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Blog

The blog of m/m author Jaime Samms. 

Vive la Canadian Culture

Jaime Samms

Don't laugh at my French/English. It's a thing. Anyone who has ever married a French-Canadian or met the children of a French Canadian knows this. Many English-only Canadians know just enough French to get it wrong. (For instance, is Canadian Culture masculine or feminine?) And so many whose first language is French will substitute the English words as they go because they can.

Not only that, though. Today I was walking through the food court of the local mall. It's been newly renovated and the furniture can be moved now, which is nice. I noticed no less than four groups of older (mostly) gentlemen gathered around their Tim Horton's cups and paper bags of doughnuts and farmer's wraps, tables pushed together to make room for everyone.

 

The first table I walked by was a group of about eight guys, all laughing and smiling, speaking in an Asain language (I have no idea which, since I don't speak any of them). At another table were three or four older couples all talking at once in Italian. I don't know all of what they were talking about, but there was mention of someone's trees and I think that the weather was doing something. This is a common topic in any language.

The table in front of the Tim's shop was filled with a dozen old French dudes talking expansively (and I do mean expansively) in French. One guy sent his Timmy's flying as he described his new trellis for his tomatoes. It was tragic, really, and his table-mates were even more expansive in their disapproval, although another cup did go flying, thankfully, it was already empty, so that was less traumatic.

And in fact, there was even a table of a group of English-speaking couples all wearing cowboy hats. There's nothing like a ranch around here, so who knows why. Could be they're just really enthusiastic country music fans. This group, interestingly enough, were partaking in some yummy looking items from the Bento Box.

No melting pot for us. We're all about letting our heritage flags fly. Go Canada! Just one of the many reasons I love this country.

On Being Afraid of Your Own Job and Why That Sucks

Jaime Samms

Here's the thing: as both a Canadian and a Libra, conflict is something akin to walking in a rainstorm without an umbrella. Seems unpleasant and completely without merit or reward. Why would you do it? So I avoid it as much as possible, and I think that's mostly okay.

Only sometimes, things come up in life that you can't really pretend don't exist. As far as Big Deals go, trying to come up with promotional ideas for a book is not all that big. When you believe in the book you wrote, it shouldn't be all that hard. When you are excited about it, wanting others to get excited as well should be a no-brainer.

Does that mean I don't believe in my own words or I'm not excited by the book because I can't think of ways to engage others in reading it? No. I like my book and my characters. But I am gun-shy about pushing them out into the world simply because I dared to go outside my known safety net and write something I am unfamiliar with, to some degree. I wrote a love story about a black man who hasn't had the easiest life.

I feel beset by all kinds of paranoia and distress about how this book will be received. I worry it will get trashed as inaccurate, unsympathetic, promoting stereo types and privilege. That people will take one look and say I've got it all wrong because I couldn't possibly know or write authentically about a situation I've never been in and can't possibly understand.

It will be very easy for people to tell me I got it all wrong. That I stereotyped or patronized or a dozen other things I may or may not have done in this book. I have to believe my publisher would not have let this book hit the market with any egregious issues in it. They stood behind me and the book, so I should be confident in that.

To a degree, I am. My publisher is good that way, but ultimately, my words = my responsibility to own them, in the end. I am also confident I wrote two men learning about the world, each other and their own attitudes together in a way lets them be human and fallible without making them into caricatures. I don't pretend that Eric doesn't have ingrained ideas about guys like Dwayne. He does. He grew up in a wealthy, white household with a controlling father.  He also grew up with a very close friend who is the exact opposite of him: African American, below the poverty line, and living with his single mother.

Angel was the one who taught Eric that people are people, skin colour, wealth, dreams and desires aside. Angel is also straight, while Eric has been out and unashamed since he was ten. So when Eric meets Angel's cousin Dwayne,  who is less than a year out of prison, he's quick to assume all the worst things about the man. Dwayne is happy to let people think whatever they want. He is unashamed of anything he has done in his life. Only the people who deserve to know his truth get to see beneath that armour. The rest of the world can go fuck itself, as far as he is concerned.

Neither man is perfect. But neither of them are irredeemable, either. I hope readers let the characters be human. I don't want them to hate the guys because they aren't perfect. I hope people don't slap labels on the guys before giving them a chance to show how attitudes can be so ingrained as to be invisible to the people who wield them. But that doesn't mean the people are evil. Only that they deserve a chance to look beneath their own surface to discover the greatness within and learn to do better.

Obviously, I hope I have hit the right note with this book, and I think, just as obviously. I am very nervous about it. This isn't the kind of post I would saddle a blog with. I won't invite conflict into someone else's space. But I felt I had to purge this idea, all of these uncertainties, before I could get on with the task of telling folks to come read my latest book.

Be kind, everyone. Be brave, and approach all discussions from a place of love and learning. I think that's how we dig ourselves out of this mess where a person who writes for a living can't find the words to express their fear of censure.

Dreamspinner Sale

Jaime Samms

November 9-13, 2016

It's always great when you can catch a break, and Dreamspinner is set to lob one our way, because the whole store is having a sale. Anything you want, 30% less money from you! WOOT!!!

On the Good News Front

Jaime Samms

Recognize Damian? He was the protagonist in the first Off Stage book. It was a while back, as was the second, Off Stage: In the Wings.

The good news is that once these books have been re-released as a bundle for those who haven't had a chance to read them yet, book three will come out in the spring of 2017. I signed the contract yesterday, and I'm excited to close out the series with Kilmer, who may be a rancher, but he's also a musician, and a submissive who longs for a Dom who gets him.

Book three, Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights, brings all the guys full circle, back to the music, and into their own happily ever afters. 

I've also been working with amazing cover artist AngstyG on the cover of the new and revised Permanent Ink book, and it is so awesome!!!! I love it. And I will show it off when i get the word it's all ready to go.

 

What was I thinking?

Jaime Samms

Remember this guy? He looks board, right?

Right! So today, I got him something to help him be less board. I got him this...

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Thing is, we have such a small house, that the only real place for him to play with it is in the living room, right in front of the television. Which is fine, I watch TV in the bedroom. 

However, that spot? It is right above my office. So guess how many elephants one 65lb dog can sound like when playing with a squeaky, bouncy ball in the room right above your head.

Answer: A. Frikin'. Lot.

*Sigh*

And that is my day.

Fresh Starts

Jaime Samms

Well it's been a long year.

I haven't been active on my blog at all, and part of that was that I wanted to take some time to decide where I wanted things to go. I asked Alexandria Corza to see if she could freshen up my website, and she's done a fantastic job. It's cleaner, simpler, and I love the banner she created for me.

I have some ideas on what I want to do with the blog, and it involves short, fun things I hope you all will like. More on that another time. Looking back, I see there is a picture of our beloved Sasha. He passed a few days after that picture was taken. We miss him. He was a good cat.

Life moves on, and today, there is a new member of our family, equally exasperated by my constant computer obsession.

New computer, too, come to think of it. It's been that kind of year. The release of a new series took up most of the year, and has now nearly wrapped up. The last book in Dance, Love, Live is actually a compilation of the three books in the series, along with three new shorts and will come out in print in a few months. The Dance books were so well received and I am very grateful. It thrills me that so many people enjoyed reading stories I had such a wonderful time telling.

Now, it's time for a new start for me writing-wise. I'm looking into things a bit lighter. A bit softer. Maybe slightly less angsty. But you all know me. the angst is relative :)

I'm beginning another series this fall, with characters who work, play and fall in love in a small, English-style pub that could be on any-street in Toronto. I've named the pub The Hen and Hog.

 

This awesome pub sign was created fro me by Karrie Jax!  Thank you Karrie!

This awesome pub sign was created fro me by Karrie Jax!  Thank you Karrie!

So stay tuned for Stories from the Hen and Hog. I'm looking forward to this adventure. I hope you all enjoy it with me.  In the mean time, there will be a re-release of the first two Off Stage books in a print anthology. They are just getting out there again in anticipation of the third and final book in the series which will be out early-ish next year.  I also have a re-release of an old, old story, Permanent Ink, which has been heavily re-edited, and, I deeply hope, improved.

I hope these tide you all over for the first H&H book!

My best and my thanks to all for hanging in there with me,

Jaime

Roofers, Imminent Travel, Deadlines

Jaime Samms

Sitting at my desk in the basement writing this morning, it took me a good ten minutes to figure out the sense of unsettled weirdness scratching at my concentration was actually a guy on my roof scraping away old shingles. (I actually went upstairs at one point to find Hubby to try and figure out what the hell he was doing!) They didn't come knock on my door or anything (they called last night to let us know they would be here, but did I remember that? Oh hells no). They just parked sideways in my drive, tucking their dump trailer right up against my side door and began pounding away. It wasn't long before they'd pounded right through my focus and blew a hole out the other side.

IMG_2940So what the hell. I switched to work, and got a fair amount done. That's easier and doesn't require quite so much single-minded focus on my part. While ducking in and out of email, though, I was reminded of the date and that I will be travelling inside of a week to dog-sit for my mother in law. After that, I leave straight from there to go to GayRomLit.

Travelling makes me anxious when I have a nice family send-off to ease me into it. There will be no one to send me off.  My sister in law will pick up the dog after I leave and she gets off work. Only the puppy will be around to wave good bye.

I'm sort of terrified.

All this distraction is sort of messing with my ability to concentrate on  a story about a ballet dancer who's been told he can't dance ballet any more or he risks ruining his body.  You know. Because I'm trying to write something a little less angsty than my usual fare. Oh bother. I don't think it's working...

Sasha on roofing day

Not to mention this critter, who is so unnerved by all the banging and thumping he can't decide if he wants to sit on my feet, my lap, or my laptop. Right now, he is jammed into the 7X10 space on my desk behind my laptop screen and under the bookshelf and every three minutes or so attempts to creep out a little further to lie on the laptop keyboard.

In any case, I'm hoping not to have to chalk this day up to another measly 500 word day. Anyone got any miracle cure for the nasty distraction bug sitting in my brain? I could use some help here.

Birth of a Series

Jaime Samms

A few months, I guess almost a year ago, I wrote a short little ficlet for a blog about a janitor meeting a dance studio owner as he did his job, and the two of them giving in to a mutual attraction. It was a fun little story about a guy, his birthday, and a dance. Sweet. Simple. Done.

Except the characters wouldn't leave me alone, and so I revisit them and realized the two guys were a lot more complex and had a greater story to tell me. I listened. I wrote. My publisher liked, and a story was born, contracted, and is now in edits. Boo-yah! http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-empty-light-ballet-class-image21460524

I asked a friend, who knows about dance, to beta read the story for me to make sure I wasn't embarrassing myself. She gave me some wonderful advice, and at the end of her long-assed (and very useful) email, she offered a small, throw away comment about one of the secondary characters.

I ignored the comment.

For about...sixty-nine seconds. Then realized the character had enough page time to intrigue here because he also intrigued me. He infiltrated my thoughts in that grey hour between awake and asleep, and Bam!

A series was Born.

And that's how it happens, folks. A small, inconsequential comment from a friend. Idea implanted. Second Story begun.

A dare from Hubs that I can't use the phrase "this thing has the aerodynamics of a toaster" in a story (FYI: See Moving Day) Challenge accepted. Challenge met.

Or Mary Calmes throwing a photo up on Facebook and Jambrea Gaff goading me:

Soup Kitchen Guys Damn you, Mary Calmes! You single-handedly keep my list of things to write growing, and Jambrea, we will chat about this poking and goading thing you do that stirs up the plot bunnies to a frenzie to nibble on these idea Mary seeds. It isn't healthy for the poor bunnies and needs to stop...

This blog post dedicated to all my dear friends who keep my spirit uplifted and my desire to keep writing from flagging. I heart you all.

 

Summer Sale!!!

Jaime Samms

UndertheBoardwalk_DSPsiteIt surprises me how many of my titles at Dreamspinner fall under this banner! Half my back list is on sale! I remember when I started out, my first publication with Freya's Bower was submitted on a challenge to write an engaging, interesting, but sweet M/M romance. My, how far we've come!!!!

BoundtoFallFSEven my new release, Bound to Fall, is on sale, though it's on pre-order until the 26th. Check out the sale. though. I know I'm off to order the Collars and Cuffs series, the latest of which, Make Me Soar is also on pre-order. MakeMeSoarLG

 

The Apple from my Tree

Jaime Samms

Merlin2So just this past couple of weeks, my 15-yr-old daughter watched the final season of Merlin in Netflix. I was walking past her room on my way to brush my teeth when I heard the wailing. I went inside to find out what was wrong, and this is the conversation that happened.

Me: "What's wrong?"merlin arth

Her: " They can't end it like that!!!!" *wails*

Me: "You do know the legend, right?"

Her: "...."

Me: "Honey, Arthur dies."

Her: "Nooooo!"

Me: "Also, Gwen runs off with Lancelot."

Her: *thinks* "Well, that's okay. They should do that. Then Merlin and Arthur can get together.

Me = proud mama.

Random Day! Quick flash of Fiction

Jaime Samms

This is not a story. Not even  scene, really. It's a beginning, inspired by this picture.Potential It may or may not one day become a full story, but for sure, it enters the Idea File.

Wes swayed slightly. God, he was drunk and he knew it. Funny how drinking in the pool never seemed to show until he got out. He plopped onto the high stone wall around the house from the rest of the crowd. It had been a mistake to come. Whatever was going on with Dailey—and he had no idea why the guy did this to him—it was fucking him up.

“You okay?” Daily’s voice caught Wes off guard and sent a shiver down his spine.

“F-fine.”

“Cold?” Dailey came closer and the shiver intensified.

“Nope.”

Dailey chuckled. “Drunk?”

A hiccup escaped and Wes’s cheeks flushed with a soft spread of warmth. Great. Now he was going to walk around red-faced, drunk and horny. “Yep.”

“Here.” A soft swath of terry cloth slid over Wes’s shoulders and he closed his eyes. “Better?”

Wes nodded, found his chin contacting something solid, warm, and his breath huffed out.

“There you go,” Daily whispered, and the words washed over Wes’s face, heated breath, shadowed sound. He parted his lips. Fingers cupped the side of his face and a thumb brushed his mouth.

“Nice,” Dailey whispered. His other arm snuck over Wes’s shoulders. “Come here.”

Wes leaned closer to the other man, opened his eyes and gazed up. Dailey was too close to see, really, but his mouth. It was right there. Dailey lifted his chin, blinked, trying to catch Dailey’s eye, to make sure this was the right thing to be happening.

“You’re very drunk,” Dailey said softly. He planted a gentle press of lips to the bridge of Wes’s nose. “Come inside. I’ll make sure you find a safe place to crash.

“Uh-huh.” He let Dailey take his hand and lead him into the house, through the kitchen, past the living room where a couple of bodies writhed on the couch—no, more than a couple. Wes stopped and backed up a few steps. Three guys?

“Come on.” Dailey recaptured his hand. “That’s not for you, pet. Come with me.”

“Pet?” He squinted at Dailey.

Dailey only grinned back. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to you. Not anything you don’t want to happen, anyway, and definitely not while you’re drunk. Come sleep it off.”

Wes nodded, complacent as long as Dailey was touching him. He followed down a muted hallway to the end and into a small bedroom. There wasn’t much in it. Just a chest of drawers and a bed.

Dailey led him inside. “You’ll have to lose the wet trunks.”

“Oh.” Wes hooked his thumbs into the waistband, remembered he wasn’t alone, and glanced over his shoulder.

“You’re okay,” Dailey assured him with an encouraging smile.

Wes shucked the shorts, letting them plop wetly to the floor. Dailey scooped them up, tossed them over the edge of a basket beside the dresser and closed the space behind Wes with his body and the towel. He rubbed Wes down, sweeping the cloth up his legs, over his ass, and finally, perfunctorily, over and around Wes’s junk.

Predictably, his cock noticed the nearness, the touch, even clinical as it was, and insulated by the towel, but Dailey ignored his burgeoning erection.

“Into bed,” he ordered, giving Wes a sharp clap on his butt. “I’ll close the door and make sure no one comes back here. You’ll be perfectly safe.”

“Should I be worried?” Wes crawled into the bed and gazed up at his friend.

“I don’t think Myron would invite anyone over for this kind of party if he thought they might take advantage, but there are a few newer faces. I’m not taking any chances.” He caressed Wes’s cheek. “Not with you. If he says I can keep you, no one gets to touch you but me.”

Wes blinked at him, trying to figure that sentence out. “I don-t—”

“Don’t worry about it,” Dailey said, “Just rest. I’ll watch over you.”

“Okay.”

With another soft kiss to his cheek and a smile, Dailey left the room, closing the door with a quiet click behind him. Wes stared at the spinning celling for all of about a minute before he passed out.

Wet Dream? Or Help me be Inspired.

Jaime Samms

what has him so lost in thought the rain doesn't matter? Wet Dreams. Now here is an opportunity for way Too Much Information to be shared. But it is the topic for the #dreamer April, after all. I guess aligned with April showers and that. It sort of makes sense.

"I'm already soaked anyway, so what does it matter?"I think this isn't a topic I'm wildly excited to talk about. At the end f the day, I suppose I'm just shy?

So instead, I thought I would look for images, and I got so sidetracked. I'm sure you can imagine.

Britain Damp Drought

In the end, I picked three images that made my imagination spark, and now I need opinions. You tell me. Which story should I write?

Dream Vacation: Or why that's harder than it looks

Jaime Samms

Vacation:  noun, va·ca·tion often attributive \vā-ˈkā-shən, və-\ 1: a respite or a time of respite from something : intermission 2 a : a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b : a period of exemption from work granted to an employee 3: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation

That isn't even a complicated or confusing definition, when it comes to it.

Does it count if I take respite from work to write and then respite from writing to work? I do suspend work to write. Mostly. But then I don't have a boss, so... Or, I am my own boss. Does that also make me my own employee? Who gives who the exemption, then??

And if I spend time away from home to travel to the grocery for food or to the dance studio to catch a glimpse of my daughter for a reminder of what she looks like, can that be considered a "period spent away from home" where I also work?

...I think I need to hire a management/employee liaison...

Wait. Would that come out of work earnings, or royalties? Would that person then require scheduled vacations, as well? Maybe I could just do that myself. Hey! and then offer time off in lieu of pay!!! Perfect!!!

How does one take a vacation from the three ring circus in one's own head? Anyone? Beuller?

Movie Talk: Test

Jaime Samms

Test_coveri The other night, I watched Test, a movie about dancers living at the beginning of the aids epidemic. I'm not a gay guy and I was to obliviously young in the eighties to get what was going on then half way across the world from the small Canadian town where I grew up. I can imagine it being pretty scary. Lots of soul searching. Lots of ostritching. I shy away from watching movies about it. Too many of them end in sadness and tragedy.

But I have a dancer in my family and I was drawn by that aspect to put this movie on my Netflix list where it sat for weeks and weeks awaiting my attention.Test_screnecap

I watched it finally. Might I say Scott Marlowe shows some mean acting chops even as he demonstrates his beautiful dance moves. The movie showcased his talents in a fantastic balance of story, music and dance by acclaimed U.S. choreographer Sidra Bell.

Matthew RischAnd Matt Risch, actor first, held his own on the dancing front. I've watched plenty of movies about dancers acted by people who clearly have not dedicated themselves to the craft their whole lives. This is one movie I was never pulled out of because some actor couldn't hold his own on the stage. As the main love interest, Matt's role was an important one to believe, and I did.

The movie follows Scott as he navigates the first frightening bout with aids and HIV scare, being called up from understudy to center stage, and being among the first to be honest about what he's up against just to stay alive.

Small nuances, like listening to Scott's music choices as he navigates the city wearing his trusted yellow Walkman and then having the machine's batteries die, leaving him without his armour of sound as he takes the bus across town to get his test results make this more than just another AIDS movie. It is a beautifully realized piece of art as well as an honest look at the other side of the AIDS dilemma: the one where that shows real people making real life choices about how they are going to go forward, be who they are, love who they love.

And the final scene is not your typical hot bodies hot sex finale. It's much much more than that while being far less dramatic. I have to say that while I seriously contemplated turning this movie off half way through in order to save myself what I was sure was going to turn out to be a tragic and heartbreaking ending, I am infinitely glad I did not. If you want to see a movie about hope and reality in one, this is your chance. Five stars all teh way.

Contest Winner!!!

Jaime Samms

So just a short and sweet post that Jen CW won the draw for a copy of Off Stage: Right. I'll contact you Jen, and let you know how to get your book. Thanks to everyone who dropped by!

Snowday icicle 2014-12-19 12.47.33 (5)

a bit of winter for your enjoyment

Firefly in Bluewater Bay

Jaime Samms

It's New Year's Eve and ZAM had this great idea to host a yummy tour all about food. The menu is quite extensive; a veritable feast of participating authors offering all kinds of deliciously wonderful treats for your delectation.

May I present your menu

Dinner Menu FINAL

For a central hook up of links for all those offerings, go to ZAM's blog here:

http://zamaxfield.com/new-years-eve-progressive-dinner/

Now, since my books don't tend to feature a lot of food, and I wanted to make a few fun announcements of things coming up next year, I thought I would write a lost "Off Stage" scene featuring the guys from my grunge band Firefly, as their new driver on their tour bus wanders off course and makes an unscheduled stop in Bluewater Bay.

OffStage

So for those of you pining for more from my little grunge band that could and their circle of friends, you'll be happy to know Off Stage book #3 is in the works, called Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights, and features Kilmer, Jacko, and Tanner, a local pub singer destined to either fix or fracture Kilmer's heart. The jury is still out on if Jacko or Tanner wins the bass-playing cowboy's final submission.

In this excerpt, the Firefly members are supposed to be on their way to a glitzy New Year's Eve party. Sadly, their new bus driver is a terrible navigator and has deposited them in the small, out-of-the-way backwater called Bluewater Bay, and the guys are starving for a good, belly-filling dessert to stave off the hangover of an all night, on bus party and perhaps a bit too much pre-celebratory Champagne.

And for Riptide readers, you might recognize the small coastal town of Bluewater Bay. I've been lucky enough to have a shot at writing in the series, and later this year, I'll be working on a new story featuring Cory, whom you''re about to meet, and some as-yet-unknown love interest. How fun is that???

So, without more rambling, here's a little scene of the guys just being a pack of rowdy, close-knit friends doing their rock star thang.

"It's fucking cold!" Clive tried to curl into a smaller version of his big-boned, well-muscled self for warmth. All the drumming for Firefly made him burly, but left him without an ounce of body fat for warmth.

Jethro rubbed a big hand vigorously over Clive’s bald head and grinned. “You should have let it grow in,” he teased.

“Says the dude with rat’s nests in his hair,” Beks shot over one shoulder. “I’m getting coffee and something that’ll slide down without any work on my part. My head is killing me.”

“Wimp!” Jethro called after his lover. “You shouldn’t have drunk that last bottle of champagne!”

Clive smoothed his own calloused hand over his scalp. “I look shit with hair. Besides, it was supposed to be a New Year’s Eve in Vancouver, so I had to look good. Not that it matters anymore. We are so not getting to the party on time now. Stanley is going to kill us.”

“You’re the one who hired a kid to drive the bus, my friend,”Jethro said. “Not my fault he got so lost we’re in another country all together from where we’re supposed to be.”

“Apparently I’m the responsible one, though,” Clive muttered. “We were supposed to be at that New Year’s party. What kind of publicity is he going to have to spin to make this no-show not be all “the band is a bunch of jack-asses”?

“Who cares, man?” Jethro asked. “We’re Firefly. We do stupid shit all the time. That’s why we have Stanley.” He glanced around. “There.” He pointed, “An info booth. Let’s go see where we are,”

“Who gives a shit?” Beks called to them from the doorway of a café across the street. “Check this place out. All day, all you can eat breakfast. Now that’s what I’m fucking talking about.” Their guitar player, Christian shimmied past Beks into the diner leaving a heartfelt “Thank God” in his wake.

“Still swears like a goddamm sailor,” Clive muttered.

“You didn’t really think the hormones were going to change that did you?” Jethro grinned at the drummer and Clive had to laugh.

"No. I suppose not.”

Jethro pulled in a deep breath and ran both hands down his stomach as he stretched his back out. “God it feels good to walk around. All I need is something sweet and delicious in my belly and I am a happy man.”

Clive nodded. “You go find out where we are. I’m gonna get Damian off the bus.”

“Good luck with that.”

Clive pointed to the bakery across the street from where Beks had disappeared into the diner. “He’ll come out for that.”

It turned out getting Damian to get out in the fresh air wasn’t as difficult as Jethro predicted. Their lead singer was as eager as the rest of the band to stretch his legs and a single mention of the promising-looking bakery had him on his feet and off the tour bus.

“Where are we?” He sauntered next to Clive for all the world the picture of the man before the band had nearly imploded. His hands—and their scars—were hidden behind black gloves, spiked and buckled like the rest of him, and though his hair wasn’t spiked up in all its blue, hedgehog glory, he still looked bad-ass in all the black makeup and swagger, even with the miles-long pink scarf wrapped around his neck and hanging nearly to his knees.

“Bluewater Bay,” Jethro said, jogging up to meet them. “Becks is already in the diner with coffee and a menu, but I want pastry. He ambled with them to the bakery and Clive held the door for both of them as they went inside.

“Hi!” From behind the counter a startling young man with vivid blue eyes and a shock of bleached, spiked hair on his head greeted them with a smile full of brilliantly white teeth wide as spade heads. He wiped his hands on an apron already besmirched with flour and something that looked like grape jelly His grin widened until a dimple popped on his left cheek and his bright eyes became upside down half-moons above round, freckled cheeks. “First customers of the day. You have to get up mighty early to beat the film crew, so that’s saying something. You have any idea how hard it is to keep that many camera men and key grips in jelly donuts? It’s impossible, I’ll tell you that for nothin’. They love their jelly donuts. It’s amazing. Never saw anything like it. Except Amelia. She carries that ginormous fancy camera with all the bells and whistles around on her shoulder all day long, and you would think she’d be built more like a bull than a pretty little doe, but there you have it. Skinny as anything, and no donuts for that girl. It’s banana cake all the way for her. Make it special, you know, and she says it’s what keeps her pretty. If you go for that. I don’t.” He grinned wider, if that was possible. “I like ‘em beefy, hairy and tattooed, if you want to know.” He winked at Clive who scowled back. It was too early for dodging flirtatious bakers.

The man behind the counter waved a hand. “You probably don’t want to know. You’re in first though, and I haven’t talked to anyone in hours. I—” He visibly checked himself with an exaggerated blink and one hand lifted in a stopping motion in front of him. “You’re here to eat though.” He picked up a tray off the counter in front on him. “Donut? Or—hey!” He put the tray down again and waved to the counter behind him. “You want to try something new?”

The three rockers stared at him in silence, awestruck at the bewildering flurry of sound and energy.

“I’m Cory.” The young man held out a hand. “Bought the bakery just a while ago, and well, thought it was going to go under until the show came to town.”

“Uh.” Clive jolted out of his shock and took the offered hand. “Clive. And this is Jet”—he pointed to Jethro—“and—”

“Damian, Yeah. I know. Firefly. Man I love you guys. I love your new guitarist. He’s totally rad.”

Damian frowned and cocked his head. “People still say that? Rad?”

Cory shrugged and grinned. Again. “Sure, dude. You want some dessert for breakfast? Because I can totally set you up with that.”

And because it is the new year, and we should all kick it off right, I'll be giving away a paperback copy of Off Stage: Right, the first book in the band's series, to one of the people who comments on my blog and asks for a copy. I'll make the draw on January 6 at 6:00 p.m.

Winter Wonderland

Jaime Samms

If only every day could be like today. Beautiful to look at and not so cold I want to curse whoever had the idea of winter. Check out my back yard.

Snowday fence 2014-12-19 12.47.33 (1)

I does look like it's going to be a white Christmas, though we have had three separate dumps of snow and subsequent melt-offs, so I guess nothing is certain until it;s certain.

Meanwhile, I played with my phone again, and here are a few more views of my yard and trees. It's just a winter wonderland picture day :) Enjoy, because I had fun with picmonkey playing around with them. I think that could be an ultimate time waster for me....

[cryout-multi][cryout-column width="1/4"] Snowdayicde and sky 2014-12-19 12.47.33 (4)[/cryout-column] [cryout-column width="1/4"]Snowday tree ice  2014-12-19 12.47.33 (6)[/cryout-column][cryout-column width="1/4"]Snowday 2014-12-19 12.47.33 (2)[/cryout-column][cryout-column width="1/4"]Snowday ice branches 2014-12-19 12.47.33 (3)[/cryout-column][/cryout-multi]


And last but no least, my favorite of the day, probably because I can remember looking in my parents' photo albums when I was a kid and seeing polaroid pictures that actually look like this in real life:

Snowday icicle 2014-12-19 12.47.33 (5)

Video and other stuff Roundup

Jaime Samms

So this morning, I have a fun video round up for you, as well as a link to a hilarious life story from a random tumblre that a friend showed me last night that was too good not to share. So first up is Angel Martinez. I had the good fortune to listen to her panel at GRL in Chicago this year, as she talked about writing sc-fi. I realized at that time that she will always be way better at it than I will ever be, and that I am, in the sci-fi writing world, probably going to remain a one-hit-wonder. Which is ok. For today, I want you to check out Angel's blog where she reads from all kinds of other people's books. Today, she is reading from my story, Renegade, and she does a fantabulous job. Thanks, Angel!!!

Check out Angel's blog, Romance for the Hungry Mind because I recently listened to her reading from The Butterfly King, and I love listening to her read. You can so totally tell she enjoys it.

And then for the fun factor, I ran across this video of large manly men meeting kittens somewhere. Probably on someone's facebook feed, but it's cute and the guys are ridiculous. I laughed.

And as a final treat for you all, you have to read this story. It's so funny. I laughed, and will never think of my church hymnal in quite the same way again. Especially because the ones we use are veritable tombs...

A Christmas story told on demand to relieve some stress for the requestor. And everyone else.

If it Ain't Broke...

Jaime Samms

...don't fix it." This has been dad's mantra since I can remember, and there is a lot of good sense in the idea. Why mess with something that works?IMAG0155

The symbol of his railing against a world that continuously improves on things that work perfectly fine is his nice, serviceable black rotary telephone. He can pick it up and call a friend, make a plan, and be done. It works. When he had to go out and buy a touch tone phone, he went through a dozen models, all of which were crap before he found one he could live with (and that could live with him!)

Why bring this up? Because it sort of makes a point I learned these past couple of days.

I've been sort of barren, writing-wise for about a month now. Not that I haven't been busy I have. I revised a completed WIP and sent it to my publisher, and revised a co-written book with the other author and that has been sent to our publisher, and I'm currently doing the same for the fifth Rainbow Alley book.

But there have been no new words.

At first, I thought it as because of that peculiar down time I tend to need just after I finish a work. There is a week or two of mind-quiet when I am perfectly happy to melt my mind with Dr. Who reruns and book candy. When that stretched out, I blamed the new job and the hours I was putting in to stay on top of it. And then I blamed (like any writer who has the hear-me-love-me-don't-judge-me narcissism gene) poor reviews and wept that "They just don't get me!!!!" (I know it's bullshit. I'm over it. Mostly)

What I never suspected to be the culprit was my work station.

I was spending so much time working, that when it came time to write, I couldn't be bothered to move my computer from the kitchen table, where I can work and participate in family things like kids' homework and Destiny playing, down to my office where I have been writing now for over two years.

New desk close

Then hubs made me this space, because we both wanted me off the kitchen table, and while I absolutely love the solution for me being able to work upstairs, it is less than ideal for writing, with PS4 gunfire in the background and the kid calling out something like "is mushroomcloud one word?" every five minutes.

I was losing my writing mojo and feeling terrible because of my non-productivity.

And then I made a plan with my writing buddy to meet her on line and devote a few hours of the day to new words, and new words only. 2014-10-23 09.29.49 Work space wallSince I was doing this with her, I felt I owed her my undivided attention, and so I drug ye olde laptop down to my proper office and plugged it all in. We logged on, and in three and a half hours, I had the first 3,000 words of a new story banged out.

And it hit me. It wasn't work. It wasn't doldrums or poor reviews. It was me. It was the rapport I had built up with my writing self in that cozy space where I feel like me, where I belong and no one else does. I had built a routine and a writing sanctuary, and then failed ot use it. I tried to reinvent my wheel, and the new models kept breaking.

Now that space might look like complete chaos to anyone else, but everything in it means something important to me. It speaks to me because it is me. My life and experiences, the things I love and the things I want, all surround me in a cocoon of protection where I can take chances with my words. It works.

Of course there is something to be said for being able to write anywhere, any time. If you don't have much spare time in your day, then you must develope that skill. That isn't exactly my point. My point is, whether you have a designated writing spot, or the world is your office, if you have a routine to follow, or a ritual for the road, or a special pen, or your paper has to be pink and smell like roses, whatever it is, use it. Don't break your writing mojo, and don't dismiss that such a thing exisists. Whatever you use to tap into it, keep it close. Keep it safe.

 

The Continuing Saga...

Jaime Samms

... Cat vs. Cord

2014-11-27 14.30.02

The cord never stood a chance. So, my newest salvo: retractable. 2014-11-27 14.30.33And, bought at The Source, where a few extra bucks means if the cat wins again, they will replace the cord for free, as many times as I need in the first year, and then twice more in the next two years. You all have seen how this battle goes. I think they put catnip in the damn things. I'm going to need those free replacements.

On another note, Good news for readers...or listeners, as it were. The Foster Family is now available in audio. Here's the buy link

FosterFamily[The]_postcard_front_DSP Blurb: Growing up in foster care has left Kerry Grey with little self-esteem or hope for his future. A college dropout, Kerry scrapes by on a part-time job at a garden nursery. His friendship with his boss and working with the plants are the only high points in Kerry’s life. He’s been dating the man who bullied him at school, but when his boyfriend abandons him at a party, Kerry wanders down the beach to drown his sorrows in a bottle of scotch.

Malcolm Holmes and Charlie Stone have been together for fifteen years. Despite Charlie's willingness to accept Malcolm's unspoken domination in bed,something is missing from their relationship. Early one morning, they rescue a passed out Kerry from being washed away by the tide and Charlie immediately senses a kindred spirit in the lost younger man. When Kerry’s roommate kicks him out, Malcolm and Charlie invite him into their home. As Charlie and Kerry bond over Charlie’s garden, Malcolm sees Kerry may be just who they have been looking for to complete their lives. All they have to do is show Kerry, and each other, that Kerry's submissive tendencies will fit their dynamic.