MARCH 2011 M/M ROMANCE NEWSLETTER|
Welcome to our newsletter. We hope the content on this page is both informative and entertaining. We welcome feedback; you can send it to the Newsletter Editor. Also, please visit the Dreamspinner Press blog! Follow the blog to see author posts, book excerpts, contests, and other news from the press about M/M romance. Enjoy!
Ariel Tachna, Social Networking Coordinator, Dreamspinner Press
Why did you decide to write romance stories?
It wasn't so much that I decided to write a romance story as that a romance story found me. I spent my first couple of weeks as writer feeling like a complete fraud.
Actually, I still feel that way about half the time.
What is your secret to satisfying contemporary romance?
I don't think there's one secret. Some people go for a really fast-paced plot, or a good mystery. For myself, it's all about the characters. They have to be real and likable and complex and flawed and sometimes, they need to be downright damaged.
How were you introduced to M/M fiction?
I found my way there through fantasy: Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series, Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series, The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek, and Storm Constantine's Wraeththu.
What are five of your favorite books/series?
Wow, that is so hard. I would have to say:
1. The Doctrine of Labyrinths series, by Sarah Monette - the first two books absolutely blew me away. I worship Felix and Mildmay.
2. Harry Potter - Enough said
3. The first three books of the Ender series by Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, and Xenocide), despite OSC's generally bad attitude about homosexuality. I first read Ender's Game when I was in Junior High, and I continue to be amazed at some of the ideas he plays with in these books.
4. Raised by Wolves, by W.A. Hoffman
5. The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, even though it remains unfinished.
Why did you decide to try to publish your stories?
I had nothing to lose. I figured if I submitted Promises, there was a very slim chance it would be published. But if I didn't submit it, there was zero chance it would be published. It was just a shot in the dark. But I'm awfully glad it worked out.
Marie Sexton has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
Visit Marie's web site or find her on Facebook.
Win an eBook copy of your choice of one of this author's works. Clues are available in author bios on our web site.
In this Croation author's free time, she enjoys free climbing, long walks by the sea, and yoga.
E-mail the Newsletter Editor with your answer. A winner will be chosen randomly from the correct answers. Contest ends the last day of the month.
The correct answers to last month's question: This author started writing at about the same time that she got back on a horse after a twenty-year break. She'd like to think that she's far too young for it to be a mid-life crisis, but apparently she was ready for a few changes! Kate Sherwood
I heard the bell ring inside his apartment. My hand was shaking and I snatched it back to my side.
The door opened and Ben stood there, laughing. He was always laughing. I'd never considered that it might be at me rather than with me, because he wasn't like that, not with anyone. And I hoped that if anyone knew what he was like, it'd be me.
"Hey," he said slowly, still smiling. "You look kind of odd. Didn't they have pepperoni and chili peppers tonight?"
I forced out a smile. "Wouldn't be Saturday night without it." I brandished the pizza box. "Even if I had to go fix it myself."
"And with your cooking..." He grimaced.
"Yes." I was still smiling, though my cheeks ached from the effort. "We can live another night without the food poisoning."
He laughed, but not as strongly as before. His gaze followed me as I walked through to the kitchen, his mouth pursed as if he'd wanted to say something else but had decided not to. This was our Saturday night routine. We usually had a beer in the kitchen and ate the pizza while we decided where to go for the evening. We'd done this most Saturdays for a long, long time. Creatures of habit, I suppose you'd call us.
Ben reached into the fridge and snagged us the beers, setting them down on the breakfast counter. Then he sat down on a stool opposite me. "So what's up?"
"Stupid," he said, kindly enough. "I've known you for years, Ben. You don't do moody. You don't do grudges. You have a clear, honest mind and you speak it when you need to."
"I don't need to speak anything," I said, a little dully. I mentally kicked myself; this wasn't at all how I meant the evening to go. "We'll be late for a movie if we don't get going. Or we could watch the game, it's on widescreen down at the bar..."
"I don't give a shit about the game, or a movie." He was the only guy who could grab my attention like that. "If something upsets or annoys you, you usually tell me about it. So do that tonight." He was a good guy: both perceptive and compassionate, all his friends said so. I was so grateful to be one of those that I embarrassed even myself sometimes.
"Ben, you've been like this for a while now. Is it work? I thought you were doing okay with that new contract. Working overseas is a great opportunity, and God knows, you've earned the promotion..."
"A year," I said, quickly. I pushed at the beer bottle, watching the condensation wrinkle its way down the green glass.
"Hm?" He frowned slightly, but I was sure he knew what I meant. He usually did.
"I'll be away a year."
His breath got shallow. "Sure. Are you worried about that? I'll look after your apartment, I said that already. The temporary tenants; the bills—hell, I'll even water the plants now and then if you like!"
I looked up again, this time catching his full gaze. Amusement was in the creases of his mouth, though his eyes were strangely blank. I tried to recall if they'd ever held back from me before. "I can't be calm about this, Jason. I can't see things quite as clearly as you do. I'm not like you."
He frowned again. "I don't want you to be. Shit, that's the last thing—"
"No!" I slammed my fist down on the counter and the bottle rattled noisily. Dammit. "You know, sometimes I wonder why we still keep in touch, and so regularly. I'm not at all like you. I'm pretty sure you need a different kind of routine; a livelier kind of society. This overseas posting of mine is a natural break, I think." He was silent, which was a bad move, because it encouraged me to go on. "Just because we've known each other for years, that doesn't mean I take this for granted. We've always been honest with each other." I swallowed past the tight knot in my throat. "I think it's only fair I confess I've been selfish: I've held you back from finding other—better—things to do with your Saturday nights."
"Better?" His voice was very quiet. "How so?"
Did he want to make it deliberately hard for me?
"Things have changed for me," I said, slowly. And this time I deliberately kept my gaze away. I was flushed and I felt a fool. "I haven't accepted the post yet, because I don't know how I feel about it. I don't think I can bear to be away that long..."
"...just a year," he murmured.
"...can't bear to be away that long, from you!" I blurted out, my misery momentarily eclipsing every sensible thought I should have had.
All I heard in response was a gasp of breath. Neither of us moved. The pizza remained on the counter beside us, its box not even opened. Jason hated cold pepperoni, I knew that.
"I know what you'll say," I continued. My voice sounded as if it was coming from outer space. "You said it when the offer first came up. That it's a chance for me to change my routine, too. To find new horizons, new friends. Perhaps... new relationships." It was the first time I'd ever talked about such personal things, except in jest. He'd think I'd had some kind of seizure.
Perhaps I had.
"But I don't want anyone else." I paused. Did I want to know what he thought about that? Or was I afraid to find out? I stared at the folded paper napkins on the counter and the small puddle at the base of the bottle. Anywhere but at him. "Once I thought you might think the same, but I've never been sure." And I'd never been brave enough to challenge him on it. I'd just drawn back to the familiar routine, and the safety of a beer and pizza on Saturday night. When what I really wanted to do with my leisure time was far more exciting; far more terrifying. And with him.
"I don't want new friends, new relationships," I whispered. "I want the one I have with you. Just the same—and more so. And I want it all the time."
His hand was moving over the counter. Hesitantly. I'd rarely seen him hesitant, which was odd. But after this disaster, I reckoned everything was going to be odd, right?
"I can't imagine being without you." I sounded hoarse. "So you see, things have changed. Rather awkwardly for you, I expect..."
"No." He startled me. There was a tremor in his voice as if his throat were as constricted as mine. "Not awkward at all. I've got no problem with that. Not at all."
I think I laughed then—it was like a release of the tension. I thought we were still joking. Or at least he was.
"Ben!" He sounded more urgent. "You think I was happy about you going away? But I didn't think you deserved to suffer my troubles. I want the best for you, you see."
Did I see? "You've never had a problem saying what you think." I think I was trying to make a joke of my own.
His hand closed over mine. "But I do with you."
I was confused. "Some kind of friend I am, then—"
"Because it matters," he interrupted. His tone was still urgent. I looked into his eyes again, and this time the emotion was reflected all the way down. "It matters a lot to me. You matter. I don't want you to go."
I stared. "I thought I got in the way."
"Of what?" He rolled his eyes. "What the hell do I have in my life that I'd want without you?"
"You've changed too, then?" I asked. The cool kitchen felt as if it were warming up around us: I wondered why I felt the need to fill it with nonsense, too.
"No." His laugh was gentler than before. "I feel the same way I always did. I know, I should have said something before now. But when you first told me about the job... I was shocked it went so deep."
"I won't be taking it. I'd better ring them about it." I was gabbling, groping for my cell. I felt light-headed; I felt deliciously goose-bumped. I couldn't stop grinning into Jason's face. "Just a quick call, I can leave a message..."
"No you won't," he said, and I didn't mind the sharpness this time. "We've got other ways to spend this evening. Other things to get straight between us."
"Pizza will be ruined..."
He lifted my hand and kissed slowly at the fingertips, as if he wanted to memorize the prints on his lips.
I fell silent at last. I wanted to become a creature of this habit, so much so that it hurt. So I reached for the cure to my hurt, wanting to hold, to kiss and to start something new and exciting.
And Ben reached back for me, still laughing, and with eyes that were bright with delight.
|WHAT I'M READING Anne Regan, Associate Editor
The Triquetra Trilogy by Marguerite Labbe
The power of heart and soul holds the key to the survival of the last of the ancient vampires. Kristair is running out of time. His race has faded away, prey to delusion and deterioration, and his only chance to live long enough to find a cure is to bind his psyche to a human vessel in a long forgotten ritual.
Kristair's chosen vessel is Jacob Corvin, a man of passionate stubbornness and fierce loyalty; he has captured Kristair's fantasies so completely that he is both the vampire's greatest strength and most crippling weakness. Drawing upon Jacob's spirit and Kristair's resolve, they each bind a portion of their souls to one other. For as long as Jacob carries Kristair's heart within him, the vampire can continue his quest.
Just when they have hope, their mission is threatened by The Syndicate, a group of younger vampires who attempt to force Kristair to teach them his secrets before he disappears like the rest of the ancients. Battling both The Syndicate's attacks and his unexpected need and love for Jacob, Kristair's strength begins to fade, forcing him to make a decision that will change his and Jacob's lives forever.
Anne's thoughts: Marguerite Labbe's vampires definitely don't sparkle.
One of the things that caught my interest about this series is that it takes place in Pittsburgh. The gritty urban setting grounds the supernatural elements in a core of realism that pulled me into the story. Kristair, who may be the oldest vampire in existence, is weakening and needs a human vessel to extend his strength. But his choice, Jacob Corvin, is no cowering thrall. A running back at Pitt, Jake is dominant and possessive and won't take shit from anyone, including Kristair. When the Syndicate, a group of younger vampires, try to take the ancient knowledge they believe Kristair possesses by force, only an arcane ritual can preserve Kristair's spirit. The fast-paced plot will keep you involved, but it's Jacob's and Kristair's emotions, along with a gallery of well-developed secondary characters, that make this a series to read—and re-read.
Clouds and Rain
By Zahra Owens
"Both the lead characters have so many layers and are so complex and involved, I envy Zahra for her ability to create, connect with and write them with such accuracy."
Nerine at Queer Magazine Online
Dignity Takes a Holiday
by Rick R. Reed
"Author Reed calls this "kind of" a romantic comedy, and it is a good description of this giddy, over-the-top fun story. You'll shake your head at Pete's bad choices, yet root for him for succeed, despite himself (and his mother's interference). Interesting, light read, which I give four stars out of five. "
Bob Lind at Echo Magazine
Free Short Story:|
Creature of Habit by Clare London
Calls for Submissions - Contest
News - What I'm Reading Recommended Reads
Ask the Editor - About Us Unsubscribe -
The following books will have a limited number of signed copies available on a first come, first served basis:|
Undercover Sins by Hayley B. James
The Inventor's Companion by Ariel Tachna
Enlightened by J.P. Barnaby
He Completes Me by Cardeno C.
A Troubled Range by Andrew Grey
The following authors will host Meet the Author events at Dreamspinner Press's Facebook Fan page this month. All Meet the Author events are from 1 to 6 pm EST unless otherwise noted:
Eric Arvin - March 5
Christopher Koehler - March 12, 3:30-7 pm
S.A. Garcia - March 19
J.P. Barnaby - March 26
Join Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna at Revelcon in Houston, TX, March 11-13.
Join Andrew Grey,
Carolyn Levine Topol,
Scotty Cade, and
Zahra Owens at the Rainbow Book Fair in New York, NY, March 26. This event is free and open to the public.
Andrew Grey was interviewed at Jessewave's blog.
Alix Bekins was interviewed at Book Wenches.
Rick R. Reed was the spotlight novelist at TheOuterView.
Eric Arvin gave an interview on Jezza Smilez Presents
Ariel Tachna was interviewed on SJD Peterson's blog.
CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS|
In order to give all our potential authors the best service and attention, Dreamspinner Press no longer accepts simultaneous submissions. |
See the Open Calls for Submissions page for further details.
Limited Calls for 2011
First Time for Everything
2011 Daily Dose
From true love's first innocent kiss to finally getting down and dirty on the kitchen floor, there's a first time for every sort of cherry to be popped. Whether discovering the ravenous thrill of sex or the heartwarming power of romance, these men are going to take the plunge and try something new—something romantic or kinky, daring or safe, passionate or relaxed, even comforting or scary—all in the name of love.
Submission Deadline: March 10, 2011
Ahoy, me proud beauty, shiver me timbers! I ask ye to sail me jollyboat on the high seas, lubber, but will ye dare to accept? On offer be a pirate's life full of danger and risk, and not just to yer neck, but to yer very virgin heart! There's many a bodice to be ripped—or perhaps I should say many a codpiece to be snapped—and should ye be graced enough to cross bones with a corsair, don't be an addlepate! Heave ho, lad, handsomely, and show him how ye bury yer treasure!
Pirates didn't only sail the high seas in historical times. Modern-day renegades and futuristic rebels are just as ripe for adventure and plunder. No matter the time, place, or circumstances, bad boys steal affection as often as they salvage treasure, and in these stories of romance, a rogue's black heart always conceals a center of gold.
Submission Deadline: May 23, 2011
Enter the hallowed halls of higher learning, where there's a lot more to life, sex, and love than what these men can get out of a book. They'll give English a slip of the tongue, practice their Interpersonal Communication skills, and learn about the birds and the bees in Biology. Join them as they see why flexibility is important in Phys Ed, figure the odds of finding the perfect mate in Statistics, flirt and woo each other with poetry in Literature, and discover why Chemistry is a double entendre.
Submission Deadline: Aug. 15, 2011
I'll Be Home for Christmas
2011 Advent Calendar
It's the most fervent dream of the holidays: to have a life full of blooming romance and enduring devotion with love, joy, and even a touch of lust to warm the cold winter nights. No matter what holidays are celebrated, the idiom holds true: home is where the heart is.
Submission Deadline: Sept. 1, 2011
Two Tickets to Paradise
A vacation is exactly what these men need to find love in their lives. It may be about looking for a little fun, gaining a fresh perspective after a breakup, or building up the nerve to take the plunge. Whether they travel by plane, train, or automobile, none of them want to go it alone. They're hoping romance will be the ticket to finding paradise in another man's arms.
Submission Deadline: Dec. 1, 2011
Dreamspinner Press is accepting submissions for our in-house genre Timeless Dreams, romantic M/M historical fiction with happy endings. While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma. You can visit the rough and tumble Old West, travel the ancient kingdoms of desert sheikhs, see the black and red lacquer of the Far East, or dance in dramatic Regency England. No matter where or when, in the romantic worlds of Timeless Dreams, our heroes always live happily ever after.
Manuscripts of any story length may be submitted. You must follow general submission guidelines for short stories for proper consideration. Please list "Timeless Dreams" in the subject line of your submission.
Dreamspinner Press is accepting submissions for our in-house genre, Bittersweet Dreams, stories of M/M romance with nontraditional endings. It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
Manuscripts of any story length may be submitted. You must follow general submission guidelines for short stories for proper consideration. Please list "Bittersweet Dreams" in the subject line of your submission.
Best Book from Whipped Cream Reviews: Morning Report by Sue Brown|
Fallen Angels Recommended Read: His Hearth by Mary Calmes
Night Owl Reviews Top Pick: Home for the Holidays by Lori Toland
Blackraven's Reviews Recommended Read: Infected: Prey by Andrea Speed
Night Owl Reviews Top Pick: The Matelot by Ariel Tachna
Literary Nymphs Golden Blush Award: Obscurati by Wynn Wagner
Dark Divas Recommended Read: Silver Thaw by Nora Catherine Price
ASK THE EDITOR|
What is the thing you most wish authors would do on their own before sending a manuscript in?
Read their story aloud to themselves. Authors would catch an amazing number of dropped words and sentences that don't make sense. Your brain processes it differently reading it aloud rather than skimming it on a computer screen or on paper where the brain is proven to read over 90% of errors.
Barring that, run a spelling and grammar check multiple times. It certainly doesn't catch everything, but it definitely can catch a lot, especially if an author takes the time to personalize the spellcheck and grammar check options in Word.
Launched in May 2007, Dreamspinner Press offers quiet romance, supernatural passion, out-of-this-world lovers, kinky explorations, and heated dreams—a little taste to whet your appetite for romantic homoerotica. We hope you take a little time to be enchanted, romanced, and loved by enjoying the publications of Dreamspinner Press.|
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