When you admire someone, or a group of people, it is very hard to see yourself in their elite company … An Author … must be surreal. Here is newly published author, K-Lee Klein, to talk about how much has changed this year and how GRL in NM will be a totally new experience from 2011.
I was lucky enough to attend the first ever GRL in New Orleans last year as a reader, and this year in Albuquerque I get to pretend to be a real live author. I say it that way to the annoyance of my friends and family who insist I am an author now and don’t just play at being one in real life. It doesn’t feel real to me yet, and who knows, maybe it never will. But I digress…
GayRomLit NOLA was simply amazing. It was also overwhelming and nerve-wracking for someone who had spent the better part of 2011 in and out of hospital. I consider myself an introvert or more to the point, a hermit, someone who’s more comfortable talking to friends online or being the wallflower at parties. It’s odd how so many writers call themselves introverts, isn’t it? Well, I guess I’m telling you the exact same thing but I’ve found in certain situations—such as the thirteen or so Thirty Seconds to Mars concerts I rocked-out in 2010—my inner extrovert comes out to play, and GRL was one of those awesome situations.
Picture a slightly rounded, anxious, forty-something Western Canadian mother-of-three sitting beside a fabulous pool in a New Orleans courtyard when in walks Carol Lynne and Ethan Day. My fangirl squee machine—refurbished after the wear and tear of nothing but squee in 2010—kicked into high gear and I don’t think it returned to sleep mode the entire time I was in New Orleans. Ethan was talking about how Carol had smuggled his nuts in her purse before they got on the plane, and thus began the awesomeness that was GRL 2011.
As I said I went as a reader and since I was early to arrive—generally the case because I like to get myself situated in my unfamiliar surroundings before I have to put on my social-K-lee badge of courage—I volunteered to help stuff the swag bags. Holy, freaking Jaysus was there a lot of swag. I was able to put more names to faces—as well as checking out the fabulous things authors had brought—and it was a fun night.
What I haven’t mentioned yet is the fact that just weeks earlier my first story had been accepted by MLR and when I was awestruckedly (I’m sure that’s a word) stuffing those bags I came upon one of MLR’s items. It was only a half-sheet of paper with a couple of beautiful men in Santa hats snogging lovingly but it was the backside of the sheet that stoked my squee machine with an internal force so powerful I could barely breathe.
There it was in front of me: a calendar month of MLR Christmas stories, one a day with the names and titles filling each square, and dammit if the first square I noticed wasn’t December 27 with the words K-LEE KLEIN~~FINALLY HOME. It was the first moment that being a real live author became a little bit of a reality. I feel sorry for the people around me when I picked up that piece of paper and almost internally combusted, and for those who had to put up with me every time we came back around to that side of the table to stuff another bag because I’m sure I became a nuisance with my constant “that’s my name” or whatever the hell my brain came up with at the time.
I think the rest of GRL was just a little more awesome after I’d snatched three of those precious sheets of paper and hid them carefully in my suitcase. There were book readings where I was lucky enough to win some loot from Ethan, Damon and Eden, and where I learned that beautiful, innocent-looking women who say the F and C word in their readings can make me blush like a newly m/m’ized virgin. Yes, Tara Lain, I am talking about you. There was a party with strippers who shook their thangs in my face while I giggledly (yes, another non-word) took pictures and warm fall get-togethers by the pool at dusk.
There were so many things that made GRL special but I have to say the best thing—besides my smuggled MLR sheets—was the people I met, some of whom I feel I can call my very good friends to this day. From meeting the incomparable and oh-so-gentlemanly William Neale and JP Bowie who let me hang with them, and almost made me fall in the pool when they introduced my fangirl butt (not literally) to Rick R. Reed, to putting faces to some of my online BFFs, to having an extraordinary lunch with ZAM and meeting one of my first m/m romance authors, T.A. Chase, it was an experience I’ll never forget. (And on an important side note, I’ll miss Bill Neale so hard at GRL 2012 – he made last year just that much better for me and afterwards when we stayed in touch – rest in peace beautiful man, you will be missed)
This year will be no less nerve-wracking since I’m going as an author. There, I said it without the real live part. And there will be signings and K-lee swag and a Q & A session: all things where I’m just praying the god of m/m will grant me at least one person who’s heard of me and my books. But despite being more than a little scared to death of putting myself out there for the m/m romance community to see and evaluate, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
So go forth, fair readers and authors. Enjoy GRL and all it has to offer. Have an outstanding time, make sure you say “hey” to the still slightly rounded, anxious, forty-something Western Canadian mother-of-three, and be sure to heed my words—bring extra batteries for your squee machines.
Lucius’ Bite – Family of Misfits 1
Blurb: To bite or not to bite that is the question
All Lucius needs is his family. They might be a mismatched and unconventional group but they’re the only “real” family he knows and wants. What Lucius doesn’t need is the strange, beautiful man who arrives as a last minute dinner guest and knocks him and his wolf on his ass, literally.
Just being in the same room with the mysterious Nicu proves disastrous. Lucius knows without a doubt he doesn’t need the havoc Nicu threatens to bring to his predictable, but comfortable existence. But when he stands to lose the man who is tearing his life apart, Lucius realizes he doesn’t know what he needs at all
BUY LINK: MLR Press
“They’re dirty and smelly, not to mention noisy and rude. I can’t believe you invited them for Yule dinner.”
“I’ve already warned you more than once, Lucius. We’re part of the human world not the other way around so get over yourself! Another word about it and you’ll be sorry.”
Lucius Moretti huffed out a breath, snorted then smirked while he searched his brain for one more retort. He knew Ali wouldn’t do anything drastic to him anyhow. He was Ali’s Luscious Lucius after all. “Whatcha gonna do, Ali? Turn me into a stinky human?”
He didn’t have time to revel in his amusement since his knees suddenly folded beneath him and he crashed to the floor. He tried to speak but all he managed was a hoarse noise followed by a puff of feathers filling the air. He flailed at the sound of his own voice.
“Trying to say something, Luscious? I can’t seem to make out your words through the mouthful of crow you’re eating.” Ali flipped back his multicolored, waist length hair, rested one hand on his hip and let out an ear-splitting cackle. “Or should I say mouthful of fowl?”
Lucius struggled to voice his anger. A loud “bock” rolled out of his throat, startling him and making him tip over on his newly-formed pencil-thin legs. He fell back on his feathery butt. “Ba-gock!”
That bastard! He couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He fucking did! Lucius was a goddamn chicken—a goddamn chicken with goddamn chicken feathers and goddamn chicken legs. He clucked again in disgust, the sound made him even more frustrated and angry. He moved his arms to flip a double-fisted bird Ali’s way but all he accomplished was a meager flap of his pathetic wings and another burst of feathers into the air.
“Now, now. Don’t get yourself in a flap, love.” Ali chuckled at his own joke and at Lucius’ obvious expense, throwing his lithe body into one of the kitchen chairs. “It’s customary to have turkey for Yule dinner but if you continue to cross me, I have no problem making an exception this year.”
Lucius clucked once in what he hoped was a display of surrender. He was still pissed, but he was a wolf dammit, not some stupid chicken, and there was no way on Earth he was staying that way. How dare Ali turn him into a lowly farm animal simply because he couldn’t handle the truth about his human lover? Humans were to be ridiculed, ignored, and avoided, not invited into the home of supernatural beings with much higher intelligence and wit and, well, everything else.
And not only had Ali befriended and invited the commoner to their home, to what he always referred to as their most important family dinner, but he had been sleeping with him in the room right next to Lucius’. Ali had been subjecting the entire household to raucous barnyard noises and human sex smells simply so he could get his rocks off. There were nights he had to cover his head with his pillow to avoid Ali’s sex talk — on your knees, suck harder, ass in the air, I’m gonna come! It was obscene and made his skin crawl. Lucius had never actually met the man, only seen him when he snuck in at night and out again in the morning, and that alone told him that Ali had to be at least partially ashamed of his choice in species.
Why couldn’t he find someone of his own caliber to bed? Not a wolf of course, they were far too fussy to sleep with witches, but another witch or even one of those friendly vampires that ran the local after-dark beauty salon? Goddess knows Ali spent enough time there keeping himself beautiful. Last year, Ali had even canoodled the ugliest troll known to well… trolls, but his current human far exceeded even that disgusting display in smell and appearance.
“Even as a chicken, I can still hear your wheels spinning,” Ali said, rising from the chair where he’d been casually perched. “Would you like me to think of something even worse than fowl? Or are you going to give up this prejudice bullshit that you have against my lover and his kind?”
Lucius clucked and staggered his way across the floor, skidding to a stop at Ali’s feet. He pecked gently against Ali’s calf, through the long silky material of his robe, and clucked again. He wasn’t giving up, but Ali didn’t have to know that, now did he?
“What do you think would be worse than being a chicken, Luscious?” Balls! The bastard and his psychic hearing. “Perhaps Manny can think of something. He’s always ripe with creative ideas.”
Lucius backed away when Ali called out “Manny” and a scattering of feet scrambled down the hall.
“Holy Christ on a cracker!” Lucius flinched at the voice, ducking his chicken head and moving closer to Ali. “Ali, do you know there’s a chicken in the kitchen? Do you want I should eat it and get it out of the way?”
Lucius gasped in a way only chickens could, more of a regurgitated burping sound than a real gasp, when he heard the crackle-crunch-pop of bones shifting into place and skin stretching followed by the low moan of pain that usually accompanied Manny’s shifting. He looked up, staring bug-eyed—well, chicken-eyed—into the glowing golden orbs of the mountain lion who growled as he stalked closer to Lucius.
“Ba-gock!” Lucius screamed. He flapped his wings to no avail and ran about the kitchen like an actual chicken with its head cut off. “Bock! Bock! Bock!” he continued to squawk, throwing his round, downy body behind Ali’s legs and cowering.
Manny continued to advance on the chicken, lowering his head as he ducked under the table before crawling under the chair, heading straight for the bird. Fear and anxiety ripped through him, his body shuddering and shaking as the head got closer, big white teeth almost smiling as Manny closed the gap.
The mountain lion came nose to beak with Lucius who’d backed up as far as he could into the wall, his little chicken feet scratching madly against the hardwood floor. Lucius squeezed his eyes shut and prayed for a quick death, his entire life rushing past him in a totally cool Technicolor way. It occurred to him he’d never realized chickens could see color. He flinched when hot breath teased over his face before something wet scraped over his eyes… what the fuck?
“Okay, Manny,” Ali’s amused voice called out. “That’s enough. I think we’ve gotten the message across. Stop drooling on the chicken.”
Manny stopped licking and Lucius opened his eyes very slowly. For the love of the goddess, now he smelled like barnyard animal and stinky cat breath. Disgusting. He watched as a grinning-widely, man-Manny returned and the horrible feline disappeared, but he was still apprehensive when he stepped out from behind Ali’s legs. He hoped like hell he hadn’t let loose a pile of chicken turds or even worse laid an egg when he’d nearly been frightened to death. Someone was going to pay for his humiliation and he was already plotting some bad-ass revenge.
Life has thrown a lot at Riley, most of it bad. But Riley is nothing if not stubborn, and though it left scars, he’s managed to overcome the worst parts of his life. Not all of his problems are gone, but life is certainly better than it’s ever been. Most of his strength and happiness is due to his boyfriend Josh, the best thing that life has given him, and Riley will do anything to keep him at his side.
But when past and present collide, and the problems become too much for Riley to contain or control, Josh is the very thing he stands most to lose …
BUY LINK: Less Than Three Press
“Your Honor, my esteemed colleague is completely out of order!”
“I decide who’s out of order in my courtroom, Mr. Devon, and at the moment I suggest you sit down and refrain from any further outbursts.” The judge’s voice rang through the courtroom, hushing the titter of whispers from the gallery.
Josh Devon threaded a hand through his blond curls, brown eyes glowering as he shot his colleague a look of pure contempt. “But, Your Honor, I clearly must object to Mr. Callahan’s abrasive view that my client is homophobic. This case has nothing to do with being gay and everything to do with the complainant’s lack of restraint when it comes to public affection in the office.”
“Kissing your lover goodbye at the door of the building is lack of restraint?” Riley Callahan said. He snuck a peek at Devon before rolling his eyes and turning back to the judge. “Unless my colleague is aware of some archaic statute regarding public affection, I believe he is the one out of order.”
“It is clearly a lack of restraint when there is tongue involved and you are employed for a company supplying religious and missionary supplies to third-world countries. And you know how the saying goes, Judge: ‘A slip of tongue at the door only leads to a slip of penis in the office.'”
“Oh, please, Your Honor. That isn’t even a real expression. What Mr. Devon is actually stating is that my client works for a right-wing bigot who finds it perfectly acceptable for a man to kiss his wife goodbye, but not his boyfriend.”
“That’s bullshit, and you… my colleague knows it, Your Honor.”
“Language, Mr. Devon. You’ve been warned once. I won’t tolerate it again.”
“You heard Judge Morrison, Devon. Sit down and take your punishment like a man.” Callahan smirked, blue eyes shifting momentarily to Devon before dipping back down to peer at his notes.
“My apologies to the Court, Your Honor. I don’t know what came over me.” Callahan forced his smirk into a look of concern and straightened his tie in a show of respect.
“Lying bastard,” Devon hissed, narrowing his eyes as he glared to the side at Callahan.
The judge thumped his gavel on the desk, the resounding bang shattering the now silent courtroom. “Mr. Devon. One more outburst and I shall surely find you in contempt.”
“I humbly apologize for my colleague’s obvious attempt to delay the proceedings,” Callahan said.
“Don’t apologize for me, Callahan. If your client wasn’t such a goddamn liar and drama queen, I wouldn’t be required to make any outbursts at all.”
“That, Mr. Devon, is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Bailiff, please remove Mr. Devon from the courtroom.”
“But, Your Honor …” Devon protested.
“Perhaps a few hours in a cell will remind you to use your manners and quiet voice in my courtroom, Mr. Devon. Court is recessed until tomorrow.”
K-Lee is offering up 2 prizes this week … a digital copy of Lucius’ Bites and Domestic Relations. To enter, comment below about either meeting your idol or becoming part of a group you admired. (Because there are 2 prizes, please indicate if you already own one of these titles.)
Open until Thursday, September 6th at 11:59 pm (PST). 2 winners will be selected and notified on Friday.
** 1st winner selected will win Lucious’ Bite
** 2nd winner selected will win Domestic Relations (new release, Sept 5)