Belated Happy Birthday to Bruce Lee

I thought it was today, the 28th but it was actually yesterday. Born November 27, 1940, Bruce Lee was not only a dragon in the Chinese zodiac but he was also a Sagittarian in our zodiac. That makes him a double fire sign!
Here’s a little bit about his life followed with a link to learn more: In a lifetime comprising a mere 32 years, Bruce Lee revolutionized the world of martial arts through his profound teachings and philosophy, and created a legacy through his work in motion pictures, that has evolved into a Legend. Thought by many to be the ‘Greatest martial artist of the 20th Century’, Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco on November 27th 1940, between 6:00am and 8:00am, at the Jackson Street Hospital, under the birth name of ‘Lee Jun Fan’. Courtesy of his thespian father, young Bruce made his stage debut at the tender age of three months, playing the role of a female baby. His father Lee Hoi Chuen, a prestigious member of ‘The Cantonese Opera Company’, would carry his young son on stage each night, during his performance of “Golden Gate Girl”.
In 1941, when Bruce was only 1 year old, he returned with his parents to the family home in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The modest second-storey apartment, at 218 Nathan Road, would be Bruce’s home for most of his formative years.

By age six, Bruce had already begun to develop the charisma and confidence that would later make him a star, and he appeared in his first major childhood movie, “The Beginning of a Boy” in 1946. Later in the same year, Bruce performed in “The Birth of Mankind” and “My Son, Ah Cheun” and went on to make over 20 movies, before commencing his studies at “La Salle College” in 1952.

1953 was a pivotal year in the life of Bruce Lee. After losing a street fight with a local gang, Bruce began to train in the art of Wing Chun under famed Sifu, Yip Man. His natural speed and timing, and acute mental focus, guaranteed that Bruce would excel in this complex and exacting art. In fact his precocious talent developed so quickly, that despite numerous other encounters with street gangs, Bruce would never again lose a fight. As well as indulging his passion for the martial arts, Bruce also began taking Cha Cha lessions in 1954, at age fourteen. The dance was popular amongst local teenagers at the time, and Bruce not only went on to win the ‘Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship’ in 1958, but also broke the hearts of many local girls. As well as his achievements on the dance-floor, ‘58 is also notable as the year when Bruce defeated reigning three year champion, Gary Elms, in the Hong Kong Boxing Championships, putting to practical use the combat theory he had devised with Sifu Yip Man. Like many Hong Kong teenagers of the time, Bruce became caught up in the ‘turf wars’ which surrounded the illicit activities of the local street-gangs. Participating in numerous street-fighting incidents, Bruce soon came to the attention of the police. Terrified that their son would forever become embroiled in a life of crime, Bruce’s mother and father, decided that he should visit San Francisco, the place of his birth, to claim his American Citizenship and finish his education.

With only fifteen dollars from his father and one hundred dollars from his mother, Bruce arrives in the United States in 1959, and stays, by prior arrangement, with an old friend of his father. By carrying out odd jobs around the Chinese Communities in the San Francisco Bay area, Bruce earns just enough money to secure his independence within a few months, and relocates to Seattle (Washington) to begin work as a waiter in Ruby Chow’s famous Chinatown restaurant. Mindful of the promise he made to his parents, Bruce enrols at the ‘Edison Technical School’ and through diligent study and application earns his high school diploma, while supplementing his income from the restaurant by teaching martial arts to local residents in backyards and city parks.

To me he was a dynamic, fascinating human being. To learn more about him, visit this site.

Truly a day for giving thanks!

There is little that’s more frightening than having loved ones travelling in a country where terrorist attacks suddenly occur. Especially when loved ones are in the same areas and are in the group being targeted. I.e. the attacks in India that are targeting Americans and British while my step-daughter and best friend are travelling.

We found out about the attacks last night and called immediately. Thank God they were fine and are now staying in a tiny B and B until their planes leave on Monday. The thanks will be greater once they’ve touched down safely here at home but the fact they are safe and well and getting ready to come home is all that matters. Aside from the fact I’ve really missed them and are glad they’ll be back, I would not recover if something had happened to them.

This and that…

Hmm, seems like these little slumps come more frequently, periods in which I’m not able to write. I can’t help but think that it’s due in part to the fact I’ve been writing longer novels and digging deeper so that the energy required is greater, leaving me more drained. I mean, Sudden Heat is over 80k which is the equivalent of a 320-page novel. That definitely takes a great deal of energy! Plus, if I consider the releases I have coming up, it makes me realize that maybe I’ve just been working hard and that my muse demands a break now and then, lol.

This is what’s happening in my publishing world:

December 1 ’08 “Enter the Hero” in Red Sage Secrets, vol 25
December 12 ’08 A Werewolf for Christmas – Ellora’s Cave

January 5, ’09 – Danny’s Dragon – Total-E-Bound
January 28, ’08 Between Two Captains – Ellora’s Cave
March 31, ’09 – Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat – Total-E-Bound

April 4, ’09 – Kiss of the Werewolves – Ellora’s Caveimg

In the meantime, my boyfriend has turned me onto an incredible writer, Howard Fast, perhaps best known for his novel Spartacus which was made into a film in 1960 with Kirk Douglas.

Okay, aside from the fact that Kirk Douglas looked damned good playing his role as the slave-turned gladiator-turned leader of a large-scale slave revolt in Rome, this novel is UNBELIEVABLE! It’s really a shame it never won any major literature awards because this man could really write! It’s the third novel I’m reading of his right now and all I can say is I’ve rarely read a writer who can so deeply capture the deepest essence of human beings with simple, beautiful language, evocative and riveting.

Blue today

I don’t complain too often because I generally like my life very much. Just some things bothering me. I won’t go into the details but suffice it to say that one of the reasons my world of the White Tigers is so precious to me is because the characters there have learned the important lessons of life and friendship that I wish some of the people in my life would learn.

I am almost finished revising Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat. I got the most wonderful seal of approval from Madelynne Ellis (Black Lace author. Must check out her wonderful sexy reads!) who loved the characters and the story very much and told me she got hooked on reading it early on. Thank you so much, Madelynne. Another 60 pages of revision and I’ll be able to turn it into my editor at Total-E-Bound. Always a feeling of accomplishment yet mixed because I’ve enjoyed spending time with Hiru and Quan Chan andit’s never quite the same after you finish writing the book.

However, my loving man gave me another great title (to be revealed once I’ve begun penning the story that goes along with it.) I don’t have much to reveal yet other than it’s going to be MMMF with MM materials. It’s been awhile since I wrote a story like this and finally, it feels like the right time.

As always, thanks for visiting my blog!

Finished just in time…

No sooner had I finished writing Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat than the edits for Kiss of the Werewolves came into my mailbox the very next morning! So, I’m in edit land for a few days. Nothing much I can say about that except for when I’m working on edits, I always feel pressed even though it’s not like I’m being put on a deadline.

After I turn that in, however, I do plan to work on Fantasy Thief. However, I’ll prbably end up getting more edits for Danny’s Dragon and then, I just want to work on the prequel to Barely Undercover that I started penning a couple of months ago, Barely Covered. .
First of all, I love Damien and Kaz and wanted to spend more time with them. They have a great rapport, sweet and humorous in addition to the fact that the events which brought them together are, in my humble opinion, worth another story. Basically, the premise is that Kaz first sees Damien up on stage, doing his strip tease and falls in love with the sight of him. Unfortunately for Damien, there’s a big drunk galoot in the audience who takes a shine to Damien and tries to get close to him in a very bad way. Kaz comes to the rescue and Damien, whose been afraid to get close to anyone because of hurts in his past, has found someone he feels safe enough to let go with and give a private performance to. The only problem is that Kaz is hard to pin down. He’s in love, but not so sure that a romance with a guy will fit with his up and coming career as a detective. Will he have to choose or can he have both? The choice is his alone and we can only hope he’ll do the right thing.

Just finished!

Whew – I just finished typing the last scene in Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat. I think the whole novel is going to end up at 80k, which is over 300 pages in print. I’m quite happy with it. I really grew to love all the characters and felt for them in their struggles. That really made all the difference in the process of writing, as did the invaluable encouragement from my critique partner and from my beta-reader.

However, finishing a novel is always a mixed bag. There’s a sense of relief that it’s finished and can be turned into the publisher for the next stage of production. I always look forward to getting the cover and to release day. But there’s also a let down. For months, I’ve been with these characters, getting to know them, love them, struggling with the process of expressing their experience the best way possible. And then, suddenly, it’s finished. I feel weird, like I’m drifting around without anything anchoring me. I do my best to put my attention onto the other things I have to do, preparing meals, cleaning the house, and, of course, getting to work on the next book, which, in this case, is probably going to be Fantasy Thief. Can Sedonia get into Harlequin Blaze? We’ll see.

Cool things happening

Well, I’ve finally managed to get a mostly firm date for my book signing. Yay! At this point, it’s December 6, 2008 at the Books a Million in Delray Beach, Florida. Time to be announced. I’ve had to keep after the managere there because, well, bookstore managers are incredibly busy. This is a good thing, in my opinion, but annoying when you are trying to get a book signing set up. The featured book will be Secrets, volume 25 although I’m hoping to have copies of my other books as well. So far, the reviews have been excellent for “Wicked Delights” including this one from RT: Each story is a light and quick, and all are filled with plenty of hot sex. Readers will have a good time since there’s something for everyone, from contemporary to paranormal.
— 4 Stars, Romantic Times BOOKreviews
Also, I received my author copy the other day. THAT was an amazing feeling!

Okay, I’m also totally bragging at this point, but the White Tigers books have gotten more kudos.

Both Men of Tokyo: Sudden Bliss and Men of Tokyo: Sudden Surrender received Recommended Read from Joyfully Reviewed!
“Sudden Surrender becomes a heart-warming and fiercely erotic love story. I enjoyed the mysticism and magic between Kiku and Yuzo, but be forewarned…e-book readers might need battery replacements, the love scenes are so hot! I was so immersed in the loves and lives of the men at the White Tiger, that I didn’t want Sudden Surrender to end. All the books in the White Tiger series can definitely be enjoyed as stand-alone reads, but I love the connection and the overall completeness of finding out the story of each man at the White Tiger hotel. Sudden Surrender is a Joyfully Recommended read!”
“The emotional journey Koji and Naoto take during Koji’s enforced one week vacation is full of sweet highlights, sexy and erotic explorations, and great m/m action.

I very much enjoyed Sudden Bliss, and the romance and seduction between Koji and Naoto was perfect and beautiful. Have you ever had a lover refer to your lips as “cherry blossom petals, only a million times better”? Sudden Bliss is the first book in the White Tiger series, and is definitely enjoyable on its own, but I am looking forward to reading more about the comings and goings of the men at the White Tiger!”

But Like I say each time, the reason these particular reviews are so happy for me is because I’ve poured my heart and soul into this series to a depth I’d not experienced before. Not that I don’t give everything I have to each story, it’s just different. I don’t know how to describe it. If you’ve ever read Mary Renaud’s books (Fire from Heaven and The Persian Boy among her other historicals about ancient Greece, Rome, Alexander the Great, etc.), you’ll see if you read her first romances when she first began and then these historicals after she’d travelled to Greece and found her writing voice, the inspiration levels are just so different. That’s the best I can find to describe this experience and I’m thrilled that it comes through to readers. Of course, I’m grateful as all get out that there are people out there who read my books and enjoy them.

love this cover!! (and other stuff)

Lyn Taylor has done it again with Danny’s Dragon (coming January 2009 to Total-E-Bound)! This cover is precisely what I envisioned. It’s absolutely perfect. Makes me want to read the book, lol.

In other tidbits, I received my author copy of Secrets, vol. 25! This is so exciting I can’t tell you. I can’t wait to walk into Books-A-Million or Barnes and Noble and pick one up off the shelf. So help me, if there’s someone in the aisle, I don’t know if I’ll be able to prevent myself from turning around, pointing to the book cover and saying, this is me. I wrote this!

I’m also closing in on the end of Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat. My beta-reader told me this morning that Quan Chan is her favourite character of mine. I’d have to say he’s become one of my favourites as well. Like I’ve been saying, it took me a while to connect with him but now that I have, wow! He’s delicious and sweet and just an overall beautiful human being. (If I may say so myself, lol)

Most unbelievable review…

I stumbled across this astonishing review on Madame Butterfly’s blog. She’s not officially a reviewer, she just loves romance books and writes reviews because she enjoys it. The incredible part for me is that she has lived in Japan and is very knowledegable about Japanese culture. So getting her stamp of approval only added to my jubilance!
Men of Tokyo: Sudden Bliss is an incredibly sensual and deeply erotic love story that stole my heart. The setting, the story, the characters, are all written with such depth and soul that I was blown away, really; absolutely in awe. Ms. Guillone totally captures the essence of the Eastern mind and culture, particularly the Japanese, and brings its uniqueness so vividly to life through the characters and love story. Plus, there’s some really delicious man/man loving. I just adored this book.

Koji is a typical Japanese salary man who sacrifices his personal life to service of the company. By choice he works from sunrise until late into the night every day. Even more so, he’s an extremely conscientious person and feels responsible for all the lives of the patients at the hospital if he fails to keep their computer systems going. When he’s told by the company’s CEO that he is going on a forced vacation because he’s an asset to the company and they can’t have him burning out, he’s horrified and feels shame. But he manages to get the CEO to agree to send him to The White Tiger, a ryoukan in a part of Tokyo where gays hang out, instead of the company hotel.

Naoto is an employee at The White Tiger and is assigned by Kiku sensei, the hotel’s owner, to take care of Koji. Naoto has had his own issues. His lover was murdered by Yakuza and he’s never gotten over it, feeling survivor’s guilt. When he meets Koji though, something starts stirring in him and he wants nothing but to care for and help heal this lost, stressed out being.

As these two come together, they must decide whether or not to go with their hearts even if it means disappointing those around them and for Koji, coming out.

I don’t even know where to begin talking about this book. There are just so many things I can say about how it affected me and yet, much of it falls within the realm of trying to describe the intangible.

The setting: The White Tiger is a hotel where men can go to be “taken care of.” It’s in essence a brothel/spa for gay men if you will. But it’s totally different than any similar type of place in the west. First it’s run by Kiku. Kiku was a former powerful Yakuza who wanted out of that life for a more simple and spiritually fulfilling life. He’s an older wise man who’s kind of psychic and he uses sex and TLC to heal broken and fragile spirits.

Most of the workers there were men saved by Kiku after some traumatic experience having to do with Yakuza. There they are trained in meditation and the art of using sex for healing the soul. I know you might be rolling your eyes here, but Sedonia Guillone keeps this part of the story very reverent and it never enters into crude or base territory.

**This is totally believable to me because actually, in Japan, service is an ingrained quality in everyone; it’s expected and even men are quite caring in that manner. And The White Tiger being a ryokan is especially noteworthy because ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel and personal service is expected and given in such places as opposed to a western style hotel where service is less intimate. Not only that, spiritual concepts are infused and intertwined with every day acts and way of thinking in Japan, so I never had to suspend disbelief that such a place could be more spiritually oriented.

The characters: Koji and Naoto are just so sweet together. Naoto’s heart breaks and opens at the same time as he reaches out to Koji, who is so tense and wound up, carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. All through this story Koji is driven by duty. Duty to the hospital patients, his job and his family, but particularly his father, who beat him regularly and wants him to get married. He’s basically sacrificed who he is essentially for obligation. And he’s hiding the fact that he’s gay, which is also killing him.

As Naoto helps him relax, it slowly comes out that Koji was in love with his step mother who died and that there were definite, strong, romantic and sexual feelings between him and his step mom. She was the only one who stood between him and his father and she loved and protected him until she died. Koji is still mourning her death deeply. So when Koji sees Naoto for the first time, something deep in him responds to Naoto, whose long hair and soft, loving energy reminds him of his step-mom, even though he’s not so consciously aware of it.

Naoto is in deep need of healing himself. He’s still haunted by his love for his murdered lover Lee, and feels loyal to him even though he died years ago. He starts falling in love with Koji’s innocent and conscientious manner and finds himself struggling to not cross the line as Koji is just a client. He’s also feeling guilty that he might be betraying his former love by having such feelings for Koji. But as he and Koji open up to each other, he slowly accepts that it’s time to heal and let go.

Being the type of hotel that it is, of course their first interactions are sexual in nature and the way these two are together sexually is so intensely erotic, passionate and caring and they find they cannot stay away from each other; there’s such a deep need on both their parts to be together. This part is so poignantly and hotly written. The sexual/ romantic dance between Koji and Naoto is very tender and giving and their ache for each other burns hotly as they deal with social pressures that would keep them apart. Wow, just wow.

There isn’t one bad thing that I can say about this book. Nothing. It was all good. Men of Tokyo: Sudden Bliss is just so beautifully and gratifyingly written. Between the characters being so real and compelling, having a profound complexity about them, and the intense passionate sex and love story, this book grabbed my heart and ran with it.

**And just a personal note, I really enjoyed all the little details that were thrown in here like the mention of Ueno Park, sitting on blue tarps and drinking and singing karaoke during O Hanami. Ueno Park is THE place to go for cherry blossom viewing; it’s where it’s all happening. So I could see Koji walking around in that and what it felt like to him. And I used to party a lot around (Ni) 2-chome in Shinjuku. So these details totally added to the story making it very realistic and satisfying for me.

Sex rating: commando/ tantric. Very hot, intense and passionately tender m/m love, anal.

Grade: A+

Life on Mars

If you haven’t watched this BBC series, I completely recommend it. There’s been a version made recently in the US and I saw the first episode but continued with the BBC version which takes place in Manchester.

I have to say it’s really the best TV show I’ve ever seen (just my personal feeling, lol). Basically, the premise is that Sam Tyler (the guy in the top photo) is a cop in present day who has a car accident and wakes up in 1973. He’s still on the force and is faced with a superior, (Gene Hunt, the gov, in the other photo- who’s the best character in the show and one of the best created for TV) who beats up suspects to get answers and doesn’t do anything by the book which makes them clash constantly although they respect and trust each other.

Each crime they solve is somehow related to Sam’s situation and throughout the show he can sometimes hear the life support machine his body is on while his consciousness is in 1973 trying to figure out how to get back. It’s really intelligent, funny, creative and well done. There were only two seasons made of it and I’m on the last episode of the second season in which we find out the answers to the whole thing. I’m sorry to see it ending. I enjoy watching certain shows but never so much as this one. The other thing I’ve enjoyed is hearing the old David Bowie tracks they play, like “Life on Mars,” “Starman,” and “Jean Genie”. I was a MAJOR David Bowie fan back in high school – that was in the mid-80s when he made his comeback but I listened to his older stuff as well.

But, yes, in between, I’m hard at work on Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat. I’d say I have really just a couple more scenes to write and then it’s ready for a go-through before sending to my editor at Total-E-Bound. I forgot to mention in the last post that one of the things that has also made the story flow better is that I finally clicked with Quan Chan. It took longer with him for some reason. He was a character whose depth took longer to reach. Don’t get me wrong, he’s hot and sexy, but he’s…unusual and quieter than all the other characters. He didn’t just jump out at me. I had to go to him, rather than he come to me the way Kiku, Yuzo and all the others did, with their more outwardly dynamic personalities.