"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Sunday, July 26, 2009


On a small summer break, but will be back in August with more reviews and interviews! I am also scheduling now for Fall 2009!

If you would like to be featured on Authors By Authors email me at howell.kiki@gmail.com.

For an explanation of how Authors By Authors works go to http://authorsbyauthors.blogspot.com/2009/03/new-blog-marketingpromo-opportunity.html


Friday, July 10, 2009

AS THE SUN SINKS ON THE WEEK.....



It’s our last day on the blog *sob*.



*Clare strokes her axe lovingly, Chrissy takes another step back*

Thanks to all of you who’ve commented – or tried to, but Blogger has thwarted you! Thanks for the emails, regardless, and we’ll reply to you personally. And many thanks to Kiki, for hosting us!

And if you’re tempted to finish off the week with A QUIZ…
Try these Trivia Questions!!

Clare Trivia:
Where does her pen name come from? (duh…)
What was her FIRST published novel with DSP?
How many sons does she have?
Why do YOU think there is a microwave on her living room floor?

Chrissy Trivia:
What's the name of her overweight cat?
What TWO Dreamspinner anthologies did her work first appear?
Chick flics or scifi?
Which two secondary characters from Drive do you think she should put in a sequel?

IT'S JUST FOR FUN…
Though feel free to email us if you like – with or without the real answers!



And as our swansong…

You can be anywhere on earth - where would it be?

Chrissy: Next to an ocean or waterfront. Any ocean, any waterfront. Must have surf and sand. Black sand even better. LOL.
Clare: My God, I'd say the sea as well. Though mine is a more domestic scene - and I'd need ice cream.

Who would you like to invite to dinner (living or dead)?

Chrissy: I only get to choose one? But…but… I’ll have to go with Bruce Lee. Lots of questions for that man.
Clare: Casanova. I need the inspiration.

What's your most embarrassing possession?

Chrissy:
My music collection. I have an entire lifetime worth of LP's (despite no longer having a player with a needle to player them), *cough* 8 track tapes I can't get rid of (but I still have a player for them), cassette tapes and more than 3,000 cds.
Clare: a baby-gro from Son#1, white with the Rolling Stones 'tongue' sewed on the front. What can I say? We were having a party just after he'd been born, the drink flowed, the music roared, and we wanted him to join in! (he'll kill me if he ever reads this...)

What's your favourite comfort food?

Chrissy: Scalloped au gratin potatoes.
Clare: Banana sandwiches. Who's the trailer trash here, eh? :P

What did you want to be as a child?

Chrissy: Honestly? Based on endless retellings by my family it would seem I wanted to be either an assassin, or a hooker. Probably I would have combined the both if I hadn't started writing.. Hey, you asked. LOL.
Clare: I have this hideous feeling I wanted to be an accountant. Hell, no, I must have wanted to dance or sing or climb Everest...
I think Mum told me I wanted to be a journalist. Or the Queen.

What's the nicest compliment you've been given?

Chrissy: Possibly when I was told I had a “noble ass”. But that’s a really, really long story involving a bar and drinking. Uh huh.
Clare: I'm unable to find an icon for that answer....LMAO. I remember someone telling me once I had a funny face. Bless him, he spent the rest of the evening apologising, insisting he meant that I was amusing and always laughing, not that I looked like a freak.

You can pass one law tomorrow, anything you like - what will it be?

Chrissy: I'm going to pass on this one, because the sad part is even if a law is passed I have no faith on the enforcement end of things.
Clare: Pick up your litter or be chopped down on the spot (it's been one of those days).

What, you thought we'd ask for world peace or unilateral disarmament? And you think anyone would take a blind bit of notice?! :)

MANY THANKS to everyone who’s visited this week, we’ve had a great time and hope you have too.

And just as a final plug, here are our recent releases. Both of them - independently - feature the sea. Great minds think alike, eh?
*smooches Chrissy*
*Chrissy removes the axe while Clare isn't looking and smooches back*


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See you all soon!

Clare's website and blog.
Chrissy's website and blog.
Find us both and all our books in one handy place on http://bookworld.editme.com/Home
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Our novellas: Fair Winds and Footprints.
Both available now in e-book at Dreamspinner Press.
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QUICK UPDATE (Saturday) re contests:

Winners of the free downloads are Andy Eisenberg and Aimee Sparling.
Trivia questions: Clare's answers are Where I live, The Gold Warrior, Two, and because my Husband is taking it to pieces to 'see how it works'.
Chrissy's answers are Vache, Desire Beyond Death and Size Still Matters, SciFi, and whoever you choose, we're eager to hear - I'm keen on Christopher!!! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

THE STRUGGLE TO JUGGLE...






So our blog post is late today – and guess why? For reasons of the very topic we’re chatting about!

Clare: The week has suddenly twisted up around me and I find myself trying desperately to get things done when virtually everything else is conspiring to prevent that happening! It’s my busy time at work and my hours in the office are stretching longer every day. At home, one of my sons has just lost his travel pass on the bus, and for reasons that’d take too long to explain and would bore you rigid, there’s a dismantled microwave on my living room floor. Online – though I’m really enjoying being here! - I’ve unwisely committed myself to more chat events in the next month than I can cope with. And I’ve just discovered I forgot to buy enough meat for family suppers this week yet I somehow managed (that’s online shopping for you!) to order eight underarm deodorants and a tin of sliced peaches I *didn’t* need.

Chrissy: I’m following along in a whirlwind all my own. June is always a difficult month with more than the usual outside the box events. We’ve had out-of-town company the last three weekends in a row with more expected Friday night. Of course, there are the dreaded *things that must be done* with said company – despite my barely hidden desire to wave hello and then run and hide in the basement with the computer. While I am happy in these current economic times to be employed, staff has been cut so bare at my workplace that in addition to the work of three people I’ve been doing for the last several years I’m now picking up the slack for the last two layoffs as well. I haven’t taken a lunch in ten years and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. Online? Well, as you can all tell, I’m reduced to the minimum of posts simply because I’m only online for a half and hour or so each morning and that’s if I ignore my employer’s online policies. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone! By the way, this is a great time to extend my thanks to Clare for the awesome job of posting she’s been doing this week.

Clare: *wipes brow*. So that’s us today.

Chrissy: You’ll notice that we’ve not even mentioned writing.

And so... THE STRUGGLE TO JUGGLE.

Clare: The most common thing people say to me when I tell them I’m a writer is not – what’s your pen name? What’s your genre? How on earth do you know all those intimate things about male/male relationships?, but…

When do you write?

Chrissy: I’ve asked you that myself. Hey, how do you know all those intimate things about male/male relationships?

Clare: That’s for me to know and you to… speculate *cough*.

Returning to the *real* topic under discussion – it’s all about juggling the “plates” of life and trying not to let too many of them fall. Or at least, not all at once. Writing is a huge, consuming part of my life. I spend any free time writing, thinking about writing, planning writing, angsting over bad writing, bemoaning the fact I’m NOT writing, wishing I was writing, harbouring homicidal thoughts toward things and people who PREVENT me from writing…
Well, you get the picture.

Chrissy: And I get the emails. *blinks* What? Just saying. You did return that axe to the hardware store like we discussed, right?

Clare: Axe? You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky …?

But despite the compulsion to write, I have other things in life that are just as important. My family, my friends, my health, even my full-time job despite the fact I moan about it so frequently. I try to fit this gallon of a life into the pint-pot of time I’ve given (there’s an old-fashioned analogy for you!) and then try to cope with any strain.

Recently I received a link to a publication: Time Management: Finding and Organizing the Time to Write. And all I thought? I wish.

Chrissy: She then sent it to me. I thought it sounded brilliant. Someday, I hope to find time to sit down and read this article.

Clare: Me too *mwahaha*. Though I suspect I’ve been on the management training course, as it must rely heavily on basic time management strategies. I’ll be interested to know, however, how those processes deal with the random addition of microwave crises, bicycle punctures, excess toiletries, laptop go-slow and a Writing Muse who takes holiday on his own whim and doesn’t bother to keep in touch.

Chrissy: I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me to pace myself or it all comes down to setting priorities, or that I try to get too much done. The simple reality is that no matter how many times we try to pare things down to the bare essentials the list of things that MUST BE DONE is always greater than the 27 hours in a day we are given.

Clare: Uh, Chrissy – there’s only 24 hours in a day.

Chrissy: Well, hell. No wonder I’m always behind.

Clare: So Chrissy and I are going to ask each other some of those questions we’re often asked by others – and dammit, we ask ourselves! See what answers we come up with. Then we’ll throw the floor open and ask any of you to pitch to us – any questions you’d like to ask, any experience you’d like to share.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, the Big One first. When do you write?

Chrissy: Whenever I can. That sounds like a bad joke, but seriously, I always carry something with me to write on if I’m not sleeping. Which is not as odd as it sounds - I have a bad habit of falling asleep anywhere, anytime, within three minutes of stopping movement. It’s an art form called exhaustion. I make time on the weekends to actually sit at a keyboard to transcribe and continue. When I have a piece on a deadline I always plan to squeeze time in every morning before work, but then my bosses usually come in early to get me going on a project and that’s the end of that.

Clare : I’m a Snatcher – I take any and every time I can get. I have a quiet hour or so in the mornings before everyone comes into work when I can catch up with online marketing. Then I spend some time most evenings, if I’m at home. TV-watching has become a thing of the past! Weekends, I try to get a half-day free or other, longer patch of time.

What helps you write? Is it setting, environment, timing, props.

Chrissy: It’s not so much the outer trappings of the world around me as it is what’s going on inside me. Some day’s my brain is simply flatlined.

Clare : I like quiet, so it’s best when the rest of the family are out. My writing follows the ‘method’ formula, where I immerse myself in my poor old character and plot out what they’re actually saying or thinking. I like a vase of flowers where I can see it, coffee on one side and immediate access to chocolate at all times.

What plops barriers in the path of your writing every time? Is it setting, environment, timing etc etc, you get the picture :).

Chrissy: Heh, my biggest barrier is *me*. Well, not to sound like a broken record, but my lack of time. I know people say you make time for what’s important. Trust me; I’ve stripped away any and all pretence of what isn’t a priority. Just ask those that know me. (Sorry, everyone).

I often feel the fail in the social networking aspect of being an author. What do you think my choice is if I get an open hour? Am I going to write and do some research, or am I going to get to know people on Facebook and Twitter and amuse myself reading an insightful blog? That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to, I’ve met some amazing people online. But to my constant shame I have friends in real life that I neglect horribly. The whole online world is just added pressure that I can’t let myself dwell on.

Clare : (is nodding furiously :P). It's *anything* that blocks my quiet time! I have to compete with TV, games consoles, Son#1 practicing the electric guitar, Son#2 running a full commentary on whatever he’s watching, telephone, radio, washing machine, the sound of an axe falling etc etc etc

Who *is* your Muse and are they on Twitter?

Chrissy: I’ve danced around the elusive Muse question for years and will *cough* continue to do so simply because I never spent the time to sit down and think about it (see subject of this post above). I will say that whatever form said Muse may take - definitely NOT on Twitter.

Clare : LMAO. My Muse is a statue, sits by my laptop with an expression of bemusement – and sometimes despair – and tries to bully me into getting on with it. (and who's now insisting he gets a picture posted here with us).

What’s the most useful tip you’d pass to an author in the same position?

Chrissy: Ignore everything else I’ve said, cut yourself some slack and have fun with it. There’s no perfect way to do anything (where’s the joy in that) and balancing life/work/writing and double chocolate cake is no exception.

Clare : What fabulous advice! *files it away for future reference*.

Practically, I'd say carry a notepad and keep writing! (is that like carrying a big stick...?)

Chrissy mutters... "Or an axe..."

Be as organized as you can – always have the right version of the WIP file to hand (saves time trawling through those temp files where you saved it by mistake), keep writing, keep notes (however silly) of where you see the plot going, back your work up regularly, keep writing (even if it's garbage by now), try not to be drawn into obsessive editing. Keep writing!! Battle on when you get the time, then periodically try to 'book' yourself a quiet time to look at the whole and make some intelligible sense of it all.
Emotionally? Praise yourself for small achievements. 100 words a day average? Fabulous! Enjoy your words, use the best and the most enjoyable you can, make the writing a treat for the small snips of time, else you end up rewriting the same damned sentence every time you go in and look at it again.
Enjoy, ENJOY, or you won't WANT to keep writing.
Oh, and in my case (Hubby yelling from the other room) - turn off the f*g net.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d done better / earlier / differently?

Chrissy: I try to live without regrets. Things are what they are. I can only do my best to enjoy them.

Clare : Damned fine philosophy. However, I'm a little more fragile at the moment *cough*. I know I wish I’d spent more time learning how to outline better (if at all). Writing is easy when the story is bubbling at the forefront of your mind and virtually spills out on to the page when you get to a keyboard. However, when you have much more to distract you, it’s easier to lose the thread and the motivation.

What’s the one thing you’re really proud of that facilitates your writing?

Chrissy: I might say my curiosity about people and the world around me. Humans are quite interesting to observe.

Clare : God, she steals all the best lines! But it's true - I'd say my imagination, too, and my tolerance for all kinds of people and situations. I'm sure that an author's writing is much better if they have a healthy, two-way connection with the real world. Perseverance is good, too. And my filing's shit-hot *smirk*.

How many works in progress do you have open on your screen at this very moment?

Chrissy: Even though I am at work I will confess to having three open in the word processor. I love flashdrives.

Clare: SNAP! Three. OMG. I can’t really live in three different worlds at once, I admit, but I can pop from a novel to a short story without too much problem, And in true spirit of a Snatcher – see above! – if I have a spare fifteen minutes, I go for a quick hit on a short story.

Social Networking: Useful Tool or Time Suck?

Clare: A-ha! This is a late one I snuck in, though Chrissy commented on social networking above. I'm going - arrogantly - to reply for us both.

Well, obviously it can be both, to differing degrees.
Personally, I’m cautious of the time suck factor. I’m sorry folks, but if I’m chatting to you about my writing, I’m not writing! LOL. And dear God, we authors are so easily distracted by the shiny.

So instead, I have MySpace and Facebook purely to BE THERE, and I love my blog on Live Journal. I can touch base with most of my online friends there, not just people in the writing world. I also email happily and often - in fact I prefer to talk to friends on a one-to-one like that, and privately.

I stopped any IM-ing because I can’t write while I chat, and I’m sorry, but I want to write more than chat casually! And Twitter leaves me cold, even though people try to persuade me it can be used just for marketing and information and I don’t have to spend hours texting what I’m currently eating, how squee is Captain Jack (which he is, of course) and isn’t the weather hot for the time of year (yes, I’m British, obviously there's a specific genetic trait for chatting about the weather). But anyway, it’s a major Time Suck for me.

HOWEVER, this week I met the loveliest web designer ever who’s also a yogi, has a beautifully soothing voice, has a healthy disrespect equal to my own for the time wasted on social networking sites, but insists he can show me how to get a Twitter feed from mobile phone to website without me ever having to chat inanely. Entranced by his waist-length dreadlocks, I’m meeting him next week to talk it through. Oh, so easily seduced…


Thanks to the C&C Girls and of course - Clare's Muse.

So - anyone found the answer to Life Itself in amongst all that?
Anyone itching to say - no, no that's not how it is for me?
Or - equally - yes, YES, you speak for my tormented, tangled life?
Or just to borrow my axe?

Feel free to ask, to chat, to rabbit on.
It's been fun to talk to YOU!!!


~~CONTEST ALERT~~
only one day left to enter, see Monday's post for details!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Clare's Turn to Squee and Squabble...









It's Cla-a-a-re.......

Talking today about Chrissy Munder's great new novel Drive Me Home.

BLURB: Las Vegas isn't just a glamorous, glitzy playground for high rollers, Elvis impersonators, and blushing newlyweds. It's also a seedy, worn-out dumping ground for the lonely, the broken, and the lost. Eric Moss is one of those drifters, just marking time, until he meets two very different men, both of whom could change his life.Marc Evans is a rich casino owner. He offers Eric safety, security, and a chance to regain some of his ravaged past. Brad Torres is a garage mechanic. He offers Eric nothing at all. The choice might have been easy, if Eric weren't intensely attracted to both men. He has to choose between Sin City's sparkling lights and a life in the shadows—will he be able to live with his heart's decision?

EXCERPT HERE

At last, my chance to chat about Chrissy’s great new novel!

Let’s face it, this blurb is a great summary. That’s not always the case with blurbs, but this novel covers many complex and fascinating themes, all in a very entertaining and lyrical way, and they’re all hinted at here. It is essentially the story of Eric’s journey – in employment, in self-discovery, in friendship and, eventually, in love.

The book opens with a very powerful first scene when we’re shown Eric’s desperate misery – and as the reader, we’re thrown right in there with him. He’s a victim – he’s been betrayed and treated most unfairly, and for that moment he’s slipping into surrender.

But from then on in, he picks himself up both physically and mentally, and starts to fight back. This isn’t a physical fight – we don’t see violent anger or a sudden surge of unrealistic alpha male-ness. Eric’s an emotionally injured man, but he once had the same hopes and ambitions and flaws as us all. His journey back to strength and confidence is gradual, yet building layers of resilience. At first, he’s content just to find a secure niche with his new job, make cautious friendships, and watch what’s going on around him. I saw Eric as an observer – a man with wit and strength of character but wary of committing his emotions. This is perfectly illustrated in his almost unwelcome but instinctive reaction to the two attractive men who enter his life – Brad and Marc.

How could he be drawn to two very different men at the same time? What did that say about him? Restless from the turmoil within, Eric had wandered around Vegas. He tried to lose himself in the massive swell of humanity that filled the streets and shops, letting the crowd push him one way and then the next, playing tourist for the first time since he had arrived.

This thread between the three men runs all the way through, but as always, Chrissy treats us to wonderfully rich secondary characters to entertain us as well. Eric’s fellow limo drivers are a very mixed bunch, and every one is vivid as an individual. These were the scenes that made me smile most, that amused me with their banter and fascinated me with the insight into the world of Las Vegas for a lowly employee. Some of these characters have only a small part to play in the tale – some have much more. Chrissy also weaves in an underlying mystery plot, building the tension outside of Eric’s own story.

And gradually, Eric starts to open up to life. He makes friends, he has success, he connects with people again. Chrissy’s prose is tight and tense in all the right places – her descriptive powers make it a delight to read every word, especially as we experience Eric’s viewpoint. It’s a sensual awakening.

Eric looked at his coffee and then over to Brad’s eyes, pale and shuttered behind the veil of smoke. He opened his mouth to refuse, but as he sat there staring at Brad the words he meant to say were somehow replaced by a silent nod of agreement.

The depiction of Las Vegas has been praised in many other reviews, and of course it’s fabulous. Makes me want to go there even more LOL. We can feel the heat, we blink in the bright lights, we’re fascinated and slightly stunned by the noise and melodrama and hedonistic behaviour of some of its visitors.

It was still his favorite part of the day, those last few moments when the sun battled with the neon of the Vegas Strip for supremacy before it finally gave up and drifted off to sulk until the next morning. Eric lingered in the parking lot for a few extra minutes, watching the sun disappear from the city skyline as best he could before heading inside the garage.

The end of the novel pulls the threads of character and plot together, but it’s by no means the end of Eric’s story – I’d have found that unrealistic and unsatisfying. There is enough closure for the reader, but plenty more to keep us thinking. Eric is thrown into more struggle and trouble, but this time, he starts to take control of his life. He realizes that choices are his and his alone – that he has reserves of courage and strength of mind that had been beaten down but not lost. That he has a right to happiness and passion, and his response can be active, not passive. That there’s still pain and disappointment in life, but it’s balanced with joy, too – and you have to be in it, to win it.

“That was a nice thought,” Eric said quietly. “But I needed to learn to take care of myself.”


I also have questions - and I'm not afraid to use them!

My first and most burning question: one of the things I found refreshing about the book was that it wasn’t a neat, all-wrapped-up HEA, although of course there was a good measure of hope and romantic satisfaction. Are you planning a sequel any time? It seemed to me there was plenty of scope – in Eric’s burgeoning romance, the unfinished business with the other man in his life (being careful not to give spoilers!), the fate of Eric’s family.

I’ll never say never, but to be honest, when I finished this story it wasn’t that I was planning a sequel as much as I felt that a true HEA ending just didn’t fit the sometimes uncomfortable realities underlying the storylines. (Now I have to watch and not give spoilers). It was more that I wanted to get across the concept that we all do the best we can, one way or another, with what we have. Sometimes it works for us, sometimes it doesn’t. Though I will say I have a lot of faith in the ending romance, perhaps because of both men’s imperfections.

So, not content with one gorgeous man to take interest in Eric, you had two! Confess – is this a theme that intrigues you? Is it because of the conflict it inspired in Eric, or does it reflect the feeling that all the things we want from a partner are rarely found in one person? Or are you just plain greedy LOL?

Excuse me while I raise my hand and just go with Greedy with a capital G. (You know me so well, LOL). Perhaps I shouldn’t confess to this, being a romance writer and all, but despite my total acceptance of obsessive love and lust at first sight there are times when I feel that it’s unrealistic to expect one person to be our everything for an entire lifetime. People change and go through cycles and it’s rare to find one person willing and able to deal with the honesty and pain that can accompany that process.

Of course, that’s what a good romance is for – to uplift us and inspires us with the hope that we will find that sense of completeness in our own lives. Some novels conveniently handle this premise by having the earlier love interest/soul mate meet their untimely demise, thus freeing our newly changed character to explore other options and often providing the very catalyst for that change. I certainly plan to use that same convenience in the future myself, but I couldn’t help but question what happens if you meet two such possibilities at the same time? How do you choose?

Another thing I love is the wealth of fun and empathetic depth you always write for your secondary characters. Did any of the guys here tempt you to consider writing a story for them as well?

Oh absolutely. Each one of them begs for their own time in the spotlight. I’m really drawn to the story between (I just had to do some major deletions here - avoiding spoilers again) two of them in particular. Both are very flawed characters and they know it. Yet, they stand by each other despite, or perhaps because of their failings.
Clare adds: hope it's the ones I'm thinking of right now...

This was your first published novel and a fabulous start to your portfolio. Did you enjoy the longer format, or was it a struggle? What one thing did you love about having more words to craft – and what one thing surprised you?

To answer part one and three - the biggest struggle was trying to hack out time to work on it. My work and home responsibilities can become quite overwhelming, sometimes leaving me little writing time. Then I have to re-immerse myself in the characters and the piece itself, and find that voice again. That’s much more difficult on a longer work. It was, however, a complete surprise how easy it was to find these characters when that would happen.

For the second part - being a run-on sentence overly wordy kind of gal I enjoyed the freedom to just run off at the mouth so to speak. Something I can’t do in a shorter piece when I need to get to the guts of what I’m aiming for.



Chrissy, thanks for sharing both your fiction and your time with me - and the visitors.

We'll be back again tomorrow, folks - and don't forget the CONTESTS on Monday, you could be in the running for FREE BOOKS :).


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chrissy Alternately Praises and Probes...


We’re b-a-a-a-c-c-c-k.

Chrissy: Did you miss us? I’ve got my coffee in hand and I’d like to start out today by talking about Clare’s latest novel
True Colors, currently available at Dreamspinner Press.


BLURB:
From the very first, Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter are like oil and water. After a tragic fire claimed his brother's life, Zeke's personal and professional life spiraled out of control, and now he has no choice but to sell his gallery to cover his debts. Enter successful entrepreneur Miles, who buys it and plans to make a commercial success out of Zeke's failure.Their initial hostility stands no chance against the strong passion that ambushes them. Zeke's talent and lust for life intoxicate Miles, and Zeke finds Miles's self-assurance and determination equally fascinating. But it's not until an unsolved mystery of violence and stolen sketches threatens to sabotage any chance at happiness that Miles and Zeke realize they have a chance at all.


You can read an excerpt HERE:

There have been more than a few wonderful reviews of this story, and I am certainly no reviewer. So I thought I would post some of the reasons why I enjoyed reading this story so much and then ask Clare a few questions about the story.

Clare has an amazing ability to cross genres in her fiction and have it appear effortless in both her novels and short stories. From the amazing world building of her fantasy works The Gold Warrior and Twisted Brand, to the evocative and slightly noir atmosphere found in Freeman, she writes with a lyrical use of language that draws me in and keeps me wanting more.

True Colors is a wonderful example of her skill. It’s a vibrant and exciting mix of suspense and romantic development. The relationship between Zeke and Miles is written with intensity. The interplay of the two men crackles with volatile energy from their very first meeting, and explodes into an erotic feast for the senses.

As involving as their relationship is, it’s no secret that I have a soft spot for a couple of the secondary characters as well, and am actively involved in demanding a sequel to tell Carter and Red’s story.

There’s a family dynamic woven throughout that many may find unexpected, an underlying theme of how we are shaped and molded by expectations of those closest to us. I was interested in the character of Zeke’s deceased older brother and the part he played in the story.

Here are just a few examples of just why I enjoyed reading this story so much:

Take this comment by Red:

I enjoy the single life, Miles. I enjoy the transience; the fragility of it all. The anonymity and the hot, sweaty desperation. It has a poignant thrill of its own.

Think about that. Read it out loud. Take it for a spin. Let the words wrap around you and really feel what is being expressed in a few, carefully chosen words.

Or this small bit between Miles and Zeke:

“And so you were never going to get the theme of the show,” continued Zeke. How stupid had he been? “The feeling of seasons passing – the swing from the sharp spring green, to the late summer gold, to the burnt autumn ochre…”

Miles was watching him as he spoke. Zeke realized he was accompanying his words with bold hand movements, sketching the themes in the air. As soon as he caught the other man’s glance, he dropped his arms, self-conscious now.

And, because this was written by Clare there is the excellent job of building sexual tension between the two men:

He couldn’t take his eyes from Miles’ lips, though they’d stopped moving. He wondered what else Miles would say; whether he had any more complaints; what those lips would taste like, pressed against Zeke’s, hot and damp and hungry…

And later:

But all Zeke wanted to do was touch that mouth again – that firm, so often disapproving mouth – and plunder inside for a few more blissfully greedy moments. To see the pale red flesh of Miles’ lips blossom into a hard-kissed crimson; to feel the controlled body underneath him slide into a reluctant enjoyment; to watch the rosy flush spread over the dark, smooth skin of his neck – and know that it had been because of him, Zeke Roswell.

Darn near makes ME shiver just reading it.

I could excerpt my favorite bits and pieces from this story all day long, but you really should read it yourself and enjoy the full impact.

So, here’s where I get to put Clare on the hot seat and ask her a few questions about True Colors – Feel free to chime in with a few questions of your own.

1. Right off the start I want to compliment you on the lack of the chatty, female sidekick that I have *cough* been guilty of writing myself. The friendship between Zeke and Jo is understated and believable. Now, that isn’t really a question is it? But feel free to say something thoughtful anyway.

Clare : I’ve been guilty of it too – and the opposite, too, making the women in my books worse than unsympathetic! I didn’t think I chose characters purely on gender, but then I do worry about books that seem to take place in some magical Men-Only World. Jo was a character I used almost carelessly in the beginning, then found she had an important part to play at the end, too. Nowadays, I try to blend in a realistic range of friends and associates for my heroes. And I know my readers like purely m/m, but I did have m/f scenes in Gold Warrior – in context with the matriarchal society of the plot. I know this is FictionWorld, but it’s good to reflect real life, too.

2. Story after story you keep the sexual encounters between your characters interesting and innovative (I won’t give away my favorite here). How do you do it?

Clare : That’s a part of my resume I’m going to have to live up to, right? I’m not conscious of deliberately planning it, and I usually let the progress of their relationship – and their desire - dictate the pace. In True Colors, Zeke is sexually uninhibited but emotionally rather fickle, whereas Miles is just as passionate and adventurous, but more cautious about committing his emotions. When they fall for each other, things are combustible between them! It’s difficult to think up new ways or settings for intimacy without chasing novelty for the sake of it – so I let the guys speak for themselves and hope that’s differentiation enough.

3. Having spent some time involved in a small way with the gallery opening and art scene many years back I was struck by how accurate and bitingly observant your descriptions were in this story. I laughed out loud more than once. How did you come up with the concept of using this background for True Colors?

Clare : Wow, thank goodness I can fool some of the experts LOL. Seriously, that’s a lovely compliment. I’ve got no background in art but I know a lot of artists. And I suppose I rely on the theory that creation is the same for us all, whatever the medium. It’s all full of angst, euphoria, hard work, disappointment, achievement – and has its own share of pretension, idiots and genuine characters.

4. I was thrilled with Zeke’s use of the Perspex wall, audience participation and the way that tied in with the mystery plot. The scene was vividly described and I could see how that would look at an opening. If that hasn’t been done in the art world, it should be. How did that come in to being?

Clare : I wish I could remember! My imagination astounds even me, sometimes. I wanted Zeke’s artistic vision to be for something different – not just the paintings, not just a single theme of color or size. So I pitched him towards installation art – it seemed to me that his art would engage all the senses, that’s the kind of man he is. He does everything – good and bad – with his full enthusiasm and passion. As, of course, Miles finds out :).


And my postscript today : Thanks to Chrissy for being a sympathetic 'ear' and 'shoulder' all through the writing of this one - and at all other times, too. And now, having made her sound like some kind of collection of disembodied limbs, I'll sign off from here, but ...
To any of you, readers and visitors?! Feel free to ask me whatever you like!

Have a great time, everyone!


Monday, July 6, 2009

TENDER LOVIN' C & C











TENDER LOVIN' C & C - that's Chrissy and Clare !!


Good morning, Authors by Authors. *taps mic* Is this thing on? Welcome to the Clare and Chrissy Show. Stay tuned this week for fun, festivity, a contest or two and some dubiously insightful conversation on what it’s like to participate in the madhouse that is our lives.

I’m Clare London… *hands mic over*

and I’m Chrissy Munder. We are very excited to be on Authors by Authors this week, and hope that you are just as excited to see us.

Clare: So, let’s jump right into our Authors by Authors posting, shall we?

Chrissy: You know, if this were live we’d have theme music. I think we need theme music

Clare: Just smile for the web audience, Chrissy. Today is an intro post for us. Just a little taste of the week to come to keep you coming back for more. Let’s start with who we are. We could direct you over to our websites where you could read our official blurbs, or we could do this the easy way.

Chrissy: I’ll start with telling you a little bit about Clare London – the always gracious and caring gal across the big pond who I’m pleased to call a personal friend.

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Clare: That's me! I also preview some of my fiction on my blog at Live Journal. I LOVE to hear from readers, believe me it's true! and I pride myself on replying as quickly as I can to any mail.

Chrissy: Clare can also be found at her website - and, for those that may not be aware, she is contemplating a second career as a karaoke lounge singer. Having heard taped evidence of such I can cheerfully tell you she’s pretty darn good.

Clare: And as for Chrissy Munder?!

She is an author of erotic romance - currently having a wonderful time writing m/m romance. She writes a little of everything that strikes her fancy: GLBT historical, scifi, contemporary erotica, even a little horror on occasion. But overall she prefers to focus on three key elements in life: Love, Laughter and Desire. She believes you can never have enough of those three elements and with them there isn't anything life throws at you that you can't handle. There's always going to be an element of humor in all of Chrissy’s writing - even if it is a bit skewed at times. Be prepared! You are welcome to stop by Chrissy’s website or her main blog at Love Journal. Where, if you are lucky, Chrissy will spare you commentary on her deep and passionate love affair with bad scifi movies.

Chrissy: Wow, we sound pretty interesting, don’t we?

Clare: We have our moments.


Join us this week, we'll be chatting about our books, our lives and our Ups and Downs - and we're really looking forward to sharing with you.

And now *drum roll*...






TIME FOR CONTESTS !!!!!!!!!!

Chrissy: I’m almost out of coffee, but before today’s post ends I wanted to tell everyone about the contests we are running this week. I’m offering up a PDF copy of my short story Business Before Pleasure as the prize. All you have to do is :

Go out to my Live Journal and then email me at chrissymunder@yahoo.com with the number of times I’ve used my Coffee Cup Icon for my May 2009 posts.






Send me your email before 8:00 am Friday, July 10th. If there is a tie, the winner will be picked by Vache, my extremely overweight cat.

Clare: Any interest in MORE prizes?! My contest is for a PDF copy of any of my short stories – you can find the whole darned lot here, plenty to choose from! And all you have to do is:



Go to my website and find the name of my Coming-Soon short story with LoveYouDivine, a part of the Immortal Fire anthology. This particular story is mentioned in THREE places on the site – easily found!! Then email me the answer to clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk by Friday 10.

SO WHAT ELSE DO WE HAVE PLANNED THIS WEEK??
Monday 6th – HELLO from us (you just survived that LOL).
Tuesday 7th – Chrissy talks about True Colors by Clare London and asks some of those the-author-behind-the-cover questions.
Wednesday 8th – Clare talks about Drive Me Home by Chrissy Munder - and gets to ask her own questions in return!
Thursday 9th – We both chat about writing and working and why we despair at social networking :).
Friday 10th – Hasta la vista, baby. Prepare for surprises and more laughs as we play Author Trivia!!
Looking forward to sharing the week with you, and many thanks to Kiki, our gracious Hostess.


In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.