Wednesday, August 21, 2013

No, Mum, I haven't just been eating chocolate and wasting time on the internet

Exciting news time! 

J.A. Rock and I have not one, but two books currently under contract. So I'm just going to tell you about them, and hopefully whet your appetites, okay? 

Coming up first, hopefully, is Mark Cooper Versus America, under contract to Loose Id. This is a fun little book (I can write fun, I promise. It's not always angsty dub-con here in my brain) about an Aussie boy whose mother marries an American, and who then he finds himself transplanted halfway across the world. With snow and bears and shit. And he's not a happy bunny at all. 

It's also the book where J.A. and I got to rehash all our favourite arguments about spelling, language, and cultural differences. I mean, what are s'mores anyway, and why should I care? I'm going to go and eat some Freddo Frogs. 

Here's the unofficial blurb: 

Mark Cooper is angry, homesick, and about to take his stepdad's dubious advice and rush Prescott College's biggest party fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi. Greek life is as foreign to Aussie transplant as Pennsylvania's snowstorms and bear sightings. When the fraternity extends Mark a bid, Mark makes it his mission to get kicked out by the end of pledge period. But things change when he's drawn into Alpha Delt's feud with a neighbouring fraternity. 

Studious Phi Sigma Kappa Deacon Holt is disappointed to learn Mark's pledging Alpha Delt -- Phi Sig's sworn enemy. Mark's too beautiful for Deacon to pass up an invitation for sex, but beyond sex, Deacon's not sure. He wants a relationship, but a difficult family situation prevents him from pursuing anything beyond his studies. Mark and Deacon's affair heats up as the war between their fraternities escalates. They explore kinks they didn't know they had while keeping their liaison a secret from the brothers. But what Romeo and Juliet didn't teach these star-cross'd lovers is how to move beyond sex and into a place where they share more than a bed. That's something they'll have to figure out on their own -- if the friction between their houses doesn't tear them apart. 

Ah, so much snark and fun and college boys learning how to be kinky...

And here's the flipside. There's always a flipside. A dark, unhappy flipside:  When All The World Sleeps will be out in 2014 from Riptide. Here is the unofficial blurb: 

Daniel Whitlock has been sleepwalking since he was a child. No one's ever really understood his disorder. His parents punished him, his sister mocked him, and when, as an adult, Daniel swore in court he had no memory of burning down Kenny Cooper's house with Kenny inside, the entire town of Logan turned against him. Terrified of what else he might do in his sleep, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night. 

Local cop Joe Belman doesn't believe Daniel's bullshit defense either. But when Bel saves Daniel's life, he discovers Daniel might not be what everyone says he is: crazy. A killer. A liar. A tweaker. A freak. Bel agrees to look after Daniel at night -- for Logan's sake, not Daniel's. Daniel's attractive, but Bel's not going there. 

Except as he'd drawn further into Daniel's dark world, Bel finds he likes being in charge, and Daniel finds that submitting to Bel gives him the only peace he's ever known. But Daniel's demons won't leave him alone, and he'll need Bel's help to slay them once and for all-- if Bel can accept that being on Daniel's side might cost him everything. 

When All The World Sleeps is definitely dark. I mean, when you start your writing process with "Well, how about he killed a guy?" it's not going to be full of sunshine and rainbows and puppies. 

I love both of these, in very different ways, and I hope you guys will too! 

And later on we'll investigate why we wrote two very different stories that both feature characters with the surname Cooper. I suspect a lack of imagination. (Totally my fault, not JA's, since I think I named them both.) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Great Task Bellow

Well, after my last post, you guys thought I knew about angst? Let me tell you, I know shit about angst. Because check out this email I got today: 

My Name is Mrs.Bakara Wachiri from Syria . I am confident that (you) the recipient of this message should endeavour to read this message thoroughly and wholeheartedly accept to assist me fulfil my last wish before I die. I do not have any option for a better solution than to inform you about this great task bellow.......

Firstly, I am married to Mr Fara Wachiri.A gold merchant who owns a small gold Mine in Burkina Faso . We were married for Eleven years without a child. And he died of Cardiovascular Disease before the uprising in Syria began in mid-March 2011. During his life time he deposited the sum of US$ 7.2m (Seven million two hundred thousand dollars) in a bank in Ouagadougou the capital city of Burkina Faso in West Africa . Presently this money is still in the bank without claim. He made the money from gold exportation around the world.

At the time of his illness, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The one thing that disturbs me mostly is my stroke illness. My doctor confidentially told me i have a month to live. Having known my condition I decided to contact you if you can claim the fund as my next of kin since none of my husband’s relation or mine is alive. They were killed during the war in my country Syria when they were fleeing from the country to Jordan . If you agree to be my next of kin and claim the fund then you will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct you…………

You will take 40 % Percent of the total money While 60% of the money will go to charity and the orphanage homes. I grew up as an Orphan and I want part of the money to go to charity and the orphanage homes. If this money remains unclaimed before or after my death, the bank executives or the government will take the money as unclaimed fund and maybe Use it for selfish and worthless ventures.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give to you the contact of the bank in Burkina Faso for the claim. I will also provide to you a copy of the existence of the fund and a letter of authorisation to legally transfer the fund to you as my choice of next of kin. Significantly, if you assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated above.

I write to you by the assistance of a nurse in the hospital. Note that this task requires urgent action.Kindly reply me through [redacted because I'm not an idiot]. 

Oh yes, this could all be mine! 

Have you ever read a story filled with more heartbreak? You guys. Just...I don't even know where to start. Okay, yes I do. 

Dear Mrs Bakara Wachiri, 

While it's always been a dream of mine to be adopted by a hitherto-unknown gazillionaire with a terminal illness, I am afraid I must decline your extraordinarily generous offer to be your heir. Mostly because it would take me too long to learn to spell my new surname. 

What confuses me the most, however, is why you looked all the way to Australia for someone to assist you. I would think that the real difficulty in trying to unload $7.2 million dollars would be trying to keep the hordes of people from your door. But obviously my understanding of the intricacies of international finance is as lacking as your understanding of my admittedly basic level of intelligence. 

May I kindly suggest that you give your helpful nurse some of your fortune, which may allow her to invest in an English dictionary. While I'm sure she's busy dealing with your many tragic ailments, perhaps she could take a moment to learn the difference between "bellow" and "below". Although I did enjoy the accidental poetry of "this great task bellow". For some reason I'm imagining a frustrated water buffalo trying to tie its shoelaces. 

And here's an idea. Don't give me 40% of your fortune, and 60% to "charity and the orphanage homes". As an orphan yourself, I'm sure you understand what a difficult life those poor children have. May I suggest that, in your last remaining days, you adopt several hundred of these orphans and give them the money directly? I'm sure the medications you are on for your various tragic illnesses are making logical thought difficult for you, but come on, the solution is staring you in the face. 

I regret at this time that I will be unable to assist you in your great task bellow, as much as I'm sure the money would be helpful as Olga and I embark on our life together

With best wishes, 

Lisa Henry. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Show me the angst

I don't know what it is about me and angst. I guess I first met angst in my teenage years, and we just hit it off so strongly that I knew we'd always be friends...or something like that. 

I think everyone thought I'd grow out of the angst-heavy writing I did when I was a teenager. I poured my heart and soul into that -- NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME AND I'M TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW AND I HATE YOU ALL AND DIDN'T EVEN ASK TO BE BORN -- and it was appalling self-indulgent and kind of hilarious. (Don't tell teenage me I said that. She'll get angry. And possibly stabby.) 

But once I started focussing less on me, and actually developing characters, it turned out that my characters had a lot of angst as well. And it was better than mine. 

I think that most writers have a basic interest in what makes people tick and, more importantly, what makes people crack. And I think, at times, it's even simpler than that. Because if I have a bad day, I don't come home and kick the dog. Hell no. I come home and torture the the absolute shit out of a character. It's astonishingly therapeutic, but also makes me sometimes feel like I have to defend myself.

Seriously, I don't know how many times I've had to promise people lately that in real life I love puppies, sunshine and flowers...and also characters who are all, to some degree, emotionally fucked up. 

Because, as Ferg says to Brin in The Naughty Boy, "Everyone's got something, right?" 

I'm paraphrasing that. Couldn't be bothered look it up. 

I actually have a very cool and relatively carefree family is no more screwed up than most people's, and a lot less screwed up than many. I earn pretty good money at a day job that, for all it's other faults, is at least always interesting. My personal relationships are fairly angst-free. The biggest issue in my life at the moment is remembering to call the plumber to get that leak fixed. And yet...everyone's got something. 

Moments of self-doubt and introspection. Moments of reflection. What did go wrong there? There will always be things you wish you'd got the chance to say. Things that, if you'd seen them coming, you might have been able to prevent. 

That's life, right? 

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a boy waiting for me in a Word Document who really needs to cry. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Uh oh, it's the po-po. Also, Domestic Discipline week!

So, for those of you who don't know, I work in a police station. 

And I like my job a lot. I used to work in a bank once, and, apart from the hours spent fantasising about armed hold ups (you get to go home early!!!!), I really hated that job. I can remember waking up every Monday morning and thinking, "Oh, no, not again..." 

But now I like my day job. It's not really a day job though. It's sometimes an afternoon job, and very often a night job. And I even like the shift work. Bored? Hell no, I'm too tired to be bored! 

I also like it because it's one of the few jobs in the world where "the customer is always right" does not apply. Because most often the customer is drunk, drug-fucked, delusional, or a heady combination of all three. And that's okay. It's better than okay, it's interesting

Also, once I accidentally handcuffed myself to a chair. 

"Can I have a go with your handcuffs?" I asked one of the guys. 

Five minutes later as he uncuffed me, he said, "Well, at least you didn't ask for the taser." 

"I know, right?" 

Anyway, the best thing about my job is that on nightwork when it's quiet, I can pull my laptop out and write. Which is what I did last night. Usually I can get a fair amount of work done, but last night I kind of stalled. Because it was a sex scene. And I got paranoid that the sergeant sitting next to me would read over my shoulder. 

"What are you writing?" he might have said. 

"Oh, a fun blowjob scene. With tinsel." 

So I hung around on Goodreads instead. And today JA Rock finished the blowjob scene. 

Oh yeah, did I mention we're writing another sequel to The Good Boy

I should probably have mentioned that. It's contains Christmas decorations, some soul searching, and a lot more Mr. Zimmerman. 

Also, you guys should head over to JA's blog, where this week it's not just Shark Week, it's Domestic Discipline Week. There are heaps of interviews from heaps of great writers, and giveaways as well! I'm over there on the 10th, where I'm talking a bit about my first encounters with DD, and giving away a book from my back catalogue. See you there!