Quickie giveaway roundup

A couple of fun giveaways for you guys as we head toward the weekend!

Stumbling Over Chaos is giving away a copy of Stripped Clean and you can go get in on that action until tomorrow (10/25) at 7pm.

Gravetells has a little background post on my Mayan Mythology novella, Forbidden Love. Stop by to check it out and enter to win a copy of Forbidden Love, Stripped Clean, or a 1 chapter critique (I think this one goes until the end of October).

Okay, tomorrow is Friday, have an awesome one. I’m gonna be hitting it hard with the sequel to Stripped Clean.

My Friday Reads are gonna be a delicious tag-team of The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd and Bad Idea, which was just released by Damon Suede. You don’t have them yet? It’s all good, I’ll just watch some porn or something while you go and buy them. 😉

Apropos of nothing, bunny slippers are the best thing ever.

Happy weekend,

Love, Ellis

Choose Your Publisher Carefully

I’m gonna try and make this quick… It might seem like a no-brainer but sometimes it needs to be said: Authors, think carefully before signing those publishing contracts. We put a great deal of love and care into our work, and we want very much for it to be seen, read, and appreciated. There are some fantastic publishers out there, both big and small, but you have to be patient enough to look carefully at who you are handing your work and your rights to. Please.

This article by Erica Pike outlines her particular experience with a small press that went very badly, and the warning signs she saw. I suggest your read it carefully, the warning signs in particular. Her experience is one I feel for, and one with which I can sympathize. I no longer advertise the anthology in which my very first short story appeared because beyond the initial (ten dollar) advance, I’ve never received a cent in royalties in the  two and a half years it’s been for sale. I don’t see a way in my contract to reclaim the rights, either. I wish in hindsight I’d stopped to think carefully before signing. I wish I’d examined the contract more carefully, but I was naive and excited to see my first story released.

Remember this: The first publisher to make you an offer is option A. As the saying goes, there are twenty-five other letters in the alphabet. So if the contract terms look fishy, if the publisher itself looks shaky or you’ve heard things from unhappy authors (not just the one guy with a bone to pick, but the same story across the board from many people should be a red flag), then walk away. Something I see with many small presses is a refusal to work with agents, because they refuse to negotiate their contracts. If the contract is simple and straightforward, that’s one thing. They don’t wanna raise the royalty rate? I might understand. But I’ve learned the hard way that some contract clauses can legitimately impede an author’s ability to earn a living (non-compete clauses for example), and that’s a different matter.  So proceed with caution.

Bottom line: If your story is your baby, then don’t just leave it with someone you found on Craigslist who doesn’t have references. Find a good, reputable caretaker.

OutWrite DC – Women Write Gay Erotica (or Romance)


Custom drawing by Reese Dante. ReeseDante.com

If you’re in the Washington DC area this coming weekend, I strongly encourage you to hit up the OutWrite book festival. It’s not as huge as some of the other LGBT reading events I’ve been to–nothing quite compares to the
Rainbow Book Fair in NYC–but it’s growing every year. This one looks like it’s gonna be interesting and fun. 🙂

This year I’m intrigued and excited to be a panel member of the Women Write Gay Erotica event (Friday night, August 2nd, 6:30 – be there!). I classify what I write more as romance than erotica (we can debate the differences if you want but that’s really a whole other post), but there are some blurred lines I suppose, and either way I’m always happy to be involved in a conversation about writing the stories I love.

The topic of women who love to write about men who love other men seems to be an ongoing source of fascination in particular. Perhaps because it’s slippery and tough to pin down, because the bottom line is that the reasons we women love to write gay romance (or erotica) are as many and varied as the women who write the subject matter. Multiplied by a factor of the characters we write.

But I’m rambling. Come join us this weekend, if you’re within traveling distance of U-street. It’s gonna be fun. There will be readings. And shenanigans. Plus, I know a really great bar down the street. 

Isn’t it romantic?

I have a secret confession: I love to watch wedding videos. Mine, my friends… Even people I don’t know. I love to go to the web sites of wedding videographers and watch their demo videos, because well made wedding videos capture the essence of the day, and the love shared between a couple so beautifully and perfectly. Being a witness to that bright, shiny, “nothing can shake it” kind of love makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I guess it’s no wonder I write romance. Even on my angriest, most cynical day, something like this can still reduce me to tears:

No clue who these guys are, but I absolutely adore them, and I adore the way their videographer captured the nuances of them together so beautifully. The guy fiddling with his ring and realizing the symbolism behind that day. It’s all so gorgeous. Love.

This video, by the way, was part of an awesomesauce Buzzfeed link making the rounds about the 50 most romantic moments of all time. You can check it out here. And I gotta tell you, if you get to the bottom of this thing without crying, your will is stronger than mine. 🙂

Things that make you go “awwww!”


Only FOUR DAYS left to pledge a donation to The Fearless Project! This is an amazing photo project that supports openly gay teen athletes. They are so close to their goal. Please help by contributing (it’s tax-deductible) or getting the word out! 

This week’s episode of Boxer Falls. a gaytime drama, was written by Edmond Manning. Edmond was left with a tough cliffhanger. Phil Boxer’s in the morgue–now what? He did a fabulous job with it. My favorite part though, was the scene with everyone’s favorite “it” couple, Quinn and Oz. Made me go “Aww!” like I was looking at a box of cute baby bunnies.

I stumbled across Edmond’s novel, King Perry, awhile back. It’s not your
traditional romance. More like what I’d call “with romantic elements.” The ending is positive but not a happily ever after. Still, there’s a love story in there, the plot and the writing are strong, and he has what I found to be a really fresh and unique voice. The tale itself was really moving and had an etheral, almost otherworldly quality to it which appealed to me as a paranormal author, even though the novel was a contemporary. So we were really thrilled that he was willing to take time from his busy schedule to contribute to Boxer Falls for us.

Speaking of gay soaps, I have been TOTALLY digging on the internet soap Husbands. Starring Brad Bell and Sean Hemeon as a famous power couple who gets drunk-Vegas married and has to stay that way for the sake of good PR, it is hilarious and sexy and extremely intelligent. And holy effing cow, the last episode of season two was sooo sweet! I got a little sniffly. (Baby bunnies again. AWWW!) You MUST watch if you haven’t already. You can find all the past episodes on YouTube, and their web site is here.


In all seriousness… I was staring at his crotch.


I debate a lot with folks about the importance of romance. Romance is not tripe, it’s not wank fodder. Romance is valuable, and serious (yes, sometimes it’s also wank fodder, but one shouldn’t negate the other). Not to mention, it’s the top selling genre of fiction overall particularly since the advent of e-readers. I firmly believe that for all the people who snort and crack wise when I tell them that I write romance novels–gay romance novels–romance fiction has an extremely important place in the world. I know that especially in the field of LGBT fiction, romance with a happy ending is seen as a little too fluffy sometimes. A little too much like a fairy tale.

And I argue that romance is uplifting. It can help raise awareness (many who stumbled upon the genre of gay romance have wound up becoming advocates for marriage equality, etc). Romance can also provide fantasy, escape, and hope. Sometimes love does win the day. It improves readers’ sex lives. Gets them through illnesses. I once had a reader tell me that reading paranormal romances like mine helped get her through the pain and depression of losing a family member. Fairy tale? Maybe so.

Sometimes people need the fairy tale.

And writing romance is tougher than people think. Crafting a well-told story takes time, effort, and knowledge. Writing is not simply typing. Right now, I’m working on a project that’s got me researching my ass off. I love research, but my noodle is so cooked I barely remember my own phone number. F’real.

Today though? Today, I was flipping through inspirational photos. I realized, after I’d been staring at one for awhile, that I’d zeroed in on the guy’s crotch. Yes, well, what can I say? Legitimately, I had been working on a love scene. I had penis on the brain. I’ve been stuck in “serious” mode a lot lately, and truthfully I’ve been more than a little down. I guess my mind was announcing to me loud and clear that it was done with all that for awhile and needed a break.

So, fine. Happy weekend, everyone. Let’s shake off the serious, shall we? I’ve got some awesome novels to dive into. The British Devil from Greg Hogben and the latest from Cameron Dane. And, ohyeah, I dare you not to stare at that guy’s crotch down there.

Oh, almost forgot! If you’re looking for some free smexy fiction, check out Sue Brown’s episode of Boxer Falls on the Goodreads M/M romance group, or Alix Bekins’s Blogwarming serial story.

photo by Eric Lon