Sunday, December 29, 2013

The State of Play

I'm not usually one of those people who writes down the things she has achieved during the year. Mostly because that takes a level of organisation that I just don't have. Also, I can't find a pen. Ever. 

But here's how things stand for me at the end of 2013: 

Books Published: 2 (All with J.A. Rock) 

Also The Naughty Boy, but that was a short. 

So let's call it two and a half. And while we're at it, thanks to everyone who made this happen for The Boy Who Belonged

Freebies: 2

Here are two very different animals: Falling Away and The Last Rebellion. (Psst: follow the links to download them!) 

Books Written: 

Mark Cooper versus America (with J.A. Rock) - out on January 28 from Loose Id. 
King of Dublin (with Heidi Belleau) - out in February 24 from Riptide. 
When All The World Sleeps (with J.A. Rock) - out on March 24 from Riptide. 
Sweetwater - part one written and part two still percolating - looking at a September release from Riptide. 

Bliss (with Heidi Belleau)
The Two Gentlemen of Altona (with J.A. Rock) 

Currently Writing: 

Merchant of Death (with J.A. Rock) 
Sweetwater, part two. 
Dark Space 2, a sequel. 
And two untitled sci-fi projects that are similar in theme, but very different in tone. 

And let's not forget The List, which is a Google Doc where J.A. Rock and I put all our ideas...even the crazy ones with tentacles. The List has two parts. The first, called LIST O' PROJECTS TO COMPLETED, has ten items on it. The second part, called LIST O'POSSIBLE PROJECTS TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE REAL LIST O'PROJECTS, has one single item on it only. But it's a doozy. 

So, I'm thinking 2014 will not be the year I run out of ideas... 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to print this post out and give it to my mum to explain how I never get any housework done. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Arse. Brought to you by Mark Cooper.

I'm so excited! Mark Cooper versus America is out on January 28, and JA Rock and I have a cover to show you: 

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 Mark as Pennsylvania’s snowstorms and bear sightings. So, when the fraternity extends Mark a bid, Mark vows to get himself kicked out by the end of pledge period. But then he’s drawn into Alpha Delt’s feud with a neighboring fraternity.

Studious Deacon Holt is disappointed to learn Mark’s pledging Alpha Delt, his fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa’s sworn enemy. Mark is 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 their brothers. But what Romeo and Juliet didn’t teach these star-crossed 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, and between Mark and America, doesn’t tear them apart.

Is it wrong that the thing I'm most proud about in this book is the fact that we get to use the word "arse" instead of "ass"? Because ass, as we all know, is the incorrect word. Right, JA? 

Anyway, Mark Cooper versus America is a really fun book. We had heaps of fun writing it, and I hope you'll have heaps of fun reading it. I think Mark is one of my favourite characters, and not just because he says "arse", but because he's fun, he's fearless, and he's stubborn. That stubbornness isn't always a good thing, or a smart thing, but he's also eighteen, and who didn't do some dumb things at eighteen? 

With that in mind, here's one of my favourite Aussie songs: 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Boy Who Belonged is here! Read an excerpt.

The Boy Who Belonged is now live on the Loose Id site, and should be available at third party retailers very soon! And the book that started it all, The Good Boy, is currently on sale at Loose Id as well. 

And here are the opening few pages of The Boy Who Belonged, setting the scene for the return of one of our favourite characters from The Good Boy. This guy: 


Derek Fields opened the door to find his sister standing on the doorstep, looking more harried than usual. 

“It’s Paul,” Christy announced breathlessly, shaking her head and scowling. “He’s booked a trip to Fiji for us for Christmas! Fiji, Derek!” 

“Um,” Derek said, opening the door to let her in. “The bastard?” 

Christy elbowed him as she stepped inside. She dumped her overflowing shoulder bag on the floor and headed through to the kitchen. “Your sarcasm isn’t helping!” 

“Well, that’s not what sarcasm is for,” Derek said. He followed her through. “Let me get this straight. You’re going to Fiji for Christmas with the same man you were referring to only last week as Boyfriend McAwesome. Are you sure it’s help you need, not congratulations?” 

Christie snorted. She took a glass from the dish rack and filled it from the tap. “God, this place is a mess!” 

Derek looked around the kitchen. The breakfast table was piled high with Lane’s textbooks, and the bench was covered in last night’s takeaway containers, but it was hardly a pigsty. And Christy, who had an actual pigsty at her house, which doubled as an overflow for the animal shelter she ran, was in no position to judge. 

“Oh shit,” he said. “The animals. Of course.” 

“Of course,” Christy said. “Look, Rachel has agreed to move in and house-sit, since she’s done it before, but there’s a problem.” 

“What problem?” 

“She’s done it before,” Christy said. She sighed. “So she’s refusing to take Mr. Zimmerman.” 

Mr. Zimmerman was a macaw and was legendary throughout Christy’s neighborhood for the stream of foul-mouthed abuse that he could dish out on unsuspecting visitors. Like the mailman. Or the Girl Scouts. Or, once, the FBI. 

“No,” Derek said. 

“Please!” Christy actually clasped her hands together. “Mom’s going to stay with Aunt Greta, so she can’t take him, and I really, really, really want to go to Fiji with Paul!” 

“Can’t you put him in the shelter while you’re gone?” 

“Derek, people visit the shelter. It’s not like I can convince parents to take a puppy home for their kids if they’ve just been called filthy syphilitic whores, is it?” She widened her eyes. “I’ll buy you the best present!” 

Derek sighed and shook his head, but he already knew he was beaten. “You’d better.” 

Christy hugged him. “You are the best brother ever!” 

Derek grunted and brought his arms slowly up to hug her back. “I know. But keep in mind I’m only saying yes because the bird’ll behave for Lane.” 

It was true. While the macaw spent all day, every day repeating phrases he’d learned from his crotchety former owner and namesake, Mr. Z tended to tone it down when Lane was around. Just a couple of weeks ago, Derek had overheard him mutter to Lane, “You’re a good man, Corporal.” And Lane had thanked him. 

But then, Lane had a way with animals even Christy envied. 

“Exactly,” Christy said, stepping back. “And Lane likes him, right?” 

“Lane doesn’t have it in him to hate an animal.” Or a person, for that matter. Though Derek could name a few people off the top of his head Lane ought to hate. And it wasn’t so much that Lane believed the best of everyone, but rather that he tended to believe the worst of himself. Derek still thought the only time Lane truly relaxed was when he was around Christy’s menagerie. Which was frustrating, since Derek liked to think he had at least as much to offer Lane as any one-eyed cat or split-eared dog. 

But Derek kept reminding himself to be patient. He and Lane had only been together six months, and given all the shit that had gone down over the summer, Derek was impressed their relationship was going as well as it was. 

Christy cocked her head. “What’s wrong?” 

Derek shook his head and forced a smile. “When does our houseguest arrive?” 

“Does Wednesday work for you? We’ll be back the twenty-seventh.” 

“Whoa! You’re gonna be gone a whole month?” 

“Three weeks.” She looked at him pleadingly. “Paul thinks I need a long break.” 

Derek sighed. “Fine.” 

“Thank you, Derek. Seriously.” Christy turned at a soft jingling down the hall. Andy padded into the foyer, head down, tail wagging, nails clicking on the linoleum. “Well, it took you long enough,” she said to the dog. 

Andy stopped about a foot from her and stretched, spreading his front toes and yawning. 

“Oh please,” Christy said. “You couldn’t make it another three steps?” 

Derek grinned. “He’s become a total couch potato. I think Lane slips him too many table scraps.” 

Christy crouched and scratched Andy’s ears. “Don’t you let him do that,” she cautioned. “Bad for their coats, bad for their behavior, and bad for their metabolism.” 

“Come on. Like you’ve never given your zoo your leftovers.” 

Christy twisted her mouth. “I’m just saying, he’s definitely put on some weight.” She patted Andy’s stomach and pursed her lips as Andy licked her face. “Unlike Lane. So maybe Lane ought to be eating that food himself instead of feeding it to the dog.” 

“I know. But you try reasoning with him.” 

Christy stood. “Lane’s so hard to reason with.” 

Derek snorted. “Impossible, right?” 

“No respect for anyone else.” 

“Horrible attitude.” 

“Refuses to follow orders.” 

Derek narrowed his eyes at her. 

Christy snickered. “Sorry, I wasn’t even thinking about it like that.” 

There were moments Derek regretted coming out about his BDSM interests to his mother and sister. It had been fun to have Christy commiserate back when Derek’s love life had consisted of a string of one-night stands courtesy of But now Derek was in a long-term relationship with someone he loved, and he was more than a little embarrassed to think about what his family might assume he did with--and to--Lane. 

“You want some breakfast?” Derek asked. 

Christy shook her head. “I gotta get going.” 

“So you just stopped by to beg me to take your parrot for three weeks.” 

“Basically, yes. I have to work today.” 

Derek raised an eyebrow. “Thought this was your day off?” 

“Nothing gets done when I’m not there.” 

Derek rolled his eyes. “Thank God you’re going on vacation. Please tell me you won’t have an international cell phone. I can just see you calling the shelter twenty times a day...” 

“Oh stop. No, I won’t have a phone. I might e-mail them occasionally.” 

Derek snorted. The staff at the shelter probably needed Christy’s holiday as desperately as she did. “Do yourself a favor and don’t go near a computer.” 

Christy gave him a dubious look, then smiled. “Maybe. So thanks, and I’ll catch you later, okay?” 

“Okay.” Derek stifled a yawn. Who knocked on someone else’s door at eight a.m. on a Saturday morning? The worst sister in the world, that was who. “Don’t work too hard.” 

“I won’t!” She sailed out the front door. 

Derek closed it after her and enjoyed the quiet for a moment. It was broken by nothing but the soft jingling of Andy’s tags as he headed back for the bedroom. 

“Breakfast,” Derek told him instead, and the dog’s yellow ears pricked up. Derek fixed Andy his breakfast, then left the back door ajar so he could head out into the yard. He left Andy crunching away at his food, scrubbed his hands through his hair, and went back into the bedroom. 

Lane was still asleep, lying curled on his side. He was frowning, his right hand gripping the sheet tightly. As Derek watched, he shook his head and said in a faint but forceful voice, “No!” 

Typical of Lane, even his nightmares were quiet. They’d been becoming less frequent in the past few months, but stress sometimes triggered a spate of them, and Lane had an exam this week. Not that he should have worried. He studied hard. 

Derek lay down beside him, shifting close so that Lane’s bare back was pressed up against his chest. He rubbed Lane’s arm until Lane released the sheet, sighed, and rolled over so that he was cuddled against Derek. Derek breathed in the scent of his hair. 

Six months ago he’d been complaining to Christy that he was single, that he was drinking too much and trying to pretend that he didn’t notice when he talked to himself just so the house didn’t seem so empty. And now he had a boyfriend and a dog. The whole domestic package. Or, as his friend Brin had called it, the gays’ answer to the nuclear family. Derek had pointed out that was an outdated stereotype, and that these days gays could have marriages and kids and an actual nuclear family. The debate had ended when Brin had announced that he was an outdated stereotype too, thank you very much, and Ferg, Brin’s partner, had laughed so much that wine came out his nose. Derek had laughed as well, until he’d realized he’d just said the M-word, not to mention the K-word, in front of his new boyfriend. His very young, barely old-enough-to-drink-legally new boyfriend. But Lane hadn’t looked too spooked. 

Derek smiled at the memory and lifted his hand to stroke Lane’s hair. Lane snuffled in his sleep. 

Six months ago, Derek had lost his savings to what the media was calling the Magic Moredock investment scam. Laura and Stephen Moredock had ripped away what little financial security he’d built, and he was never going to see that money again. But he’d gotten Lane. 

Most people still thought Landon Moredock was as guilty as his parents. The people who didn’t know him. But Derek knew Lane now. There had been moments, in the beginning, when he’d wondered. Of course he’d wondered. There had been moments as well when he’d resented Landon Moredock for walking around Belleview like he was innocent. Like he didn’t have other people’s money stashed away somewhere. A part of him had really hated the kid. 

And then he’d met him. 

Derek breathed in Lane’s scent and closed his eyes. 

And now there were lazy Saturday mornings and takeaway containers and bedhead and feeding the dog. Which was as close to perfect as anything. 

Against him, Lane stirred. “Morning.” 

“Morning,” Derek murmured. 

Lane snuggled closer. “Where’s Andy?” 

“Having breakfast.” 

Lane drew back, smiling. His eyes were still glazed with sleep. “Good.” 

Derek watched him expectantly. Good because Lane didn’t want Andy to go hungry? Or good because there was nothing more off-putting than having the dog stare at them when they fucked? 

The second one. 

Lane pushed Derek so that he rolled onto his back, and straddled his hips. He yawned, stretching, and smiled down at Derek. Rubbed himself against Derek’s hardening cock. “Want to have a shower with me?” 

Derek gripped Lane’s hips. “Not right now.” 

Lane leaned down. “I have morning breath.” 

“I don’t care.” Derek tilted his head up, and Lane kissed him gently. Chastely. Then he sat up again, smiling. Derek narrowed his eyes. “Don’t tease.” 

Lane’s smile broadened. “Me? Never!” 

Beautiful kid. 

Derek felt guilty sometimes for thinking of Lane as a kid. But Lane was a lot younger, and it satisfied something deep in Derek to care for him. To feel older, responsible, needed. All right, sometimes he hated feeling older. Feeling old. But he trusted himself with Lane. Trusted himself to love Lane, not just Lane’s youth or beauty. 

Derek wrapped an arm around Lane’s back and pulled him down onto his chest. Lane laughed against Derek’s throat, and Derek patted his ass briskly. “Christy says stop giving Andy table scraps.” 

“Derek.” Lane’s voice was muffled. 


Lane raised his head. “Andy likes them.” 

Derek grinned. “I’m just telling you what Christy said.” 

“He likes nice things. He hasn’t had them before.” 

Derek dug his fingers into Lane’s ribs, then slid one hand between their bodies to stroke Lane’s cock through his track pants. Lane bit his lip, clutching fistfuls of Derek’s T-shirt. With his free hand, Derek patted Lane’s ass again, letting Lane know he was up for adding a little spice to their morning fuck if Lane was. But Lane didn’t push his ass up or nod silently the way he sometimes did to let Derek know he wanted a spanking. Just tugged at the waistband of Derek’s sweats. 

Derek moaned as Lane’s hand brushed his cock. “We’re also taking care of the bird,” he said. “For the next three weeks.” 

“Mr. Zimmerman?” Lane’s hand stilled. Derek immediately wished he hadn’t brought this up now. Shit was getting a little too domestic if they were going to try carrying on a conversation about pet-sitting while they were fucking. 


“That’s great!” 

“Is it?” 

“He’ll be good company.” 

“Are we thinking of the same Mr. Zimmerman?” 

Lane laughed and lowered his head onto Derek’s chest once more. “I like him.” Lane lay there, legs splayed, and his breathing deepened. Was he falling asleep? 

He worked too much. School, plus clinical practice at the veterinary hospital on the west side of Belleview, plus his job at Taco Hub. And the nightmare, which had probably hurt his sleep. Poor kid. 

Derek rubbed Lane’s back until Lane was snoring softly on top of him, then rolled him onto the bed and curled around him. Lane didn’t wake again until Andy returned to the room, tags jingling, and leaped up onto the bed, wedging himself into the nonexistent space between Lane and Derek. 

“Go away,” Derek hissed. Andy looked at him. “You have a dog bed.” 

“Andy,” Lane murmured, rolling over and slinging an arm around the dog. Andy licked his face, his short gold fur tickling Derek’s nose until Derek had to turn away. 

It was out of some goddamn made-for-TV movie, the way shy, damaged Lane had bonded with skittish, aloof Andy. Derek had never been inclined to own a dog before, but there’d been no question of adopting Andy after what the dog and Lane had done for each other. 

From forever alone to instant, gay nuclear family in only six months. Not bad. Derek smiled. 

Lane dozed off again with his hand on Andy’s side. Derek placed his hand on top of Lane’s, and the three of them slept. 

Copyright © J.A. Rock & Lisa Henry

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Did Something Right This Year

The Goodreads M/M Romance nominations are out, and LOOK AT ALL THE PRETTY! 

I am nominated for: 

The Good Boy is nominated for: 

Dark Space is nominated for: 

Falling Away is nominated for: 

And The Last Rebellion is nominated for: 

You guys, that's a nomination for everything I published this year. Thankyou so much for not only readying what I write, but liking it too! You guys rock! 

And here (hopefully!) is the link to vote for your favourites of all the great books nominated! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Interview with Kate Sherwood

Hi everyone! Today on the blog I’m hosting the very talented Kate Sherwood, author of the wonderful Dark Horse series, and the upcoming releases The Fall and Riding Tall. Kate, welcome to the blog!

I’ll start with what is becoming my standard question to ask visiting authors. When you look out the window, what can you see? (I ask this because I get very excited if people answer “snow”. Because I live in the tropics, and it’s hot, and snow is incredibly exotic to me!) So, what’s outside your window?

I do see snow! Not too much of it right now – we had at least a couple feet last week, but it’s been warm enough to melt most of that. Other than the snow… trees, and then the lake. It’s a pretty excellent view.

I'm shivering just thinking about it! I totally have this image of you living somewhere in wilds of Canada, surrounded by horses and hot men. Is any of this at all accurate?

There is a hot-man-shortage, unfortunately. And wilds might be a bit of a stretch, as is surrounded by horses. But I do live… not quite in the country, because I only have about a half-acre of land and I have neighbours on both sides. But across the street is a farmer’s field (beef cattle grazing) and in the back is the lake, so… pretty countrified, I guess.

I'm starting to think there is a worldwide hot man shortage. Quick. Somebody notify the authorities! 

How long have you been writing, and do you remember the first story that you wrote?

I’ve been writing seriously for… hmmm… Dark Horse  came out in May 2010… I submitted it in November 2009, I think… and I’d probably been writing for about a year before that? So a bit more than five years! Wow, that’s longer than I would have guessed.

Lol! I'm the same. Didn't I just start doing this last week? Where has the time gone? 

You write both f/m and m/m stories. Do you have a preference at all? And do you think that your readers have a preference? Do your m/m readers follow you across to m/f and vice versa?

I honestly don’t have a preference. It’s kind of cool to write both, actually, because I can explore similar themes in each sub-genre, and it’s really interesting to see how things play out differently when there’s a woman involved.

That said, my readers clearly DO have a preference – I don’t get anywhere NEAR the sales on my m/f stuff that I get on my m/m. I know there are a few m/m readers who braved the m/f storm on my behalf, but mostly I think they’re two separate groups, and one of the groups is a hell of a lot bigger than the other!

I still like writing m/f, though. And I have a good day job so I’m not depending on book sales to put food on the table. So I writes what I wants!

 For you, what makes the perfect romantic hero or heroine?

I’m a sucker for quiet emotional strength. Not necessarily blatant enough to be “tough”, but just… solid. I like torturing my characters, of course, and I like knowing that whatever I do to them, they’ll pull through.
You write a lot about guys running to (or returning to) small towns who end up confronting their pasts. You seem to have a real affinity with small towns, and the warm, and sometimes claustrophobic, way that they operate. Are you a small town girl yourself, or a sophisticated city dweller at heart? And if money were no object, where would you most like to live in the world?

I grew up in a mid-sized city, and then spent quite a while in Montreal and then Vancouver. I lived right downtown both places. I like cities, but when I moved to the country, I felt like I was coming home. Now when I go back to the city I just want to punch everyone in the face. Especially in traffic. They need to get out of the way. I’m trying to drive, here! So I guess I’m destined to either stay in the country or end up in jail. I chose the country!

In terms of where I’d live if money was no object? Every year right about this time I go through a phase of winter-hatred. It just seems insane that the world is going to be frozen solid for the for the next five months and we’re all just going to try to go about our daily lives as if we don’t even notice that we’re living in some sort of arctic wasteland. But then that goes away, and I start appreciating the snow. There’s something really special about the crunch of really cold snow under your boots on a windless day, or bundling up and lying back in the snow and looking up at the sky, and everything’s muffled and distant…

Yeah, I’d probably want to live somewhere with snow. Which means I might as well stay right where I am. I think I’d spend my money on staff rather than exotic locales. I’m very lazy and would love to have people looking after me!

Me too! Anywhere in the world as long as I didn't have to do my own housework would be nice! 

Here’s my most unfair question of all: of all the characters you have written, who is your favourite?

I’ve got a soft spot for Dan from Dark Horse, for sure. But I’m almost maternal towards him. I want to be sure he’s safe and happy, but I don’t want to actually… put up with his shit. I think I’d get along better with Jeff from Dark Horse. Or maybe Adam Challoner from the Against the Odds series. They’re both older and a bit wiser. They wouldn’t need as much looking after as some of my younger characters would!

And if the Zombie Apocalypse was coming (and let’s never assume it isn’t), which of your characters would you want by your side? And who would only slow you down?

Hee! I answered a similar question for a different blog, and I’m just as tickled now as I was for them.

I have one character who’s an actual super-hero (Toby from The Shift) so if I’m allowed to have him, I want him! Other than him, his partner Cash would be good. Cash has spent his life hunting monsters, so he’d be good with zombies. Joe Sutton from The Fall would be good… he’s a rancher, and generally useful. Ooh, maybe Jack from More than Chemistry – he pretends to be a businessman, but really he’s a science nerd, and that could be useful. And Remy from the Against the Odds series is a total survivor, so maybe I’d bring him and hope he managed to drag me along with him.

Who’d slow me down? Mackenzie from The Fall, probably. He gets better over the course of the book, but even by the end he’s not entirely useful. I think most of the rest of my guys would be pretty good zombie-hunters.

And here’s where you get to tell us all about The Fall and Riding Tall:  

Yay! The Fall is the first book in a two book series. It was meant to be only one book but I realized that I had a lot to say, so… two books! There’s a definite Happy For Now at the end of the first, though, so it’s not imperative that you read the second book in order to get closure.

The Fall is out on 16 December. You can pre-order it from Dreamspinner

Every relationship leaves something behind. Dumped by his sugar daddy, part-time model Scott Mackenzie somehow ends up owning an abandoned church in rural Ontario. He dreams of using it for gay weddings, even if he’ll never have one of his own. 

Joe Sutton is trying to keep his family together after his parents’ deaths. Between the family ranch, his brother’s construction company, and commitments around town, he doesn’t have time for a relationship. But Mackenzie is hard to ignore. 

As both men fight their growing attraction, challenges to Mackenzie’s business threaten their relationship. If he can’t make it work, he’ll have to crawl back to the city in defeat. But the only solution involves risking the ranch Joe loves, and each man has to decide how much he’ll sacrifice for the other.

And Riding Tall comes out in February 2014.