Archive for the ‘One Good Hand’ Category

4.0

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

I always get a little bummed when one of my stories dips below 4.0 on Goodreads. I think some part of my mind still equates that sort of point system with a grade point average. Through most of junior high and high school I had a 4.0 or higher, mainly because most of those schools weighted the grades based on the administration’s definition of difficulty. So I could conceivably get five points for trigonometry, but only four points for art history which is balls. Let me tell you that being able to recognize artists and styles and time periods by looking at a painting is at *least* as cool as being able to calculate sines and cosines.

But I’ve gone off on a tangent.

The point is that four stars is not perfection. A book’s rating is not a grade point average. I won’t fail to graduate with honors and disappoint my parents if a few most of my stories drop below 4.0.

Last time I checked, only two of my books had a rating of 4 stars or above. And what a weird pair–Paul’s Dream and Want Me. On the spectrum of my writings, those two occupy opposite poles. Paul’s Dream is one of my better written books and leans a little closer to traditional romance, so I get that. Want Me is also one of my better written books but oh my god it’s a dark, twisted, muscle theft story. I figured the theft alone would turn a lot of the readers right the hell off.

The first edition of Want Me was self-published, though, and only available in print. The price point was around sixteen bucks and I think that probably kept new readers from trying it. In other words, if you bought the book you were generally (a) already familiar with my writing or (b) specifically looking for a muscle theft story.

And the reviews for Want Me were freaking great. Almost all of them had some variation of “Oh God this is so creepy WHY AM I STILL READING IT???” which is pretty much one of the most awesome things ever. XD

The second edition of Want Me comes out next week in ebook format. I’m guessing that means its overall rating will plummet to around 2 or 3 stars. But that’s okay. It just means that readers feel strongly about it (in the case of 2 and below) or they think the story is about as good as most of the stories they’ve read (in the case of 3 stars).

Don’t get me wrong. Four and five stars is a rush. But I once got five stars on a book because Ace was strong and sensitive, then one star on that same book because he was weak and unstable. So I try not to take scores too seriously. It’s all relative, and I never took physics in high school. 😉



Note:While preparing this post I had to link to my Goodreads page. Turns out Want Me has already dropped below 4.0. XD


click here to learn more about Want Me
Want Me will be available April 2nd, 2013 from Loose Id.

Straightforwardness

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Main characters in my finished and published stories, ranked in order of straightforwardness, starting with the most straightforward and ending with the least:

Rafe Dirisio — (Lone)
Paul Graham — (Paul’s Dream)
Joe Wilson — (A Picture’s Worth)
Kian Somers — (Paul’s Dream)
Zakai — (Paul’s Dream)
Joel Beckett — (Want Me)
Keith Taylor — (Chasing Winter)
Ace Donovan — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Riley Jameson — (One Shot)
Walker Cain — (Want Me)
Nick Carlyle — (One Shot)
Spade Hart — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Seth Anderson — (Lone)
Draven Donnor — (Just Perfect)
Mason Ripley — (A Picture’s Worth)
Asher Croft — (Paul’s Dream)
Jesse Winter — (Chasing Winter)
Dorian Burns — (Lone)
Cody West — (Just Perfect)

You might be thinking, “What?! How is Jesse so far down on the list, and how is WALKER square in the middle??” If you are thinking that, what follows is what passes for logic on my end:

First, this list only gauges straightforwardness, and does not take badassitude into account. Though, really, when you think about it, Jesse is plenty badass. Whenever Keith–who is gigantic and endowed with freaky super strength–steps out of line, Jesse never hesitates to knock him right back into it.

Second, the ranking is value-neutral. So whatever nefarious schemes a character might have going on (I’m looking at you, Draven), they don’t count for anything in this list.

Last, straightforwardness does not mean trustworthy. So, while Spade is arguably the most trustworthy character on the list, he waits till damned-near the end of the first book to tell Ace what he is, which Ace doesn’t take well. At all.

But anyway.

Jesse is in the bottom three because through most of Chasing Winter what he says and what he’s thinking are totally out of sync. For example:

“You always told me that willpower could accomplish anything.”

If I had known he’d remember every damned thing I said, I would have tried harder to stay away from such trite clichés. “Yes, I did say that.”

Or–

Keith grinned. “I’m making you uncomfortable, aren’t I?” He left the couch and searched out his briefs. “I’ll get out of your hair.”

I grabbed the top of the couch with my right arm and pulled myself up to watch him dress. Now that he wasn’t touching me, I felt…oh, God, I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. “Thank you.”

And he’s like that through most of the book. So now he’s on the bottom of a totally arbitrary, written-by-the-whim-of-the-author list on straightforwardness.

Jesse was fairly easy to place. If you’ve read Just Perfect, then you know why Cody ranks rock-bottom. No brainer. Same with Rafe and Paul. Rafe wears his heart on his sleeve and is always sure everyone around him knows where he stands. Paul’s heart is frozen solid for a while, but even then everything he does has a reason and he has no qualms about explaining those reasons to you.

Walker wasn’t so easy. Sure, he locks Joel to him in a horrifying spiral of magic that pretty much ruins both their lives, but remember–nefariousness has no weight on this list. He’s also a liar by nature, which would naturally rank him lower. But he doesn’t fuck around when it comes to his obsession with Joel. Never deviates. Never lets Joel forget that he’s never going to deviate. So, yeah, horrifying. But hey, straightforward.

You’re probably safer if you just don’t believe in anything Dorian does or says. Ever. I know it sort of worked out in Lone, but dude. Trust me on that one.

Riley was also hard to place. One Shot’s told from Nick’s point of view, and he’s royally freaked out through most of that story, so it’s hard to gauge how much of Riley’s actions are warped by that filter.

Seth was a pain in the ass. He’s got that crazy Ravager-magic-want-it-now-so-will-HAVE-IT-NOW thing going on. And first instinct is to rank him higher because even in human form he’s all “Look at my massive brown puppy eyes don’t you want to pet my hair?” But Seth doesn’t even know himself, so by default that cripples his ability to be straightforward with Rafe.

So that’s my logic, such as it is. I think it’s pretty easy to see why I put the others in their places on the list.

My question: Do you agree with me? Disagree? Where would you rank these guys, and why?


Interesting fact: I was not aware that “straightforwardness” was a legit word until I typed it up for the first time and didn’t get the red spell-fail squigglies. Prior to that I’d assumed I had made it up. “Squigglies,” however, is apparently fake, which feels wrong to me. >.>

Help a Fab Editor

Friday, April 27th, 2012

My editor at Loose Id, Raven McKnight, is ill and is currently trying to get her health insurance to do right by her.  She’s a total fighter, but fighting requires being able to sit up and breathe at the same time, and she can’t even get *those* meds.  So Katey Hawthorne got a bunch of us together in order to raise some money that will help her do just that.

How can you help?  Go to http://www.indiegogo.com/for-raven. There’s different ways to donate, and each donation level gives you a chance to win a different prize.  They’re awesome prizes, for a very good cause.

Raven edited “One Good Hand,” “One Good Year,” and “One Shot.”  She’s sharp, savvy, and not afraid to rip a manuscript apart in order to make it better.  She also keeps me from losing my damned mind at the height of edits and in those tense days just after a book release.  She’s a great editor and a credit to writing.

Let’s help her out.

Let’s ready to HOP!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I keep telling myself that I’ll write better post titles. It doesn’t appear to be working

I’m participating in two blog hops in May, and I’d like you to hop along with me!

Hop Against Homophobia logo

The first is for Hop Against Homophobia, which runs from May 17th to 20th. May 17th marks the International Day Against Homophobia, so a lot of authors are getting together to share their thoughts and experiences. I encourage you to participate, not only to win prizes (I’ll be giving away a hardcopy of Want Me), but to share your stories with us as we share ours with you. You can find more information here.

Scavenger Hunt Logo

On May 25th, Miho Li is hosting a scavenger hunt. Follow the clues to solve the puzzle, and you’ll be entered to win twenty books, including an e-copy of One Good Hand, the first book in the “One Good” series. During the search, authors Katrina Strauss, Z.A. Maxfield, Sloan Parker, and many more will be posting content exclusive to the hunt. I don’t know who I’ll draw yet, but the writer who gets me will post a sneak peek of the first chapter of One Good Verse, the third story in its series. More details can be had on Miho’s site.

It should be good. I hope to see you.

Easter Chat!

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I’ll be participating in an M/M chat on Easter weekend, hosted by Literary Nymphs. Some of the other writers attending are Ariel Tachna, Jaime Samms, Andrea Speed, Christiane France, Kathryn Scannell, Berengaria Brown, Sloan Parker, and Jessica Freely.

To play, you have to be a member of the Literary Nymphs Chat loop here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LiteraryNymphsChat/. These chats tend to be mega high traffic, so when you join I highly suggest selecting “web only” as your membership default. I’ve known people to wake up with a thousand emails in their inbox. lol.

The chat goes from April 7th to 8th. I’ll be posting excerpts, chatting people up, and giving away an e-copy of One Good Hand. If you drop by, please give me a wave. It’s my first official chat in two years, and I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Dude, here’s my sequel.

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

If you’ve been following my stuff a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve got a bit of a…hang up when it comes to sequels. In that I don’t have any. The recent release of Just Perfect is a prequel to a dark little story I wrote a while back called Just Wait, but Just Wait’s been out of print since 2007, so does Just Perfect even count as a prequel? I labeled it #1 in the Drayner series so I’m guessing not.

But now, finally, I have a bonafide Book Two. It seems right that it’s part of the One Good series, since that’s what I was working on when I angsted about sequels in Dude, where’s your sequel? Of course, it’s also kind of ironic (or maybe just sad—I don’t have a good grasp of irony) that back then I was working on One Good Verse.

Turns out, Book Two in the One Good series will not be One Good Verse.

It’s called One Good Year and it’s an Ace & Spade story. XD

The novella’s tentatively scheduled to release March 13th, 2012 from Loose Id. You can read a little more about it here.

I’m excited. Are you exited?


Note: While hidden, the new One Good series pages have been available to view for newsletter members since this past Sunday. One of the perks of being on that list is getting to peek at stuff a few days (if I’m on top of my game) before it goes live. They’ll be getting another sneak peek this Sunday, so if you’d like to join the list, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rowan_mcbride/. It’s newsletter-only and very low traffic, plus you can decide if you want to have all posts delivered to your inbox, or just the ones that include chapter/installment/story announcements by choosing the “special notice” option. Special notices do not include sneak peeks unless I’ve just posted a new installment to one of my serials.

Wow, that was a very long post script.

But I’m still excited. Are you still excited? 😀

It’s simple math, really.

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Sometimes I storyboard. I take a pack of index cards, write down all the scenes that are jumbled together in my mind (one scene per card), and lay them out on the carpet. This way, I can see if the storyline and character arc makes sense. I like storyboarding more than outlining because I feel as if I have more leeway to add scenes, delete scenes, and shuffle stuff around (this advantage, of course, is all in my head because cut & paste lets me do all of that on the computer). It’s a way of getting organized that works for me.

Below is one of the cards from a novella I just finished:

Recognize those names? 😉

Wishful Thinking – Self Portrait

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

I always wonder what people think of me the first time they meet me in real life. I’ve had fans believe to the core of their being that I’m one or another of my characters, and that can be intimidating because they never pick the ones that are messes (Ace, Nick). They always seem to think I’m Paul or Charlie (Paul’s Dream, Flow). It doesn’t help that every once in a while I do have a moment of bonafide cool, but said moments usually cost me mad cool points and I have to spend weeks, even months recouping.

At any rate, I drew a rough comic depicting how I’d like to be and how I am. Sort of. Posting it below. 🙂



Wishful Thinking by ~rpm77 on deviantART

***

Note: For those who didn’t get a chance to read it, “Flow” is a story that was originally up at the Evolution Forum. I’ve since taken it down because, pending massive rewrites, I’ve gotten permission to submit the story to a publisher. While I’m daunted by the prospect of writing what will essentially be a whole new book, I’m also wicked excited. 😀

Writing as Therapy

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

I’m not one to hash out personal problems with writing. When I was a kid I kept a journal off and on, and one sporadically in college and law school. That was as close as I ever got to consciously trying to work my issues out on paper. When I write fiction, it’s usually to escape, and to get myself an HEA (Happily Ever After).

A few weeks ago, my mom officially became a five-year survivor of cancer. As the doc told us that five years is usually the magic number for cancer patients, and that chances of recurrence were now much, much lower, I released a breath I’d apparently been holding for half a decade. I was so grateful I didn’t even put up a fight when she asked to watch Twilight as her celebration present.

With any luck, we shall never again speak of sparkly vampires in this blog.

But it was a very good day. And since then, the loss of that subtle bit of tension has relaxed me in a dozen different little ways, and I’ve been remembering a few snippets here and there from when she was first diagnosed.

One of those snippets was a story I’d started called The Companion. If you’ve been following me since I started writing on the Evolution Forum, you might remember the blurb I used to have for it on my website. It was labeled as an “in progress” story and I was ticking along with it, sure that it was going to be done in short order. Then my mom got sick and I dropped it. After a few months I even took its description off my site.

Alexander, one of the main characters in the story, had a grandfather who died of cancer. Taking care of the person who raised him shaped a huge part of his personality, and he’d wake up in cold sweats remembering. In the end I just couldn’t deal. Hit too close to home for me. Unlike a lot of other writers out there, I just wasn’t strong enough to delve that deeply into my own feelings and experiences.

Or so I thought.

In the last week, as I looked at the books I already have out, I realized I’d been doing exactly that.

Take Chasing Winter, for instance. In the beginning of that novel, Jesse is fun and full of life. Then he’s crippled by an accident and his entire view of the world changes. He’s cold, bitter. It takes him a long time to learn to live again.

I’ve never been hurt physically like Jesse, but I did have to drop out of law school due to an illness. In hindsight I see that law school wasn’t for me anyway, and not because I couldn’t hack it–my grades were good and I would have made a fair to decent lawyer. But I sure as hell felt broken in the aftermath of me leaving.

In Want Me, Joel’s secure life is turned upside down, and even though it’s a wrenching journey, he finds talents inside himself he didn’t know he had. I’ve been there. Although without a crazy ass hottie trying to seduce me at every turn, which was probably a good thing. Probably.

Lone, my newly released werewolf novel, features a character who’s dealing with someone close to him finding out who he really is. That’s happened to me. I’ve been in the other person’s shoes, too, having to absorb that someone wasn’t who I’d believed, and then having to decide if the “new” person was still the person I cared for.

Even though I don’t dive into a story intending to tackle a deep-seeded personal issue, I do go in with the intent of making my characters as real as possible. Realistic responses to stress, believable emotions, etc. In order to achieve that, sometimes I have to take a good hard look at personal experiences I’d much rather forget. As far as the story goes, such introspection is totally worth it. Everyone knows what it feels like to be rejected. Everyone knows how it feels to want something so badly it twists your stomach into knots. Everyone knows what it feels like to be alone.

In that way, every writer has a connection to their readers. It’s all about building a believable bridge from the story to those basic emotions.

If I get a bit of a catharsis while doing it, bonus. If a light bulb happens to go off in my head and makes me go “Ahh, I get it now,” even better. But it’s not something I go hunting for, and I can say from experience that most of the time that little light doesn’t even flicker until I’m re-reading the story years later.

But I figure it must help, even if I’m not aware. Maybe in some little way it makes me stronger, and the stronger I am, the more passion I can embrace. The more passion I can embrace, the better everything around me becomes.

Huh, sorta like Ace and Spade. I just realized that.

Dude, where’s your sequel?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, May 15, 2008.


I’m currently working on One Good Verse, the sequel to One Good Hand(gamblers, yaoi, hot hot guys. Mmm). People have asked after it (fan mail rocks!), and I finally seem to have gotten my writing mojo back, so it’s truckin’ along a lot faster than it was previously. Feels good. But, hmm…

I’ve never written a sequel before. Sure, when I start a story I usually have a whole world in mind. Sometimes I have a series arc from the get-go, and other times things develop over the course of writing the first book. Often I storyboard subsequent novels to make sure I don’t forget the finer points. But with One Good Verse I realized in a quiet sort of rush that this is the first time I’d actually tried to put down a bonafide sequel.

The idea is, well, freaking daunting.

I wonder if the second book will do the first justice. I wonder if readers will like Anthony and Michael as much as they did Ace and Spade. I wonder if I’ve totally lost the ability to write.

Okay, I go through that third one with all my books, but still.

All this is exacerbated by this warped delusion I have that I’m a lazy bum that’s unable to finish anything. Logically, I know this just isn’t true. Want Me came out early this year. The re-release (and omg, overhauled) edition of Warm Rush: Chasing Winter is tentatively slated for this summer. I have several stories nearing completion.

Still, it feels good to finish things, and I’m working hard to complete One Good Verse because I think it’s a sweet book with just the right amount of angst. I adore Anthony and Michael, who both seem perfect on the outside but have some pretty substantial flaws when you dig a little deeper. I hope readers find them as fascinating as I do. Of course, I won’t find that out until it’s done and read.

So I’d like to know—Have you ever had a crisis of faith when writing a sequel? Or, if you’re not a writer, have you ever hesitated to do something a second time for fear of not living up to the first project? If so, I’d love to hear about it and how you got over the hurtle. Would definitely help me get over these insecurities, knowing others go through the same thing. Less insecurity = More writing. And I’m all about more writing.


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