S.A. Garcia's Mutterings, Whimpers and Rants

S.A. Garcia's Mutterings, Whimpers and Rants. World Domination by 2020. Or 2025. Probably never.

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Christmas Present to You: Three Novels!

Holiday stories do not come easily to this cynical old gal. In fact, last year was the first time I submitted a story for Dreamspinner’s Advent calendar anthology. My futuristic story was set in a homeless shelter run by a gay pastor who thinks he’s loosing his mind, but by the end of the story, a few miracles happen.

I was stunned and delighted when “The Colors of Pastor Saul” was accepted for publication. I love my Dreamspinner editors.

Upon release, quite a few easily upset souls complained about the story. Too “sad” too “dark”, too “unsettling”… but wait, I thought, what about the miracles? Certain readers didn’t want to read about miracles in a homeless shelter, not for Christmas. These delicate readers wanted holiday trees and pretty lights…wait, I did feature those items in my story. Hmm. Maybe the specter of Death during Christmas upset readers. Cue Dickens. Obviously the oh-so-sensitive souls had never bothered to read Dickens.

Snarky? Me? Absolutely. I don’t tolerate ignorance and wanting intellect.

Back in March, I attempted to write a cheerful Christmas story set in 1947 Cornwell. Suddenly the trauma of World War 2 seeped into the celebration. I gave up and gently placed the story in storage.

When I saw RJ Scott’s invitation to submit a story to her “Christmas Delights” anthology, I said what the hell, I’ll give this holiday story game another shot. This time I selected nice hot sex as the story’s centerpiece. No trauma, no lurking death… there’s sex, voyeurism, snow, sweat, surprises, and a 1966 cherry red Mustang convertible named Sheila. When I feature a car in a story, I need to name her something fun.

There you go. I have discovered the ability to write a cheerful holiday story. OK, yes, there’s a little trauma, but it’s resolved in a blink.

To prove my holiday cheer, I’m giving away a holiday present of three novels: Cupid Knows Best, The Gospel According to Cher and Love in the Shadows. I’ll even throw in a copy of “The Colors of Pastor Saul.”

Your task is simple: recommend a great holiday story to me  and end the post with the Mustang's name.  *snicker*

Good luck!

My partner Professor Sandy will pick the winner on Sunday night.

Also, hop over to RJ’s blog for the chance to win great RJ-related prizes!

PS: By the way, the Cornwell story is coming out of storage. I think I found a happy ending. I'm trying, kittens, yes I am.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Shira Anthony Guest Post: The Blue Notes Series: Love for the Long Haul

Welcome to the Shira Anthony Weekend!

Thanks, Sandy, for hosting me!  It’s been a busy holiday season so far, since I have two releases in my Blue Notes Series of music-themed gay romances: Encore (released November 11th) and Symphony in Blue (to be released on Christmas day).  Symphony in Blue also happens to be my 10th Dreamspinner Press release, so I’m going all-out with a Blue Notes Holiday 2013 Tour giveaway contest featuring a grand prize of a Kindle loaded with e-books as well as other fun goodies (details at the end of the post).
The Blue Notes Series books, with the exception of Symphony in Blue, are standalone novels and can be read in any order.  Encore shares themes in common with the other Blue Notes books: music and musicians, a heavy focus on character development, and long-term, committed relationships.  It’s this last theme I’d like to talk a bit about:  love for the long haul.
I’ve never been a fan of insta-love.  Not only that, I was the kid who wanted to know what happened to Cinderella and her prince after they got married.  When people talk about happily-ever-afters, I’m thinking years down the line, not wedding days.  Maybe I wanted a road map for happiness.  Maybe I just wanted more realism than I got from cookie-cutter Harlequin romances.  It really doesn’t matter.  What matters to me is that readers see what it is that makes the men in my stories want to stay together and how they grow after they tell each other “I love you.”  Those are the books I wanted to read, and those are the books I write.  Symphony in Blue and Encore are perfect examples.
Encore is chronologically the first book in the series.  It begins in the 1970s and ends in the present day.  Talk about a long haul!  Roger and John meet in high school.  They are meant for each other.  But it’s the 1970s, and being gay was a million times harder back then than it is today.  I lived through the 70s and 80s. I remember the whispers and the judgments, the finger pointing and horrible suggestions that AIDS was some sort of retribution for the “sin” of homosexuality.  I knew men who lived their lives in the closet.  I knew men who died of AIDS.  I knew men who struggled to find a way to make relationships work in spite of the lack of role models for same-sex partners (we weren’t even talking about marriage back then!).  These are the men who inspired John and Roger’s story.  The road to a lasting happily-ever-after is a very long one in Encore.  It’s a story of young love, and it becomes a story of mature love.  The perfect representation of how I see happily-ever-after.  And it takes John and Roger nearly 30 years to figure out how to make their love work.
Symphony in Blue is also about the long haul and watching relationships come into their own.  It is also the only sequel in the series—a direct sequel to the first four books.  In it, I revisit the first four couples in the series, and show how their relationships have grown and the new challenges in their lives.  Is there a happily-ever-after in each of the first four books?  Of course.  Die-hard romantic that I am, I don’t write books without them.  But Symphony in Blue is a perfect illustration of how a happily-ever-after isn’t a particular place of mind:  it’s a state of mind.  So you might think of it as a second happily-ever-after for each of the couples.
Looking for sexy hot romances with fluffy scenes?  I think you’ll like the Blue Notes books.  But if you’re also looking for something more—for something more real than Cinderella and her prince? I think you’ll enjoy these stories about real men in real relationships.  You can find all of my Dreamspinner Press books by clicking here.  Want to read more about me and about my books, including free fiction and excerpts?  Check out my website, www.shiraanthony.com
Don’t forget to enter the Blue Notes Holiday 2013 Blog Tour giveaway by clicking here (Rafflecopter).  There are plenty of ways to enter, and you can enter more than once by commenting, tweeting, buying books, and liking pages.  I’ll be drawing winners on New Year’s Eve at midnight!  Good luck! –Shira

Roger watched the snow fall outside the window of his apartment before glancing over at the clock. It was nearly 9:00 p.m., and John should have arrived an hour before.
“Promise me you won’t come if the snow gets too bad. You know how I-23 can get,” he’d told John that morning over the phone.
“I’ll be fine,” John had reassured him. “With the opera rehearsal schedule and Professor Menard’s vocal performance class, I’d never get to see you if I waited for perfect weather.”
Now, an hour after John was supposed to be here, Roger was pacing the apartment. Worrying. Imagining John’s car somewhere in a ditch. Or worse.
He pulled a beer out of the fridge, popped the top, and resumed his pacing. Ten minutes later, the phone rang.
“Hello!” he practically barked into the handset.
“Oh, hey, Mom.” Fuck. “How’re you doing?”
“Fine.” She paused, and Roger tried to think of something to get her off the phone. If John needed to get a hold of him, he didn’t want him to get a busy signal. “I’m surprised you’re around on a Saturday night. You usually aren’t.”
“I’ve got an exam on Monday,” he lied. “I can’t talk long.”
“No, of course. I wouldn’t want to keep you from it.” She’d been thrilled when he’d told her he planned on finishing school in three years. He hadn’t told her he planned on moving to New York, where John had already been accepted to do his master’s in conducting at Juilliard.
“Thanks, Mom.” Roger pushed back the curtain on the window in the kitchen with his foot—the long telephone cord didn’t go quite that far. From here, he could see the parking lot. A blanket of white covered the stripes on the asphalt. No John.
“… aren’t you?”
“I asked if you were coming over on Monday for dinner.” She sounded irritated.
“Oh, yeah. Right. Sure. I’ll be there.” He had to get her off the phone. “Look, Mom. I gotta get back to studying. I’ll see you Monday, okay?”
“Are you sure everything is all right, dear?”
“It’s great, Mom. I really need to go.”
Her huff was audible through the handset. “Of course.”
He hung up the phone before she could say anything more, and opened the drapes a bit farther. There had to be at least six inches of snow outside. He pressed his nose against the cold glass like he had when he’d been a kid, then closed his eyes. A moment later, the buzzer to the apartment sounded.
Thank God!
Roger scrambled over to the door and opened it to find a disheveled John smiling back at him. “Had to ditch the car over by the Woolworth’s. Forgot my keys. The ploughs haven’t made it this far yet—”
Roger grabbed John and pulled him inside. He was soaking wet, his shoulder-length hair curled at the ends, but Roger didn’t care. He drew John against him, wrapped his arms around his shoulders, and just held him.
“You okay?” John’s voice sounded muffled against Roger’s cheek.
“I am now.”
“Can I take this backpack off?” John asked with a soft laugh. “It’s a little heavy.”
“Oh. Shit. Sorry.” Roger grabbed the pack off John’s shoulders and kicked the door shut behind them.
“You were worried about me.” Not a question, and the way the edges of John’s mouth edged upward, Roger could tell he was teasing.
Roger was tempted to lie, but he was so relieved, he just sighed and said, “Yeah.”
John stared at him in surprise. “You really were worried.”
“Fuck, John, I—”
John kissed him. He tasted of snow and Coca-Cola. Roger closed his eyes as their tongues skirted each other in a now-familiar dance. God, he loved John! More than he could get up the nerve to admit.
For two years they’d stolen every moment they could, working around John’s busy schedule and Roger’s mother. Miranda suspected something. Roger was sure of it. She’d even shown up at the apartment early in the morning on the weekend. John said he was sure she was trying to catch them together. It made things a bit more difficult, but they’d worked it out. John stored his things under the bed, and the bedroom closet was big enough that he could slip inside and hide. They’d left a few pillows behind Roger’s clothing, as well as a flashlight and a few books.
“Don’t worry about it,” John had said the first time he’d hidden there. They both knew Roger needed his parents to pay tuition—at least they hadn’t threatened to stop when Roger announced he was getting his own apartment. “It’s just for a little while.”
Roger came back to himself and realized John was shivering. “Shit, John. You’re freezing your ass off.” He took John by the hand and led him into the bedroom. In the light, John’s cheeks looked pink in contrast to his pale skin. Roger unzipped John’s wet jacket and pushed it off his shoulders. “Stay right there,” he said before stepping into the bathroom to retrieve a towel.
John smiled as Roger dried his face and hair. “Feels good. I like it when you fuss over me.”
Roger’s cheeks heated. “Your pants are soaked,” he said in an effort to mask his embarrassment. He reached for John’s belt, undid the buckle, and unbuttoned the waist of John’s pants. The room was silent except for the sound of the zipper and Roger’s heart pounding in his ears. His hands shook as he pulled John’s pants down—he still hadn’t quite moved past the sinking feeling in his gut that had lodged itself there when he’d worried something had happened to John. He could handle a lot, but the thought of losing John terrified him.
“Are you okay?” John was studying him with a strange expression.
“Yeah.” I am now.
Roger focused on helping John step out of the cold, damp pants. He knew if he met John’s gaze, everything he felt would be obvious. It wasn’t just that he was embarrassed. What he felt was something he’d only begun to understand: vulnerability. The feeling you get when you realize your entire world would come to a screeching halt if the certain someone in your life were to vanish.
John shivered again.
“Get under the covers. I’ll be there in a minute.” Roger watched John pull the warm comforter over himself as he got undressed. He joined John underneath and skated his palms over John’s cold thighs until they warmed to his touch.
“Feels good.”
“You’re still cold.” Roger wrapped his body around John’s and held him. John’s skin was slightly damp against his own.
“I’m fine.” John tucked his chin into the space between Roger’s neck and shoulder. “Really.”
Roger just held him tighter.
“You okay?” John pulled away a bit and looked at him with obvious concern.
“Talk to me, Roger. What’s up?”
It was Roger’s turn to shiver. “I told you. I was just a little worried.”
“About me?” John reached for Roger’s face and pulled it gently so that Roger had no choice but to look at him.
“Yeah.” He didn’t want to talk about this. He just wanted to hold John and reassure himself John was safe. He looked away again.
“Hey.” John rolled onto his side so his face was next to Roger’s. “You can tell me, you know. I’m not going to laugh or anything.”
“I know.” Roger hesitated another moment, then said, “It’s just that I feel like an idiot.”
“Worrying about me doesn’t make you an idiot.” John leaned in and kissed Roger’s nose. “It makes me feel good.”
Roger’s breath stuttered. “I kept thinking back to that night… the accident. I kept imagining you in a ditch somewhere. Hurt…. Shit.” He grabbed John and buried his face in his chest. “I dream about that night sometimes, except in my dreams, you’re….” He clenched his jaw and blinked back tears. He’d had a lot of those dreams—nightmares, really—since John had started driving down from Ann Arbor to stay with him. He dreamed he woke up in the hospital and instead of John being all right, the doctor told him they’d done everything they could, and then he was standing in front of a headstone and he knew, he just knew whose headstone it was.
“I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you,” Roger whispered. “I’d lose my mind. I love you so fucking much, I don’t know what I’d do.” It took him a moment to realize what he’d just said.
John leaned over and kissed him again, this time on the lips. In the semidarkness, Roger saw John’s eyes sparkle. The edges of his mouth curved upward in a tentative smile as the kiss broke. “You love me?” he asked.
Roger could only nod.
“Thank God. Because I don’t know what I’d do if I was the only one who felt like that.”
“You love me too.” He said the words as though he didn’t believe them.
“Always, Roger.”

Blue Notes Holiday 2013 Blog Tour Info

This blog tour is to celebrate TWO Blue Notes Series releases:  Encore (Blue Notes #5) on November 11, 2013, and Symphony in Blue (Blue Notes #4.5) on December 25, 2013 (Christmas Day).  Symphony in Blue is my 10th Dreamspinner Press release!  I’ve put together a special prize list to celebrate.  
Blue Notes Series Holiday 2013 Giveaway:
·      Begins on release day for Encore, November 11, 2013
·      Ends on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013, at midnight
·      Drawings are open to both U.S. readers and international readers, but physical prizes (Kindle, necklace, book, and t-shirt) are for U.S. readers only. I will award a virtual set of the first 4 Blue Notes Series books to one winner from outside the U.S.
·      Prizes (U.S. Only):
o   Grand Prize: A Kindle loaded with the first 4 Blue Notes Series books and some of my other back titles
o   1st Place: A sterling silver music themed necklace
o   2nd Place: Winner’s choice of one of my back titles in paperback (i.e., not including the 2 new releases)
o   3rd Place: Blue Notes t-shirt, cover of the winner’s choice

Remaining Blog Stops Currently Scheduled:

December 10th: Brilliant Disguise (Tali Spencer’s blog)
December 16th: Rebecca Cohen’s blog
December 20th: Purple Rose Teahouse (Charlie Cochet’s blog)
December 23rd: Mrs. Condits and Friends
December 25th: Symphony in Blue Release Day Party at Melanie Marshall’s Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
December 26th: Book Suburbia
December 27th:  Helen Pattskyn’s blog

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Trying not to Rewrite Marathon Man Dental Scenes

I’ve long needed serious dental work over the past years. Yeah, years ago a temporary cap fell off and I never went back, just put up with the pit in my back right wisdom tooth. Two years ago my lower left wisdom tooth exploded on the opposite side. I bravely held off until ta-da I took a real job again featuring dental insurance. Trust me, writing novels is NOT good for the teeth.

During the past three weeks, I suffered through rebuilds on two wisdom teeth in order to put crowns in place. We’re talking those tedious hour long drilling sessions… followed by sitting for long minutes waiting for the implant goop to set. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Instead of panicking, I tried to write while I lay there helpless to the drill. Aside from writing a scene referencing the movie Marathon Man where Dustin Hoffman is tortured by Laurence Olivier via dental drills, I could not focus.

I tried. I think the damned drilling noise destroyed my concentration. It’s hard to think about anything but that damned drill when it’s at a high pitched whine or—and I find worse— the low-pitched burr. Arrrrgh!

Now as the massive anesthesia doses wear off, the temp side hurts and the new crown hurts. But hey, as least I finally gave my teeth proper attention.

Just wait, I’ll start grinding at the new cap while I try to write a scene as I fall into sleep tonight.

I know none of my new novels will feature a dentist. Sorry, I can’t think of a dentist as sexy. Then again, it might be great aversion therapy to write about…no. I can’t.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

FREE Christmas Anthology from Love Lane Books

I have a story in a FREE Christmas anthology Christmas Delights, it organized, and lovingly promoted by RJ Scott for Love Lane Books. The anthology is a mix of new authors and authors that have been around the block a few times (ahem). 

My story "Paid with a Full Moon"  is a sexy comedy about voyeurism for a good cause...

To celebrate, on December 13th I'll be giving away a few of my books and RJ will also be giving away goodies. I'll update as the time draws closer.

Here's a run down of authors:

  • RJ Scott - Deefur and the Great Mistletoe Incident
  • Amber Kell - Christmas Tree Magic
  • Meredith Russell - Spiced Apple and Cinnamon
  • Diane Adams - Christmas Lightning
  • Kay Berrisford - Gifts from the Tree
  • Nicole Dennis - Christmas Promise
  • Caitlin Ricci - A Jaguar for Christmas
  • John Wiley - Once you go Black Friday
  • SA Garcia - Paid with a Full Moon
  • A.T. Weaver - Josh's Christmas Angel
  • Valynda King - Christmas in Hawaii
  • Christopher John - Two for Hooking
  • Francis Gideon - Mistletoe and YouTube
  • Allan Jay - Christmas Angel
  • Aisling Mancy - Joyeux Noel
  • Gary Hendrickson - Our Best Christmas
  • Hollis Shiloh - The Christmas Mansion
  • Tom Alexander - Ivy Park
  • AJ Henderson - Christmas Reunion
  • Abigail Winters - Love Delayed
  • JC Wallace - Waiting for Snow

    Here's your chance to grab some free holiday reading.

Love Lane Books