Friday, December 28, 2012

The sign reads: PRE-ORDER!



           So, I get this e-mail last night at 5:31pm that says my novel is now listed on the “coming soon” page of Dreamspinner Press’ website!! *stoked* I click over. It is all the way at the bottom of the “Coming Soon” page because the release date for My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! is December 31, 2012!! So… can you say NEW YEAR’S EVE PRESENT? So freakin’ exciting! So, of course, I texted several friends right away! (Am I using too many exclamation points?) !!!!!!

            Along with my PRE-ORDER link, I got a “package” of promo stuff. Like a banner of the book – gonna put that on Facebook I guess – and some picture that can be used on book marks and postcards. I DID send out postcards to book stores for WLINE. Hmm, maybe I’ll do that again. Can’t hurt.

            With the idea of “pre-order” in mind… R.B. was the first to tell me she pre-ordered it! How exciting is that? Dude! I’m like flyin’!! Sales for When Love is Not Enough were good enough for me, but not so competitive and lucrative for the publisher. (And we all know publishers like to make money, else why do they publish ANYTHING?) So, I’m really looking forward to this one! I need my publisher to be excited about me as an author. I want them to say, “Cool, Wade’s sent another novel over to read. Yay! Better get on it, might be the next bestseller!” … As apposed to the alternative – “Oh, Wade’s sent us another ‘loser’ novel to try and sell. Gee, do we read it now, or wait until we have nothing better to do?” I know I’ve said before that I don’t write for the money; I’m writing what means something to ME!! (And this one totally does!) BUT, if the stuff I write is so lame &/or unpopular that publishers can’t sell it, than it is harder on me.

            The road to self-publishing is rougher than I imagined. And WAAAAAY longer! My editor is making look smarter (because we all know I can’t use punstuation correctly) but the editing is taking so loooong!!! AND I have to re-write chapter 16 so I’m bummed about that! *For those who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, I’m trying to self-publish the sequel to When Love Is Not Enough. It’s titled The Cost of Loving and the cover and book blurb are on my website!*

            And why do I have to self-publish a sequel? Because WLINE was not a very popular book? It’s depressing. it’s extremely sad, it’s about gay suicide, it’s got POV shifts, and the novel is one huge rollercoaster ride of emotions that will rip a reader’s heart out! People don’t seem to appreciate that! ??? Why?

            To be far, I have some really awesome “fans” and followers that read it and some would even read it again! On Goodreads, I officially have 105 fans! I think that’s awesome!! I also have 60 followers on Twitter. (I also have loads of  “friends” on facebook but for the most part, I don’t talk to many. The core group of the Facebook friends are connected to me on Goodreads and Twitter and some e-mail.) I am very appreciative of my fans and followers! Thank you, Thank you!

            I’m not great at promotion. Sometimes I don’t really know where to go. I think that if all I do is promote and push people, I’ll lose my time to write the next one. And I’ll be just like every other writer promo’ing the crap out of people and pages. (Or do I already do that on here??) hmm. Anyway. I’m looking into guest-blogging. That sounds good. But I will also rely on my fans. Please spread the word! My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! comes out on December 31st!!!! The “Pre-order” button is on the Dreamspinner Press page, and I signed the first 20 paperbacks! I’d love nothing more than to ROCK THEIR WORLD because of my loyal fan base. You may not be large in numbers, but you are what keeps me writing! And hey, if you like My Roommate’s a Jock when you read it, please—recommend it to friends. Word of mouth is normally the fastest way to spread joy!

            Not sure what else to say? The previous blog has an excerpt. AND cover art! I think this book is going to knock your socks off!

            Later gaters,
            Wade Kelly
            xoxox

*Copied from Wade's Blog from Dec 4th)


EXCERPT:

Chapter 1
A World in Decay
Someone told me I’m a cynical fatalist, but I prefer the term realist. I guess I tend to see things of this world in a slow process of decay, either from a scientific perspective—since I’m a physics major—or from personal experience. The way I see it, that guy Murphy had it right every time. Do you know him? He’s the one who wrote Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” It’s actually a quote of the fourth law of thermodynamics, and the originator is unknown. (I read that on Wikipedia, but that’s beside the point.)
The long and short of it is, things go wrong in my life—always have.
It should not have surprised me when my roommate of the past three years decided to graduate and move to Texas with his girlfriend. The nerve of him! Jonathan was the best roommate ever. He was neat, and quiet, and never had sex on the couch—that I know of. He tolerated my quirks and always made me tea on Sunday mornings.
I miss him.
The summer was boring after he left.
Who was going to play canasta with me? Or build puzzles? Or realize that I needed chocolate as I studied for every test whether I asked for it or not?
I trudged around campus in a state of despair for days after he left.
Okay, I realize that the term “days” doesn’t make me sound very hopeless, but being the realist that I am made me see that milling around with my chin resting on my chest was only going to get me run over if I happened to miss the sidewalk and wander into traffic. I moped for an appropriate amount of time and then typed up a flyer for the campus bulletin board: “Roommate Wanted.”
I never needed to find a roommate before.
Back when I enrolled at this college, Jonathan Keys practically stumbled over me in the housing line. The college had just acquired three more single-family homes on the edge of campus grounds and opened them for occupancy. First come, first serve. There was a minimal upcharge over regular dorm fees, but the perks were worth it. Guidelines for tenancy were minimal as long as the house was maintained properly—which basically meant that if you trashed it, you got kicked out—but otherwise, those who lived there governed themselves. No RA! (Resident Assistant for those not aware of dorm-speak.)
Awesomenicity!
The house I was “lucky” enough to make it into had six bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a dining room, and three baths. Four of the other guys assigned to the same residence were sports fanatics and one was a math major. I loathe jocks! Not that you can lump all sports guys together and assume they know everything about sports, but my point is, I had nothing in common with those guys. Jon was the math major.
We made it through one semester of parties and hooting at the television during football season before a suite in a neighboring house opened up. Jon knew the housing overlord and requested the suite before it was open to the general (college) public. It was so much nicer!
This house was two houses down the street, so moving was a breeze. The layout was also different from most campus housing. Instead of one floor of bedrooms and then living space on the bottom floor, this unit had three floors of two bedrooms and living space combined. I wasn’t sure about the efficiency of that design; perhaps it was three rental apartments at one time before the campus purchased it. I didn’t know.
Whatever the explanation, Jon and I had it made! The top floor was just ours—two bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen, and a living area to share.
And then my buddy Jonathan graduated in May.
It was the worst day of my life.
I kind of didn’t mention to anyone that I was living alone at this point because if I did, the housing department would peruse the list of “standby” students and assign someone to my perfect little corner of the campus. I wanted to avoid that. I thought if I advertised in places that promised interesting prospects—i.e., the physics building and the library—then I would hopefully avoid the types of people I dreaded living with: jocks! Ahem. *clears throat*
The plan was going okay, I guess. I had a few guys call me up, but I was looking for someone who reminded me of Jon—someone smart and funny, and who didn’t care if I watched History Channel on Friday night. Two guys inquired. I just didn’t feel right saying yes.
In retrospect, I should have at least met with them instead of shooting them down over the phone, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I was still moping about Jon moving. I was about to put up another flyer in the electronics lab when the housing director stopped me. “Isn’t there an opening in your building?”
I looked up, bewildered, blinking as the sun burned into my retinas. “Um….” I hesitated. “Who’s asking?”
He gave me a look that told me I shouldn’t be so stupid. “I am, Cole. You know I need to fill that space as soon as possible. You should’ve contacted me weeks ago. You know there’s a list at least fifty students long who would love to live in those houses instead of the dorms.”
“It’s not my fault he moved out early.”
“Cole.”
I sighed and scuffed my shoe on the ground. Of course I knew he was right. “Sorry. I guess I was stalling. Do you think I could look for my own roommate?” I gave him the most pathetic pout I could muster and tipped my head to the side. I hoped he would give in. My pathetic look always worked on my mom. The term “puppy-dog eyes” didn’t hold a candle to my expression. Of course he caved.
“Okay—but only because you keep the neatest apartment on campus. God help me if I assigned someone who messed up your routine and dropped Cheetos on the carpet.”
I smiled and said heartily, “Thanks, Stan. You’re the best!”
“But, Cole, I can only give you six weeks to decide on someone. By August 15 the other bedroom in your apartment needs to be filled. Got it?”
I cringed internally. I hated deadlines. I know, I have them all the time with projects and exams, but having a deadline that was not school related made me nervous. “August 15, got it!” I assured Stan the housing man with a nod.
He turned and walked off, and I was left with a cold sense of dread that whoever applied to live with me would turn out to be a slob, or a drum major, or the worst of the worst—a jock! I wasn’t looking forward to it.
So, I made a flyer.
Male roommate wanted to share a two-bedroom apartment off campus. Must be clean, friendly, quiet, and study-oriented. Preferably not a freshman. Must love books, games, and spy movies. To apply call: 717-782-1969 and ask for Cole.
I posted the flyer all over campus. I thought for sure I’d have loads of inquiries. I was so dead wrong. During the summer, students went home. During the summer, students were not thinking of housing unless they were freshman and didn’t have housing. No one called except one girl. Did she not read the flyer? I am not living with a girl. I had enough of that growing up with an older sister. Still, I was disappointed. Not even a nibble. Did I come off too controlling on the flyer?
Needless to say, Stan the housing man came knocking on my door August 15. “Did you find someone?” Stan asked.
He really was a great guy; I couldn’t fault him for doing his job. “No,” I huffed, crossing my arms over my chest in a gesture of aggravation. No matter what, I wasn’t going to be happy with whoever he picked from his list, so I thought I’d start off right with full-out petulance.
“Cole, come on,” he pleaded, trying to coax me to see the bright side. “We’ve known each other for three years. I think I know you pretty well by now. No one else would have noticed the lab was painted two shades of gray except you. No one but you caught the typo on the theater marquee last year. And you are the only I guy I know who can quote both The Bourne Identity and P.S. I Love You word for word.” He lifted his eyebrows and grinned.
I exhaled noisily. “Fine. Just… don’t pick a jock, okay? You know I’m not good at sports, and watching football all winter might kill me.”
He chuckled. “I can’t promise anything. The list is long, and I have to pick someone today. I have my job instructions too, you know.”
“Okay.”
I shook his hand, and he left the apartment.
I closed the door and leaned against it, looking at my little home away from home.
Jon and I picked out the green sofa the first year. The coffee table was sitting by a dumpster in town, and he refinished it for me when I said I disliked the color of the stain. My mom gave us the Oriental rug and the Van Gogh print that hung by the breakfast bar. We bought the television together, and he said I could keep it when he moved out. Things would change soon. Maybe the new guy would hate the dishes or spill sugar on the kitchen floor?
I started to panic. I was good at working myself into a tizzy. I flattened my body against the door, closed my eyes, and took deep breaths. I can do this, I can do this, I repeated to myself. Change is good.
Twenty minutes later I got a call from Stan—he’d found someone.
“Seriously?” I asked in a higher than normal pitch. I rested one palm on the kitchen counter, and my wandering eyes noticed a raisin hiding behind the flour bin. What is that doing there?
“Yeah,” Stan said. “I told you I have a long list.”
I tossed the raisin in the trash. “Is he a freshman?” He had to be!
“No.”
“Does he wear Hawaiian shirts?” Why I asked that, I’ll never know—it just slipped out.
“No.”
“Does he know any three-syllable words?”
“I believe he does. He’s an English major.”
“Hmm.” I contemplated the possibility that Stan had picked someone I’d approve of as I strolled into the living room and sat on my sofa. An English major was promising. “What’s his name?”
“Ellis.”
“Ellis?” I know it came out bad, the way I questioned his name, but it wasn’t like I was talking to Ellis about his unusual name. I’d never known anyone by that name. Ellis. It sounded nerdy. Maybe I really would luck out with a great roommate. I did with Jonathan.
Stan then confirmed the name again as if I wasn’t listening. “Ellis. Don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll be fine. I spoke to his mother today.”
“His mother? I thought you said he wasn’t a freshman.”
“He’s not. He’s a junior, but he’s been commuting from home because housing is so expensive. This year he sold his car to pay for housing and applied. Listen, Cole, I got another call coming in. Don’t worry. He’ll work out.”
Sold his car? That sounds desperate. Then again, if I still lived with my parents, I would probably turn desperate too. “Any idea when he’ll be here?”
“Should be anytime now. He said he was leaving home thirty minutes ago with a buddy.”
“What?” I panicked, looking around frantically for anything lying on the floor or inexplicably out of place.
“Good-bye, Cole.” Stan politely yet abruptly hung up.
A roommate. He was on his way. I could do this.
Someone knocked at my door and I jumped.
Shit! I’m not ready yet!
I set the phone in its cradle on the breakfast bar and walked over to the door. I smelled my pits—passable. I fingered my hair and gave my body a good wiggle to release tension right before I took a hold of the handle and reminded myself to breathe. Everything would be all right. I turned the handle. This was the moment of truth.
A bright white smile greeted me as I opened the door. “Hi. My name’s Ellis Montgomery. Are you Cole? I was told you had a room available.”
I know he was speaking, but my brain shut off the moment I looked into the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen in my life.
Oh boy, am I in trouble!



Friday, December 21, 2012

Step by Step: the making of CAPITAL GAMES THE MOVIE- Part 12


(Copied from her official blog!)

For those of you who have been following my blog on the making of CAPITAL GAMES THE MOVIE here's my next chapter....


What a process this is, by the way. Any of you wish to make a film out of your own novel, let me tell you, get ready for the ride of your life. It takes so may twists and turns it will be an adventure you will never forget. Both good and bad, by the way.

But sometimes when you've been through hell and back, life once again brings you angels. What I struggled with during production has turned full circle to an amazing few people in post production who made up for all the egos and bullshit. Like a bizzaro world where you are dealing with the exact opposite of what you had been. (Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode, but I digress)

My editor. My post production supervisor. My composer. My song writer and recorder. What would I do without them?

Sometimes fate brings together an amazing group of people and sometimes it does not. In my case, in post production, it has. Katiene Norton. If you don't know who she is, look her up on IMBd. She's amazing. An Emmy winner!! A woman with so much drive and talent in her field, I am thrilled to be sitting beside her as she works her magic on the keyboard of the computer like a concert pianist. Her kindness, her intelligence, and her guidance has brought me to where I am now. A trailer- so incredible- I can't believe it's for my film, and a movie so close to lock down, we are getting giddy.

Take a peek at the movie trailer if you haven't already:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gm-lfCv9Wk&list=UL

I thought this trailer would be easy, you know, a little cut and paste. Oh hell no. It was a whole day of finding audio clips, making things mesh, special effects, figuring out taglines. Nothing about this industry is easy except sitting in the audience and watching it.

The next step is showing the film on a full sized cinema screen so we can catch anything that we can't see on the computer we are editing on. A big screen. Like in- a REAL movie. I can't imagine what this film will look like LARGE. The few who are invited will be helping me critique, correct, and get it perfect. Or as perfect as this low budget film can be. Are there mistakes? Yeah, I see them. I just hope the quality of the cinematography and acting will blow you all away, and keep the nit-pickers at bay.

I also hope to get this complete- locked and loaded by the end of the year, and if you people can't feel 2013 breathing down your neck, let me tell you, it is. There are so many festivals to send it out to, we are missing many deadlines already. But both Katiene and I want this to be the best it can be. So instead of rushing it, making it available for festivals before it's time, we are slowing down and doing it right. The helicopter footage, well, that was certainly worth the wait. You'll be flying high over LA with me. So, yes, I want it now, and all my fans want it now. Believe me. It's hard making it better and better, when we could just throw it out there and get it done.

Which festival will be the first one to premiere this film? No idea. I could end up flying to Paris or Amsterdam for it. But it will be as good as it can get for all my fans. That's my promise to you. Step by step, this film is getting closer, and when you crave to see a peek, need to admire Mark and Steve and Jack? Click my YouTube link and enjoy.

I'm running as fast as I can for all of you, and I hope it will be up to your expectations.


Be safe out there.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Author Spotlight: Rick R Reed!


Rick R. Reed has been a very busy man this summer and fall, which saw the releases of two novels, CHASER in August, RENT in September, and a modern-day gay fairy tale, BEAU AND THE BEAST in November. The books are very different tales, but they all share one common theme--finding true love in today's sometimes confusing world.
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a two-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, "a writer that doesn't disappoint." Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever "at work on another novel."


Beau And The Beast 
by Rick R. Reed 

ISBN-13: 978-1-61124-346-8 (Electronic)


Inspired by the timeless tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, Rick R. Reed has crafted a new fairy tale for our times that manages to be ethereal, romantic and ripped-from-the-headlines realistic.
Beau is a down-on-his-luck street artist living on the streets of Seattle, drawing portraits of tourists to make enough money to live hand-to-mouth. He has a knack for capturing his subjects’ “very souls” on paper. One rainy night, he is accosted by a group of fag-bashing thugs, intent on robbing him of his art supplies and humiliating Beau for who he is. Beau is beaten into unconsciousness...
...And awakens in a beautiful bedroom, his head bandaged and with no memory of how he got there. Outside his window pine trees and mountain vistas beckon.
Beau’s tale grows even more mysterious when a large, muscular man begins bringing the injured Beau his food. The man says nothing—and wears a wolf mask. When he finally does speak, it’s only to tell Beau to call him “Beast.”
What secrets does the wolf mask hide? What do these two outsiders have in common? And will their odd circumstances bring them to the brink of love—or tear them apart? The answers lie in Rick R. Reed’s haunting love story that reveals that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / Fantasy / Fairy Tale 
Heat Level: 
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (14k words)



A NOTE BEFORE PURCHASING:
This title is part of the Once Upon A Fairy Tale AmberPax™ Collection. To purchase this title individually, use the shopping cart below. To purchase this title as part of the entire AmberPax™ and receive a 25% discount off our normal price, use the shopping cart on this page.


Read a short excerpt...

...“So you brought me here? Where is here, anyway? And why didn’t you just take me to a hospital?”
“One question at a time.” The man paused, as though he were pondering which question to answer first, prioritizing them. “I thought about taking you to a hospital, but I don’t like to have much contact with other people. It’s a long story, but let’s just say I don’t have healthy memories of my time among them. I did, however, examine you, right there in the street, checking to see how severe your cuts and bumps were. I was able to determine, best I could, that while you looked like hell, nothing had happened to you that couldn’t be fixed with time and care.”
The wolf’s face turned to Beau and he could feel the man’s gaze upon him. “I still don’t know if I made the right choice. Your admission that you don’t remember what happened to you concerns me; perhaps I need to reconsider.
“In any event, I checked you over and determined that you needed help, so I brought you here, to my home. We are in a remote area east of Seattle, in the foothills of the Cascades. I had this house built for me to meet my need for solitude. I did not bring you here to keep you against your will; let me make that clear. You are free to leave whenever you like.”
Beau looked around him. He had never, in his whole life, been ensconced in such comforting and comfortable surroundings. Still, this was weird. “My things? Where are my things?”
The man put a gentle hand on Beau’s knee. “You had nothing, just the clothes on your back and those were torn and bloody.” He paused. “I had to throw them away. We’ll see that you get some new ones when you want to go.”
The man said nothing for several moments, and then went on. “I think you should stay with me for a few more days. Get yourself more properly healed and then, when you’re ready, I will not only see that you are clothed, but that you have safe transport back to Seattle. And if you need, we can also get you to a doctor. I suspect, though, you’re still in a bit of shock and that’s affected your memory.”
“Why would you do this?” Beau wondered.
“Why wouldn’t I? What kind of beast would I be if I left you all alone, bleeding and hurt, in that alley? I only did what I would want someone to do for me if the tables were turned.”
“But all of this….” Beau gestured to the room with his hand. “All of this seems above and beyond the call.”
“Perhaps for some. I suppose I could have left you at an emergency room and washed my hands of you. But that’s not me. I hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty to bring you here.”
“I don’t know what to think. I wish I could remember what happened.” But Beau wasn’t so sure he wanted that wish granted. Already, shadowy images were swirling around in his memory, hooded figures, cold—and they filled him with dread.
“You will.” The man stood. “Now, I think you should eat before everything gets totally cold. There’s roast chicken there….” He took a few steps toward the door. “In the morning, I’ll bring you some clothes and we can go outside, if you feel up to it.”
The man was closing the door behind him.
“Wait!” Beau called after him. “Who are you? You haven’t told me who you are.”
The man turned slightly and gestured toward the mask. “Just call me Beast.” He chuckled, but the sound carried no mirth, only despair. “It’s what I am, anyway.”

Before Beau could say anything else, Beast had closed the door...


http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/bio_Reed.html 



Monday, November 19, 2012

A Thought Experiment and its Consequences…

As an author, it is my job to wonder “What if…?” With this story, I took the concept a little further than usual, resulting in a setting that can only be called ‘alternate history’. I took the Mongol culture of about AD 400 and asked, “What if…they had never been defeated by the Chinese, and, later, by the Christians?” What sort of a society would they have ended up with?



I have taken a lot of liberties in assuming what might have happened, especially in the area of potential magic and wizardry. This last takes the story into the realms of fantasy, but who knows what might have happened? The names and places I mention are all based on Mongol culture, though. While you won’t need a glossary to understand, here are a few examples:



Bayar: Joy

Chinux: Wolf

Khaganate: legendary empire of times past

Khanate: largest section left of the former empire

Naiman: common name of the
Khanate
Naman: ruling royal family of the
Khanate, name derived from the
Khanate’s name

Khan: nobleman in Mongol times; the king in this book

Qara: black



Playing with alternate history has been fun for me. I hope you will enjoy reading about the results of my thought experiment as much as I loved coming up with it.




Serena


www.serenayates.com


Check out :
Even though Prince Bayar of Nieman loves researching history and the Old Magic, a quest to find the legendary parchment thief is not on his list of things to do...

The parchment thief has been stealing books and scrolls all over Nieman, but when he manages to enter the Royal Library, the Khan's patience runs out. He decides it is time for a change of tactics and puts his youngest son, Bayar, in charge of solving the mystery of the thief's identity. Bayar is as surprised about this as about the fact he is going to have a guardian-the ruggedly attractive Chinux.

Chinux is a bounty hunter of some renown and very much his own man. He relishes the challenge of finding the parchment thief and bringing him to justice, even if he has to 'babysit' the youngest prince in the process. When Bayar and Chinux discover the thief's identity, they are shocked.

Will the quest to find and bring him to justice tear them apart or bring them closer together?

Reader Advisory: This story has been previously released as part of the Sins of Autumn anthology by Total-E-Bound.

http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=73&P_ID=1846

Monday, November 12, 2012

Marcus’s Cinnamin Rolls


In celebration of A Slice of Love, I’m publishing the inspirational recipes.  A few days ago, I shared Marcus’s carrot cake recipe and now I’m sharing Marcus’s cinnamon roll recipe.  I love a good cinnamon roll… so enjoy… just in time for Sunday breakfast.
To make a small fortune, start with a large fortune and open a bakery. That’s the advice Marcus Wilson has heard. Unfortunately, Marcus doesn’t have a large fortune—just a bakery, A Slice of Heaven, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the determination to make it successful. He needs more help than he can afford, so when he hires accountant Gregory Southland, it’s for hours in the shop as well as on the books.
Gregory takes a second job at the bakery to help pay the bills now that his health is improving. Soon he’s looking forward to spending time with Marcus, but as the business—and their relationship—grows, so do the complications: First Marcus’s stepmother involves him in a cause that could give the bakery a reputation it doesn’t need. Then Marcus and Gregory disagree over whether to involve A Slice of Heaven in a civil rights dispute. To top it off, Gregory’s ex-boyfriend makes an appearance just when he is at his most vulnerable. But the greatest complication by far is Marcus and Gregory’s struggle to learn to trust each other and themselves, especially when it comes to baking up matters of the heart.
Cinnamon Roll Ingredients:
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1egg

Cinnamon Schmear Ingredients:
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Icing ingredients:
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions
Warm the milk in a small microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until it bubbles. Add the 1/4 cup butter and stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, instant yeast, granulated sugar, and salt; mix well. Add the 1/4 cup water, egg, and the milk/butter mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. This can also be made in a stand mixer starting with a paddle and kneading with the dough hook once the dough has come together.
Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 20 minutes in a warm place. While the dough is resting, make cinnamon schmear:  in a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, 1/2 cup softened butter, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
Once the dough has rested, place it on a floured surface and stretch/flatten into a rough square shape. Roll out dough into a rectangle approximately 12″ x 9″. Spread dough with cinnamon schmear, leaving a 1/2 inch border on one long edge of the dough un-schmeared. Brush the 1/2 inch border with a little milk to help it seal.
Starting at the long edge that is schmeared, roll up dough the long way (to make a 12-inch log) toward the 1/2 border. Roll up fairly tightly and press the border to seal the roll. Use a sharp knife to cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in a 9″ x 13″ buttered baking pan (3 rows of 4). Cover lightly and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). While rolls are rising, make the cream cheese icing:  in a medium bowl, beat together the 3 oz. package cream cheese, the 1/4 cup softened butter, and the 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Beat in the 2 cups powdered sugar until the icing is creamy.
Once the rolls have risen, bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or until browned. Cool in pan for 20 minutes and ice with cream cheese icing before serving.

>> Post copied from Andrew's BLOG on Wordpress.com


No Brainer by Rebecca Leigh

Grace Jones is a government-employed zombie killer. Ethan Waters is a zombie. Together Ethan and Grace battle the zombie mafia and have hot sex. But will they also find love?

Grace Jones is a government-employed zombie killer. As a member of the elite Zombie Investigative Agency, she spends her days ridding the world of lower zombies. Her nine-to-five gig is turned upside down when she's assigned to investigate the zombie mafia's Red Brain Project. One of the members of her team is an ex-lover and the other is a zombie.
Ethan Waters is a zombie. Different from the brain-sucking and savage lower zombies, Ethan lives the more sophisticated life of an upper zombie. Ethan turns out to be the perfect compassionate foil to Grace's often emotionless slayer. Together Ethan and Grace battle the zombie mafia, have hot sex, and also find love.
CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains a HFN ending. (And it is M/F!)

The worst part of entering a lair is the stench.

"Fuck!" My body doubles over.

I can't stop the yellowish-green, sour liquid from curling through my throat and spurting out of my mouth. If I'd eaten one damn thing today, I would have puked it up. As it is there's only bile. The acid from my stomach burns my throat and sears my tongue. My queasy gut isn't exactly an asset when it comes to my job.

I've smelled rotting flesh before, plenty of times, but the stink in this house is as overpowering as it gets. The air smells like something has been decomposing in here for weeks.

I swat the flies buzzing around my head as I step through the open door and over the threshold. Another wave hits me and more bile lands on the dirty hardwood floors. Puking has become somewhat of standard fare for me in the past couple years. You'd think I'd get used to it, but I never have. My sense of smell was just designed a little too acute to deal. I wipe thin strings of spit from my mouth and continue into the hall of death.

I cover my nose with my hand in an attempt to stave off at least some of the stench. It doesn't help. The aroma of decay lingers in the air as thick as the humidity after a hard rain in the middle of summer. Breathing only through gritted teeth doesn't help because the smell manifests itself in my mouth with a rotten and stale flavor. I love living in central Texas, but the weather is not good for my line of work. Even in the winter, it's too damn hot to go looking for dead bodies.

I pick up my pace, running across the entryway and into the first room on the left. The closer I get, the more pungent the odor. I've been doing this job too long not to realize I'm heading in the right direction.

If the stench wasn't enough of a sign, the trail of blood leading from the front door would be a dead giveaway. No pun intended. What'd they do, order take-out and drag in the pizza boy kicking and screaming?

Apparently the answer to that is yes--and a whole lot more.

Finding the bodies is close to unbearable. I can deal with destroying the undead. Hell, I live for that shit. I can even handle quelling the last signs of life in any of the victims exposed to the virus that threaten to rise again. Offing them before they come back makes my job easier anyway. But seeing the used and discarded bodies is definitely the worst.

The stench coming from what was once the study is unbearable.

It was probably a comfortable and quaint room a couple of decades ago. A rock-covered fireplace sits nestled in the corner with cedar logs that were never lit. The Victorian-themed furniture would have been comfortable after a long day at work. The graying colors, muted tones of blue and green, would have been relaxing.

For a moment, I wonder who'd lived here--before it became a haven for the undead. Maybe a man and woman with a couple of kids. I bet they had a maid. People that own grand homes like this always have a maid. A nanny too, to raise their offspring. The man would come home from a hard day's work and the little wife-y would have his tonic waiting. The kids would scramble around his feet to vie for daddy's attention. There are no pictures in the room to signal whether my guess is correct. Did the family escape the monsters that took over their abode? Or did they join the fray?

If this were my place, I'd kick my heels onto the ottoman and stretch out on the loveseat. Maybe have a shot of vodka. A stiff drink is about the only thing that can calm my nerves these days. I'd close my eyes and dream of a world where my job wasn't necessary, a world where the dead stay dead.

But this is not my place. This house hasn't belonged to anyone in years. At least not anyone alive.

The furniture is dusty and riddled with holes. Cobwebs hang from the ceilings. The cherry floor is unpolished, dirty, and cracked.

And in the middle of it all is a pile of bodies.

As I walk closer I can see maybe seven different heads. Or what's left of them, discarded like so much rubbish. Under bloodied and matted hair, open skulls still ooze the last remnants of brains.

I walk slowly over to the pile and kick the bodies around. Some of the limbs still stiff with rigor mortis fall to the side. All the eyes are wide with the last horror of impending death. The eyes stare, piercing through nothingness with a plea for help that never came.

From the vestiges of boobs and dicks, it looks like four men and three women. Some of them have been dead longer than others. On some, the blood smeared from head to toe is crusted. On others, even the gray matter is starting to dry. A few have maggots squirming around in the festering flesh.

I've learned to tell how long someone's been dead by the stage of decomposition. The types of insects and the vapors emitted from a body depend on the stage. Most of these seven unlucky souls are nearing the putrification stage. The bodies are bloated and have a greenish brown tint.

The zombies had a fucking feast. A brain luau.

I examine the bodies up close one more time to make sure that none of them will rise again. The best way to tell is by examining the gray matter. I wasn't very good at it in the beginning, but now it only takes me a few minutes to figure it out. The easiest way to tell is by how much brains are left in the skull. More brains equals higher likelihood of a new zombie entering the world. If there is sufficient gray matter remaining, the next step is to check the brain stem. If it's exposed and there are bite marks near it, then the person's been infected. The only way for the virus to spread is through the cranial nerves.

I see bite marks on the necks and chests that have turned to sores and are crusted with scabs. If exposed to the virus, the sores would still be fresh. If a body doesn't transform within the first several days, it's dead for good. I guess that makes these guys and gals lucky.

On first assessment, my guess is the monsters that killed them are more than likely long gone. Some creatures make homes out of their lairs. Vampires are like that; they keep returning over and over to the places that hold a semblance of life for them. Vampires nest. Zombies are different; they set up house long enough to eat and then they scatter.

Sometimes new zombies will stay temporarily in an old lair, perhaps because they possess some vestige of human fear. Maybe they're afraid to venture out after they've transformed. But it never lasts for long. The need for brains pulls them into my world.

I'll still take a look around the rest of the house to ensure this lair is abandoned.

I glance one more time at the pile. Damn, the cleanup crew's going to have a hell of a time with this joint.

I cuss as I make my way through the rest of the house room by room. The stench and the sight of blood are overwhelming. I'm not sure why there aren't more bodies here. It's hard to believe this much damage could have come only from the people in the study. There's got to be enough blood smeared over the walls and floors to account for at least two dozen. Maybe the bodies were carried away to serve as late night snacks.

Stronger zombies have a penchant for storing nibbles here and there. Like a dog burying a bone. Or a squirrel storing food up for the winter. The habit might explain why the fiends decay so quickly--eating snacks composed of old, dried brains does little to curb the effects of decomposition in the undead.

The winding staircase leading to the second floor is so old the wood is rotten. The banister on one side is broken off and leaning precariously in mid-air. The steps, once covered with an ornately patterned oriental carpet, are slanted and cracked. The only thing left of the carpet is tattered pieces clinging to the edges of the stairs.

I take each step with caution. The last thing I need is to fall to the ground below and break something. I fractured my arm once while battling a hive of zombies and I damn near lost the fight. The higher I ascend, the more the stairs creak and sway. I don't even realize I am holding my breath until a loud, hard puff escapes my lips when I reach the top.

There are two wings. To the east, there is a long row of closed doors. Any one of them could be housing throngs of undead. To the west, a short hallway leads to a single immense steel door. The metal structure is out of place among the Victorian English d├ęcor. The oddity is enough of a reason to check there first. The trail of still-wet blood leading from the stairwell to the door is an even better reason.

I creep over the blood-stained carpet. When I turn the knob, the door squeaks as it opens. The room on the other side is pitch black despite the fact that it is the middle of the day. The only light shines in a tiny sliver from the hallway.

I step one foot inside and realize my original assessment that this house is deserted is wrong. Dead wrong. I hear the distinct sounds of slurping coming from the far corner of the room. Another step and I hear a gurgle, a loud groan, and a shuffle.

Zombies may be strong, even in death, but they are notoriously slow. For some reason early deterioration focuses on the appendages, especially feet and legs. The zombie in this room is no exception. I race toward the zombie at a rapid walk, my eyes adjusting quickly to the darkness. When I'm a few feet from him, the scant light reveals his grotesque features.

The left side of his head is mangled and reveals the remnants of his dried brain. One eye is hollow and the other is an oozing hole with an eyeball halfway hanging out of the socket. His nose and upper lip are gone and his lower lip is swollen, dripping with blood and freshly eaten brains.

He only has one arm and he reaches it toward me with a groan.

"Uuhhhgg," he moans.

His bony hand covers my shoulder. Each digit curls and makes a slight cracking sound. He pushes down, sending a sharp pain pulsing through my arm and back. His fingers are like a bear trap, digging into my skin. His long and gnarled nails slice and draw blood.

"Uuhhhgg." He inches forward with another guttural moan.

"Die, fucker." I could have easily run away from him rather than let him touch me, but the closer they are the easier the kill. I pull out the Glock nestled in a holster next to my thigh and point it between his eyes.

I pull the trigger and the face, devoid of any emotion but hunger, is gone. What was left of his head explodes and bits scatter on the floor in the darkness. The now fully dead body crumbles.

After I flick away a sliver of zombie flesh that landed on my cheek, I stumble to the corner of the room. My feet thud against the body the zombie had been munching on. There's no way for me to tell if the person will rise without dragging what's left into the fully lit hallway.

I tug the arms and slide the carcass over the floor until the light reveals a teenage girl. She couldn't have been more than sixteen. Her streaked blonde hair is matted to one side of her head with dried blood and her eyes are frozen wide with fear. I push the crusted hair to the side to reveal an opening the size of the zombie's mouth. Warm brains still cling to the serrated edges of the wound. Other than the one gash, there are no other bite marks anywhere on her body. She'll stay dead.

Another lucky stiff.



visit Rebecca's Website for all her M/F, and M/M titles

Monday, October 22, 2012

Soy Sauce Face by Sedonia Guillone


AN EXCERPT from Soy Sauce Face


At the open door he pauses. “Okay, thanks.” His eyes lock with mine, the way they did in his mirror’s reflection. For a moment, other words seem to hover on his lips, and then he decides not to say them. He’s been doing this lately, leaving me to wonder what he would possibly want to say to me. Perhaps some day he will tell me, although if it’s something I’d rather not hear, then better he stays silent.
“Get there safely,” I say to his lingering form. I have my own ritual of unsaid things, one of which is, “Please stay home, Jun. You don’t have to go to that place. I’ll take care of you.” But I don’t speak out loud. When I’ve said it in the past, he’s resented it, insisting he needs to do this. He wants to be somebody and make something of his life, according to his own words. Yet, if he saw himself at all through my eyes, even for a moment, he’d understand how much of a somebody he already is. I cherish him and love him. Worship him really—just by virtue of who he is. He wouldn’t be so driven to make something of his life because he’d know he’s already accomplished his ultimate goal.
If he saw that, then he’d also understand what his working in Kabukicho does to me, how it makes me worry so much. How protective I feel of him. Though Jun is a grown man of twenty-seven, to me there’s something so little and vulnerable about him, I can’t help the eerie feeling that snakes through me each night he leaves for work. Tonight it’s especially strong.
“I will, Tomo. See you later.”
“Definitely.”
One more flash of his silver-and-black clad figure and the door clicks shut behind him.
I sigh, listening to his boot steps on the cement walkway until the sound fades.
Alone in the apartment, I go and kneel in front of my parents’ photographs. Smoke from the incense curls delicately into the air in front of their faces and emits a trace of sandalwood, a scent that echoes how wistful I feel. I look at my mother’s face. I was only five when she died. I don’t remember much about her except seeing her smile while she made sure I ate and was clean. She never knew Jun as my father did.
I turn to Dad’s picture, a portrait of him in the uniform he wore before he was promoted to detective and started wearing a suit to work. In fact, this is how I remember him dressed around the time he added Jun to our family register as a son, the act which I’m sure saved Jun’s life. After Jun was abandoned by both his parents, knowing that someone cared so much about him as to make him a son was very healing to his heart. I knew that for sure when Jun stopped calling my father “Nakadai-san” and started calling him Dad.
So why does Jun still want to go off and get a place of his own? Why can’t he let himself understand how much he means to me so he’ll be happy? Since we met, we’ve been best friends. In spite of our different interests—I loved motorcycles and Jun was into fashion—for the longest time he seemed happy just to hang out with me and Dad. Until Dad was killed. That’s when things changed.
I ask my father the questions silently to his equally silent image. When Dad was alive he used to say that Jun’s demons still haunted him even though being a part of our family had helped to make him happier. Dad said everyone has deep, driving forces inside them that remained a mystery unless they took the time to understand them. But, he would add, it doesn’t mean that you can’t always care about Jun. Dad had learned so much about human nature in his line of work. If anyone was aware of the dark side of human beings, it was my father.
Back in my room, getting ready to shower, I also stare at the one photograph I keep on my chest of drawers. To me the image encapsulates the great happiness of my life—me and Jun and my dad during hanami. We’re sitting on our plastic sheet in the park not far from our apartment, under an enchanting canopy of cherry blossom trees. In front of us are scattered the empty bento boxes that had held our meals of rice and barbecued skewers of pork. Dad had been taking a picture of me and Jun when a passing couple had offered to take the picture for him so that he could be in it with his sons. That night after we got home, Dad told me and Jun of his decision to put Jun on the family register.
I owe the fact that Jun hasn’t gotten into serious trouble to that one act of love from my father. However, Jun is still hosting, and nothing I’ve ever said to him makes him realize he can stop. I just hate thinking of him over there in Kabukicho. I know too much about that area of Tokyo from having a father who was a police officer. I wish Jun had gone to work in a fancy hotel, which is what he’d originally planned to do, but he’s so determined to make something of his life that my pleas sink, unnoticed like stones in a murky pond.
I stare a few more moments at the photograph before heading into the shower. From there, my evening unfolds as it always does. Supper—tonight, it’s nikujaga, a simple stew of meat and vegetables from last night—followed by a walk around the neighborhood, watching the kids tumble about on the complex’s monkey bars and swings. After checking on my motorcycle parked in its space, I change for bed and watch some TV before I fall asleep on the sofa. I want to wait up for Jun, even though tonight is Friday and any other regular guy would probably be out on a date or something social instead of passing the time until his friend gets home from work. I’ve often thought of getting some kind of work that would put us on the same schedule, but the job I have pays well and it’s our security should Jun ever come to his senses and give up hosting.
Then he’ll know he really doesn’t have to worry about money. Perhaps it’s all a fantasy in my head, but it keeps me going day after day.
Tonight, I’m in a twilight kind of sleep, the TV droning softly in the background, when the ring of my cell phone cuts through the haze. At first disoriented, I hold the phone up and see Jun’s name lighting up on the ID. The darkness outside tells me it’s the middle of the night, not a time when Jun would normally call.
Icy fingers rake through my chest. My sleepiness dispels as I press the button. “Jun, are you all right?” I don’t even bother to say a greeting I’m so alarmed.
“Is this Nakadai Tomohito?” The voice is female. Not Jun’s. My alarm escalates to terror.
“Yes. Where is Jun?”
She pauses. “My name is Michiko. I’m the mama-san of the bar where Jun works.” Her voice wavers. It’s a smoky-sounding voice that without the stress would sound confident.
“Something…has happened. Jun was…attacked. He’s being brought to the emergency room at Meiji Memorial. I found your name on his phone as the emergency contact.”
Oh my God. “I’m on my way.” I throw on my jeans jacket over the undershirt I’m already wearing. My pajama pants will have to do. I grab my wallet, keys and helmet, shove my feet into my loafers and fly out the door.



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