Hot new cover (and some other stuff)

Just got the cover for this upcoming release today. Yay! I think it’s pretty hot, especially the guy in the background. I LUV his chest. I wanted the guy in the foreground to be showing more of his face but was told by the cover liaison, and I quote: “Between you and me, you really don’t want to see his face.” I laughed and approved the cover because really, it’s terrific. Les Byerley is the artist and I’m always thrilled with his work. I just hope no one ever says that about my face!

Anyway, I am excited about Barely Covered. As you can see, I’ve linked to the excerpt, that is if you don’t want to read on about my promotional woes.

Basically, it’s that no advertising I do seems to work. I’ve heard how difficult it is to get attention through advertising. Many people say word of mouth is the best and most effective method of advertising. Which is why I’m most appreciative of sites such as Library Thing, Goodreads, and those readers out there who write reviews on their blogs, helping authors get the word out their of a new release. I feel so grateful about that! I’ve cut back on advertising otherwise. I can just hope that more people will come to read this fascinating blog and want to take a look at the books too. I usually don’t talk about these kinds of things, but it’s something that’s been a frustrating and at times mystifying part of the the process of getting published. Now that my wallet is panting for me to leave it alone and stop emptying it out for advertising, I’ll see how it goes.

Incredible book – Yakuza Moon

Yakuza Moon
Memoirs of a Gangster’s Daughter
Shoko Tendo
Translated by Louise Heal

Hardcover 192 pages
152 x 226mm
ISBN : 978-4-7700-3042-9 / 4-7700-3042-8
Publish : Jul, 2007

I finished this book sometime last week and it was incredible. I don’t really need to summarize the contents really because the title says exactly what it’s about. I can say that the author writes with sometimes shocking candor about her life, beginning with the atmosphere in her home when she was a slittle girl and the effects of it in her psyche that started to show in adolescence.

I read in another review about the book, something that also struck me as I read it – that in spite of everything she went through, she struggles so hard to do the right thing. She always takes responsibility for her actions and looks at her own inner life with an honesty that is incredibly rare. I was moved by her relationship with her parents and how much she wants to heal her relationships with them and to honor them, not simply because it’s her duty but because she genuinely loves and respects them as human beings.

I was moved to tears by this book and I highly recommend it. Just a warning – her experiences are incredibly gritty. There is a lot of heavy drug use and horrifying incidents of abuse at the hands of psychotic boyfriends that put her in the hospital more than once.

Crying Sumo babies – oh no!

Oh no! Just when you think you’ve seen it all. I stumbled across this entry on a blog called “Japan is Doomed” a great blog for people interested in the goings on in Japan.

I quote: An annual “crying sumo” contest for babies, in which pairs of infants are brought together to see who can cry the first or the loudest, was held at Tokyo’s Sensoji Temple on Sunday.

Apparently, the aim is for the kids to be encouraged to cry, the winner being the child who cries first. If no one cries, then someone runs around with a mask and a funny hat to encourage tears.

Um, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say exactly how terrorized the babies actually are. It’s supposedly fun, but I can’t help thinking that for the little ones who are completely in the control of these big strong adults, it’s probably quite frightening. I just hope these poor adorable children don’t end up needing heavy psychiatric help when they get older.

Steamy sneak peek!

I believe I’ve posted a sneak peek of this work-in-progress at an earlier time, but I’ve gotten further along and into a yummy bit, so I thought I’d share. I also finally wrote the blurb, which should make it more interesting. Thanks for reading! Sedonia

Fallon’s Jewel
M/M; Sci-fi

Blurb:
Kenji doesn’t know who he is or where he came from, only that he woke up one day, naked and alone on Terran A, possessing nothing in the world but a golden statue. All he knows is his survival, hosting roughnecks in Spike’s bar for a living. The one bright spot in his life is Jake Fallon, a cop with Interstellar Patrol. Though Fallon is only another customer, Kenji senses something…different about him, something he wants for more than a few moments of pleasure. When Kenji is attacked and pursued by a vicious bounty hunter one night, Fallon also becomes his only hope.

Fallon’s passion for Kenji mixes with his desire to rescue the beautiful man from danger. He’s already more than half in love with Kenji and falling deeper as the bounty hunter’s pursuit takes them from galaxy to galaxy. For the first time since his first partner was killed, Fallon dares to surrender his heart again. However, as their race for survival uncovers Kenji’s true origins, Fallon may have to let Kenji go in order for Kenji to fulfill the very purpose of his existence…

Excerpt (unedited. May differ slightly from final version.)

Kenji handed over the money, probably enough to have gotten the cab to take him to the other side of Terran A. But Kenji didn’t know anyone on the other side of Terran A. He only knew one other person who might be able to help him, for he sure as hell needed help now. And that one person was, he prayed, in Spike’s right now. “Do you see a huge man with stringy black hair, covered with ammunition belts?” Kenji asked, “Because if you do, I’m not getting out of this cab until he’s gone.”

The driver studied the street around them. “You got a bounty hunter on your ass?”

“I think so.”

“Shit. Sorry about that. For what you paid me, you could stay here the rest of the night. Your own private cab. But no, I don’t see no one with that description.”

“Thanks.”

“No problem, pal. Good luck. Them bounty hunters are some rough bastards.”

Don’t I know it. The image of that poor guy in Asia town, lying on the ground, blood pouring from his face surged in Kenji’s mind as he opened the taxi door. And the way all those people stood there, frozen, letting the man get pummeled…

Kenji got out and pushed the cab door closed. He dashed into Spike’s, his heart still pounding fiercely.

Spike’s was nearly in full swing. The usual electric guitar-laden music blared through the air, mixing with rowdy male laughter, the clack of pool cues against balls and the catcalls from the audience watching the live nude show that was usually going on in the corner. Spike liked the way the show got the guys riled, who then needed the hustlers to get them off. Made more money all round.

Kenji scanned the place, ignoring the sudden attention of many pairs of eyes on him, some curious, others openly leering at his bare torso. They probably thought the semi-naked thing was part of his gimmick. It sure as hell wasn’t. His chest heaved and his hands opened and closed in panicked fists. He had to find Fallon and get into one of the cubicles as soon as possible. What if the bounty hunter came in here, looking for him?

“Hey, Kenji!”

Kenji turned. Relief flooded him.

There, on a corner stool, was Fallon, tight white t-shirt over buff chest, dark-stubbled, chiseled face, and all. Fallon swiveled the stool and gestured for him to come over. A mug of something golden and frothy already sat on the bar in front of him.

Fallon had been waiting for him.

Kenji bounded over and came to a stop in front of Fallon. Their gazes locked.

Fallon’s eyes widened. His blue eyes shadowed with concern. “Kenji, I wanted to make sure you were all right?”

Kenji stood, words suddenly locked up. He couldn’t even speak. Images roiled inside him with the terror he’d felt, the frightening flight across rooftops and in front of giant buses, the horrifying glitter in the bounty hunter’s eyes…Kenji stepped up to Fallon, so close, the man’s musky scent met Kenji’s nostrils. Kenji had an unusually fine sense of smell and Fallon’s scent surrounded him. But Kenji still couldn’t speak.

“Kenji? Where’s your shirt? I saw a report on the…nnnhh—“

Kenji surged forward, cutting Fallon’s words off with his lips.

Blimey! Fallon started. Kenji was freaked.

He tried to pull back but Kenji grasped his upper arms, holding him in place with strength that belied his narrow, wiry frame. Kenji’s lips pressed insistently to his and his fingertips dug into Fallon’s triceps as if the smaller man were hanging onto him for dear life.

Oh hell. The odd grip invaded Fallon’s senses, against his trained inner cop. The world shrank down to the dig of Kenji’s fingers in his muscles and the velvety heat of Kenji’s lips to his. The rowdy music and catcalls cheering on their kiss faded to the background. The fervent chafing of Kenji’s lips against his told Fallon everything, as if Kenji were speaking in a language made up only of kissing. Terror, relief, passion all mingled in Kenji’s kiss.

However…if McCray had been chasing Kenji, they needed to cut out of here. Fast.

Reality yanked Fallon from the lustful haze induced by Kenji’s kiss. He pulled back and looked into Kenji’s good eye. Kenji’s chest rose and fell as if he’d been long distance running and his one iris was dilated nearly to full capacity. This had to do with the report on Channel X. “Kenji, talk to me. You’ve been—“

Kenji lunged and kissed him again, this time, stealing between Fallon’s lips. The moist heat of his tongue invaded Fallon’s mouth, capturing Fallon again. Kenji pressed in close, his chest to Fallon’s and this time, Fallon’s body tingled to life with a will of its own, forcing Fallon to surrender.

Crikey. Only Nichols had ever been seductive enough to make Fallon override his instincts. Fallon palmed Kenji’s back. Planes of lean muscle shifted under his hands. Kenji’s skin was warm and smooth. Delicious, really. The sense of danger mingled with his growing arousal. Kenji’s hot tongue swirled against his and the slimmer man’s scent, light sweat laced with that spicy cologne he always wore…

Kenji pulled away this time and picked up Fallon’s hand. “Come,” he said and tugged, moving along so Fallon could do nothing else but slide off the stool and follow.

He let Kenji lead him toward the back passage of the bar looming ahead of them, the darkly lit corridor of private cubicles. The places where Kenji worked his magic with those sweet lips on Fallon’s cock. Once there, hidden from the rest of the patrons, he’d be able to get the truth out of Kenji. Before all the blood in his brain drained down to his lower body.

Shite! Like a conditioned dog, Fallon’s hard-on responded. Kenji had him prisoner, captured by the way the dim lighting glowed on his sleek torso and ebony hair, and by the promise of ecstasy by way of blow job.

Kenji pushed back a folding door to the first available room and tugged Fallon inside. Fallon’s brawn filled the majority of the dark space, lit only by a black light, which cast a purplish glow on them both.

Before Fallon could utter a word, Kenji was on him again, lips closed heatedly over Fallon’s, hands scrabbling at Fallon’s heavy belt buckle. Deftly, Kenji had the belt and pants open in second and one hand stole under the waistband of Fallon’s undershorts.

Fallon sucked in a breath, his lips still connected to Kenji’s. Kenji’s tongue surged against his as if to keep him quiet.

It was working. The pads of Kenji’s fingertips slid down Fallon’s rigid length. Up and down, base to head, index finger sliding over the taut lobes and catching the first droplet of cum to seep out. Kenji used the moisture to glide down the length of Fallon’s cock again and Fallon sagged back, completely imprisoned. The answer to him was clear—come first and he’d regain his control, enough to get an answer from Kenji. And then, get them out of here.

Kenji closed all fingers around his cock now and stroked. Up and down, slick caresses that made Fallon groan into Kenji’s mouth. With his other hand, Kenji was working Fallon’s trousers and undershorts past his hips. Fallon knew his goal—get the clothing down just above his knees. Enough space to suck.

Fallon’s hands skimmed over Kenji’s shoulders. Kenji was deliciously hot and they’d messed around enough in previous meetings for Fallon to know just how delicious Kenji was. Smooth skin. Lithe, hard muscles. Athletic body and thick, sleek hair. To say nothing of the man’s lips.

Kenji’s free hand smoothed over Fallon’s left ass cheek and squeezed. Fallon groaned again into Kenji’s mouth. Kenji knew what Fallon liked and was doing it all.

Top Rated at Fictionwise!

Book five in the White Tigers Series A weekend of passionate sex with a master White Tiger changes the course of Hiru’s life forever… Since an injury cut short his career as a champion martial artist, Hiru has lived a quiet dutiful life consumed mostly by his job and his ever-unsuccessful attempts to meet a woman. When his best friend and co-worker, Koji, finds love and happiness…with a man…and leaves the firm to pursue a new life, Hiru misses Koji so much he begins to suspect his difficulty with women is something other than he thought. Maybe…just maybe…he wants men too? Well, there’s only one way to find out – stay at the White Tiger, Tokyo’s most luxurious love-hotel for gay men and be massaged, caressed and…more by Quan Chan, one of Koji’s incredibly handsome fellow White Tigers. Quan Chan is still nursing a broken heart when he’s asked to attend to Koji’s friend Hiru. So he’s completely unprepared for his sudden intense attraction to Hiru’s boyish good looks and incredible brawny physique. Hiru is like a human supply of catnip to the White Tiger inside him. All Quan Chan wants to do is purr and rub up against the other man. In spite of the temptation that awaits him back in Shanghai, Quan Chan spends an incredible weekend with Hiru, an encounter that launches him into ecstasy for the first time in what feels like forever. However, when circumstances force Quan Chan back to Shanghai without the promise of return, the connection between him and Hiru proves stronger than a simple weekend of pleasurable exploration and Quan Chan finds himself suspended between Hiru and Wu Li, the most alluring and sensuous young man in Shanghai, a Golden Dragon, said to launch a man into bliss by a mere glance. Back in Tokyo, Hiru feels Quan Chan slipping away from him. All he can do is follow his heart and hope it’s not too late…

Buy at Fictionwise!

Excerpt:
“Huh.” Quan Chan opened his eyes. Kiku wasn’t there. All he could see was his room in morning light. All he could hear was his own breath, as tight and urgent as it had been in his–

Dream.

Ai yi. Not again. Quan Chan took a deep breath and looked down.

The covers were pushed down, exposing his lower body. His hand rested on his own softening dragon and the warm stickiness of his yang emission coated his body, the splash of release he’d felt during his dream. Masturbating in his sleep again. How humiliating. Good thing he didn’t share this bedroom with anyone. It was bad enough Kiku was only a few rooms away, now cosily settled in with a lover who didn’t give him visions, while Quan Chan pined away for the man.

With a deep sigh, he rose from the bed and went straight into the shower. After soaping his body, he stood under the hot spray a bit longer than usual, annoyed with himself for still missing the morning showers he and Kiku used to take at times. Both muscular, their combined brawn barely fit into the tiny stall, but that had been part of the fun. Wet, soapy skin gliding together as they turned to rinse.

A new erection threatened from the mere memory. Damn. He still had it bad for Kiku.

Sighing again, he turned off the shower, grabbed his towel and dried off. At the bathroom mirror, he found himself lingering again. He stared at his reflection, feeling his reluctance to get downstairs and start the day. There was always a lot to do around this place. Tending to guests, housekeeping chores, meditation, helping in the kitchen or wherever it was needed. Yet, in the weeks since Kiku had been forced to end their love affair, getting up each day had gotten increasingly difficult, not easier, as Quan Chan had hoped it would.

Especially now. In recent months, Kiku’s White Tiger Hotel had become a love nest of amorous couples. First Naoto had fallen in love with his guest, Koji, then Yuzo had come and stolen Kiku’s heart. After that, Ryu, whose love affair with Kiku had ended for the same reason his own had, met Nat. The gorgeous cop had followed Ryu all the way from Thailand to be with him. Had given up his career and everything. The twins, Tatou and Mod, always had a little love thing of their own, and then in the middle of it all, Basho’s long lost lover, an Englishman named Timothy, had miraculously reappeared after fifteen years, when the two men had thought themselves lost to each other forever.

A pang gripped his chest. It was hard to know what bothered him more–that he’d been forced to give Kiku up as a lover or that there didn’t seem to be anyone out there who could love him the way Kiku now loved Yuzo or Nat loved Ryu, someone who felt he was worth more than anything else on Earth and that the way to heaven was through making love to him. For Kiku, their lovemaking had largely been a way to hell.

Enough. He turned to hang up his towel. What would Kiku think of his falling into self-pity? Better to meditate, have breakfast and begin the day. Self-pity only led in a downward spiral to more self-pity then rapidly to hopelessness. Not the place a White Tiger allowed himself to go when he was supposed to remain on the middle way, the Tao.

Quan Chan sat on his zafu and meditated, after which he put on the hotel uniform, an open white vest and shorts, and went downstairs to the kitchen. He pushed open one side of the swinging doors and paused. Timothy was embracing Basho from behind where Basho stood at the table, cutting vegetables. Timothy’s eyes were closed and he was nuzzling the curve of Basho’s neck.

Quan Chan suppressed a groan. Just what I need. Bracing himself, he went quietly in. The two men separated when they saw him.

Basho smiled at him. “Good morning, Chan Chan.”

Quan Chan worked a smile onto his lips. “Good morning.” He now felt appropriately guilty for his annoyance. Who was he to object, even inwardly, to this man’s happiness? Basho had suffered horribly during his forced separation from Timothy, and had undergone experiences that left him burned and crippled in one leg. Not to mention also that Basho fed a hotel full of people, guests and residents alike, three unbelievable meals a day, as he’d done for years without one complaint.

He bowed his head in greeting to Timothy. The Englishman waved and smiled in a friendly way. Timothy truly was a good guy and his presence here had not only made Basho happy, but also brought more humour and laughter to the men of the White Tiger.

Basho indicated a place at the table where a covered tray of food sat. “That’s for you,” he said.

“Oh, thank you. I … got a late start this morning.”

Basho nodded, his expression sympathetic. It was no secret how Quan Chan was in love with Kiku and had literally been bumped out of Kiku’s bed the night Yuzo showed up on the run for his life from his psychotic yakuza lover. “You’re very welcome. Enjoy.”

“I’m sure I will.” He sat and uncovered the food. The aroma of miso soup floated up at him. He closed his eyes, said a quick blessing and picked up the bowl and a spoon, carefully fishing out a cube of tofu.

Just then the kitchen door swung open and Kiku walked in. Quan Chan set his bowl down and started to rise, but Kiku held out his hand, a gesture which told him to stay in his seat.

Kiku drew closer and Quan Chan saw an envelope in one large hand. Quan Chan’s stomach tightened, not only from the sight of the letter, but from seeing Kiku. No doubt, the other man’s second sight would pick up on the fact that he’d dreamt again of him, even though Kiku would be too polite to mention it.

“May I join you?”

“Of course.” Quan Chan didn’t hesitate. He never did when it came to having a moment with his friend. He watched Kiku slide back a chair and sit.

Kiku smiled at him while his eyes seemed to study Quan Chan’s face. Apparently what he saw made his smile fade. “Are you all right, friend?” He leaned forward and gave Quan Chan’s forearm a friendly squeeze.

Quan Chan fought the urge to close his eyes and savour the brief touch. “I’m all right.”

Kiku frowned. There really was no fooling him. All Kiku had to do was look and he’d see that Quan Chan had once again recently entertained the brief idea of leaving here and returning to the White Tiger Temple in Shanghai. It seemed the reasonable thing to do, especially since Sun Lau was elderly now and probably wanted him to come back. It had been a year and a half since Quan Chan’s last visit, the longest gap of time he’d stayed away in years. Though Sun Lau never complained or guilted him about it, Quan Chan could hear that Sun Lau missed him. It was in the sound of the elderly man’s voice whenever they spoke on the phone.

Years ago, when Kiku had first asked Quan Chan to come to Tokyo and help him get this hotel going, Sun Lau had been keen on having a skilled emissary spread the White Tiger practices abroad. None of them had expected Quan Chan to end up staying. Eventually, this place had become Quan Chan’s home and Quan Chan had so wanted Kiku to be his partner for the rest of their lives. Out of love for Quan Chan, Sun Lau had been forbearing with him, but there was no possible way Sun Lau could remain so patient with him. Many times Quan Chan had considered going back, to be a dutiful son to the man who’d saved his life. But his passion for Kiku had always won, and his insistence on staying here in Tokyo had been the one great rebellious act of his life.

“Chan Chan, I’m sorry … about–”

“Please, Kiku, don’t apologise. It’s not like that. There’s no blame.” He looked down into his bowl, his stomach suddenly too tight to eat.

“I don’t want to lose you. You’re special to me. That has never changed. And yet, I wouldn’t stop you from following your path.”

The pain in his friend’s voice made his heart squeeze. Kiku only spoke the truth to him. The bond between them was stronger than anything he could have imagined. Kiku was the one person in his whole life who’d truly grieved the things that had happened to him as a child growing up on the streets of Shanghai.

“I know that.”

“Just so you know,” Kiku said after a moment’s silence between them, “I’m not saying this because I saw inside of you.” He held up the letter. “This was in the morning’s mail.”

Quan Chan accepted the envelope from him and immediately recognised Sun Lau’s scrawly handwriting. Of course, Kiku had known what the letter was before handing it to him.

“Thank you, Kiku,” he said, then set it down by his place and picked up the bowl of soup. If he didn’t eat, Kiku would notice and worry about him even more. He tipped the bowl to his lips and sipped some of the broth. Soothingly warm and tangy. Basho was amazing.

He thought Kiku would get up and leave, but his friend seemed to linger, and Quan Chan sensed that Kiku was about to ask him for a favour.

Which, of course, he would grant. Anything for Kiku.

“You probably know, Koji’s friend Hiru is coming to stay here for the weekend,” Kiku began, sounding a bit hesitant. He didn’t like to ask Quan Chan for favours, especially after what had happened with Yuzo. “The man is … confused. You know what I mean?”

Quan Chan nodded. Koji had spoken at times about the man he’d worked with for years at his computer engineering firm. “Of course. I’ll tend to him, if that’s what you need.”

Relief infused Kiku’s chiselled features. The man was so damn handsome he took Quan Chan’s breath away. “I thought you’d be best to look after him. You know I wouldn’t have asked you … under the circumstances, but the twins, even one at a time, would, I think, overwhelm the man.”

This made Quan Chan smile. This was true. Tatou and Mod, though sweet and very good with guests, would be too much for a man who was confused. “I understand, Kiku. Don’t worry.”

“Thank you.”