Friday, 20 December 2013

What Did the 80s Look Like? (and some evil dolls)

In my last post, I told you about my upcoming novel, Tiffany and Tiger's Eye.  Well, last night I must have been overtaken by some strange kind of 80s fever, because I set up a Pinterest account all about the book.

Tiffany and Tiger's Eye is set in the 1980s, and it prominently features an EVIL DOLL, so I've set up a board of 80s fashion, a board of stuff we loved in the 80s, and a board of creepy dolls.

Have a look: http://www.pinterest.com/tiffanytigereye/

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Here's What I've Got So Far... (and meaningful libraries and a cover reveal!)

When I think about the libraries that have absorbed me, the first main one that springs to mind is my middle school library.  I only went to that school for two years (Grades 7&8), and yet that library is far more solid in my mind than the one at my elementary school, or my high school, or even the university and public libraries I've spent so much time studying in.

Maybe it was the architecture.  My middle school was built in the late 60s, and the architecture was very much of that period: avant-garde, geometric, modernist, and bright.  I remember so much light in that library.  It didn't feel dank or musty or old.  Though it was on the first floor of a 2-storey school, the ceiling went straight up to tall skylights.

But maybe it was the books, or rather the mystery of exploring what I might find on those shelves.  I never really knew what I was looking for, but I knew I wasn't finding it.  I was looking for myself, actually.  And I wasn't on those shelves.  I wasn't represented there.

So, twenty years later, I wrote that book.  Next year you'll be able to buy it from Prizm Books:

This is a SCARY cover reveal!

Just now I'm working on the marketing materials--the blurb, except, all that.  Sometimes writing a blurb feels harder than writing the actual book, but here's what I've got so far:
 
How many secrets can a family keep?

If there's one thing Rebecca knows, it's how to hide her problems. But with a rock-and-roll dad who drinks too much and a mom who works day and night, Rebecca needs a sympathetic ear.  That's why she tells her troubles to Yvette, an antique doll that once belonged to her grandmother.

In the summer of 1986, after her father's strange disappearance, Rebecca and her little brother are sent to the cottage with Aunt Libby and Uncle Flip. Rebecca's relieved to get away from the city, and her relief grows to bliss when she meets Tiffany, a water-skiing blonde who dresses like Madonna, makes her own jewelry, and claims to see auras.

But strange things happen when Rebecca spends time with Tiffany.  Her aunt and uncle are convinced she's acting out -- and she'd have good reason to, considering they obviously know where her father is and won't say -- but she can't convince them she isn't the one trashing her bedroom and setting fires.  As crazy as it seems, Yvette must be the culprit.

There's nothing more dangerous than a jealous doll that knows all your secrets...


By February it'll all be sorted. Can't wait to scare you!  Actually, Tiffany and Tiger's Eye is as much a sweet lesbian romance as it is an evil doll horror story, so I hope to enchant you as well.

Until then...

Sleep tight.

Foxglove Lee 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Guest Post with Cathy Hird: Moon of the Goddess

Today we've got a special treat: a snack-sized portion of Cathy Hird's new book, Moon of the Goddess.

Over to Cathy...

I have never liked Helen of Troy. She seems so helpless. Homer and others portray her as beautiful, yes, but to me she seems egotistical, self-centered and weak. So when it occurred to me that a kidnapped princess was a good place to begin a story, I set out to describe a very different young woman than Helen.

Yes Thalassai, the heroine of my novel Moon of the Goddess, is pampered and lives sheltered in a palace, but when she is plunged into danger, she faces her fears and her kidnappers. She finds there is strength in her, and smarts. Thalassai becomes an instrument of her own rescue.

Sure there is a hero, her brother Melanion, who sets out to free her. He has an important role, and a dangerous journey to make. But when he gets to the kidnappers city, he finds that the goddess has been helping his sister, and Thalassai has grown stronger. Still, the god Poseidon is against them, and the situation is tangled. They both have to dig deep to gain her freedom.



Thalassai, pampered princess of ancient Tiryns, wakes from a dream and discovers she has been kidnapped. Her fear grows to terror when she realizes her kidnappers intemd to use her as a pawn to gain Poseidon’s aid for their valley. The mother goddess, who in the past sustained the valley, calls a bloodred harvest moon into the spring sky. She will challenge Poseidon for the allegiance of her people and assist the princess.

Thalassai’s brother Melanion rides north to rescue her, and finds allies among the servants of the goddess. Slowed by bandits, Melanion is forced to take a tunnel under the mountains even though earthquakes have rendered it hazardous. He skirts the edge of Hades’ kingdom as he races to reach his sister in time. Caught between the mother goddess and the rising power of Olympus, will Thalassai break under the strain or find the strength she needs to stand up to her captors?

Set in the days of Helen of Troy and the great heroes of Greece, this story takes the reader on a fast paced journey across the sun-drenched landscape of Homer and deep into darkness. This is how the story begins:

Thalassai floated in a small boat among fragrant lilies. She reached out to touch one of the delicate white blossoms and saw the reflection of her face on the mirror-like water of the pond. One strand of hair had escaped her braid. She pushed it back, then trailed slender fingers through the sun-warmed water. The ripples grew, and the pond became a river. Water tumbled around a rock, making the boat bounce. She grabbed for the gunnel and could not reach it. The boat tilted sideways, threatening to throw her into the now rushing river. Water poured over her face, filling her nose and choking her. She awoke.

“Diakonia, I just had the worst dream,” she said to her maid as she opened her eyes. Darkness pressed down on her.

Thalassai pinched her eyes closed. She must still be dreaming. The lamp could not have gone out. She counted to five, extending one tight finger after another, working to control the panic that crept into her throat. “The lamp is burning, and Diakonia is still sleeping,” she whispered. She opened her eyes. Darkness enveloped her like a blanket. She raised her hand to her face to push the dark away. She struggled to breathe.

“Diakonia, the oil,” Thalassai whispered. “You let it run out. Come!” There was no answer from her maid. She moved to sit up, and her head swirled. Thalassai lay back and waited for the spinning to stop. Her chest heaved as she drew quick breaths. Too quick. She would faint if she kept this up. She strained to see the shape of the lamp, the chest by the wall of her room, something. “Diakonia,” she called, trying to push her voice through the impenetrable darkness. Thalassai told herself she was too old for this, that the darkness would not smother her. She tried to draw in air slowly, but her throat seized. She needed help just as she had when she was small. She could recite the litany her nurse had taught her so many years before to calm her fear. She did not need to panic.

“With each breath in, I lift the night away with my chest. Now, I blow the darkness away with my breath.” Thalassai felt tears running across her temples. “Again, I push the dark away with my chest, then with my outgoing breath.” She forced herself to continue. “The dark will not smother me. I will breathe in and with the air; I take in a piece of darkness and make it part of me.”

Thalassai did not want the darkness inside of her. She held her breath. Nurse used to remind her that she could not do that for long. Soon, she would have to breathe, let in the dark. “I am an adult now. I am not afraid of the dark,” she whispered. She did not believe her own words. “So taste the dark; see what it teaches you.” It was her brother Melanion, who had told her that. Her brother always told her she was stronger than she thought.

More tears fell, wetting her cheeks. She opened her mouth to taste the air. There was a hint of salt, like the sea she was named after, but this salt came from her fear-filled tears. “That did not help,” she whispered to her brother who was not there. “I already knew I was afraid.”

Melanion would laugh if she said that. He would tell her a story about something fearful he had faced. “Even you, Thalassai, facing such a moment, you would discover strength and courage,” he said so many times. Thalassai held on to the picture of her brother laughing beside her bed.

She would be strong. She would figure out what had gone wrong with the lamp. She pulled herself to a sitting position and curled her legs beneath her.

Little lights swirled in front of her eyes. Her head spun, and the bed seemed to move up and down like the boat in the dream. She put her hands down to steady herself and pulled them back as if they burned. This could not be. These were not the silken sheets of her bed! She reached down with her right hand. The bed linens were rough like the ones on the ship when she traveled with her father to visit Athens and Corinth. But she was in the palace at Tiryns, wasn’t she?

“Diakonia,” she whispered, though she knew now that her maid could not hear her. She placed her hands on her lap so she would not have to feel the bedclothes, but she could not escape the gentle up and down, the rocking motion of a ship at anchor. How had she gotten onto a boat!

To get a copy of the book, just go to http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83&products_id=4071

Do keep in touch by checking out my blog at openonemore.com or follow me on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cathyhirdwriter.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sesame Street Made Me Cry (or, an amazing resource for kids with incarcerated parents)

Stumbling upon these new resources from Sesame Street was a little serendipitous, for me.  I happen to have just caught a documentary called "Herman's House" on PBS (Independent Lens), so incarceration was already on my mind.

It also happens that, as a young person (not quite Sesame Street young, but younger than I am now), I had a parent who spent time in prison.  It ALSO also happens that my upcoming YA novel (the working title is TIFFANY AND TIGER'S EYE, currently in edits, contracted by Prizm Books) is about a teen who faces many of the challenges I did.

My character Rebecca is very near to my heart because she's so much like me.  I had to write this book, in solidarity with every child or adult whose parent was absent for any duration due to incarceration.  As the people at Sesame Street write in their introduction to their Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration initiative:

Unfortunately, few resources exist to support young children and families coping with this life-changing circumstance. These children have to deal with the confusion, shame, and anger that accompany the sudden absence of a parent. 

I never told ANYONE my father was in jail until after his death, and I was in my late twenties by then.  There's a stigma that follows you your whole life if you don't have the resources to deal with feelings of isolation and shame. That was a huge contributing factor, when I wrote TIFFANY AND TIGER'S EYE: on a personal level, I needed to write about the experiences that shaped me; on a larger level, I wanted to show other young people (and adult readers, too) that they're not alone.  Other people have experienced and are experiencing situations similar to yours.

Nobody wants to feel alone.

That's why this new resource from Sesame Street struck me to the core and, yes, made me cry.  There's a sweet little ebook picture book called In My Family, which I would recommend for ANY child.  I certainly wish there had been books like this available to me when I was younger.


This Sesame Street site: http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/incarceration has links to the ebook, video clips dealing with the topic of incarceration, and many resources for grown-ups and children, including a printable activity sheet called "How Am I Feeling?"

The launch site with an introduction is here: http://www.sesameworkshop.org/incarceration/

Please share widely.  You never know who might need a resource like this one.

Peace.
Lee

Saturday, 13 July 2013

I Know What Gay Is

Looking for a sweet summer read? Fan of Adventures In Babysitting?  (Is that too dated a reference?  You'll have to rent the video. Is THAT too dated a reference...?)

Well, gather 'round--closer, that's right, little ones in front--because HAVE I GOT A STORY FOR YOU!

My newest Prizm Pinch is called I Know What Gay Is, and it's a short story about trapeze artists.  No, I'm kidding.  It's a story about babysitting, of course!  But a story about trapeze artists would be pretty cool.  (If you've written one or read one, let me know in the comments.)

I Know What Gay Is

by Foxglove Lee
Pages:
15 / Words: 4000
Genre: Prizm Pinch, Contemporary, LGBT, Gay Romance
Age Rating: Young Adult

When the couple next door asks Jay to babysit, he can't help wondering… why him? Did they hire Jay as some kind of queer role model because they suspect little Sarah is gay?

At the park, when Sarah and Jay run across the guy he's been pseudo-stalking, Sarah insists she’s a boy. Darien’s sheer sexiness makes Jay pretty brain-dead, and he can't think what to talk about except how Sarah wants everyone to call her Frank.  The funny kid reminds Darien of his transgender cousin.  Could Sarah be trans, too? Should Jay talk to her parents?  What if they say it's none of his business? What if they fire him?

Well, then he'll just have to spend his summer watching Darien work in the park, sweaty and shirtless...


Read an excerpt:


“Hey,” he said to Sarah. “See that guy over there? He goes to my school. Wanna see if he’s any good at soccer?”

Sarah beamed. “Yeah, and tell him I’m a boy.”

“Okay...” Jay tried to focus on her, but he kept looking up at Darien, who was tracing new lines around the field with one of those rolling chalk machines. Darien hadn’t noticed him yet. He couldn’t wait to see the look on this guy’s face.

“Tell him my name is Frank.”

God, the way Darien’s back muscles surged when he pushed that contraption past divots. His T-shirt was shoved in the back of his pants, and it flapped against his butt as he moved. Jay felt dizzy just watching.

“Tell him I’m Frank, okay?”


Sarah tugged on the hem of Jay’s top until he snapped out of his daydream.

“Huh? Frank? That’s a funny name.”

“I like it,” Sarah said. “Tell him that’s my name, and I’m your friend who’s a boy.”

Something in Sarah’s intense expression told him this was more than just a child’s prank. In the back of his mind, little puzzle pieces started fitting together. He knew he should ask why she wanted to say she was a boy and her name was Frank, but he couldn’t wait even a second longer to call out, “Darien! Hey, Darien!”

Buy a copy!


I Know What Gay Is is available from many fine retailers, including:

Torquere Press: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83&products_id=3938

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Know-What-Gay-Is-ebook/dp/B00DUZRGVS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373752956&sr=8-1&keywords=i+know+what+gay+is

OmniLit (it's already got one of those silver best-seller stars!): https://www.omnilit.com/product-iknowwhatgayis-1228858-176.html

And remember: if you know of a book about trapeze artists, tell me about it in the comments!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

How To Make An Author Love You

Well, okay, there are probably lots of ways to get an author to love you, but I'm just going to focus on one:

LIBRARIES


When it comes to small-potato authors like me, libraries aren't likely to pick up our books without a bit of a poke.  As an author, I can always be the... uhmmm... poker?  But the request has much greater impact coming from YOU, the reader. You're a much better poker than I am.

Wait... do libraries stock ebooks?


They sure do!  There are lots of services (Overdrive, for instance) that provide ebooks to library users.  If you visit your local library's website, you'll probably find a place where you can download ebooks.

Say you want to read the Untreed Reads horror anthology Year's End (one of my stories appears in that collection, btw).  You could visit your library's website and search the Digital Media/ eBook database for Year's End: 14 Tales of Holiday Horror.  If the anthology is there and available, perfect!  Check it out!

But what if you search for Year's End and it's not there?  Well, you could always buy a copy from the publisher or any other retailer, but you do have alternatives.

Every library's system is different, but if you peruse the site you should be able to find a category that says "Suggest an Item."  It might be under "Contact Us."  In some cases, you need to enter your library card information before you can make a suggestion, but not always.  Sometimes it's a form, sometimes you might be asked to email a librarian.  In either case, include all the information you know about the book.  Especially pertinent are:
  • Title
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • ISBN

Using Year's End as an example, here's the info I would include:
  • Title: Year's End: 14 Tales of Holiday Horror
  • Author: J. Alan Hartman (editor)
  • Publisher: Untreed Reads
  • ISBN: 9781611874822

You can suggest items of any media--not just ebooks (and not just mine, obviously, though I'd love it if you did!).  If there's a paperback you want to read or a CD you want to listen to, you can suggest those too.  There's no guarantee your library will buy it, but in my dealings with librarians, I've found them to be very kind and helpful.

Smaller authors published by indie presses don't have the same backing or distribution as the big guys.  We rely on YOU, our readers, more than you know.

I want to be in your library, but I might need your help getting there.

If you can spare a minute, request my work, or the books of any other author you love.
All the best,
Lee

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

When Everything Goes Wrong… It’s Actually Pretty Funny

Hi everybody!

I guest blogged today at Gay YA: LGBTQ characters in YA fiction & LGBTQ YA Authors.

Have you ever tried to organize the perfect special occasion only to watch it fall apart right before your eyes?

Yeah, me too.

That's what my post is about.  Have a read at http://www.gayya.org/?p=564

Life goes on...
Lee

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Happy Birthday, Klutzface! (Mila and Laura are back for more!)

Some stories (like "The Secret to a Perfect Latke") are entirely fanciful.  Others, like my new release "Happy Birthday, Klutzface!" are firmly rooted in reality.

Yeppers, this one is based on a true story.  If you follow me on Twitter (@foxglovelee) you might have heard me moaning about the comedy of errors that was my birthday dinner this year.  Well, a story has come of it, and it stars my favourite girls, Mila and Laura.

In the mood for a comedy?

It’s a comedy of errors when Laura prepares a romantic dinner for Mila’s birthday.  Laura isn't the world's best cook to begin with, but when everything goes wrong in the immaculate home Mila's supposed to be house sitting, the trouble's only just begun.  Laura and Mila wanted an evening of domestic bliss.  Will their glimpse at adult life drive them into each other's arms or drive them apart completely?

Happy Birthday, Klutzface!
by Foxglove Lee
Pages:
19 / Words: 4800
Genre: Prizm Pinch, GLBT, Contemporary
Age Rating: Young Adult
Available from: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83&products_id=3866

Read an Excerpt:

When Mila tossed the last of the spilled cheese into the sink, Laura looked up from the potato she was chopping. “I know we got off to kind of a rocky start, but I’m sure dinner’s going to be g--ahhh!”

“Oh my God!” Mila screamed when blood dripped on the cutting board. “What did you do?”

“My thumb! I cut it.” Laura dropped the knife and grabbed her thumb. “It hurts!  It hurts!”

“Oh my God! Oh my God!”  Mila didn’t know what to do. “Don’t panic!”

“I’m not panicking. You’re panicking.”

“You are too panicking.”

“No I’m not,” Laura howled. “I’m just screaming because it huuuuuuurts!”

“Here.” Mila turned on the tap. “Run it under some water.”

“That’s for burns, not for cuts.”

“It’s for cuts too, to get the germs out.” Mila grabbed Laura by the wrist and shoved her hand under the tap.

“Owwww!”  Laura jerked her hand away, nearly throwing Mila across the kitchen. “You turned on the hot water, stupid!”

Mila gasped. “How dare you call me stupid? It’s my birthday!”

“Well, sorrrrrry!  Blame it on the blood loss.” 

Laura wrapped one of the pristine linen tea towels around her thumb before Mila could stop her. “What are you doing?  You’re going to stain that!”

“I’m only dying here, and you’re worried about what your aunt will think?”

That was a way more loaded statement than Laura probably meant.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Who Could Have Predicted This?

I received a very surprising email from my publisher, Prizm Books (the YA branch of Torquere Press), last week.  They were writing to tell me that my coming out story "The Secret to a Perfect Latke" is an OmniLit Bestseller!

My secret latke was ranked #4 at OmniLit the day I took this screen grab


Say whaaaaat?

First off, "Latke" is my first ebook.  Next off, a Hannukah story becoming a bestseller in March? This is crazy!

But you can't argue with results.  At least, I wouldn't want to, because I'm really pleased so many readers have been buying me little story.

Thank you, readers, for making Latke a bestseller!

The Secret to a Perfect Latke

Noah has never been on TV before, but he dreams of having his own cooking show one day. When he's asked to help a gourmet chef prepare latkes for a Hanukkah segment on the Sunny and The Bear show, his family is proud but suspicious. Sunny and The Bear is a "lifestyle" show that's popular among straight women, but it's hosted by gay men. What's more, the guests on this show have an uncanny tendency to come out of the closet live on national television...

by Foxglove Lee
Pages:
11 / Words: 5300
Genre: Prizm Pinch, Contemporary
Age Rating: Young Adult
Ebook zipped file contains: html, Adobe and Sony optimized pdf, prc, epub

Read a Sample:

“You must be new to the show,” said the curvy blonde with a head full of ringlets.  “Don’t worry too much.  Just focus on Phil and Sunny.  Try to forget about the millions of people watching from home.”

“Millions?”  Noah’s throat ran dry.  “It can’t be millions.”

The blonde woman shrugged.  “I don’t know -- millions, thousands, whatever.”

Noah kept checking his watch even though there was a clock in the Green Room.  He didn’t trust it -- time couldn’t possibly move so slowly.  He was getting so agitated his insides were itchy.  He wished he could reach inside his skin and scratch.

And then, out of the clear blue sky, Sunny walked into the Green Room with Phil “The Bear” following close behind.  Sunny threw his hands up in the air and cried, “We’re heeee-eeeere!”

The women and Chef Troy did the same and shouted, “We’re queeee-eeer!”

Everybody laughed, leaving Noah feeling stunned and out of touch as the guys did their “How’ve you been?” rounds with everyone they knew.  And then they got to Noah.  The Bear shook his right hand while Sunny shook his left.

“What’ve we got here, Phil?  Looks like fresh meat!”

“Oh, I’m not very… meaty.”  What a stupid thing to say, but everybody laughed so it must have been funny.  “I’m Noah.  I’m helping Chef Troy make latkes.”
***

You can get your copy now at Prizm Books: http://www.prizmbooks.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5_7&products_id=47&zenid=ac08b6c67026287bea531ce7b0bf8ccb

Torquere Books: www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83&products_id=3761

OmniLit: https://www.omnilit.com/product-thesecrettoaperfectlatke-1018625-228.html

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

I Hate Love, a lesbian Valentine's Day (or anti-VDay?) ebook

Hey, so Valentine's Day is a week away.  I think that means it's time for a new V-Day story.

Or anti-V-Day story... or V-Day story...

Wait, is my new story "I Hate Love" a Valentine's story or an anti-Valentine story?

Hmmm....

Readers will have to be the judge.

Half the school calls Laura "The Ice Queen." Even her closest friends have never seen her cry... until she's assigned to debate a Pro-Valentine's Day position in class. As far as Laura and Mila are concerned, V-Day's just an excuse to sell chocolate. Their friend Jaden says they're against Valentine's Day because they hate love. Maybe he’s right. Laura's never wanted the things teens are supposed to want most. Why is she so different?

On the eve of Valentine's Day, warmth creeps into Laura's life from unexpected places. By midnight, life might not feel quite so icy.


Excerpt:
Laura’s locker wasn’t far from class, and she stuck her head inside, digging around for tissues. When the bell rang, she kicked herself for leaving her books on her desk. Now she’d have to go back to Mr. Godfrey’s room looking like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer… if he was drunk and high. She grabbed her compact and tried to pat on enough powder to cover up the redness.

“Hey, you!” Mila’s voice was unmistakeable over the clatter of students. “I brought your books.”

“Okay, thanks.” Laura didn’t even look out from behind her locker door. “Just toss ‘em on the ground.”

Her cracking voice must have been the giveaway because Jaden pulled her locker wide open. “What’s with you, pooh?”

“Wait, are you crying?” Mila cackled, then covered her mouth. “Sorry, sugar. Just, I didn’t think you had room for tears in that teeny-tiny body, there.”

A stream of anger coursed through Laura’s body, and before she could stop herself she’d smashed her locker shut. “Well I do, so why don’t you shut up?”

The whole hallway went dead quiet.

People were looking. Everybody was staring at her. God, why was she acting like such a freak?

Laura’s head buzzed as she yanked her books out of Mila’s arms. She was trying so hard not to look Mila in the eye that she ended up brushing the back of her hand against her friend’s big breast. It was just an accident, but the touch shocked her body. Even after she’d stormed away, her hand kept getting warmer. By the time she’d stomped through the stairwell doors, her skin was actually tingling.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And in order to read "I Hate Love" by Foxglove Lee, you'll have to scoop up a copy.  It was published today by Prizm Books (I love my publisher) and it's available from their parent site (Torquere Press): http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=83&products_id=3805

and Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/I-Hate-Love-ebook/dp/B00BC0ISQU/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1360206623&sr=8-5&keywords=i+hate+love

and OmnLit: https://www.omnilit.com/product-ihatelove-1053785-232.html