Upgraded!

So I was having a hard time getting WordPress to upgrade — first there was no option to do so (the database had lost the flag saying I’d installed in the first place), then when that got fixed, the upgrade didn’t want to take. I got all the right messages and e-mails saying it’d been done, but the dashboard page was still grouching at me to upgrade, claiming I had the old version. [headdesk]

I went back and forth for days on it with customer service at Dreamhost, and it finally got straightened out. Thanks to Chih and Jason for plugging away at it until it gave up and behaved. 🙂

Angie

New RTB Column

RTB

I just posted a new column on Romancing the Blog. This time I’m talking about the lack of any indication in romances, particularly erotic romances, of just what the sex-to-story ratio is. It makes it tough to know just what you’re going to get when you spend your money; just because you like explicit sex doesn’t mean you want the books you read to be 80+ percent sex scenes. It’s not about limiting what’s published or complaining that there’s not enough of “my” kind of book out there, but rather about giving readers the info they need to find the books they’ll like. Come read, and tell me what you think.

Angie

Contest!

I have a contest going over on my writing blog. You have to do a bit of work to enter, but prizes include some books and a gift cert for Fictionwise. Come play!

Angie

Free Story and a Sale

It’s my turn on the Advent Calendar over at Torquere — you can read my story “Catching Courage,” which is a sequel to “Chasing Fear,” here. Things have improved a little since Halloween for Emilio, but not as much as he’d like. Now it’s New Year’s Eve and they’re spending it with Martin’s family, which always makes Emilio hunch into his shell whether it’s logical or not. Can he convince his gut of what his head already knows?

Includes a free bonus recipe for tres leches cake, although not, unfortunately, Abuela Sandoval’s recipe. 😉

All the other Advent pieces are still available through the main Advent page.

Also, my novelette “A Spirit of Vengeance” is on sale for 15% off here through January 2nd.

Happy New Year, everyone! [wave]

Angie

Review of “Chasing Fear”

Cassie over at Joyfully Reviewed posted about “Chasing Fear,” my Halloween Sip. This is what she said:

“Park ranger Emilio Cardenas much prefers being in the woods to spending time with people, but when he gets caught up in a job, he forgets everything else. When he finally finishes his work, he realizes he’ll be late coming home. That might not be a big problem for most people, but when your lover is a Greenman, it’s not good to be late…

Chasing Fear is a very cool story of magic, nature, and facing fears. I liked shy, antisocial Emilio. His Greenman lover, Martín, is both vulnerable and tough. Angela Benedetti did a great job of showing the caring between the two men as well as a slice of Emilio’s painful past. This story is a good read for when you’re in the mood for a little unusual magic.”

This is my first review and I’m absolutely delighted by it. Thanks to Cassie for her kind words; I’m very glad she liked my story. 😀

The review post is here.

Angie

New Release — The Joy of Exchanging Gifts

Lowell is an anthropologist, working with the Enknopans, studying their culture and ways. They haven’t completely accepted him, so he’s not invited to their year changing celebration. He decides to show his very good Enknopan friend Tiklup some of his own Christmas traditions, but things don’t work out exactly as planned. Can he still have a happy holiday?

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Well, ho fucking ho, Lowell thought, shifting one more time in the barely-too-tight smoke hole. He knew it was useless; he’d been wedged in for over an hour and a half and all he’d managed to accomplish with his pushing and squirming was to get himself in even tighter.

It’d seemed like a fun idea at the time. Of course, some variation of that statement was probably carved into a million gravestones across the Hundred Worlds, and on billions more memorial markers in various alien languages in the far corners of the universe. (There were actually a hundred and eighteen known human-inhabited worlds, but the Recovery League thought “The Hundred Worlds” sounded better on the news posts. Early in his career as an anthropologist, Lowell had learned that in most cultures, facts had to bow to considerations of marketing and image, or whatever the locals called them.)

The local tribe, the Enknopans, were all gathered somewhere outside their settlement, engaging in some sort of year’s turning ritual which involved renewing family bonds. Lowell had been told, very politely, that he was not welcome to participate or even to observe, since he wasn’t related to any of the Enknopan clans.

It’d been a sharp disappointment, not only because Lowell was specifically there to study the Enknopan culture and lifeways, but also because he’d come to feel close to the people there; being so firmly excluded was a reminder that he was still an outsider. It’d been a while since he’d received quite so clear a reminder, and it’d stung a bit.

To show that he didn’t hold a grudge, and also because the learning and sharing had to go both ways in order to be ethical and respectful, he’d decided to share a Terran year’s turning ritual with the Enknopans, and specifically with his friend Tiklup. Tiklup had taught Lowell how to carve wood with a knife, and Lowell had made him a covered bowl with a leaf pattern on the lid. It was pretty crude by local standards, the sort of thing a youngster just learning to carve would make, but Lowell was just learning and he was proud of it. Tiklup had been encouraging, and Lowell was sure he’d appreciate the effort, and understand that it was a tribute to his teaching.

Besides, they’d come to be very good friends, with all that meant to the Enknopans, who had some unusual (to a Terran) ideas about public and private activities.

The local star, called Upiklip by the locals and noted as FUSC-32829 on the most common star charts, was just beginning to show over the horizon. Of course Lowell was facing east, and he hadn’t brought his hat or his sun visor. Upiklip was whiter than Sol, where Lowell had been born, and emitted more UV radiation than he was used to. If no one came to pry him out soon, he’d be sizzled good. His first few days on planet, he’d gone without a hat a couple of times and the sunburn had penetrated all the way down to his scalp. He’d looked like he had a terminal case of dandruff for the next week, with huge flakes of peeling skin working their way out of his hair.

Lowell moaned and buried his face in his crossed arms.

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Get the rest here.

New Release — A Spirit of Vengeance

My novelette, “A Spirit of Vengeance,” was released today at Torquere. This is one of my favorite stories and I’m excited to see it go up. 😀

When Josh comes home from a business trip to find out that his lover, Kevin, has been killed, his life takes a terrible turn. Even worse, Kevin is haunting him, wanting Josh to exact revenge on his killer. Josh thinks Kevin is a hallucination to begin with, but he soon starts to believe that his lover’s spirit is really hanging around.

As he begins to believe in Kevin’s ghost, Josh also starts to believe he knows who killed Kevin. He’s not sure what to do, and neither is Kevin, who never really considered an afterlife. Can these two figure out how to catch a killer and how to move on with life after death?

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Kevin came to him in a dream. Josh threw his arms around him and tried to kiss him, desperate to take what he could before he woke up or the scene shifted into something else, but his dream-lover grabbed him by the arms and shook him, holding him away so he could glare into his eyes.

“Help me, damn it!”

The demand was a barked order, an angry snarl, and at first Josh could only stand there in shock. Finally he managed, “Of course. Um, Kevin? God, Kevin!” He tried again to reach out but the grip on his upper arms would only let him grip his lover’s forearms in return. They felt more solid than he’d have expected from a dream, hard and trembling with tension. “What do you want? What can I do? Tell me!”

“Help me! Get the fucker who did this!” Kevin punctuated the demand with a hard shake.

“Oww! Stop, please! I’ll help you, of course I will!” Josh tried to pull away. He’d never been afraid of Kevin before, but a coil of fear was wrapping itself around his insides and squeezing. He shivered in an icy wind and wished he could huddle up against his lover to get warm but the cold seemed to be coming from Kevin, whipping around him.

“Help me!” Kevin demanded, his voice rough with fury.

“Yes! I will, I will!”

“Kill him! Kill the fucker for me!” Kevin roared.

Josh could only stand there, his lover’s hands crushing the flesh of his arms into his bones, and his mouth hanging open, until he woke up with a gasping cry, his heart pounding and his body drenched with sweat.

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Get the rest here.

My First Column

A while back, I was invited to be a regular columnist over at Romancing the Blog (which was incredibly flattering 😀 ) and my first column went up this morning. A bit earlier than I was expecting — I set it for 6am as per instructions and just assumed that’d be Eastern time, but whatever. 🙂 It’s up here, and it’s about jealousy in romance novels.

Oh, and the butterfly in my icon over at RtB is a pic I took at a butterfly farm on St. Martin. I have no clue what species it is, but it’s very pretty and I’m delighted that it came out, since my camera skills are rudimentary at best. 🙂

Angie

New Release — Chasing Fear

Torquere is doing a blitz of short stories especially for Halloween. Mine is called Chasing Fear and it’s a short, erotic urban fantasy. Well, technically urban. 🙂

Emilio loves Martin with everything he has, but he’s still scared to go out and be openly gay, especially with the way his family reacted to the news. Martin just wants to go out and have a good time, so he pushes Emilio’s limits to the breaking point. Emilio figures having a Greenman for a lover has its dangers, especially when it comes to going on a date in the great outdoors. Can he and Martin learn to see eye to eye?

Sample:

It got dark early in late October, and more so in the thick, steep corners of Griffith Park where the trees fought for the sun, and clearing away undergrowth wasn’t as high a priority as it was in the more popular, path-wound areas. Emilio Cardenas liked it up there for the quiet and empty space and the sense of being small and alone in the middle of Nature — it was a tough feeling to find in the heart of metropolitan southern California, even for a ranger. He got twitchy when he spent too much time with people, though, and the heavy rain over the weekend had given him the perfect excuse to escape.

Sure enough, one of the tough old oaks that’d been loosening its grip on the soil sliding out from under it over the last few years had finally lost the battle and toppled. He didn’t call for help with it; instead he spent the day taking it apart himself with the chainsaw and moving the wood downslope to where his little electric truck was parked on a narrow dirt trail.

Leaving the largest trunk sections round had meant he could just give them a shove and let them roll down to the flattish trail. Most of them had hung up on the viburnum shrubs at the downslope side of the path and the two that’d kept on going he’d just left; they’d make a great habitat for bugs and fungus as they rotted. The rest he’d finished cutting up and piled in the back of the truck.

It was twilight by the time he finished and the rougher trails were tricky to drive at the best of times, even in the narrow park vehicle. He should’ve hopped right up and headed back to the station and home to where Martín would be waiting, probably eyeing the clock and scowling, but instead he just stood for a while and felt the chill dark of early evening creeping across his skin.

A night sparrow called nearby and Emilio listened to its aggressive chirruping. When it had quieted, he pulled out a bottle of water and drank. It was another delaying tactic and he knew it, as was walking over to one of the healthy oaks a few paces off the path and leaning back against the trunk. It was dark enough that he could’ve seen a few stars if he’d been on open ground, even in the middle of LA County. All that was visible overhead from beneath the trees, though, were the dark, squirming branches, the ropes of climbing ivy and millions of shivering leaves.

A loop of ivy dropped out of the tree like a black snake and wound itself around his chest. Emilio gave a frightened shout and tried to move away, but the ivy tightened. One of his arms was caught and before he could get a good grip with the other, another vine bound it to the tree trunk, swooping up from below this time.

Emilio cursed again and a dark, masculine silhouette moved out of the shaded wood. The man strolled over to where Emilio was still struggling against the vines and cocked his head, looking him up and down. Emilio glared at him and jerked hard against the ropey vines, which had grown to the thick, tough wood of old, established ivy. He knew who it had to be, even before the man stepped out of shadow.

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Read the whole story here.