Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"All in the Family" cover and blurb (updated with excerpt)

Look for "All in the Family" in January 2012,
in e-book and paperback :)

"All in the Family"

Allison Albrecht and Samantha Cannizarro are thrown together when their parents become engaged. Sam is deaf, so Allison begins to learn sign language. Allison is eager to please Sam and to make a good impression on her. Sam does not care about good impressions. She is a loner, always has been, and she resents her new instant family, especially her stepmother-to-be. Sam is also reluctant to bond with three-year-old Allen. However, Allison and Allen gradually crack Sam's facade, and the two girls fall in love.

But life in a stepfamily is rarely easy. Throw in romance between two stepsiblings, and the ride is going to be bumpy.



*****


No part of this story may be reproduced without the permission of the author.
From "All in the Family" Copyright © 2011 by Q. Kelly

This is an excerpt. The final version may be slightly different. For the entire story, check out Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble IN JANUARY 2012.
You can also email me at yllek_q@yahoo.com for a copy. :-)




EXCERPT FROM ALL IN THE FAMILY BY Q. KELLY
(From chapter nine)


Sam fingered the note in her pocket. "Did you have fun this week?"
"Lots of fun," Allison replied, but her uneasy smile told a different story.
"Was shopping with your mother fun?"
"Eh. It was fine."
Sam and Allison strolled for about two miles. Sam tried to enjoy the caress of the wet sand under her feet but gave up. There was no use; her thoughts were fixated on one person only, and her stomach clenched every time she sneaked a look at Allison. Sam had the overwhelming need to say something, anything. "Corny didn't like the beach. Dad and I took him one time."
Allison stopped in mid-stride. "Yeah?"
Sam smiled at the memory. "He hated it. He was thrilled to get home. I never liked the beach either, but Dad's crazy about it. Ick. Sunburn, overweight men in Speedos." What are you doing? Talking about her dead dog and the downsides to the beach was not the way to ease into the conversation she needed to have.
"I kind of like the beach," Allison countered. "Way too crowded at this time of year. It’d be perfect in the fall or winter."
Sam nodded her agreement.
Another mile passed. "We should turn back," Allison said.
Sam's heart sank. "Guess so." She and Allison reversed direction.
"I had a lot of fun with you this week. I always do. But you've been quiet. Distracted."
"Yep." Sam mentally kicked herself for being such a chicken. But she was not the only nervous one. Allison kept wiping the palms of her hands against her shorts. She's nervous too. Why am I rushing this? They needed more time. They had been on pinpricks around each other. Better to go back to the way it was. Right?
"Are you okay?" Allison asked.
Sam stopped. Allison was giving her the perfect opening. On purpose? "I'm fine," Sam began. "I just..." Do it, do it. She remembered one of her lines. But only the first line. The rest she forgot.
Sam tried to smile but could not. "Let’s go on."
About half an hour later, the condo building came into view. They would be back in about five minutes. Great. Sam became angrier by the second. She had accomplished nothing. This dickering was going to stop. Right now. She was going to pull Allison to her and kiss her. She was too chicken with words, so a kiss would have to do.
Allison brushed her fingers against Sam’s, just a tiny bit, as if she was testing. When Sam did not resist, Allison entwined their hands.
Goosebumps invaded Sam's body. Oh, God, oh God. Allison had taken her hand. They were holding hands. It felt good, so good. Allison liked her. She did! She must. Because stepsisters did not do this. Friends did not do this.
Sam stared at a light in the distance, and Allison tightened her grasp and edged closer. The beach world disappeared. Sam forgot about the water lapping at her feet and about the few stars peeking out. She was lost in bliss. Everything was right in the universe.
A group of male revelers shook Sam out of her daze. The men were throwing wood into a bonfire in front of the condo building. Sam wondered if she should let go of Allison's hand. Or if Allison would do it. Neither broke the contact. Their touch gradually slipped away as if nothing had happened.
Note. Now.
Sam’s fingers curled around the note in her pocket, and she pried it out. No going back. This is it. Sam jammed the paper in Allison’s hand.
Allison jerked back as if she had been scorched by hot coals, and Sam retreated a few steps away.
Allison unfolded the note with a painful slowness and read. She did not look at Sam, but Sam took in every detail of her stepsister's reaction: every twitch, every blink, every movement. As Sam went over the note in her mind, she cursed herself. What had she been thinking? It was cheesy. Nonchalant. Incoherent. Allison would burst out laughing.

Allison- The past few months with you have been incredible. From the first moment I set eyes on you, I knew you were special. I think about you all the time: your smile, your hair, the way you look at me and interpret for me. I'm crazy about you. But if you just want to be friends, if you don't return my feelings, I hope I haven't screwed up too much. I'd love to be your friend.
Always, Sam

Sam willed herself not to cry. She had irreparably ruined her relationship with her stepsister, hadn't she? What had she been thinking? Allison did not like her back romantically. Why would she? Sam hoped Allison would be her friend. She would be okay with that, truly.
Allison looked up at Sam, and Sam saw everything in Allison's gaze. Tears. Love. Anxiety. The world. A future. "This is the sweetest thing anyone's done for me."
Sam swallowed. Wait for the "but."
She waited. And waited. Nothing.
"But what?" Sam prompted.
Allison blinked. "No but."
"No but?"
Allison ventured a little, half-scared, half-shy smile. "I fell for you the first time I met you. No, before that. When your dad showed me your picture. I think it was your smile. How mysterious it was, and your eyes."
"I’ve never kissed a girl," Sam said.
"Neither have I."
"Can I kiss you? Now?"
Allison nodded jerkily. "Now's good. And later. Both."
"Really?"
Allison took a tiny step forward. "Yes."



This is an excerpt. The final version may be slightly different. For the entire story, check out Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble IN JANUARY 2012.

You can also email me at yllek_q@yahoo.com for a copy. :-)


Q. Kelly's other lesfic books:
Waiting
Strange Bedfellows
The Odd Couple
The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lucifer is a fleshed-out protagonist, thanks to Darcy Town

Author Darcy Town was in the piping-hot seat recently as I interviewed her. Okay, maybe the seat was not that hot. She talked about her books and going indie. One thing I found interesting was that she is an introvert. So am I. I gotta tell y'all, the Internet and e-books are a godsend for us introverts. We can reach out to a worldwide audience from our home offices. (Of course, going out to, say, pride fairs and bookstores in person never hurts. I have done it, and it is fun.)


Without further ado, here is Darcy Town. (She's the gal in the picture.)


Hey, Darcy! So, introduce yourself and your books.
I'm a 26-year-old Seattle native.  I've been writing regularly for the last four years. I recently published Morningstar on Amazon's Kindle.  It's paranormal romance meets religious action/adventure and is the first book in the Morningstar Trilogy.  The story is not weighed down with religious "fact." Lucifer is a fleshed out protagonist, not just a plot device, and the story doesn't take itself too seriously. It's meant to be funny.

Wastes of Space is the first book of my second series.  It is hard science fiction, but I keep the same tongue-in-cheek tone of Morningstar.  The main character, Rake, is a drug-addicted prostitute and former astronaut.  Being saddled with an alien runaway and chased by bounty hunters is the step up in his life that he dearly needs.

What has been your favorite thing so far about publishing a book, and do you plan to expand distribution beyond the Kindle?
My favorite part of publishing has been getting to know new readers.  I'm a bit of an introvert, so this has been a great opportunity to reach out and talk to people that I normally would never have met.

I do plan on expanding into print within the next few weeks, fingers crossed.  I'm working through that formatting process now.  It is definitely a challenge, but I think once I see my story in print that will make up for the stress I'm going through now.

I totally understand what you mean by formatting. You should have seen me trying to whip my first print book into shape (my first e-book too). OK, so no plans right now to get your stuff on, say, the Nook and on the Smashwords distribution network? 
Haha.  I'd say yes, I will look into both of those formats for 2012.  Right now I don't want to see another e-book formatting piece of software for at least a week.  ;)

Gotcha. Totally. With "Strange Bedfellows" (my first e-book), people who didn't buy from BN and Amazon were asking if or when it'd be on Smashwords. I said in a couple of weeks, once I recovered from my BN and Amazon formatting ordeals ;-) The good news is the process is so much easier for subsequent books. So, you're a writer, no easy task. How did you get to be a writer and what was your learning process?
That's good to hear! :)  I know I won't make the same types of mistakes next time.

I've dabbled in writing off and on since I was a kid, but it did not become something that I thought about pursuing seriously until my senior year in high school.  We had senior projects: a paper + presentation + so many hours of work before we could graduate.  It struck me that I could easily get the hours portion from writing, so I built a flimsy project idea around that and went with it.  I don't remember the project that well, but the book stuck with me for years.  I finally finished it after I graduated from college and after that writing became a daily routine.

Daily routine? Wow. So, are you the type of writer who has a set schedule (not the type who writes whenever the mood strikes)? Also, are you writing full time or as a side job/enjoyment?
It's enjoyment at this stage, though I'd love to make a living from it (maybe some day!)

I have a banking job that allows me to work from home full time.  This means that I can use my lunchtime, short breaks, and time saved on commutes to write. I don't think of it as a set schedule, but that's usually how it plays out.

Mood does factor into  productivity, but if I'm not feeling inspired to write something new then I use the time to edit what I've already written.  I also have at least one new story kicking around in my head, so if I'm not feeling like editing or writing, then I use that time to plot out scenes for the next story.

So what are some of your favorite writing challenges and the types of scenes and characters you love (and hate) to write? Do you have a favorite character or scene?
 My biggest writing challenge is consistency.  I love writing stories that can be read a second time through and I drop 'easter eggs' in the text to reward re-reading, but that means I have to plan a lot and know my text backwards and forwards.   I spend a fair amount of time fact-checking myself because no matter how I change something in the first book it better make sense once everything is revealed in the last book.
I love mouthy characters, the kind that seem to write their own lines.  I am a huge fan of dialogue so my favorite characters are inevitably the talkers. The scenes that I dislike writing are fight scenes.  They take the most time and work and require the most planning.  Because of that I dislike writing strong silent type characters.  They don't talk much and they cause fights, two knocks against them.  :)

So, you've gone indie because while you did have interest from agents, they always found a reason to reject, you, right? (Please correct me if my memory is wrong.) What do you think of the indie movement and of so-called traditional publishing?
That's correct, either that or the typical form rejection of "sorry, but I cannot look at your work now, etc."  It is very frustrating!

Traditional publishing definitely gives an author a leg up if they can secure an agent and contract.  But with the internet and growing online communities and tools, an author can reach an audience on their own.  Which is why I think the indie movement is the way things are headed.  It's not an easy course to take, but neither is traditional publishing.

Indie authors face two major challenges to the success of their book: marketing and prejudice.  The former can be conquered with hard work, luck, and some money.  The latter though is harder.  I believe that the average reader has bought into the notion that if your story is good enough that means that you'll eventually get an agent and get published.  Therefore anything that is self-published means that the writer isn't good enough and the story isn't worth their time.  But the reality is that most publishers put out a story because they think it will sell, equating that with it being a good, original story is just...wrong.  

I went the indie route because the royalties are better, and I do not want to wait until the market picks up before I query agents again.  I think this is a good time to be an indie author, we can set our prices and advertise how we wish.

...I could go off on this topic for awhile.  :P  

Finding an audience can be tricky for some indie writers.
There's one thing I wish I could change about myself when it comes to writing, and that is to be satisfied with the craft of writing by itself.  The nagging itch for outside confirmation and approval is a serious writing buzz-kill.   

I would continue to write even if I knew I'd never turn into a success story, because I love doing it.  I love telling stories and sharing ideas with my small group of readers and friends.  Their comments and feedback can make my day.  So I wish I could just drop the need to get validation from some grand third party, an editor, or large audience.  Maybe that need drives authors to write more, to edit endlessly, and proofread until they go blind.  But I would do all of that regardless, because I truly enjoy the process.  

From speaking with other writers it seems to be a common affliction and I suppose it comes with the territory. Even knowing that...it's still  major buzz-kill.


Purchase "Morningstar" on Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005WOS448


 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Disclaimers listed for my works

For people who want disclaimers, here they are for my works:

"Third": in progress - none (posting this because the rough draft is being posted in installments)

"The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories": None

"Waiting": One character may or may not have tried to commit suicide BEFORE the story begins, issue of if it was actually attempted suicide is never resolved)

"Strange Bedfellows": Fleeting references to abuse at an anti-gays camp for children; one character has a dead/drowned child (happens BEFORE the book opens)

"The Odd Couple": One character's son committed suicide before the book opens (this is in the current blurb), one character was raped before the book opens.

"Miss Lucy Parker and Other Short Stories": "Every Day" - a character contemplates suicide; "The Doctor" - child molestation references; "Guardian Angel" narrator is a possible serial killer/mentally ill person -- Possibly not.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Free on Kindle! (Updated: Free on Nook now, too)

Great news! Amazon and Barnes and Noble have dropped the price of "Miss Lucy Parker and Other Short Stories" to free.

Links here:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
iTunes


The collection has seven short stories. The lead story is "Miss Lucy Parker."


"Miss Lucy Parker" Miss Lucy Parker is a prim, proper elderly lady. When a Volkswagen Beetle—the new kind, and pink—PINK!—turns onto the winding road that leads to Lucy's farmhouse, Lucy is sure the car's occupants are lost. And that the car contains hippies, because hippies drive Volkswagen Beetles. Lucy plans to tell the hippies to get lost. She has no need for their odd speech, beads and marijuana aroma. Except hippies are not in the car. A woman is, a woman wearing a short, blood-red dress that hugs her body. Thus begins Lucy Parker's great adventure.

"A Weird Situation" Karen does not believe her boyfriend when he tells her that he turns into a woman for seven hours every day.

"The Interview"
The person interviewing Debby has a giant booger. Should she tell him and risk not getting the job?

"First Day at Work" A security guard's first day at a bank has repercussions for him and three workers.

"Every Day"
A man struggles every day to follow through on a promise to himself.

"The Doctor" A doctor salivates at the prospect of delivering bad news to a twelve-year-old girl and her mother.

"Guardian Angel" Gabriel fancies himself a guardian angel. But is he really?

Monday, November 14, 2011

“Deaf as a Post” — except the post can lipread just fine and respond just fine ;-)

Last night, I watched an excellent movie. It got every detail right, it had no loopholes, no head-scratchers, and a deaf character was portrayed brilliantly.  I came away from the movie thinking: "I have to make room on my Top 10 list for this gem."

Okay, so I'm being sarcastic. Sue me. (That was sarcastic, too. Please don't sue me! :-D) This movie brings to the forefront the importance for writers and filmmakers to get their details right. Yes, a few details will slip by, and I (yes, even I!) can overlook a few.

The movie in question ("Faces in the Crowd") stars the lovely Milla Jovovich. She witnesses a killing, and the killer is alerted to her presence when her cellphone rings. The killer pushes her character into a river, but a homeless person is there to fish her out. Flash forward to when she awakens from a coma. She has a face-recognition disorder. Faces change every time she looks at them. She cannot recognize her own fiance, her best friends, or even herself in the mirror.

And a killer is most likely after her!

One of the people she turns to for help is a woman who specializes in this kind of  face-recognition stuff. They have a meeting, and the woman acts and talks as she should. Second meeting: the woman announces she is deaf. She looks to  be about 65ish, but when she was 16, a horse-riding accident caused her to become "deaf as a post." She gets by from lip-reading.

WHAAA? At this point, I paused the movie and gave my wife A LOOK. She knows that look. I've given her that LOOK  many times when we're watching a movie with a deaf (or hard of hearing) character. My wife knows me. She grinned big and said: "Okay, you want to stop the movie?"
I laughed and said: "No, let's finish this."

Time to break this gem down.

1) This woman, and I quote from her, is "deaf as a post." She wears no hearing aids, no cochlear implants, no assistance, nothing. She relies on lipreading. Let me tell you something. Lipreading is not as easy as movies might make it seem. Some people are incredibly easy to lipread, yes. But even with these people, you understand maybe 90 percent, 95 percent, at best, of what they say.  For a shrink who works in a darkened room and who listens to patient ramblings, that 5 percent is critical. And that's assuming ALL her patients are easy to lipread. Many, many people are not. Milla Jovovich was not, and the policeman who worked on the case was not, either. One scene cracked me up with the policeman. He was sitting side by side with the shrink. He talked. The shrink understood him! My wife said: "Wow. She can lipread from the side." A few scenes later, the shrink said: "Slow down! I can't read your lips!" Good for another laugh.

Lipreading training helps. But this woman responded right away to what people said. She did not need to process anything. It was just ridiculous.

2) A 16-year-old who became deaf and who is now about 65ish would have developed a slight (at least slight) "deaf accent," especially if she has no hearing aids or a CI. Even with speech therapy.

3) The deafness added nothing to her character. I'm perplexed why they made her deaf. They certainly did not portray her as deaf.

This movie has a lot of other problems going against it, too. Milla's character is a classic horror movie dumba$$. For example, in one scene when a killer is after her, she runs from a populated area into a desolate area. In another scene, she's holed up in what is basically a safe house, and she gets a text purportedly from her ex-fiance to meet her. So she up and goes to meet him. Whaaaa?

Urgh. Stay away from this thing, unless you like watching movies that are so bad you have to watch them. In this case, fully recommended. It's a shame. The premise could have worked brilliantly.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Short Stories, Why Do I Love Thou?

I love short stories,  both for reading and writing. I just released my second short-story collection, "The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories." It's on Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99 and totals about 21,000 words. It's on BN, Apple and other e-reader stores, too. For blurbs and excerpts, click this blog entry here. To read "The Old Woman," the lead story, in its entirety, click here.

Why do I love short stories?

As a reader:
- For one thing, short stories are short. They're perfect for a quick hit (or quick hits) if you have, say, fifteen or thirty minutes and don't want to get engrossed in a book. Or if you want to read for only ten minutes before bed.

- They're just plain fun. In one book, you can get a wide range of subjects, styles and genres. I often read short stories in quick bursts, but just as often, I'll relax with a short-story collection for a longer amount of time.

- You can also get a taste of an author's writing style, and the brevity of shorts means you can expose yourself to many, many authors. (As an aside, I recommend Jeffery Deaver's short story collections "Twisted" and "More Twisted." They ROCK and have stayed with me since I read them several years ago. I really like his books, but to me, his shorts are where he shines.)


As a writer:
- Short stories provide flexibility and experimentation in quick hits. Short stories allow you to flex your creative muscles without putting in the huge effort and energy required for a novel. For example, in my short story "Polly Wanna Cracker," I write from the point of view of a parrot. Could this sustain an entire novel? Yes, probably, but it's not something I necessarily want to do for an entire novel. Short stories also allow me to tackle subjects I might not otherwise. I also write many comedic short stories. Comedy is something I don't do a whole lot in my romance novels.

- A quick sense of accomplishment: You can sit at your computer for two hours and have in front of you a pretty durn good short story. It will need editing, of course, but you have that "I wrote something" feeling of accomplishment in a relatively short time.

- You can put a short story up free and showcase your writing style.

I'm sure there are other reasons, but they escape me right now ;-)

So, anyway, I hope you check out "The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories." Also check out "Miss Lucy Parker and Other Short Stories" at Smashwords. It's also available on Kindle and other e-reader platforms.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories"

I haven't said Sasquatch in my blog lately, so here are some Sasquatches.

Sasquatch
Sasquatch
Sasquatch

In other, non-Sasquatch news, here are blurbs and some excerpts from "The Old Woman and Other Lesbian Stories." Look for it on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. The cover is not finalized but should be by Sunday. This short-story collection is about 21,000 words and will sell for a steal of $2.99.

The Old Woman Jessica is a pretty good best friend, but she goes too far when she dares Rachel to ask an old woman on a date. Rachel has no choice; otherwise Jessica will do the asking, and Rachel has no intention of humiliating the old woman. Turns out maybe Jessica's idea was not so bad after all. There is a lot more to Ada than her age.

Funeral Olivia takes a drastic step to combat lesbian bed death.

The Lesbian Curse Becky and Katy are in middle school and tussling over a boy. Becky curses Katy, saying Katy will become a lesbian.

Polly Wanna Cracker Polly is a bird. A parrot, to be exact. She follows the goings-on of her human family, especially Faye, the daughter, and Glenda, the mother. Polly knows their secrets too. Will Polly spill the beans when she finds herself able to talk after bonking her head against a window?

What Girlfriend? Bobbie hopes her one-night stand won't pull the U-Haul trick.

Haunted Haunted people? Sure, they're everywhere. Haunted houses? Oooh, spooky. Good movie fodder. Excellent for campfire scares. Haunted cars? They’re not unheard of. But haunted pens? Yep, they exist, as Linda and Victoria find out when such a pen brings them together.

Fortune Best friends Jackie and Emma go to a fortune teller. Emma is shocked when the teller reveals to Jackie that Emma is her secret admirer.

Lili from the Future It's a dream many people have; your future self visits you and fucks you. EXCERPT .pdf (no download required)

Lizzie Twelve-year-old Shel is not sure if her best friend means it when he says he's going to kill a person.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The blurb for "Third"

The blurb for "Third":

Helen Franklin is horrified when her dying father leaves her a most unusual inheritance: a woman. Furthermore, the woman, Anne, is anything but ordinary. She is a time traveler with a tragic past. Helen tells herself she does not have time for Anne. Yalia, Helen's wife, has been distancing herself from Helen for three years, and Helen needs to decide if she wants to save their marriage.

Then the unexpected happens; a romantic relationship develops among Yalia, Anne and Helen. Can the three of them figure out their lives together, especially when time might be running out for Anne?