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December 26, 2012

Asians in Romance

Due to traveling over the holidays, here's an attempt at a scheduled post with some thoughts on a topic close to my heart.

The depiction of Asians in mainstream media and, more specifically, the romantic aspects of such media, has always been something of which I was keenly aware.  Perhaps it's because I grew up in the diverse city of San Francisco or perhaps it's because (surprise!) I'm Asian myself.

Yup, I'm Asian, and I write about boys who like boys. Talk about breaking stereotypes, eh?

Image from Myxer.com.
Anyway, this subject came to my attention again recently in an unexpected way.  I happened to have "Prince Ali" stuck in my head (yes, the song from Aladdin), which led me to think about the Disney princesses.  And, being the romance novel reader that I am, of course that led me to think of the romantic attachments of said princesses.

Now, call me crazy, but is it just me or did Mulan get shortchanged in the prince department?

It's been a while since I've seen that movie, to be honest, but I seem to remember lots of focus on the movie's action, very very very little, if any, focus on the romance.  In fact, I just had to IMDB search to confirm that the guy's name is Shang.  While the name might not be all that important as an indicator (e.g., I know Little Mermaid/Ariel's dude was Prince Eric, but I don't remember if Sleeping Beauty/Aurora's prince ever had a name), I still think there was a distinct lack of romance in Mulan compared to the other Disney animated films. They don't even kiss, for Pete's sake! I think he might've shown up at the end or something, but it was definitely not romantic enough to get my HEA buzz going.

The first time I looked deeper into the non-romanticizing of Asian characters actually occurred in college, when I wrote a paper on the depiction of Asians in the Jet Li/Aaliyah action movie Romeo Must Die.  Now that I think about it, I'm probably the only person who can say that they made that movie the subject of a serious academic paper. BUT I got an A, so my use of it was totally legitimized. :D  Anyway, don't read the rest of this paragraph if you've never seen it and you don't want some gentle spoilers.  ***ARRR, SPOILERS BE HERE!*** So the title of this movie seems to suggest a "Romeo & Juliet" type doomed relationship between the young leads, and, indeed, the movie's plot is loosely based on Shakespeare's play.  In the movie, two rival Mafia-like families - one Asian and one African American - are competing for waterfront property for a business deal.  Children within each family - an Asian guy and an African American woman - are caught up in the fight.  However, instead of a love story, they have...a friendship.  Instead of sharing kisses, they share...an ice cream cone.  To which I respond: Where's the romance??? ***ARRR, SPOILERS BE DONE!*** So, yeah, you could say I was a little disappointed.

Finally, in romance novels, I very rarely have seen an Asian, and when I have, they're usually women.  Maybe there's some m/m out there, but as far as I'm aware, I've only read one thus far. (That was Z.A. Maxfield's Drawn Together.)  If anyone has any recommendations for good romances with Asian characters, please drop me a line!

The thing is, I don't think of myself as some kind of crusader for the rights of Asians to be depicted as totally hottt and sexay men and women.  Not all Asians are hottt and sexay. Yours truly not included, of course. *tosses hair saucily*  Totally j/k there, in case you couldn't tell. :)  But really, I'm not saying every single face on a romance cover or movie poster should look like mine. It's just that I find it really odd and unrealistic when there just...aren't any of them out there. And really, I don't even think that's a product of my growing up in San Francisco, a city heavily populated with Asians.

The other thing that I wanted to mention on the subject is that not all Asians eat with chopsticks, are really good at math, love wearing the color red, or have long, shiny, and straight silky hair. No, really, we aren't all like that.  It's possible to be Asian in America and, as an Asian American, have grown up (1) eating Twinkies and Honey Nut Cheerios with milk (no, we're not all lactose intolerant), (2) taking AP English and not AP Calculus, (3) going to the New Kids on the Block concert (woop woop!) with your dad, and (4) regularly seeing spaghetti with meatballs or chicken a la king on your dinner table. Really, a lot of us Asian Americans aren't that much different from everyone else, which is why it's so bizarre to me that there are pretty much no Asians having their romances told between the covers of the thousands and thousands of romances that are being published every year.

That's about all I have to say on the subject for now.  Yes, I'm still working on my WIP, and, yes, one of the guys is half-Asian. But it doesn't really manifest itself outside of his looks, and he's not much different from any other romance hero dude between the pages (or...sheets? *gasp*).  That's the point.

Out here in the real world, we Asians are gettin' some lovin', too, and the books available now should reflect that fact.

Asian for life (literally!),
NJ



December 17, 2012

FREE HOLIDAY STORY - "A Man-to-Man Christmas" by Nico Jaye

In lieu of this week's 3T post on Thursday, I'm posting a holiday short that I wrote for the Man-to-Man Coverage series.  (Go here for more info on downloading the FREE Man-to-Man Coverage stories.)  This holiday quickie, titled A Man-to-Man Christmas, offers a glimpse into Brad and Cam's holiday with the Hunters. Note that it is SUPER sappy, so if you have an aversion to cheesiness, then you might want to give it a pass. (Don't say I didn't warn ya!) :)


"A MAN-TO-MAN CHRISTMAS" BY NICO JAYE - CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PDF (Click "File" -> "Download" for the PDF.) Edit: Note that it appears the temporary view of the PDF might be a little wonky. You can still download and save the PDF file if you do the "File" -> "Download" method. Thanks for your patience!


You can also find a downloadable PDF version on the new Goodreads book listing here: "A Man-to-Man Christmas" on Goodreads.

I've posted the full holiday story after the jump:

December 15, 2012

Psst...type-by posting for "A Man-to-Man Christmas"

I'm putting the finishing touches on a holiday short for Brad and Cam, the boys from Man-to-Man Coverage.  Be on the lookout for A Man-to-Man Christmas, coming soon!


I'll be posting this holiday quickie (~3000 words) on Monday morning. It's suuuuuuuper sappy, but what can I say? The holidays just bring out the cheese in me. ;)

UPDATE: The story is online HERE and on Goodreads HERE!! 

Nomming on sweet cheese and sappiness,
NJ


December 13, 2012

3T, 12/13/12 - Holiday Shenanigans

Note: I've decided to get all mathematical and use the algebraic "3T" as shorthand for "Three Things for Thursday."  I know, I just out-nerdify myself sometimes.

1) Baltimore! I spent the weekend in Baltimore eating stupid amounts of food and, in particular, crabcakes. Mmmmm.....crabcakes.


The occasion? My friend's wedding. The wedding was stellar - delicious food (seriously, plus there were THREE types of cake - all amazing, and yes, I did try them all *shameless grin*), unique setting, touching ceremony, and lively DJ.  But yes, another wedding. This is my fifth wedding in the last six months. As some of my friends have pointed out, I'm just in that age range when everyone and their mother (well, maybe not their mother) is getting married.  What's weird, though, is that while that may translate to a ticking time bomb to some people, it really doesn't feel that way to me.  Ever since I was little, I never wanted to get married, and, in my adulthood, not much has changed except I've sort of analyzed that initial feeling to death. Perhaps I'll expand on that further one day, but today, alas, is not that day.

2) Holy crap, it's mid-December already. I haven't finished holiday shopping.  In fact, I don't even know if what I have so far counts as having started. I dunno...the pressure to find the perfect gift during the holidays may be getting to me, to be honest. On the one hand, I want my family and friends to know I appreciate their awesomeness.  On the other hand, why do we have to wait for December to give these gifts?  With my best friend, we give stuff to each other all the time, and honestly? It's pretty awesome. It just feels more genuine when I show up at her place and say "surprise!" than needing to give a gift on X day, no matter what.

3) The P in WIP.  So I've definitely made progress on my swimmer story. I'm liking it, but it needs some tweaking. I'm not yet at the sexytimes part, but I think I've set the stage, so to speak.  



Separately, though, I've been making P on another thing. Specifically, I had a brainspaz for a short peek into Brad and Cam's holiday with the Hunters. Yes, a Man-to-Man Coverage Christmas! So I started writing it. Tuesday night.Well, Wednesday morning. At 3:30AM. It'll be a little glimpse into their holiday season, and I hope to have it to you all soon!

Pecking away at her little keyboard,
NJ


December 10, 2012

Inveterate Romance Seeker

Just a quick post to confess to something most people might not know about me "in real life."

I am an inveterate romance seeker.

Since childhood, I have always focused on the romance of a story, whether it was the classic Disney retelling of Beauty & the Beast or reading about Elizabeth and Todd in the Sweet Valley High series.  Now, in adulthood, this interest has manifested itself in my genre of choice: romance.

Available on the Starz website.

Something happened recently that caught my attention and really drilled home how much romance is at the center of what I seek out in my stories. I began watching the Starz show Spartacus, and even though the blood and gore are truly not to my tastes, I found myself watching the first two seasons straight through in the span of one week. Indeed, I watched season two last night. As in....the whole thing, and thank goodness I'm not working because I made it to bed at *cough cough* four AM *cough cough*. What's funny to me, though, is I now recognize that, in retrospect, my enjoyment of the series definitely increased the moment there appeared to be a potential romance in the works.

Don't get me wrong - there was a reason I was watching it in the first place. I was initially drawn by the promise of bare chests and thick, steely man-thighs. Duh.  Yes, I have no shame, and I freely admit it.  However, to be honest, I was almost completely turned off by the gore and extreme violence that were in the first episodes in ABUNDANCE. Once the hint of romance came onto the scene, though, I was sold.

I was especially gratified by season two's romancing.  There's an adorable and sweet (m/m!) romance between Agron, one of the gladiators, and Nasir, one of the liberated slaves. There are just little tastes of them throughout the season - you know, just enough to make me want more more more! :) Luckily, I discovered that there are also really adorable fan sites like this Tumblr and wonderful YouTube videos dedicated to this budding romance. Their soft glances sprinkled in amongst the blood, violence, and hard living gave me hope and helped me believe that there really was a human element beyond just war and battles.

Now, I don't have Starz, but I just might have to find someone who does so that I can get my fix of them - I mean *ahem* this show *ahem* - when season three premieres in January 2013! For now, I'll just have to make do with YouTube and hrm...I'm sure there's some slashy stuff written on them somewhere... ;)

Hitting "repeat" on the Nagron YouTube videos,
NJ



December 6, 2012

Three Things for Thursday, 12/06/12

Ahhhh!!! It's December already!



1) Things to Come.  December??? What??? Holy smokes, where has the year gone, everyone?? Well, I have my update for today, and I'll have one for next week, I promise! With my upcoming holiday travels, though, I'm going to be entering The Dark Zone. There's no internet at my parents' place *gasp*, so I'll be radio silent for a while. Yes, it'll be like an addict who's gone cold turkey. *deep breaths*

But fear not!

I'm testing out the "schedule a post" option and *knocks on wood* will be posting a couple of updates on topics of...SUPER interest.  I actually drafted one already about which I am muy excited. I hope you guys like it. Let's just say...my WIP right now includes a half-Asian character, and I haven't seen many Asians out there in romance. *wiggles eyebrows*

2) NYPL Holiday Open House.  This weekend I attended the New York Public Library's Holiday Open House for donors to the library. I didn't know what to expect, but I was impressed in the end by the sheer joy I felt in the air and the friendly people I met there. One really interesting exhibit that they currently have at the main library is called "Lunch Hour," and it explores anything and everything to do with the lunch hour, from power lunches to authentic automats to delis to the origins of sushi in NYC. It was really an awesome exhibit, and it's free at the main library until Feb. 17, 2013. I highly recommend it if you're in the area!

3) Ladies love Letterman.  Yesterday I went to the taping of the Late Show with David Letterman. It wasn't my first time attending a TV taping, but it was still a cool experience.  Also, to think that the Beatles debuted on that stage is pretty amazing. :)



On a writing note, I'm still not done with my WIP, but I'm making progress. That arbitrary due date helped light a fire, and I hope to have it to my friend soon for a second pair of eyes. *crosses fingers and toes*

Have a wonderful week, folks!

Embracing the holiday spirit,
NJ


November 29, 2012

Three Things for Thursday, 11/29/12

Here's what I'm thinking about this Thursday (and for the past week!):

1) WIP Progress: Also known as "How Nico got her groove back!" Yesssss. I have a WIP, and I am psyched about it.  After almost two months of little to no progress on the college boy WIP (they just weren't speaking to me), I started a new WIP maybe two weeks ago.  I was making little to no progress on that one, too, until this weekend, when I brilliantly set myself an arbitrary deadline. Because those work so well, you know. But it did this time! I'm aiming to finish a first draft by the end of this month. Yes, that means by Saturday. Realistically, I think this could translate to finishing the relationship-building up to the actual sexytimes, but still...this is progress! This is grooving! This is groooooovy! Yes, I'm excited, and it's worthy of exclamation points.


The true culprit in my non-progress up til now? The internet.  The above cartoon depicts this perfectly.

The experiment: I turned off my wireless, and apparently I write around 150-200 words for every 10 minutes without wireless.  That's kind of amaze-balls for this notoriously glacially slow writer.  So I've decided I must go live in a cave that miraculously has power outlets.  Yes, yes I must.

So, yes, I've written around 4000 words in the last two days. Let me repeat: this is amaze-balls for me.

I am psyched and cannot wait to get Tomas and Derek's tale on the page. They are awesomesauce and a whole bag of chips.

2) Nico the Feline.  I'm totally sad-panda-ing over bringing Nico back home for the holidays.  First there's the stress of air travel with a kitty who loves being in his homebase so much that he hardly even brings himself to walk down the hallway outside my apartment.  Most of all, though, it's the super sadness I'm feeling over leaving him in San Francisco for six months with my parents while I (1) study for the California bar exam, (2) travel around, and (3) figure out logistics for moving back in June.  I know it's better for him than having to continue finding sitters or boarding him, and I definitely know it's better than having to stress him out by having him be smack in the middle of a cross-country move.  Nonetheless, I'm experiencing separation anxiety already...and he's not even gone yet!

3) California Bar Exam.  Ugh. Yep, I signed up to take it. Not thrilled about this prospect, but I determined in the end that I should do it "just in case."  It's a rather expensive endeavor, but law school and six years of lawyering were a rather significant portion of my life thus far.  It would make sense at least to be able to practice in California by having the California bar exam under my belt. So, yes, I ordered some study materials, and I'll be doing this thing. Wish me luck!

3.5) An extra random thought: Drag Queen Bingo!  I went to bingo night hosted by drag queens earlier this week. It was unabashedly ridiculous and also ridiculously awesome. :)

My feelings...they are a-jumble, but yay for WIP progress and (fictional) boys who are talking to me!

Thrilled to be typing away about her swimmer and the object of his affection,
NJ


November 24, 2012

My hands have been very busy.

Being crafty...like a fox. Rowr.

I've been very hands-on since funemployment began. Baking, cooking, and...crafts!


What happens when it's midnight and I have pliers and a paperclip in hand?

Yup...this is what happens. Thanks to inspiration from the I Spy DIY blog, I now have a cute little heart ring on my finger.

In addition to that, I also have supplies for bracelet (and other jewelry) making and my previous new find of needle felting to keep me occupied in the crafty way. Needle felting, by the way, is totally awesome. I repaired holes in my cashmere sweater and also created adorable little heart-shaped elbow patches. So easy and so quick! I highly recommend it. :)

I have two thoughts about this recent explosion in craftiness on my part:

1) Lawyering and being a legal eagle was stifling my creative side to such an extreme extent that I now feel this subconscious need to compensate for that lost time. At the end of the day, being behind a desk and working on docs and agreements didn't necessarily produce anything substantive or tangible. Don't get me wrong - I'm not putting down lawyering.  However, it's impossible to wear an agreement or accessorize with a private equity fund memorandum. There's no getting around that  Doing crafts and creating things with my hands is just much more satisfying to that part of me that needed to produce something physical from all of my effort.

2) Crafting has, unfortunately, also been accompanied by a massive case of writer's block. Boooooooo. Perhaps there's a parallelism to my above thought number 1 because with writing I'm also sitting in front of a computer versus physically using my hands and materials to create something fun and tangible.  Regardless of the reason, though, it's immensely frustrating. I recently started a second story, so I have two WIPs now. However, I haven't made much progress on either of them, and I really need to focus. Basically, I can't seem to sit still because, now that I think about it, my reading has also really tapered off in the last two months.

So...yes.

Being crafty like a fox is, on the one hand, awesome because I get to make cool stuff like my paperclip ring, and my friends will get handmade jewelry as little presents from yours truly. It is also, on the other hand, super frustrating because I can't seem to focus myself so that I sit down and flesh out what I have in mind for the boys in my stories. I'm quite torn because I have this desire to be creative; it's just not creative in the writing sense right now. I've just been going with the flow since this started with funemployment nearly two months ago, but wow...it's pretty much a writer's block the size of Stonehenge at this point. *cringes*

Anyone have any ideas for how to kick this writing slump while still feeding my thirst to get hands-on creative nowadays?

Trying to find a balance between using her hands for creating crafts versus stories,
NJ


November 22, 2012

Three Things for Thursday, 11/22/12 (Thanksgiving Edition)

Happy Thanksgiving! Three things on my mind for this fabulous Thanksgiving 2012:

1) Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, it bears mentioning again. :D This morning I woke up early to check out the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. A humongous Hello Kitty floated by, and I couldn't stop smiling.


This was the second time I stayed here in NYC for Thanksgiving. Back in 2007, I stayed here and hosted an "if you have nowhere to go, come by!" gathering that ended up stuffing twelve people into my teeny tiny NYC apartment. I even roasted a turkey and everything. :) This year, I kept it low key, but still had two friends stop by to hang out and eat food with me. It was chill, and the adage that time flies by when you're having fun definitely held true.

2) I'm thankful for...   Every day I'm thankful for my family and friends who bring joy to my life. This year in particular, though, I'm specifically thankful for opportunity. My life has been filled with opportunities for which I'm grateful because, regardless of which direction I've taken, I've met wonderful people and experienced rewarding things that have helped me to develop into the person I am today. Right now, I'm thankful to have the opportunity (both temporally and monetarily) to take this time away from lawyering to explore other interests and life in general on my own time and terms.

3)  Turkey.  Just a random thought, but as far as my memory goes, this is the first year I haven't had turkey on Thanksgiving. I purchased a whole roast duck from Chinatown, so some poultry was consumed, but alas...not turkey.  Here's the turkey I roasted back in 2007:



More blog posting to come later this week (i.e., before the next Thursday update). I have some other stuff to say (I know - *gasp!*), but not right now. Right now I just want to rest with my cozy little food coma. :)

Patting her belly and smiling like the Cheshire Cat,
NJ


November 15, 2012

Three Things for Thursday, 11/15/12

Hi folks! So I made it. Yay! It's Thursday, and I am totally on top of this blogging-once-a-week shite. Ohhhh yeahhhhhh. ;) Here are my three things for Thursday:

1) Being an adult. As a single gal who lives with a furry feline roommate, I'm usually pretty lazy when it comes to meals. Popcorn for dinner? Ice cream and an apple? Cheese and crackers? Yup, I've had them all. This week, though, I decided to make strides towards being an adult when it comes to eating, and that has resulted in...*drumroll, please...*...cooking for myself.

Cooking for Myself, Attempt Number One
As a bit of a perfectionist, I'm a fan of baking. Measuring stuff, making sure the oven temp is right, mixing stuff together with precision - all of these things are awesome. In an attempt to step outside of my comfort zone, though, I decided to cook last night...sans recipe. *gasp* So I whipped up this quinoa dish and tossed in some veggies and toasted almonds, and...it actually tasted good! Color me surprised! So that was my first step towards being an adult and cooking "real" meals for myself.

2) Volunteering for Sandy. Earlier this week I volunteered with Occupy Sandy out in Brooklyn and the Far Rockaways. My muscles might have been aching the next day, but bagging up canned goods and lugging gallons of water made me feel like I did a little bit to help. It's been over two weeks since Superstorm Sandy hit the area, but there are still many people without power and in need. Please consider volunteering your time and/or donating supplies for this relief effort. If you're not in the area, you can also help by donating to the American Red Cross, giving blood, or sending goods to Occupy Sandy through the Occupy Sandy Wedding Registry on Amazon.

3) Corduroys are awesome.  It's the season for warmer autumn clothing, and that means corduroys! I bought some skinny-ribbed, skinny-cut colored corduroys from Old Navy, and I love them. That is all.

That's it for me this Thursday. How's everything in your neck o' the woods?

Eating healthily while sorting cans in her "saucy red" corduroys,
NJ


November 9, 2012

Three Things for Thursday...I mean, Friday

*peeks out from behind hands covering her eyes* Hey there, folks! I um...am apparently really really bad at updating this blog, so I was going to try to do a "Three Things for Thursday" post every week. But um...it's kind of Friday already. Oops.

Better late than never?


So here are three things that are on my mind...

1) Election 2012! Without trying to start anything controversial, I'll just say that I was pleased with the election results this week. Not only did we reelect President Obama, but the gay rights movement also went four-for-four in the four states in which the question of gay marriage was on the ballot. Well done, Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Minnesota! (Note: Just to clarify, in Minnesota, the vote was whether to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and that ballot measure was defeated.)

2) Superstorm Sandy hit NYC (and the eastern seaboard) last week, and the city is still recovering from it. As a result of the storm, some relatives who were visiting NYC came to stay with me for a couple of nights when their flights were cancelled.  There were six people, plus one feline, in my studio apartment. 

While I was lucky enough not to live in NYC's newest neighborhood SoPo (South of Power), there are many others whose lives were affected in much more dramatic and drastic ways. This storm was a terrible blow to the city, but I am impressed and amazed by the generally positive responses I've seen to the hardships. From grassroots organization of relief efforts to the MTA's Herculean task of bringing the NYC subway system back online after it sustained historic levels of flooding, I really feel like, all things considered, NYC has risen to the challenge. Next week I'll be one of those rising to that challenge when I volunteer with relief efforts in the outer boroughs.

3) Funemployment has been surprisingly HECTIC-with-an-all-caps-emphasis. Wow, it's been over a month, and I feel like I haven't done anything and, alternatively, like I've also been insanely busy. 

Between getting shite done on the red tape side (admittedly boring stuff like making sure my 401Ks were rolled over, health insurance, etc.) and my family houseguests for over a week, I haven't written anything on my WIP. *sad panda* (Note: I wrote a really scandalous real-person-slashy-fanfic, but um...that doesn't count because it's not all official and stuff.) 

When oh wheeeeeeen will I find the motivation to put thoughts to paper/screen? Soon, I hope! The characters are doing stuff in my head (what kind of stuff? well well well...I'm not one to have them kiss and tell... :P), but I just haven't sat down and pulled the words out yet.  I know a bunch of people who are doing National Novel Writing Month/NaNoWriMo, which is super awesome. Seeing their word counts in my Twitterverse will hopefully inspire me to get crackin'. :)

That's it for this week's "Three Things for Thursday Friday." Seriously, I'm going into my GooCal (Google Calendar) right now to remind myself to do this next week. I swear! :)

See you guys next week! (Or sooner if I have something more specific to chat about on my mind...) *wiggles eyebrows*

With happy and motivated thoughts for all,
NJ



October 17, 2012

Coming Out as a Gay Athlete, Part Deux

Although I posted about this topic previously, there's a lot to say on it, so here's my second round (of...many?) with thoughts on coming out as a gay athlete in today's sports culture.


I guess it should come as no surprise that my current WIP features a jock. What can I say? What with Man-to-Man Coverage (parts one and two) and Into the Deep (in MLR Press's Going for Gold anthology), athletes just seem to be a thing with me. ;) With that said, the fact that there's no professional athlete who is gay and out is mind boggling.  I'm about to go math geek on you all, so please bear with me. *shameless grin*

Let's look at the percentages, shall we?

As far as I can tell, there's no real pinpointed data on how many LGBT people there are in the U.S., but I've seen estimates of anywhere from two percent to upwards of twenty.  Setting that aside for a sec, even more telling is to look at the number of professional athletes out there.

NBA (basketball, for those of you not versed in professional sports acronyms): 360-450 players*
NHL (hockey): 690-1500*
MLB (baseball): 750-1200*
NFL (football): 1696
*These numbers depend on whether you consider contracted and eligible-for-the-roster athletes (versus actually on the roster athletes) as professional players or not.

Okay, so even taking the lower end of those numbers, there are at least around 3500 professional male athletes out there.  And, again, NONE of them is an "out" gay athlete. How is this possible?  If we took the most conservative two percent estimate, that would mean that at least seventy gay athletes are closeted because of...the real or perceived negative reactions they expect to receive were they to come out as a gay athlete.

Normally, I'd point now to the progress that we've seen in professional athletes' thoughts on having a gay teammate and their support of gay rights.  In fact, I found a ton of articles with interviews for my previous post on this topic.  Since that time, there were even more supportive articles, most notably, in my opinion, NFL player Chris Kluwe's editorials on the subject of gay rights and gay marriage.  Just take a gander at his brilliant, funny, insightful, and scathing letter defending a fellow NFL player's support of gay marriage and his later witty, eloquent, and totally on point post for the Minnesota twincities.com blog.  Note that Kluwe was also featured in OUT Magazine with a *fans self* scorchingly hot picture accompaniment.  With all of the publicity his letters and NFL players received for speaking out positively in favor of LGBT rights, it would seem the tides were turning.

But then a baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays, shortstop Yunel Escobar, very publicly wore an anti-gay slur on his eye black for all the world to see. And the MLB said they were "investigating" this action.  And so I thought, Wow, maybe this is the time for professional sports to take a gay-friendly stance!

Nope.  Escobar was suspended for three games.

Three games.  In a sport where the regular season runs 162 games. To put that into perspective, the NFL season is 16 games, and the equivalent would be to suspend an NFL player for approximately one QUARTER of one game. That doesn't send a gay-friendly message; it sends an "I guess we should do something about this, but it's clearly not too important to us" one.

So after what felt like a positive leap forward with NFL players stepping up to support gay marriage, LGBT rights, and being open to having a gay teammate, professional sports, in my opinion, took two steps back when it (1) failed to chastise Escobar's absolutely ridiculous claim that it was "just a joke" and (2) then proceeded to give him the equivalent of a "haha, boys will be boys" slap on the wrist.

I'm feeling very conflicted about professional sports right now.

Hoping that "boys will be boys" eventually will be interpreted to mean boys will be tolerant and accepting,
NJ



October 12, 2012

The Origin of Ideas


Where do Ideas come from? Yes, the word is worthy of a capital "I." :)



After reading my stuff, some of my [non-writing, real-life] friends asked me where those ideas came from or even, as one of them pointed out, "how do you know there's condensation that drips down the beer bottle?" To which I kind of shrugged, nonplussed, and said, "I don't know - it just looks like that in my head."

In terms of process, I'm definitely a plotter. I visualize the general steps that need to occur for my boys to get from Point A to Point HEA. ;) But beyond that and for details, I guess things just sort of...happen?  My ideas come from everyday life mixed with my natural questioning of "what if?" I think of these characters that I like (that I really REALLY REALLY like, hehe) and then I figure out...what if they got together? What if they found each other in this crazy world of six billion people and discovered that they were just kind of...well...perfect for each other?

As for specifics, those ideas just come from life mixed with imagination.  I brainstorm while massaging shampoo into my scalp or staring into my bathroom sink with a toothbrush in my mouth. I went out to Hawaii for a wedding-slash-vacation, and I dreamed up...well, you'll have to see what happens in my latest WIP. ;) I see post-game locker room interviews, and...let's just say I speculate, as I'm sure you'll notice in my Man-to-Man Coverage stories. I come up with names while I'm hanging out with my friends.  Anecdotal side note: John Damian Sloane, the sweetheart Olympic diver from my story "Into the Deep" in the Going for Gold anthology, received his middle name after I drooled over -- I mean MET *ahem ahem* -- Damian, the stunningly attractive Team Red-and-Gold knight whom our group was rooting for at the Medieval Times during my friend's birthday party. Basically, I live life and am fortunate enough to have ideas and inspiration appear.

That's how it works for me, anyway. I wonder how it works for everyone else...?

Doing her nails and figuring out who's *ahem* doing whom,
NJ



October 5, 2012

New Projects, Insomnia & My Theoretical Profession of the Day

I started writing a new m/m story about two college guys on my flight out to Hawaii.  The first part and the general set up for the romance came pretty easily for me. I have the first scene written and a general plotty idea of what happens until the HEA.  I swear, it's going to be suuuuuper cute, and I have a couple of very specific scenes in mind for these boys already.  Since that flight, though, I haven't had a chance and/or the desire to sit down and write the darn thing. *pouts* I know, writer's block is annoying - ugh. It's not that I don't want to tell their story; it's more like I can't sit still to do it!

The Manoa Falls hike in Hawaii.  They filmed the T-Rex opening in "Jurassic Park" here.

While I've been wrestling with that, though, a bunch of other stuff has happened. Like...my FUNemployment has officially begun. Woohoo! In the last few days of not being in the working world, I have made two cat capes for my cat. Yes, I'm sorta riding the crazy cat lady wave in that sense, but I swear...it's for practical trying-to-keep-him-warm-when-his-short-haired-domestic-fur-doesn't-do-the-job purposes! That's kind of what I mean by not sitting still, though - I feel all arts-and-crafty and stuff now, and funemployment has totally been the catalyst for that.

Super Nico is a super cat!

One of the crafty things that came up, actually, is related to this awesome Groupon deal for Vistaprint that I came across (hat tip to my Going for Gold co-contributor Annabeth Albert for the find!).  I bought the Groupon, moseyed on over to Vistprint, and now, somehow, it's suddenly 4AM, and that's mainly because I've been so caught up in designing some swag stuff to give away. I am suuuuuuuper excited about what I came up with, and I just need to figure out who would want them and where I'd give them out. If I gave some away on this blog, would anyone care for a piece of swaggy swag? ;) (I guess I should also sit my butt down and write more, too, but let's ignore the writer's block situation for a moment, okay?)

That leads me to my theoretical profession of the day. I loooooved putting together the promo pieces, coming up with the concepts and slogans, and designing them. It felt kinda arts-and-crafty as I chose fonts, colors, layouts and stuff, but also kinda bargain-hunter-y as I scoured the internet for tie-ins on the ideas I had. As such, I've decided that, for the next 24 hours, my "maybe I'll do this" profession is in marketing and/or advertising. Hey, I have a B.A. in Communication Studies, so it's not tooooooo far-fetched, I swear! You never know, right? :)

Heading to bed with visions of swag dancing in her head,
NJ



September 21, 2012

Aloha! Plus, a Q&A w/yours truly...

Aloha from Hawaii!

I'm in Hawaii this weekend (plus a few bonus days) for my friend's wedding and a sort of unofficial celebration of (think George Michael when you say this:) freedom...Freedom...FREEdom...FREEDOM! (See previous post for more info.)

This morning I did a waterfall hike, and it was beautiful just to walk the trail and be out in nature. I'm kind of suffering from a contact high due to the immense amount of sunscreen and bug spray to which I subjected myself during that time, though, which unfortunately has yielded the result of running out of things to blog about during this celebration-slash-attendance at friend's destination wedding.

Well, THAT'S OKAY because, thankfully, there's somewhere else you can find more stuff to read!

I did an interview recently for EM Lynley, the editor of the Going for Gold anthology.  Check out what I have to say about my karaoke addiction, my complete inability to do anything even remotely athletic, and how I came to write about a yummy diver named John. Just click here for the full Q&A scoop!

And if you want to read about men who have the completely opposite affliction - that is, men who have a completely awesome ability to do athletic stuff! - then take a gander at the Olympics-themed stories in Going for Goldavailable now on MLR PressAmazon, and All Romance eBooks.

Slathering on the SPF and lacing up her hiking shoes,
NJ



September 17, 2012

So, I outed myself at work...

...as the writer of scandalous fiction, that is.


Yeah, I know. Not quite what you were expecting, but still...being a writer of gay romance is itself kind of a big thing to reveal in a place like my super-conservative area of employment. The reactions have been...interesting.

Let me back up a second. Up till now, I've been employed as a Wall Street lawyer working for a gigantic multinational corporation. And before that, I was employed as a law firm lawyer working for a gigantic multinational law firm.  So yeah...basically, I've been working for The Man in all his pinstriped and super-corporate glory for a while.

Well, no more.

I recently gave notice at my job without having another job lined up.

Yup. That's right.

I've chosen to leave my six-figure job to become voluntarily unemployed because, after a lot of soul-searching, I realized that lawyering - at this stage in my life, at least - is simply not for me. Honestly, the longer I stay in the profession, the less "right" it ends up feeling.  At this point in my life, I don't have commitments - I'm single, have no kids, and don't even have a mortgage - so I figured if I didn't do it now, then when would I really have the chance to do it?

Of course, as a Class A planner, I've been scrimping and saving for ages to get to the point where I can make a run at this huge...leap of faith? Pursuit of happiness? Investment in me? Whatever you want to call it, I decided recently that it's time to take the plunge and see what might be behind Door Number Two.

What's interesting, though, is the reactions I'm getting to my admittedly unorthodox departure.  Nearly everyone I've spoken to has been incredibly positive and supportive - and, to be honest, envious of the opportunity to explore what I want to do, not just what I am currently doing.

And that leads me to the title of this post.

With some of my closer work colleagues, I've shared the fact of my writing activities and, in some cases, my writing itself.  And the reactions? Overwhelmingly encouraging. It's really amazing to be surrounded by positive vibes for something so close to my heart.  Indeed, some people have also opened up about their own personal experiences with the LGBT community, too. I swear, I've had more interesting conversations in the last couple of weeks than I had during my entire tenure there. From discussing gay athletes to coming out in the workplace to general LGBT activism, it's been a fascinating journey to VU (that's "Voluntary Unemployment") Day. Which, incidentally, is almost here. *eager grin of anticipation*

So here it is...my Manifesto, Part Deux: My self-imposed sabbatical will be a time to work on...me. I want to hone my skills, find my focus, and explore avenues of interest - including writing - that are decidedly non-lawyerly.  I hope I find what I'm looking for, but even if I don't, I'm sure it'll be a hell of a ride. :)

Lifting her glass in honor of finding your passion and taking leaps of faith,
NJ



September 10, 2012

Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point NOW AVAILABLE


Hellooooooooooo, ladies (and gents)! Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point is a wrap!

Let me get it out there right now: DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE EBOOK COPY HERE!



Whew! Okay, onwards! 

So, the sequel to Man-to-Man Coverage is now available. Yay! If you haven't read the first one, here's the link to the FREE ebook download for book 1: CLICK HERE. :)

Ahhhh...and now the sequel. Wooohoo!  :D I had sooooo much fun writing this one and hanging out again with Brad and Cam.  I got a little sidetracked in the middle of writing this story because of Into the Deep (available in the MLR Press anthology Going for Gold, also on Amazon and All Romance eBooks!!), which, after lightning round edits, became my first "real" publication when it was released on August 31st. Yayzerbeams!

Anyway, once that story was a wrap, I plunged right back into M2M2 (my code name for Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point).  *dreamy sigh* Cam and Brad. Like visiting old friends, really.  They just started talking to me at the oddest times. Brushing my teeth? Yup. On the subway? Yup. Trying to sleep at 4AM and ending up having to pull out a notepad to take longhand notes since I'd already shut off my computer? Yup. 

The sequel is entirely from Cam's POV and takes place three years after Man-to-Man Coverage. Included in this story is the pivotal...locker room outing. Yup.  

I really hope you guys like it. :D

(Total tangent, but I'm going to pretend it's related because it's football-y stuff. Here's a pretty awesome letter from NFL player Chris Kluwe defending another NFL player's support of gay marriage.  This one put a huge smile on my face.)

BACK TO M2M2 - I always feel weird about writing blurbs, so here's the admittedly non-blurby (sorry!) info that I posted to the Goodreads listing:

***

Word count: 16,128

STORY INFO:
genre: contemporary
tags: established couple; coming out; children; athlete; football; sports; opposites attract; oral sex.


***

Once again, download your own FREE ebook copy of Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point HERE on Goodreads. If you have a sec and want to give it a rating and (maybe??) a review, that would be super awesome, too. :)

And check out my story Into the Deep, one of EIGHT awesome m/m Olympics-themed stories in the Going for Gold anthology, available on MLR PressAmazon, and All Romance eBooks.

Since it looks like the green "read book" button might be wonky on Goodreads, I've posted the entire story for Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point after the jump. 

Hugs and awesome vibes all around,
NJ


(click "Read More" for the online posting of Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point)

September 7, 2012

Coming Out as a Gay Athlete



So, quite awesomely, my diver story came out last Friday as part of the MLR Press anthology Going for Gold, which is also now available on Amazon and All Romance eBooks. YAY.

Separately, but relatedly on the topic of gay athletes, I wanted to mention that I'm still working on a follow-up for my first story, Man-to-Man Coverage (available as a freebie here).   I'm alllllllllllllllmost done with the follow-up and will post more about it here when it's available. In the first story, M2MC, two NFL players discover that, rather than perfect rivals, they make even better lovers.  Some people scoff at the idea of gay football players, but to me, it feels like a step in the right direction.

In my research on the topic of being gay in the NFL (yes, there is actually stuff to read about this!), I came across a number of interesting articles. M2MC came out this summer, which also happened to be the summer Wade Davis, a former NFL cornerback, came out...in real life. This was headline-making news, as you can see here, here, and here.  Something to note, however, is that many of those stories emphasize that, while there may be a few openly-gay former professional athletes, there has never been one to come out while an active player.



Many people assume that the NFL - or all professional sports or even sports culture generally - is a homophobic culture. I like to think that we are not giving these guys the credit they deserve.

The Bleacher Report article "Is the NFL ready for an openly gay player?" by Andrew Garcia explores players' reactions to having an openly gay teammate.  What I learned from reading the article is that these guys are smart, knowledgeable, aware, and, no matter what we think, they live in our world - a world of black, white, gay, straight, and everywhere and everyone in between. Of course there will be bigots and haters, but...there are also going to be people who are accepting and supportive, as there are with everything else in the world.  The article makes a great point that, in addition to being supremely talented athletes in a testosterone-fueled sport, these football players are also human beings with minds of their own.  They have family and friends who are gay, and they can think for themselves without having us project stereotypes on them of the big brutish jock.

What do you think? Is the NFL - or the MLB, NBA, or NHL, for that matter - ready for a gay athlete to share the field, diamond, court, or ice?

Keep an eye out for Man-to-Man Coverage: The Extra Point to see what happens when Cam and Brad come out to the world and their families. And check out my story, Into the Deep, available now as part of Going for Gold, an Olympics anthology filled with - you guessed it - gay athletes! There's a great lineup of sports and athletes to sink your teeth into. Check out my previous blog post for links to excerpts and blurbs. :D You can find Going for Gold on the MLR Press site here, on Amazon here, or on All Romance eBooks here.

Feeling incredibly charitable about the NFL,
NJ



August 31, 2012

Happy release day! Plus, a sneak peek! (Shhh...)


Happy release day!

*straps on a party hat* *tosses confetti* *blows a noisemaker*

Going for Gold is now available here through the MLR Press site. Yay!

This anthology, edited by EM Lynley, includes the following stories:

Hot Shots by Michael P. Thomas
Into the Deep by Nico Jaye
The Quad by Kelly Rand
Lightning in a Bottle by Sarah Madison
Swimming the Distance by Annabeth Albert
Shooting for Gold by Whitley Gray
An Olympic Goal by K-lee Klein
Tumbling Dreams by Kaje Harper

Here are some great, informative, and/or hilarious posts from some of my co-contributors:
- Michael P. Thomas talks about coping with Olympics withdrawal on his blog here. (Hint: It involves Speedos. Yay, Speedos!)  He also offers up a juicy bite of his story here.
- Sarah Madison gives us an insider's scoop on the sport of equestrian eventing here (part 1) and here (part 2).  She also discusses being a proud GLBTQ supporter here.
- Annabeth Albert waxes poetic on a topic close to my heart: Speedos. *dreamy sigh* Check out her thoughts and enter her giveaway here.
- Kaje Harper gives us a taste of her gymnastics story on her blog post here.
- K-lee Klein's teaser about her story can be found on her blog here.
- Our editor, EM Lynley, hosts Sarah Madison on her blog here and talks about the new release here.  Did you know that the anthology is over 110K words? That's a lot of man-lovin' to feed your Olympics fever!


My story, Into the Deep, is about an American diver and a British bartender.  Here's a wonderful video that combines both...with the BRITISH diving team, including that cutie, Tom Daley, who I swear is old enough for me to ogle. I swear!




*looks around furtively and beckons you a little closer*

Shhhh... Well, if you made it this far, you deserve a little something for that. Here's a short Into the Deep excerpt from the day John came into Blake's life. Enjoy!

***

EXCERPT from Into the Deep by Nico Jaye:

“Another round for the Yanks at table eight, Blake,” Dani called out as she sailed by with a tray held high, the aroma of battered cod and salty chips drifting behind her. Looking up from the tap where he was pouring a beer, Blake glanced past the four top in the middle of the room to table eight in the corner, also known as two Newcastles, one Guinness, a Tanqueray and tonic, and seltzer with lime.
Seltzer with lime was watching him from behind a thick fringe of long, dark lashes.
Again.
Blake flushed and looked away. Then the corner of his lip lifted, and he couldn’t help himself — he peeked upwards, immediately encountering the stranger’s gaze once again.
Not a stranger for much longer, he guessed, sneaking a glimpse at the handsome American’s closely-cropped dark hair, strong jawline, and wide mouth. He couldn’t tell the color of his eyes at this distance, but those lashes alone could slay a man from fifty paces.
Be still, my little heart.
Holy shite, the man was perfection. Meeting that inscrutable stare for a moment longer, Blake gave him a little smile before turning his attention back to the pint, cutting off the tap just before the amber liquid spilled over the side of the glass.
“There you go, Mr. McCoy,” he said as he placed the full pint in front of the grizzled middle-aged man who was picking the cashews out of the snack bowl at the bar. Blake had been working at The Red Griffin for the last six months and had begun to settle into the routine and the quirks of the regulars. He’d taken this job to provide a steady income supplement to his real passion, drawing, which, while filling his nights and feeding his muse, unfortunately did not fill his wallet or feed his belly as reliably as he would like.
For what it was, bartending was flexible and provided enough amusement and activity to have become something he’d actually come to enjoy. Located on the edge of London’s Canary Wharf, the pub was one of any number in the neighborhood, and the patrons tended to be stuffed shirt businessmen, who popped in at lunchtime or happy hour, and locals like Mr. McCoy, who’d been coming to the place for years. The occasional tourist group stumbled in, but none quite like the Yanks at table eight this afternoon.
Correction: none quite like Fuck Me Eyes with the mile-long lashes over there at table eight this afternoon.
Turning back to the taps, Blake was in the process of assembling that table’s order when he caught sight in his peripheral vision of a pair of smooth, corded forearms leaning against the scarred dark wood of the bar.
“I think you have something for me.”

***

*wiggles eyebrows* Find out what John thinks Blake has for him in Into the Deep, available as part of MLR Press's Going for Gold anthology. Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf here! Happy reading!

Hugs and happy thoughts about Speedos and all things Olympic,
NJ



August 24, 2012

Dive "Into the Deep" next week with a new release!


The Going for Gold anthology from MLR Press comes out (once again, pun totally intended!) next week on Friday, August 31st!  Look for my story, Into the Deep, and check out the cover art that's hot off the press.



Here's a quick blurb for what to expect in Into the Deep:

Sparks fly at the 2012 Olympic Games when platform diver John Sloane meets Blake Gallagher, a local bartender.  After a chance encounter at Blake's London pub, fate brings them together once again as John prepares for his debut on the Olympic stage.  Will these unlikely lovers realize they've found a winner in each other or will the pressures of competition keep them apart?

Warning: Contains wet Speedos, gratuitous toplessness, a cheeky redheaded Brit who might be a tad unsure of himself, and an American sports god who wants him just the way he is.


More info to come on other stories to be included in the anthology and the official blurb!

Psyched about keeping the Olympic spirit alive,
NJ



August 22, 2012

Clever is as clever does.

Have you seen that absolutely BRILLIANT Contrex commercial, which aired in France last year? Contrex is apparently a French bottled water company.

I couldn't stop giggling. So clever and one of the few commercials I've watched with a grin on my face until the bitter awesome end. *fans self* ;)

Check it out on YouTube here.  It's totally worth it.

I would post a pic right now, but it would ruin the surprise.

Chuckling herself to sleep,
NJ





August 10, 2012

Diving, Day One!

So, as some of you may already know, Into the Deep is about a 10m platform diver at the 2012 Olympics. Well, it just so happens that I turned on the television and saw...10m platform diving is on tonight!


This is Tom Daley.  He's diving for Great Britain. And he's adorable.  I'm sure you already knew all of that, but you know...just to state the obvious. 

Perhaps slightly less obvious is the awesomeness known as Matt Mitcham, the 2008 gold medalist.

Photo by Philip Myers

Matt is an openly gay diver from Australia, and he shocked the world when he overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to take gold in Beijing.  What I love so much about his story is how humble and down to earth he seems.  He mentioned in his television interview that hearing from gay youths came as a welcome surprise, and I just think it's great that he's out there, living his life, and inspiring people without even trying.

Best of luck to all of the divers competing! You served as great inspiration for this gal. :)

Raptly watching the goings on in London,
NJ




August 2, 2012

"Into the Deep" at Lightning Speed!

Wow, so this Olympics anthology timeline is super speedy. I just got round two edits for Into the Deep, and they're due Sunday. *wipes sweat from brow*

On the plus side, it looks like there's a publication date! The Going for Gold anthology is currently scheduled to be published August 17th. Yay! And holy cow that's fast!

Oh yeah, and it turns out one of my favorite m/m authors, Kaje Harper, will be in the anthology. Muy exciting!

Gonna turn back to those edits, but here's a little peek at how Nico the feline spends his evenings:


Yup, the little furbaby is using a Pillow Pet for its eponymous purpose. :)

More info soon on the anthology!

Madly dashing to make dashing edits,
NJ



July 22, 2012

An exciting day!

Today was a day of excitement and awesomeness. Seriously!

Biggest news: My story will be published. (!!!) Read on for more cool stuff...

In no particular order (in part because I'm too psyched right now to put things into an order):

- Saw the Batman movie this morning. It was pretty spectacular and even had a little romantic element, too. Of course, being the romance reader that I am, I wanted the romance to be more developed, but hey, a girl can only dream, right?

 - My improv class graduation show was today.  On stage.  No script.  Completely improvised.  Yup, pretty much everything that would normally cause me to go into heart palpitations.  Surprisingly, I think it went...fairly well.  I know, it's a shocker.  I originally took these classes in an attempt to overcome my serious control freak tendencies.  Sort of a "getting over a fear of heights by standing at the top of a mountain" kind of thing. The interesting part is...I found that I kind of liked it.

- Okay, I guess this would actually go first if I were putting things in order. There's no lead in, so I'm just gonna say it: MY STORY WAS ACCEPTED TODAY! Yay!!! I just found out (literally, like thirty minutes ago) that Into the Deep will be published in Going for Goldthe Olympics-themed anthology to which I submitted it recently for consideration.  I'm really excited. I had a blast writing about those boys, and I'm happy to have the opportunity to share them with everyone. I don't know any of the details yet, but I'll definitely keep you all posted on when it's coming out (pun totally intended again, heh!).

Okay, that's a wrap on my end.  Gonna ride this high for a while and try to get more of my Man-to-Man Coverage: Extra Point writing done before I have to get crackin' with edits of Into the Deep.  Yes, I gave M2MC2 a new, footbally name. It's 100% from Cam's POV, and he is a big sweetheart. :)

Floating on a cloud of awesomeness,
NJ




July 19, 2012

The verdict... (or, brought to you by the word "yay!")

Hesitatingly dips a toe into those "author" waters...

So, my story's been around for about a week, and...it appears that it does not universally suck! Yay!

When I wrote it and submitted it, I was, in my mind, covering my eyes with one hand while thrusting my other arm out to turn in the completed story. Maybe I was peeking a little, too.

Basically, I had no idea what to expect. It could have been an unmitigated disaster...or not.

I think I might lean on the side of "not" at this point. Yay!

At the very least, there are people who like it enough to ask what happens next. Yay! So, yeah, I'm now writing that part. People care enough about Brad and Cam to want to know! That's awesome! *insert fist pump* Right on!

(To be fair, there were also some people who didn't care so much about them, but I'm not going into that right now because it's likely to dampen my "yay, it doesn't universally suck!" high. I'll save that for another post...or not.)

ANYWAY, the working-titled Man-to-Man Coverage: Revisited (such a creative title, I know) is now a WIP. I had fun writing a nice little sexytimes scene already, too. *evil grin and evil hand rub* Um, not of the usual m/m hand rub variety, I mean...  I'm about 3400 words into it right now, which is speed racer pace for my typically sloooooooooow writing. Let's just say that, in the normal scheme of things, plants would grow faster than I could eke out 1000 words. M2MC (that's Man-to-Man Coverage - yes, I am strangely fond of acronyms and called it this throughout the writing process) really came down to the wire, and that gave me a month and a half to finish what ended up being a 16K word story. Like whoa.

Separately, I still haven't heard anything about my diver story. I dunno...is that a good thing? To recap, I submitted my Into the Deep story last week for consideration for an Olympics-themed m/m anthology. I've been trying not to be neurotic, but um...I haven't heard anything, and I have no idea what that means. Eeks!

So, yeah, crossing my fingers and toes while also trying to write M2MC2 (yay, acronyms!) is kind of impossible, so I'm just going to let my little diver and bartender ride off into the sunset (but hope I hear back soon either way!) while focusing on my footballers, who actually have people who care about them already.

Yay, footballers! Yay, cock! (Long story, but that was kind of a battle cry while writing these m/m stories...) Yay, reading! Yay, Goodreads M/M Romance group readers who are super awesome and supportive!

Happily typing away about footballers,
NJ




July 11, 2012

Coming now!

Yup, no longer "coming soon," but rather "coming NOW."  Pun totally 100% intended. :)


"Man-to-Man Coverage" was released today on the Goodreads M/M Romance group and is downloadable as an ebook via the "download ebook" link here.

Hold me - I'm scared!

On a semi-related note, I had the pleasure (pun also probably intended...) of explaining to a group of my friends what "frottage" means while we were picnicking in the middle of Bryant Park and surrounded by hundreds of people. Hand gestures were used as an educational tool. Awesome. :)

Dodging those public lewdness complaints,
NJ




July 4, 2012

T-Minus One Week!

Soooo...my story is coming out next week. I'm kind of excited, but mostly scared shitless. I hope people like it or, at the very least, don't hate it.

This lowballing of expectations is a weird mental state for someone who has always been a pretty notorious overachiever in everything else.

Oddly, this feeling hasn't discouraged me from writing my little diver story. It's almost done, then off to my friend for some feedback.

On a separate note, Feline Nico has started to smell like Chloe perfume. What has he been getting himself into...??? :)

Basking in her newly-discovered underachieverness,
NJ



June 4, 2012

Into the Deep End


I've decided to try my hand at writing an m/m romance story centered around the Olympics. There was a call for submissions related to the Olympics, and I have an idea. And, yes, it's an idea that's burning in my brain and waiting to hit the screen.

On a related note, I'm learning way more about competitive diving than I ever expected to need to know. I find this rather ironic, considering the fact that I can barely swim myself. :)

On another related note, yes, diving...mmmmm...

With lascivious thoughts of tight, wet Speedos,
NJ




May 23, 2012

Shit just got real, folks.




So...this story thing is really happening.
  • Strangely scary/exciting: I actually have a placeholder listing on Goodreads for my story (found here).
  • Strangely scarier/more exciting: People actually have marked it as "to-read." Like whoa.
When the story comes out in July 2012, it'll be posted exclusively at this link on the M/M Romance Group's discussion boards. Note that you need to be a member of the group in order to access it.  After it's posted, I'll also upload it at some point to Goodreads for download as an ebook.

Taking deep breaths,
NJ


May 12, 2012

Playing with Pictures!



So...I was playing around with pictures and fonts, and I now present to you...the cover! Ta da! :)




More info coming soon ... VERY soon ... on the release date.

So excited...and only a tiny bit scared,
NJ

April 29, 2012

The Sexytimes Factor



What is too much? What is not enough?

I recently finished the book The Desire for Dearborne by V.B. Kildaire, and my review mentioned that the sexytimes, while multiple, were not too explicit and kept to about a page or two each. Someone commented on my review that she had recently read a book with a 28-page sexytimes scene, which, while causing my jaw to drop, also led me to wonder where I would "draw the line" (so to speak) on sexytimes.

Now, I'm the first one to admit that I like a little sexytimes action in my stories. What can I say? I'm pervy like that. However, I did cut my teeth on squeaky clean romances back in high school when I was reading traditional Regencies (e.g., of the Signet and Zebra variety) and category Harlequin Romance novels.  These styles are both romance niches that consider kisses to be the ultimate in titillation and which I fondly refer to as more "ankle barers" than "bodice rippers." Obviously, I've - ahem - graduated to acquire a much more broadened taste for romance along the entire spectrum of heat level.

That said, what I think all of this boils down to is expectations and execution.

April 15, 2012

The Maiden Voyage




I recently volunteered to participate in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's writing event, Love is Always Write, in which members wrote "Dear Author" letters to provide authors with story prompts.  Well, I chose a letter prompt, and for the last month or so, I've been writing, writing...oh, and writing.

Earlier today, I submitted my story, and let me just tell you - it feels fantastic and terrifying at the same time. This story will be the first that I've ever "released into the wild" for public consumption, so I'm crossing my fingers, toes, and eyes that it'll be well-received.

To be completely honest, this is also the first piece of fiction I've ever sat down and written to completion. Yup. So, yeah, a lot of new territory for me. I'm really happy I participated because I felt like that little nudge to get this done was what I needed.  I knew that there was a deadline and a member who was counting on me to give it my best shot, so I just dove off that cliff and wrote it. There was no more room for doubts or second guessing of my writing skills or ability to tell a story. I just had to go in there and take the plunge, and I'm so glad that I did.

My story is a gay romance novelette featuring professional football players. It'll be released some time in the summer. More info and general thoughts on the writing process that I experienced will follow in the ensuing weeks.

Shaking in her boots (but also super relieved),
NJ