Hi, um, everyone. It's nice to see you. I'm surprised you're still hanging around, but it's nice you are. The last couple years have not been easy. They've been even harder on my writing because time.
Between working full-time, graduate school part-time, and family and friends, there hasn't been a lot of me left to give. I have been working on stories. I think I'd curl up into a little ball and cry if I never wrote again. It's getting the stories done to a level I am satisfied with. It's looking back on the ones I needed to step away from because of all the black feelings left inside from a bad partnership with a publisher. It's knowing my writing has changed a lot and unsure of which direction to go. I have scenes rolling around in my head for David, for Namid, a finished story for Tadashi, but nothing was settling.
These are all choices. Ones that needed to be thought about. Talked over. Why I wasn't happy with what I wrote. What I felt was wrong. How far was I spreading myself. Because I needed to find the energy to be focused and write.
I have some of the answers. I'm still working on others.
With Angel Martinez's help, I have gotten a little back on track (training wheels). Our LIJUN series is exciting for me. Having her to cheer me on, to help me write something personal has meant the world to me. She has also kept me going when I sometimes faltered. Knowing she was in more corner, wanting me to finish the next scene gave me the motivation and kick in the butt I think I needed. The publishing schedule has helped too. Knowing I have due dates to meet, that I don't want Angel to look bad if I don't meet them, has also helped.
While we get through the LIJUN trilogy I am taking a solid look at what I want to do next. David has been waiting a long time, patiently as he does. The third book for the Finding Peace series was a stumbling block for me because so many things need to happen, and it was tied up in all that previous publisher business. When bad things happen to the stuff I love I have trouble separating the bad from the good. I'm working on it. David would like me to finish his story. I did start with an ending after all. I knew where his journey went. Now it's getting there.
I also have the Finding Home boys. I have already figured out it gets one more book. A trilogy. I love my Geeves. Seeing how he faired after the snowstorm is important to me.
There is Tadashi's (Spirit Threads #2) story, Enhearten. I've been sitting on the finished manuscript for 15 months. *looks at calendar* okay, probably longer at this point. Angel took a look at it and we talked over why I was unhappy (she didn't see much wrong with it). Once we figured out why I was so "meh" over the book I had a bit of cathartic release. I know how to "fix it" now. It means some major rewrites but I'm okay with that, especially since it means I'll be happier with what I wrote.
Then I have the Tall Tales of Hooper's Town. My little ode to Tall Tales. Namid and Dusty have been staring at each other, then me in turn. I have figured out that is a trilogy. What needs to happen for them.
Then there are a few other things on my plate. The expansion and publication of the blog story over at MCB, the Marduk Expanse, and the Sheltered Universe. The blog story I had over on Prism. Lots of things. So many things. It was hard to breathe there for a while.
Learning to put them in smaller packages, to make decisions on what I can handle next, has been important.
I will get to the stories. I feel that now more than before. Will it take time? Yes. Lots of time. But I have that. Comparing my turtle speed to people who can produce book upon book isn't any good. I will never be knocking out books left and right. But I will always be writing. Slowly, as I go, hopefully producing the stories I can be proud of.
Hello, Everyone! Welcome to the mad writings of a demonic squirrel today! Oh *looks to the side* what? *listens* Oh, you don't say? Well *brushes off imperceivable piece of lint* I guess we're not listening to the mad ravings of a squirrel. It seems we have a guest author today. The wonderfully talented Angel Martinez is here to talk ago us about her new paranormal series, Offbeat Crimes.
The series kicks off with her story, Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters. *looks at title name* You gotta love it, right?
So without further ado, here is Angel to talk to us about serious stuff. You know, funny. ;)
Paranormal Stories Should Be Serious
Paranormal Stories Should Be Serious, Right?
Yeah, well, often they are. A lot of paranormal stories take themselves too seriously. I’ve written some pretty deadly serious paranormal stuff, too, though I can’t write serious all the time. A lot for the absurd always creeps back in. And boy is there a lot of stuff to make light of in the paranormal genre.
While I’ve run into quite a few paranormal stories in gay romance/fiction that have funny moments (even Whyborne and Griffin have endearingly hilarious moments) there isn’t much in the way of gay paranormal stories that are set up as humorous rather than as a serious stories. We have werewolves and vampires galore and their dark and trauma-laden pasts. We have ghost hunters and fae, zombies and psychics. But not a lot of comedy. Even mainstream het romance is a bit light on the comedic paranormal except for vampire rom coms. Absolutely buckets full of those. One of the few I can recall offhand in gay romance is Geoff Knight and Ethan Day’s zombie romance, Guess Who’s Coming At Dinner, which was hilarious. I can’t even find a list on Goodreads for gay paranormal humor. That might be operator error, though…
When Amber Allure gave us authors the 77th Precinct prompt, the idea was for each author to write about a paranormal police squad in a chosen city. The idea itself seemed humorous to me, but I knew my cohorts would most likely write serious paranormal with Character Trauma and Big Bad Things and stuff. I have to be different. Funny…but what?
I’ll confess, my first thought was a vampire detective, kind of the easy way out, using a defective vampire. But the more I thought about it, the more he needed cohorts, other officers with broken paranormal abilities, until I had a whole squad full of them. Poor vampire (who can only drink “skim blood”) was pushed to the sidelines and another character got to play hero, one who can only absorb other people’s abilities. This sometimes gets messy, dangerous, and occasionally embarrassing. And we needed monsters! Ridiculous ones! So, yes, I have a whole notebook page of the most absurd monsters I could think of, some of which morphed over time.
There’s still mayhem and destruction, cause I like mayhem and destruction, and a budding relationship that’s not treated as an absurdity, but I do hope the structure of the story and the adventures of my broken paranormal cops will strike some funny bones.
Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters
Offbeat Crimes 1
(part of Amber Allure’s 77th Precinct Pax)
Officer Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to Philadelphia’s 77th Precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.
Just as Kyle’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, his new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved, and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways.
Now, if Kyle and Vikash can learn to work together, they just might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.
Kyle sat up straighter, shifting to see between the heads in front of him. Soren looked like a poster boy for the model police officer, tall and straight, uniform crisp and sharp. He stood at parade rest beside the lieutenant, impassively surveying his new colleagues. A little knot of resentment lodged in Kyle’s stomach. At his own introduction to the 77th, he’d been nervous and fidgety, freaked out by the collection of…freaks. How can he be so calm?
“Officer Soren transferred from the Harrisburg PD—”
“Don’t they have enough freaky shit of their own up there?” Wolf called out in his rasping growl.
“Since Harrisburg is in our jurisdiction,” she continued with a quelling glance. “He’ll start out partnered with Monroe.”
“What does he do, ma’am? That it’s safe to put him with Kirby, er, Kyle?” Shira Lourdes asked as she flicked nervous glances across the room at Kyle. An empty chair slid away from her and fell over. Her partner, Greg Santos, shook his head and righted the unfortunate piece of furniture.
“Officer Soren’s abilities are his business, which he may or may not choose to share if you ask. And don’t bully him about it either, any of you.” Lieutenant Dunfee swept the room again, pinning each of her officers with her needle-laser gaze like captive butterflies. “Monroe, my office after briefing. Info on your current case.”
She dismissed them, stalking from the room with thunderclouds in her eyes. Kyle found himself approaching the new guy and trying his best not to be awkward. Did he offer to shake hands? Was it safe? Would the guy flinch like so many people did at the sight of Kyle’s scarred hands? Soren was even taller up close, six-foot-three of lean inscrutability, his blue eyes startlingly bright against smoky bronze skin.
“Um, hi, I’m Kyle Monroe.” Kyle fidgeted when Soren didn’t offer his hand either. “You’re with me, I guess. I’ll show you our spot in the squad room.”
Soren followed him silently and Kyle was starting to wonder if he was like Krisk in the not-speaking department until he finally spoke in a smooth, soft baritone, making Kyle startle and miss a step. “Why do they call you Kirby?”
“You’d hear it sooner or later, I guess.” Kyle shrugged. “It’s this thing I do, absorbing other people’s talents temporarily. If they’re close to me. Or touch me. Like Kirby, the little pink dude in the video game.”
Just that? Soren didn’t edge away, or change expression at all. Was he made of stone? “It’s a thing. Everyone here has a thing.”
After a few more steps, Soren asked, “Always?”
“What… Oh, was I always like this? Who knows? I mean, maybe I’ve picked up stray thoughts or something, but no. It’s pretty recent. Knowing that I do this.”
Kyle took a wide arc around Vance as he entered the squad room, pointing to the double desk in the far corner, well removed from everyone else. “That’s ours. Coffee’s over there, but you might not want that coffee. Let me grab my file and we’ll go see the lieutenant.”
“So what’s your story, Soren?” Vance called across the squad room. “What flies your freak flag?”
“Yeah, what do you do?” Jeff Gatling stopped ’porting his banana from one corner of his desk to the other.
“I don’t really do anything,” Soren answered as he hefted the empty coffeepot. “Guess I’ll make fresh since I’m the new guy.”
He opened the top to remove the filter and every human voice in the squad room yelled out, “No!”
Most people would have startled, maybe dropped the carafe. Soren just blinked at the roomful of people gesturing wildly. He took the filter out and emptied it over the trashcan. “Why not?”
“You don’t want to do that.” Kyle stayed by his desk, a nice safe distance from the coffee station. “That’s Larry’s job.”
“Larry’s not keeping up then.”
The container of sweetener packets began to rattle. It shivered across the counter and leaped to a messy end, ceramic shards skittering across the floor. The desk that Krisk and Wolf shared rose from the floor several inches and slammed back down. Wolf fled with a squeaking yelp just before the desk flipped on its side.
Soren glanced toward Kyle. “Larry’s not a cop, is he?”
“He is…he was! A dead cop. Larry’s a ghost. He gets ticked if anyone else makes the coffee. Put the stuff back, please!”
“Larry?” Soren raised his voice but to all appearances remained completely unruffled. “I’m new here. I’m very sorry I invaded your jurisdiction. See? I’m putting the carafe back. Closing the top. Are we good, Larry?”
A breeze ruffled through a stack of papers, but no further mayhem ensued. The carafe slid from its pad on the coffeemaker and floated to the water cooler where Larry, who never manifested in a visible form, whistled tunelessly while he filled the carafe.
From his dim corner of the room, Carrington said in his dry, genteel way, “Welcome to the Island of Misfit Freaks...”
2 commenters will be chosen at random (’cause I have a formula to do that and everything) for their choice of backlist Angel Martinez book!
It's hard to believe I have another release coming up already. Between life, work and everything else, my schedule for stories is pretty slow. BUT, as you can see, another story for you guys to enjoy. The Nut Job is a novella-length SF story in the Foolish Encounters anthology. As you may have noted, I am in good company with Tali Spencer, Tinnean, Elin Gregory, JC Wallace, Angel Martinez and Amy Lane also taking part in our quirky romp.
I thought it would be fun to introduce everyone to Spencer, my space captain with a Napoleon complex. The unsuspecting world may not be ready for him, but Spencer and the rest of his crew hits shelves April 1st. Enjoy!
The Chair & Fork Excerpt
“It’s still there, Spence.”
He bit down on his lip, giving Krapor side eyes.
The tall, lanky Tu’Varian glowered back. “Rcrred is gone and can’t take your damn chair.”
“Fine, but if it’s gone, I’m taking your new sonic screwdriver.”
Krapor paused in his gathering. His slender green fingers went to his work belt, cupping the screwdriver protectively. “You wouldn’t.”
Spencer crossed his arms, straightening up to his whole four and a half feet. It was shiny. He liked shiny.
“That’s just mean, Spence. I’d never find it again.”
He sniffed, looking away.
“No one can find anything in your hoard. Not even you.”
“I know exactly where everything is.”
Krapor tossed the handful of walnut hulls into the bin. “Oh yeah? Where’s that ornate metal fork you picked up on Irasol?”
“Left cubby, on the third row of the sixth rack on my north wall, in the orange plastic cup.”
The birds tweeted, several crickets made themselves known, the breeze rustled the leaves on the trees. Spencer continued checking his square of the forest floor, chucking half the yellowish-green walnuts hulls in the bins while pocketing the rest in his pouch he kept on hand for such occasions.
Only when Spencer looked up did he acknowledge Krapor, who was staring at him, slack-jawed.
Incredulous bastard. “What?”
“I can’t believe you can just spout off bullshit like that. You little sqoltal.”
“Your quarters are the definition of complete chaos. They have a picture of it in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. Do not enter—danger zone. Dozens of safety regulations are broken in it, with a pukey rainbow as its permanent guest on your ceiling. There is no way you can know where that fork is.”
I tend to be a little squirrelly, but my friends still love me anyway. ;)