Monday, April 30, 2012

Guest Blogger Angel Martinez

Today I welcome friend and fellow author Angel Martinez. We're doing a little bit of bar hopping and talking  about her latest release, Vassily the Beautiful (appropriate, as we're staring at some rather beautiful men!), and Angel has bravely taken my infamous Rick Reed questions. While we... talk... to the waiters, why don't you see what she had to say? And then I'll coax her into talking about Vassily.

The Questions

)        You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

It’s going to sound like a cop out, but I’d have to have the DH with me. There are practical reasons for this – he’s handy and inventive, could make sure we had shelter and food. I could handle the food part, but it’s good to have someone with a mechanical tilt to his mind along. Sure, all that’s true. But we’ve also been together twenty-three years. We have little need to explain ourselves or to rattle on endlessly about nothing. We kinda come as a set at this point.

One thing? A portable satellite internet system. *g* You don’t expect me to stay on the island, do you?

      Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?

Jesus Christ Superstar? Kidding, kidding! It immediately sprang to mind, since we’d been talking about it. Seriously? I’d have to go with “Wicked” and I would be Elphaba rather than Galinda. Never the popular girl, maybe a little socially awkward, often too quick to speak my mind and say the things that people didn’t want to hear, I understand Elphaba and sympathize with her. Her social activism, her passion for what is right over what is legal resonates with me deeply.

      Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  men, outright, display
Rain spattered the shop window, peppering the cake display with translucent, moving shadows. Jeremy stared at them, too stunned to process.

“What did you say?”

“I love you?” Martin sounded less sure than his previous outright declaration.

“I thought you’d sworn off men.”

“Yeah.” Martin’s fingers twined with his. “Except you. Gotta love a cake princess.”

Jeremy snorted. “Cake empress, jackass. Don’t you forget it.”

Martin eyed the cakes in the window with a wicked grin. “I’ll give you a choice: kiss me or I’ll give you a crown to go with your title.”

For once, Jeremy didn’t choose cake.

       You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I think I’d go for Bren Cameron from C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. I know, he’s not a big, tough Alpha. But he’s smart and persistent, an intellectual with courage. I go for brains and a dry sense of humor over muscles any day.

       What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

Dinner out, some place casual but where the food and the beer are equally good. Then back home, maybe for a movie. We spend a lot of time in each other’s company, but it’s still romantic to be able to relax and talk and laugh together.

       When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?

Yes. Both. Sometimes. I will say that the seed of plot is usually planted first but that character needs to take root before the plot can move forward. They’re symbiotic elements for me, growing intertwined.

7      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
*straight face* Kirsten Dunst. Me? Ha! Nobody could play me. I’m too odd. Maybe Judy Dench?

8      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

The monster in Frankenstein, and, no, I don’t mean the shambling Boris Karloff version from Hollywood, I mean the original from the novel. Thrust into a life he hasn’t asked for, he struggles to understand a universe in which a man can create him – and then hate his own creation. His analytical abilities are astounding, his perseverance and canny ability to survive are breathtaking. We’re supposed to find him revolting, as something unnatural and horrifying. As usual, I find my sympathies go with the monster. He simply wanted to understand his place in the world and to be accepted – don’t we all?

9      Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?

I’ve actually had quite a few over the years. I tend to go for the misrepresented, the misunderstood – Vlad Tepis, Attila the Hun, Richard III. All of these men exhibited such courage against overwhelming odds, against everything life threw at them. They’re solutions to everything might not have always been the best choices, but it’s the inventive nature of their decisions that attract me. Oh, and the tragic heroes, like Vercingetorix. The whole standing against the tide of tyranny and dying badly has a certain poignant appeal for me.

1   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

Hmm. I think the world is ready to receive just about anything we throw at them, in one way or another. It’s not as if we can really come up with anything new, after all. But I have had this odd notion, some day, when I have lots of time to do it right, to write a historical fiction based on Richard the Lion Heart’s life. Gay warrior prince and king in a world that expected things he couldn’t give.

In the city of New Makarov on a far-flung planet at the edge of ESTO space...

A young composer suffers neurological damage in the accident that killed his father...

An amoral, small-time drug manufacturer brings a dangerous new bio-engineered intoxicant to the city...

Deals gone wrong and subtle shifts in the underworld's dealings have made Baba Yaga sons, who act as her security force, edgy and trigger itchy...

Very few constants populate the equations in this new M/M Science Fiction novel, but when the variables collide? Let the mayhem begin...


A faint glow of light appeared above him, growing brighter as he climbed, so he reasoned he must be near the top. As he craned his head back, his right foot slipped. His stomach plummeted to his feet as he banged hard against the ladder and clung there, his frightened gasps manifesting as white plumes in the dark.

Don’t turn into rubber now, legs, please, please don’t.

Shaking, panting, he found purchase again with his right foot and convinced his left hand to move, then his right. He shivered with more than cold, exhaustion and fear making each rung harder than the last. Forcing his body onward, he climbed. He had no choice and he was damned if he’d give up now.

The glow from the rooftop became bright enough for him to make out the building stones in front of him. Almost there…

He stopped as the whine of an airbike split the snow-blanketed silence. Risking a glance up, he nearly lost his footing again in shock. A flame-red airbike angled in toward the building and disappeared over the roof edge. The whine of its engine powering down made it obvious that the rider, it had to be the same one who had nearly hit him that morning, was landing on the roof.

All right, he seemed like a reasonable person. At least there would be someone on the roof when he got there to plead his case.

The surprise was considerably less when his second airbike encounter roared into sight overhead, the gold bike and rider muted to glowing tones in the soft roof lights. Baba Yaga’s security, they had to be, though the sun-yellow rider’s flamboyance seemed at odds with such serious employment.

Vassily sighed in relief when his head crested the roof ledge, a blurred view of figures moving about on solid rooftop threatening to turn his shaking legs to jelly. He was just about to hoist himself up when the third airbike knifed through the night sky, by the sound of it heading directly for him.

He cried out, legs kicking, when a rough hand seized the back of his shirt and yanked him from the ladder. Instead of falling, though, he hung suspended, dread creeping over him like morning frost as he realized he dangled from the grip of the black-clad rider who had passed him earlier.

The man maneuvered his vehicle over the roof, and in a voice like sandpaper dragged over broken glass, declared, “We have a spy.”

About Angel:

Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres. Her experiences as a soldier, a nurse, a banker, and an underpaid corporate drone give her a broad view of the world and a deep appreciation for the astounding variety of people on this small planet. She currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband of over twenty years, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate. 

You can find Angel:
And Goodreads: Angel Martinez
Or send an email if you have questions, comments or smart-aleck remarks:

Angel, Vassily sounds really fascinating. I wish you all the best with it.

Any comments, questions or requests for Angel? She'd love to hear from you!

Now, if you'll excuse us, I think some of the boys are coming over to talk to us.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Piece, Volume 2: Buggy the Clown Review

One Piece, Volume 2: Buggy the Clown  
Author: Eiichiro Oda
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: November 19, 2003
Format/Genre/Length: Manga/Shonen/200 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Teen
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Luffy and Nami are an unlikely pair—he’s a pirate, she’s a pirate robber. She wants treasure, he wants to be king of the pirates. The people of Nami’s village have been frightened away by the terrible Buggy the Clown. Nami stole a map from Buggy, showing the way to the Grand Line, where great treasure is to be found. When Luffy and Nami unexpectedly come up against Buggy and his crew, she hands him over to the clownish pirate and claims she’s come to return his map!


Buggy tosses Luffy into an iron cage and all the pirates celebrate, including their newest member, Nami. To demonstrate his superior power, Buggy loads one of his fearsome buggy balls into his cabins and blows some of the village houses to smithereens. Then he tells Nami to kill her former boss, namely Luffy! What a dilemma! If she does it, she’ll be no better than the pirates she despises. When she refuses, Buggy tells his crew to attack her and things are looking bad. What better time for Zolo to show up!

Buggy is no ordinary pirate. He and Luffy have something in common—both have ingested the Devil Fruit. Where Luffy became a rubber man, Buggy is a chopchop man! Looks like a good time for our heroes to take their leave.

Back in the village, Luffy learns that Nami stole the key to the cage, rather than the map or any treasure, and he is elated and pleased to have her as his navigator. She isn’t so sure about that. But nothing is ever simple with Luffy, and when a dog intervenes and swallows the key, then it’s back to square one. The dog guards the pet food store for his owner, who took ill and died three months ago, according to Boodle, the mayor of the village.

Enter Buggy’s first mate—Mohji the Lion Tamer. Mohji resembles a lion himself with some very weird facial hair that resembles a fuzzy mane about his face. Luffy appears to be alone, sitting in his cage; Mohji demands to know where Zolo is.  When Luffy refuses to tell, Mohi sets his lion, Richie, on him, with splendid results!

Boodle has taken enough. He’s tired of Buggy’s tyranny, and his wanton destruction of his village and he’s going to do something about it!  He challenges Buggy. Buggy’s second mate, Cabaji the Acrobat, wants to take him on but Buggy insists it’s his fight. Luffy takes Boodle out of the running, and it then becomes a fight between Zolo and Cabaji!


The second volume progresses well as we meet the bizarre clown/pirate Buggy, get more of the relationship between Luffy and Nami, and Luffy and Zolo, and see more of everyone’s abilities. Luffy has some slick moves, including his gumgum balloon, while Zolo seems virtually indestructible. Like a Timex watch, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking!

I’m really enjoying the artwork here, and the way everyone is drawn. Even the battle scenes keep my interest, which isn’t always the case. I love Luffy’s confidence, and his determination, and his loyalty to his crew/friends.  Never a dull moment with One Piece.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Soulless: The Manga, Volume 1 Review

Soulless: The Manga, Volume 1  
Author/Artist: Gail Carriger/REM
Publisher: Yen Press
American release date: March 1, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Manga/Steampunk/224pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: OlderTeen
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Breakfast at the Loontwills’ table includes gossip gleaned from the newspaper, as well as a recap of the previous evening’s ball, which the young ladies attended. The paper reveals that a gruesome discovery was made in the library at that very same ball by an unnamed young lady. Funny, no one remembers any such incident. No one other than Alexia, that is. For she is the young lady in question, the recipient of an unprovoked attack by a starving vampire. Good thing that Alexia Tarabotti is more than she appears to be. She is, in fact, a preternatural!


As if this weren’t bad enough, after dispatching said vampire at said ball, Alexia pretends to faint but no one will leave her alone, and then she finds herself under the scrutiny of two of the gentlemen of B.U.R.—the Bureau of Unnatural Registration—who’ve come to check into things. Alexia gets along very well with Professor Lyall, but Lord Maccon is another matter entirely. They’ve not been on the best of terms ever since a little matter of a hedgehog…

While taking a turn in the park with her best friend, Ivy, Alexia is accosted by an actress with an invitation—to visit a hive! It’s not like the vampires to invite anyone in, so Alexia, concerned as to their motivation, seeks counsel from her vampire friend, the flamboyant Lord Akeldama. Lord A is unsure just what is going on with them; he tells her she needs all the knowledge she can acquire before venturing into enemy territory, and the best source for this would be Lord Maccon. “Use your… feminine wiles upon him” is his suggestion.

Mysterious disappearances of the supernatural kind are becoming too commonplace in London, and both sides are concerned. Alexia is determined to get to the bottom of things, which brings her into closer and closer… contact… with Lord Maccon. And some interesting information is… revealed. But in the process, Alexia finds herself dealing with forces that are determined to use the supernatural for their own purposes.

Will her inquisitive nature pull Alexia in over her head? And will her stubbornness prevent her from seeing what is beneath her very nose? And will Lord Maccon realize that Alexia is not an alpha female werewolf, but a very strong woman who doesn’t play by werewolf rules when it comes to certain matters?

Having read the entire Parasol Protectorate series, I admit to being apprehensive concerning the introduction of the manga. However, my fears were proven to be groundless from the beginning, as I plunged into this graphic presentation of the books and found myself instantly transported into Alexia’s world.

Naturally, not everything was as I saw it in my own mind when I read the books. Alexia is prettier than I think she should be, Lord Maccon fairer and Lord Akeldama more effeminate. But that having been said, I began to enjoy them just the way they’re drawn. Especially Lord Maccon (and thank you, dear REM, for those very lovely images of his backside!) I especially enjoyed the chibi wolf scenes—they were totally adorable!

REM has done a magnificent job of translating Gail Carriger’s words into these very memorable images. I find myself picking up the book and opening it at random and simply re-reading the different scenes. And of course, no one can write Ms. Carriger the way she can. I’m grateful that no attempt was made to find another author for the manga.

Alexia is her usual in-your-face self, which I love. Her family is still loony. Professor Lyall is a lamb (not literally, just figuratively). Lord Akeldama is not just colorful, but he is very intelligent, sensitive, and stronger than he looks (don’t forget, he is vampire). Lord Maccon—what can I say? The man… er, werewolf… is sex on two legs, and where can I get one, please?

All of the spirit of adventure, the wonderful steampunk details so carefully constructed and brought to life, the supernatural mysteries, and the sheer delight that was so characteristic of the books is very much present here. I love the cover, with Alexia’s arms protectively about the snarling black wolf. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

Whether you read the books first, and then the manga, or the other way around, be sure to read them all. I’m so looking forward to the next manga. I truly hated to see this one end, despite knowing everything that is to come. Watching it unfold before my very eyes—priceless. Dare I hope that a film is in the future? A girl can dream, right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Briefs: Bath House Salvation

Happy Wednesday to one and all! Time for another round of Flash Fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! Chase those mid-week blues away with a little bit of fun in fiction!  This week's prompt was: "I can see clearly now...", while the alternate prompts were:  Use canvas, mustache, and pond or "I'd follow you anywhere" or "Take your clothes off or I'll..." or use: chicken, pantomime, stock market, or "His/her eyes were as green as..."

There will be no Dallas in Wonderland this week. I'm getting close to the end, and it's time to wrap it up and sub it. I'll keep you all apprised of how that goes, so you can see what happens to Dallas and Samuel. This week I've done a one off. I hope you enjoy it! Don't forget to check out the other Wednesday Briefers, their links follow my story.

Bath House Salvation

I don’t normally troll the bath houses this early on a Friday night. Most of the action doesn’t start until later; right now the pickings are slim, and not up to my usual standards. But my mother gave me an ultimatum—make sure I’m on time for dinner or else. I can’t very well argue. Her house, her rules.
At twenty-five, you’d think I’d be past that, wouldn’t you? Shows what a divorce will do to a guy. She took everything, cleaned me out pretty good. Just cause she saw me sucking the next door neighbor’s cock. Loony bitch.

I can see clearly now why I should’ve never married her. Hindsight’s great, isn’t it? But it won’t get my house back. Thank God we didn’t have kids.  She’s about as motherly as a rock.

“Hey Colin!”

I’m trolling through the rooms, taking a gander, seeing what I can see. I’m a regular here at Pete’s, and I know a lot of the people who come here to get their nuts off. One of them hails me as I pass by. He’s leaning against the wall, wearing nothing but a smile, while a very energetic blond bobs about on his cock.

“Hey Denver!” I reply with an appreciative nod for the fellow at his feet. I pass on, hitching my towel about my hips; I’m not ready to take it off yet and I have no reason to.

I’m beginning to think dinner’s all I’m going to get tonight when I see him. His head was down, or I’d have noticed sooner. As soon as he lifts his chin, and we lock gazes, I’m lost and I know it. His eyes are as green as a placid summer pond, speckled with blue and a hint of gold. Then he smiles at me, and I know I’d follow him anywhere.

Approaching him, I notice he still wears his towel. Someone grabs my arm; I shake it off. I’ve just found what I want, no need to look at anyone else.

We’re standing in front of one another now, and with a mutual accord, we each drop our towels. I give him a quick up and down, and damn, do I like what I see. If his widening smile is any indication, he thinks I’m no slouch either. I push him back against the wall, and then I begin.

With time constraints in place, I quickly drop to my knees, coming face to face with his erection. Wow, it’s rather beautiful for a dick. I’d always thought of them as being rather utilitarian—there for a purpose, but not necessary nice to look at. I think I’ve just changed my mind.

He wouldn’t necessarily take any prizes at the County Cock Fair, but then again, size is vastly overrated. What I see, I like. A very healthy seven inches, I think. Not too thick, not too thin, just right. And uncut, too. I never realized how much I like uncut meat. Dietary change in order, I see.

I take my tongue and languidly lick the underside of his cock, which is pointing straight up. He shudders in sheer pleasure, his fingers tangling in my hair.  I take just the head into my mouth and slurp on it, tasting tiny beads of pre-cum that seep already. Mmm, they taste pretty good. Preview of coming attractions? No pun intended.

I probe his slit with my tongue, which elicits throaty moans. I take in a bit more of his cock into my mouth and suck. I wish I had more time, there are things I’d love to do to this man, and have done by him, but this first round will have to be edited, alas. I only pray there’ll be a second.

I like the way he smells, fresh and clean, with just a hint of citrus in the background. I continue to swallow him down until I reach the end and he’s completely sheathed inside my mouth. I use my spare hand, the one that isn’t holding that gorgeous cock, to grasp his balls, and that induces more moans, while his fingers tighten in my thick, curly hair. I like the way that feels.

I find it hard to pace myself, I want to taste his come so badly. Harder and harder I suck, rolling his balls between my fingers, feeling the shudders that vibrate through his body. He must be close now; I double my efforts and I’m rewarded with a burst of his fluids in my mouth. Hard and fast he comes; I swallow it all, greedily, as if I were a dying man and he my salvation.

Finally, having consumed all he has to offer, I catch my breath, staring up into those beautiful green eyes. Damn, there’s something about him, something special. I almost ask his name, but that’s really not etiquette for a first encounter. Hopefully later.

He helps me to my feet and before I can say a word, he presses his lips against mine, and his hand cups my cock. I wind my arms about him, pulling him away from the wall to do it. Our bodies press together, and damned if I don’t feel a spark of life in his. But I can see my watch, and I have to say adieu.

“Gotta go,” I murmur regretfully, then out the door.

On the subway home, I lose track of where I am, daydreaming about Mr. Sexy. I miss my stop and have to double back. Damn, no time to change. I just make it home on time. My mother and her guest are in the living room. I smooth down my trousers and step inside.

“Colin, meet the new parish priest, Father Donovan.”

A man in black priest’s robes rises to meet me, a smile upon his lips.  I think my prayers have just been answered, as I gaze into those lovely green eyes again.

I think I’ll have to start going to church more often.

The End

Now check out the rest of the Wednesday Briefers:

Nephylim     m/m
AJ Jarrett    m/m
Sara York     m/m
Tali      m/m
MA Church     m/m
Ashlynn Monroe    m/f
Elyzabeth VaLey     m/f
MC Houle     m/m

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When did Head hopping become a dirty word?

I was reading Christopher Moore's latest novel, Sacre Bleu, the other day, and I suddenly realized that on one page he had three POV's. Count 'em - three. I didn't notice because it bothered me, upset me, or confused me. I noticed because recently there has been such a brouhaha about head hopping in the writing community, to the point where publishers throw  your work back and pontificate, "Thou shalt not headhop!"

But seriously, wtf?

Some might argue that Christopher Moore's a best-selling author and his publishers let him do what he wants because he knows what he's doing, blah blah blah. I suspect it's more than that, though. I think this is a phenomenon that is not exclusively, but largely, relegated to the romance writing community. I don't remember seeing it as an issue somewhere else. So what are publishers saying? Romance readers are too stupid to follow a change in POV?

What is head  hopping? It's supposed to be illogical changes in POV that impede the reader's understanding of the situation and the novel. But it has grown to encompass anything more than one POV per scene.

When I was first learning to write, many years ago, back in grade school, you know what they called that? Third person omniscient point of view. So, what changed?

Like I said, I had no problem with following Mr. Moore's story, despite switching POV's. If he were a struggling young author, and this was his first work, would he be so lucky as to escape censure? Hard to say, isn't it.

Now, having said that, no, it's not all right for one character to know what another one is thinking just because the author knows. Real life doesn't work like that. However, people do make conjectures and guess - and yes, assume - all the time. It's human nature. We think we know it all.

I'd like to know who decides these things, and what do they base their decisions on? Like the spacing thing. I was taught to have two spaces after a period, one after a comma. Now it's all one. That took some getting used to and I had to ask why? Did reducing that space save on paper or what?

The same with this new anti-head hopping campaign. Some people don't do it well, I admit. But t hen again, some people can't write, not matter what their POV. So that means everyone needs to be tarred with the same brush?

I think it should be a case by case basis. If it works, don't throw it out because someone has decreed that it's not in vogue at the moment, not allowable.

I can remember a time when everything was written in past tense, usually third person. Then first person present started popping up, and although at first I balked, I got used to it. Not only that, I decided to try it. And now it's one of my favorite POV's.

Not everyone is going to write the same way, or read the same way. But the point is, if you like it, if you can do it well, and if your readers enjoy it and follow it, then why not? Whoever came up with this no head hopping rule should find other pursuits to occupy his time.

What are  your thoughts on so-called head  hopping? Find it confusing? Embrace it? Or do you even notice it? I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saying good-bye to Barnabas

A few days ago, we were rocked by the sudden demise of Jonathan Frid, our beloved Barnabas Collins. He did live a long and amazing life, and he'll be sorely missed by us, his fans. I fell in love with him when I was about twelve, when I discovered the world of Dark Shadows. I began my love affair with vampires upon reading Bram Stoker's novel, one that continues to this day. I cut pictures of Barnabas from the fan magazines and taped them to my wall. Every night, before I went to bed, I kissed him good night. There is a place in my heart where he'll always live. We are blessed to have had him. I'm introducing him to my daughter Sarah, and she too is saddened at his loss.

Today I'm going to post pictures of him, in his memory. Rest in peace, dear friend, and thank you for all that you gave to us.

This is the portrait of Barnabas that hangs in the foyer of Collinwood. Or, rather, of his "ancestor".  Funny how they look exactly alike, isn't it? And that when the present day Barnabas shows up, he has both the ring and the cane.

Suspicious much?

At times, Dark Shadows could be a bit hokey and campy, but it was well loved. Look in early episodes and you'll see the shadow of the boom mic.

Barnabas with Dr. Julia Hoffman, the psychiatrist that became his staunchest ally and best friend. She had a huge crush on Barnabas, but it could never be because of his obsession with his lost Josette.

The show liked to take forays into the past at times, and the cast would sometimes play other versions of themselves, or different characters. In one incarnation, Julia was Magda the gypsy. Barnabas was always himself.

And now Tim Burton is set to release the remake of Dark Shadows on May 4th. At first I thought it might be good, that Johnny Depp might do justice to the role. Until I saw the pre-release photos, and then I saw the trailer and I thought I was going to be ill. This movie is a mockery and a travesty. I hope it fails; it deserves to. It takes Dark Shadows and makes a huge joke out of it. Dark Shadows was Gothic camp, not humorous camp, like Lost in Space. I just lost my respect for Tim Burton as a filmmaker. And Johnny? Really? Didn't you find it to be over the top in the wrong way?

Rest in peace, dear friend, you will be greatly missed. Thank you for everything you gave us.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie