December 2009

“Once in a very blue moon…”

Tonight – a very rare and special, once in 20 years blue moon! Looks like we’ll have cloudy skies here in Minneapolis, but maybe you will be luckier… Happy New Year!

Don’t forget to leave a comment on the contest post by 7 pm CST, January 6 for your chance to win a copy of Wren Boudreau’s new m/m romantic suspense, Ice Cream on the Side!

Janna’s giving away an ebook copy of Bronwyn Green’s steamy romance, Cuffed and Dangerous – leave a comment by midnight, January 7, for your chance to win.

Don’t forget to stop by Sweet Vernal Zephyr for her near daily updates on new book contests.

Donna (Fantasy Dreamer) shows us that it’s a big week for urban fantasy and paranormal romance releases. And SciFiGuy covers both in his weekend update, along with all sorts of other fun things. Don’t miss his overview of the January paranormal, urban fantasy, and scifi releases, either.

This is a great time of year to get reading ideas as people post their favorite books of 2009 lists. I’m sure we’ll see many more of these over the next few weeks. I might even put one together.

Keira’s got some great book links over at Love Romance Passion. So does Dear Author, including a link to free ebooks at All Romance eBooks.

Certain ebook readers make it very easy to track your reading habits – how much does your reading privacy matter to you?

Shrink Pic looks like a really useful Windows program to resize pictures on the fly.

HP ink costs more than blood?! This graph makes oil look like quite the bargain, doesn’t it?

How did I not know that the magnetic north pole now is shifting nearly 37 miles a year?!

Gizmodo has another handy flowchart of inappropriate times to use your smartphone. Plus a little Snuggie humour

Unsurprisingly, one of these calendars is on its way to me right now.

Evidence continues to mount that Chaos isn’t simply a minion, but is actually Basement Cat.

Those wacky engineers are at it again – this time they’re playing laser tag with cats.

I think we all need an antivirus kitten, don’t you?

Cute burn warning! (I know you’ll all click anyway…)

Reading Update
Deep Kiss of Winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter. Kresley Cole’s story is part of her Immortals After Dark series, featuring vampire Murdoch Wroth and Ice Queen (literally) Danii. Since this story ties up all sorts of open storylines, it’s a must read if you follow IAD. This was also my favorite of the two stories. Gena Showalter’s story is part of her Alien Huntress story, and it too ties up some open storylines. While it was pretty good, I didn’t feel as invested in this one.
Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy. ebook. Excellent and highly recommended m/m romance about an Aussie Rules football player, a film festival director, and the complexities of getting involved with someone famous and closeted. If you’ve put off reading m/m romance because you’ve heard it’s all sex, sex, sex, Tigers and Devils would be a very good introduction to the genre – it’s touching and heartfelt: at times I was laughing out loud; at times I was sniffling. I did have some trouble with the Aussie phrases – famed Aussie m/m blogger Kris (and nearly neighbor of Sean Kennedy) directed me to several sites that helped with the lingo barrier.
Thaw and The Stroke of Midnight by Jordan Castillo Price. free ebook shorts. Two sweet holiday PsyCop shorts – one from Vic’s perspective, the other from Jacob’s.
Patient Eyes by Andy Eisenberg. ebook. Good m/m romance about a college freshman who is nearly starving until one of his housemates gets him involved in gay-for-pay pr0n. While I really liked the first 2/3 of this book (I figured I’d be gushing about it without reserve here), I found the last 1/3 disappointing – several critical scenes were skipped, then glossed over in brief flashbacks. There also was a sort of extraneous plot element (hello, stray stalker) that just didn’t feel fully integrated into the story.
Unrequited by Abigail Roux. ebook. Ok m/m romance about multiple unrequited love situations.
Caught Running by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. ebook. Very good m/m romance about the star high school jock and the nerd, now back and teaching at that same high school ten years later.
Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. ebook. This m/m romantic suspense about two wildly different FBI agents had a lot of potential, but it just didn’t quite work because it dragged on. Since I know that Urban and Roux can write some great stuff together, it was particularly disappointing.
Pyromancer by Amanda Young. ebook. After mentioning that Young’s m/m books haven’t seemed to really grab me, Tam convinced me to try Pyromancer, which is about a man who can control fire, but only to a certain extent. He can also be incredibly dangerous to the people around him. While I did like this more than the non-paranormals, I ultimately didn’t get completely drawn into this one either.
Burn Card by Laura Baumbach. ebook. So so m/m romance about a crime scene investigator and a guy who owns a security company. I did wonder whether this was part of a series… but not enough to go figure it out.
Seducing Light by K. C. Kendricks. ebook. Ok m/m romance – the title touches on one character being a photographer and the other a famous actor whose last name is Light. The next two books are also by Kendricks – I’ve concluded that while I may find the storylines intriguing, the excessively gushing language always ends up putting me off.
Tango in the Night by K. C. Kendricks. ebook. Another ok m/m romance, this time about two law enforcement agents, one of whom was seriously injured a year ago when his life partner was killed taking a bullet meant for him.
Taming Triton (Southern Cross Resort, Book 1) by K. C. Kendricks. ebook. Again, an ok m/m romance about a guy who’s always suspected that he’s bisexual, but has never acted on his attraction to men until he takes a vacation at the Southern Cross Resort.
Grey’s Awakening by Cameron Dane. ebook. Steamy m/m romance about a high-powered businessman who’s always kept his emotions in tight check. Will that change when he meets a sexy truck driver/artist while taking a vacation?
Time After Time, Liar, and Date Night by Jane Seville. free ebook shorts. These all take place after Zero at the Bone and provide some insight into life after the epilogue.
Tom or an Improbably Tail by Ruth Sims. free ebook short. This was a very cute m/m paranormal romance about a stray cat who isn’t always a cat…


“Ok, deep thoughts are boring. I wonder how this bag will taste?” -Mayhem

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Ebook Giveaway: Ice Cream on the Side by Wren Boudreau [CONTEST CLOSED]

Many thanks to author Wren Boudreau for providing an ebook of her recent m/m romantic suspense release, Ice Cream on the Side, for me to give away! I read Ice Cream on the Side a few weeks ago – here’s my reviewette: “Very nicely done m/m romantic suspense about an architect who meets an artist and thinks this might be more than a casual thing… if they can avoid psycho exes and murder and stalkers, oh my!”

I think Ice Cream on the Side is particularly impressive when you realize that it’s the first book Wren’s ever written. When I asked Wren to tell us all a bit more about herself and how her first book got published by Loose Id, this is what she had to say:

I like to think I’m wild and bohemian, but that’s mostly in my head. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering that pretty men who love each other live there.

I discovered m/m three years ago or so. Kind of stumbled upon it and I was hooked immediately. Something about the dynamics of two men in a relationship really spoke to me, and I devoured a lot of books. I experienced the wonderful spectrum of quality that exists in these books. Periodically I’d say to myself, “Hey, I could do better than this.” Then I’d read something by Josh Lanyon, or Jordan Castillo Price, or JL Langley, and I’d say, “Nah. It’s not that easy. I’ll just keep reading.”

Then in late 2008 I stumbled across a contest a publisher was having. I literally wrote the book in a month’s time (my own private nanowrimo). Every entry was supposed to get editorial feedback, which I thought was great, since I didn’t have any beta readers or critique partners and lord knew I couldn’t ask my rl friends to review because holy crap the book has man on man sex in it!

Well, I never heard back from the publisher, except for the automated we-got-your-document response. So I wallowed in bitterness and anger for a while then segued into self-pity and finally acceptance that I probably suck as a writer. A few months later, don’t know what possessed me, but I opened up the story file and re-read my book and thought, “This isn’t too awful, but it needs a lotta work.” So I revised. And sent the synopsis and three chapters to one of my favorite publishers, Loose Id.

Lo and behold! They wanted to see the whole dang thing! And after they read it, well, wonder of wonders, they wanted to publish it. And, la, here it is!

Complete with original cover art, which we all know is a Very Good Thing. 🙂

Dylan Forest is really pretty happy. He’s a successful architect, lives in a great little town, and has good friends. More than ten years ago, Dylan’s first boyfriend betrayed him. Since then he’s learned to appreciate men briefly and intensely, with no lingering complications. But Dylan finds himself wanting something more with Michael Gilmore, the new art teacher in town.

Michael moved to Raven Pass to get away after a bad break-up. He just wants to teach and he’s got an exhibit of his own work coming up. He doesn’t expect to find himself attracted to anyone just yet. He has to give up his fear so he can explore a possible relationship with Dylan.

The guys manage to get past their insecurities and into bed, where they find out just how compatible they are. Before their romance gains momentum; however, life gets complicated. An old dead body and a new murder are both connected to Dylan’s love life, and if the guys can’t stop it Michael will be next.

Contest Rules

  • To enter, leave a comment below stating that you are entering the contest. Leave your comments by 7 pm CST, Wedneday, January 6.
  • If you haven’t commented before, your comment will not be visible until after I moderate it. Please do not leave a second comment because your first doesn’t show up! The blog gnomes will decide your comments are spam and then only luck and sacrificing some dust bunnies will salvage your entry…
  • Winner will be selected by random number.
  • You must leave a valid email address in the “Email” portion of the comment form.
  • Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from stumblingoverchaos.com!
  • If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
  • This contest is open worldwide!

Good luck!


“Thinking deep thoughts here.” -Mayhem

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The weekend (more or less) in bullets

  • Did everyone have a good holiday?
  • My Christmas Eve looked a bit dicey at first, since we got a foot of snow from December 23 through 24!
  • My car is rear-wheel drive (i.e., handles poorly in snow, even with 120 pounds of sand and 40 pounds of kitty litter in the trunk) and is only about three inches off the ground.
  • Did I mention that we got a foot of snow?
  • And that Minneapolis was mostly just plowing major streets until the snow finished?
  • And that I don’t live on a major street; I park my car in a parking lot off of a narrow neglected alley?
  • Oh oh.
  • But! My brother to the rescue! He picked me up in his big ol’ four-wheel drive pickup and saved Christmas.
  • Whew!
  • When my brother dropped me off at home on the morning of the 25th, the snow had changed to rain.
  • I’m sure driving got really exciting at that point.
  • I wouldn’t know, since I hunkered down in my condo and didn’t go anywhere else all weekend.
  • When I drove to work Monday morning, my car looked more like a small portable snow bank than a vehicle.
  • As I got home from work Monday evening, two guys left our building.
  • They were carrying a bathtub…
  • …which had been sawed in half.
  • *blink blink*
  • There was soymilk every flippin’ where.
  • ARGH!
  • Bad kitty.

“I’ll give you one chance to recant that ‘bad kitty’ business, Mom.” -Chaos

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Misadventures in Stock Photography (Part the Fourth, being an update on our friends from Parts 1-3)

So I’ve discovered that once you start looking for overused stock photography, it’s a bit like falling down the rabbit hole… Shall we start with our old friend Slouching Guy? Here he is… with long hair, which looks so very natural, don’t you think? *snort*

We’ll be revisiting the other guy in the picture (Open Black Jacket Guy) in a future installment of this series. [Edited: They are the same person! Slouching Open Black Jacket Guy as his own twin?!]

Moving right along, let’s see what Shoulder Guy’s been doing.

I’m not even going to try to guess.

Weirdly, the next book involves a chocolate bodysuit somehow (I didn’t really want to know more on this one, either).

Hey, check out the advanced photoshopping technique below. Shoulder Guy, no longer floating alone in space and chocolate.

Finally, let’s see how Candy Cane Guy’s been keeping busy… Guess he took up vampire hunting. (Nice, um, stake.)

That must not have gone so well for him, based on the next cover. I had not idea that becoming a vampire with sloppy eating habits caused your hair to grow!

Unfortunate, that. Even the other cover model looks horrified.

Somehow he got his blood lust under control and got a haircut.

Whew!

Then, um, he took up macrame.

But was forced to flee offworld due to a crafting misunderstanding.

When he finally returned, he went on vacation and his trademark jeans were lost in a tragic fire! O noes!

He was forced to get a job at a moving company so he could afford new jeans.

The end. I hope. (Although you’ll be seeing Looking Down Guy from the cover above again, too.)


Taking revenge can be exhausting….. zzzzzzzz….” -Chaos

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A holiday message from Chaos

“Ho *blippin’* ho. Someone will die painfully today. I’m looking at you, Mom.” -Chaos

*wide-eyed innocence* Happy Holidays to everyone! SoC will return on Monday.

Those Cats

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