February 2, 2015

Welp, it finally happened.

What happened?

The powers that be broke the seal on my writing drought! Woop woop!

This isn't much of an update, but yeah, I just thought I'd pop in and say hello.


I finally finally wrote something after six or seven months of absolute nothingness in the words department. After my word drought woes, which I detailed in a previous post, this development was mucho appreciated by yours truly.

So, that's my update! I wrote a story! And I did it in under three days! *falls over* For the record, I absolutely believe in the quality of the story (and thankfully was able to get it sorta beta-ed) or I otherwise wouldn't have submitted it.

You see, I wrote the story for a submission call that was due February 1st. I'd had a brainwave when I first saw the prompt a couple months ago, but, given my writing drought, I shelved the idea for "later."

Well, we all know how quickly "later" can arrive, and before I knew it, the call was due in a week. Of course, I hadn't touched a manuscript in months, but now I'd reached a crossroads: I had to recognize it was finally "later," and now that it was "later," was I ready to write that story?

A few days passed, during which I marinated on the idea, and I found myself hearing voices.

Yep. For anyone who writes fiction, you'll know what I'm talking about. Voices.

And that's how David Waterman, a medieval studies professor, and his neighbor, firefighter Zach Ford, were born!

I finished it and submitted it in time, so the story is now out of my hands. Regardless of what happens, however, I'm simply thrilled to have begun writing again. My God, that was a terrible, painful, doubt-inducing period of time.

I'm not saying the writing's going like gangbusters now--I still haven't picked up my previous WIPs--but simply knowing that it was there is a relief.

For your patience, I'll share a little about the story. :) Off the top of my head, here's how I'd describe it:
After years of hard work, medieval studies professor David Waterman finally has the tenure track position he's dreamed of. While it may have involved moving to a new city, he's settling in nicely with his books, his hobbies, and his slightly obese cat, Astrid. When Astrid requires rescuing, David  has the opportunity to meet his neighbor, Mr. Blue House. Mr. Blue House turns out to be Zachary Ford, a local firefighter.
A bad relationship in his late twenties has made David wary of playing the damsel in distress, and he's been satisfied thus far with his life of solitude, finding contentment in Game of Thrones marathons, academia, and his cat's companionship. However, Zach keeps popping up and playing the knight in shining armor, and he begins to inspire feelings in David--feelings he hasn't had for a very long time. David's left wondering two things: what are Zach's intentions, and should David reexamine his resolution to stay single?
There's a bunch more than that, but I don't want to spoil things! :)

Anyway, I'm just super excited to have written a story, so yay!

On a personal note, I also wanted to mention I booked a trip to Asia for March. Specifically, Japan and South Korea. Super pumped about that, too, especially since my werewolf story, He's Just Knot That Into You, will come out during my time there! Woop woop!

Oh, one more thing! I also put A Time for Loving into the rotation for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's "Don't Buy My Love" program, so if you're a member of that group, you can request a free review copy beginning February 13th.

So! Keep an eye out for more info on stuff! I'll probably run a "just because" giveaway for no reason at all this month here on my blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter. You know--just because. :) So if you haven't connected with me there yet, then come on by and say hi!

Hope you guys are having a great 2015 so far. Have a great day, folks!

NJ ♥

December 12, 2014

Writing Droughts and Other Meteorological Phenomena

This has been a weird year, writing-wise. I got a couple of stories down like gangbusters in the beginning of the year. One of those stories, He's Just Knot That Into You, is coming out next year with Dreamspinner Press, and I'm really excited. It's my werewolf story that will have at least two more stories to follow.

After finishing that story in the spring, however, I've fallen into the pit of a massive writing drought. Like the ongoing three-year drought in California, my word well has been bone dry. It's sad. It's discouraging. I see friends who are finishing stories left and right, and I'm super excited for them. But then I look at myself and ask, "Why can't I get started?"

It all started when my poor Nico-kitteh died in June. I haven't written more than a couple thousand words since then. The initial writer's block isn't unexpected--I was pretty depressed and down in the dumps, no matter how much his cancer meant I should have anticipated his passing. After a certain point in time, though, I started to wonder what's normal?  As one month turned into three, then five, I found myself questioning why it was taking me so long to "get back on that horse," so to speak.

As month six passed recently, I realized something: there is no normal. Everyone grieves in different ways and on different timelines. And, with writing, you can't force it. Because if you do, it'll only be insincere.

Sure, I'm a pecker. (Not that kind!) =) I hunt for and peck out every single phrase when I'm writing. It's never a flowing explosion of words; rather, each sentence is carefully considered before even landing on the screen. However, to get in that head space of creation, I have to be in the mood to visit those places.

And, unfortunately, I haven't been anywhere close lately.

That's okay, though. I'm coming to realize droughts just happen, and I can only hope that, one day, the urge to create through words will be there.

On a lighter note, I've been creating through crafts this season. I doubt it's a coincidence I start to crochet my fingers off the second the temperature gets even remotely nippy. So now I'm crocheting tons and really enjoying myself. I've made hats for friends' children, slippers for my mom, a whole army of cute little amigurumi octopi (one of which an author friend commissioned me to make for her daughter), and a dear friend even commissioned me to make a pair of boot cuffs for her to give as a gift.

Crocheting has been fun and therapeutic. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment when I see the finished product--I've turned a ball of yarn into something wearable! And cute! And my friends appreciate the handmade gifts I've sent around the country.

So, while I still am flailing around in my empty well of words, I've at least found another pool in which I can swim and express myself creatively. Crocheting might not get me any closer to writing the sequel to #HJKTIY or the short story follow up (of which I have those couple thousand words from the past six months), but at least it's something that truly makes me happy, which is a place for which I've been searching for quite some time.

On that note, anyone interested in commissioning an octopus? ;)

Wishing everyone a warm and wonderful holiday season!

November 12, 2014

Sex Positivity Blog Hop: THE INTERNET IS FOR PORN!


Hi, everyone! How're you doing?? Thanks for stopping by my page and checking out my spot on this hop. ^_^ The Sex Positivity Blog Hop, the brainchild of author Grace Duncan, aims to share positive views on sex and any and all topics related thereto.

When I signed up for the Sex Positivity Blog Hop, I kind of had no idea what to expect. And then, when we received the call to arms (a.k.a. the dates on which we each would be posting), I kind of had no idea what to post about.

Should I post about the advances that are currently being made across the United States in efforts supporting marriage equality?
Should I post about bisexuality? Demisexuality? Asexuality? Pansexuality?
Should I post about cross-dressing and how it doesn't automatically imply transgender identity?

Fuck it! I thought. I'll just post a video of someone rolling a condom onto a banana.

(In case you would rather just see a video of a condom-covered banana (as instructed by Max Ryder!), here ya go.)

Anyway, I thought about it a little more, and I decided that, in the immortal words of Salt 'N Pepa, let's talk about SEX bay-bee!

Specifically, porn.

Porn is in the business of sex. Of filming it. Of taking pictures of it. Of inspiring it. Of making it available for the public's viewing pleasure.

There's a huge taboo surrounding sex and, particularly, porn in mainstream society.


Well, almost everyone.

The statistics of porn are staggering. Although much has changed about the landscape since I first chose pornography as the topic of my informational speech in my speech course back in 2000 (got an A on that speech, too!), one thing remains the same after all these years: porn remains king of the media.
I apologize in advance because this blog post is going to be short on research links. However, if you really want something, just let me know and I'll do my damnedest to find it. I studied media and communications in college and specifically did copious amounts of porn research for my Speech 100 course. *ahem* REAL research, mind you. *cheeky look*

A few things to take into account:
• Pornography is an eleven-figure, multi-billion dollar industry. A little over a dozen years ago, when I first did my porn research and as porn really began to take over the internet, that figure was less than half that amount. While it's hard to pin down the exact size of the industry, it's pretty safe to say that pornography's revenues are jaw-dropping.
• Trekkie Monster sang in the Broadway musical Avenue Q that "the internet is for porn!" (Avenue Q is an awesomely hilarious musical, by the way - definitely check it out!) And he was right. As this super interesting infographic from HuffPost states, porn sites see more visitors in a month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.
• The first American antique pornographic film purportedly was 1915's A Free Ride. The plot is classic and something that you'd see today: a man driving on a country road picks up two female hitchhikers.
• Have you ever enjoyed watching a movie on VHS, DVD, or the internet? What about Betamax and VCD? Guess which ones the pornography industry adopted to offer their films. Exactly. The porn industry has had more than a helping hand in revolutionizing technology over the years.
While I am by no means an expert on porn and its influences, my point here is that people watch it. LOTS of people. Millions of people, both men and women. And it has had a huge effect on our lives, whether we know it or not.

Despite all of this, so often porn is looked down upon by society. There are instances of adult stars transitioning into the mainstream, such as Jenna Jameson and her multi-million dollar brand or Sasha Grey's role in Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience, but more often than not the reaction is simply to clam up when porn and sex come up in conversation (if they come up in conversation at all).

There are, of course, issues and concerns in the porn industry over exploitation. However, it bears mentioning that exploitation exists in almost every industry (from sweatshops to childcare workers), and, when done "right," the performers in porn are consenting adults who are earning their honest livings, while entertaining and arousing the audience.

There's nothing wrong with sex on film. Or print. Or screen. So don't let society shame you into thinking there is!

I mean, I watch it. I'm betting you watch it. Or you have watched it. Or, if you haven't, then your neighbor has. And if you have and still do, then go forth and wear that porn badge proudly! With millions of people consuming porn and 12% of the internet devoted to it, I'm pretty sure that you're not alone in enjoying it.

P.S. Obligatory new book plug!

So, I wrote a thing! And it's set in Regency England, when gay sex was, like porn, très taboo. A Time for Loving is a historical m/m romance short story that offers a glimpse into the lives of Jack and Christopher.

Jack and Christopher have made it through years of campaigning and the horrors of Waterloo together—side by side by day and, by night, in each other's arms. After the war is over, however, will the love shared between this batman and his officer survive when Christopher returns to the life of a gentleman?

Just 99 cents for this bonbon of m/m romance!


Thanks for visiting and check out these awesome authors who are also contributing to the Sex Positivity Blog Hop!

October 23, 2014

It's time for A Time for Loving! (and a GIVEAWAY!)

*slides into the room with white gym socks on*

Hellooooooooo, lovely folks! I finally have ten minutes to myself today to share some news.

A Time for Loving is LIVE and ready for YOUR lovin'! Your good, ol' fashioned, historical lovin'. Your cravat-tyin', pantaloons-wearin', waltz-dancin' lovin'. *winks*

You can get your begloved and bejeweled paws on a copy of A Time for Loving at your favorite ebook retailer. Some of 'em are listed below. Yes, we like to spread the lovin'.

Find the story here: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks

In A Time for Loving, Jack and Christopher must navigate the rigid rules of Society and family expectations, knowing that the danger of discovery lies in many corners. After their unexpected love survived and, in fact, flourished in the climate of the war, now they must face more genteel hardships.

There's a poem that inspired me in writing this short story. It's a beautiful poem that, to me, speaks of love for nature and finding the unexpected. The poem embraces nature's freshness, its boldness, the unabashed glory of it. Nature, in turn, is a metaphor for love. It's a William Wordsworth poem called I wandered lonely as a cloud and, unofficially, Daffodils. If you have a chance to read Jack and Christopher's story, then I encourage you to read Daffodils afterward. In truth, the poem was so inspiring that I debated adding it to the book itself in an Afterword. =)

So that's my little tidbit of behind the scenes info on A Time for Loving! There'll be more tidbits on the story when I visit a couple of other blogs over the next two weeks. I'm super psyched for everyone to meet Jack and Christopher and find their own time for loving.

I also want to give a copy of the story away! Actually, I want to give THREE copies away! Or more. Actually, more. Yes, definitely more.

Here's how to enter!

Leave a comment on this post with the following info:
(1) let me know your favorite historical fashion (flapper dresses? togas? powdered wigs? It could be any period of time, not just Regency.) and
(2) include a means of contacting you such as your email, Twitter name, or Facebook profile, etc.

That's it! You'll be entered to win an ebook copy of A Time for Loving and a "love" ring via snail mail. Yes, I will send a token of wearable love and affection to your beautiful self. This contest is open worldwide where permitted by law!

Leave your comment by 10PM (Pacific time) on Wednesday, October 29th, and I'll draw a winner by an internet names-in-a-hat method shortly thereafter.

This will be a quick giveaway so that anyone who doesn't win can also enter the rafflecopter that will be running through November 6th. Yes, there's a rafflecopter giveaway! And the prizes are three sets of the ebook + "love" ring combos! Actually, you can enter that, too, if you want to be doubly sure you've got all your bases covered. Trust me, I won't judge. I will, however, limit wins to one win per person, regardless of method. That just seems fair, right?

Anyway, leave a comment to win! And here's the rafflecopter giveaway if you want to enter there, too. ♥

Thanks for checking out the story, and happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 1, 2014

Release Date and Cover for "A Time for Loving"

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, guess what? A Time for Loving is coming soon to an ebook retailer near you!

First off, take a gander at the absolutely gorgeous cover that the incomparable Natasha Snow has created for this little bonbon of historical smuff.




*coughs, clears throat*

Ahem! Excuse me, sorry, I was distracted by the pretties. ;)

It's beautiful, right??? Natasha is awesomesauce and got the vibe just right for this little historical tale.

Plans are in the works for me to release this short story into the wild. Right now, the release date is set for three weeks from now on Thursday, October 23rd. Yay! Here's the shiny new blurb, too:

A Time for Loving 
Jack and Christopher have made it through years of campaigning and the horrors of Waterloo together--side by side by day and, by night, in each other's arms. After the war is over, however, will the love shared between this batman and his officer survive when Christopher returns to the life of a gentleman? 

Want a little taste? You can peek at a quick (unedited!) excerpt in this post.

More info on purchase links and such will come at you soon. Very soon! In the meanwhile, you can add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

I'm very very very excited about this story. After reading tons of historical and, particularly, Regency stories as a novice romance reader, it was a lot of fun to write in that style.

Bidding you a fond adieu,

September 10, 2014

"Punch-Drunk Love" needs an assist!

Punch-Drunk Love needs an assist to take the ball to the hoop! Okay, I'm totally mixing up my sports metaphors here (yes yes, PDL is about kickboxing, not basketball), but the sentiment remains the same.

Punch-Drunk Love is a super fluffy free story that came into existence thanks to the M/M Romance Group's Love's Landscapes event. I recently added the story to Smashwords, All Romance eBooks, and Amazon. However, because Amazon requires you to set a minimum price of 99 cents, I was not able to list the book as free. So...

Hey, can y'all do me a solid??

I've always wanted to say "do me a solid." ;)

Please help me ask Amazon to make Punch-Drunk Love a freebie, too! Note that, in the interim, I plan on donating any royalties from the Amazon sales of this book to the Human Rights Campaign .

Punch-Drunk Love on Amazon
Punch-Drunk Love on Smashwords

To request the price match, go to the Amazon page here, then under Product Details click on "tell us about a lower price." Once the popup window appears, enter the Smashwords link - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/473018 - and indicate that the price is zero.

If y'all feel so inclined, you can also drop PDL a review and/or share the word on this freebie. Thank you so much for the helping hand, folks!

Hooray for freebies!

September 5, 2014

Fabulous Five Blog Hop

Hi, everyone! I was tagged to answer five questions by the fabulous Piper Vaughn, whose story One Small Thing is a feel-good fave of mine. :) Check out her books if you haven't already!

1. What am I working on?
Right now I have a few things percolating. I'm currently polishing up my historical short story A Time for Loving, which I'll be publishing later this year. The incredibly talented Natasha Snow and I are putting together a cover that I hope will convey the mood of traditional Regency stories of yesteryear. A Time for Loving takes place post-Waterloo and will explore the relationship between Christopher, an aristocratic second son and former officer, and Jack, his batman-turned-valet.
As I await news from Dreamspinner Press on next steps for my newly-signed werewolf novella He's Just Knot That Into You, I'm also brainstorming for 2.5 sequels that will be follow-ups and set in the same universe. The first will be a short story follow-up for the guys in HJKTIY (let's just say...omega heat and a whole lotta scandalousness will feature in this one!) and will introduce the MCs for books 2 and 3. Book 2 will be a human member of their wolf pack, and book 3 will be the human's werewolf BFF. I have a pretty strong sense of the direction each of those stories will take, but I just haven't had the discipline to write anything down...yet.
I also have a couple of contemporary stories that I've outlined and have been eyeing. One, a contemporary office enemies-to-lovers story, has actually been rather loud in demanding attention lately. *gives it the side eye*

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Piper had a great and completely on point answer to this question: every author has their own unique voice and style. So, yes, everyone's work is different, and, as a reader, I've had so much fun exploring the genre and discovering just that!
With that said, there's one thing that consistently appears in m/m romance: the HEA. I love HEAs and have sought out HEA stories ever since I was a wee lass. If you read my work, you'll get an HEA and a story full of smuff (that's smut and fluff, joined together in a happy-fuzzy concoction). I've been fortunate enough to have experienced a lot of different things over the years (from my bus breaking down in the desert in the Middle East to being mistaken for a prostitute in Paris to being only one of thirteen German majors at UCLA), and I hope that what I've seen and done in this world help to enrich the tales I tell. Contemporary themes (and, particularly, sports-related ones) have been pretty prominent in my stories so far, but that'll change soon with some of my upcoming releases! :)

3. Why do I write what I do?
Honestly, this question might be the hardest for me to answer. I've always loved HEAs, and romance novels have played a huge role in my life since I was young. The part I always enjoyed the most in my romances was the hero's POV. When I began reading m/m romance, the fact that there were TWO heroes' POVs blew. my. mind. I loved it. I've never really explored the appeal that closely, but it could be the way the hero's POV reveals a vulnerability that we don't often see in mainstream media portrayals of masculinity.  Anyway, that's why I fell in love with m/m romance. Naturally, when the opportunity arose to try my hand at writing, it just made sense to write what I loved. That first (amazing!) writing experience opened up a whole new world for me, and I just haven't looked back. 

4. How does my writing process work?
Up until my last story, I would have claimed to have been a loyal devotee of the outline and a big time plotter. However, with HJKTIY, I totally pantsed it without an outline, and that was a blast to write. As such, I guess you could say I just do what works and hope it continues to work. *sheepish grin* In general, I usually start with two characters and then ask myself "hey...wouldn't they be perfect for each other? Yeah? Well, how?" And then I explore them a little before I get an inkling of an idea as to how their HEA would unfold. That's how the outline would develop, but I'm beginning to see the beauty of the no outline approach, too. As long as the story I have in my head gets onto the page, I'm not one to question how! =)

5. Who’s next on the blog hop?
Tagging the fabulous AC Valentine, Nash Summers, Olley White, Annabeth Albert, and S.H. Allan. You're it!