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Rainbow Food

Happy Memorial Day weekend, Snippetteers! — here’s a bit of Clarence to accompany you into summer! (I needed seven sentences this time, rather than the prescribed six — hopefully no one minds? *winks*) This scene is set at the first blocking rehearsal for the Perchance to Dream Theatre Company’s production of The Tempest. Clarence Limont is the production’s Prospero, a major (but slowly fading) star of the London stage who has taken on the role as a favor to the director, an old school chum; Jaymes Stafford is the production’s Ariel, a recent college graduate who has quite captivated Clarence. And Troy Miller is Caliban, an arsecrumb of the first water and the particular bane of Jaymes’ existence. I picture Clarence as a slightly younger Ian McKellen (he’s in his early sixties, but at the moment is feeling considerably older); Jaymes’ mother is of German and Scottish descent, and his father is Jamaican; I can picture him perfectly in my mind, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a photo that does him justice. You’ll just have to imagine him for yourself — tall, lean, tawny, with an angular face and big dark eyes, and a cloud of tightly-kinked dark-blond hair. And quite shy, usually, in the presence of a Giant of the London Stage…

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By God, he felt a moment of genuine excitement, gesturing into the wings, Prospero bidding, coaxing Ariel forth for the first time in the play. And when Jaymes allowed himself to be teased out, as light-footed as a spirit in battered trainers, it seemed the excitement was mutual. Or at least contagious. Clarence was willing to settle for contagious.

A snicker came from the opposite wing, and Jaymes’ slight, sweet smile dissolved. Clarence didn’t need to turn to identify the culprit as Troy. The arsecrumb had been stepping on everyone’s lines, all through the reading process, and apparently was set to continue his winning ways, a dyspeptic God’s gift to the Bard’s canon.

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And, finally the usual couple of links:

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook — your destination for many more LGBTQIA+ goodies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And just for today (May 28) my Russian shapeshifter novella, WOLF, BECOMING, is on sale at Dreamspinner Press for 25 percent off, as part of their birthday sale (but even when it’s not on sale, it’s a heck of a deal!) http://ow.ly/F34d300GBFc

AceBadge

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented on my post in the Hop for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality! I’ll be making a $15 donation to Lambda Legal by the end of the day. And the winner of my giveaway is…

…drum roll…

AM!

Thanks again to everyone who commented, and see you again next year! (well, hopefully sooner than that…. *winks*)

Conall17

Hello, Snippetteers! I’m getting ready to send UNDERTOW off to my editor, so I thought I’d give you a little piece of it before I hit that “send” button. The POV this time is Conall’s (that’s him in the picture, everyone’s favorite ginger Fae), on his way back to see to Rhoann, who he left in the Pool in Central Park the night before (Rhoann being a Water Fae and a shapeshifter and wanting to spend his first night in the human world in the water, pleaseandthankyou.) Fae, by the way, hate being in enclosed conveyances. There’s something fundamentally disorienting to them about getting into a little box in one place, sitting still, and getting out of it in another place entirely. Conall has the ability to become incorporeal and fit himself inside his scair-anam‘s body, but even being able to travel that way doesn’t make the prospect of a train trip very palatable.

********

Bad enough he’d thought it was a good idea to stash a newly arrived Fae in the middle of Central Park without supervision. Then, distracted by Cuinn’s story, he’d gone off to Washington Square Park in the wee small hours of the morning to meet up with Lochlann and Josh and Garrett, to do the by-now-familiar choreography necessary to ward the wellspring there. And then he’d been exhausted, but he hadn’t wanted to leave Josh to face the train ride home alone, so he’d Faded and gone with him, wrapped up in the comfort of his scair-anam’s strong body and warm heart but a bundle of raw nerves trapped in a rolling tin can nonetheless.

And then Fiachra had called, just past ten in the ever-loving morning, to say oh by the way, our new Fae is a shapeshifter and kind of casual about public nudity.

Four strikes. Am I out, or am I supposed to punt?

********

And, finally, a couple of links, as usual!

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, for more LGBTQIA+ goodies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And, for those of you who prefer to do your book-buying somewhere other than Amazon, here’s the link to all six of the currently available SoulShares novels at Riverdale Avenue Books’ Web site, where you can get them in whatever format you like: http://ow.ly/NyuB300rGfE

Oh, and if you’d like to check out my stop on the Hop for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality (and have a chance to win some books and trigger a donation to Lambda Legal), here’s the link — the Hop runs through tomorrow, and my page has a link back to the rest of the Hop, too: https://rorynicoileain.com/2016/05/17/hop-for-visibility-awareness-and-equality/

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Ace3

Welcome to my little corner of the Hop for Visibility, Awareness, and Equality (formerly known as the Hop Against Homophobia, Bi- and Transphobia)! I’m thrilled with the name change, and the mission change, for reasons I’ll get to in a minute, but a quick introduction first: I’m an author of what I call mythic and legendary m/m erotic romance (I’ve been told by several judges over the years that I’m too mythic/legendary and not enough romance for the RITA Awards, so I figure I’m getting the balance right about where I want it!) And personally, I identify as asexual in casual conversation, autochorissexual if you feel like talking tech. (http://asexuals.wikia.com/wiki/Autochorissexual) I even have it tattooed on my leg. (See above.)

A few housekeeping details, before I get started –

I’m going to see if this works — our tech guru tells me that this ought to be a working link back to the rest of the Hop, to let y’all find (more) wonderful stuff to read! (and if this doesn’t work, there’s a link in the second comment to the blog, down below.)

*crosses fingers tightly*

Also, for every comment at the end of this blog, I’m going to be donating a dollar at the end of the Hop to Lambda Legal, to help with their coordinated response to the flood of “religious liberty” bills we’re currently seeing. Please put me on the hook for as much as possible. Seriously. Feel free.

And finally, every comment will enter you to win an autographed copy of the first edition of HARD AS STONE, the first book in my SoulShares series, if you’re in the US or Canada, or electronic copies of HARD AS STONE and GALE FORCE (SoulShares 1 and 2) if you’re elsewhere.

Now, with that out of the way –

Why I Love the Hop’s Mission Change

I’d like to begin with a very important caveat – in what follows, I am absolutely not purporting to speak for everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community. Or even everyone in that community who wants to make a change in the current political/social climate. There are as many ways to effect change as there are people who want to change things. And no one response to provocation is always the right answer. I’m just making a few observations about the path I’m on. And if anyone finds anything here that resonates, you’re welcome to join me!

It’s very easy, especially in the current, um, highly emotionally charged political climate, to define ourselves in terms of what we’re against, instead of what we’re for. Sometimes, in some contexts, it’s necessary to do that – when you’re standing up to speak out against a specific injustice, for example, or speaking truth to power. But we need to be aware that when we go beyond the needs of the present situation, and turn our opposition into part of what we see ourselves as, into part of our own being, there’s almost always a side effect. Consciously or unconsciously, our world turns into “us vs. them”. And “us” is always better than “them” – if it weren’t, we’d be on the “them” side. And unless we’re very, very careful, we look down on “them”. We turn “them” into “other,” and “less than.” And we turn “them” into a faceless mass, every one of “them” the same. One obstacle to be overcome, a single hateful voice to be silenced.

My native Minnesota was the first state to vote down a “one-man-one-woman” marriage amendment. We didn’t do it through advertising, or fiery speeches, or political rhetoric. We did it mindfully, deliberately, one conversation at a time. And by “conversation,” I mean telling our stories, yes. But also listening to the stories of those we engaged with. Refusing to believe that those who disagreed with us were “other.” Sure, some of our opponents were angry, bitter, hateful people. But a great many weren’t. A great many were genuinely afraid of a changing world they didn’t understand and didn’t feel like a part of. We talked to those people. We put our faces, and the faces of the people we loved, and the faces of the people our opponents loved, on their faceless concept of “them”.

And we made a difference. Not only did Minnesota vote down “one-man-one-woman”, but just a year later we went to the polls and made Minnesota the 12th state in the country to legislate marriage equality.

We don’t need unanimity before we can have equality. Hells to the no. Equality before the law isn’t something that’s up for a popular vote – and believe me, I’m as militant as the next red-haired Irish lawyer when it comes to standing up for the legal rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, and opposing the ridiculous and harmful legislation that seems to be assailing us at every turn these days. But at the same time, genuine equality, the kind we don’t have to be terrified of losing every time the winds of politics sweep another party into power or some demagogue decides to accumulate political capital by playing on a frightened minority’s fear of “the other,” isn’t a destination we can reach as a society by dragging the people who are afraid of it along behind us to some imaginary finish line. As wonderful as it would have been to be able to say the job was done when Obergefell became the law of the land, we still need to be having those conversations. Having the courage to put our faces on the faceless fears of those of our brothers and sisters who will listen. My priest made this point very succinctly in her sermon this Sunday – we need to have these conversations “with those who are willing to have them, and as we are able.” I’ve decided that what I want most give to this fight, even more than my Olympic-caliber snark and occasionally eloquent indignation, is my love. As much as I can, I want to come from a place of love. Because, ultimately, love wins. I truly believe that.

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A bit of a P.S. here, as long as I’m revising to add the link back to the Hop — I had an interesting experience the other night, a run-in with one of those folks who apparently ISN’T willing to have the Minnesota Nice conversation. One of my fellow students in an Irish song class, whose business card lists him as “author and Anointed Minister of God,” gave saving my soul the old college try after class. “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Well, then, surely you understand that — even though I’m sure he loves …homosexuals… you can’t possibly be a Christian and approve of the homosexual lifestyle.” I’m afraid I have a ways to go before I can respond to people like that with the kind of love and patience I hope to achieve. *sighs* At least no one had to bail me out of anyplace…

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Here’s a taste of my just-completed (like, yesterday) WIP, UNDERTOW (SoulShares #7). Rhoann Callte, my shape-shifter Fae protagonist for this book (he’s presently a salmon), is something of a rarity among Fae – he’s demisexual. And it’s been a wonderful experience writing him!

********

The water was full of light. Moonlight, and the strange orange light the humans created and hung from metal poles. For a while, Rhoann used the brightness to explore the boundaries of his new home, gliding along the uneven shore, letting the water from a small waterfall drum on his shining back, diving to test the depth of the water in a double hand of places.

The lake the other Fae had called the Pool was small for a salmon Rhoann’s size, but it would do for now. Just a little larger than a trap.

Aine was wrong. The other Loremasters were wrong. Rhoann swam in circles, in looped figures, out in the deeper center of the lake, his powerful tail sending him speeding through the water and scattering smaller fish. She took me — they took me — they stole me for nothing.

Rhoann dove, seeking cooler water, a clearer head. They were so sure. Two who needed my help, two who would not be whole without me. Bryce, with his stubborn refusal to be helped while there was still help he himself could give; Cuinn, his voice lost to a magick Rhoann could not comprehend.

Maybe Aine was right. Rhoann would have sighed, if this body allowed such. As far as she could see, at least. Maybe they will never be whole without me… so maybe they will never be whole.

The thought made Rhoann sad.

I am not whole, either. Though I am not sure I know what the difference feels like, between whole and not.

He broke out of his circle, swimming parallel to the shore, learning the shape of the lake with his body. Half his soul had left him, somewhere in the agony between two worlds. But was the emptiness he felt the echo of a missing soul? Or simple loneliness?

Loneliness. The word was strange, almost foreign. How could he be lonely, when all he had ever wanted was to be alone?

A massive willow tree arched out over the water, the tips of its branches trailing in the water. There was darkness of a sort in the shelter of the branches, and a gentle flow of cool water from a nearby spring, a human-made thing. Exhausted at last, Rhoann set himself in the flow, fins rippling just enough to keep him in place. His half-Royal magick touched the water, and called darkness into it, true darkness touched only by starlight.

The eyes of his salmon form never closed. But Rhoann the salmon could sleep. He went within himself, and he dreamed.
Dreamed of a lost world, and a lost soul.

And a human, with the hair of an ancient, a leg of bound magick, and eyes overflowing with utterly unFae tears.

********

arielprospero

Good afternoon, Snippetteers! — I’m getting close enough to finishing UNDERTOW that if I give you a snippet of new material, I’m going to be giving away the twist in the HEA, so I thought I’d give you six sentences from “Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound,” my story for the Summer’s Day #Shakespeare400 m/m romance anthology. In this snippet, the cast of “The Tempest” is hanging out in a local watering hole, Angels Nest, after their first blocking rehearsal. Clarence, the production’s Prospero, is nursing a gin and tonic and watching a fellow cast member, Denton Miller, who’s just cheated in a game of pool against Jaymes, the production’s Ariel.

********

At first he’d thought he was simply reacting to the fellow in character; Prospero was an aristocrat, and Caliban was a vile, base creature who leered after Prospero’s virgin daughter and plotted to kill him. Not much there to like, surely.

It was possible, however, to play Caliban as, if not a sympathetic character, at least a complex one, filled with passion for the island he believed to have been stolen from him, moved by an impossible desire to be loved. Denton had obviously chosen otherwise for the character, making him almost cartoonish in his villainy. A lazy choice.

Even in the quiet twilight of his career, Clarence could not abide laziness.

********

And a few links for you —

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, for more tasty LGBTQIA+ goodness on a weekly basis: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And MANTLED IN MIST, SoulShares #6 (to whet your appetite for number seven, UNDERTOW): http://ow.ly/Q8kO300ciDt

FlagOne

Hello, Snippetteers! — I took a day off work this week in an attempt to finish UNDERTOW (which was technically due, um, Sunday). Didn’t quite get there — but some very wonderful things happened to our lads. And one of my favorite passages was touched off by nothing more than Lucien’s smile. (Just remember — Lucien was the head bouncer at Purgatory, and Mac was the lead bartender.) Enjoy!

********

Mac had overheard guys at the club calling Lucien’s smile ‘ugly-handsome’. “That bouncer – he smiles at you, and you don’t care what he looks like any more.” He’d schooled the shit out of the more obnoxious patrons, and just shrugged afterward when Lucien asked why he’d been doing his job for him. And the rest… well, he’d just smiled, and kept his thoughts to himself. Lucien was Lucien. He was Mac’s light, and his love, and his life.

********

And a couple of links to round out the week —

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, for many more LGBTQIA+ goodies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And WOLF, BECOMING, where old Russia meets new, and wolves are not what they seem: http://ow.ly/Fzal3000Jil

RBGEquality

Welcome to this week’s Rainbow Snippet! *winks* Just had to give a little bit of a shout-out to one of my personal heroes, the Notorious RBG.

This week’s Snippet goes all the way back to the beginning of UNDERTOW, the first time Rhoann sees Mac. Mac’s in the ruins of Purgatory, which is where Lucien was injured (Lucien was the head bouncer at the club, before it was destroyed at the end of MANTLED IN MIST, and Mac was the lead bartender); he’s just found the duffel bag Lucien used to keep a change of clothes in, and he’s in tears over a t-shirt he found in the bag. “Feel safe at night – sleep with a Marine.” And Rhoann is watching from hiding.

********

The scent of salt water, human tears, struck Rhoann like the crash of a storm-wave.

“Lucien…” The human’s voice broke.

Rhoann watched, rapt, heedless of his own tears. Wanting to heal the human’s heart. But that was no Fae desire, and no Fae could give the gift of such a healing.

********

And, as always, a couple of links for you!

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, for more LGBTQIA+ goodies — https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And WOLF, BECOMING — where mythic fantasy meets modern Russia — http://ow.ly/4nhmV8

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And, finally, a look at my muse for Mac. Mac is, of course, older than the amazing BT Urruela (and I claim no copyright in this images, that would be the equally amazing Michael Stokes) — but apart from a few years’ difference in age, this is definitely how I picture Mac. Enjoy!

Mac

I’d like to share with you all an excerpt from “Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound,” my contribution to the Summer’s Day m/m romance anthology. But first, there’s another Shakespeare reference that’s been heavy on my mind these last few days, and I wanted to give that pride of place…

Princes

Good night, sweet Prince… and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

********

Now, for a bit of Clarence Edward Limont, his old school chum and current director Jeremy, Clarence’s Ariel Jaymes, and some of the delights of a lengthy career in the theatre…

********

The little table bumped and slid as Jeremy pulled up a chair and seated himself beside Clarence, his fist wrapped round the neck of a bottle of Smithwick’s.

“Well, hello to you, too,” Clarence grumbled.

“Why so gloomy? I thought things went rather extraordinarily well today.” Jeremy went to take a swig from his bottle, but from his expression found it empty, and motioned to the bartender for a refill.

“Are you always blind, or do you need regular practice to stay in good form?” The words came out sharper than Clarence had intended. Or maybe not. Clarence’s subconscious was on the pushy side.

Jeremy blinked at him. “I don’t recall any major disasters today. We made it through first blocking with no one getting killed or committing murder. Which is an achievement, more often than not.”

Clarence’s thoughts, at the moment, were full of the light going out of his Ariel’s eyes. “When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.”

“Really, Clarence? Juliet?” Jeremy put up a brow. “Something’s turned you into an ingénue?”

Clarence shrugged. “Hardly. I’m a bit past that sort of thing now, aren’t I?”

Jeremy shook his head with a gusty sigh. “I hope you aren’t expecting me to read your mind. I was never any good at that.”

Clarence had almost forgotten how Jeremy’s diction managed to make even statements sound like questions. And how irritating that could be. “I’m just sick to death of the pettiness of the theatre, that’s all.” His drink was mostly water, now; he swirled it around, staring at it without seeing it. “Just once, I’d like to be in a production where no one’s trying to look better by stepping on someone else. Just once in a forty-year career.”

“Oh, dear. I think we need someone to pull the thorn from the lion’s paw.”

Yes. Jaymes, if you don’t mind.

“I’m not a fucking lion, I’m an actor trying to do my fucking job, and just maybe get some fucking enjoyment out of it for a change!”

He hadn’t meant to be quite so loud, but good intentions were of little consequence to the people for several tables around, judging from the looks he received. Ah, well, his voice was an instrument, tuned to play to the last seat in the last balcony without any need for a God-forsaken lavalier microphone.

Jeremy finally looked taken aback. If Clarence had been just a little less out of sorts, he might have snorted at his old friend’s expression, a bizarre mix of placatory and panicked.

“Clarence.” Jeremy set down his bottle and extended his hands, palms down, patting the air as if he were trying to calm a possibly-but-maybe-not-harmless lunatic. “Are you saying you’re… not happy? With the production?”

Clarence snorted. He couldn’t help it. “Jeremy. My dear. Old. Friend.” He shook his head, setting the glass down and pushing it aside, hoping the bartender would notice and send over a replacement. “I cannot recall the last time I was happy with any production. I would be delighted to simply be not unhappy.”

Roann2

Hello, Snippetteers! This week’s seven sentences (maybe I ought to write fewer two-word sentences…) take place right before Rhoann (a half-Royal Water Fae, for those of you new to the SoulShares) starts healing Lucien, who’s been in a magickally-induced coma for months. Thing is, his healing only works in water – which means he’s had to change Lucien, enable him to breathe water. Which meant changing Mac, Lucien’s partner and Rhoann’s SoulShare, so Mac could be with Lucien during the healing. At the moment, all three of them are at the bottom of the Pool, in Central Park; Mac is holding on to Lucien, while Rhoann has moved off a little way to get some privacy, to prepare for the healing.

********

Mac looked up – he couldn’t help himself – to where Rhoann hung motionless in the water, arms wrapped around himself, his blond crest of hair waving gently in the water like a fin. The most gorgeous man Mac had ever seen in his life. Magical, which for some reason that was beyond him made perfect sense instead of being something out of the X-Files. Shy – but he kissed like there would never be another kiss to say what needed to be said. And he looks cold. Or lonely. Or scared.

********

And here are my usual couple of links for y’all:

Rainbow Snippets on Facebook – the place to hook up for more LGBTQIA+ goodies, this week and every week: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And if you’d like to meet Mac and Lucien, here’s a link to MANTLED IN MIST (SoulShares #6) on Amazon: http://ow.ly/4n1fv3 or at the publisher’s Web site: http://ow.ly/4n1fA9

GM-500-x-604-NO-background

I’m trying to decide whether or not to register for GRL this year. I’m way too late for any kind of an author spot, of course, but there still appears to be room for general attendees. And at least a snowball’s chance of snagging a supporting author’s slot if I get on the wait list. So that’s not the issue.

And I love conventions. Just love ‘em. Thrive on ‘em. I’m like a freaking convention energy vampire, except I don’t drain anybody, I just live off all the free-floating bliss. So that’s not the issue either.

The issue is whether the money would be well-spent. Or, as I tend to frame the question, whether the ‘career’ I have is worth the investment. If I still had every penny I’ve made on all my books since I was first published, and put it toward the cost of attending GRL, I’d be able to pay for my registration, and my gas, and maybe my hotel if I find a couple of roommates. That’s if I’d been banking everything I made for the last four years.

So…

I hesitate to ask “should I even be calling myself an author?” Because in one sense, I already know the answer to that question, and it’s silly to ask it. I AM an author. I have published six novels, three novellas, several short stories, three more novels under contract. And I love to write more than I love just about anything else, kid, cats and computer excepted (and the cats and the computer made me say that). I write, I write every day, and I will continue to write until they put me under the ground (and even then, it would probably be a good idea to dig me up after a little while to see if I scratched anything on the inside of the coffin lid).

Maybe the way to phrase the question is “Am I the KIND of author who should be doing conventions like GRL?” The kind of author for whom a big convention is a good investment. And I’m not sure that’s an answerable question. At least, not for someone who consistently comes up short in the self-confidence department. If I thought I would be ‘discovered’ by a wider audience by showing up at GRL, that would be a factor. But I can’t afford to sink a ton of money into a roll of the dice, and that’s what this feels like it would be, especially if I don’t have an author spot. (And if I DID have an author spot, then it would basically be a much more expensive roll of the dice, as far as I can tell…)

Yes, having a good time is important. (See entry for “free-floating bliss,” above.) But one of my many psychological quirks (it’s what you love about me, come on, admit it) is that it’s almost impossible for me to spend money just to have a good time. Even when I go on vacation, there has to be a reason. I have to accomplish something. Otherwise it’s wasted money. So just going to soak up the bliss isn’t an option.

But… part of the problem I’m having with my writing right now is that I’m not taking myself seriously as an author any more. (An “author” of the out-there-published-with-a-growing-readership kind, not an author of the I-write-because-I-can’t-imagine-NOT-writing kind. That kind, I take seriously.) And I’m trying to figure out how to get that mojo back – and I’m pretty sure one way to do it would be to recharge my batteries with a whole bunch of people who love the same thing I do. But when I’m starting from a place of no self-confidence, what that feels like is spending a ton of money to do something that maybe there’s no point to doing at all. I write because I love to write…. but I publish because I love the thought that there are people out there who love to read what I write. And if I get down to Kansas City, and go through five days of “Rory who? Oh, did you say you write? How nice.”

…yeah.

So to those of you who have already gone to a GRL, or are planning to be in Kansas City… does anything I’ve said resonate with you? Any advice? (Feel free to post below, or on Facebook, or whatever your preferred method of communication might be…)

Many thanks for listening. And we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled hotness anon – promise!

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