Thursday, September 27, 2012

GLBT Madness Blog Hop Giveaway

Hey there, ladies and gentlemen! I'm taking part in the very fun GLBT Madness Blog Hop, hosted by The Romance Reviews (TRR). I'm excited to be in on the fun, and for my prize, I'm offering up winner's choice of a free title from my backlist, in ebook. To be entered for a chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. The hop runs from September 27th until the September 30th, and I'll be announcing my winner on October 1st, that way it gives everyone in all different time zones a chance to enter.

Those of us who are taking part in this hop are showcasing one GLBT title that we love. Not an easy task! As an author of gay erotic romance, I've read so many titles in the genre, I didn't know where to begin. There are so many beautifully talented authors who write GLBT stories, and the list of authors whose talent and books I admire goes on and on. So I had to really sit down and think of all the books I've read, which has impacted me the most. The answer came in the very first book I ever read which featured a homosexual character, Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey.

I first read this book and the trilogy that it's part I dare say it?...nearly twenty years ago. And wow, now I feel old! Yet despite all the time that's passed, the books have stayed with me. The trilogy is called The Last Herald Mage, and the three books, in order, are; Magic's Pawn, Magic's Promise, and Magic's Price.

I was young when I first came across these books, about thirteen, but I've since re-read them as an adult and they struck me in the same way. Same as when I was a young girl, I cried and cried reading the stories, and once again, the main character, Vanyel Ashkevron, grabbed my heart with just as much force, if not more, because as an adult, I was able to fully understand him and empathize with him.

The books aren't light, fluffy reads. They're fantasy, not romance, so Happily Ever After isn't a requirement for the characters. Vanyel faces constant challenges, hardships, tragedies, and heartbreak. The series starts out with him as a young man, only just discovering his sexuality, and soon, the incredible power that exists within him. Throughout the series he grows, both in his power and in character. No matter the challenge or his personal pain, Vanyel continues to rise, fight for those in need, and make sacrifices for the greater good.

Back when these books were published (Magic's Pawn was published in 1983), gay characters in mainstream novels wasn't the most common thing. And when they were presented, so often it was in a negative light or as stereotypes, or they were secondary characters that got glossed over. And that's what makes the Last Herald Mage trilogy special. Mercedes Lackey pushed the boundaries of mainstream fiction at the time to present an openly gay hero who was layered, real, and flawed like any person, caring, brave, noble, honorable, and self-sacrificing. And for me, after being on Vanyel's journey with him through the three books, I was so emotionally invested in that him I've carried him in my heart for all these years. Now that's the mark of incredible story telling.

While the stories I write are different are different in themes - rock stars, vampires, samurai - I can say without doubt that Vanyel and the Last Herald Mage trilogy certainly influenced me as an author. So if you like fantasy and don't mind shedding a few tears, I very highly recommend the books.

And for other great books and authors, be sure to check out the other awesome blogs taking part in this hop! If you have an account at TRR and are logged in, all you have to do is click the button below to be taken to the next blog! You can also see all the participating blogs HERE.

I hope all who stop by my humble little blog enjoy it! And good luck to everyone who enters the giveaway!

                                                                                                                                                        The Romance Reviews GLBT Madness Hop

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Thoughts on my Writing

I'm working on a new manuscript, and as usual when I'm writing, I'm letting the characters lead the way. This manuscript will be the fourth Instincts book, but it feels different to me already. I think because the characters have such a different feel to them than Titus and Andreas in Loving Instincts, who were very much like a honeymooning couple with moving into a new stage in their life together, all sweet and...well, loving. Guess that's why I called it Loving Instincts ;-) In Book 4, I'm back to building a new relationship again, and even though I'm letting the guys take the lead in what they want to do, I've also been analyzing my writing lately.

As I've been analyzing the types of stories I tell, here's what I've come up with. As an author of gay erotic romance, those three elements are what drive each of my stories. My main characters are always gay men. My stories always contain graphic love scenes. And they are always heavy on romance. In fact, they're heavier on the romance more than the sexual content because what's at the heart of each and every one of my stories is the quest for love. I strive to portray loving, respectful relationships in my books, and my goal with all of them is to show that happiness can be achieved and that the love between two men is a beautiful, strong, and special thing.

I'm an optimist when it comes to love. If I was cynical about it, I would need to start looking for a new genre to write. I believe in love's power. I believe in love at first sight. I believe love is experienced in as many unique ways as there are people in this world, because you never love someone in the exact same way that you love another. And maybe it's because of those beliefs that I write the way I do. No doubt my stories could be labeled "sweet romances," and nothing makes me happier than that, because writing those kinds of stories makes me feel good, and I hope, they make those who read them feel the same way. That's really what I hope for when someone reads the last word on the last page of one of my books; that they feel...happy :-)

And so, for those who care to hear the author's input on their work, there it is. I thank you, my dear readers, for all the support and kindness you've shown to me and my work. And I hope, very much, for those of you who enjoy it, that I'll be able to continue making you happy with my future stories.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Hey guys and girls! A few days ago, I posted an update on all I've been up to. As many of you know, I finished the 7th book in the Conquest series, FEELING THE RHYTHM. And yep, this is the story of Conquest's drummer, Brad Delfini. I've turned everything over the MLR Press, the manuscript is now in my editor's hands, the cover art request is in, and I submitted the blurb.

Usually, I reveal the cover art and blurb for an upcoming release at the same time. But with this one, I've been debating on sharing the blurb early, since I know a few folks have been waiting on this book. After chatting on Facebook with a friend, I decided to go ahead and share it! Now, the blurb will tell you who Brad's love interest is. Even though I think many have an idea of who that person is, if you don't want to know until the book comes out, I wanted to give fair warning.

For a release date, my editor and I will try our best to have the book out this year, and we're looking toward a December release at the moment. Once I have cover art, I'll share that, too :-)

And so, here it is; the blurb for FEELING THE RHYTHM!


Brad Delfini once had the world in his hands, but misfortune and bad decisions showed him just how quickly the spotlight can go dark. For years, he was struggling to get by, when a fateful phone call brought him to famed rock band, Conquest. Since becoming their drummer, he’s hit the top of fame again and he has all he could ever want. Except for one thing. As Conquest’s world tour draws to the close, that missed chance leaves him filled with regrets.

Remmy Laurent has been a roadie since he graduated high school, but years of being on the move have worn him down. He decides it’s time to quit and bring some stability into his life. He just wanted to finish out this one last tour with his favorite band; Conquest. It hasn’t been an easy tour, for many reasons, but most of all because no matter how hard he tried to deny it, he lost his heart to a man who he thinks barely knows he exists.

When the last concert is played, Brad and Remmy both believe they’ll never see each other again, but a little friendly intervention brings them together once more. As they begin to know each other in a whole new way, Brad must somehow make peace with his past if he and Remmy are going to have a future.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What's SJ Up To Now?

Hey there, ladies and gentlemen! I know I've been a little quiet since the release of Loving Instincts, the third vampire novel in the Instincts series, and I do apologize for that. It's kind of a funny thing when a new book is released. There's so much excitement, and undeniably a huge amount of nerves with waiting for the first reader responses to come in. So far, those have been wonderful. I thank everyone who has sent me emails, left comments here, posted to my Facebook, and messaged me on Twitter, about how you've enjoyed the story. It means more than I can ever fully express, and I hope you all know that it's those kinds of sweet things that keep me hitting the keys in creating the next story for you.

And so, what have I been typing at lately? Well, I'm happy to say that the next Conquest book, FEELING THE RHYTHM, which is the story for Conquest's drummer, Brad Delfini, is now in my editor's hands. Yes, that's right. After being in the works for many long months, it's finished! Woo hoo! My editor and I are going to work very hard to get it out this year, and right now we're shooting for a December release.

After finishing FEELING THE RHYTHM, my plan was to take a good long break from writing. If you've seen LOVING INSTINCTS, you know that book was 100k words in length. FEELING THE RHYTHM has come in at about 90k. I figured between those two huge manuscripts, I'd earned a break, but my editor kindly reminded me that I have to get another book to her by the end of the year. That reminder had me tossing my break out the window and now I'm working on Book 4 in the Instincts series.

On a non-writing note, some of you may remember the review I wrote for the movie, Judas Kiss. (You can see it HERE.) Well, in that review, I pretty much sung the praises of actor Sean Paul Lockhart and the wonderful job he did in the movie. I said I hoped to see him in more movies and in lead roles. Not so long ago, I found out that he and writer/director, Rob Moretti, are making a movie called "Truth", with Sean Paul Lockhart in the lead role. Hooray!

The movie's Facebook page is here:

With this movie, like with so many independent projects, they've needed funding. They were having a campaign to raise funds, which I did put in a small contribution for (hey, I've always been the type to put my money where my mouth is), but the campaign has since ended. You can still view it HERE. The thing that got me about this was I watched a video of them talking about the movie, and they seemed truly passionate about the movie and the story they wanted to tell. It touched me, because I know what it's like to have a dream. I was there a few years ago when I was trying to become a published author. It's not easy being an independent artist, whether author, filmmaker, actor, painter, musician, or any of the others who work so hard to bring their craft to the public. The old adage of how someone "suffers for their craft" is very true. It's a labor of love, and you hope beyond hope to reach people with your work. So I can relate to where they're coming from, and I truly hope they get to make their movie.

Speaking of movies, I need movie recs! Once I finish Instincts Bk 4, I'm taking my break and I want to watch some good movies! So feel welcomed to email me, post recs on my FB wall, message them to me on Twitter, post them here, anywhere and everywhere is fine. Sadly, since Judas Kiss, I have no recs to offer back because all I've been doing is writing! Though, I will recommend Bunraku, which I watched a long time  ago and thought was awesome, but didn't write a review for because I figured everyone would think I'm biased since Gackt stars in it and it's no secret that I sort of, kind of, absolutely LOVE Gackt :-D

And so, my dear readers, that's what I've been up to. You know, other than working full-time at the evil day job, chasing my child, and tending to my horses who are never quite spoiled enough in their minds. I know a few of you are waiting - and have been very patiently waiting - for Brad's story, and I promise to do all I can to get it to you all this year. Thank you, so very much, to those who have picked up LOVING INSTINCTS, and my thanks to everyone for all your wonderful support.