MARCH 2012 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 Media Coordinator, Dreamspinner Press
Why did you decide to write romance stories?
Good question; one I can't really answer easily.
I'm a cynic when it comes to romance in real life. I've personally never experienced the fairy tale, so I'm not quite sure it actually exists.
That said, I'm also a dreamer. I want to believe. Why? Because there has to be something better than this, right?
So because of the lack of romance in my real life, I invent people who do have it in theirs.
This is also probably the reason why I write contemporary romance. I have my feet firmly planted in reality, but my head in the clouds. (Wouldn't that make a great definition of a contemporary romance writer?)
How do you overcome the challenges of writing stories set in a different country and culture from your own?
I hear actors say that certain roles were a challenge and that they took the opportunity to learn something about a world they weren't familiar with.
It's the same for me. I like the challenge of learning, of immersing myself into a culture that isn't my own.
It's a leap, because it's so easy to get things wrong, but extensive travel (all over the world, but especially to Canada and the US) has given me enough experience to fill in the blanks for things you can't research and to know there are some universal truths about people that translate across cultures. And I watch movies with a critical eye, take from them what I can use and discard the bits that don't seem real.
And yes (giving away some writing secrets here) I sometimes stay a little vague. I enjoy reading books full of cultural references, but at the same time, if you're not part of that culture, you miss certain things because you don't know the brand names or the local vernacular. It can get to be a bit much.
I've often been asked why I don't write about where I live and work, because readers are definitely interested in books taking place outside the US. I did it once (Diplomacy), and in a way, I'd like to do it again, but I'm always worried about finding ways to explain why my protagonists speak English and I feel I need to. My Diplomacy boys were English and American diplomats, so no sweat, but I don't know what other excuses I could find. I have a basketball bunny hopping around, though, so that might end up having a local setting (for me).
How were you introduced to M/M fiction?
My introduction was fanfiction and my first fandom was The X-Files. Everyone was shipping Mulder and Scully, but I always felt Mulder and Krycek were the more interesting couple. Or Mulder and Skinner. Or Mulder and Krycek and Skinner. I learned about BDSM, ménage, and angst. The fun part was that all this was conducted on the official fanboards of the TV series and we knew from certain storylines that crept into the series and from interviews with the series creator that he was watching us write!
The romance didnit enter into it until I found the Lord of the Rings fandom. This was much less about the sex and more about relationships, although the sex still entered into it, of course.
What are five of your favorite books/series?
Patricia Nell Warren's The Front Runner
Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Catch Trap
Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy trilogy
JL Langley's The Tin Star
And just about anything contemporary that Andrew Grey writes.
Why did you decide to try to publish your stories?
I knew a few people who sent in their stories and got published, but I never thought it would happen to me because I'm not a native English speaker and although I know I can write stories, I didn't think I had what it takes to write stories good enough for publication. I got a lot of encouragement from my friends, though (Ariel Tachna, Nicki Bennett, and Rhianne Aile, you know who you are ;-) ) and I have a fearless side that thought: "What the heck! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!"
I still get this OMG! feeling with every book I publish, though. It's surreal, even after almost five years, five novels, and short stories that run way into double digits.
Zahra Owens was born in Europe just before Woodstock and the moon landing and was given a much less pronounceable name by her non-English-speaking parents. Being an Aquarian meant she would never quite conform, and people learned to expect the unexpected.
She started writing fairy tales in first grade; the same year she came into contact with her first group of English-speaking friends, a group which would eventually grow to include people from all over the world. On the outside she was a typical only child, accustomed to being with adults most of the time. On the inside, she sought ways to channel her wild imagination.
During the daytime she earns a living as a computer analyst, but it's her former career as an intensive care nurse that tends to seep into her fiction. Maybe this has to do with her weak spot for flawed characters and imperfect bodies, or maybe it's just her sadistic streak coming through. You be the judge.
Visit her web site at http://www.zahraowens.com/ and blog at http://zahra-owens.livejournal.com/.
Win an eBook copy of your choice of one of this author's works. Clues are available in author bios on our web site.
This author has a personal assistant named Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow.
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 new Dreamspinner author has Charles Dickens and Armistead Maupin as his literary heros. Edmond Manning
Cal had been sitting on the café patio all morning, turning things over in his head, a cup of coffee on the small table before him. By positioning his chair just so, he had a nearly unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower, that ubiquitous landmark that screamed "Paris" like nothing else.
He'd been in the city for eleven months, nineteen days, seven hours, and the year he'd given himself to make his name as an artist was almost up. He didn't want to return home, didn't want to take his place in the family mortuary business, and absolutely didn't want to return in defeat, tail tucked between his legs, not after all the grand speeches he'd made about his paintings making him famous one day.
Give up the dream when he was so close he could taste it? Okay, he hadn't accomplished what he'd hoped in this last year, but yesterday, he'd stopped at a gallery to make enquiries and they'd invited him to bring a few pieces in. Trying to choose which pieces to include had given him a headache; what if he chose the wrong ones? What if the gallery declined because he'd included this work rather than that work?
So he was sitting in a café, staring at the distant Eiffel Tower and trying to reclaim his natural ebullience, something he'd had scads of at age twenty, when he'd first arrived in France, but now at twenty-one, seemed to have gone missing. How quickly this beautiful city had beaten him down, stripped him of fearlessness, and taught him that the things you wanted most were often just beyond your grasp.
For instance, take the waiter, whose name was Alain. Cal had been coming to this café for months, and Alain was almost always the one who took his order, and yet Cal had never asked him out. The one time he'd made the attempt, Alain had sweetly deflected him, and Cal had never tried again.
They'd never flirted, never eye-fucked, never so much as touched hands in passing, but Cal couldn't stop fantasizing about him. Alain was tall and slender and had thick dark hair and beautiful blue eyes and the sultriest voice he'd ever heard. When he spoke to Cal, his accented English pleasantly tickled Cal's ear and caused a flutter in his dick. At night, in the narrow bed in his studio, he would toss and turn as he masturbated to the picture of Alain in his mind, imagining that young man's full lips sucking him until he came with a long cry, and fall into restless dreams that starred Alain holding him close. Half his paintings featured Alain in various poses, most of them naked, and all of them sensual.
Back in Seattle, he wouldn't have hesitated to pursue Alain, but in Paris, he'd retreated inside himself, made nervous by the unfamiliar, his self-confidence contracting to a mere shadow of its former self.
Cal watched Alain weave expertly through the tables on the patio, speaking quickly to patrons as he passed, a ready smile on his face, and then it was his turn.
"Would you like more coffee?" Alain asked. "Or perhaps, now that it is midday, you would prefer to order lunch?"
Cal could have listened to Alain speak for hours. Angels wouldn't sound half as beautiful, Cal was sure of it. He opened his mouth to say something and was interrupted by a blast of English from a man two tables over.
"Get this damn cat out of here!"
Alain turned. Hell, everyone craned their necks to see what the ruckus was about. A skinny black cat had leapt up on the table and stuck its face in a glass of milk. The couple seated there gazed at it with something like horror. They were obviously American, and the man was the one who'd yelled.
Cal instantly started to laugh. Dogs were welcome almost everywhere in Paris but cats, not so much, and this one was obviously a stray.
Before anyone could move, Cal was on his feet and scooping the cat into his arms. "He's hungry," he said to the couple. "No harm done."
"Cats are filthy animals," the American insisted and gestured to Alain. "Remove that glass and bring me a fresh one."
Cal grabbed it before Alain could. "I'll take it. For the cat." Turning to Alain, he said, "Put it on my tab, please."
Retreating to his table, Cal sat with the cat in his lap and held the glass so he could drink from it. Cal could feel the tiny bones in the taut body beneath his hand and was moved. He'd always been a sucker for needy creatures. He petted the animal while it drank and heard it start to purr.
Alain was back. "I think you have a new pet."
Cal glanced up at him. "I can't keep him. I'm going home in a few days."
"May I ask why?"
Still stroking the cat, Cal told him. The words poured out and at the end, embarrassed, he abruptly shut his mouth, avoiding looking at the waiter, who surprised him by pulling the extra chair over and sitting beside him.
"You don't want to go home. You want to stay."
"I've run out of money."
"In Paris, people don't live on money. They live on sex and love and all that is beautiful."
Cal looked at him then, and saw softness in Alain's eyes that had not been there before. He blurted, "Will you go out with me tonight?"
Alain's smile grew larger. "I will, if you keep the cat and show me your paintings."
Alain would see how much he meant to Cal, but suddenly, he didn't care. It was time he took control of his life again. The veil that had covered the sun was gone and colors danced around him. "I can do that."
"What will you name the cat?"
"Why don't we name him together?" Cal suggested boldly.
Alain laughed and placed a hand over Cal's. "Paris a conquis une autre âme. You will not return to Seattle, I think."
Cal translated the French in his head: Paris has captured another soul. Grinning, he turned his hand up and laced his fingers through Alain's. The cat continued to drink his milk, purring in contentment.
|WHAT I'M READING Ariel Tachna, Social Media Coordinator
Hidden Treasure by V.B. Kildaire
According to legend, five hundred years ago the country of Connmeera sent an exceptional gift to the country of Ormslea, but the ship was overtaken and the treasure lost. Now proof of the treasure has been found in the vast, daunting country of Jarvoct, and Connmeera and Ormslea mount a joint venture to recover the treasure. Ormslea sends Jaxom Archeron, the son of a noble family, an elite soldier known for his dedication to duty. But the Queen of Connmeera chooses Lord Dorian Pelias, a poor relation who could benefit even if the mission is unsuccessful.
While the two men at first have nothing in common, as they travel, Dorian's intelligence, optimism, and kindness work their way past the wall of resolve Jaxom long ago constructed around his heart. When a Jarv prince attempts to enslave Dorian for his own purposes, Jaxom comes to his rescue, shaken by how much Dorian has come to mean to him. Recovering the treasure isn't the only challenge they will face as they search for common ground and a life in disparate countries that may not be so pleased to welcome them home.
Ariel's thoughts: I love fantasy. I should preface any review of Hidden Treasure with that statement. I cut my teeth as an preteen on Susan Cooper and Madeleine L'Engle. J.R.R. Tolkien is my hero. Therefore it should come as no real surprise that I loved this book. V.B. Kildaire creates a classic fantasy world here with two kingdoms divided by past strife and two heroes struggling to heal that rift. More importantly, though, she creates two memorable men with foibles and weaknesses and real depths. Dorian especially stays with me because of his kindness, compassion, and gentleness, not necessarily the typical trait of a fantasy warrior, yet it is those traits that save the day time and again. - Ariel Tachna, Social Media Coordinator
Free Short Story:|
The Café Cat by Theo Fenraven
Calls for Submissions - Contest
News - What I'm Reading - Recommended Reads
About Us - Unsubscribe
New Releases - Coming Soon
The following authors will host Meet the Author events at Dreamspinner Press's Goodreads group this month. All Meet the Author events are from 1 to 6 pm EST unless otherwise noted:|
Joel Skelton - March 10, Zahra Owens - March 17, Red Haircrow - March 24, Susan Laine - March 31
The following authors will host Meet the Author events at Dreamspinner Press's Facebook page this month. All Meet the Author events are from 1 to 6 pm EST unless otherwise noted:
Tara Larson - March 10, Edmond Manning - March 17, PD Singer - March 31
Our Goodreads Book Club starts this month with A Note in the Margin by Isabelle Rowan. Discussion has already begun. Isabelle will join us at the group on March 30, 2012, from 6-9 pm EST (GMT-5). You can get a discount on all of Isabelle's books. Just check out the discussion thread for details.
Once again, Dreamspinner's books are well represented at the TLAGaybies! Voting goes through March 31. Vote early, vote often!
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 2012
Edited by Anne Regan
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Whether it's a dog, cat, horse, snake, hamster, bird, ferret, goldfish, or something more exotic, owning a pet or working with animals has been proven to make people happier. In these stories, animals of all sorts should serve as the catalyst for bringing lovers together. Bonus points for working unusual or exotic animals into the story.
Editor's Note: No paranormal, no bestiality.
Submission Deadline: May 21, 2012
Don't Try This at Home
Edited by Julianne Bentley
Bonked heads. Rough carpet. Burned dinner. Awkward silence. Bitten lips. Startling length. Spilled wax. Pinched fingers. Shattered wineglass. Closet quickie. Flat souffle. Broken bedframe. Shower sex. Overzealous spanking. Embarrassing ex. Lost wallet. Terrible taste. Sore shoulders. Noxious odor. Absent date. Unbelievable girth. Kitchen canoodling. New toy. Stained sheets. Backward compliment. Stifling pillow. Locked handcuffs. Aching ass. Missing keys. Torn seams. Wrenched back. Angry cat. Overeager pass. Uncooperative zipper.
Something always goes wrong in real life. Fortunately, love blunts the edges so that romance trumps adversity.
Editor's Note: Humor a plus, no rape/nonconsensual situations, contemporary genre only.
Submission Deadline: July 16, 2012
2012 Advent Calendar - A Story a Day in the Month of December
Edited by Lynn West
When it comes to romance, ageless images are carried forever in your heart: A candle in the window burning bright. Warmth billowing from an old stone hearth. Snowflakes falling from the night sky under a full moon. Twinkle lights glinting in a lover's eyes. Romance during the winter holidays is evergreen, and these stories will get you in the mood for love. Your Christmas present to yourself!
Editor's Note: Because of the packaged nature of the set, all stories need to stand alone. No sequels to or spin-offs of previously published works, please.
Submission Deadline: Sept. 1, 2012
Snow on the Roof
Edited by Anne Regan
"Just because there's snow on the roof, doesn't mean the fire's gone out in the furnace." There's something to be said for maturity and experience, and in all of these relationships, at least one of the lovers is over forty. Whether it's a May/December romance, a second chance at love, or finding a soul mate later in life, these stories prove that it's never too late for love.
Editor's Note: At least one of the couple must be age 40+.
Submission Deadline: Nov. 19, 2012
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.
By Shira Anthony
"Ms. Anthony explores the more confusing aspects of sexuality in a simple story that should resonate with others who may have faced similar situations, where common sense loses out to what your heart is telling you is right." -- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
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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