Love at First Bite


There’s a lot of vampires these days, but only a few really great ones. Here’s a rundown of some of the vampires i love best. Maybe a few will be yours too.

Jean Claude from Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series — Jean Claude is maybe my favorite vamp of all time. Beautiful, cool, ruthless but also loyal and loving, he’s a fabulous creation. He’s also bisexual which makes for some interesting three-ways in the later books. Even though there’s no sex in the early Anita Blake books (tons in the later ones), Jean Claude gets the most airtime in those and the books are well plotted and written. If you’re not a fan yet, give him a try.
Asher from the Hamilton Anita Blake series — Asher was Jean Claude’s beloved historically, before Jean Claude meets Anita. The most beautiful vampire of all, half his face and part of his body were destroyed by holy water during the Inquisition. Though a bit whiney sometimes, Asher is tortured, complex and sexy.
Zsadist from J. W. Ward’s Lover Awakened and the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series — The most tortured vampire of all, Zsadist is the best drawn character in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Scarred, cold and dangerous, he (like all the brothers) is redeemed by the love of a good woman. I talk more about Zsadist and the series in my June post called Get Yourself Some Love.

Kade from Rosalie Stanton’s Possession — Kade is a charming badass that doesn’t have to try hard to be cool. In this novella you get to see him in a lot of sexy situations and you never get bored with him. Yummy.
Donte from Z. A. Maxfield’s Notturno — An ancient vampire who charms and beguiles, Donte shows the meaning of undying love. While the human lover in the book is an even greater creation, Donte is still among my favorite biters. I talk more about Notturno in my July post called Ancient Vampire.
Edward in Stephenie Meyers Twilight Series — And no rundown of vamps is complete without Edward. Even more compelling in the books than he is in the movie, Edward wins everyone to his team. He’s just delicious. (There’s more in the July post Vampire Love.)
There are more, of course, like Eric in the Sookie Stackhouse books, but this will wet the appetite — for Trueblood. The drink, not the show. Bottoms up.


Poem to Beautiful Lips

I know, i know. I should be doing more serious blog content. Telling you about the rigors of writing my current WIP. But doing the research for a post on beautiful lips is just soooo much fun. So i started with images of those by whom all lips are measured. And then just added a few other beauties for your enjoyment. I’ll get more serious — later. : )





TV Cuties

I thought it might be fun to look at some of the latest TV eye-candy. Matt Bomer stars in White Collar which is a pretty fun FBI show. Matt does a good job although he really isn’t quite cool enough to convince us he’s the world’s greatest art thief.

Everyone’s talking about Joe Manganiello as Alcide the werewolf inTrueblood. It only requires a glance to understand why. See, i actually do like rugged looking guys occasionally. (He doesn’t beat Eric, though).
And the last picture is neither new nor a guy. The famous “Dr. Tanaka” from season 4 of Bones. The episode had fun guessing the sex of the brilliant Dr. Tanaka (a follower of Emo) and ultimately discovers he’s a guy. But in reality Dr. Tanaka was played by the very lovely Ally Maki. Kind of cheating. It is an excellent episode of Bones, however. Worth finding.

Bondage, Discipline—



The book i’m currently reading — Safe Harbor by Tymber Dalton — got me thinking about BDSM (that’s bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism for the uninitiated). Like many people not in the lifestyle, i still enjoy some element of D/s (dominant/submissive) in books, like in Safe Harbor. And i wonder why that is. Am i a closet submissive yearning to get out? A Dominatrix in the making? (God knows, i have a controlling side and my husband loves me in boots.) But no, i don’t think so.

While i’m no expert on the subject, i have had the privilege of talking with a few people who are. People who live the lifestyle every day. They explained the deep vulnerability that a true submissive must have to be in a real D/s relationship, and the enormous respect the Dom/Domme must have for his/her submissive. Far from the kinky porn sites flashing submissives in chains being humiliated, the people i spoke with talked about the intense joy for the submissive in serving the master and the humility of the master in receiving that service.
What i heard is that at it’s heart BDSM is (or can be) a reflection of love in its extremes. The way we all feel, at least sometimes, if we are truly in love. We would crawl on the floor, walk on hot coals, take a whip to the back. Not because someone made us, but because there was no other way to show the extremity of our feeling. I think that’s one reason why people who aren’t in the life enjoy reading about it. D/s is more universal than we might, at first, imagine. It taps into some deep archetypes. Plus, it’s just kinky. deliciously dirty fun.
Really good BDSM books capture both that deep feeling and the fun. Joey W. hill writes some of the best. Her Natural Law is a masterpiece with it’s powerful alpha-male submissive and tiny, equally powerful female Domme. For those who like some m/m in their BDSM, i would recommend Safe Harbor (there’s a girl in there too). Dalton does a particularly good job of capturing the emotional depth of the men’s relationship. Check her out at TymberDalton.com.
I have some ideas for a novel that includes some D/s elements. When i feel ready, i’ll write it.

Look at That Face

In my current work-in-progress, there is a character who i describe as “the most beautiful man in the world”. He is dear to my heart and i’ve never seen a picture that captured him. But in honor of him, i thought i’d create a gallery of what has to be one of the most beautiful men of any generation. Here’s Johnny.




My Conflict with Conflict


Every writer and reader knows that the very essence of successful fiction is conflict. No conflict, no story. The main characters have to be challenged, confronted. We have to see them grow under pressure. They must have something big to lose and equally big to gain.

Many writers are naturals at conflict. Plot-driven, they start their process imagining a story into which they fit characters. Not me. I’m a character writer. And since i love romance, i generally start by creating two characters who will be lovers. (Or sometimes three). What kind of people are they? True, there is usually something about their characters that puts them into natural conflict — one is “in the closet” and the other blatantly gay, one is older the other younger, they want things that are opposite. That part all comes easy. But then what? What HAPPENS in the story that makes it hard for them to get together? What rips their hearts and makes us believe that maybe, just maybe this time they won’t live happily ever after? That is the rub.
You see i WANT them to be together. My natural disposition is optimistic, sunny and romantic. I don’t look for conflict in daily life and so find it hard to search for it in my books. I don’t even love conflict in other writer’s stories. Often if things get too tough, i have to stop reading for awhile because i hate the conflict so much.
The conflict i do like is often something that grows out of the nature of the character rather than an external problem. Because i like to read m/m or m/m/f romances as much as write them, the plot conflict that often attracts me is the man who hasn’t yet come to grips with his attraction for other men, or the man or woman who can’t come out or commit to the romance due to his/her life circumstances. My two current works in progress involve plot conflicts like that.
BUT, i’m always looking for conflict ideas. Got any suggestions? What kind of conflicts do you like to see in books? Is there something you’ve always wanted to see in a story? I promise to give it serious consideration, and if i use it, you’ll get the book dedicated to you, oh plot master. : )

Heros I Love — Edward

I’m a big fan of Lynn Lorenz. (see a link to her website on my blog roll) She writes mostly m/m and m/m/f and has been a great model for me in my writing. (Ah, Lynn, bet you never knew you were a role model.) Lynn is a master of voice. Each of her characters speak so clearly, with such definition, they leap off the page at you. Who else could set a series of m/m romances in a medieval era and make us believe it! But, as usual, my personal favorites are contemporary — her Common Powers series, set in present day Texas(where Lynn lives). In this trio of m/m romances, the hook is that one of the characters has some unique “power” such as reading minds or healing. In truth, the books stand up perfectly well without this plot device because Lynn‘s characters are so strong and relationships so believable. But the power adds a fun little extra.

Of the three books in the series my absolute favorite is the last, Edward, Unconditionally. This is the story of the unlikely romance between Jack, the ultimate alpha-male and chief of police in a small Texas town, and Edward, “the gayest man alive”. (The third important character is Winston, a bulldog so adorable even dog-haters would love him.) But the heart and soul of the book is Edward–unconditionally. Edward is sensitive, loving, and wears his proverbial heart on his sleeve. The reader loves him so much it’s easy to understand why Jack does, even though he has to risk his carefully-crafted “perfect” life to have him. Readers like me who love pretty boys will find Edward sexy and lovers of alphas will want him for a best friend.

There are a lot of wonderful characters in Edward, Unconditionally such as Edward’s grandmother who he has come to heal, and all of the men who starred in the previous two books (BTW, i read this book first and had no trouble understanding all the characters and their relationships. I went back later to read their stories.) Their responses and reactions to Edward help us see him more clearly. Edward is described as dark-haired, slender and “too pretty to be a man.” In Edward’s character, Lynn captures the power of both a man and a woman. Edward may be a queen, but he’s not a girl.

I tried to find a picture that i thought might begin to capture some of Edward and really couldn’t fit my mental images in a photo. So i just went for broke and chose a picture as outrageous as Edward. The feathers? Edward at the Atlanta Gay Ball! : )




To Tide You Over

While i’m busy reviewing Lynn Lorenz wonderful, Edward Unconditionally, here are a couple more lovely images to enjoy. A young Irish man, Sebastian Bach, and the ultimate bad-boy picture of Johnathon Rhys-Meyers. Sigh.