Selah March

January 25, 2009

Release day!

Filed under: New release,Writing — Selah March @ 3:55 pm

med_yearcat

Title: YEAR OF THE CAT

Genre: homoerotic romance/historical fantasy/shapeshifter/BDSM/fairy tale

Publisher: Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press

Purchase link: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/YearCat.html


Sweet-natured Etienne LeFevre must give up his birthright and flee into the snow-covered forest to save himself from the murderous greed of his brutish elder brothers. When Etienne ends up alone and hungry, with a ramshackle cottage his only shelter and a feral cat his only friend, he believes himself doomed to a sad, cold death.

But out of the shadows of the night arrives a visitor who brings comfort. He presents himself as a servant, but the man called “Jacques” spends the long hours instructing Etienne in the cruel delights of a disciplined passion.

Jacques is gone with the morning light, but Etienne thinks he knows the stranger’s secret. Will he tame the beast that lurks within his lover? Or will he find himself a victim of the bitter rage that rules Jacques’ heart?

Based on the classic French fairy tale, “Puss In Boots,” this story explores what happens when the servant becomes the master, and the master lives to serve.

* * *

EXCERPT:

Etienne struggled to find his voice. “I know nothing of passion. I am…untouched.”

Jacques’ lips quirked in a sinister smile. “So sweet, like spun sugar. I fear you’ll rot my very teeth.”

The kiss Jacques pressed upon Etienne’s mouth tasted of salt and iron, and awakened in Etienne a delirious kind of hunger. He found himself clutching at Jacques’ shoulders, tearing at the sleeves of his coat with his sore fingers. When Jacques pulled aside the collar of Etienne’s shirt and licked at the line of flesh he’d revealed, Etienne stifled a moan.

“No, mon petit, let me hear your cries,” Jacques murmured, his words setting a heated buzz against Etienne’s skin. “Let me lap them from the hollow of your throat.”

Etienne fought, at war with his traitorous body. “Monsieur, please, I do not—”

“Hush,” Jacques whispered and caught Etienne’s chin in his hand. The pupils of his eyes had taken on a strange, slitted appearance as he gazed into Etienne’s face. “You’ll only tire yourself, and gain nothing for the effort.”

“But you said you wished to be my servant in all things, monsieur. Yet you would take me without my consent?”

“I would coax your consent from its hiding-place and make it sing out like the bells of Notre Dame on Christmas morning.”

His words sounded like nothing less than the simple truth. Etienne stilled himself against the hard cottage floor, his body not entirely limp with submission.

January 23, 2009

Wanna hear a fairytale?

Filed under: blah blah blah,Family — Selah March @ 1:19 pm

Once upon a time (1990, to be exact) on a cold day in January, a twenty-three-year-old preschool teacher dragged a single large suitcase, four cardboard boxes and a few garbage bags full of extra clothes into the house of a handsome young doctor and his two-year-old little boy.

The young doctor was heartbroken – newly separated from his wife, who’d left him to move to California and “find herself.” The preschool teacher was homeless, having worn out her welcome on the sofas and guest-beds and floors of her friends, and unable to afford an apartment of her own, even while cleaning houses on the weekends.

The little boy was confused, unhappy, and desperately in need of mothering.

The preschool teacher had come to play Mary Poppins on a strictly temporary basis. She’d end up staying for what’s turning out to be the rest of her life.

The stuff of your classic Harlequin Romance, you say? Bet you can even envision the cover, can’t you? Something with a grinning couple – she’s petite and wearing a sweater set, he’s got a white lab coat and a stethoscope – and a cute toddler. Maybe a puppy.

But wait! Now cut the heroine’s hair very short, except for a skinny, braided tail that reaches her butt, and die it purple. (No shit – PURPLE). Stick several piercings in her ears and roll a pack of cigarettes in her shirtsleeve. Take the hero out of that lab coat and stick him in tied-dyed scrubs, and trade the stethoscope for an electric guitar. His hair is longer, too…yeah, longer than that…no, seriously…LONGER…

The toddler can stay cute, but switch out the puppy for an iguana named Napoleon.

Okay. Not so Harlequin anymore. But the Goals, Motivation and Conflict remain the same, right? And the happily-ever-after?

Skip ahead nineteen years. The little boy is twenty-one now, and still living at home (which is another story altogether). His younger brother and sister still occasionally ask to hear the story of “how mom and dad met and got together.”

I always begin the story with “once upon a time.” I always finish it with “all happy endings are a Work In Progress.”

It seems to work for them. Which is good, because it sure as hell works for me.  🙂

Happy weekend, folks.

January 20, 2009

Sing it, brother.

Filed under: Politics — Selah March @ 10:49 pm

******************************************************************

“As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” ~Barack Obama on the occasion of his Inauguration, 20 January 2009

Hell to the yeah. Can I get an amen?

Also? (a reprise of Barb Ferrer’s election day post)

December 24, 2008

Feliz Navidad to me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Selah March @ 11:53 am

The weather has messed up our travel plans, I’m sitting here surrounded by suitcases and cranky children without so much as a sugar-plum and nary even a tree or a twinkling light in sight…

BUT!

yearcat2

(Coming soon from Amber Allure/Amber Quill Press.)

Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday season. God bless us, every one! 🙂

December 18, 2008

Things that make me go HEE!

Filed under: blah blah blah — Selah March @ 12:31 pm

Full disclosure: I read most of the first book in the Twilight series, skimmed what I couldn’t bear to fully digest, but passed on the movie…though I did allow Youngest Spawn to see it, precipitating a full hour of raving over the coolness that is Vampire Wuv, followed by two hours of deprogramming by yours truly.

Highlights included:

ME: “So if you were seventeen and you woke up to find your boyfriend watching you while you slept — in your bedroom, where he hadn’t been invited — what would you do? Keep in mind your future as a normal American teenager is at stake here, because there’s always the option of sending you to live with your grandmother in the tiny, primitive village of Neohori, on the tiny, primitive island of Chios, where the streets are too narrow for cars and your weekends will be spent making pilgrimages to the shrines of various Orthodox saints and martyrs, not to mention attending the celebration of the liturgy at the convent of Nea Moni.”

SPAWN: “Uh…”

ME: “Try harder.”

SPAWN: “But it’s so ROMANTIC. He loves her SO MUCH.”

ME: “BZZZZT. The words you’re looking for here aren’t ‘romantic’ and ‘love’ so much as ‘unhealthy,’ ‘stalker-like’ and ‘obsessed.’ How ’bout this one? What if every time you proposed to act independently and make your own decisions, your boyfriend tried to force you to do what HE wanted instead?”

SPAWN: “That depends. Am I making stupid decisions?”

ME: “You make stupid decisions all the time. Your refuse to wear a coat in December in the northeast. You live on Rice Crispies. When I try to get you to reconsider, you call me controlling and mean, and insist you want to learn from your own mistakes.”

SPAWN: “But Mom? You don’t sparkle.”

So you can see why THIS made me howl with slightly hysterical laughter. This part in particular brought me joy:

KRISTEN STEWART (upon waking to find the vampire watching her sleep in her own damn bedroom): Holy fucking shit! If you weren’t so hot I’d have you arrested! How long have you been doing this?

ROBERT PATTINSON: 2 months.

KRISTEN STEWART: But I’ve only lived here one month according to the script.

ROBERT PATTINSON: Yeah, the script was written in six weeks. Don’t get hung up on shit like that.

Second only to this:

KRISTEN STEWART: Dad, you’re embarrassing me almost as much as my acting! I’m just going over to his house to have dinner with his family, I’ll be back before 11. Unless the ravenous vampires murder me, of course.

BILLY BURKE: Alright, just bring this pepper spray with you. It’s literally the very least I can do to offer it to my teenage daughter.

KRISTEN STEWART: Daaaaad! Stop being such a loser, I don’t need this!

BILLY BURKE: Really? Weren’t you almost raped by four guys earlier in the movie?

KRISTEN STEWART: Yeah but I have a BOYFRIEND now, which means I no longer have to be independent or physically capable of doing anything on my own. GOD!

And this:

PETER FACINELLI: Kristen’s been bitten! She’ll be turned into a vampire within minutes unless you suck the venom out! I can’t do it for some reason or another.

ROBERT PATTINSON: Since the whole novel this is based on is just Mormon propaganda for abstinence and bloodsucking is a metaphor for sex, what exactly is this advocating?

PETER FACINELLI: Look, all I know is that even though it’s going to be REALLY HARD, you’re just going to have to PULL OUT of her before CLIMAX. The climax of the movie, I mean.

And, of course, this:

KRISTEN STEWART: I want you to make me a vampire so that I can be with you, even if it means sacrificing my own life as a mortal.KRISTEN STEWART

ROBERT PATTINSON
: So, the next generation of young women are currently flocking to see a female lead starring in a movie by a female director based on a bestselling book by a female author, and in this movie the main character wants to become completely submissive and self-sacrificing for a male.

KRISTEN STEWART: I love you. Put a baby in me.

ROBERT PATTINSON: At least the other three books can’t possibly be more misogynistic and depressing.

ME: “BZZZZT. Wrong again. But thanks for playing.”

*Edited to add: Note pingbacks in comments from the Robert Pattinson Fan Club?

All hands on deck. Man the lifeboats. Women, children and boys with big eyes, pretty lips and tight butts first. The deluge is expected in ten…nine…eight…

December 17, 2008

Update re: M/M Romance Goes Mainstream.

Filed under: blah blah blah,Excerpt,Industry,WIP,Writing — Selah March @ 10:38 am

Remember Running Press and their upcoming experiment with releasing m/m romance as actual romance? (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6622447.html)

Looky! Covers!

transgressions

falsecolours

Ah, spring…when a young man’s mind turns to thoughts of BOOTAY in BREECHES…

Congratulations to Erastes and Alex. April can’t get here soon enough.

NON SEQUITUR ALERT: So am I the last one in the known world to discover Erotica Cover Watch? Why didn’t somebody TELL ME?? I mean, aside from the obvious attraction of Man Candy Monday, the posts themselves are a freakin’ HOOT. Plus, Mathilde and Kristina make several excellent points, which I shall not list here and now because I’m supposed to be writing, and I fear my brilliant and ever-stylish crit partner may break out the flogging implements if I don’t send her…let’s see…yes, the breath-play chapter is up next.

But first, an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Year of the Cat, my WIP based on Perrault’s Puss in Boots, because I can write historical-buttsexin’-boys, too…except mine’s more pseudo-historical, and includes shape-shifting and BDSM and a spot of forced seduction. Details, details…

***

All evidence to the contrary, Etienne was neither a halfwit nor a fool.

Impractical? Certainly.

Guileless? Without a doubt.

But in one particular subject, Etienne possessed no peer — the study of the supernatural. Indeed, his late and deeply lamented father had often expressed concern over the hours his youngest son spent poring over tales of the gruesome and fantastical. From children’s fairy stories to the journals of long-dead sorcerers to grim accounts of witch-hunts and burnings, Etienne’s appetite for the otherworldly was insatiable. Paradoxically, ’twas from this investigation of the inhuman that Etienne developed his most apt observations of humanity — for how better to learn the ways of good, decent men than to study the depravity of monsters?

Therefore, by the time he’d lingered three-quarters of an hour in the company of the man who called himself “Jacques,” Etienne knew his visitor to be a scoundrel, a villain…and quite possibly not a man at all.

None of this kept Etienne from accepting Jacques’ apparent generosity. For ’twould take a halfwitted fool, indeed, to reject warmth on a freezing night, meat for an empty belly or a healing touch on bloody wounds.

But the blaze in the fireplace no longer seemed to burn so brightly — not when compared to the glittering amber of Jacques’ eyes.

“Pray, tell me,” he purred, “what do you know of passion?”

Etienne could only stare. He went on staring even as Jacques loomed over him, caught his face between his large hands and growled, “Tell me, mon petit.”

Etienne struggled to find his voice. “I know nothing of passion. I am…untouched.”

Jacques’ lips quirked in a sinister smile. “So sweet, like spun sugar. I fear you’ll rot my very teeth.”

The kiss Jacques pressed upon Etienne’s mouth tasted of salt and iron, and awakened in Etienne a delirious kind of hunger. He found himself clutching at Jacques’ shoulders, tearing at the sleeves of his coat with his sore fingers. When Jacques pulled aside the collar of Etienne’s shirt and licked at the line of flesh he’d revealed, Etienne stifled a moan.

“No, mon petit, let me hear your cries,” Jacques murmured, his words setting a heated buzz against Etienne’s skin. “Let me lap them from the hollow of your throat.”

Etienne fought, at war with his traitorous body. “Monsieur, please, I do not—”

“Hush,” Jacques whispered and caught Etienne’s chin in his hand. The blacks of his eyes had taken on a strange, slitted appearance as he gazed into Etienne’s face. “You’ll only tire yourself, and gain nothing for the effort.”

“But you said you wished to be my servant in all things, Monsieur. Yet you would take me without my consent?”

“I would coax your consent from its hiding-place and make it sing out like the bells of Notre Dame on Christmas morning.”

His words sounded like nothing less than the simple truth. Etienne stilled himself against the hard cottage floor, his body not quite entirely limp with submission.

***

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 28, 2008

*hiccup*

Filed under: blah blah blah — Selah March @ 9:01 pm

Well. That was…nifty. In a totally “pass me that big-ass carving knife so I can slit my own throat” kinda way.

Quote Of The Day #3, (courtesy of my mother):
“J. [otherwise known as Dr. March] left ten minutes ago to pick up his black musician friend.” [emphasis most assuredly not mine]

As opposed to his “Jewish musician friend” and his “Italian musician friend” and his “gay musician friend,” all of whom celebrated Thanksgiving elsewhere this year, lucky bastards. But it’s good to know Ma has them all categorized by ethnicity and/or sexual orientation. Otherwise, we might FORGET. And then…chaos in the streets…dogs and cats living together…you get the idea.

The menu:
~cream-cheese-and-pistachio stuffed Medjool dates
~Greek olives stuffed with garlic cloves
(*sigh* “I miss pimentos.”
“Ma, you don’t even eat olives.”
“It’s the principle of the thing.”)

~turkey
(“I keep hearing about this whole brining thing, but who wants a pickled turkey?”
“Whatever you say, Ma.”)

~sage-onion dressing
~almond dressing
~gravy
~cranberry relish
(“Why can’t we just have it from the can? It’s traditional!”
“Because it’s my @#$#%$ house, Ma, that’s why.”)

~garlic and cracked black pepper mashed potatoes
~hard-shell candied sweet potatoes
~bacon-spiked creamed corn
~fresh green beans steamed with pearl onions
~creamy coleslaw
~homemade pies: apple, pumpkin, pecan
~pumpkin bars
~homemade eggnog
(“Are you spiking that eggnog?”
“I’m seriously considering it, yes. Why?”
“It’s just not necessary.”
“Are you drinking the eggnog, Ma?”
“You know I hate eggnog.”
“Right.” *up-ends bottle of rum*)

~cranberry punch
~lots and lots o’ wine

Quote of The Day #2, (also – imagine the coincidence – courtesy of my mother):
“I just can’t understand why anyone would want to vacation in India in the first place. I mean, of all places…INDIA??”

I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it. Nor am I saying I won’t ever do it again. But given that I’m weeks behind on two deadlines and haven’t provided a syllable of value to any of my crit partners in what feels like months AND we’re leaving for a Tacoma in *gulp* three weeks, I think maybe I bit off more than I could chew this year.

Quote of the Day #1, (courtesy of Youngest Spawn, eleven-and-a-half next month):
*looks down at me as I’m sprawled at the end of my bed, drunk on eggnog, glasses askew, still fully-dressed down to the gravy-smudged apron and says…*
“Just so you know? I’m NEVER doing Thanksgiving.”

And rob me of my chance to drive you to the crumbling edge of bloody, poultry-scented matricide? We’ll see, little girl. We’ll see.

November 16, 2008

FREE READ: “Dark of the Day”

Filed under: Freebie — Selah March @ 8:32 pm

Back in fall of 2006, I took the PBW Ebook Challenge and wrote the short paranormal romance, Dark of the Day.

You can find it here on my site, or you can get it free at All Romance Ebooks in PDF or HTML, complete with cover art.

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!

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