Top Ten Ways to Procrastinate When You Should Be Writing

*Waves* Hi y’all. I’m Lee Brazil, author of m/m romance with Breathless Press, Story Orgy, Pulp Friction and Evernight. I’ve been a professional writer for about three years now. Maybe longer if you count the fact that I started writing in 2010. I didn’t get paid for it then, though. Didn’t actually get my first royalty check until mid-2011. In all that time of writing, I’ve produced a lot of books.

But I’ve also spent a lot of time nto producing anything.

I’ve come to consider myself an expert at procrastinating when I should be writing. I have a variety of stall tactics that I employ on a regular basis. When inspiration isn’t striking… and writer’s block is impending, sometimes it’s easier just to not sit down at the computer and work at all.

So, here are my Top Ten Procrastination techniques, in no particular order, just in case you need to stall for time when you should be producing words on the page.

  1. This works great, especially if you, like me, live in an old house and have to wait for the hot water to heat up. It also comes with a neat little series of side distractions… like suddenly realizing that you really should refold and stack the linens in the closet.
  2. Get the mail. I love this one. I have a post office box in town, so getting the mail can take me a full hour or more. Even better if I bump into an acquaintance who wants to chat about the unusual winter weather we’re having, the incredibly low price of a gallon of gas, and the sad performance of the Denver Broncos in the last game.
  3. Walk the dog. She actually hates this, because she has to stay by my side the whole time when she’d rather be off running in the woods and scaring up the wild turkeys, or chasing down a deer.
  4. Bake something. Like brownies. Or cookies. Muffins are good. Then you have to clean up the kitchen. Maybe even take out the trash… sample the goods.
  5. Read a book. This actually counts as work. SCORE! It’s research… or market sampling if you read in your genre. Necessary, and exemplary even.
  6. Clean your desk. It’s such a mess, how can anyone work in a messy environment?
  7. Check your email. Fifteen times should do it. Just in case something urgent shows up in there.
  8. You need to promote, right? And interact…and look at cute videos of cats and pictures of shirtless guys.
  9. Beware. This one can be very, very time consuming. I’ve gone to Pinterest with the best of intentions and wound up hours later having added dozens of margarita recipes to my Great Margarita Quest Board, when I know darn well I’m only going to try one new one over the weekend.
  10. Text From Dog. Hysterical.

What about you? How do you not write when you should be?

Lee

***

The Ice King 200x300CPA Rafe Montaigne’s day is heading downhill fast and he hasn’t even had a decent cup of coffee yet. What could make it worse? A secretary in a snit.

Elian is efficient, attractive and cold as ice toward his boss, and he has been since Rafe’s ex stopped by the office.

Rafe is a sophisticated player, a businessman who knows how to have fun and he’s not particular about whether his playmates are male or female.

It seems Elian isn’t quite so indiscriminate… What’s a boss to do when his secretary won’t play nice?

Buy: The Ice King

***

I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.

CONTACT LINKS: FB http://www.facebook.com/lee.brazil

Blog http://leebrazilauthor.blogspot.com/

The Greatest Mysteries are Inside Us

DD Symms Author PicLet’s welcome guest author DD Symms who clues us in on his latest story, a male-male romance that digs into the intense emotions of guilt and anguish that we try to hide in our struggle to cope. Log on to DD’s website, ddsymms.wordpress.com for his upcoming works.

The greatest mysteries lie inside of us. Medicine is not an exact science, opines my wife who is a nurse practitioner. Each person’s body is unique in how it responds to treatment and I’ve decided that who we are and how we respond to the world around us is much more art than science.

If we were formulaic beings then wouldn’t most of us live in very similar type surroundings, have about the same amount of savings and enjoy going to the same places for vacation and eating the same types of food?

We are much more art than science and that’s why so many wonderful stories exist and why we as authors can put our unique spin on stories that have been told over and again throughout history.

It’s this pursuit of personal discovery that led me to write my current story, In His Sights.

Dalton Blake is about to end his commitment to the military and he fears a future that he could face alone. He is engulfed with guilt about not detonating a roadside bomb that killed his best friend and lover. He suffers quietly but the base captain notices and tries to break through Dalton’s personal barriers.

Can Captain Bruce Shafter bring him back to life?

I loved dealing with this question and I feel this is my most satisfying work of fiction to date, even though it is a short read. I liked sitting at my desk, gazing out my study windows during the infrequent quiet times I have and clicking on YouTube or Pandora for musical accompaniment. One of my favorite songs that fits well with the theme of this story is Celine Dion’s Loved Me Back to Life.

I feel that’s what we all need. Someone to love us back to life when the struggles threaten to overwhelm us, and it’s even better when that someone understands that we are works of art even when we are pieces of work.

In His Sights 200x300EXCERPT

“Dalton.”

Shafter again. Dalton made his way to the edge of the parking lot, away from the streetlamps and the angle of the headlights beaming in and out of the bar’s parking lot, gravel crunching beneath the cars’ tires. “Go back in and fuck with someone else’s mind.” This sure as hell was no way to get another guy in bed. Maybe Shafter was an emotionally sick and twisted pickup artist.

“Talk to me.”

“Why the hell should I?” Dalton wiped his eyes.

“Because you need to.” Shafter’s voice was calm.

Dalton hated losing control of his emotions. That was for his college years and the giddy boy-in-love moments in the stupid frat house. Those days had vanished and his future was as bleak as the Mojave Desert in August. Finally, he composed himself and leaned against the tailgate of a pickup. He felt like a con man on the run and Shafter the good guy lawman unwavering in his quest for justice. Why fight?

Buy: In His Sights

Excerpt: Haunted by the Past by Pelaam

HauntedbythePast_200x300Blurb: Jared didn’t believe in ghosts or love, until he moved into his new house and found both.

Finding a house that suits him, Jared makes the move to reclaim his independence. However, he doesn’t expect to find himself both attracted to and concerned for the almost-reclusive gardener, Evander.

Jared believes Evander is hiding an eating disorder. But the appearance of old photographs and love letters in the house cause him to wonder about the stoic man. As their friendship becomes more, he wants to help and uncover the secrets he knows Evander is hiding. Each of them are haunted by something, and it’s not the house.

When a ghost from Jared’s past appears, they must fight for their own happiness, even if it means exposing themselves and the truth.

Buy: Haunted by the Past

Excerpt:

A couple of hours later, Jared returned. Hands on his hips, he glared at the thick, muddy mess on his boots. No matter, the hose is right there. I’ll switch on the tap, rinse the worst of the mess off, and carry them into the house to clean properly. Blindly, Jared reached around the corner with one hand as he crouched down to snag a hold of the hose with the other.

With a surprised grunt, he fell back onto his butt. His hand hadn’t come into contact with cold metal but cool flesh. He stared up at the man who stepped into view. His dark hair was pulled back into a pony tail, and from this angle the man looked like he towered over six feet.

For someone who worked outdoors, his skin was remarkably fair, and the expanse of pale, smooth skin temporarily robbed Jared of his wits. His eyes seemed determined to focus on either caramel colored nipples or the ‘v’ lines disappearing into well-worn denim. The man stared down at him, and Jared wondered what kind of impression he was making sitting open-mouthed in a mud puddle.

“I…you startled me.” Great opening line. Real smooth, Jared.

“I was about to clean the equipment. You were out.”

The stranger’s voice was soft, his expression morose, and he tilted his head as if Jared’s appearance was a shock to him too. His eyes were a shade of gray Jared had never seen before, and they reflected concern and intelligence.

“Ah, yes, I did go out, but I wandered off the track, got stuck in mud, and since my boots were covered in the stuff, I decided to come back. When I saw the hose, I thought I’d rinse them off before going back into the house.”

“Oh. Well. I can wait if you want.”

Jared blinked. That’s it? He isn’t even going to help me?  “Um, could you help me up?” Considering he’d spent the best part of the last six months not wanting anyone to look twice at him, he couldn’t understand why it was suddenly so important that this man did.

“I guess so.” The man held out his hand and pulled Jared upright with an ease his slender frame belied.

Now standing up, the difference in their height diminished rapidly. In fact, they stood almost shoulder to shoulder, the stranger was maybe an inch or so taller than Jared’s modest five foot ten inches. “I’m Jared, the new tenant here. Obviously, you’re the gardener, but I wasn’t told your name.”

“Evander. My name’s Evander.”

Neither man released the hand of the other. Jared wasn’t sure he wanted to be the first to let go, but Evander seemed to realize he still held Jared’s hand and released him. He took a couple of steps back.

“I have other things to do. You can use the hose.”

Buy: Haunted by the Past

Pelaam lives in clean, green New Zealand. She is a multi-published author of gay male romance and erotica across time and space. When not writing, she indulges in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation. She can be found on Facebook, and a full list of her published works are on Lazy Beagle Entertainment.

Review: In Your Eyes (The Mates Series Book 3) by Cardeno C.

in your eyesReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Born to rule, Sam Goodwin is the perfect leader for the Yafenack pack as he has studied shifter laws, made sure his body is up to the challenges from his pack he will soon meet, but talking to the ones he will lead is something he has never been used to, but someone is around to help him – Korben Keller, the son of another pack’s Alpha. Korben is the one who makes him feel emotion instead of a blank slate. When a war rages between both their fathers, Sam and Korben come together again, but this time they both have to help each other from the way they feel if they are to hope to have a loving relationship.

Review: As it’s true that opposites attract, it can also be difficult in Cardeno C’s world of wolf shifters. Sam isn’t the perfect friend to have, he has no social graces and knows nothing of having friends until he meets Korben. Korben is the total opposite in every way and completes him. As they have met early on in their lives, they have had a chance to get to know each other unlike some potential pairings. I found it interesting that finding a mate is quite hard for heterosexual shifters, but for gay shifters it is even harder, and the failure of a shifter to notice when they are liked by a potential mate can be catastrophic if ignored. Korben is one of the nicest men Sam could have ever met, but his cruel father causes problems in their “what could have been a relationship” that make Sam feel as though he hates Korben. Thankfully this is only at the start, but when they meet again, they have to really work on their relationship or it might get to a serious meltdown.

Good Bits:

  • Strong characters
  • You are pulled in different ways as far as the characters are concerned
  • Finding a true mate is harder than you think
  • Sam and Korben are cute – ‘enough said!

Summary: Readers might have read a lot of shifter novels as there are plenty of writers out there who focus on the lives of these interesting men, but Cardeno C has the knack of being able to tell her stories from the heart like no one else can. She puts her characters before her readers, naked and unashamed of who they are,even if they are shy or lacking in some other areas. Sex scenes are abundant in all these novels, but they are well done, intimate, sexy and smoulder like they are supposed to if they are to move the story along. Cardeno uses the conflict between the main two characters to get a rise out of the reader, to make them wonder what will happen next, and book three of the series has done this and so much more.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: In Your Eyes (The Mates Series Book 3)

Why M/M?

Apparition 200x300Hi! My name is Iyana and I live in Jakarta, a city famous for its traffic jams, a lot of cars and motorcycles, and people selling stuff on the roads. I love cats and right now I have five, Larva, Nyil, Cil, Betsy, and Horus.

If you want to know more about me, here are my links:

Blog
Facebook
Twitter

I write short stories and so far what I have published are m/m stories. Why m/m, you ask? Because I’m a girl and I adore men and I love reading about boys kissing boys. Nah. Just kiddin’. ;) Or maybe it’s true? Well, perhaps at first. But the more I write m/m stories, the more I realize this is the least I can do to support my LGBT friends. In my country especially, LGBT life is practically non-existent and people who support them often have a hard time too. A colleague of mine stopped reading a female author’s work after this friend found out that the writer also wrote m/m stories. Some so-called religious groups have often forcefully stopped LGBT events on behalf of their religions. And I thought religions forbid violent acts.

I would also like to show my support to one of my friends. I think it’s not a secret anymore for his closest friends about his preference but I don’t think his family knows about it. It’s totally not my business, but I just want him to be happy.

I like writing m/m and from doing it I get to know a lot of guys through the Net that later become my friends. We talk about things we both love, writing, sharing our favorites, exchange information, and encourage each other for our work. They are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever known and I feel blessed to have known them. I just wish someday I could meet them in real life.

What about you? Do you read/write m/m stories? What do you like about them?

Blurb:

Separated by more than 600 miles, Zach and Drew were forced to keep in touch through phone, email, and Skype. However, as Drew showered for one of their “dates”, he wasn’t alone. Then he found out that Zach’s car crashed, leaving him in a coma. Who then came to Drew when he showered? Would he have a chance to be with Zach again?

Excerpt

The man went on his way and Drew went to the shower. He’d planned his night alone with Zach on Skype. He couldn’t think of anything better than that when his boyfriend was away. Sometimes cam sex could be better than the real thing. Well, by ten percent or less. And Drew loved to make sure he’d cleaned up when he was meeting Zach. Even in cyberspace.

Drew stripped and turned on the water, checking the temperature. Perfect. He stepped in and let the water run down his hair and his eyes. He rubbed himself down, and had another jet of water wash his body. Drew thought of the times Zach joined him in the shower.

And suddenly he felt it. Zach patted Drew’s backside and draped both arms around his damp, naked midriff. Drew sucked in a breath. What’s going on? He froze, but promptly dismissed what weird thoughts coming to his mind. He missed Zach so much, that was all. Drew moaned and pressed back.

Find Iyana Jenna on Amazon

Heroes Who Think They’re Villains

fangsandfloggersmedGuest blog by Saloni Quinby, author of Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption)

Although I love many different types of characters, my favorites are the redeemed villain and the antihero. There’s nothing more intriguing than a man or woman with a murky past who at some point in their story, manages to do the right thing.

I like characters who do what they must to achieve their objectives, who make tough decisions, not concerned about approval from others. Depending on your point of view, that can make the character a hero or a villain.

The best villains are the ones who, in some twisted way, believe they’re doing the right thing. Deep inside, they recognize that their decisions hurt others and they regret it, but in their mind, they’re sacrificing for the greater good. These characters have the potential to cross over to hero or antihero status.

Even if a villain redeems himself, his past is not erased. He can’t undo the damage he’s done, but he can change his future. He might reconcile with some of his old adversaries, but he’ll always have enemies. His inner struggle is part of what makes him endearing. Without it, he’d be one dimensional and like a hero who’s completely golden, he would be hard to connect with.

Most people have both a good and an evil side. The appeal of villains and antiheroes is their imperfect nature. It makes them easier to relate to, since everyone has made mistakes and there are times when we all have to choose between being an angel or a monster.

In my Weapons of Redemption series, I enjoyed developing the villain, Tarun, and finally giving him the chance to tell his story in the last book in the series. Fangs and Floggers delves into the vampire pirate’s past, showing why he chose his wicked path.

I hope you enjoy the following excerpt from Weapons of Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption).

How do you feel about villains and antiheroes? Like them or hate them?

Weapons of Redemption 5: Fangs and Floggers by Saloni Quinby

(M/M Erotic Vampire)

It is said that every villain thinks he’s a hero, but what about the hero who thinks he’s a villain? Eventually he becomes what he believes himself to be. Still, he has the soul of a hero and only if he lets it guide him again will he find redemption.

Adrian had written those words in his journal just hours ago, when his lover had been at the threshold of salvation or destruction. Tarun had been whole in body then, but shattered in mind for more centuries than Adrian could fathom. Now his body was in the same state as his mind — seriously damaged but possible to restore.

Adrian had tried to warn him that his blood sons would attempt to destroy him tonight, but Tarun had been determined to welcome them home. It had nearly cost his life.

The van carrying Adrian, Tarun and two of his lover’s minions who were necessary for this escape, sped down the dark country road.

“I don’t know why I’m trusting you,” Dirk, the burly redheaded vampire driving the van called into the back section where Tarun lay on the verge of death, Adrian beside him. Cara, a rare medical doctor who specialized in vampires, worked at saving Tarun’s life.

“Because you know you can,” Adrian replied. “Now shut up and focus on driving.”

“And slow down!” Cara snapped. “Hit another bump like the last one and we’ll probably lose him.”

“Well it won’t take Bryce and the others long to figure out what happened to us. Then we’ll all die. Except Adrian. His damn vampire-killer brother will probably make sure he stays alive.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Adrian said softly. One thing about Shane, he lived by his own code and no one changed his mind once it was set.

Or at least that’s what Adrian had thought. He’d been shocked to learn that Shane had taken a vampire lover — unfortunately Bryce was Tarun’s archenemy. He had been the first to rebel against Tarun. The first to bide his time and turn more of Tarun’s blood children against him.

The problem was, like most vampires as well as most humans, they were completely ignorant of the truth — the hidden truth. Both Shane and Adrian had been born with certain gifts that had enabled them to become great vampire hunters. Both were immune to vampiric mind control, but Adrian had an additional gift — he could read vampires.

Everyone had secrets, some so deep that they even disguised them from themselves. After nearly three thousand years, Tarun had many secrets.

“You need to pull over,” Cara said. “The bullet is very close to his heart. I need everything to be still for me to help him. Adrian, you’ll have to assist me.”

“Where should I pull over?” Dirk demanded.

“Anywhere!” Cara shouted.

The brakes screeched as he pulled off the side of the road, behind a clump of bushes.

Cara released a pent-up breath. Glancing at Adrian, she said, “Ready?”

“I’d better be,” he replied.

As a vampire hunter, Adrian was no stranger to blood and injury. He and Shane had patched each other up countless times over the years. This was different. It was the first time Adrian had ever wanted to save a dying vampire.

Glancing at Tarun’s pale, angular face, he thought about how tumultuous their relationship had been. Tarun had started out as his enemy. The vampire had wanted to slay him, but something drew them together. It wasn’t just sex — although that was amazing. Despite how they appeared to be total opposites, their lives were similar in many ways. They understood each other. Adrian had never felt this way about anyone. Now that he’d found his soul mate, he didn’t want to lose him.

Buy: Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption)

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Contest

To enter the following contest, you must be 18 or over.

To enter for the chance to win a pdf download of Weapons of Redemption 5: Fangs and Floggers, please leave a comment. A winner will be drawn three days from the day of this original post. Thank you!

About Saloni Quinby

The child of a painter and a psychic dreamer, Saloni Quinby feels spirituality and storytelling go hand-in-hand. She loves the scent of gardenia, the sound of wind chimes and the taste of honey. By listening to what isn’t said, she creates works based on unspoken desires. Saloni prefers blurred gender lines and many varieties of romance. In a world where passion must at times be restrained, she believes erotica is a pleasure to be shared. With her stories she would like to make her fantasies yours and hopes you enjoy the ride. She also writes under the name Kate Hill. Please visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com, http://www.twitter.com/katehillromance and https://www.facebook.com/kate.hill.92505.

Buy: Fangs and Floggers (Weapons of Redemption)

Movie Review: The Perfect Wedding (2012)

the-perfect-wedding-posterReviewed by Sharon S.

Title: The Perfect Wedding (2012)
Run time: 82 min
Genre: Comedy
Director: Scott Gabriel
Writers: Suzanne Brockmann, Ed Gaffney, Jason T. Gaffney

Line-Up:
Paul Fowler – Eric Aragon
Gavin Greene – Jason T. Gaffney
Alana Fowler – Apolonia Davalos
Kirk Corbett – Brendan Griffin
Vicki Carabella- Annie Kerins
Zack Gastineau – Sal Rendino
Roy Madigan – Roger Stewart
Meryl Fowler – Kristine Sutherland
Richard Fowler – James Rebhorn

The Perfect Wedding is the story of Paul Fowler (Eric Aragon) and Gavin Greene (Jason T. Gaffney), two young gay men who meet and fall in love over the Christmas holidays.

Charismatic, handsome Paul is a recovering alcoholic, eighteen months sober, but still picking up the pieces of the destruction he’d wrought while drinking. He lives at home with his parents, Richard (James Rebhorn) and Meryl (Kristine Sutherland), and with their support and the help of his AA sponsor Zach (Sal Rendino), Paul is learning how to live one day at a time.

But Christmas is approaching, and Paul’s adopted sister Alana (Apolonia Davalos) is coming home for the holidays. This won’t be just a regular family celebration — she’s recently engaged and the weekend will be spent planning her June wedding. She’s bringing her best friends Roy (Roger K. Stewart) and Vicki (Annie Kerins) home with her, to help with the task.

Problem is, Roy is Paul’s ex-boyfriend, and their relationship was a casualty to Paul’s drinking. In fact, the two young men haven’t seen each other since their very messy breakup. Nervous about seeing his ex again, Roy talks his good friend Gavin into joining him for the weekend, and pretending to be his new boyfriend.

When Paul and Gavin meet, sparks of attraction fly — but Gavin thinks Roy’s still hung up on Paul. And of course, the last thing Paul wants to do is hurt his ex all over again.

Meanwhile, like all families, the Fowlers must deal with bad news as well as good, and we discover that patriarch Richard has been recently diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s. He is essentially symptom-free, but Meryl is terrified of what the future holds and throws herself into planning a lavish wedding for their daughter, Alana. Even though Meryl knows it’s foolish, she wants to create a wedding so big and so beautiful that no one — not even Richard — will ever forget it.

When Paul realizes that his sister’s wedding plans are getting steamrolled by their mom, he gets involved and convinces Alana’s fiancé Kirk (Brendan Griffin) to re-propose to her, asking her to marry him that very day, in a small ceremony at sunset near the water, with only close friends and family attending, just as Alana has always imagined. And with Paul’s help, Richard also confronts Meryl and convinces her to join him in the present instead of living burdened with the uncertainties of the future.

The proposal, the intimate wedding, and Paul and Gavin’s ultimate connection are touching scenes in a warm and funny story about a very real, modern American family.

Review: The above summary pretty much details the entire movie so no sense talking about that. I enjoyed the film despite the over used romantic comedy plot devices. It seemed they tried to include every social issue in the family dynamic. You have adoption, Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, and mixed marriage. The only thing it didn’t do was make an issue of being gay, which was the point of the movie. The creators wanted to make a romantic comedy. It just so happens the two lead characters were men. This story would have worked just as well with a man and woman. The plot is a formula romantic comedy with no twists or turns, and the humor is generic.

Despite all the things I knock the film for I wanted to see Gavin and Paul’s happy ever after. I liked both characters and the actors did a fine job with them. The acting skills for the cast as a whole, wasn’t stellar, with the exception of Kristine Sutherland who played Meryl Fowler (Paul’s mom). She was the most convincing.

This is a nice indie film that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Perfect Wedding

Review: Call Me Yours by Celia Kyle

Call Me Yours by Celia KyleReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Mitchell Faerigan owns and works at a motorcycle shop. He builds the bikes as well – got to love a hot mechanic/owner. But he’s not all that he seems. Clover Brady owns an antique shop close by. And he’s being “worshipped from afar”.

Celia does a great job with this book. While you read, you tend to forget that they’re two males – you just see them as two people who are into each other. There was one scene where our author had Clover giggle. I’ve never heard a man giggle before but Celia has left me wanting to hear the sound. This is when I wish the book had audio.

Celia could have done like other authors and put in lots of sex (because isn’t that what people assume a M/M book is about) but she didn’t do as expected. The love story is what’s important and the sex is put in right where it belongs. She also writes so that gender seems to be an afterthought. You’ll love the scene where Clover meets Mitchell’s mother and brother – just sayin’.

Our author also includes just the right amount of fantasy/paranormal. Language is graphic but don’t let that bother you – after all it’s told from a man’s perspective. If you’ve never read any of her work before, this will leave you wanting to read more. So, stop over to her web site, http://celiakyle.com, and see what other books she has written.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Call Me Yours (Gay Paranormal Fantasy Romance)