08 Apr
2014

Autism Awareness
Autism fact:

“A lack of social imagination should not be confused with lack of imagination. Many people with autism are very creative.”

 

Our foster son is an example of that. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s after he came to live with us, but even before the diagnosis it wasn’t hard to see how differently he behaved compared to our boys, even though neither is a run of the mill kid—Eldest has dyslexia and Youngest has Tourette’s. He doesn’t see things the same way we do, and it wasn’t easy for him to get used to our family dynamic. Still isn’t, to be honest. Explaining doesn’t always work, either.

But, back to the topic at hand, he is very creative and musical. He’s a wonderful bass guitar player, and not bad on guitar, either. He’s very intuitive and I love hearing him play, even if he thinks singing mostly ruins songs, which often makes me bite my tongue, since I’m a singer. I love the moments when I feel we have an actual connection, even if it lasts only a moment. And I love seeing him smile.

* * * * *

Comment on this post to win an ebook of choice from my backlist (not including the charity anthology Legal Briefs) in format of choice. Closing date 15th April 23:59 CEST.

* * * * *

There are many other authors taking part in the Autism blog hop… Go see the master post HERE for daily links to competitions and articles.

This Blog Hop was organised by the wonderful RJ Scott

 

24 Mar
2014

Join the fun at the TRR site!:

Win an ecopy of choice from my backlist. All you have to do is scroll down till you find Question #17, and answer it correctly at The Romance Reviews Third Anniversary Party.

Of course, while you’re there, you could do all the puzzles and take a stab at more prices, or even a chance to win a $100 Gift Certificate at the end of the month.

You’ll have to register to enter, but the registration is free (and painless)

10 Mar
2014

Three months into 2014, and this year is definitely going better than last year. Though, yes, my writing speed isn’t quite what I want it to be, I have more energy. I’ve even started some exercising *shock*.

So what have I been up to these last few months?

 

Releases
Sweethearts and SeductionThe Forester II: Lost and Found
The second part of my Forester Trilogy, The Forester II: Lost and Found, came out on December 21st.

 

Sweethearts and Seduction, a Storm Moon Press Valentine’s Day Anthology, came out on February 14th.

 

 

 

Guest Posts & Interviews

  • March 9th – Going Commando in the Forest at the The Novel Approach. About the age old question of boxers or briefs or…
  • February 28th – Read the Rainbow: about my favourite candy, the first book I remember reading, and inspirational music.
  • January 29th – Why I still read reviews at Prism Book Alliance for their re-opening
  • January 14th – Writing taught me to never say never… at Pants Off Reviews for Storm Moon Press’ 4th Anniversary Blog Tour
  • January 3rd – Queer Town Abby: about sightseeing in the Netherlands and why I write GLBTQ fiction.

 

Writing & Editing

  • I wrote two short stories in December, and a third I finished almost two weeks ago. All three stories were accepted *does happy dance*. A Time Traveler’s Valentine by Storm Moon Press–and appears in above mentioned Sweethearts and Seduction anthology. There is Light by Less Than Three Press for their Satisfaction Guaranteed anthology, and The Map to Bogriv also by Less Than Three Press–I signed that contract just this morning–for their charity anthology to support Project Fierce. Click Your Heels Three Times, a short story I wrote last summer for a Bedtime anthology that Anna Martin initiated, was accepted by Wilde City Press.
    So, yeah, It’s only March, and I’ve already signed four contracts this year and managed to fulfill one of my New Year’s resolutions by spreading my wings to some new publishers I’m looking forward to working with :)
  • Right now, I’m (still) working hard to finsh the third part of my Forester Trilogy. It’s slow going, but I like where I’m going. So, it’s all good.
  • After the third Forester, I plan to work on a project I initially wanted to work on last year, but my constant fight against tiredness forced me to shelf it again. And that is my fantasy novel Blind Trust, about Cannt Kiben, a blind restorer whose longstanding fight for acceptance seems to pay off when hardened seeker Adrynn Traight recognises the depth of his abilities and asks him to help solve a series of unexplained deaths. I wrote Blind Trust during NaNoWriMo, so it’s high time I started editing it and making it submission ready.
  • Other projects I want to tackle this year are last year’s YA gay fantasy NaNoProject, a couple of standalone novellas set in my Forester world, like Brem’s story–Kelnaht’s apprentice, when he settles in his new tribe as their Truth Seeker–and the Guide’s story. And if I still have time after finishing all these, then I still have plenty of stories left to work on.

 

Singing & Choir

Due to my health problems, I’ve had to give up choir, but for some reason my singing lessons are still going brilliantly. Of course, my singing coach teaches me a lot more than just singing. If anything, they’re more like body & mind lessons, and they help me a lot in my writing as well. Or rather, they help me let go and shut up my brain for about half an hour a week. And I like that though she’s been coaching me for almost seven years now, I learn something new every time.

 

Coming Soon

  • There is Light (Less Than Three Press – Satisfaction Guaranteed anthology)

    Marek Moss isn’t happy. His status as a drifter—someone whose magic is warped or fluctuating—hampers him in holding on to a boyfriend or finding a job he actually enjoys. Marek has tried quite a few jobs over the years, but none of them seemed to stick. The only reasons he stuck to being a lighter for the past six years is that the lights are pretty, he’s not working for his smothering family, and he gets to ogle Hennen Kovu from time to time.

    Hennen is everything Marek is not. He’s elegant, confident, and damn good at his job, despite being blind. And Marek has a crush on him. A crush that turns into something more when he bumps into Hennen outside of work—trips over his cane—and is invited for a drink and a concert.

    Hennen makes Marek see that he can change how people react to him, and that there might be a job he’d enjoy, after all. And if Marek can gather the courage to take that first step, he might even have a boyfriend to hold on to.

  • The Map to Bogriv (Less Than Three Press – charity anthology)

    Ruari’s family have been killed, except for three of his siblings. Dirty, hungry, and exhausted, he refuses to rest or let his emotions catch up with him until he can lead them to safety and get his people the help they need. According to a map his father gave him before he died, they can find that help in the village of Bogriv. But despite the promise he made to his father, Ruari has no confidence that the people of Bogriv won’t be just like the ones who attacked them: to him one Keysent is just like another.

  • Click Your Heels Three Times (Wilde City Press – Bedtime Stories anthology)

    Theodorin is preparing for a date with his lover, but his general has other plans for him.

 

and… that’s it, for now. I wish you all a healthy and sunny Spring. :D

 

 

26 Dec
2013

Coming Soon This week I’ll be touring around Blog Land with guest posts, giveaways and competitions about The Forester II: Lost and Found

Tour Schedule (links will be updated as the posts go live)

 

 

24 Dec
2013

Happy Holidays to All!!

Our Difference Is Our Strength

Happy Holidays and a rockin’ and creative 2014

Love and hugs,

Blaine


Baby in a Manger by Sally De Ford Music, sung by Blaine D. Arden and two sopranos

For those who can’t get it to play, you can download it HERE
and, yeah… I know… I should really record a new song at some point…

 

21 Dec
2013
It’s The Forester II: Lost and Found Release Day!!

Coming SoonM/M | Fantasy | threesome | polyamory | mystery | solstice |
Second part of “The Forester Trilogy”
also part of the “Tales of the Forest” series
Published by Storm Moon Press
Cover by Nathie Block

“The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning.”

One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers—smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif—is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht. If it isn’t sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it’s heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free. And if that’s not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.

 

Go here for an excerpt.

The book is available at Storm Moon Press, and I’ll post links to other vendors as soon as they go live :)

I’ll be doing a blog tour starting the 23rd with an interview at Rainbow book reviews. I’ll post the schedule for that asap :)

Enjoy the book!

 

25 Nov
2013

Welcome to the Queer Romance Blog Hop, where queer writers and readers of queer romance share their thoughts on the genre, as well as a few recommendations for books to read! Everyone participating in this blog hop identifies as queer and also reads and/or writes (or edits, or reviews!) queer romance. For our purposes, queer romance refers to books with:

1. LGBTQ+ main characters
2. In romantic relationships
3. That have a happy ending. (No Brokeback Mountain here, folks!)

 

Hi *waves at everyone* I’m Blaine D. Arden, and for those following this Blog Hop and have never heard of me, I’m a purple haired, forty-something, writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes and the colours black, purple and red, who sings her way through life.

I jumped onto this Blog Hop after I stumbled across E.E. Ottoman’s contribution, having completely missed Heidi Bellau’s twitter request. Queer romance is a subject close to my heart, and… this is as good a time as any to come out, right? (Well, to those who didn’t know already, that is).

On to the questions Heidi asked me:

 

1. Let’s start off with the getting-to-know-you stuff: How do you identify, and what does that mean to you? Whatever level of detail you’re comfortable with, of course!

I identify as genderqueer and mostly call myself either an inbetweener or caught in the middle, not fully one, not fully the other. Actually, Kris Piet recently wrote a gripping post about being genderqueer, that could have been written for me. She expresses how I feel very well, though I’m definitely man-sexual (cis and trans*), and, like many gay men, I tend to fall for the straight ones…

Of course, it’s been only two years since I’ve become aware of who I am, and I’m still learning, still evolving. Looking back, there were plenty of signs, I was just never aware enough to see them. All I knew was that I hated my breasts and offered them to my husband many, many times, since he likes them so much, but he prefers them attached to me. It’s become sort of a standing joke between the two of us, though we’re both well aware it never really was a joke.

These days, I try to accept that my body won’t always present the person I am inside, and that shopping for clothes will always be hell as long as companies insist females love bling *shudder* on everything they wear—try finding a simple black bag for a party without any ‘embellishments’ on them—and male clothing just doesn’t fit my body type well enough to be comfortable. I try to pay attention when people call me by my RL name, because Blaine suits who I am so much better that I sometimes forget it’s not how most people are used to calling me. I try not to get too much into lecturing mode when someone tries to convince me that men and women are different *snorts*, and I lose myself in writing worlds where diversity is accepted as is, hoping that some day in the future people wonder what the fuss was all about :)

 

2. What’s your preferred “flavour” of queer romance (e.g. trans*, f/f, m/m, menage with queer characters, etc.) Why?

As a reader I love stories that suck me in from page one, be it contemporary, historical, or fantasy/sf. I love characters that grip me, that jump out to me and win my heart. Their gender or sexuality doesn’t play a role in it, but I do mostly read m/m and trans*, which are also the flavours I write. I feel more connected to these flavours, can identify more easily with them, I guess. I’m willing to try anything at least once, though ménages have never really appealed to me, unless they’re m/m/m, cis-gendered or otherwise, but I do read f/f now and then.

 

3. Do you write/read/review? Do you think being queer affects your participation or platform in romancelandia?

I write and read. Because I did both long before I realised I was genderqueer, I don’t know if being queer myself affects my participation or platform. My awareness hasn’t changed my point of view on what I write, with the exception that I’m now feeling secure enough to write transmen into my stories, and maybe, in future, transwomen, too.

My problem is that I’m somewhat gender blind, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way. Because I’ve never seen a difference between men loving men or men loving women, for instance, I often overlook the problems gay men, or any lgbtq person, suffer. I sometimes forget there is still a lot of prejudice and aggression against non-heterosexual, non-straight people, because not everyone sees the world the way I do.

So, the way I view the world affects my participation in romancelandia more than my own queerness. As mentioned above, I write worlds and stories containing a ‘diversity as is’ point of view. Gender and sexuality, with some exceptions because not all of my characters see the world the same way, doesn’t matter, or, at least, isn’t pivotal to my stories. I try to paint worlds that transport readers into a ‘better’ and all-inclusive future. Show by example is what they say, right? This is my way of showing, of contributing.

 

4. What drew you to queer romance?

I think I’ve told this story many, many times. When I was 16/17 (mid eighties), AIDS was one of the biggest news items around. And what gripped and sickened me most was the hostility against homosexuality. So, naïve as I was, I wanted to show the world how beautiful love between men could be, and started writing my first piece of gay fiction. I even tried to get it published, sending it out to several publishers in my little country—yes, I still wrote in Dutch, then—and I shudder to think what they must have thought of it.

But the negativity surrounding homosexuality lasted, and I started to doubt myself. I’d always thought love was love, but maybe I was wrong. Maybe my point of view was skewed. And I stopped writing gay characters for a while. Until I saw ‘Beautiful Thing’ on TV one night (late nineties), became involved in a small community online, and realised my point of view wasn’t wrong at all. Since then I’ve written numerous gay characters in lead and supporting roles, and even dipped my toes into the giant pool called fandom. And I never let anyone change my mind about my point of view again.

 

5. What do you love about queer romance in general, and/or your specific subgenre?

Weird as it may sound. I LOVE the diversity in the genre. We are but a niche genre, and yet, sometimes I fell we represent everything mainstream has to offer within this niche. Yes, there is a lack of LBTQ fiction and racial diversity, but aside from that, there is something for everyone. From contemporary to SF/F, from witches to werewolves, from geeks to cowboys, from no sex to full on erotica, from sweet romance to kinky pleasures, from historical to mysteries, from thrilling BDSM to horrifying thrillers, etc.. And some of the writing is absolutely top notch.

 

6. What’s your pet peeve?

The constant whining whether women can or should be able (allowed even) to write gay men. *rolls eyes* Or the assumption that m/m is written for women. These arguments are tiring beyond belief. Every time I see someone bring up these subjects, I just want to tell them to grow up.

 

7. What growth would you like to see in the genre, going forward? Any ideas on how to accomplish that?

I’d love to see more LBTQ fiction among the vast see of m/m, and I’d love to see more racial diversity. I’ve always been hesitant to call some of my stories multi-cultured, because they are fantasy, and my idea of different races may not reflect expectations. But, regardless, humans exists in all shapes and sizes, and it’s lovely to read about variety. For this, writers just need to take the plunge and write outside the box more.

It’s never easy to dwell outside our comfort zones, and I love my comfort zone, but even if you’re not comfortable as a writer to write other-gendered main characters, there’s always the friendly trans* Jamaican neighbour, with or without dreadlocks or the gorgeous African ex (or African-American – male/female, trans* or cis-gendered). And, when writing fantasy, there’s nothing easier than thinking up races that show colour and sexual fluidity. Start small, but think big :)

I’d also love to see more inclusivity within our community. I think our genre is precious and could become so much more, but not if authors/reviewers/readers are fighting among themselves trying to get ahead. The acronyms LGBTQ/QUILTBAG—whichever you prefer—should be fighting FOR and not AGAINST each other. No one individual group has more rights than another.

Conventions like the UK Meet, etc., are already working towards inclusivity. Several f/f and trans* authors mixed with us die hard m/m writers at the UK Meet these past couple of years. The atmosphere during the convention has always been very accepting and friendly. So, why not take that atmosphere online and create the same sort of safe environment there? There are already some groups who have managed to create such an environment, but we really need to think bigger and work with each other.

 

8. Do you seek out other queer authors when you read?

As a reader I don’t much care about the author’s gender/sexuality. If a book grabs my attention, I’ll read it, no matter who/what the author is. That said, I’m always open to checking out an author’s books when I find out they’re queer, just like I’m open to checking out books by an author I’ve met personally. For both cases I’ll add the disclaimer that I’ll read anything, as long as it’s within my taste. (aka: avoids my squicks)

 

9. How do you feel, in general, about straight peoples’ participation in reading, writing, and reviewing queer romance?

Well… until about two years ago, I firmly believed I was one of them. So, to have a problem with it would be nothing but hypocritical. Though my awareness of who I am has changed, my reasons for writing queer romance haven’t. They’ll always be close to my heart.

Well written queer characters deserve to be rejoiced and enjoyed by anyone who cares. The gender/sexuality of the author/reviewer/reader shouldn’t matter.

 

10. Rec us 3 titles in your chosen subgenre and tell us why you love them.

Only three books? *sigh* I’ve always been bad at playing favourites, and this doesn’t make it any easier. There are so many great books out there, and I treasure them all, but… I managed to find three books I think are great and cover a wide range of flavours/genres.

The Complete Brandstetter by Joseph Hansen – This twelve books in one series about street-smart insurance investigator Dave Brandstetter kept me on the edge of my seat. Dave is a complex, openly gay hero who grows and changes over the twelve novels that span approximately twenty years. I loved the wonderfully written secondary and walk-on characters, the action, the mystery, and the way they tackled both gay- and racial issues. A definite re-read for me (though, the print of this twelve in one book is small, and I’ll need magnifiers to read it next time lol). This book is hard to come by, but I’ve seen the books pop-up in e-format here and there.

Blacker Than Black by Rhi Etzweiler Another edge of the seat experience for me. This book about chi-stealing nightwalkers and energy-vampires was interesting and exciting complex and dark story. I also enjoyed how it encompasses gender fluidity. Another re-read for me.

The Irregulars by Josh Lanyon, Nicole Kimberling, Astrid Amara and Ginn Hale – this is a great showcase of the fantasy genre by four brilliant authors. This book contains four separate yet interlinked stories about human and not-quite human agents policing relations between the earthly realm and those beyond this world. I loved the characters and the different approaches from each authors. The shared world really worked for me, I was dragged into this world with the first sentence of the first story and didn’t come out of it until the very last page. And, again, a definite re-read.

 

Well, that’s it for me. Thanks for reading and for following the tour! Be sure to use the links below to check out more great posts from our participants! Also, if you leave a comment on any of the hop entries, you’ll be entered in a chance to win a prize book of print and ebooks from the participating authors! Yay, books! (my contribution is an e-copy of the SMP Charity anthology Legal Briefs which includes my trans* short In His Defense)

 

09 Sep
2013

Thanks to all who visited my little Oren’s Right Release Tour :) I’m glad so many of you enjoyed reading my posts.

And now… *drumroll* the winner of the Giveaway (with a little help from random.org):

Shayla Mist

Congratulations, Shayla. I’ll be emailing you shortly.

For anyone interested in reading the blogs, but missed the tour, they’re still up, and I stil welcome reactions. You can find the posts here:

 

03 Sep
2013
It’s Oren’s Right Release Day!!

The ForesterEvery society, every group, whether friends or family, has their own traditions. Some are rooted in religions and beliefs that are centuries old, and celebrated by many. Some are new, very personal and might only be celebrated by single person. It’s blowing out a birthday candle and celebrating harvest season. It’s throwing rice at a wedding and date night for young parents.

My Tales of the Forest series also knows a variety of traditions.

In The Forester I describe the Solstice Circle. It takes place during Solstice–either winter or summer—and consists of a bonfire surrounded by benches. Here unwed elves propose to the loves of their lives. Although the Guide tells Kelnaht: “Solstice is a time, not a place.” And in the Oren’s Right bonus Solstice vignette I mention a meal on the night of the Solstice to celebrate their vows and honour those who attend the Circle.

In Oren’s Right I describe a traditional elven funeral scene. Elves burn their dead on a pyre, surrounded by those who came to say goodbye. Elves believe the body is merely a vessel, and a deceased one’s essence is released by the Guide after their death. They are set free from their body, to rise up into the sky and watch over the living. At both the release of the essence as well as the funeral pyre, the Guide sings the prayer of Death.

Oren's RightA third tradition I’ve only touched on peripherally in either story, and that’s the Forester’s mark. Veld has a pattern of Chantus leaves cut into the inside of his left thigh. The Chantus tree was the oldest and biggest tree in the village where Veld was born. Tending a tree as old as that Chantus was an honour amongst Foresters, and became the mark of their profession. Taruif has trail of vine leaves on the left side of his body, from neck down to ankle, across both back and chest.
Cutting the mark of one’s profession into one’s skin when one is apprenticed is a deep rooted tradition in Veld’s tribe. It’s not a tradition in Taruif’s tribe, but Taruif’s mentor was apprenticed in a different tribe, and they did the same as Veld’s tribe had done, only they used ink. Taruif never told me where his mentor marked his body, but I do know that it’s an acorn tattoo. He also refuses to tell me why he chose such a large sign of his profession, but I have a feeling his deceased vowed Fuzan had something to do with it. Brem chose something less conspicuous, but since his story is in the making, I’ll leave you all to discover it when his lover does.

But aside from those societal traditions, Oren and Haram—Oren’s deceased vowed—had a pretty unique personal tradition as well. On every special occasion—and only Oren and Haram know what they considered special occasions—Haram would brand or cut a new design into Oren’s body. It was their way to show they belonged, to cement their bond. And it made Oren feel owned, treasured, and secure. It’s a tradition that Veld and Oren continue, in memory of Haram, and to celebrate their own bond.

 

Blurb Oren’s Right
Veld, tree elf and Forester, fell in love with mute baker Oren, also a tree elf, when he first set eyes on him two turns ago, but Healer Haram, Oren’s vowed, made it clear that he had no intention of sharing Oren with Veld. Now, with Oren in mourning after Haram is killed, Veld is torn between Haram’s unwillingness to share and his desire to make Oren his. But when Haram’s death turns out not to be quite the accident it seemed to be, Veld is drawn into the investigation. At the same time, others appear to claim Oren’s independence, and Veld is forced to face his insecurities or risk losing Oren…

 
Excerpt:

When the cart stopped, I kept my gaze on my hand resting on the edge of it until a sob tore my view to Oren. Oren gathered Haram up in his arms, and my heart broke when he touched his lips to Haram’s forehead, sobbing freely. I caught Ajuna looking at me, a clear question in her eyes, and I swallowed. Oren was my friend as much as Haram had been, and here I stood, awash with feelings I shouldn’t have, while
he suffered.

I nodded at Ajuna and stepped around the cart to help Oren carry his burden. Oren barely acknowledged me, but I felt his grip on Haram loosen as I helped him place Haram on the pyre. The care, the love, with which Oren righted Haram’s attire, pulled and shifted the bearskin covering him until it lay just right, brought a smile to my face. I let Oren work at his own pace and kept others with less patience away. This was Oren’s right, and I was going to make certain he got all the time he needed.

The Guide moved next to me. We stared at each other for a moment before he nodded at me and moved to Oren’s other side, shielding him from nosy well-doers. Ajuna stood behind her brother, her hand, once again, in the small of his back in support. I pushed down the urge to swat it away. He wasn’t mine, I reminded myself. If only my body would listen for once. It had made its mind up the moment I’d spotted Oren in his bakery over two turns ago.

When Oren finally stepped back, the Guide lit a torch and looked at Oren expectantly. Oren took a folded piece of paper from inside his sleeve and handed it to me. I started to shake my head, but Oren’s pleading eyes stopped me, and I could do nothing but nod. Ajuna would have been a far better choice, but he chose me to be his voice. Who was I to disrespect his decision?

I unfolded the paper and read Oren’s meticulous scrawl. A man of few words—no one would be surprised at that—but his writing was full of heart, full of love and respect for the man he’d lived with for over a decade.

“You were my life,” I read the first line aloud, “my love, my keeper. You saw me for who I was, and helped me be who I wanted to be. I am proud to wear your marks, to show my bond to you, my vowed.” I swallowed, “And one day, my handsome Haram, with Ma’terra’s blessing, we will be together again.”

Tears streaked Oren’s cheeks, and his hands trembled as he took the torch from the Guide and lit the pyre. He stood there, frozen, watching the pyre light up, with one hand stretched towards it. My heart burned for him.

The Guide started up the prayer of Death again, his voice almost too loud in the silence. Oren staggered back. I reached out to steady him, nodding to Ajuna to let her know I had him. She stepped back, but Oren didn’t even seem to notice the lack of her touch. He just put his head on my shoulder and cried.

GIVEAWAY:

A comment on any of these three posts in my Oren’s Right mini tour counts as an entry to my giveaway. If you comment on all three posts, it means you have three chances to win. The giveaway closes on Sunday the 8th at 23:59 CET, and I’ll randomly pick and announce the winner of an e-copy of Oren’s Right on Monday the 9th.

Oren’s Right mini tour schedule: (I’ll post the direct links as soon as the post go live)

 

03 Sep
2013
It’s Oren’s Right Release Day!!

Oren's Right
Oren’s Right
M/M | fantasy | scarification | interracial
16,900 words | 41 pages (pdf)
published by Storm Moon Press
Cover by ThinkSentient Ltd
also published in the Carved in Flesh anthology

Blurb
Veld, tree elf and Forester, fell in love with mute baker Oren, also a tree elf, when he first set eyes on him two turns ago, but Healer Haram, Oren’s vowed, made it clear that he had no intention of sharing Oren with Veld. Now, with Oren in mourning after Haram is killed, Veld is torn between Haram’s unwillingness to share and his desire to make Oren his. But when Haram’s death turns out not to be quite the accident it seemed to be, Veld is drawn into the investigation. At the same time, others appear to claim Oren’s independence, and Veld is forced to face his insecurities or risk losing Oren…

 

Now available at Storm Moon Press, and I’ll add links to amazon and ARe, etc. as soon as they go live.

Oren’s Right is part of the my Tales of the Forest series, and includes a little Soltice Vignette, written for Pants Off Reviews December 2012.

The Tales of the Forest series started with a Solstice short called The Forester, and I thought that was that. But then Oren and Veld wanted their story told, The Forester turned into a trilogy (part two is coming out in December, and I’m working on the third one), and my little forest world turned out to be much larger than I initially thought.

So many villages and tribes still to be discovered…

 

Oren’s Right Giveaway:

In the meantime, I’m doing a mini tour and giveaway that starts here on my site later today. A comment on any of these three posts in my Oren’s Right mini tour counts as an entry to my giveaway. If you comment on all three posts, it means you have three chances to win. The giveaway closes on Sunday the 8th at 23:59 CET, and I’ll randomly pick and announce the winner of an e-copy of Oren’s Right on Monday the 9th.

Oren’s Right mini tour schedule:

 

A PS: comments made on this post do NOT count for the giveaway. So, follow the links (I’ll put them up as soon as they go live) to the tour posts, and comment there.

26 Aug
2013

Rainbow DragonSaturday, my husband and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary by escaping our boys–and dog–and spending two nights in a hotel in Wuppertal, Germany. We took a bus tour, sat in the floating train, walked our arses off, had dinner at the Wuppertaler Brauhaus, ate giant icecreams, swam in the hotel swimmingpool, and spent some meaningfull time in our room–playing yahtzee of all things ;). Needless to say, it was bliss.

In honour of said anniversary, I set up a little puzzle for you all to solve that involves all my free works our there. Out of all the correct answers, I’ll randomly pick one winner who’ll receive a signed paperback of choice. (Aliens, Smith and Jones / The Fifth Son – Illustrated / Carved in Flesh Anthology / Legal Briefs Charity Anthology).
The competition will run for the next two weeks, until Sunday 8 September 23:59 CET.
I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Entries accepted world wide.

Blaine's icecreamNow… onto the competition. All you have to do is get all my free ebooks (see my book pages for the links), and find the words that make up the next two sentences:

1111111 222 3333
444 5555555555 66 777 88888888
Seems easy enough, right? Don’t worry, I’m giving you some clues, and where available, I’ve given some extra hints:

  • contractions and hyphenated words count as one word.
  • P = paragraph
  • W = word
  • ↓ = from the top
  • ↑ = from the bottom
  • → = from the beginning of the paragraph
  • ← = from the end of the paragraph

hubby's icecreamAnd now the game starts:

  • Word 1: This one’s to get the hang of it. Go to the ‘About Blaine’ section of this site and then find the word located at P↑1/W→3
  • Word 2:The Storyteller/Scene: 2/P↓2/W→8
  • Word 3:An Invitation To Love/Title/W←1
  • Word 4:Color Me/Chapter: Green/P↓9/W→14/li>
  • Word 5:An Invitation To Love/Chapter: Six/P↓42/W→13
  • Word 6:Slippery When Wet/P↓15/W←3
  • Word 7:Oren’s Right Solstice Vignette/P↑2/W←14
  • Word 8:The StorytellerP↓12/W→19

GOOD LUCK & HAVE FUN!

 

One more free vignette can be found here. It’s about the founding of Primrose, the organisation tasked with monitoring and tracking aliens and alien technology from Aliens, Smith and Jones, and was originally posted at the We Carry The Torch site, where we followed the Olympic torch relay through the UK last year.

 

Want to see more photos of our trip? You can find them here.

Blaine and Hubby

11 May
2013

It’s Out, it’s Free, and it has Dragons :)
And you’re all invited to your first Dragon mating.
Meet guests from neighbouring countries, sample their food, and find out what a traditional Drachus six-day mating ceremony really entails.

Enjoy your stay!

Craw Nook’s leader Little Rock
requests the honor of your presence
to witness the mating of
Thumper
second in command to Little Rock
and his chosen first-mate
Buttercup
security officer
 
Their traditional six-day mating ceremony will start
on the eleventh day of this mating season
at the Gather Bench
in Craw Nook
 
For all presents, questions, and requests, please contact
Panic (patron to Thumper)
Dominick y Ejna of Ayneia (patron to Buttercup)

An Invitation To LoveM/M | Fantasy | Dragons | threesome | polyamory
15,600 words | 45 pages (pdf)
Published by Storm Moon Press
Cover by Dare Empire Media

written for Sarah, the highest bidder of my Hurricane Sandy Relief Story Auction at Babes In Boyland

Available at Storm Moon Press

An Invitation To Love

Blurb:
Dominick, a winged Phae with a severe stutter, feels more at ease speaking the Drachus sign language than his own Phae tongue. Acting as patron to his partner’s mating ceremony, he meets Lysander and Zachary, who seem to have a thing for redheads and don’t mind that he doesn’t talk. Even though Dominick believes it’s just a casual hookup, he can’t stop worrying he’ll mess up… or want more.

Excerpt:

Standing on top of Owain ridge on the border between Ayneia and Craw Nook, I clutched Buttercup and her mate-to-be’s present to my chest. Moving to the edge, I spread my wings, catching enough of the breeze to let it lift me off… as soon as I was ready. I swallowed. Noises from the foot of the ridge, faint as they were, kept me from taking that final step. The hustle and bustle below most resembled blurry rainbow colored ants, but with less discipline. As Buttercup’s chosen patron, I should be mingling with the guests—a mix of Drachus, Ura, Ganesh, and Phae like me—but hunger and nausea threatened to turn my stomach at the idea of immersing myself in the crowd for her six-day mating ceremony. Maybe Mother had been right, and I should have declined the honor Buttercup had bestowed on me. But how could I? We’d been working together for close to seven years. I couldn’t abandon her now. Despite my shortcomings, that wasn’t who I was.

Flapping wings alerted me to approaching company, and I scanned the side of the ridge to find out where Buttercup would be coming from. Who else would look for me up here? My family lived a five-hour flight into Ayneia away. I couldn’t help but smile as I spotted her to my far left, climbing up against the steepest side of the mountain.

Buttercup was an average sized Drachus. She had an elongated head twice the size of mine, four hefty legs, a long pointy tail, sharp claws one didn’t want to be in the way of, and a wingspan large enough to shelter a small group of children against the rain. Her pearly pink scales glittered in the sunlight, set off by the dark pink coloring of her belly, her wings, and the tips of her ears and tail. We made quite a pair patrolling the borders between Ayneia and Craw Nook. Buttercup in pink, and me with my red hair, and red, yellow, and orange wings.

She loomed up in front of me, blocking the sunlight. I stepped back from the edge. She hovered a Drachus length away from me, her eyes thin strips of gold, seeming none too happy with me.

«I’m sorry,» I signed in Drachus, a one-handed sign language created to enable conversations with the nations surrounding their land. It wasn’t the Drachus’ native language. That consisted of many throat aching growls, grunts, and rasps impossible to emulate if one wasn’t built to produce those sounds.

Lips pressed tight, Buttercup shook her head. «You promised me you’d try, Dominick. No one expects you to speak anything but Drachus.»

Nothing I hadn’t tried to tell myself, but it didn’t make it any better.

«Come down with me. Thumper’s becoming impatient.»

Buttercup’s mate-to-be, and the formidable second in command to Craw Nook’s leader, Little Rock. His name never failed to make me smile. Partly because Buttercup once told me how he thumped his tail on the ground when he didn’t agree with something as a nestling, and partly because one of my sisters had a pet rabbit with the same name.

«I was working up to it.» Working up to facing such a large crowd and ‘speaking’ in public, even if signing in Drachus. But mostly, I’d been working up to facing men I’d want to talk to. Men who’d be walking the other way as soon as I opened my mouth, as soon as they heard me mangle my words.

Buttercup flapped her wings creating a gust of wind that blew me backwards. She snorted. «Working yourself into a frenzy, more like.» She turned in the air, spreading her wings and using her tail for balance. «Stop dawdling and fly down with me.»

Stamping my feet would make me resemble the juvenile she sometimes treated me as, so I lifted off and hovered alongside her.

«You’ll be fine, Dominick. Your Drachus is flawless.»

Buttercup knew better than anyone it wasn’t my Drachus I was worried about.

 

An Invitation To Love © 2013 Blaine D. Arden. All rights reserved

09 May
2013

to post a monthly update… err… What can I say? Time flies…

Anyway, it’s May, and, finally, Winter seems to have understood it was time for him to hibernate. I hope Spring will make way for Summer in a more orderly fashion. In the meantime I’m enjoying the sounds of birds chirping and even kids playing outside as I’m working in my office. The “kids” cursing in the rooms next to mine as they play whatever sort of online role playing game they’re up to now is far less attractive, unfortunately. I’m therefore eternally indebted to Aleks Voinov for suggesting noise reduction headphones. I look like an idiot, but the quiet almost makes up for that. :)
Noise reduction headphones

 

Releases

In His DefenseLegal Briefs came out April 26th. It’s a Storm Moon Press Charity Anthology with a legal theme of which all net proceeds will be donated to Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. No better excuse to buy a book than to support charity, right?

The Legal Briefs Blog Tour – April 28th to May 3rd:

 

Writing & Editing

Since my update early February, despite fighting a tiredness I couldn’t seem to beat, I managed to finish both the projects that I’d wanted done by the end of January, though I’ve had to shelve my NaNoWriMo project. I’ll still finish that story at some point, but not making the deadline means it stopped being a priority.

So, what’s up, writing wise?

  • Forester Two got a title about a day before I finished my edits. It’s now called The Forester: Lost and Found. I’ve never experienced a stranger editing phase, though. The story grew from about 30K to a whopping 35K. Believe me, I took things out in almost every scene… and yet, I managed to add words to almost every scene as well.
    Storm Moon Press already offered me a contract for it, and it has a tentative release date of December 21st.
  • An Invitation to Love is the title of the other project I finished (see below for link and info). I felt really bad for finishing that story a month late, but I’m glad I got it done in the end. Right now it’s with the Storm Moon Press staff, who are turning it into a proper ebook for me.
  • While working on the Forester Two edits (yeah… I just can’t stop calling it that), I felt like maybe I should give Brem, Kelnaht’s apprentice, his own story, set after he leaves the village to become a Truth Seeker elsewhere.
  • Someting I read, or was watching, I’m not sure which it was, sparked an idea for a YA novel in me. It could well end up bing this year’s NaNoWriMo project. My first YA. It’s a bit daunting, because I kept telling myself I didn’t think I could do YA, and my main character’s uncle seems to have a story of his own as well… I wonder how I can put that all together, but it’s going to be fun trying. It’s got a tentative title as well: The Tactician’s Heir or The Tactician’s Son.
  • Another story I plan to work on this year is my fantasy novel Blind Trust, which is about Cannt Kiben, a blind restorer whose longstanding fight for acceptance seems to pay off when hardened seeker Adrynn Traight recognises the depth of his abilities and asks him to help solve a series of unexplained deaths.
  • Last, but certainly not least, I started writing Forester Three, the final part of the trilogy. Yes, the curse of the crappy titles lives on.

 

Singing & Choir

While singing lessons have been going brilliantly, choir’s been an up and down for me. A lot of times I was just too tired to remain awake after dinner, so I missed quite a few rehearsals. Still, our Fifth Anniversary concert went off without a hitch, and I remembered more lines than I expected. Though I’ve been singing for years now, I still like having lyrics in reach, just in case.

 

Various

  • Knitting
    I finished a pink bolero for those warm summer evenings (if they should ever arrive), and have now started a tunic in the same pink yarn.
  • From the Netherlands to France and back.
    A very different sort of tour this time. Hubby and I will be taking our little VW campervan to France this Sunday for a couple of days rest (read: NO KIDS!!), where we’ll be visiting the lovely Cameron Lawton. This will be the first time in… forever… that we’ll be vacationing outside school holidays. For this I thank Youngest’s school, since they’re sending him to Rome next week ;)

 

Coming Soon

An Invitation To LoveTitle: An Invitation To Love FREEBIE
M/M | Fantasy | Dragons | threesome | polyamory
15,400 words | 16 pages (pdf)
Published by Storm Moon Press
Cover by Dare Empire eMedia

written for Sarah, the highest bidder of my Hurricane Sandy Relief Story Auction at Babes In Boyland

Dominick, a winged Phae with a severe stutter, feels more at ease speaking the Drachus sign language than his own Phae tongue. Acting as patron to his partner’s mating ceremony, he meets Lysander and Zachary, who seem to have a thing for redheads and don’t mind that he doesn’t talk. Even though Dominick believes it’s just a casual hookup, he can’t stop worrying he’ll mess up… or want more.

An Invitation:

Craw Nook’s leader Little Rock
requests the honor of your presence
to witness the mating of
Thumper
second in command to Little Rock
and his chosen first-mate
Buttercup
security officer
 
Their traditional six-day mating ceremony will start
on the eleventh day of this mating season
at the Gather Bench
in Craw Nook
 
For all presents, questions, and requests, please contact
Panic (patron to Thumper)
Dominick y Ejna of Ayneia (patron to Buttercup)

 

I wish you all a healthy May. :D

 

 

19 Apr
2013

Giving to charity seems such a normal part of every day life. Organisations going door to door with collecting boxes, my boys’ schools organising fundraising projects, my choir giving part of the proceeds of a concert to charity. And I always give something, even when I started doing all my shopping via debit card and would have to search every drawer for some stray cash. I like the idea of contributing something, of helping out. And yet, I never realised my writing could support charity as well… until now.

In His DefenseTitle: In His Defense
in the Legal Briefs anthology
M/M | trans* | fantasy | lawyers | interracial
40,000 words | ?? pages (pdf)
To be Published by Storm Moon Press
Cover by Dare Empire eMedia
Available April 26, 2013 Pre-Order Now and Save 20%!

All net proceeds from the sale of this anthology will be donated directly to Lambda Legal!

We at Storm Moon Press are aware of the legal struggles many within the QUILTBAG face, and we know the valuable service Lambda Legal provides. With that in mind, we collaborated with six of our favorite authors (actually, all of our authors are our favorite!) who graciously agreed to donate their time and creative ability to help us create this anthology of legal-themed short stories specifically to help benefit such an excellent organization.

In Honest Lawyers, court reporter Luna is flattered by law student Craig’s attentions, but the fear of rejection makes her nervous about opening up to him about her status as a trans woman. Evan defends himself in a barroom brawl and 24 Hours later has to defend himself again, this time to his drunken attacker’s lawyer, who fortunately has as little patience for his client as Evan did. Lawyer Melanie is starting to come to terms with her attraction to women, something her new Study Buddy April is happy to help with.

Master Illan is a powerhouse in the Surim court, but it’s newcomer Daru who proves to be His Best Defense against threats both without and within. The moment Candy LeBon walks into Detective Calvin Guy’s life, he suspects a Double-Cross, but even he’s unprepared for the extent of twisted path she’ll lead him down. In Henry’s country, his attraction to Abel is Against the Law, but his secret is kept safe by another who harbors same-sex attractions—Henry’s wife.

Honest Lawyers by Kelly Rand, 24 Hours by Cari Z, Study Buddy by Stella Harris, His Best Defense by Blaine D. Arden, Double-Cross by Salome Wilde, Against the Law by Gryvon

 

An Invitaiton To LoveTitle: An Invitation To Love FREEBIE
M/M | Fantasy | Dragons | threesome | polyamory
15,400 words | ?? pages (pdf)
Published by Storm Moon Press
Cover by Dare Empire eMedia
Available: April 2013

Written for Sarah, the highest bidder of my Hurricane Sandy Relief Story Auction that Babes In Boyland ran early November last year. Thank you, Sarah, for your generous donation to the Ali Forney Center. :)

Dominick, a winged Phae with a severe stutter, feels more at ease speaking the Drachus sign language than his own Phae tongue. Acting as patron to his partner’s mating ceremony, he meets Lysander and Zachary, who seem to have a thing for redheads and don’t mind that he doesn’t talk. Even though Dominick believes it’s just a casual hookup, he can’t stop worrying he’ll mess up… or want more.

An Invitation:

Craw Nook’s leader Little Rock
requests the honor of your presence
to witness the mating of
Thumper
second in command to Little Rock
and his chosen first-mate
Buttercup
security officer
 
Their traditional six-day mating ceremony will start
on the eleventh day of this mating season
at the Gather Bench
in Craw Nook
 
For all presents, questions, and requests, please contact
Panic (patron to Thumper)
Dominick y Ejna of Ayneia (patron to Buttercup)

11 Feb
2013

2013 was going to rock, I said at the beginning of this year. Well, January, not so much. It was the month of being tired, having a cold, having a fever, and being just very, very tired. So, not much writing, but a lot of sleeping during the day. No blog updates either.

The Storm Moon Press 3rd Anniversary Blog Tour is over, and the winners have been announced already, but if you still want to read the posts, you can find a master list here at the Storm Moon Press Blog.

My contributions were:

 

February 1st saw the start of the second annual

Valentine's Love Fest

where a bunch of us authors are giving away books to celebrate Valentine’s Day with our readers. Still time to hop on over and participate!

 

Writing & Editing

As I mentioned above, I didn’t get much writing done, and even less editing. So, both projects that I’d wanted to have done by the end of January, are still in my daily to-do list. I’m almost done with my short, and I can’t wait to start editing “Forster Two” (which is still sorely lacking a proper title”.

I also have a project that I started during NaNoWriMo and needs to be done end of this month, *fingers crossed*. Not sure I’ll make that deadline, but I’m going to try anyway. I’ll have to try, seeing as I got a great idea for it as I was trying (and failing spectacularly) to fall asleep last night (or early morning – rest assured, I did get some sleep)

 

Singing & Choir

Strangely enough, this is going surprisingly well. I only had to cancel once during January because I had a fever, but my voice–as croaky as it sounded when I spoke–was there, my breath was there, and every song I sang made me feel a little better.

Of course, the way my singing teacher coaches is a big part of that. She’s very in tune with her students and knows intuitively what to work on. She also gave me a couple of wonderful sound massages. I’d never experienced those before, but they feel really good :)

Choir’s been fun as well. We’ve been learning two Cold Play songs that sound pretty awesome. And we’re practicing hard for our Fifth Anniversary concert in April.

 

Various

  • Knitting
    I’ve recently picked up knitting again. Though, when I say again, I mean I haven’t knitted since I was a teen. A friend of mine had some very cute fingerless gloves, and I wanted them too. She said they weren’t hard to do, so I bought needles–I actually have all my mother’s needles, but didn’t have those – figures–and started to knit. My friend was right.

    So… I caught the bug, went with my friend to a lovely little wool shop, and bought materials for my next project, which I finished Saturday: a neck warmer (though the pic looks more like a doll’s dress).
    Knitting neckwarmer 1 Kintting neckwarmer 2

    Right now I’m making a headband, and am working on my second pair of fingerless gloves.

  • Before You Hit Send
    I’m starting Angela James’ self-editing course today, so, for the next three weeks I’ll be ‘back in school’. Luckily I have some of my crit group members to keep me company. I can’t wait to receive the first lesson and dig in.
  • Critique Meet
    Not all was bad in January. Thanks to the very reasonable pricing of Ryan Air, I was able to nip off to London for two days, to attend a live critique session with Aleksandr Voinov, Melanie Tushmore, MJ O’Shea, Anna Martin, Cornelia Grey, and Kat Merikan (from the K.A. Merikan duo). I’d never done a live crit session before, so it was scary as hell, a bit tough, but overall a lot of fun and very instructive afternoon, and definitely worth the flight :)

 

Coming Soon

My short trans* story ‘In His Defense… will appear in Storm Moon Press’ Legal Briefs Anthology, which is coming out at the end of March.

I also have a free short called ‘An Invitation To Love‘ coming up soon.

 

I wish you all a healthy February. 2013 may still rock :D

 

 


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