It's midsummer night, and you all know what that means: You go out into the woods and find your beloved (who's wearing a garland around their neck) and you look for fern flowers together. And, uh, probably do other stuff as well when you can't find the damn flowers.
What the bloody hell are you talking about? you may say, but that's because you aren't Russian (Mischa is shaking his head at you as we speak. There may be one of those annoying pained sighs as well).
If you're just as clueless as Tom was before he was sent out into the woods at midnight by a Russian family member, then you need to read Of Russian Myth and Lore. It's a rare opportunity to experience that rare beast. And no, I'm not talking about Slavic folklore, but about Mischa actually showing his feelings.
(And for those wondering about that new book about Tom and Mischa that I promised you: The damnable last chapter is giving me a headache. But I promise to do my best to have it out soon!).
I'm afraid I have some bad news. As you might have heard, Torquere Press - my publisher - is going under. It happened about a year after the original owners sold Torquere to new owners.
It has been a bit of a long process, starting last summer when the royalties stopped being paid (and yes, that means that if you've bought any of my books during the last nine months, I haven't seen a penny of that money). It was also a bit of an ugly process (publishers going under often are). At first, we heard a lot of news from the owner about her being sick - very sick, very often. The author forums were filled with concern and well wishes and understanding - after all, not being paid is nothing compared to being critically ill, so we all were very understanding. Then suddenly a link showed up revealing that the owner hadn't actually been in the hospital yet another time as claimed, but in jail - for not paying an author.
So basically, we have no idea whether the owner really has been sick or merely lying all the time. I must say, personally, that I find it very hard to trust anybody who lied to me like that. Not least because I find it outrageous that we still aren't being paid. The owner is hoping to avoid an "expensive" bankruptcy case - but if "expensive" means "paying what I owe people", then I have a hard time supporting that wish. I want to be paid for my work; it's not okay that the owner has taken all the money I've earned for the last nine months and simply put it in her own pocket. Especially since the math isn't hard; when you as a publisher get your income from Amazon or any other seller, you don't touch half of it. Because it's not your money. It belongs to the authors. If that concept is too hard for you, then you probably shouldn't be a publisher at all. Well, they aren't; not for long anyway.
The really miserable thing wasn't so much the authors fighting among each other (the name calling wasn't pretty), but the fact that the owner stopped communicating - and we weren't given back our rights. That meant that the owner could keep selling our books, taking the money for herself, and none of us could do anything, because no other publisher will touch a book if it's sold by somebody else (doh). That left us all in a terrible situation: Somebody else had basically stolen our works, and we were helpless to do anything about it, since neither emails nor snail mail were answered.
Fortunately, that has changed, at least for me; I've been given back my rights on December 17 2016, and the publisher now has 30 days from that date to take down my books. It hasn't happened yet; I guess she's trying to get as much money out of it as possible (and yes, that also makes me mad; is it really such a foreign subject that you do not steal from people?). I'm angry, and I'm also sad; I was really happy with Torquere under the old owners. "Everybody deserves a happy ending" was such a beautiful motto. Alas, that's gone now.
What happens now: As soon as the books are taken down, I can start looking for a new publisher; I already have one in my sights. If they bite, you'll be able to buy my books again - I'm not sure how long that's going to take, but I will make sure to update my website as soon as I know it.
The good news (and yes, there is one good thing about this): I've started writing again and I'm currently putting the finishing touches on another book featuring the world's grumpiest Russian bear and the universe's most stubborn pain pig/art historian/karate geek. I've never had so much fun writing a book (or blushed so much. Those guys take any chance they can to get kinky). But I'll tell you more about that in another and more upbeat blog post. For now I need to keep Mischa from killing his wedding guests and Tom from killing Mischa.
Two posts in two days; even I don't know what's going on at the moment... Well, I feel pretty guilty about not having been around for a long while (and about not writing (enough), but let's not go there) - and what better way to deal with some of that guilt than to give away another story?
It's a little something I did a couple of years ago for the Torquere Press' Holidays Sips line. Here's the blurb:
Brit's life is exactly how he wants it: neat, ordered, and disciplined, the way it needs to be if anybody is going to take a thirty-two year old CEO seriously. If that means being so discreet that you're basically in the closet, then so be it.
Then, at a charity dinner, he meets the good Mr. Hart. A very drunken Mr. Hart. Who gives Brit the kiss of his life. That's all that happens, of course; Brit has got a reputation to protect. Only, he can't get Mr. Hart out of his head, and he realizes that it might be time to make some changes.
You can read the story here.
It's been while since I've been here - but what better reason than giving away a free book? My publisher, Torquere Books, is having a 12 Days of Christmas spree. Just go to
It has been a long time since I've posted anything here. And yes, it does have something to do with my last post about the new day job. Which turned into the day job from... Well, I'm actually not sure whether it's the job from heaven or hell.
See, what was supposed to have been a nice little consultancy gig quickly outgrew all my nice plans. Plans which included long weekends and lots of writing now that I didn't have to stress about being unemployed anymore. The perfect combination of day job and writing time, in other words.
Reality turned out to be very different, though. Especially the idea about having lots of time to write quickly drowned in 100-hour workweeks. Which is okay for a week or two, but this simply went on. And on. And on. And now I seem to have accepted the position permanently. Which is where "I don't know if this is a good idea" comes into the picture.
Because I don't write. I haven't for a while, and in the beginning, I blamed the stress from being unemployed or the frustration of the piracy of my books (because that is enough to make me want to quit writing at times, to be honest. People stealing my books while I'm working six jobs to make ends meet makes me angry and frustrated to say the least).
Now I'm beginning to worry when (when. I don't dare say whether) I'll write again. I'm one of those writers who needs time to get into the flow before I can write anything decent, so a few hours here and there simply don't work for me. I need longer stretches of uninterrupted, stressless downtime - and I don't have that at the moment. I'm not even sure whether I'll write anything for Torquere's charity event this year, and that bothers me, because I like writing, and I like being a writer. I want it back, dammit. I'm just not quite sure how to do it.
My plans at the moment - for lack of better ideas - are to take it easy over the summer and then begin the heaven/hell job in the fall - and do my best to make sure that I don't drown in an all-consuming job. I've promised myself to walk away if it comes to that. And then I hope that writing time will magically appear again. Because I have at least four ideas just waiting for me.
Dear God, that was a maudlin blog post! And right before my vacation. I swear to write a more upbeat post for you when I come back from my holiday; there may even be photos:). What about you - any job crises or vacations in your life?
I'm beginning a new job on Monday, and I was talking to my new boss. The company is located in a huge building, a really gorgeous example of moderne architecture - but also, well, big.
"So, when I get there, will I be able to find you alright?" I asked, wanting to do everything right on my first day there and hoping to get directions like "first door on the right and then down the end of the hallway" or something like that.
"No, you probably won't," my new boss answered. "But that's the best part." He never gave me any other directions.
I think I like this guy.
(The picture is from Pinakothek der Moderne in München, Germany. And yes, I really want to go back there!)
A Russian Bear is nominated for the coolest award ever! Can I just say WOW?
I admit that I'm a bit late to the party; I've been working a lot lately and hadn't had time to check the Goodreads Member's Choice Awards nominations this year (it's a great place to find great reads, by the way - you can check it out here). I didn't have anything out this year, either, so why should I check?
Well, I finally had time last night to check it anyway - and A Russian Bear is nominated as Favorite All Time M/M Romance Book! I'm speechless. Or, well, at least as speechless as a happy author can be;). Which means that I immediately come running to my blog to say thank you!
Because (and I'm repeating myself here) WOW! Somebody out there thinks A Russian Bear is their all time favorite M/M book. That's pretty awesome. If there's any justice at all, it won't win, because have you seen the list?? There are some seriously good books there. But still, it's pretty amazing that it's nominated.
And about the whole "I don't have any books out this year"? Yeah, I completely forgot An Accountant into Kink which is in the Fifty Gays of Shade anthology - which is also nominated. This is awesome on top of awesome. God, I love my readers - and some of them love me back;).
Christmas is just around the corner - and what better way to celebrate than to give away a free story?
A little about Leather and Newfound Land: When I grew up, we had very big dogs - and one of those was a brown Newfoundland. I must admit that we had no idea what we'd gotten ourselves into. Not about the size of the dog; we were used to that. But we had no idea what would happen the first time we let our pup out into the rain. We'd thought he would want to get back inside quickly or maybe spend some time in the dry area of the terrasse.
Instead, we went out to get him after half an hour - and found him down the biggest hole I've ever seen. He almost fit completely, and with the rain pouring down, it made a very nice pool. Especially since he was digging quicker than I'd ever thought a dog could, and then jumping up and down in the water at the bottom of the hole. God, he had fun.
This is where we made our big mistake. We saw a poor wet dog, felt immensely guilty, and immediately took him inside. Where he shook himself. In a room with white walls.
Well, let me just say that it took hours to clean. And that was after we'd finished cleaning the dog.
It made a lasting impression on me, though, and that's why you'll find that exact scene in Leather and Newfound Land. Enjoy!
Leather and Newfound Land used to be a Charity Sip. Torquere Press does a new charity each year, and after that year, the Sips are turned into free stories. You can find my story Leather and Newfound Land here - or you can go to Torquere Press to download it for your Kindle or other e-reader.
You can also find other free Torquere stories here; now that's what I call a nice little Christmas present:).
Here's the blurb:
About a couple cursed with literary names and a Newfoundland puppy. And a little about a poet who likes a lobster. Thanks to Kristi P. for the idea! (Well, the lobster part really isn't her fault).
Getting a puppy can cause major upheaval, mess, and distraction in your life. Much like getting a boyfriend, come to think about it. And Cliff has to think about it after Mischa (the adorable, but incredibly messy Newfoundland puppy) and Gerard (the equally adorable, but incredibly tidy man) come into his life on the very same day.
It's a case of opposites attracting -- and a puppy making it worse. The dog is wreaking havoc, and in the end, Cliff's doubting whether he's going to have a boyfriend for much longer. Then a puppy catastrophe leads to the discovery of Gerard's kinky secret, and Cliff realizes that they may be more compatible than he ever thought possible.
I don't know if you've noticed, but whining has been a recurring theme on this blog lately. And by "lately", I mean for a pretty long time. Way too long, probably, and I'm sorry about that.
The point is that I haven't been all that happy - and I wasn't able to figure out why. I'm one of those rare people who - literally - got all of my dream jobs within five years of finishing my degree. That's pretty amazing.
The problem was that my life wasn't amazing. As a matter of fact, I was downright depressed a lot of the time, and generally feeling like all those dreamjobs were sucking the life right out of me. And yes, I probably was working a bit too much, but still; that wasn't enough to explain why I felt so horrible. It was pretty scary, to be honest. Because if all your dreams come true, and you're still not happy, does that mean you're simply unable to be happy?
Of course it didn't help that I lost the day job and have been working hard to find something permanent since then. But as a matter of fact, that turned out to be a blessing in disguise: I got some career coaching, and I suddenly had a lightbulb moment: I wasn't happy in my dream jobs because they weren't my dream jobs. Simple as that.
Because yes, I love writing fiction - but sitting in an office writing press releases all day is like watching paint dry to me (I'm still reeling a bit when I'm writing this, because I thought it was my dream for such a long time). Instead I need to be challenged, and I love being around other people. And most of all, I love teaching.
I can't tell you how relieved I am right now. Because yes, looking for a job is suddenly a lot easier and a lot more fun. But most importantly, I've realized that I'm not unable to be happy; I've just been a little slow on the uptake when it comes to knowing myself and what makes me tick. But hey, I'd rather be slow than unhappy;).
Oh, God. I just realized that I actually have a tag called "whining". Well, I hope I'll use it more sparingly in the future! And I promise to have a free story for you one of these days as well - as penance!
Okay, that was scary.
We had a storm yesterday, and it got a lot worse than I'd ever imagined it would be (meteorologists tend to overstate things a bit). At one point, you could actually hear a constant noise like a freight train; I've never heard wind like that! I've read the stories about tornadoes, and believe me, I now feel even less inclined to ever visit Tornado Alley at the wrong time of year.
And then, this morning, everything was perfectly calm - although with a lot more apples on the ground! I dont think any of them survived the storm.
The same goes for the rowan berries; there was this odd squishy feeling when I walked outside this morning, from the berries completely covering the ground. I don't think I've ever seen them leave their home so suddenly:). But the roof was in one piece, and so were the trees, so we got off lightly.
I was safe and sound at home yesterday, but the storm made me think of last time I experienced really bad weather. I left home to go on a two-hour train ride - and arrived twenty-two hours later in something that looked like a war zone, houses almost torn apart by the storm. Seven of those hours were spent on the train, a good number of those hours sitting next to two drug addicts who were on their way to buy drugs in the nearest town. Compared to that, my own desperation about getting to a very important meeting the next day seemed a bit less severe... It's all about perspective!
Do you live somewhere with extreme weather - and what's your favorite/least favorite weather? I for one is not a big fan of storms!
I read and I write - everything from corporate to kink. My naughty fictional friends are always there to make my life interesting. And pester me, of course. Pesky creatures.