Updates, Book Rec, Giveaway, & a Lonely Hearts Excerpt Because Apparently You’re All Searching This Blog For It
I came here to post a quick update and book rec because I get tired of seeing the last post is a recipe, and I really worried all these new followers are thinking I’m going to talk about food all the time. Truth: I don’t talk about any one thing all the time. Everything seems to cycle around eventually, but food is a side dish, not an entree.
Except when I went to the dashboard, it says everyone is coming to this blog to find a Lonely Hearts teaser? Which, okay. Sure. It’s actually at my website, but I’ll give you another little bit at the end of this post. So if you don’t want that, quit right after the book rec.
Well, my update sucks more than a bit. My health was on this gradual slump, despite my efforts to improve my diet (which honestly wasn’t horrible, but any port in a storm) and add exercise, and then this last week it frankly went utterly to shit. I’m in a very foul mood about it, and the fact that this week pretty much everyone and everything everywhere said, “Hey, could you–?” frankly I’m turning off the internet a lot. And not answering the phone. I’ve decided when you’re sick, you get to tell people to fuck off it you want, no explanation needed.
We are, though, exploring Green Chef. It’s a bit pricey, and I’m on the fence, but the food is good and Dan really enjoys how he can make this fancy dinner with all the stuff bought and prepped. We’ll probably do it at least twice a month for a bit.
I’m trying to finish Clockwork Heart, which is very much due and should have been easy to fix, but see the last paragraph. To motivate myself I’m having this weekly contest on my FB Fan Page, which you can play in again starting on either Sunday or Monday, whenever I get the week three post up.
I’m getting asked, like DAILY, if any other books are going to be in audio. For sure Nowhere Ranch is because I have it in production. It’s also going to be in French and Italian later this year. Dance With Me will get the same treatment once I have the rights back. And yes, that will be self-published too, coming out probably the same time as Lonely Hearts in August. Maybe a bit sooner. It all depends. As usual, watch this space and my newsletter for details. I’ll very likely have a pre-sale on Gumroad again and offer the paperbacks. It will be significantly cheaper on Gumroad for a few weeks, but once it goes up on third party, it’ll probably be $5.50, because it’s such a huge pain to change prices there, and last time I wasted a week fighting with Amazon. So, done with that nonsense.
Anyway, all my Samhain books are in the catalog to be produced in audio, and I’m told that should probably be happening? Everything there is licensed through Insatiable Press, so if you want to talk to the people in charge, that’s who. I’ve started forwarding and tagging everyone in charge when I get your emails/tweets/DMs, but feel free to go to the horses’ mouths, either Samhain or Insatiable. All I can do is tell my agent and the people at Samhain how much you’re all asking for more audio. And yes, I tell them you want Iggy only. I do too. I don’t get to pick that for the Samhain stuff, but for the self-pub, he’s for sure.
Another big question is “Are you going to write Paul’s story in the Christmas books?” Yes. I did, and it’s at the line editor. I’ve seen the cover, and it’s great. As soon as it’s approved, I’ll post it. The book will be out this Christmas, with preorders up probably sometime in June.
I think that’s about it. Oh, and I’m not going to be at RT. I thought I’d been pretty public about staying home this year except for RWA, but there seems to be a lot of surprise still. Nope, no RT, no GRL, no nothing except for RWA. Well, okay, and a one day thing August 15 in Chicago, but that’s honestly it.
Right, one last thing. I will probably do another virtual signing for Dance With Me paperbacks like I did with Nowhere Ranch. I can maybe work out something for other books, but I don’t resell books through other publishers because it’s a HUUUUGE pain in my ass. So what I might do is have a period of time where you can mail them to my post office box with a SASE or we’ll do the paypal thing for international, unless you can suss out an SASE. But that’s not for sure and definitely not yet.
I picked this book up the other day, and it’s utterly charming. Sweet, sexy, and makes you feel all gushy inside. It’s just a baby bit like my A Private Gentleman in the pairing (higher/lower class)but with 80% less angst. Which is lovely. If you like that swoopy sweet feeling, with a little bit of tension and some oh no but not much, this is what you want. Hard to find in historical, because usually the whole threat of death and all is a real downer. Not here. This is a delight, and you should read it. Also, set in Paris. PARIS. Come on. Buy it already.
LONELY HEARTS EXCERPT
So, there’s already one of these. It’s here. But I’ll give you another one. Unless you can’t stand being teased. If you don’t like that, you need to stop reading right now. If you go past the cover image and the jump, it’s too late, and you have only yourself to blame.
This is the same scene I read aloud at GRL last October, though it’s been revised a bit since then. It’s later in the book than the chapter one excerpt above, but it’s one of my favorite scenes.
Howl’s Moving Castle was Elijah’s favorite movie, but it always made him sad.
He’d glue his eyeballs shut before he watched any of Kelly Davidson’s Disney pap, but Diana Wynne Jones’s story was genius and Hayao Miyazaki could right all the wrongs of the world. That the movie happened to have romantic shading was a side effect. That this side effect always got under his skin was an annoyance to be endured. Sometimes enduring was harder than other times, though, and once Mina fell asleep, he got off the couch she’d converted to a bed for him, slipped into her flip-flops and padded down the garage apartment stairs to have a cigarette.
Naturally, as he lit up at the foot of the stairs, a car pulled into the drive, and Baz stepped out of it.
The headlights cut across him as the sleek black car retreated, so there wasn’t any point in trying to hide. Ashing into the bushes, Elijah rested a hip on the wall and stared at Baz, waiting to see what happened next.
Hands in his pockets, Baz leaned on a decorative lamppost beside some lattice fencing. “Hey. How’s it going?”
Elijah took a slow, careful drag before blowing the smoke out of the corner of his mouth. “Sorry—were you talking to me?”
“Yeah.” Baz shoved his hands deeper and nodded at the main house. “Um—hey. I know we haven’t…said much to each other lately. And this is the wrong way to go about it, but…I have to ask you something. A favor.”
Normally the broody-male routine would at least give Elijah a cheap thrill, but the one-eighty from complete cold shoulder to aw-shucks, I’m such an awkward hot mess, please forgive me because I need something pissed Elijah off. “No worries. People fuck me, act like I’m a syphilitic leper, then ask for a favor all the time. Just keep me abreast of where we are. Maybe we can come up with a signal.”
The bastard had the nerve to laugh. “You’re right. It would be stupid to ask. I’ll figure out something else.”
For a moment, snark deserted Elijah, panic and raw loneliness overcoming him as he realized Baz was about to turn him loose after one goddamned exchange. Angling across the sidewalk, Elijah cut Baz off before he could disappear into the garage.
“Oh, no you fucking don’t. You do not ignore me for five weeks, rub your toe in the dirt and say you need something from me, then bail when I bleed off some hurt.”
He shut his eyes as he winced at letting the word hurt escape his filter.
Setting his jaw, Elijah glared into the depths of Baz’s sunglasses and planted his flag. “You’re not going anywhere. We’re having this out. Right here. Right now.”
Baz held up his hands, shoulders sagging in defeat. “Seriously, not tonight. I’m tapped out.”
Baz tried for an end run, but Elijah reinserted himself in the way. “Fine. You can go hide in your cave and brood, as soon as you tell me what you were going to ask me.”
The weary-moppet act fell away as Baz bared his teeth. “Changed my mind. Not asking you for anything, ever. Back the fuck off.”
“Fuck you and your goddamned moods. Fine, asshole. I don’t want to know what you were going to tell me. Probably that you had a fucking hangnail. Well, suck on it. I’ll make it easy to never ask me for anything, ever. I’m not spending one more ass-tastic minute in this house so long as you’re in it, and I’m sure as fuck not living here. Not for the summer, not the school year, not for the goddamned zombie apocalypse. I’ll stay with Pastor, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll stay at the Kiss My Ass Motel.”
It was a line demanding a dramatic exit, but Elijah didn’t know where the hell to go. If he went upstairs, he couldn’t have another cigarette, plus if Baz followed him, he’d wake Mina. If Baz didn’t follow…
Fuck. This. Elijah shoved the cigarette between his lips and stormed down the alley to who the fuck knew where. In his pajama pants.
Baz grabbed Elijah, knocking his cigarette into the gravel. Pushing Elijah against the garage, flattening one arm above his head, Baz used his other hand to pin Elijah’s shoulder in place.
Elijah shut his eyes in a slow blink, masking a shiver of want before cloaking himself in outrage once more. “What the hell—”
“Shut. Up.” Baz loosened his grip, but not by much. The dark holes of his glasses bore into Elijah. His jaw was tight, the cords of his neck tense. The aw-shucks routine was gone, as was the edge. Now he was merely raw and wrecked. “I’m sorry. I don’t have anything to say, except I’m an ass and you deserve better.”
It was true. Nobody fucking deserved this. But wrecked Baz was Elijah’s kryptonite. “I would have simply put out, you know. You’re the one who paraded us in front of everyone we know. They keep making sad eyes at me because I was dumped. Which is fucking cold, because I told you I got it was a one-off. I didn’t think we were fucking dating, but I thought we’d at least progressed to eye contact in the hallway.”
Baz sagged, body curving around Elijah as he let his forehead hit the siding of the garage. “It’s stupid. I fucked up. It was a real asshole move to volunteer you after the way I’ve treated you. I’m—sorry.”
Baz’s body went rigid, lips thinning into a line. “I can’t take you yelling at me any more tonight.”
Wrecked Baz was fading, which meant so was Elijah’s empathy. “Tough. Tell me anyway.”
Baz stared at Elijah, expression blank. Those fucking glasses. “If I tell you, you’ll move into the White House? As soon as possible?”
Yes, because it had been so much bullshit, his defiant insistence he would go off and live anywhere else. Except he wasn’t giving in so easily. “I’ll think about it.”
“No. If I tell you, you’re moving in. Tomorrow.”
Elijah let go of Baz to fold his arms over his chest. “I’ll think about it.”
Baz scowled and mimicked Elijah’s pose. And said nothing, only stared at Elijah, waiting for him to fold.
Jesusgod, Elijah wanted to shake the fucker. “Why the hell do you care if I move in or not?”
“Because I care, all right?” He ran a hand through his hair, and the filtered gold light played over his face, casting shadows, making him seem like a demon emerging from hell to glimpse heaven. “Because you should be here. They want you here. You wanted to be here, until I fucked up. I want you here.” When he glared at Elijah, the streetlight glinted on his rims, completing the demonic image. “Snark all you need to, but it’s true. So get it over with, then agree you’ll move in, and I’ll tell you what I was going to ask you. You’ll get testy about that too, which is fine. I’ll stand here, and you can hurl whatever you want at me. But first you’re promising to move in.”
The whole thing was so insane Elijah didn’t know where to start. He considered giving him the finger and escaping up the stairs, at this point ready to wake up Mina and let her keep his demon at bay.
Except Baz had sunk to wrecked again. Sighing, Elijah pulled out a cigarette and scowled at Baz as he lit it. When Baz motioned for the pack, Elijah arched an eyebrow. “They’re GPC menthols.”
“I’ll buy you a carton of Davidoffs tomorrow, but for now, let me at the damn nicotine.”
Elijah had no idea what the fuck a Davidoff was. Probably some rich-person cigarette. Rolling his eyes, he passed over the pack and the lighter. Baz tapped out a cigarette, lit it and took a long, slow drag. He made a slight face as he exhaled, but he gave no commentary on the poor quality of Elijah’s tobacco.
“I can’t get into the full details, but the short version is my mom is making me haul ass to Chicago this weekend for some fancy fundraiser. She wants me to have a…date. She tried to set me up with someone herself, but I told her no.” He ashed the tip of his cigarette. “I kind of…told her I’d bring you.”
By the middle of the speech, Elijah had seen this coming, but the admission still left him dizzy. He smoked for almost a minute before replying. “So it’s a joke, right? I’m supposed to be the bumpkin you use to—”
“What? No. No.” Baz frowned at him, annoyed. “Why the fuck—how much of an asshole do you think I am?”
Elijah blew smoke at his face.
Baz held up his hands and grimaced before sucking on his own cigarette with intensity. “Fine. I had that coming. I’m a jerk. And you’re going to tell me no. I don’t have any idea how to convince you, because you turn me so goddamn inside out I’m not going to try. But fuck this idea I’d make fun of you.”
Why did you say you’d bring me? “I don’t have the right clothes.”
Baz waved this away. “Whatever. I’d buy the clothes.”
“I don’t know how the forks work and whatnot.”
“It’s probably not a fork-focused thing, and if it is, learning that takes ten minutes.” Baz glanced at Elijah as he drew once more on his cigarette. “These are your only objections? Forks and clothes?”
The night was warm, but Elijah hugged himself as if he were cold. “Why don’t you ask Aaron? He’d look good on your arm.”
“Giles would deck me.”
Giles would deck him. Elijah dropped his cigarette on the ground and rubbed it out with his toe. He immediately lit up a new one. “I work this weekend.”
“I’ll help you find someone to cover.”
“I don’t know anyone in Chicago. If you abandon me, I have nowhere to go.”
“I won’t abandon you. But if I were to, you’ll be driving my car. You could drive yourself here. If you want backup, I’ll toss in a five-hundred-dollar prepaid Visa card.”
Elijah’s lungs were protesting from too much nicotine, but he kept smoking anyway. “This isn’t a joke. You really did ignore me for over a month, then ask me to be your date to the prom.”
“Fundraiser. And, yes. Sorry.”
This was way too Carrie for comfort. Elijah scrambled out of the metaphor. “I can’t. Sid never went to a fundraiser with Nancy. It’s not in our script. Sorry.”
“Sid and Nancy is not our script. Neither one of us is very punk rock.” He tapped his leg thoughtfully, making the smoke tendril from his cigarette dance. “Can’t find a better metaphor. Trying to build something off the fundraiser thing, but all I can get is The Princess Diaries.”
The streetlight caught Baz’s hair, making the brown gleam almost blond. The breeze ruffled it at the same time, sending some cottonwood whorls like magical dust around him.
“Howl,” Elijah said before he could stop his mouth. “You’re Howl Pendragon.”
Baz grinned. “Ha. Now that metaphor I like. With the Tesla as my moving castle? Howl doesn’t drive either. And you’re Sophie. Refusing to see your own beauty, blocking any attempts to undo your curse.”
Elijah glowered. “You expect me to get your heart back for you from a fire demon? Or be your servant while you run around making girls cry?”
“I’ll do my own cleaning, and Calcifer can keep my heart in the fireplace. Unless you agree to go with me to Chicago. Then I’ll put it in the frunk.”
Baz smiled, making the Howl’s Moving Castle theme soar in Elijah’s head. His heart was on the ground between them. “Okay,” he said.
And that was that.
You can preorder Lonely Hearts now wherever books are sold.