Selah March

March 16, 2009

Grrr. Argh. Plus! Actual content.

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Industry,Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 6:48 pm

I caught a nasty undercurrent of that whole “authors need to keep their mouths shut lest they alienate readers” thing again today, and it made me a little sick inside – particularly since the conversation was about ebook piracy. Apparently, authors just need to suck it up, buttercup, because the last thing readers want to hear is that we’re pissed over thievery.

I don’t understand this attitude, especially coming from an industry professional whose livelihood is tied to the success of epublishing.

To paraphrase author Ann Vremont, alienated readers aren’t the problem, from a business standpoint – alienated BUYERS (and potential buyers) are the problem. Is a buyer/potential buyer going to be offended because I come out strongly against ebook piracy? Why? They’re willing to pay for the books they read. Ebook piracy hurts them, too, because it causes prices to rise, the same way insurance fraud causes premiums to rise. It’s caused at least one author to reconsider writing an entire series because the profit/loss margin was too thin. So buyers and potential buyers who are willing to pay me for my work should be just as unhappy about piracy as I am.

But if the readers this industry pro was talking about are the ones who steal books, well, then…fuck ’em. Let ’em be alienated. They’ve already alienated me, and no lame-ass justification like “but if I like what I steal, I may pay for it later,” is going to change that.

I know I can be offensive as hell, in that whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” way of women everywhere. I know it’s probably cost me a few sales. I know it’s made me a few sales, too. There are companies to which I’d never bother submitting my work because I find the comments and behavior of some of their employees off-putting. I have no doubt at least one or two of these same companies would reject my work only because it’s mine. So we’re all in agreement, and I’m good with the balance.

And digital thieves can still blow me.  🙂

***

New reviews:

4 Stars from BookWenches for Year of the Cat: “Selah March’s Year of the Cat takes the fairytale Puss and Boots and stands it on its ear. This is not the children’s story that many of us grew up loving; this is a much darker tale filled with anger and violence… For all its dark overtones and BDSM theme, this is a very well-done and enjoyable story about love and the transforming nature of sacrifice made in the name of love. Ms. March has done a fantastic and clever job of weaving a fairytale out of Year of the Cat. The tone is very matter-of-fact and “once upon a time,” even though the subject matter is a little startling. This has a distinct feeling of being the dark counterpart to the Puss in Boots tale, and I was thrilled to be able to pick out similarities in plot between the two stories.

If you are a fan of the fairytale, I recommend that you give Year of the Cat a shot. It will give you a whole new outlook on Puss in Boots that has nothing to do with cartoon tabby cats who sound suspiciously like Antonio Banderas. Well done, Ms. March. I look forward to your next offering!” ~B.D. Whitney

4.5 Stars from Reviews by Jessewave for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: “I’m not a huge fan of mysteries or horror stories, but the very aptly named Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was an enthralling read that kept me wide-eyed and reading voraciously to find out what happens next. I’m looking forward to reading more from Ms. March.” ~emmyjag

Finally, I have a guest blog up this week at BookWenches on the subject of antagonists, villains and anti-heroes. I tried not to sound like my senior year English teacher. I suspect I failed.

December 15, 2008

Kibbles and Bits III

Filed under: blah blah blah,Industry,Reviews,shameless bragging,Writing — Selah March @ 8:11 pm

“I’ll come ’round sometime and get that squeak outta yer door.” ~Roux, Chocolat

One of the most suggestive lines of dialogue ever uttered in a movie. Of course, Johnny Depp’s filthy smirk helps the innuendo along, as does the long, loving look he gives Juliette Binoche’s ass as he says it, but still it makes me positively puce with envy every single time. Why can’t I write a line as witty and sexy as that?

Chocolat is one of my favorite flicks, not only for the subtle use of imagery within its language, but also for its amazing visuals. Where else does the dipping of a ladle into a basin of liquid chocolate evoke a slow, sweet fuck between strangers?

I’m trying to capture that kind of imagery in my current WIP, Year of the Cat — a homoerotic, BDSM-infused retelling of Perrault’s Puss in Boots. (Wipe from your minds Antonio Banderas’ cutesy performance in Shrek 2. Adorable as he is, I’m going for something darker and more sexually menacing in a hero this time around. And as a matter of fact, Johnny Depp fills that bill nicely…though not the Chocolat version. I’ve dug out my DVD copy of The Libertine and I’m watching it compulsively…right up to the part where syphilis-stricken-Johnny’s nose starts to rot off his face. Then I hit rewind because we’re writing erotic romance here, and reality – no matter how historically accurate – need not apply.)

Anyway. The kind of visceral imagery found in Chocolat isn’t easy to translate to the page. I’ve tried before and failed. How does one capture the glint of moonlight off a devilish grin, or the exact shade of a pink in a young man’s (or woman’s, but this month we’re all about the boysexin’) cheeks as he offers up his virtue to a cruel, mysterious stranger?

Meh. I’ll keep trying.

In the meantime, this is verra verra interesting (thanks for the heads up from Karlene at RD): http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6622447.html

“Running Press is getting into the fiction market with what it sees as a unique twist in historical romance — gay fiction written by and for straight women. The idea for the line came from Running president Jon Anderson and is based on what he sees as the growing interest in M/M stories reflected in the success of such projects as Brokeback Mountain and the television series Brothers and Sisters. Anderson has acquired the first titles in the line, which will be edited by Lisa Clancy, associate editorial director. The series will launch in April with Transgressions and False Colors. Two more titles are set for fall 2009.

Running v-p and associate publisher Craig Herman said the series will be positioned as a subgenre within romance and while the books will be ‘erotic, they will not be hardcover explicit,’ Herman explained. Running will promote the line through traditional romance outlets including advertising in Romantic Times and outreach through regional RWA chapters. Noting that the books will be shelved in the romance section rather than the erotica section, Running said the book will be ‘created to mirror romance novels, not gay erotica.’”

I’m pleased by this news, especially in light of a recent, rather discouraging discussion at RTB in which certain folks insisted M/M romance would never be a player in “traditional” romance publishing. And while Running Press isn’t Random House or Harper Collins, it’s a foot in the door, no?

So, yes, I’ve decided to be heartened. Mock my optimism at your peril, for ’tis a hormonal sort of day here at Dubious Virtue.

In other news, I’ve finally crossed over to the Dark Side that is LiveJournal. (See?? The color-scheme sort-of-almost MATCHES. But I have yet to receive my promised cookie.) And I’m on Goodreads, too, which is (apparently) like Facebook/MySpace, except less with the random hookups and more with the reading.

Finally, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot continues to accrue strokes and nuzzles and hair-pats from the romance review community. Me LIKEY.

“Readers who love a good horror story are going to find Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Selah March to be a custom fit. This is a spine-chilling novella that puts its characters through a wringer and doesn’t let up on them for the duration of the story. Tom Mulvaney is somewhat pompous and arrogant, but he has a hidden insecurity that the entity is able to ferret out and use against him. Leo, who Tom calls a “brooding psychic Wonder Boy”, is a very reserved man with a stutter. When the evil spirit takes over his body, he loses the stutter and becomes much more aggressive, and this transformation is fascinating to watch as is the effect that it has on Tom. As the story progresses, the tension mounts to almost the point of combustion. Ms. March has portrayed evil very well, and this reader stayed glued to the story in horrified fascination until the very end. Well done!” ~4 Angels from Whitney at Fallen Angel Reviews

“Selah March has a written story that is sensual, exciting and chilling all at the same time. There were times when I was truly scared while reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. The haunted house takes on a life of its own. The sexual chemistry between Leo and Tom is exciting and very hot and I also enjoyed following the development of their relationship as they grow closer. This story had me on the edge of my seat until the end.” ~4 Blue Ribbons from Christina at Romance Junkies

November 10, 2008

Color me squee-ful!

Filed under: New release,Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 10:16 am

My first 5-star review from Rainbow Reviews!

“Despite the unfortunate title [yeah, my sense of humor is an acquired taste, I get that ~SM], this is a first rate paranormal adventure! The story is somewhat reminiscent of “The Haunting” a terrifying haunted house movie from the early 60s, not the less than stellar remake from the 90s! [Actually, it was inspired by Shirley Jackson’s book, THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (see here) upon which “The Haunting” was based, and maybe a little by Richard Matheson’s HELL HOUSE ~SM] However, as far as inspirational material for a scary story, you can’t do much better than “The Haunting” [agreed ~SM].

As in that story, there are five people sent to a house that is reputed to be haunted – one who believes that the house desires to keep them forever. Also, similar to “The Haunting,” there is relatively no blood; the terror is almost, but not quite all psychological – whispered words inside their heads, remembrances and impressions of terrible deeds.

So, whether “The Haunting” inspired it or not, this is a well-written, scary story peopled with great characters. A favorite was Leo, a gay psychic from New Orleans who is described as six-foot-three, two hundred twenty pounds, and “built like a Calvin Klein model crossed with a starting forward for the Celtics.” With a southern accent, good looks and an occasional stutter when he speaks, Leo is irresistible. [What? No love for Tommy, the bad-boy ghostbuster from South Boston? *sigh* Better luck next time, dude. ~SM]

The plot is wonderful. The events happen fast and furious; it really kept my interest. Within moments of entering the house, things start occurring and hardly let up until the last page. Things are never what they seem and that kept me engaged and guessing [I love it when a plan comes together. ~SM].

This is a great roller-coaster ride – a scary haunted house, some hot sex, and surprises around every corner. I highly recommend this story!” ~Matthew, Rainbow Reviews

Thank you, Matthew, wherever you are!

November 4, 2008

Post-Halloween, post-football-season, early-election-day kibbles and bits.

Filed under: blah blah blah,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 12:52 pm

I said I’d post Halloween pics. It seems a little late now, and more than a little inappropriate, given the import of the day, but I promised Eva, so…

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And while I rarely/never post pics of my children out of respect for their privacy, I have permission from Chickalicious (also known as Youngest Spawn) to post this one. And even if I didn’t, it’s just too, too charming to skip.

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*   *    *

And hey! WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT made the October bestseller list at Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure. Nifty.

1. Calendar Boys—October: Trick Of Silver – Jamie Craig (Gay / Werewolf)
2. Shattered – M. L. Rhodes (Gay / Shapeshifter)
3. A More Perfect Union – J. M. Snyder (Gay / Shapeshifter)
4. Vampires Of Noctra: Blood Bounty – Darcy Abriel (Gay / Vampire)
5. Crave – Vivien Dean (Gay / Dark Fantasy)
6. Tall, Dark, Tattooed And Twisted – Lee Avalone (Gay / Vampire)
7. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – Selah March (Gay / Ghosts)
8. Hungry? – Helen Louise Carrol (Gay / Futuristic)
9. Wild, Wicked, And Haunted In Hollywood – Lee Avalone (Gay / Vampire/Ghosts)
10. This Time For Keeps – Christiane France (Gay / Ghosts)

*   *   *

I attended a Youth League cheerleading competition this weekend. It was cheer-TASTIC. One might almost say cheer-GASMIC. My ears are still ringing. And then there was the Youth League Cheerleader’s Ball, which I chaperoned, that consisted of dozens of pre-and-barely-pubescent girls dancing to “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and shrieking the lyrics to Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long.” And I quote:

And we were trying different things
We were smoking funny things
Making love out by the lake to our favorite song
Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking ’bout tomorrow
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long
Singing Sweet home Alabama all summer long

The irony is that ninety-nine percent of these kids wouldn’t know “Sweet Home Alabama” if it jumped up and bit them on the toes of their Uggs…except for Chickalicious, who’s been basting in Southern Rock since she was in utero. Still, it was disturbing to watch her pantomine chugging Jim Beam from a bottle with her little friends. We’re both glad her father skipped the party.

*   *    *

On the issue of the election and its importance to the country and the rest of the world, I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said before, so I’ll post this video…which isn’t much to look at, but the lyrics? Killer.


Lyrics: Long Road Out of Eden, The Eagles:

moon shining down through the palms
shadows moving on the sand
somebody whispering the twenty-third psalm
dusty rifle in his trembling hands

somebody trying just to stay alive
he got promises to keep
over the ocean in america
far away and fast asleep

silent stars blinking in the blackness of an endless sky
cold silver satellites, ghostly caravans passing by
galaxies unfolding, new worlds being born
pilgrims and prodigals creeping toward the dawn
but it’s a long road out of eden

music blasting from an suv
on a bright and sunny day
rolling down the interstate
in the good ol’ usa

having lunch at the petroleum club
smokin’ fine cigars and swappin’ lies
he said: “gimme ‘nother slice o’ that barbecued brisket!”
“gimme ‘nother piece o’ that pecan pie!”

freeways flickering, cell phones
chiming a tune
we’re riding to utopia, road map says we’ll be arriving soon
captains of the old order clinging to the reins
assuring us these aches inside are only growing pains
but it’s a long road out of eden

back home i was so certain
the path was very clear
but now i have to wonder, what are we doing here?
I’m not counting on tomorrow
and i can’t tell wrong from right
but i’d give anything to be there in your arms tonight

weaving down the american highway
through the litter and the wreckage and the cultural junk
bloated with entitlement, loaded on propaganda
and now we’re driving dazed and drunk
been down the road to damascus,
the road to mandalay
met the ghost of caesar on the appian way
he said, “it’s hard to stop this bingeing, once you get a taste.”
“but the road to empire is a bloody stupid waste.”

behold the bitten apple – the power of the tools
but all the knowledge in the world is of no use to fools
and it’s a long road out of eden….

*  *  *

EDITED TO ADD: Read a little about the early suffragettes and what they suffered to earn our right to vote.

I love that quote: “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”

August 12, 2008

Red alert. May Day. SOS.

It appears Jenny Crusie is seriously considering doing away with her blog. This can be firmly categorized under Things NOT Okay With Selah.

On the topic of Vicious Posses in the Romance Blogosphere and how they’ve already run at least one good author (Tess Gerritsen, for those who didn’t follow that steaming shit-fest) out of town, Jenny says this:

“So my pal quit blogging, not because she was intimidated by the threats -– this is one tough lady -– but because life was too short and she didn’t need to blog, it had just been her way of giving back to the writing community. Of course, after that some people said she was wimpy for not staying around so they could kick her again, evidently missing the point that sticking around to get insulted by a bunch of people with no sense of humor had no upside for her.”

And:

“I think most people just file the disappointment away under Things I Know About That Author without going after her as someone unclean who must be eradicated from publishing blogs or books. But there are some whose disappointment is so great, whose sense of betrayal is so strong, that they stoop to name-calling and vituperation and cornering innocent writing partners at conferences and telling him that he’s guilty by association. These people, I would argue, need to take a step back. I feel strongly that anybody who evaluates the rest of the people in the world by how closely their attitudes and statements agree with her worldview is in danger of structuring a life much like the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department. We don’t learn from the people who agree with us, we learn from the people who make us say, “Wait a minute,” and that learning goes both ways. I learn a lot from the critics who intelligently analyze my books and find them wanting; I’ve also learned a lot from the people who have thoughfully and calmly disagreed with me on this blog. Haven’t learned a thing from the shriekers and condemners, though. And the only thing my pal learned was that blogging was just too expensive a hobby in the balance of her life. I think a lot of people miss her blog; I doubt that she does.”

The “no sense of humor” thing? SPOT. ON. I’ve seen better senses of humor on an oncology ward than on some romance blogs where Very Important Topics Relevant To The Future of Romance are discussed almost daily. (And the Alberto Gonzalez crack? I’d like to think it’s an Easter Egg for those of us in the know, but I doubt it. And I love it anyway.)

Don’t go, Jenny. I don’t agree with everything you say, and I sometimes think you’re two catfish short of a coatrack, but I love your sense of humor and your guts. I’d miss you like BURRRRRNING.

To those individuals who’ve emailed me to ask, “WTF? And where?” Thank you. It’s nice to know somebody misses me like burning, too. I’m here, banging away at the final revisions on the novella that has graduated from “would not die” to “living dead,” with a full serving of BRAAAAAAINS. Plus, there was the Jersey shore, and now there’s cheerleading camp and football practice. So very middle American, n’cest pas? But school starts in three weeks. I’ll be back with a vengeance then.

In the meantime, my publisher has informed me that July was the highest selling month in history for Amber Quill Press, spurred on by excellent sales from the Allure imprint. And…

1. Under My Skin II – M. L. Rhodes (Gay / Contemporary)
2. Warm Rush, Book I: Chasing Winter – Rowan McBride (Gay / Paranormal)
3. Wild Horses – Selah March (Gay / Western)
4. Light My Fire – Lee Avalone (Gay / Paranormal / Horror)
5. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Vivien Dean (Gay / Vampire)
6. Calendar Boys—July: Vintage – Jamie Craig (Gay / Contemporary)
7. Strangers In The Night – Christian France (Gay / Contemporary)
8. (Just Like) Starting Over – Pepper Espinoza (Gay / Contemporary)
9. You Were Always On My Mind – Deirdre O’Dare (Gay / Contemporary)
10. Nowhere Man – Jamie Craig (Gay / Contemporary)

Guess I can start putting payments on that shiny new hat I saw in the window at Macy’s. What Ricky doesn’t know won’t–

Luuuuuucy! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!

WAAAAAAAAAH…

July 31, 2008

Drive-by shameless self-promo.

Filed under: Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 11:07 pm

~Romance Junkies does WILD HORSES:

WILD HORSES is the follow up to SEVEN YEAR ACHE. I loved this story because while you still get to visit the beloved characters from SEVEN YEAR ACHE there are new memorable characters introduced with heartbreaking backgrounds which bring tears to your eyes. Kris struck me as a fun loving singer down on his luck. He doesn’t follow the rules and takes risks that most people would have shied away from. Blake’s grief and loneliness is evident throughout the story. He takes his friend’s death personally and his friends don’t seem to know how to handle him or what he needs. Selah March satisfies our need to know more about what happened with Jamie, Rafe and Lilah and still capture the intensity of the growing love between Kris and Blake. Add in several frat boys who don’t know how to behave themselves and things are bound to get real interesting very quickly.

While WILD HORSES can be read as a stand-alone story, I’d recommend reading SEVEN YEAR ACHE as well so that you’ll have a better understanding of what happened with Jamie, Rafe and Lilah.” ~Chrissy Dionne for Romance Junkies

* * *

~Rainbow Reviews does it, too.

“[WILD HORSES is a] …welcome sequel/spin off to Selah March’s SEVEN YEAR ACHE. We get to catch up with the turbulent lives of JT and Rafe, but the main focus is on Kris and Blake, an unlikely pairing if ever there was one.

At first things don’t go well for the two and I wanted to reach into the screen and bang their heads together. Even when they start talking and, uh, other things, they’re still not out of the woods, and the desire to bang their heads returns.

The characters don’t live neat cookie-cutter lives. They have real issues and don’t always resolve them comfortably. The gritty reality of the story is one of its greatest strengths. Along with the romance of course.” ~British Bulldog for Rainbow Reviews

June 25, 2008

Holy mainstream publication, Batman!

Filed under: shameless bragging — Selah March @ 2:46 pm

My newest publisher, Red Sage, has a two-page spread in the latest Publishers Weekly – the one with the article that makes it seem like erotica/erotic romance is a brand-spanking-new industry trend?

Looky! The cover of THERE CAME A KILLING FROST in motherhumpin’ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY!

(bottom, center of right hand page)

In explaining the difference between Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly to my husband, the part-time rock star, I used this analogy: RT is to PW as Spin is to Rolling Stone. (I knew that 720 verbal on the SATs would come in handy someday.)

January 4, 2008

“There’s a hole in the world like a great black pit…

Filed under: blah blah blah,New release,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 10:34 pm
Tags:

…and it’s filled with people who are filled with shit!”

Ah, Sweeney. Murderous misanthropy at its finest. I wasn’t nearly as disturbed by the gouts and gobs of blood as I was by watching…(slight spoiler ahead)…

…Mrs. Lovett’s untimely demise. I adore Helena Bonham Carter. She’s the patron saint of the profoundly weird.

So. Happy New Year. The bleak midwinter approacheth — my favorite season. I’m working on a very dark futuristic fantasy featuring fresh, creamy innocence despoiled by Death incarnate and made to like it and beg for more. I’ve peopled it with vulgar, greedy, and ultimately inconsequential despots, vicious men of the cloth with nasty turns of mind and secret agendas, and a whole boatload of kinky sex — using the online writing/reading/blogging community as my template, obviously. And a happy ending. Because this is ROMANCE, baby.

The working title of this homage to the sick and twisted is NIGHTSHADE, and it should be released by Amber Allure sometime in May.

Also, SEVEN YEAR ACHE made the top ten bestseller list at Amber Allure for the second month running, so yay for the cold, hard cash, yes? *sigh* That resolution to be less crass lasted a whole four days.

Oh well. Maybe next year.

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

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