Category Archives: Festing

A bit more from New Mexico

Congrats to Michelle (Mi), who won As Spring Rain by Valentina Heart! As Spring Rain will be released by Silver Publishing on October 27.

Congrats to bheds, who won Book of Secrets (Oracle #2) by RJ Scott! Book of Secrets also will be released by Silver Publishing on October 27.

Congrats to Katherine H, who won The Mask by Clare London! The Mask will be released on October 28 by JMS Books.

Congrats to Marie, who won Compulsion by Clare London! Compulsion will be released by Dreamspinner Press on October 29.

  • If you missed the first post about my New Mexico vacation
  • Apparently the Misadventures in Stock Photography have made me infamous among cover artists – the two I met at GayRomLit (GRL) knew who I was… eep.
  • I attended a lot more actual GRL events this year than I did last year.
  • Next year I’m actually going to stay in the conference hotel.
  • Look at how brave my socially awkward and introverted self is being! 🙂
  • I think I’m going into green chile withdrawal.
  • Dammit.
  • This didn’t happen on my prior visits to New Mexico because I never found places that didn’t have wheat flour in their green chile sauce.
  • Thank you, Find Me Gluten Free!
  • I think.
  • If you’re gluten-free and visiting Santa Fe, you must check out Revolution Bakery.
  • Yum.
  • I love to visit Taos, but I’d hate living there – too much traffic down the main street.
  • I saw snow falling outside my window yesterday, which was a bit of a shock after the absolutely perfect (sunny and 70s) weather during my New Mexico visit.
  • Also trying to readjust to this “humidity” stuff.
  • Still addictively reading hockey fics…

I have virtually no photos from GRL, but I did manage to get a decent one of Kate McMurray, Clare London (poor thing, keeping a stiff upper lip there even though she was suffering from the flu), and Val Kovalin:

Here’s one I like of MsM (Tina) and Cole:

Some of you caught my Goodreads status update from October 16, but here it is for those who didn’t: “So due to outlet location in this less-than-stellar motel room and the length of the micro USB cables I brought on vacation, my tablet and cell phone will be sleeping with me tonight. I hope they don’t hog the covers.” (Alas, my tablet didn’t take that charge or any since – it’s pretty much bricked.)

I much preferred the power setup at Comfort Suites:

A tile that Lauradriana convinced me to buy in Santa Fe (it didn’t take much to convince me, strangely):

A shot taken near Abiquiu (where Georgia O’Keeffe lived) – I wish the amazing luminous gold of those cottonwoods actually came through in photos!

I liked the adobe Taos police station:

Some masks outside Coyote Moon in Taos:

And the Day of the Dead themed mug I bought at Coyote Moon, after admiring one at Coffee Cats:

Took this from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge (565 ft/172 m) over the Rio Grande. Although I didn’t have reliable cell service at the Hard Rock Casino (yay for their free wifi and my wifi-enabled cell phone), I had great cell service here. Huh.

Back  home, I’m once again reminded of how cool the Minneapolis-St Paul Airport is – check out this cafe/bar that had iPads and charging stations on every table:

More GRL posts:

“You might earn my trust by never going anywhere ever again.” -Chaos

Make sure enter the contest for Tigerland (Tigers & Devils #2) by Sean Kennedy, plus the first book (Tigers & Devils) if the winner hasn’t read it already. Contest closes 7 pm CST, November 5.

From Somewhere in New Mexico

Some stray thoughts from my vacation so far…

  • Post title shamelessly stolen from “Somewhere in New Mexico” by Jill Sobule.
  • I attended the second year of GayRomLit.
  • Meeting people I’ve clicked with online always amazes me with how comfortable and not strange it feels.
  • Why doesn’t it work like that for online dating?!
  • Reconnecting with MsM (Tina) was very cool – it’s probably best that she doesn’t live near me because we’d get into a lot of trouble.
  • Likewise with Clare London.
  • Oh, the stories we could tell… but won’t. 🙂
  • Cole gives fabulous hugs.
  • Val Kovalin is awesomesauce.
  • So is Mr Val.
  • Especially since he didn’t seem to hold a grudge when tipsy Val and tipsy me were singing (badly) all the earwormy songs I could think of as Mr Val drove us back to their house one night.
  • Oh, come on, you know you know all the words to “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show”.
  • Val and I bring out the smart in each other, so we have the best discussions.
  • If you’re gluten-free and travelling in northern New Mexico, you absolutely must go to Paisano’s for pizza, pasta, dessert, and beer.
  • I had a lot of doubts about the venue for GayRomLit, but it turned out to be a really good location.
  • The deli in the casino makes a great green chile cheese burger on a hard taco shell.
  • Tequila (via margaritas) now seems to trigger migraines, even when consumed in moderate amounts.
  • Flourless chocolate cake with a hint of chile is very tasty.
  • I think I went all fangirly over Marshall Thornton.
  • Fortunately he was very gracious about that.
  • I miss my kitties.
  • I’m bummed that I never got a chance to talk to Eric Arvin for more than a couple of minutes.
  • Heidi Cullinan totally has my gluten-free back covered.
  • James Buchanan and Ally Blue make delightful lunch companions.
  • It’s dangerous to shop with Ally.
  • And definitely don’t ask her about the armpit rash from her crutches…
  • The Halloween cabaret show put on by the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus (My Big Undead Gay Wedding) was completely wonderful.
  • Edmond Manning and I are far too good at cracking each other up.
  • Since he lives in Minneapolis, we very well could get into a lot of trouble. 🙂
  • Having a rental car with an auxiliary jack for my mp3 player makes me very happy.
  • Having my tablet decide it doesn’t want to accept a charge any more makes me very sad.
  • I’m glad I dragged Kuroi Neko along.
  • Still addictively reading hockey fics.
  • Back to vacationing!

Yet another GayRomLit post, with pictures and linkity

Congrats to Monica J, who won Nexus (Warder #5) by Mary Calmes! Nexus is being released by Dreamspinner Press today.

Thought I’d share a few more photos, random thoughts, and links related to my vacation in New Orleans.

Outside the Sacred Grinds coffee shop.

Wall tombs from the Canal Street cemeteries.

What I’ve dubbed the Spirograph Tombs in the Canal Street cemeteries.

A family tomb in the Canal Street cemeteries.

Halloween devil on a balcony in the French Quarter.

Giant spiders infesting a shop in the French Quarter.

More Random Thoughts from Vacation

  • I printed out this list of NOLA vegetarian and gluten-free dining options (link is to pdf), which turned out to be an amazingly useful resource for myself and numerous others during our visit.
  • Apparently Kassa will be glued to my side during the zombie apocalypse – something about my backpack, aka “Chris’ bag of holding”…
  • Our local market was the Mardi Gras Zone, which was a fascinating mixture of health food, junk food, Mardi Gras masks, and feather boas.
  • If you’d told me it was possible for a nude male go-go dancer to be boring, I would not have believed you. Andrew proved me wrong. I think he was texting part of the time…
  • From a motel clerk in rural Mississippi: “Only the Lord can judge the women on Celebrity Wives.” O.o
  • Not sure that I understand why GayRomLit is going to be in Albuquerque next year. Is there a thriving underground gay scene there or something?!

More GayRomLit Posts (these are varying degrees of NSFW, so beware)

“I’m much, much cuter than the big kitty! So there.” -Mayhem

This is not the linkity you’re looking for (featuring travel photos & book reviewettes instead of “proper” linkity)

Congrats to Ella Jane, who won Bound for the Forest by Kay Berrisford!

While this post has plenty of links, they’re primarily related to my vacation in New Orleans for GayRomLit. Plus a reading update at the end. And a cat picture. Of course. 🙂

Devon Rhodes and me, both very drunk at Lafitte’s in Exile.

Me, again, although I’m not exactly sure where this was taken. Jackie??

Purple house!

Our neighborhood bar.

Wonderfully overgrown balcony in the French Quarter.

Hitching post in the French Quarter.

Jackson Square.

Random Thoughts

  • The swampy edges of Lake Pontchartrain looked like they were egret paradise.
  • I’m good at the roadtrip driving thing… if I have audiobooks. Even bad audiobooks.
  • Was it a New Orleans thing or a Southern thing that posted hours and actual open hours didn’t necessarily coincide?
  • I had a delightful gluten-free “Dine with an Author” lunch at Muriel’s, courtesy of Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga. We didn’t talk books at all – we shared gluten-free tips and stories.
  • Jimmy at Lafitte’s in Exile is an awesomely entertaining bartender.
  • I wandered by a yard sale being run by a man and his cockatoo.
  • The readers and writers I hung out with were pretty amazing people – smart and savvy. Why do they all live so far away?!
  • It was kind of traumatizing to leave sunny mid-80s weather and return to chilly grey Minneapolis. (Although we’ve had chilly sunshine for the past day or so…)
  • I returned home with a souvenir cold and hacking cough. Blech.
  • After I got home, I didn’t unpack the copy paper box that had some unopened snacks and other stuff in it. When I got up yesterday morning, Chaos had gotten the lid off the box and had been eating pretzels, sweet potato chips, and cashews. Hopefully more chips and fewer cashews… What a mess!
  • Don’t worry if I haven’t replied to your contest entry comment! I’m so far behind from being on vacation that I’ll probably just delete a bunch of emails and start fresh. If you can see your comment on the contest post, you’re entered.

GayRomLit Posts (these are varying degrees of NSFW, so beware)

Reading Update
Bound for the Forest by Kay Berrisford. ebook. Excellent kinky gay dark historical fantasy romance about a former soldier who returns to the family manor in the Greenwood (the manor which he just sold to cover debts) to retrieve some hidden valuables before the new owner takes possession. When he finds another, very captivating thief already there, he has no idea how the course of his life has just shifted.
Into the Woods by Anna Mayle. free ebook short. Fun short m/m paranormal about two guys who live in a town for retired circus performers (and their families) and who have a very unusual experience trying to walk through the woods…
Vessel (Cutting Cords #2) by Mickie B. Ashling. Excellent kinky m/m story set five years after Cutting Cords. This is not a romance per se – it’s a story about Sloan’s ongoing personal growth. Personal growth that, as is usually the case, is frequently painful and messy. But Sloan perseveres, learning more about himself as he goes, and the end of this story is hopeful. I hope we’ll get to read one more book – a book in which Sloan comes into his own. (Mickie reports that the third book should be out in May!)
Happily Neverafter (Petit Morts #11) by Jordan Castillo Price. ebook short. Very good short paranormal m/m romance about a Greek cop and an American tourist who collide. We also find out a bit more about Chance, although he’s really no less mysterious for that!
London Eye (Petit Morts #12) by Clare London & Jordan Castillo Price. ebook short. Very good short paranormal m/m romance about a banker whose boyfriend dumps him in a London backstreets restaurant. Drunk, disoriented, and stranded, he awkwardly accepts his kindhearted waiter’s assistance.
Spirits and Second Chances (Petit Morts #13) by Sean Kennedy. ebook short. Very good short paranormal m/m romance about a guy who leads ghost tours in Western Australia. He’s happy with his life, but it just seems as if there’s something missing…
Liquor by Poppy Z. Brite. Very good gay fiction about a couple who are line cooks in New Orleans and are approached by a financier interested in helping them open a restaurant. I especially enjoyed reading this while in New Orleans.
Life Over Limb (EMS Heat #11) by Stephani Hecht. ebook. Sweet m/m romance about a diabetic radiology tech who hasn’t been taking good care of himself and a former flight nurse, now ER nurse, who hasn’t really dealt with a patient dying under his care.
Dead Run (Dangerous Ground #4) by Josh Lanyon. ebook. Pretty good m/m romantic suspense in which Tyler’s flying to Paris to see Will for the first time in 11 months and things are awkward between them. This one just didn’t really work for me – it felt contrived and I thought the amnesia bit was weak.
Velvet Memories (Club Velvet Ice #4) by Violet Summers. ebook. Good kinky m/m romance about a jock who was in denial in high school. Ten years later, he’s a Dom and no longer in denial when he runs into the guy whose trust he abused in high school – the guy who now works as a submissive at Club Velvet Ice.
RSVP (Pushing the Envelope #2) by Kim Dare. ebook short. Good short kinky m/m that, like the first installment, consists of a scene between Scott and Joe.
Devotedly His (His #4) by Shawn Lane. ebook short. Good short m/m romance about a guy who goes to clubs and hooks up with anyone who reminds him of the best friend he’s been crushing on since college… the best friend who’s never been interested in him. Things seemed to happen much too quickly at the ending, and not in a way that would help build trust about the friend’s concern.
Murder in the Rue Dauphine (Chanse MacLeod #1) by Greg Herren. Good gay mystery about a New Orleans cop turned PI who shows up to meet a potential new client, only to find the client dead. Even without an actual client, he can’t seem to avoid working on the case… I read this whilst staying about 50 feet from Dauphine!
Kindred in Death (In Death #29) by JD Robb. audiobook. Really, what’s to say about these? They’re pretty solid, although a bit repetitive by this point in the series. And this was interesting enough to keep me alert as I was driving, which was what I really cared about.
Bad Moon Rising (Dark-Hunter #18, Were-Hunter #5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon. audiobook. So-so paranormal romance that suffered from too many points of view (possibly because the book was written as occurring during a whole bunch of previous books about other characters) and from being too long. Sheesh. It just went on and on and on and… I started to zone out as I was listening to it – not what I want to listen to while I’m driving!
Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) by Janet Evanovich. audiobook. Ok mystery in a series that really needs to end. But since I didn’t fall asleep listening to it as I was driving, it served its purpose.

“Told you I’d get you back for being gone. Do we have any more of those tasty sweet potato chips?” -Chaos

In which Stephani Hecht and I lament, er, celebrate our birthdays with a contest! [CONTEST CLOSED]

It turns out that Stephani Hecht and I have birthdays that are about a week apart: I’m November 17 and she’s November 25. Well, obviously we needed to lament celebrate such momentous events with a contest! Stephani has graciously donated a set of all five of her EMS Heat ebooks: Running Hot, Man Down, Lights and Sirens, Priority One, and Code Blue!

I’m also contributing prizes. 🙂 The first will be a ManLove music mix cd from me, plus a special bonus Stephani Hecht refrigerator magnet, plus additional m/m romance authorly swag. The second prize will be a paperback copy of Steve Kluger’s amazing m/m romance, Almost Like Being in Love, which is no longer in print, plus m/m romance authorly swag. But wait, that’s not all! For the knitters, a paperback copy of Cheaper Than Therapy: Joy, Healing and Life Lessons in Fiber by Annie Modesitt and a skein of Trekking 67 sock yarn.

When you comment, please mention which prizes interest you: EMS Heat ebooks, ManLove music cd & swag, Almost Like Being in Love & swag, or Cheaper Than Therapy & Trekking 67. Feel free to list more than one prize!

Thank for helping us celebrate our birthdays, everyone!

Contest Rules

  • To enter, leave a comment stating that you are entering the contest and in which prizes you are interested. Contest closes 7 pm CST, Monday, November 22.
  • 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 ritual dust bunny sacrifice will salvage your entry…
  • If your comment is actually an advertisement or if your CommentLuv link turns it into an advertisement, your comment will be deleted. (Most of you do not need to worry – this refers to some pretty clever comment spam.)
  • Winners 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!
  • If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
  • If you win, please respect the author’s intellectual property and don’t make copies of ebooks for anyone else.
  • This contest is open worldwide!

“Ha! I ate some of the prizes before you even heard about them and they were delicious!” -Mayhem

In which I lament the shockingly short fall we had

Don’t forget to leave a comment on the contest post before 7 pm CDT, Friday, October 16, for your chance to win a copy of Shannon K. Butcher’s new romantic suspense novel, Love You To Death!

Congrats to the lucky random winners in the Show No Fear contest: Sydney, TeresaW, Lea, Dottie, and Lisa!

Lorette, the Knitting Doctor, is celebrating her birthday and new blog home and probably her newish job, too, by giving away some lovely yarn she picked up while traveling in the UK recently. Subscribe and tell her your favorite travel destination for your chance to win. Contest closes at midnight PDT, October 15.

  • After our ten days of fall (most of which were rainy), we had snow early Saturday morning.
  • If you want proof of snow, Susan and CJ took pictures.
  • Personally, I was too disheartened.
  • I mean, only a few of the trees have even changed!
  • Some trees have dealt with this sudden wintery shock by dropping all of their (green) leaves in a heap – sort of an “oh shit!” reaction, I guess.
  • Speaking of CJ, I drove north seven blocks Saturday afternoon to pick her up.
  • Although we live on the same street, we live on opposite sides of Hennepin Avenue, so the drive was rather more complicated than it sounds.
  • We headed over to Uncle Hugo’s to peruse new urban fantasy and paranormal romance releases and look for treasures amongst the shelves and boxes and piles of used books.
  • Whoops. 😉
  • Then we stopped at French Meadow Cafe and chatted some more over bowls of chili (black bean for her, chicken white bean for me) for another hour or so.
  • We spent an inordinate amount of time laughing.
  • Isn’t it great to meet blog friends?!
  • Speaking of which, Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!
  • Oh yeah, several inches of snow are predicted for us today. *whimper*

“Hey, baby, come here often?” -Chaos

In which I reveal how to pronounce “quinoa”

The Knitting Doctor is celebrating her five-year blogiversary with a contest! Simply leave a comment about your favorite knitting gadget before midnight PDT, April 5, for your chance to win a mysterious prize.

Sign ups for the Mean Girls Yarn Club, put together by KnottyLa and KnittingKnitterton, open April 3.

This was my favorite April Fools Link from yesterday: Fiction World Rocked as Woman Claims No Sexual Attraction to Neil Gaiman.

Yes, reduced to posting recipes again. 😉

These cookies were originally made with oatmeal – I know you can get oatmeal now that’s certified gluten-free, but my body isn’t so happy with the stuff I’ve tried so far. Besides, quinoa (KEEN-wah) has more protein and is more fun to say than oatmeal!

Unbaked Chocolate Quinoa Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk (I haven’t tried it with soymilk yet)
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Combine sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter in a saucepan. Melt over medium heat, then boil for 1 minute. (Keep stirring!)

Remove from heat. Add quinoa, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix well.

Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper and let cool.

“Go away. I’m sulking. You’d think Mayhem was the only one with a cute tummy or something. Hmph.” -Chaos

Knitbloggers are herd animals. Who knew?

As you may have read already, Wendy was in town for the opening of the Bohus Exhibit at the American Swedish Institute. Catherine and her husband hosted a party in Wendy’s honor at their condo, which had the most amazing view of downtown Minneapolis. (Please excuse the graininess of my pictures – I was using the “available light” setting on my camera for most of the shots.)

Here’s a picture of the knitbloggers gathered together (yes, I know, everyone who was there has a variation of this picture on their blog – but in this one, my eyes are open!) – from the left, Wendy, kmkat, me, and Susan.

And now… the blackmail shots! 😉 Probably best if no one tells Lucy that her mom was consorting with strange Ragdolls, hmm?

Over the weekend, I stopped at IKEA and couldn’t resist picking up a new cat bed. I think Chaos likes it.

“Don’t let that paw get any closer to my new cat bed, Mayhem!” -Chaos

“But Mom bought that for both of us, big kitty!” -Mayhem

*zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz* -Chaos

And Chaos growled and hissed at everyone

Tuesday night Deb and Jeanne came over for knitting (which we did remarkably little of) and birthday celebrations (ur doin it right). Deb took some great pictures (including a really nice one of Jeanne and I, although it does illustrate how desperately I need a haircut). Deb gave Jeanne and I those nifty cabled Starbucks mugs – and mine came with a super duper black Sharpie because I’d fussed about the lack of color options in the mugs a week or so ago. 🙂

Mayhem took quite a liking to Deb.

“Mom, this nice lady doesn’t have that pesky bookholder in her lap like you always do.” -Mayhem

“I like you, nice lady! Plus I suspect you might not be as attentive to your yarn as Mom is. Bwa-ha-ha!” -Mayhem

Although if you go over to Deb’s, you can see that Mayhem might just have been lurking around waiting to send a text message and not planning to create extra ends for Deb.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Here in Minnesota, we’re looking forward to some much warmer temperatures (this is, of course, relative), which will bring snow.

Giving thanks

Hopefully things will get back to what passes for normal around here now, but no promises!

Time to extend much-belated thanks for some lovely birthday gifts gifts I received. A few days before my birthday, Jeanne and Deb came over to celebrate with me. Jeanne brought along an extremely tasty flourless chocolate cake she baked for the festivities.

Chaos menaced my guests.

“Hand over that tissue paper, lady, if you know what’s good for you!” -Chaos

Mayhem was a bit more subtle.

“I wonder how much wrapping paper and tape I can eat before Mom notices?” -Mayhem

(Hmm, no pictures of Jeanne, as she was taking pictures of me. And no pictures of me because I look absolutely demented in every single one of them.)

Deb gave me a toasty, autumnal skein of Misty Alpaca sock yarn, It Itches, adorable non-skid pawprints for the bottom of socks or slippers, and a very fun scissors case (with scissors even!). Thank you, Deb – and no, you aren’t going to be re-gifted with the yarn on your birthday. 😛

“Excellent! A scissors with a carrying strap. I’ve been looking for one of these.” -Mayhem

From Jeanne, a knitting pinup calendar (hmm, probably not suitable for my cube at work), the Yarn Harlot’s page-by-day knitting calendar (hopefully more suitable for work), a cat lady birthday card (inside it says “After a while you stop counting”), and more luscious sock yarn. (Yes, Jeanne, I know there’s something else. It was very tempting and harder to photograph. We’ll get there.)

Jeanne also gave me an adorable pocket needle gauge, which Mayhem really, really likes. I’ll probably have to hide it if I ever want to see it again. Thanks, Jeanne!

“I’ll keep a close eye on it, Mom! Nothing will happen to it. I promise! Hee hee hee.” -Mayhem

And although they couldn’t be here in person, the paos were with us in spirit. They sent my beloved dark chocolate covered rice cakes, a chocolate coffee stirrer, a great card (“Women invented chocolate. Men invented calories.”), more gorgeous sock yarn, and a test that I’m supposed to administer to the kitties. Thanks, mrspao and pao!

“I can watch this yarn for you, too, Mom! Hee hee hee.” -Mayhem