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August 20, 2013

Guest Post: AC Valentine on "How to Date Your Husband"

Today's guest is author AC Valentine, whose story, "How to Date Your Husband," is included in the Cuddling anthology from Dreamspinner Press. Cuddling includes stories that focus on established couples. You can order your copy here!

I loved AC's story and thought it was hot-hot-hot. The guys were so sweet, and their love for each other really leaped off the page. Here's a quick blurb for "How to Date Your Husband," and later on AC answers some questions about herself, her story, and writerly things in general.

Blurb for "Hot to Date Your Husband" by AC Valentine: 
Ryan and Mike are stuck in a rut but still in love after more than ten years together. When Mike finds an article offering love-life tips in an old magazine, he suggests trying them as a way to add some spice back to their lives. Ryan thinks Mike is crazy, but he’s willing to do anything to make Mike happy, even if it means dating his own husband.
"Awwwww," right? I was really excited to read this story, and it definitely lived up to expectations. It was clever, sweet, and totally hot. 

Now, let's hear some more from AC!

Q:  What interesting thing would readers be surprised to find out about the guys in your story?
It’s not about the guys, but I think readers would be surprised to find out that Puppetry of the Penis was and still is, a real show put on by two guys from Australia. It was on off-Broadway in NYC for two years starting right around September 11th.  I went with my new husband. It was quite the theatrical experience.
Q:  What interesting thing would readers be surprised to find out about you?
I was once offered 50 sheep for my hand in marriage. My godmother, who worked for the UN said that she’d been offered camels and camels were worth more. My sister who was a junior in high school was only offered 40. So when people came to my college and asked ‘What is a Wellesley education worth?’ I would always tell them ten extra sheep.
Q: Do you have a favorite "happily ever after" story?
Nope. It’s why I keep writing them. I don’t write ‘Happy For Now’ stories. If I write a story you can bet those two people ride off into the sunset. I think I feel thwarted by all the television ships that blow up in my face (I’m the biggest fangirl), so I keep writing happily ever after stories. I’d write fanfic if I could but I can’t write in someone else’s voice.
Q: How long have you been writing and what inspired you to start?
It’s funny, I’ve been writing bits and pieces of things for years. I’d start and get discouraged because back when I started writing m/m, the market didn’t really exist yet. In my writing group, I had a bunch of friends in publishing who thought my writing was good but didn’t think there was a market. I knew it was out there though. LiveJournal was full of original slash, and I remember when Torquere Press opened. I think they were one of the first e-book m/m presses. I remember ordering a book from them, but it was just such a pain to read full length books on a computer back then. I laugh now because I’d be reading novel length fanfiction on the desk top, and there really wasn’t any difference.  I got away from m/m for a long time, until I happened to be stuck in bed about two years ago after going through some medical issues and I don’t even know how it happened but I found some m/m ebooks and kept reading them. A year later I figured I better start writing to support my habit, set a goal to have a short story published by the end of the year, and wrote one and submitted it. I got very, very lucky because Dreamspinner agreed to publish it in their ‘Don’t Try This at Home’ anthology. I didn’t even have to deal with a rejection letter. Rejection is such a large part of a writer’s life and I’m dreading it. When you write, the characters are your babies, so it’s like they are rejecting your children.
Q: What books or authors inspire your own work?
Well I write in a couple of different genres. In the m/m genre, some of the people who have been pretty influential or inspiring are Amy Lane, Mary Calmes and Cardeno C. There are bits and pieces of their styles that have influenced me.  I wish I could write angst like Amy Lane. I love some of Mary Calmes’s plotting- her plots are off the wall, and Cardeno C just has that awww factor. I love reading people like Damon Suede and T.J. Klune as well. T.J. Klune writes killer dialogue. I’m either rolling on the floor with laughter or with tears. I wish I was that evocative. Also, Suede’s Hot Head had some of the hottest, sweetest sex scenes I’ve ever read. 
Q: Do you prefer to write short stories or novels?
Short stories are great, because you get quicker gratification. I’ve got a couple of novellas and novels in the early stages, but once you get into the longer material you have to worry about getting agents and writing query letters. Short stories are also a great way to break into writing because in the m/m world particularly you get a prompt, write to it, submit and hopefully get it published. Then you have writing credits to put on those pesky query letters to agents.
Q: What are you writing now or what upcoming releases do you have scheduled?
I’m in the middle of writing a steampunk novella that was just supposed to be a short story, but the characters and plot got away from me. Each story I write gets progressively harder to write and the plots get longer and more complicated. I’m also writing a YA novel which has a m/m subplot. I’ll also be writing and submitting short stories as I have time, because I love writing to prompts. Giving me a theme is the best way to get a story out of me.
Q: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I usually start with a general plot. I also know the general ending when I start out and I have a couple of beats I want to hit on the way to the end. However, my characters tend to do whatever the hell they want and I generally just let them. I do go back and try to make sure that the characterization is consistent and that there are several threads binding the story together. How to Date Your Husband is a great example of that because initially there were supposed to be ten dates. Ha! Never going to happen in a short story. I would have loved to have a throwaway date though. “They agreed to never, ever discuss date number six. They just decided to buy a new couch and forget the whole thing.”
Q: Cuddling is an anthology that features stories all about established couples. What can couples do to keep the flames burning in their established relationships?
I’m not answering this one. My husband would kill me!!!
AC Valentine is a New Yorker who recently traded her quiet bohemian life in the Village for the wild metropolis of Vermont. She dragged with her a tattooed corporate husband, a small child, a neurotic dog, and several libraries worth of books. She can't clean or cook but can throw a mean party. She can always be found bemoaning the lack of a day job while happily reading or writing m/m fiction or fiddling around with some craft project to add to the pile that is threatening to take over the dining room. The newest craft project is a bouncing baby boy who believes all the other craft projects are edible. AC believes in true love, marriage equality, and happily-ever-afters. She'll continue to write about them until someone pulls her laptop away from he cold dead hands or the sheer volume of baby drool shorts out the computer.

She would love to hear from readers and can be contacted by email at, on Twitter @valentinewrites, or via Tumblr at


Thanks for stopping by, AC!

You can pick up your copy of Cuddling today at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or All Romance eBooks. Happy reading!

August 12, 2013

Release Day for "Cuddling" is...TODAY!

Welcome to release day for the Cuddling anthology! Yayzerbeams! *tosses confetti*

Cuddling is now available here in multiple formats through the Dreamspinner Press site. Woop woop!

The anthology, edited by Anne Regan, includes the following stories:

At First Sound by G.S. Wiley
Change of Heart by Rhidian Brenig Jones
Cupcakes for Two by K. Lynn
Dream Lover by Nico Jaye
Happy Holidays by Anna Butler
Home on the Range by Anna Martin
How to Date Your Husband by AC Valentine
Like an Old Sweater by Elizabella Gold
Looking Back by Rob Rosen
Quarter Moon Over a Ten Cent Town by Stephen Osborne
Reboot by S. H. Allan
Remember When by River Claire
The Cat's Out of the Bag by Rowan McAllister
The Making of a Family by Caitlin Ricci
The Responsible One by Eva Clancy
The Thing I Love Best About Mitch by Dawn Douglas

My story focuses on Chris and Brady, whose relationship seems to have taken a backseat to Brady's ridiculous work schedule. How, pray tell
, do they manage to get back on track? Well, a weekend getaway and a lil sexytimes never hurt! :)

I thought I'd add a lil excerpt for my story so that you guys know what you're um...getting yourselves into here. :) If you missed it, I posted the blurb here a while back, and the general blurb for the anthology is here on Dreamspinner Press's website.  It's an established couples anthology, so you'll find a bunch of different themes here - the seven year itch, difficult work situations, growing apart, etc. Hopefully you'll find something fun that tickles your fancy.


EXCERPT from Dream Lover by Nico Jaye:

A smile played on Chris’s lips as he checked his reflection in the gilt-framed mirror. He had slicked back his hair, and his hazel eyes finally—finally—looked wide-awake. He pulled on one of the thick white robes before he brushed his teeth and shaved.
When Brady had come out of his shower, he’d mentioned checking the times for vineyard tours nearby. A wicked smile spread across Chris’s face as he reached for his shaving kit.
Even though he was excited to explore the area, Chris was pretty sure the vineyards could wait.
A few minutes later, Chris slid open the bathroom’s dark wood panel and padded barefoot toward the open balcony doors. He paused in the doorway to admire the view. Brady sat in one of the chairs in dark jeans and a gray polo, and his caramel-brown loafers matched the woven belt that was looped around his waist. Brady looked up and set aside his BlackBerry.
Brady’s smile was teasing as he caught sight of Chris’s robe. He lifted his brows. “I thought we were heading out. Going back to bed, Sleeping Beauty?”
Chris darted a glance around before focusing on Brady. Chris’s lids dropped to half-mast. “Maybe,” he murmured. “But not to sleep.” His words trailed off as he let his robe fall open.

Chris watched Brady closely. Brady’s eyes went wide, and Chris could pinpoint the exact moment Brady saw it.


Hrmmmm! This raises the all-important question: what exactly did Brady see beneath Chris's robe? *wiggles eyebrows* Well, you can find out in Dreamspinner Press's Cuddling anthology! Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf here, too.

Hope you like it, and happy reading!

Doing the release day wiggle,

August 5, 2013

E-courtship & Online Romances

One of the things mentioned in a number of the BTW I Love You reviews is that readers knew of couples who met online or that they themselves had met their partners through the Internet. As many of you may know, the story centers around a long distance relationship that slowly develops when two college aged guys meet online. What's awesome is that there actually may be research out there supporting the strength of online romance.

I'm admittedly kind of a geek. Yup. That's right.  So when my alumni magazine came in the mail, instead of recycling it or beelining straight to the "what are my classmates doing?" sections, I actually read those sections on research and published academia articles. *points at self* See? Geek. :)

Imagine my surprise when I came across an article buried among the technical science papers that described research done by a psychologist on online romance. According to a recent article published by University of Chicago psychology professor John Cacioppo in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, more than one-third of marriages in America now begin online, and those online marriages were both slightly more likely to rank higher in marriage satisfaction and slightly less likely to break up.

Sure, it's "slightly," but it's still statistically significant. I just thought it was pretty nifty that academia came forward with actual findings of a scientific foundation for what many of us have already discovered: "online dating may offer a larger pool of prospective partners, greater selectivity, and more advance screening." ("Citations" by Jason Kelly and Lydiolyle Gibson in The University of Chicago Magazine)

Like I said. Welcome to Geekville, population me. :)

Live long and prosper,