finally, a new book!

Black Andalusian stallion gallops on dark backgroundI’m really proud of this one!  I think it’s some of my best work.


Alec Dailey ran away from home at the height of the Great Depression to be a jockey, but he’s just too tall. Still, he manages to eke out a living as an exercise rider at Pimlico. Then, one day, the elves come to him and make him an offer: we give you a horse, and you ride in one of our races. Done! The horse, a beautiful black stallion, is everything Alec ever dreamed of in his own horse–except for the part where he turns out to the notorious (and recently missing) jockey, Sunny Jim, who got himself turned into a horse by the elves. (Eventually, they fall in love.)

(I’m trying out being a bit more informal in my book descriptions.)

It’s written in this sort of 1940s Walter Farley pastiche style, it has kind of an interesting fantasy element, and a few twists throughout.  And–true to form–it has a weird sex scene.  Well, it’s not that weird; one of the characters has erectile dysfunction.  I realized the other day that not one of my published books has a “normal” sex scene in it.  Hand on Heart features an asexual character; Manner of Death contains sex with an undead character (a vampire), so he’s all cold and also can’t maintain an erection (because no circulation!); Her Majesty’s Superman actually has a “normal” sex scene, but it’s kinda short and vague because Victorian.

I had a surprisingly hard time with the cover, and not just because I’m a sentient blob of ink.  Unlike my other book covers, where finding a good stock image was kind of a problem, in this case I was actually paralyzed by a wealth of beautiful stock photography.  People love photographing horses!  But I liked this one because the horse was “active” (not just standing around looking beautiful) and the lensflare in the back made it look sort of magical.  And this horse is certainly magical: he is, after all, a gift from the elves.


Trust me, I know what I’m doing

I should have done more writing this evening, but instead I melted into the couch and watched five episodes of Steven Universe in a row.  Oops.

This blob of ink has also been thinking a lot lately about marketing and how difficult it is.  I don’t really know what genre my stories are, you see.  They’re romance, certainly, because romance is  certainly a central plot.  And they have explicit sex scenes.  But that’s not all they are.  Well, that’s all Hand on Heart is, pretty much.  Sex and people realizing they’re in love.  But even that story has something a little bit fresh about it, and it’s that one of the characters is asexual.  (Nobody makes him have any sex, don’t worry!)  But how do I fit all that in the Amazon description?  “This story has sex in it if you’re into that sort of thing, but also if you’re into asexual representation one of the characters is asexual and nobody makes him have any sex!  Really, there’s something for everyone!”

It doesn’t help, either, that my stories are very different from each other.  The aforementioned Hand on Heart is the closest you might get to a “traditional” romance sort of story.  But Her Majesty’s Superman is completely different: it’s 20,000+ words of Victorian pastiche about, well, Victorian Batman and Superman, fighting crime and falling in love.  There’s, like, one and a half teeny tiny sex scenes, both toward the end, that are not terribly explicit.  And Manner of Death is different again: it’s a modern-day vampire romance, but less brooding, sensual vampires and more White Castle-eating, cigarette-smoking vampires, and a medical examiner who’s more interested in figuring out why his vampire boyfriend’s blood doesn’t all pool in one place when he doesn’t have any circulation.  And it has the most flat-out unsexy sex scene I have ever written.  Also a hot sex scene!  But first you have to get through this cringe-y sex scene.

So a reader who likes one story has no guarantee that they’ll like the next story.  I think they’re all good and worth reading (of course!), and I think that even someone who, say, doesn’t usually like vampire stories might like my vampire story, because it’s different enough from your “usual” sort of vampire story.  I suppose what I’m saying is that I need my readers to trust me, but why should they trust me enough to give me their money?  I’m unproven.

Perhaps I should stop overthinking it and just focus on writing the next thing.  The next thing will have elves.  And racehorses.