29 June 2014

"In the Black" - new excerpt!

You haven't bought "In the Black" yet? Not even with RT Times Review calling it "a fast-paced tale of murder & mystery in outer space"  and giving it 4/5 stars?

Let's see if I can tempt you with some delicious goodies...


A puff of cold air slapped her bare back.

She froze, suds running off her skin.

The fact that Etts hadn’t screamed in alarm meant only one other person could have opened the stall door and now stood there watching her.

She waited.

The low voice brought goose bumps to her exposed skin. “Captain. Glad to see you took advantage of my offer.”

“Marshal.” She didn’t turn toward the open stall door. “Thank you for making it.”

“You’ll be glad to know that the transport left without incident.” He didn’t say the name; he didn’t have to. He wasn’t going to taint this moment with that name.

She was grateful for that.

“That’s good. Hope they fry the bastard.” Sam reached for the washcloth and poured a good amount of liquid soap on it. She could see him out of the corner
of her eye, watching her through the semi-clear glass.

She didn’t have the urge to hide her scars. There weren’t many and they’d whitened and faded over time, but some of her lovers had cringed at seeing them.

They hadn’t lasted long. In every sense of the word.

Daniel chuckled. “We’ll see.” He walked back and forth in front of the shower, a slow, leisurely pace. “You found everything okay?”

“Yes, thank you.” She looked at him through the door, her heart pounding like it was her first combat drop all over again.

Time to put up or shut up. He’d be leaving soon and she needed to get him out of her system.

“Could I impose on you to wash my back? I can’t quite reach back there.” She rolled her shoulders.

He grinned. “Thought you’d never ask.” He took a step forward, then stopped. “One minute. No use getting my uniform wet.”

Daniel slid off his jacket and tossed it over her pile of clothing. He tugged his T-shirt out of the top of his jeans and pulled it upward, annoyingly slowly.

She forgot about the hot water running down her face.


The sequel, "In the Void" comes out in October - so why wait to hop on board the Bonnie Belle?

Don't forget! "Everyone loves a Mercy woman." (or man, as "In the Void" will attest to...)

Available at Amazon,  B&N   Carina Press 

Also on Goodreads!

28 June 2014

Writing What You Don't Know

Wanna know a secret?  Most writers don't like to talk about their work.

Oh, we'll glibly babble on about the origin of a story...if it makes a good story. The safe-for-work antics of other people's editors are fair game...so long as we've filed off all the serial numbers. (You never know when you might have to work for that nutjob--I mean, respected senior editor.)  Our research is even better.

Notice something about all these things we like to talk about?  The farther away the material gets from anything that might make us uncomfortable, the easier it is to talk about. When it touches on our (many) writerly insecurities..not so much.

Which brings us to this month's theme and why it's hard for me to blog about it. I'm a heterosexual female from a relatively privileged background. What business do I have writing from an LGBQT perspective, ever? I can't know what it's like from the inside.

As somebody who goes to extreme lengths to research her fiction, that bothers me. It bothers me that I don't know what it was like to walk the streets of fifteenth century or the corridors of the Hindenburg just before it exploded, too. But in both those cases, the only people who care whether I get it sort of right are other history nerds, and even for them the issues are purely academic. If I misstep in my depiction of LGBQT characters--or characters of color or characters with physical or emotional challenges--people could get hurt. 

I hurt my characters. A lot. I challenge them every way I can think of. It's what writers do. I want to challenge my readers, too. But I don't want to hurt them by being an idiot about something I'll never know.

At the same time, the world is not populated entirely by privileged heterosexual females. I'm good with that. I'm boring in real life, and if my stories were only about people like me, they'd be boring, too. So I write about women and men at all levels of society, of all countries, races, and orientation. 

Perhaps the most important human character in "Fixed", my story in The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity, is a gay vet tech based on one of my favorite coworkers. The original was a retired military officer who was built like The Refrigerator. Seriously, if you just saw this guy's face and his shadow, you would NOT want to meet him in a dark alley. But once the lights went on, you'd find yourself looking at someone with the fashion sense and mannerisms of Nathan Lane. Incredibly nurturing, too. So I could really see him working with lost and injured animals. But mostly I loved the way he talked and his own idiosyncratic way of taking no nonsense from anyone. He brought an incredible brio to the story. I loved writing his lines and how much his presence made everything better.

A lesbian couple were the main characters of "Personal Demons," my story in Hellebore and Rue, the award-winning anthology about lesbian magic users. The story is all about the cost of magic--and how that cost might not be what you think. For Anita, my exorcist, the cost was the alienation of her lover Deborah's affections.

I confess I used a lesbian couple because it made everything worse. Anita is a tantric sorceress, so there is a sexual component to her magic. Her lover sees this up close and personal in the middle of an exorcism. If a man had seen what Deb had seen, he would've felt betrayed, gotten angry and left to get drunk. It would've been nasty. There would've been a cost. But a man never feels soiled--polluted--in the same way a woman does. So his girlfriend has congress with demons. All he has to do is wash himself off and he's good to go. But a woman takes her lover inside her body. It's a whole different level of intimacy. You cannot simply rinse away a demon's touch, even at one remove. 

Having made that decision, I tried to treat both characters as if they were me. How would I feel in their respective positions? It's the only way I know to respectfully step in someone else's shoes. 

I'd like to think I got their emotions right, especially since sooner or later a story will demand another character who isn't me or anything like me. I want very much to get it right every time, because no matter where we come from, what we believe or who we love, we're all human beings. We deserve that dignity, in fiction as much as real life.

25 June 2014

Requiem for a Dream

Sometimes it seems like a dream. You have a great agent. She gets you a good deal and you have a contract. You've been through editing and copyediting and filled out all the forms for artwork. You're almost ready to see your manuscript turned into a real book.
Then you wake up.

I had one of those rude awakenings last week. Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot books that was supposed to published A Curse of Ash and Iron, my YA steampunk fairy-tale retelling, was cut. Effective immediately. Contract canceled.

No book.

It's taken me awhile to put into words how this made me feel. Sick. Upset. Like the world fell apart. I mean, it happens in publishing. It's business. But it's really hard not to take it just a little personally, not to feel like someone has punched you in the gut. I cried. My agent cried. We can't believe we got so close only to have the rug pulled away. It's like a bad joke. I had booked a very big trip to the midwest to help promote the book at a con with the publisher. No publisher. Nonrefundable tickets. Fortunately I have other books I can push. Not so lucky for other authors who were making their debut.

But it could have been worse. There are many authors who were left with books in limbo after already being published. Or left in the middle of a series.  At least I hadn't booked a venue for the launch party yet. But it was a close thing. I feel for the staff, who might have been let go from their jobs. As least I have my book back right away and can move on.

So, not requiem for THE dream. Just this one. The outpouring of support for the imprint and the authors has been overwhelming. A lot of people wanted to read those books, including mine.People kept pre-ordering it evenI after the news.

We'll find a new home, and let everyone know when and where.

23 June 2014

A New Bride for My Hubby

This is my hubby's big milestone birthday month. And we're not in a panic, no.

Years ago, when he was but a babe, he promised himself he'd be driving a Porsche 911 before this birthday struck. He did NOT want to look like one of those old guys speeding through a mid-life crisis. I promised him a new bride to ride shotgun. Okay, the wife is still me, but I was determined to be a fitter, skinnier, stronger version of the gal he married twenty-five years ago.

Well...let's just say there's no new car in the driveway and I'm still rockin' the same jeans I've been trying to ditch for a smaller pair. What in the heck happened?

Life. Sometimes she steps in our path and gets tangled up with our feet. We've had much bigger things to plan for, like college graduations for two of the best kids on the planet. And feeding them. Who knew how much teenage boys could eat?

But we've kept the big promises to each other and have a glorious life together. Hubby is still test-driving Porsche 911's though, so maybe that counts?  I've got to say the sexy fox does look smokin' hot behind the wheel. Gosh, I love that man no matter what he drives.And if he scrunches his eyes just so, I might actually look like the skinnier bride I promised.

That's not to say I've given up on my promise. No way. It just takes a little longer to lose those inches than I remember. I'll rock a new pair of jeans, one of these days. Hey! Maybe next big milestone. Either that or wait until he can't see anymore and do the next best thing...lie.

Until then, happy birthday, baby.

Readers: Have you made promises that were a bit difficult to keep? What did you do about it?


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12 June 2014

13 Ways to Spice Up Your Writer's Block!

Muzziness and unclear thinking got your writing productivity down like it has mine? Here's a random list of herbs and spices purported to give mental clarity and purity of thought!

1) Brahmi. This sounds very like brony, which are dudes who love My Little Pony. I can see how that would help with creative writing and writer's block -- think outside the gender box, man!

2) Gotu kola. What kind of cola is that? Go to cola? I'll go to a cola and drink it and then write better. Good to know.

3) Ashwaghandha. So, a quick Google confirms this herb, also known as Indian ginseng, has a strong horse-like smell. I do like the smell of horses, and I didn't realize that the smell of horses would help with writer's block. Bonus!

4) Vacha. That's, like, cow in Spanish, right? So the smell of horses and the smell of cows. Uh. I really like the smell of horses better. But BEEF, now, that would be a nice remedy for writer's block. Especially if I'm trying to write and somebody else cooks dinner and brings me a nice, grilled steak. HINT HINT, KIDS.

5) Tulsi. Nothing against Oklahoma? But I don't personally live in Oklahoma, and if I have to visit Tulsi to break free of writer's block, I don't think that's very practical. Also, Tulsi is aka holy basil and since it's religious, I guess I shouldn't make fun of it. Sorry, Oklahoma.

6) Rosemary. Hey, I have a plant out front. And I don't know what to write next about rosemary. BRB, going to smell some bush.

7) Peppermint. I'm back! The rosemary bush was delightful, especially when we add it to chicken, but I have no peppermint. Except for Altoids, which are purported to contain real peppermint oil. Considering how many of those little sinus bombs I eat, it's amazing I ever get writer's block.

8) Basil. Now, the basil's in my back yard, in the square foot garden. It's actually growing this year, as opposed to last year, when SOMEBODY who is married to me let the kids plant whatever they wanted wherever they wanted and nothing came up. Who could that be? I had to take over. I guess it was good for my writing, since I instinctively planted basil. Now if only somebody else would get me a salad.

9) Rooibus. Who's bus? Roo's bus! Roo's bus is Kanga. But all that jumping, I don't know if I could focus. I'd probably get motion sick and barf. But, you know, I could write about what it's like to ride in a kangaroo's pouch. That would be an unusual topic.

10) Ginkgo biloba. A relative of the Bagginses of Bag End? Or a lesser known Spanish conquistador who got lost in the Bermuda Triange before we knew it was the Bermuda Triangle? The first one I don't think I'm allowed to write about because copyright. But the second one....

11) Green tea. Man, that's just caffeine. I'll take mine as a coffee, thanks.

12) Oatstraw. Ok, really? What's that, oatmeal with Weetabix in it? Oh, MUESLI. Which is supposed to unstopper writer's block. Sure, if writer's block = your colon. Which I guess it could.

13) Skullcap. I'm wearing a gnome cap right now and it's not helping. I guess I should switch to a beanie?

Hell, now I'm just too hot. Stinkin' perimenopause. I need to go look for some herbs that fix that.

Jody Wallace
Author, Cat Person, Amigurumist of the Apocalypse
http://www.jodywallace.com  * http://www.meankitty.com  

08 June 2014

Tossed Salad

Photo: WANA Commons, Lynn Kelley Author
According to our blog schedule, this month's theme is  LGBQT,so I sat down to write a blog. At first I thought I had nothing to say on this subject, except to be supportive of my fellow writers. I am a traditional woman/man, woman/werewolf, vampire/man, sort of writer. Those are the stories my muse tells me. Then I remembered something, I might not have heroes or heroines who fit the theme, but I do sometimes have more minor (but important) characters that do. I will admit, none of these manuscripts have yet to be published, but I have reason to believe that is about to change.
So why not heroes and heroines? No clue. As I said, those are the stories my muse tells me. And,  I suppose, what my audience expects at this point. So will my readers accept these minor characters who happen to be of a different sexual desire? I think so. My stories tend toward the theme of acceptance and finding one's place in the world. I would hope that whatever differences the characters within the stories my muse tells me have, my readers will be open to at least giving those characters a chance. In my—not so humble—opinion, our world is not that "melting pot" I've always heard about, but rather a salad. And really, what's more interesting, a pot of oatmeal, or a bright beautiful salad with all kinds of colorful fruits and vegetables?

Take care!

05 June 2014

The Crazy Chicken Dance

I'm face-down in the crazy-chicken-dance of editing.  Final line-edits are due Friday.  ~dances~  So.  I share with you my favorite bit from Denis Leary (turn it down if you're at work, the language is a bit blue).

And here's the Super Sekrit Cover Reveal for Sealed by Fire:

02 June 2014

Harpo, Who Dis Woman?

Greetings Kittens,

It’s me! I know it doesn’t look like me, because I’m actually here and all, but it’s me!

Since I last wrote I’ve moved again, been housebound, bedbound, denied short term benefits for my illness, denied full accommodation for my illness, lost my job, found my Zen, gained perspective, embraced many blessings, and danced like my groove transcended any criticism. It’s been an adventure.

I’m still experiencing symptoms from moderate to severe. I can’t walk far or for long without my back locking up, and I feel safest walking near walls and handholds due to the vertigo. But I’ve had some really good days recently and I’m celebrating.

I’ve been working diligently the last three weeks to build my endurance and manage what energy I do have as best I can. I’ve managed not to crash too badly, even with the added exercise. My nutrition has been fantabulous and is getting better every week now that I can digest more. I’m not sleeping, but really, when I was ever? The important thing is that I can sit up for extended periods of time with tolerable pain levels and stay hydrated and nourished without being violently ill. Of course that means it’s time to write.

I picked June as the marker to jump back in, find a sub call that appealed to me, and go for it. It was probably more reasonable to pick something months down the road, but I couldn’t pass up a Halloween themed call with a July 1st deadline. 35k in 30 days, edited and in submission form.

It’ll be a challenge, I’m more comfortable around 50k and longer. Oh, and of course the whole more than 1k a day thing, that has to be edited as I go in order to be sub ready, all after nearly two years without writing. I’m not really sweating that part though. Either I finish, or I’m closer to a complete ms than I’ve been in ages, I call it good both ways.

I know this isn’t on theme as far as the LGBTQ focus of June, however, as a openly bisexual writer, whose story has bisexual and queer characters, I’m calling horseshoes on this one. Totally close enough for government work. Smile.

Glad to be back, the timing feels right and I couldn’t be more ready to start again. Now to get typing!

Ramble Done, Kittens!


01 June 2014

"In the Black" excerpt!

It's been a great few weeks with the release of the first book from my new "Tales from the Edge" series, "In the Black"! But you can never have enough excerpts, right?

So let's see how Sam Keller feels sitting on a Mercy ship with everyone getting sex except for her...


It wasn’t as if she didn’t have options. Hell, she was the captain of a Mercy ship and had full access to the services and personnel within. She could purchase an hour from Sean or, if she were really desperate, Dane.

A fast hour of quick, meaningless sex with no commitment, nothing but a financial transaction between a professional and a customer.

The option wasn’t unheard of. It’d even earned a short notation in the manual, detailing the costs and the discount offered to the captain.

There was nothing wrong with it.

Nothing, that is, other than the embarrassment of having to face him later on as his captain, not a client. She hadn’t slept with any of the men in her squad for the same reason, and even though she wasn’t wearing a uniform anymore the same rules still applied, at least in her mind.

Look but don’t touch. Save that for the long nights strapped in her hammock when she could fantasize about whatever or whomever she wanted without fear or guilt.

But would it be enough for the rest of her contract?

Or should she make an appointment with Sean and get it over with, shut down the longing and the need to be touched?

It wasn’t like he’d use it against her, not like Dane would. That bastard wouldn’t let it go and would be rubbing her face in it every time he had a problem and Sam ruled against him.

No, it’d have to be Sean.

But the risks still outweighed the benefits.

For now.

Sam sighed. She wasn’t at that point yet. But it was on the horizon and she knew it.

She shifted in her seat. It wasn’t so much the sex; it was the basic need to touch and be touched. Held, stroked, hugged.

Not that there was anything wrong with hot, sweaty, crazed sex. But her skin ached for the simple sensation of being caressed, fingertips drawing lazy circles on her back until she fell asleep. Goosebumps rising from a gentle kiss, gasping at the sensations traveling over her body from a simple touch.

Damn it, she had it bad.

She wasn’t going to pay Sean to just cuddle, not at those rates.

Time to shift gears before she got beyond frustrated and said or did something she’d regret.


What's a woman to do? Buy a night with one of her Mercy men or...


Check out "In the Black" at Amazon, B&N, Carina Press or other fine ebook retailers!