

It took listening to other feminists speak for nearly two years via Twitter to convince me that not all feminists were man-hating, non-shaving, militant lesbians who wanted men to be ground under their boot. With feminists saying other feminists were faux-minists, it was the same kind of crap that led me to throw my hands up. Nobody is happy with the advancements made by other feminists, no matter how big or how small. Women are our competition. We tear each other down instead of build each other up. And it’s bullshit.

It wasn’t until I witnessed a conversation via twitter by the lovely Feminista Jones that I really took a look at why I’d resisted feminism for so many years. Her response to my rather spiteful comment was simply, “Nah.” And she followed with a couple of tweets about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t a feminist because of all the shit other feminists have told us we have to be. And it forced me to  take a look at why I resisted being a feminist.

I was so leery to don the cape of feminism. Like many people, I was taught feminism was “Up with women! Down with men!” I saw many issues affecting men like the pressure to be the breadwinner and the “men don’t cry” rhetoric. My father was my best bud until I hit pre-teen years and then he just… disappeared. Because he didn’t feel, as a man, that he should be involved like he was in his daughter’s life. I watched male friends be beaten in parking lots for being “gay” or “girly”. Sensitive was thrown around like some kind of insult and still is. We have to walk around with these masks of perfection and invulnerability and it’s complete horseshit. I saw women with unshaven bodies and no makeup burning bras and American flags. I watched so called feminists tell men they were worth nothing more than genetic material donation. I saw women tearing down other women in the name of a cause that I now understand they knew NOTHING about. Until this year, feminism was a dirty word and still is in a lot of circles. I threw the baby out with the bath water because of horrible examples of humanity donning the title and ruining what feminism truly is.

I have never understood why women would chastise women for doing what is in their hearts to do. If a woman wants to become a stay at home mom and raise her kids, AWESOME. If that’s what works for her, then that’s what’s best for her and her family. Friends of mine in the workplace were coerced into coming back from maternity leave with the horrible sword of Damocles that they couldn’t ever come back like their husbands were going to chain them to the house with a chain a’la Black Snake Moan. There is nothing wrong with being a career woman. If you want to be the breadwinner of the family, that’s amazing! If your husband wants to be a stay at home dad? GREAT! I am not cut out for the role of domestic majesty. If I were left at home with my offspring, I might be the kind of mother to chew off their heads. My son’s dad? He’s a great dad. My son used to make mother’s day cards for his dad and make father’s day cards for me. Why? Because we didn’t fit traditional roles and still don’t and really never will.

It is important for men to speak up about being feminists so that other men don’t feel/think/believe/whatever that they’re alone or the only one or the single guy standing with the cheer squad while the football players and the band kids make fun of them. Every man who steps forward and says, “I’m not perfect, but I’m sure as hell trying and, damnit, this shitting on women and making men be some weird machismo stereotype is wrong!” is one more voice saying “No, dudebro. Not cool, man. Not cool.” when someone sells a shirt that says something as incredibly damaging as, “It’s not rape, it’s a snuggle with a struggle”. (Yes, unfortunately, that DID happen.) Men who are likely to assault women are more likely to listen to another man than to any women who dare be heard instead of merely prettily seen.

I’ve run into the women against women thing more times than I care to count. I get sick of my coworker saying things like, “I make decisions about people and if I don’t like them, they WON’T stay.” It’s like the thought never crossed her mind that diversity is a good thing and maybe SHE needed to open her mind a little. She’s STILL trying to figure me out. I’m a woman who rarely wears makeup, my hair is almost always in a ponytail. I don’t shave every day or sometimes even every week. I wear jeans and tank tops year round. I don’t give a damn about fashion or makeup or television. I don’t like rom coms like she does. Yet I wear Victoria’s Secret and support her in her decision to be a super girly girl who doesn’t leave the house without makeup and who shaves every day, sometimes twice a day. We have a right to be who we are. All of us.

We all need to be excellent to each other. (Wow. Just dated myself there…)

Sometimes it feels like cheating to call myself a feminist, even for me as a woman. I don’t face the myriad of issues other women face. But, more importantly and more scary to a lot of people, is hearing a sexist joke and saying, “Not cool.” When you see a woman who is being street harassed, walking up and simply saying, “You okay, sis?” Putting yourself in the line of fire is a scary, scary thing. And anyone who is willing to take up that mantle, anyone willing to say there is an injustice? That’s a good thing. Male, female, transgender, inter-sex, gender fluid… whatever your orientation, whatever your gender… you want equality.

If not me, who? If not now, when? [transcript]

And, since I’ve talked about some heavy shit (and I love this girl for real): a moment of humor from the lovely Laci Green.

 

Resinnation: BJDs are vampires

The Caffeine Crew

100_1888 Tan skinned dolls can turn a lovely shade of vomit green.

Something I learned early on about resin dolls is they don’t really like the sunlight. Even accidental sun exposure can damage your doll. It can be something as “simple” as discoloration or something more sickening, such as melting.

Sealants have often been touted as a way to prevent damage to ball joint dolls from sun exposure, but, as this video shows, the sealants used did not protect in any way from sun damage to the skull cap.

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Resinnation: Sharpie vs White Eraser

I am a regular contributer to the Caffeine Crew and I wanted to share my post with you for this week. If you are interested in anything geeky, dorky or all around nerdy, check out the Crew.

The Caffeine Crew

In the vein of my last post, I’m going through a list of products given to remove permanent marker and applying it to resin in an attempt to fix my now damaged Impldoll head.

My apologies for the sniffles. Allergy season.

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Formatting for submission

When I had my first shiny draft ready for submission to my dream publisher, I cruised over to their website and clicked on their submission page. “These are the submission guidelines for all writers seeking publication.”

And the list was extensive.

I perused the list and finally about three quarters of the way down the page, they listed submission guidelines that I thankfully read. They wanted a .doc file and suggested including your contact information not only in your email, but also in the document. They wanted manuscripts formatted in traditional format. If we didn’t know what that was, we were told to Google it.

Google I did. I found William Shunn’s Manuscript formatting. Not only did he give the information, he did so by writing it in a document so you could actually SEE what he was talking about. Excellent!

I set up a Word document that was correctly formatted and saved it as a template. I use that for each short story I write.

How to format your manuscript: 

  1. In the upper left hand corner:
    1. Your legal name (what they would use to pay you)
    2. Address
    3. phone number
    4. email address
    5. Approximate word count
  2. Your title should be centered and begin half way down the first page.
  3. Your by line is also centered and should be beneath your title. This is where you put your pen name if using one.
  4.  Your story begins two double spaced lines under the by line.
  5. Your story should be double spaced.
  6. Use 12 point Times New Roman, Palatino or Garamond fonts
  7. Single space after a period.
  8. Do not tab indent. Use the .25 indent feature in Word.
  9. Double space
  10. 1.25 margins all around
  11. Include a header or footer with your name, title and page number.
  12. Do not use extra lines between paragraphs.
  13. Left justify the document.

If you would like your own copy of my document, you can download my Formatted Submission Template

Web Serial: Kneaded (Episode 3)

I close my eyes as I work, letting my fingers “see” where the muscle needs work. Corded muscle rolls from between my fingertips at the joinder of neck and shoulder. I repeat the action until the muscle submits and stays in the pinch grip. Making a fist, I press with firm, deep pressure from shoulder point to the back of the ear.

His head doesn’t move. I apply a bit more pressure at the back of his head. He pushes back against me.

“If possible, relax a bit for me, okay? Your head should be loose on your neck.” I release pressure against the occipital ridge and reverse the pass to the acromion. I learned a long time ago when you say the word “relax”, clients always tense, especially those with physical or psychological trauma, type “A” personalities or, well, just about anybody.

The second pass goes a little smoother and his head rolls a bit to the side. His forehead doesn’t have the deep crease between his eyebrows.

Success.

I gently lift the mass of his shoulder to slide my hands beneath and use his body weight to get a little more pressure in the trapezius. I don’t need much distance. I cup my fingers to get into the muscle. This loosens the muscle before I get into the back. Makes my job so much easier.

Except when he brings his shoulder off the table to “help” me. And then leaves it there. I rest my palm against his shoulder. When he doesn’t drop to the table, I apply a little pressure to coax him down. His shoulder shakes and then lowers. I work from the origin of the trapezius toward the shoulder with a “come hither” hand motion, then up to the neck. The second pass takes me from the origin along the spine.

From the table in the corner, his cell phone blares out an obnoxiously loud ditty one could hear in the parking lot. Through the noise of traffic and the lawn crews with leaf blowers. I startle, then catch my breath. Definitely too loud for a small room with low lights and soft music. I continue once my heart falls from my throat. No matter how many times it happens in a day, I nearly leap out of my skin every time.

The phone stops. I can finally hear the wood flute in the background. Why people don’t silence their cell phones when they come in is beyond me. One would think having a relaxing session, an hour without interruption, would be top of their priority list. Or that they would at least think of the other clients in other rooms since we’re a multi-therapist business. Or the therapist in their room who chokes on their tongue every time it rings.

Another ring. I bite my tongue and resist the urge to turn his phone off for him.

“Sorry,” he finally murmurs. He doesn’t open his eyes, so I don’t bother with a polite smile.

To Review or not to review

I find myself in a very precarious situation. As a writer, I know how crushing a bad review can be. One not great review can crush your will to write, sometimes for a very long time. Negative feedback from not only a reader, but a writing partner in the past has made me leery to write emotion into my scenes and it shows in my work. Even to this day almost ten years later.

I love to read. I learned to read when I was four years old and I’ve been reading books ever since. Every reading competition we did in elementary school, I was in the top five. I have read a lot of books.

Something I consider a coup de grace, may be someone else’s Sistine Chapel. As a writer myself, I want to write reviews I wouldn’t mind getting. The last thing I want to do is write a less than stellar review for an author whose book I’ve agreed to read. The author has put blood, sweat and tears out on the line and put out this work they have cried over.

And here I come to shit all over it.

If you are in the same situation I am in, have a few sites I found helpful:

After a bit of review, I am going to write my review like I write every review I have ever done: with honesty and tact. I just cross my fingers and pray that the author in question doesn’t take anything personally.

Digging Ditches: 10 Views to a Suicide in the Family

This is a really strong account of what it’s like to be on both sides of the fence in a kind of Schrodinger’s dance with depression and suicide. Very apt. TW: Suicide

Steve Huff's Blog

Prologue

My brother David as a boy. Top right: with our mother. My brother David as a boy. Top right: with our mother.

On August 20, 2000, my brother committed suicide. David Richard Huff was just over a month away from his 42nd birthday.

I have written about David almost every year since, usually around the anniversary of his death. Some years I make a minimal acknowledgement that it happened, a tweet, perhaps, including the number or web address for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Some years I write something in-depth.

This year, because suicide is so much in the news after the heartbreaking death of the gloriously gifted comedian and actor Robin Williams, a performer I’d loved ever since I first heard the word “Shazbot” in the late 70s, I feel like I can’t escape the subject. So here I am, again. I am tired of reading the things even the most well-meaning people have to say about mental…

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