Archive for the ‘Touching Fire’ Category

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. >.>

Goals: I haz them.

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

I didn’t write a New Year’s resolution post because I didn’t feel like I’d achieved much in 2010/2011. I sorta figured I was hella lucky to have a novella out in 2012 and shouldn’t push that luck. Plus I go through this thing periodically where I feel like I suck.

Then an old friend sent me a card. Inside, she had cut and pasted (as in actually cut and pasted, with paper and scissors and—I assume—paste) a dozen little quotes and images that reminded her of me. It made me laugh. It totally made me feel like I didn’t suck.

So I got back to writing, and my short little bonus fic turned into another novella. Sold novella to publisher. Rocked out to The Offspring in my living room. Realized it was only January and that this could get interesting.

Below are a list of my goals for 2012. I’m going to do my best to achieve them. I’m not going to beat myself up over it if I don’t. I’m also going to be flexible and open to change.

I think it’s going to be a good year.

  • Updates to the website
    • I didn’t put up any additions to Best of Rowan’s Ramblings for 2011, and there were some pretty good ones. (Check: 2-16-11)
    • I’m thinking of doing a bit of a redesign to the overall look and navigation to the site. For a while there I never had more than three published books out at a time, but I’m up to seven now so I think it’s fair to say that the trend is good and over. My book list is starting to look a little unruly.
    • I’d also like to make the place more mobile friendly. As is, it doesn’t look too bad on phones because the original design took into account smaller laptop/monitor screens, but a mobile option could make things cleaner and easier to navigate on a phone.
  • Updates to Stories
    • This is the year I finish The Jascian’s Toy. I can feel it.
    • Write One Good Verse, which will bring the One Good series to three. I do like that number. Plus I’ve been working on it forever and I’m really digging the world right now.
    • Maybe Touching Fire: Asher’s Magic. Asher Croft is so very hot and his story should be a lot of fun.
    • If things go well with Drayner series, #1: Just Perfect, maybe I’ll get the green light on #2: Just Wait, the rough of which is already done.
    • Get Want Me into e-book format. XD
  • Conventions
    • DragonCon, if any. I ditch it for something else this year there’s a certain group of friends who will probably murder me in my sleep.
  • Blogging
    • I’m going to try and get into a regular schedule. Maybe {gasp} write a few posts ahead of time, so I can have them set to upload automatically. Most likely Thursdays. Of course, all bets are off if I’m on a roll with the story section above.
    • Post parts 2 and 3 of my 2011 YaoiCon wrap-up before YaoiCon 2012. *headdesk*

I think that’s the plan. There’s some tweaks I want to make to my own attitude, which brings us to one of the quotes my friend sent me:

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
–Marilyn Monroe

There was a time when I wrote fearlessly, when—no matter how crazy the idea—I would take what came to me and run with it. Didn’t matter whether it was thirty-five foot giant alien teenagers kidnapping humans to be their toys, or hell-bent roommates sucking the life out of the objects of their desire. They were the stories inside me, and I had every confidence I could tell them.

That’s the big goal. The one I’m going to work hardest on. I want to write madly, brilliantly, ridiculously. I want to be the person in that carefully crafted card.

And I want to have a blast doing it.

Reviews!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Still settling in from Yaoi-Con. Somewhere in between me realizing I don’t have enough shelf space for my new manga and me realizing I don’t have enough wall space for my new art, I got a couple of sweet reviews:

Lone Cover -- Click here to learn more about the story

Boylove Addict wrote that “This book is literally going right into my keeper shelf.” They said some other great stuff, too, and you can read the full review at:

http://boylove-addict.livejournal.com/58769.html

You can also learn more about Lone (as well as read an excerpt) on my site.

Paul's Dream Cover -- Click here to learn more about the story

Paul’s Dream left Serena Yates at Queer Magazine Online “totally breathless,” and I’m stoked over that. She also used words like “amazing,” “engaging,” and “evil.” I probably shouldn’t be *as* stoked over that last one, but hell, drawing up a no-holds barred villain was surprisingly difficult.

To read all of this review, go to http://www.queermagazineonline.com

And of course you can check out more Paul’s Dream stuff on my site.


I think jetting off to San Francisco did me good. Wrote 2700 words yesterday and plan to write tonight. Hoping this means I’m slipping back into a good groove.

W00t! "Paul’s Dream" has been nominated!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, January 2, 2008.


Paul’s Dream has been nominated in the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll!  If you’ve read the story and liked it, you can vote for it at at http://critters.critique.org/predpoll/novelr.shtml.  If you’ve never heard of the story, you can check it out on my site (read the excerpt, buy the book, etc) and if you happen to decide you like the story before January 14th, then please vote. 

W00t!  Pretty nice way to kick off the new year, yeah?

 

Available at Loose Id.

Recharging with my Einstein Hair

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, December 21, 2007.


Okay, that is hands down my worst blog title ever. {sigh} On to the good stuff:

I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately. Did tons of writing, but none of it’s strictly stuff I should be working on at the moment. Then I banged myself up a little (nothing serious) and it sorta hurt to write for a few days. When I felt better, I opted to draw instead of write. This marked the beginning of what I fondly (and not-so-fondly, depending on my mood) refer to as being in Recharge Mode. Logically I know a lot of stuff is getting done—reading, updating the website, sending out an overdue newsletter, returning phone calls so my friends don’t think I’m dead—but often it feels I have very little to show for it because writing is what makes me feel focused, and settled, and productive.

Still, it’s been nice. Even when I realized that my hair vaguely resembled Albert Einstein’s and put on a cowboy hat. You really can’t go wrong with a Stetson.

One of the perks from being in Recharge Mode is that you tend to Google yourself and do all manner of other things that sound dirty without actually being dirty. I got to see what people are saying about me, and most of it’s been pretty good. I managed to plow through 543 unread emails and found some wicked good stuff there as well.

Paul’s Dream is…wow. Doing better than I’d ever expected. It’s even won a few accolades, and I thought I’d share them here because nothing helps a person recharge more than good news. So here they are, in no particular order:

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you already know Mrs. Giggles rated it a Keeper.

The Romance Studio gave it a perfect 5 hearts.

Joyfully Reviewed rated it a Recommended Read.

Romance Junkies awarded the novel a Blue Ribbon.

TwoLips Reviews gave it a Recommended Read and a Reviewer’s Choice Award.

Book Utopia Mom “devoured” the story.

Jennifer Leeland called me “brilliant.”

It all feels surreal in a really really good way. Lots of people had great things to say, and I try to keep a current list of them on my site (which I just updated this past week!), so you can check them out at http://www.rowanmcbride.com/stories/touchingfire/paulsdream/. Just scroll down to the review section of the page. You can also learn about the story, read an excerpt, play a few games, and hit the link that’ll let you buy Paul’s Dream at Liquid Silver Books–http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/paulsdream.htm.

Now I’m returning to the reading phase of my Mode. Ai no Kusabi the novel is finally out. Yeah! So far it’s proving to be a great way to recharge.

"Paul’s Dream" is a Recommended Read!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, November 2, 2007.


More info on Paul's DreamPaul’s Dream has been Joyfully Recommended by Joyfully Reviewed!  Check the uber kawaii sticker:

Raine–the reviewer–had this to say about the story:

Paul’s Dream stole my heart.  I Joyfully Recommend Rowan McBride’s sexy paranormal roller coaster ride through law offices, bedrooms and dreamscapes.  This is a truly wonderful romance that will bring a smile to you face along with tears of happiness.

How cool is that?  If you’d like to read the entire review, you can see it at the Joyfully Reviewed site.

Great way to start the weekend!  Yeah! 

Purchase Paul’s Dream
Purchase Paul's Dream

Holy Crap, I’ve Been Giggled

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, October 12, 2007.


There’s this reviewer, Mrs. Giggles, who scares the bejeezus out of just about every writer I know. Her reviews are wicked tough, and she’s notoriously hard to please. Her ranking scale doesn’t consist of five roses or stars or kisses. It’s one hundred grueling points, and with ebooks it breaks down like this:

90 – 100 Hits all the right spots
80 – 89 Good
70 – 79 Not bad
60 – 69 It will do
50 – 59 It won’t do
30 – 49 Waste of time
Under 30 Recycle bin material

Books do land in the 0-30 range. I’ve always stayed under her radar, but I’ve seen plenty of stories crash and burn on her site. I’ve seen a few shine as well, so it’s definitely not always bad news. If Mrs. Giggles likes something, she really likes it, which makes reading her reviews strangely addictive.

When I signed with Liquid Silver Books, I knew there was a chance I’d get reviewed by Mrs. Giggles. She reads a lot of LSB releases. The masochist in me wanted to see it. Bring it on!

Yeah, that lasted about two seconds. Afterward, it was mostly prayers up to the writing gods that my book wouldn’t land in the Recycle Bin Material—Waste of Time range. These prayers were often accompanied by the “A low rating doesn’t necessarily mean a bad review/One reviewer’s opinion doesn’t define my book” mantras, which are true, but somewhat ineffective in treating author neurosis.

Anyway, the wait for me was over this past Monday. Mrs. Giggles reviewed Paul’s Dream. My score? 93. That makes Paul’s Dream one of nineteen “Keepers” out of more than 450 ebooks reviewed on the site. She called Paul “easily one of the most memorable romance heroes I’ve come across.”

How cool is that?  You can read the entire review here.

One reviewer’s opinion doesn’t define my book. But a great review still deserves ice-cream.

Purchase Paul’s Dream
Purchase Paul's Dream

"Paul’s Dream" is now available!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, October 1, 2007.


My novel, Paul’s Dream, is now available at Liquid Silver Books!  Woot!  Here are the details–

Title and incredible cover: 

Paul’s Dream

Purchase Paul's Dream

 

Where to get it: 

 http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/books/paulsdream.htm

 

Blurb:

Paul Graham is content with his life. An up-and-coming lawyer, he has no time to dwell on the mazes, puzzles, and riddles he solves while asleep. He has no interest in dreams, or anything that might derail his career.

Until Kian shows up. Sensual, playful, he claims that Paul rescued him four years ago. Now he’s determined to repay him with the one thing he knows best: sex laced with… magic.

Kian is unlike any man Paul has encountered. He won’t go away, for one. The fact that Paul doesn’t remember him doesn’t deter his mission of seduction in the least. But soon enough, Paul finds that this strange, carnal creature has the ability to melt his ice with a touch, to bring out a sweetness Paul didn’t even know he had.

As Kian becomes a part of his life, Paul finds himself more and more attached. Forgotten dreams, buried memories, and the dangerous obsession of another conspire to tear them apart. Is he strong enough to endure a trial by fire in order to keep them together?


You can read more about Paul’s Dream on my website. There, you can also read an excerpt, test your skills as a dream walker, and learn about my contest. I hope you like the novel. I’ve been looking forward to this release for a long time and now that it’s here I’m both excited and… completely terrified.

Purchase Paul's Dream

Purchase Paul’s Dream at Liquid Silver Books.

Fantasy crosses over

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, September 12, 2007.


So I write these stories. In the majority of them, at least one of the characters will grow taller. It’s one of the many many components that make up my complex system of fetishes. You can read about another of those components in my MG blog. One day I might blog about wings. Or collars. But today I’m blogging about the height thing.

It’s quite the fantasy of mine. Sometimes I dream about it. Sometimes I write those dreams into hot little stories. Those are good nights. The shift in dynamic, the shift in power, the shift in perspective. Bliss.

I’m not usually a player in these fantasies. It sounds strange, I’m sure, but I’m more of a voyeur in these cases. And that’s lucky for me, because then every fantasy is different—with different characters reacting to different plots—and that makes for brand spankin’ new stories. Hmm… spanking.

{forces self to stay on track}

On the rare occasions I am a player, I’m not the one who grows. I just find it incredibly hot to watch the other person. A voyeur even there, I guess. I’m not sure, but I’m thinking a lot of writers are that way. We much prefer to crawl into our characters’ minds, get comfortable, and take notes as they do their thing.

I had a doctor’s appointment Monday. Nothing serious, just a check up. Temperature, pulse, blood pressure—all normal. Go me. Then it’s time to measure my height.

Dutifully, I stand against the wall as the nurse brings the ruler thingy down to my head. She reads the result aloud.

“Five foot seven.”

I blink. “Say what?”

“That’s how tall you are. Five foot seven.”

More blinking ensues, along with a shake of the head. “No, that’s not right.”

She checks again, standing on her toes. I realize with a start that people don’t usually stand on their toes around me. “Oh, my mistake. You’re just a few millimeters shy of five foot seven.” She winks at me. “But it’s not even worth noting. I’ll just round up.”

My mouth works a few times. It takes me a while to remember how to form sound. “I’m five foot four.”

This time the nurse looks surprised. That maybe the patient’s not playing with a full deck of cards surprised. “I don’t think so. I’m five-five and you’re obviously taller.”

No way. Looking at her I can see she’s a tiny little thing, and she’s got no reason to lie to me. But I know what I know, and I try to talk some sense into the trained nurse. “I’ve been five-four since eighth grade. I was five-four this time last year.”

She shakes her head. “You must have measured wrong.”

“I was measured here.” I point behind me. “With that ruler.”

Now, the waiting room on the other side of the doors is filled, so this nurse is on a schedule. I can understand why she just politely smiles and leads me to the examination room.

What she doesn’t understand, however, is that I’m on the verge of a full-blown freakout.

I pull out my wallet, show her my driver’s license. “See, five-four. They measured me and everything two years ago.”

She pats my shoulder and tells me to sit. Then she proceeds to enter my stats into the computer. Quiet. I’m clutching my wallet, checking it periodically to be sure that it does, indeed, say I’m five foot four. Finally, my mind tries to wrap around my situation.

“Do people have growth spurts after turning thirty?”

“Sometimes.”

Okay, I didn’t know that. I absentmindedly note there might be a plot hole in Michael Finally Grows Up, but I reason that big leaps in growth never happen overnight, so Avery’s line in that scene is still good. Then I snap back to real life.

How old was I in eighth grade? Thirteen? I count back on my fingers because it gives me something to do. I know that was the year I hit my absolute tallest—I’d shot up three and a half inches over the summer and everyone asked me if I was going to be a basketball player when I grew up—which was why I remember the five-four mark so clearly.

It didn’t seem plausible. Who doesn’t grow for seventeen years and then just starts up again? Even Michael’s body had a reason.

The nurse leaves and the doc shows up. He asks how I am, and I tell him I measured taller this year than last. He waves me off, tells me that height fluctuates throughout the day.

I raise my eyebrows. “Three inches?”

He stops short, goes to the computer to check my old stats. “Interesting.”

Interesting? That’s it? That’s all I get? “I think there’s been some kind of mistake.”

The doc looks me over. “You’ve come in here a few times for joint pain, right?”

I nod, deciding not to tell him I’d figured it was my body falling apart because I’d turned thirty this year.

“Have you been bumping into things, feeling unusually clumsy?”

Crap. I’d been meaning to ask him about that. Lately I’ve knocked my foot or my knee or my elbow against everything in sight. I’d thought sure there was a disconnect somewhere between brain and body. “Yeah.”

“Growth spurt.”

“Growth spurt?”

He smiles and nods.

And so it came to be that I am three inches taller than I was this time last year. My clothes still fit, because I wear them oversized anyway. I noticed that they’ve been fitting differently lately, but figured I’d shrunk them in the wash. Shrunk them in the wash. After my appointment, I realized I’m as dumb as some of my characters. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

None of my local friends noticed until after I told them; I think because they live here with me. My parents came to visit me last week, and they didn’t say anything. I ended up calling Dad on Monday, telling him the whole story. His reaction was a typical dad reaction.

“Yeah, I thought you looked different. Figured it was your hair, like usual.”

I don’t even know what to make of that statement. I may react by putting green highlights in my hair.

Today I had to stop by the grocery store, and I caught myself comparing heights with other shoppers. I’m definitely in a different bracket now, and it feels, well, bizarre.

I shouldn’t feel different at all—it’s not like I noticed the growth. But for the most part I live in my head. Now I’m paying a little attention to the outside world. The whole fantasy colliding with reality thing is enough to jar anyone.

Freakout city seemed to be where I was headed for a while. I’d jump from scared to confused to kinda turned on. Mostly confused. I was comfortable with my image of myself. I liked being in my skin. It’s disconcerting when your body up and changes for no apparent reason. I’ll have to remember that for my next MG story.

But I got to thinking about my Touching Fire series. In that world, when incubi feed, they swell up, grow a little because they’re so filled with passion. I’ve been writing like a madman these past few years, and I’ve loved every minute of pouring my passion into those stories. The more I write, the more I get to watch wonderful, sexy characters do their thing. There are times when I feel like I’m going to burst open and all these totally random ideas will spill onto the carpet for the world to see. Or for the mutt to lap up.

Ahem. I had a point here… Oh yeah.

Maybe I’m a little like those incubi. Maybe my body had to get a bit bigger just to hold it all in.

Maybe fantasies had more power than I thought.

 

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Paul’s Dream has a cover!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, September 4, 2007.


I’ve just gotten my cover for Paul’s Dream, and it’s perfect. Anne Cain did a spectacular job working the fire and ice theme from the novel into the art, and as soon as I could I plastered it all over my website. The first look anyone besides Anne and I got was at the End of Summer Blowout chat that I did on Labor Day, which goes to show that you never know what’s going to happen at those sort of events. 🙂

Okay, enough rambling! Check out the cover I’ve been raving about:

Mmmm. Can’t wait for October. Paul’s Dream should be available then from Liquid Silver Books.


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