Archive for the ‘Chasing Winter’ Category

Amber Quill Press is shutting down

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

One of my publiahers, Amber Quill Press, is shutting its doors for good. Their official closing date is March 30th, but they’re already beginning to wind things down.

This means that two of my books — Lone & Warm Rush: Chasing Winter — are going out of print. That makes me especially sad, since those were the only books I had available in paperback. If you were planning to buy the hard copies of either of those novels, I’d do it now. I’m not sure when exactly they’ll be pulled down, but if what happened to Want Me was any indication, the prices after AQP closes could skyrocket to $150. I love Lone and Warm Rush, but they are definitely definitely not worth that much. O.O

If there’s an upside, it’s that the e-book formats of both both books are seriously discounted on the AQP website, if you’ve been meaning to check them out.

It’s still sinking in that AQP is closing, so I haven’t decided what to do with my orphaned stories yet. Did you know that I wrote Lone especially for AQP? They were invitation-only and I certainly didn’t have an invitation, but I kept the finished manuscript under my bed for at least a year on the slim chance I’d receive one someday. Then, out of the blue, the invitation appeared in my inbox and I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the happiest moments of my life.That’s what I’m going to focus on for now. Business stuff later.

I’m not ready to say goodbye, Amber Quill, but I will say thank you for allowing me to be part of your writing family. I will miss you dearly.

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. >.>

Names and Master Plans

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

This post is probably going to be even more ramble-y than my usual, so there’s that.

I started a story recently where I changed the name of the main character three times. That never happens to me. In a best case scenario, when I imagine a character for the first time he already has a name attached. In other, less desirable situations, I spend hours—sometimes days—going through my baby name book, name websites, and scrolling through my television menu for random actor names until I find something that fits, dammit. But something always does, even if I have to eventually make it up. The name captures the person.

Until this new guy. He started out as a Dan, then as a Ray, and currently he is Neil. At the moment I’m not entirely sure I think his name is Neil. It’s really disconcerting. I can’t even start a story unless I know who the main characters are, and here I have one and I can’t pin down his name. I feel like I’m writing about a ghost. Which I’m not.

Then come the repeats. I’m not sure what the writer etiquette is on that. I have a Michael in Michael Finally Grows Up (which was updated late last month—yeah!), but I also have a Michael you’ve never met, in a sequel that I promise I’m working on slowly but surely. In this case I don’t think it’s so bad because MFGU is a free serial and in a different category from the novel I’m working on. Separation challenge: Easy.

Things get murkier when the stories are both books. Jesse Winter is still my favorite character I’ve created, but a few days ago this new idea popped up in my head, along with a brand new character whose name was…Jesse. I figured I had to change it, but Derek—the love interest—calls him Jess and how hot is that? Keith never called his Jesse Jess. Of course, Derek is the name of this guy I’d had planned for a fairy tale down the road…

*headcramp*

I’ve lost count of how many idea files I have on my hard drive. How many “chapter ones” I intend to spin out into fully realized tales. I also have a spreadsheet to keep track of all the names, to help keep my myriad of master plans and distinct worlds from colliding with each other. And yet I have two Michaels, two Jesses, and a dude who may or may not be a Neil.

Sometimes I wonder why I put so much effort into names, anyway. Would the content of my stories be that much different if I named half my characters Bob? Then I take Jesse from Warm Rush, and try to imagine him as, oh I don’t know, a Duke or something, and that really doesn’t seem like it could work. But Duke from G.I. Joe? What other name could he have? Also—hot.

This new Jesse? I’ve tried retro-fitting him with different names. Nothing works so far. I think about books I’ve read by authors I love and I have to admit, unless it’s the same universe, I don’t pay attention to names (or similarities, or repeats) from one series to another. But then I’m freakishly bad with names (hence the spreadsheet mentioned above to help me remember my own characters) so I’m most likely not the best sampling here.

What do you think? Is it confusing when an author has two characters with similar names, even if the story worlds never overlap? Or does the fact that I have around 250 names used (as in seen in a published/posted story) or on reserve (as in featured in one of my many “chapter ones”) in my spreadsheet make it a big enough pool that I can use a couple of them more than once?

And Neil, or whatever the hell his name’ll be by the end. Still no idea what to do about him. Maybe he’d work as a Bob…

So much for master plans. >.<

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.

New Book. New Contract. New Cover.

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, January 15, 2009.



Finished my werewolf novel, and Amber Allure accepted it last week! It’s called Lone, and it’s got a tentative release scheduled for March. W00t!

I love Lone. I finished it ages ago, but I kept tweaking it and tweaking it. Wanted Rafe to be strong and forthright. Wanted Seth to be sweet and just a little bit psychotic (which, surprisingly, is a hard combination to pull off). In the end, I think I achieved everything I wanted, and I think it’s a pretty good story.

Today I also got my cover, and I’m digging the blue angst:

I can’t believe so much has happened and it’s only the middle of January. I hope it’s a sign of how the rest of 2009 is going to go.

If you’d like to learn more about the story, check out my website at: www.RowanMcBride.com.

I think now’s a good as time to any to break in my new happy dance:

http://humbuged.deviantart.com/art/Humplex-Caramelldansen-81932063

Aww Yeah! I’m a Bestselling Author!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, August 10, 2008.


Guess who hit the number 2 spot on Amber Allure’s July best sellers list?

 

I Came Home to Such Cool Stuff!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, July 29, 2008.


So I’m back from a vacation I neglected to announce I was leaving for. Although I’d known I was going to Florida for quite some time, the trip still took me by surprise. I had an e-loop chat July 4th, the release of Warm Rush: Chasing Winter on July 6th, then my plane taking off the morning of July 9th. I ended up making a whirlwind attempt at promotion right up until the 8th, at which point I sat down and tried to figure out how I would transport my Giant Pocky on the plane without smashing it to pieces.


Pocky arrived safely. Vacation rocked. I watched a busload of anime and managed to squeeze in a mini Tetris tournament. I also met a lot of new friends and got to know a good friend even better. When I look back on the past two weeks, it still seems like one massive, blurry day, which I suppose is proof of a great time.

Now I’m home, still catching up on emails (if you’ve written me and I haven’t responded, that’s most likely why). Settling back into my life is bringing a smile to my face. A lot of good stuff happened while I was gone. A fan floored me by gifting me with a three month subscription to DeviantArt. Chasing Winter has been released in print, and it’s received a 4/5 star review from Rainbow Reviews.

The best thing is that I’m itching to write. I’d been a little burned out for, oh, a couple months at least. But now I’m wanting to get back to my alien sex slaves, my smart mouthed wizards, my Shadow Guards, my comic book geeks. The list goes on and on, and I’m raring to go. 🙂

Let’s see if I can finish a new story by the end of the year, yeah?


Get the print version of Warm Rush: Chasing Winter here.

Read my new review for the story at Rainbow Reviews.

Oh! I sorta forgot I had a Warm Rush store. I hadn’t known that Café Press jacked up the prices on my stuff, so I knocked a few dollars off each item to make them easier to pick up. It’s a lot of fun—you can get the t-shirts featured in the stories! So if you’d like the browse to Warm Rush online store, go to: http://www.cafepress.com/WarmRush.

Everyone have a great week!

Alright! Let’s break a curse!

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, July 5, 2008.


It’s probably not a curse, but I’m paranoid like that.

I’ve been a published author since March 2006. I’ve built a pretty good backlist over the past two years—six novels/novellas/novelettes. Only three of them are available now (Paul’s Dream, One Good Hand, and Want Me), and no more than three are ever available. It’s a long story, but for some reason things always seem to work out that way. Every time I have a new book published, one of the older ones is kidnapped by the wings of fate, and three are available once again.

All that changes tomorrow.

Warm Rush: Chasing Winter will be released from Amber Allure on July 6th. It’s poetic that this will be the one to break the curse, because this was the first novel I ever had published. I like it when things come full circle. And I loved going through the story and applying all the things I’ve learned in the last couple of years. You don’t often get to go back in time and tinker.

Going through this story again was…wow. Being with Jesse again, watching him deal with his pain and bitterness as he slowly returns to life. It reminded me why this character, maybe more than all my others, got inside me. And Keith. Good lord, Keith fixes his mind on something and pursues it with a determination that I’ve always found sexy as hell. Together they push and pull, fight and love. They grow.

Okay, I know I’m being a sap. But it’s a big day for me. I’m allowed, right?

So I’m asking—because I’m a sap and a little nervous—for you to post a little virtual {crosses fingers} on this blog. I would definitely feel better with just a little bit of luck flowing my way.



Warm Rush: Chasing Winter will be available July 6th from Amber Allure at: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/WR1ChasingWinter.html

Book Cover! Release Date! Happy Dance!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, May 28, 2008.


Warm Rush: Chasing Winter has a super cool cover!

Click the pic to learn more about Warm Rush

I also got a release date! The ebook will be out July 6th, and the print version will be available two weeks afterward, give or take a week.

I’m uber excited. A little too excited to write a fully coherent blog about it, actually. So I’m posting a link to my Cuteness of Doom, Use For Only the Special-est of Special Occasions, Happy Dance.

Happy Dance

If you’d like to learn more about the story, check it out on my site at www.rowanmcbride.com. This is the re-release of my very first novel, so it’s very near and dear to my heart. It’s got muscle growth, it’s got love, it’s got the hottest boy-next-door in the history of boys-next-door. I’m thankful to have had a chance give it a second life.

Warm Rush: Chasing Winter

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, April 10, 2008.


My long-time homeless novel, Warm Rush, has been accepted by Amber Allure!  This was my very first published book, so I’m wicked excited to know it’s going to have a second life with a new publisher.  Yes!

I overhauled the story—cleaning up a slew of newbie mistakes that still make me cringe, answering a few questions that were left hanging in the first version, and even adding a new mini-scene.  With all that, it seemed appropriate that it get a brand new title:  Chasing Winter.   Warm Rush has been bumped up to series title.  How cool is that?

Yes, this means I’m planning a sequel.

No release date as of yet, but I’ll be sure to let everyone know when I get one.  For now, I’m just…basking.  I might even have a slice of apple pie to celebrate. (If you never got a chance to read the original novel, that comment will seem a lot more clever after you pick up Chasing Winter.)