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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Please welcome Jessica Skye Davies

First off, let me thank the wonderful Kim Fielding for hosting me here today.  Sins of Another, my second publication (first full-length novel!) was just released yesterday, and I’m still incredibly excited! 

One morning Padrig Kennedy comes home to find his partner, Nick Glenfielding, in bed with another man. Shocked, hurt, and vulnerable, Padrig flees and meets a stranger who seems to offer comfort—but he force-feeds Padrig a steady diet of drugs and prostitution instead. When he finally surfaces from his hell, it’s to another system shock: he’s now HIV positive.

Nick descends into darkness as well. Devastated by losing Padrig, he finds no consolation in the legal career he doesn’t love and tries to find solace in alcohol, spending his days in an ever-deepening haze.

Padrig and Nick find each other again, but their relationship can never be the same. If they’re to stand any chance of a future together, they must do the improbable: make sense of the past and learn to cope with new burdens they’ll bear for life. 

To celebrate the release of Sins of Another, my post today is the “soundtrack” to Sins and why I chose each song.

Without further ado…

Valio La Pena – Marc Anthony

As Padrig’s story opens, he is just returning home from a week’s holiday with his mates in Ibiza.  They would no doubt have hit a few Latin dance clubs while there.  A loose translation of the song’s title is “it was worth it all;” it’s a fun, danceable song, but it’s also just ever-so foreboding. 

Holding Back the Years – Simply Red

This is a song I remember from way back when I was a sprog.  Generally, the song’s sentiment and tone fit rather well with the drug-induced malaise (physical and mental) Padrig suffers. 

Believe – Elton John

One of my all-time favourite Elton John songs, an ode to the real human power of love.  That deep and abiding belief in love may have been the only thing that preserved Padrig’s life through his ordeal.

Dreams – Quench

Classic techno/trance stuff.  There would be a fair amount of this sort of thing heard at Form when Padrig used to go there with Freddie and Archie and when they all go as a group for Archie’s welcome home party.

Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order

I once said, walking into an after-afterhours club, that you could always tell it was going to be a good night when this was the first song you heard in the place.  Much as the tone of Holding Back the Years felt right for what Padrig was going through, the tone of Bizarre Love Triangle speaks well to Padrig’s improving situation, but also “comments” on his feelings for Nick that remain.

Can You Feel the Love Tonight? – Elton John

All the trials, all the tribulations, they just slip away when you’re with the right one.

Life to Lose – And One

This is Krist’s theme.  The first time I heard this was when I was doing my own initial edits and I knew immediately this one could only be for the Kristof Anders. http://youtu.be/pdufSGGdRb0

These Are the Days of Our Lives – Queen

One of the great Freddie Mercury’s last, a beautiful reflection on living life.  Freddie’s last videoed words, “I still love you.”

Y Como El Es? – Marc Anthony

I included the video with the English translation because you’ve got to understand the song if you don’t speak Spanish.  I don’t, but I know just enough that I ball my eyes when I hear this one.  First time I heard it, I assumed it was about a man who’s found out his girlfriend is leaving him.  Then I realized what it’s really about is a dad whose daughter is getting married.  Here, however, I use it as a metaphor for Death and dying.  “He’s stolen a piece of my life.  He’s a thief who’s stolen everything.”

I hope you’ll enjoy listening to these selections while reading Sins of Another.

Giveaway line for blog posts

Between now and May 29, 2013 I’ll be including clues in my blog tour stops and my own blog entries to references made within Sins of Another. 

Here’s how it works: You get the clue from the blog posts and keep track of the answers on your own.  After the last clue has been posted (May 29, 2013), email me at jessicaskyedavies@gmail.com

Make sure you follow the blog tour over the next couple months as I’ll be giving away swag bags, a goodie hamper, and a copy of Sins of Another.

This week’s clue:

In the story, there are several TV programs mentioned, a couple which Krist brings to watch when he comes to take care of Padrig and one which Padrig and Krist watch while sharing dinner.  Krist seems to enjoy programs set in Manchester, despite warning Padrig “how much worse [his] life could be—and would be if [he] ever dared travel north of London.  Two are late 90s comedies and one is a long running soap.  What are the three programs?

Monday, April 29, 2013

May events

I have some treats coming up in May!

Buried Bones, the sequel to Good Bones, releases May 22. More adventures of Dylan the hipster architect werewolf and Chris the sexy redneck next door.

I'll also have a short story released, The Gig. For those of you who wanted a little more from Travis and Drew from Speechless, this is your chance. Plus Travis and Drew meet Dylan and Chris. And to top it off, this story will be available from Dreamspinner Press for free!

I'll be participating in a Dreamspinner TweetAway promotion. This means that for exactly one hour some time in May, you'll be able to download Good Bones for free. Dreamspinner will tweet when the promotion is available, so follow @dreamspinners for details.

And finally, I have some guest posters visiting here, and I'll have an interview with me posted on Cinco de Mayo, so stay tuned for updates!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Free Speechless ficlet, please vote

Couple things for you today, as I enjoy my time in Chicago--and meeting some really wonderful Dreamspinner authors and staff!

--There's a free ficlet starring Travis and Drew from Speechless, in honor of the Day of Silence: http://harmonyinkpress.com/silence-speaks-louder-by-kim-fielding/

--Do you love the cover Paul Richmond made for Brute? Then you can vote for it (and other covers) here: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/2014945.html

This is hat happens when Spike goes to dinner with a group of authors/

Friday, April 19, 2013

Welcome to Madison Parker!

Play Me, I'm Yours Blog Tour - Madison Parker

I Love the 80s

When I look back at pictures of my parents in their youth, I can't help but ask, "What were they thinking?" Bell bottoms? Plaid? Bouffant hairdos? My parents went through middle/high school in the 60s. Two decades later, it was my turn to embrace the current fads, and boy did I think I was trendy with my leg warmers, my Swatch watch, my high bangs, and my earcuffs. The photo on the left is me in 1985. I'm sporting capris with scrunchy socks and a cutoff shirt. And the perm. Oh, my, my, the perm! Lol! It's all rather embarrasing now, but I do have fond memories of 80s pop culture, particularly the music and movies from that time period. Music has a way of conjuring up memories. When I hear an old song, I often recall where I was, what I was doing, or how I was feeling when I heard it in the past. For example, when I hear Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", I see a vivid picture of me sitting in my old kitchen listening to Casey Kasem's American Top 40 on the radio (I lived in Germany at the time, and we only had one American radio station, so it was always a treat to listen to his show on Sundays). Cyndi Lauper was so outrageous and, well, unusual at the time; I loved her! Michael Jackson, Sting, Duran Duran, Madonna, Huey Lewis & the News, and Bruce Springsteen were some of my other favorites. And the movies! The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ghostbusters, Overboard, and Beetlejuice are among my top picks. My absolute favorite 80s movie was Splash, in which Alan (Tom Hanks) meets and falls in love with a mermaid named Madison (Daryll Hannah).
Are you an 80s film buff? Here's a bit of fun—see how many of the following film titles you can name from their graphic images. There's one for each letter of the alphabet: 1980s Film Alphabet. Oddly enough, my son, who graduated from high school in 2005, is also a big fan of 80s movies and music. I suppose it's because he grew up watching/listening to me enjoying my favorites. So it felt natural for me to have Lucas, the main character in Play Me, I'm Yours be a fan of 80s pop culture.
Some of the 80s tunes referenced in the novel include "She Bop", "Hungry Like the Wolf", and "Dance Me to the End of Love". What are some of your favorite tunes from the 80s? Let me know in the comments below!
Play Me, I'm Yours by Madison ParkerPlay Me, I'm Yours by Madison Parker Published by Harmony Ink Press Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Liu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend. Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart. Click here to read the first chapter. Purchase Links
Visit Madison Parker's Website at www.madisonparklove.com for bonus materials including character sketches, piano covers, music videos, and lyrics for songs referenced in the novel.
Connect with Madison: Web twitter facebook goodreads amazon pinterest deviantART rss
Enter to WinTo celebrate the release of Play Me, I'm Yours, Madison Parker is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win your choice of a free copy of Play Me, I'm Yours or a $10 gift certificate from Rainbow eBooks by leaving a comment below along with your email address. For multiple chances to win, comment at each stop along the tour. Click here for the complete tour schedule. Winners will be chosen randomly on April 23.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

LHNB Sneak peak: Cover reveal

Thanks to the lovely Eli Easton, my Love Has No Boundaries story now has a cover! Thank you so much, Eli!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Time travel

I just arrived in Chicago and it's been a trip back in time. I was born in the suburbs here but moved when I was 8. I've been back only a couple of times, most recently 18 years ago.

So I get in the cab and they're talking about traffic on the Stevenson Expressway. I remember that from when I was little because the freeway ran pretty close to our house and my dad took it to work. Then I notice that the trees are leafless--the season is at least a month behind where I live in California. We pass the Field Museum, which I haven't seen for nearly 4 decades, but I recognized it at once. It looks almost exactly like I remembered. And finally I check into my hotel--the same hotel where I stayed on a visit to Chicago almost exactly 20 years ago.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Story teaser

I am still madly working away at my Love Has No Boundaries story. I'm at close to 25k words now. And here's a little (unedited) teaser for you:

The storm had wetted the sand much farther inland than usual, and it had tossed piles of debris. He poked his toes at the huge snarls of seaweed and inspected the chunks of driftwood. A few of the pieces of wood were manmade planks with chips of paint still clinging to them. He wondered if they came from a ship. Smaller detritus lay scattered on the sand as well: colored shells, polished stones, bits of glass frosted and worn smooth. He slipped a few of the prettier pieces in his pocket. Souvenirs, he thought. He’d found his own little treasure after all.

And then he caught sight of another pile of debris. He couldn’t quite make out what it was because it lay where the waves kept washing over it. It might have been seaweed, but appeared more brown than green. Perhaps it was an animal of some sort—a beached seal, maybe. With mixed curiosity and trepidation, Julian went to investigate.

 When he came close enough to identify the object, his heart caught in his throat and he stumbled, nearly falling. It was a person.

 Was it a fisherman drowned in the storm? How long had it been in the water and how horrifying would it look up close? Gracious gods, what was he going to do with a corpse? He felt as if he might be ill.

 But he couldn’t just abandon the body. The tide was coming in and would surely wash the dead man away before Julian could fetch help. There was no way around it: Julian was going to have to handle the matter himself. At the very least, he must drag the corpse farther from the sea. And then… well, he couldn’t just leave it there until morning, could he? But it was too late to walk to the village. The sun would be setting very soon and the road was too dark to travel at night. Fine then. Perhaps Julian could cover the poor thing with a blanket—a sort of temporary burial—and then get assistance in the morning.

This was rather more adventure than he’d expected to have.

Julian crouched beside the body, shivering slightly as the sea lapped at his feet. The body was belly-down, barefoot, dressed in torn and sodden rags. Julian wasn’t certain, but he thought the person was male. His hair was long and tangled, too wet for its color to be discerned, and the strands covered the man’s face.

How terribly sad to die alone and nameless, to be tossed aside like rubbish.

Julian took a deep breath, grasped the corpse’s hip and shoulder, and gently turned the body onto its back. 

The corpse’s eyes fluttered open. Julian  shrieked and scrambled away. He lost his footing and fell, wetting himself thoroughly in the wavelets. And then he just sprawled there, gasping. Good gods! The man was alive.

So, what do you think so far?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Please welcome Pinkie Rae Parker

Finding Inspiration in History

For the professional historian, history (however one chooses to define the term) is a living, breathing entity. It thrives whether human beings are at their worst or at their best. It is both a lived experience and an intangible figment. Many people treat history as though it is an absolute, but the truth is much more complex. Like writing fiction, history, as we know it, is presented to us through an author’s interpretation. Tastes change over time, theories fall in and out of favor, and the narrative becomes something else altogether. Teasing out a thesis from an amalgamation of data takes dedication, and it is that determined nature that reminds me of writing for pleasure rather than for scholarly pursuits.

My day job requires a lot of time to be spent mulling around in dusty primary source material, and I often find that some of those documents produce rather inspiring ideas. Whether for fiction or non-fiction, the narrative must make sense, yet, even for historians, the result need not be dull. When I comb through French archival documents from the eighteenth century, detailing the sumptuous lives of the excessively wealthy, I can almost picture Versailles as it was when Louis XIV held court there. From these records, the daily lives of the aristocrats are laid bare through their purchases. Perfumes, paintings, and lavish feasts all provide a window with which one can envision to a way of living that we in the twenty-first century will never know or truly understand. The same can be said for almost any time period or class one can imagine.

If one is plagued by writers block, I recommend playing a little game I derived from an episode of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The game is called “Anywhere but Here.” The object of this exercise is to place yourself (or your character) anywhere and anytime that you are not. The possibilities are endless, even if you only have the sketchiest details about who your character is or what your story might be about. If you want to write about a soldier, do not just think twentieth century. Think fifteenth century or even third! You have literally all of recorded human existence to play around with, so enjoy yourself (and always be respectful of cultures that differ from one’s own).

The minute details of the past are a delightful way to stumble upon some epic plot bunnies, but the task of finding out historical details (if one is hoping for historical accuracy) can be daunting. The solution is often to be aware of one’s limitations in source material and strive for an “alternative history.” However, for the romance writer looking to be historically accurate while keeping a plot interesting, I have the following books to recommend as excellent starting places:

- Eleanor Herman’s Sex with Kings is a richly detailed work chronicling the intrigue that abounds in the sex lives of Europe’s monarchies through the centuries.

- Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity by Craig A. Williams is a fantastic read and provides a bevy of Classical sources that reconstruct how the ancient Romans viewed and practiced same-sex relationships.

- The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer is a must-read for anyone wanting to write a historically accurate depiction of medieval English life. It is also a personal favorite of mine.

Details culled from the volumes above may provide a tiny spark of inspiration for some or possibly provide the plot necessary for a whole novel. What one may come away with (besides the awesomeness of learning new historical facts) is a story that may be a little quirky but very unique. History may only tell us stories about the past, but there is nothing that says that we cannot use it to make a few stories of our own.

- Pinkie Rae Parker

Pinkie's story "Joie de Vivre" will be featured in the upcoming Dreamspinner Press anthology, Closet Capers, which will be released on April 22nd.

Story Blurb:
Aspiring restaurateur Jules hopes to honor his aunt’s memory by placing one of her recipes on his menu. However, while visiting the farmhouse he inherited from her, he discovers her treasured recipe box has disappeared and encounters a host of needed repairs that make staying in the house impossible. When a childhood antagonist, Henri, reappears, can Jules take him up on his offer of help… and maybe more?

Buy Links:
Paperback- http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3770&cPath=55_767
E-book- http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3769&cPath=55_767

Author Bio: 
Pinkie Rae Parker is happy to use the moniker passed down from her great-grandmother. Born and raised in the southern United States, Pinkie Rae is currently a cultural historian and graphic designer. She enjoys researching fashion and design in Europe during the eighteenth century and studying French. However, writing fiction is a passion that she has had since she was a teenager, and she now hopes to pursue writing for publication (outside of academia) as a full-time career.

Author Links: 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What's new

I'm visiting L.J. LaBarthe today to talk about magic. There's an excerpt from Night Shift too.

What else have I been up to--aside from miserable spring allergies?

  • I just finished the second round of edits on Buried Bones, the sequel to Good Bones. And yesterday I saw the draft of the cover, which I love!
  • I'm working on the galley proofs for The Gig. This is a short story that is a sequel to Speechless and also stars Dylan and Chris from the Bones books. And it will be free!
  • I'm 12,000 words into a story for the Goodreads M/M Romance group's Love Has No Boundaries event. My working title is Beachcombing. There are pirates. This is going to end up as a long novella most likely, and it will be free too.
  • I finished my first draft of a novella with the working title of Housekeeping. Poor Nicky lost his boyfriend, home, and job all in one day.
  • I learned that Dreamspinner Press will be translating Brute into Italian.
And I'm getting ready for some travel next week. I was born in the middle part of the United States, lived there for 9 years, then lived there again for 5 years in grad school. But I've spent most of my life on the West Coast, and I haven't even visited the middle part in ages. I guess I'm making up for that this spring and summer--I'll be making 3 separate visits to the middle.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Night Shift release day!

Night Shift is available for sale today!

You can comment here (yesterday's blog post) for a chance to win a copy.

Also, to celebrate I'm offering my second book, Flux, for free on Kindle! It will remain free through April 6. It's the second book in my Ennek series. The first book, Stasis, is only 99cents, and the third, Equipoise, is $4.99. Plus I donate all my royalties from the trilogy to Doctors Without Borders.

Here's the blurb for Night Shift:

Aside from a sympathetic parole officer, Aiden Finn is alone in the world. He knows this is his last chance—after a lifetime in and out of prison, one more mistake will land him there to stay. Unfortunately, his job as a night custodian at a motel is neither satisfying nor good for building his confidence, and booze and burglary are always just a step behind him.

Enter beautiful, exotic, and secretive Luka Gabor, the motel’s new security guard. He seems to know a great deal about literature, history, and travel but otherwise remains a mystery. Aiden has to admit, the sex has never been better, and he might even be feeling the beginnings of friendship. He dares to hope that this time, he won't mess things up—if lurking monsters don't ruin his plans.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Student bloopers and a giveaway

It's spring break and I've been grading midterms. As I sometimes do, I thought I'd share some of my students' gems of wisdom and creative writing. I've reproduced all of the student work verbatim.

But tomorrow is my release day! My novella Night Shift will be available tomorrow from Dreamspinner, Amazon, and other online sources. For your chance to win an e-copy of Night Shift, all you have to do is leave a comment below, telling me which is your favorite student goof. I'll randomly choose a winner on April 7 at noon Pacific time.
Outgroup homogeneity is:

…the spreading of similar or alike ideas to an outside group.

…the overall drop out of hate group members.

…people who are against gay people or who fear being around gay people.

…a group of people who hat homosexuals.

…a help group to help those who got out of hate groups and don’t want to be like that.


Klan units quickly arouse throughout the South.


The typical hate crime offender is white male, teens to early twenties, could be some kind of loaner with not many friends.


Without [women] to set up all the parties, get togethers, and hoedowns then nothing would ever get done.


The only difference from each other is that in the past not everyone was allowed to be everywhere and not everyone is not matter what skin color you are, but that is the only difference between both.


They aimed for civil rights activist and even boomed places like African American churches as well as Jewish synagogues.


The Skinheads were started in the 1960’s, in England by young white teenagers in their early 20’s.


David Duke is popular in the KKK movement. He believed all Jews were traders.


Lastly, women are more important to produce offspring’s.


Types of hate groups: Nazis, Ky Klux Klan, Red heads, Skin heads, anti-gay groups


Militias were kinda like missional organizations.


Farmingville is a small town where immigration within the town was exploided.


It appears the role women have in organized hate groups play a secondary role compared to men who take on leadership of running there hate groups and making things happen.


The Skinheads were founded in 1865 and peaked around the 1870’s.


Members of the Klan tended to consist of patriarchal men of high power such as Generals, Colonels, college educated men, officer raked military men, a Supreme Court Justice member and even a Presidents.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools

In honor of April Fool’s Day, I’m going to let you in on a little joke I’ve played on the poor protagonist of my new novella, Night Shift.

Here’s the thing. I have always loved the paranormal. Some of the first movies I remember watching as a young kid were the old black-and-white Dracula and Frankenstein films. (No, I wasn’t scared. Disney movies sometimes upset me, though.) I was never one to play with dolls very much, but I had action figures: a Planet of the Apes treehouse and a couple of the Planet of the Apes guys, one human and one ape. I also had a wolfman and a glow-in-the-dark vampire.

As I grew up, I still loved the genre. I am a big-time Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan (ah, Spike!). And Supernatural (ah, Dean!). My first novel with Dreamspinner Press, Good Bones, was about a werewolf, and I’ve written a sequel that will be released soon. And Night Shift also has a paranormal element.

In the paranormal books and movies and TV shows I love, nobody is all that surprised about the various supernatural creatures. For example, when Dylan’s boyfriend Chris finds out at long last that Dylan goes furry once a month, Chris is pissed off that Dylan’s kept the secret from him. But nobody particularly questions that werewolves exist. The reaction generally tends to be mild surprise, like discovering your neighbor is a Scientologist.

This brings me to Aiden Finn. As you read Night Shift—and I do hope you read it!—you’ll fairly quickly have some hunches about the true identity of Aiden’s new friend, Luka. You’re smart. You’ll figure it out. But even though Aiden’s not an idiot, the truth doesn’t dawn on him until it’s almost literally biting him in the face. Because really, in actual, true life, would it occur to any of us that our new lover might be a supernatural creature? Of course not! Creatures like that are totally fictional.

That’s the joke I played on Aiden. Here he is, thinking he’s living in real life, when he’s only a hapless character in a paranormal romance.

At least as a character in a romance story, Aiden’s almost guaranteed a happy ending, so maybe he’ll forgive me.

You can preorder Night Shift now atDreamspinner Press. It releases at midnight EDT on April 3.