27 March 2008

I admit it

Instead of proofing the novel I finished recently, I'm digging through Samhain's Coming Soon pages looking for evidence that other winners of the contest I won are being published, too. So far I've identified these two:

Touch of Fire by Maria Zannini
All that Glitters by Aislinn Kerry

I thought I had another when I saw "pirate", but the coming soon title is an historical and the winning first line is clearly a sci-fi.

More may show up over time as more titles are added to the "coming soon" pages. These are only the ones releasing through 22 July.

21 March 2008

Release Date!

Squeee! I have a release date! My cover art isn't yet official and they spelled my name wrong on the page, but these things will change in time. I'll mention the latter to my editor and there's nothing I can do about the former but wait. The important thing is that I have a release date!

I suppose you want to know what it is. LOL! JUNE 10! And here's the link to the coming soon page over at Samhain: The Ballad of Jimothy Redwing.

::happy dance::

ETA: Oo! The cover art is up now, too! Look! Isn't it yummy?! I raise a toast to the cover art goddess, Anne Cain. :D

18 March 2008

Shakespeare's Gay Boys

x-posted from Slash & Burn

For the last two weeks I've been wondering what I was going to blog about when it was my turn again. Then this weekend fate handed me multiple possibilities. Because I'm a theatre geek, I chose this one. That's right. You're getting a dramatic critique for your blog today.

I saw "Troilus & Cressida" on Saturday night. If you don't know it—and I don't blame you if you don't; it's one of the Bard's lesser-produced plays—it doesn't matter. Suffice that it's Ancient Troy and that the Greeks have been laying siege to the city for seven years. That's not the point. The point is blatant slash in Shakespeare's play! Woo-hoo! I mean you can talk it up until the cows come home that Mercutio was in love with Romeo—and he totally was—but here is undeniable manlove in the text of a play written in (as far as they can tell) 1603 by the greatest English-speaking playwright in history. It warmed my slashy heart to be reminded of it, and in such excellent fashion. (The actors were fantastic. I say this without too much bias; only one of the actors in question is a friend of mine.)

There are three very different gay men in this script.

Pandarus is the original dirty old queen. He's got it bad for Troilus, a deliciously handsome young son of King Priam, and so his one goal is to hook up his niece Cressida with Troilus so that he can live vicariously through their pairing. This is a major plot point, but it's not my point so we'll just move on.

Patroclus is dubbed by scurrilous soldier Thersites as the "male varlet" (Huh. I just thought. I wonder if Shakespeare was word-playing on varlet/valet?) and the "masculine whore" of Achilles. (Yes, that Achilles. He of the Heel.)

Achilles is supposedly in love with one of King Priam's daughters, but his actions belie the accusation. The consummate soldier, he has lost his taste for war not because he's in love with the daughter of his enemy, but because his lover, a fellow soldier, has no stomach for fighting. Patroclus does try to get Achilles to get back to the fight, though, for the sake of his reputation, if nothing else.

To this effect, Achilles, have I moved you:
A woman impudent and mannish grown
Is not more loathed than an effeminate man
In time of action. I stand condemn'd for this;
They think my little stomach to the war
And your great love to me restrains you thus:
Sweet, rouse yourself; and the weak wanton Cupid
Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold,
And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane,
Be shook to air.

Achilles eventually decides to get back to the war, but before he can:

My sweet Patroclus, I am thwarted quite
From my great purpose in to-morrow's battle.
Here is a letter from Queen Hecuba,
A token from her daughter, my fair love,
Both taxing me and gaging me to keep
An oath that I have sworn. I will not break it:
Fall Greeks; fail fame; honour or go or stay;
My major vow lies here, this I'll obey.
Come, come, Thersites, help to trim my tent:
This night in banqueting must all be spent.
Away, Patroclus!

And you get the distinct impression that he's bound to the oath by principle rather than by love of the woman. I mean, come on, he doesn't even mention her name. You also get that he's glad for the excuse not to fight. He doesn't want to, and more than that, he doesn't want Patroclus to have to.

Of course war being war and soldiers being soldiers, Patroclus does go into battle. It isn't clear from the text exactly why. Maybe he feels bound to. Maybe when his words didn't work he figured his actions would get Achilles to fight and thereby restore Achilles' reputation. In the case of this production, it was a silent look of "If this is what I have to do, I'll do it. I'm still a soldier." that passed between Patroclus and Achilles. Really a heartstring-tugging moment from such a quick, non-verbal exchange.

Later still, we learn of Achilles' reaction to Patroclus' death in battle by the hand of Hector (Priam's oldest son and the great warrior o' Troy):

O, courage, courage, princes! great Achilles
Is arming, weeping, cursing, vowing vengeance:
Patroclus' wounds have roused his drowsy blood,
Together with his mangled Myrmidons,
That noseless, handless, hack'd and chipp'd, come to him,
Crying on Hector.

Yeeeeah. Achilles really gives a shit about King Priam's daughter. Isn't it obvious? That's why he hunts down and kills her brother, Hector, and drags Hector's body behind his horse around the walls of Troy. Because that's the way to win over his "fair love" and fulfill his "major vow" to her, the unidentified daughter of Priam and Hecuba. That's right. She's never once named in the play. I doubt it's Cassandra. It could be Ployxena who was later slaughtered on Achilles' grave. Who knows? It clearly wasn't important enough to Shakespeare to be included in the script. Why? Because she doesn't matter. I'm not saying it's happy—it's a decade-long war, after all—but in this sub-plot, it's all about the manlove.

11 March 2008

Dream, dream, dream

I dreamed this morning that I'd sold a particular short story. Since that story is currently with my editor at Samhain, I'm hoping the dream was prophetic. Time will tell.

Since there's nothing else doing right now, I'll tell you a little about the story in question, shall I? It's about 25,000 words long and I wrote it last year for Samhain's Gay Valentine Anthology open submission. Obviously it wasn't chosen, but having since seen the three that were, I can understand why. They settled on a theme of "serving" - serving country, serving time, serving...something I don't remember - and this story doesn't fit with that at all. It's in the same universe as the novel I sold, though, and it's just as m/m erotic romancy as the novel, so I have high hopes that my editor will like it. The biggest challenge of writing it wasn't the length requirement or the genre; it was incorporating Valentine's Day into a world that doesn't have it. It doesn't even have saints, as a matter of fact. I think I did a pretty good job of it, considering. :)

04 March 2008

Most Romantic Season

What do you think is the most romantic season? Is it spring when the flowers start to bloom? Or summer when so many people insist on getting married? Or autumn when the trees are in their splendor of gold and yellow and red? Or winter when we snuggle up with a special someone and a mug of cocoa in front of a roaring fire?

Well I would argue that it's none of these. The most romantic season, the season that never fails to ignite passion and tears and joy, is Baseball Season. Is it just the deliciously tight pants the boys of summer wear? That certainly doesn't hurt, but I frankly prefer the retro look with the baggy knickerbockers and high socks. Is it the slashy goodness of watching fit young men openly hugging, butt slapping, and leaping all over one another when they win, or embracing in tears when they lose the biggest games in the fall? That doesn't hurt either. But in my opinion it's the history of the sport, the excitement of the game itself, and the unmistakeable and inimitable cries of "My oh my!" and "Fly away!" and (my personal fave) "Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma! It's grand salami time!" from Cooperstown-bound Dave Niehaus that make my heart flutter and my eyes well up. That's romance to me.

And, yeah, the boys in tight pants smacking each other on the ass are nice, too. ;)