Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Good News and Bad News and More Good News

Okay. Bad news first, yeah?

Bad news: As you've probably noticed, Chains wasn't out on Christmas Eve. But I will do my best to have a January release date.

Good news: Want Me  has been picked up by Loose Id! That means it'll be out in e-book format soon. How cool is that? The only thing that bums me out is that I had to take down the awesome cover art from the first edition, which had been created for me by the amazing Ulf. On the bright side, I'm looking forward to seeing the new interpretation from Loose Id.

To give the first cover a proper send-off, I'm giving away all the Want Me prints I have left. They include two 4x6 glossies, four 8.5x11 prints on card stock, five 3x5 prints on card stock, and one…well I don't know what it is exactly. It's translucent and has a sticker strip on the left-hand side, so I'm guessing it's meant to be slipped inside notebooks or folders. I don't even remember buying it. XD

Sooo many Want Me pics

If you'd like one of these prints, send an email to (mcbride_rowan at yahoo dot com) with "I want a Want Me print" in the subject line. Please list the four items above, with the one you want most at the top and so on. First-come-first-serve, but I'll do my best to send you the print you like most. Don't forget to include your snail mail address.

And now for some more good news!

One Good Hand/One Good Year received an Honorable Mention from the Rainbow Awards! Sci-fi/fantasy category.

Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention - SciFi and Fantasy Category

I'm stoked. Are you stoked? I'm totally stoked. :D

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cover Art - Chains

Chains has a cover and it is niiiiiiice.

Click the pic to learn more about chains

Created by the talented Sin. I met the artist first at YaoiCon 2011, then at SanJapan 2012, so it was obviously fate. :)

If you'd like to view more of Sin's work, check out

And of course, if you'd like to check out more of my work, go to ;)

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I have a love/hate relationship with blurbs. When I’m trying to write them, it’s full-on hate. But when it’s done, and it’s good, it’s so, so good. I want to hold it in my hands and pet it gently and hold it up to the world to see as I proclaim “Look! I wrote this! Doesn’t it make you want to read the story behind it?”

Unfortunately, I’m not the greatest judge of my own blurbs.

Take Paul’s Dream, which I consider my best one:

Paul Graham is content with his life. An up-and-coming lawyer, he has no time to dwell on the mazes, puzzles, and riddles he solves while asleep. He has no interest in dreams, or anything that might derail his career.

Until Kian shows up. Sensual, playful, he claims that Paul rescued him four years ago. Now he's determined to repay him with the one thing he knows best: sex laced with... magic.

Kian is unlike any man Paul has encountered. He won't go away, for one. The fact that Paul doesn't remember him doesn't deter his mission of seduction in the least. But soon enough, Paul finds that this strange, carnal creature has the ability to melt his ice with a touch, to bring out a sweetness Paul didn't even know he had.

As Kian becomes a part of his life, Paul finds himself more and more attached. Forgotten dreams, buried memories, and the dangerous obsession of another conspire to tear them apart. Is he strong enough to endure a trial by fire in order to keep them together?

Ohhh, was so proud of that one! I thought (still think) it was sexy, had a touch of humor, deftly hinted at the suspense elements in the story. The last line was an excellent hook, which is what last lines in blurbs are supposed to be. Perfect.

Except, not so much. I remember it got panned by several reviewers, most of whom called it “blah.” One was straight-up angry with me for not spelling out exactly what Kian was in the text of the blurb. I imagine Paul would have agreed with that last one. He didn’t get the specifics until chapter four, and he wasn’t exactly keen when he had them.

The story did okay. Word-of-mouth saved me from my own blah blurb. I think that’s when I learned that no one element is going to sink a book. Just work hard so that as many elements as possible hit the mark.

But blurbs are important. At least, they are to Reader-Rowan. When browsing books I notice first the cover (because I’m shallow), then the blurb, and if the blurb is interesting I read the excerpt to check and see if the writing style is compatible with my reading style. I think there must be at least a few readers out there who browse like I do, so I work hard on blurbs, going through several drafts, wondering if the draft I’ve got is too dramatic for the story or not dramatic enough. Too much information? Not enough information? On and on. And when it’s done, I cross my fingers and post.

Which reminds me:

Look below this line! I wrote this! Doesn’t it make you want to read the story behind it?



A new prisoner has been brought to the castle. They say he's a warrior. They call him a demon. They whisper that he can grant wishes.

Saiven can't resist. He sneaks into the secluded dungeon to see, but the man chained to the wall is not what he expects. Smiling. Teasing. He introduces himself as Faolan, and Saiven is caught. He makes Saiven feel things he should not feel. Draws forth confessions that were meant to stay secret. Faolan freely grants him warmth and laughter. But now...

Now it's time to find out if Saiven is strong enough to earn a wish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Literary Nymphs Thanksgiving Chat

Every year I participate in the massive LitNymph Thanksgiving Chat. It is awesome. Lots of writers, lots of excerpts, lots of conversation. You should stop by! Have some fun with us!

If this is your first chat at Literary Nymphs, however, I'd advise you to set your yahoo settings for this group to "web only," otherwise you might end up with a thousand emails in your box. :)

Posting the official info below. If you see me, wave, yeah?

It's that time of year again! Literary Nymphs is hosting their Thanksgiving Weekend M/M Chat and here is a brief list of authors who will be attending, circumstances allowing: Kathryn Scannell, Jules Jones, KC Kendricks,Michael Barnette, KC Burn, Christiane France, James Buchanan, Josh Lanyon, Andrea Speed, Rowan McBride, Pat Brown, Jessica Freely, Lissa Matthews, Berengaria Brown, Sarah Madison, Ariel Tachna, Megan Slayer, K. Z. Snow, Renee George, DC Juris.

If there are any M/M authors interested in participating, please notify me at for details. Thanks!

The chat will start on Thursday morning and continue through to Sunday night. The location is, the Literary Nymphs Chat Group so stop in and join us next weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Ali Forney Center

The Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth was hit hard by hurricane Sandy. Their Chelsea drop-in center in particular was flooded, destroying their supplies as well as the space itself. The AFC provides shelter, food, support, and medical care to kids in distress. In other words, they’re good people, and they could use a little help.

To learn more and donate, please visit the organization’s website:

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Note About "Want Me"

click the pic to learn more about Want Me

The first edition of Want Me is going out of print. I can’t tell you why yet, but I’m sure you can figure it out. ;)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pepero Day Winners!

And they are, completely chosen at random, listed below:

* Liz Brooks
* Tomas Santiago-Lopez
* kathleen
* earringfan

If I do not have your email addy, please contact me forthwith at (mcbride_rowan (at) yahoo (dot) com) and please include your snail mail address because, alas, it is not yet technologically possible to email Pepero. What's up with that? And no hover-boards, either. >.>

Congrats and thank you to everyone who entered! It was hella fun. :)

-- Rowan

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pepero Day!

It is November 11th, which means today is Pepero Day, and it is time to give heartfelt gifts of chocolate-dipped cookie-stick goodness to your loved ones.

For those of you who don’t know, Pepero Day is a *totally* manufactured holiday in Korea that caught on and is now awesome. It is always November 11th because that makes the date 11-11, which looks like the Pepero sticks. How wonderful is that?

The day is also celebrated to a lesser extent in Japan as Pocky Day. In both countries, November is fabulous because all sorts of special editions of the snacks are released. Brightly colored boxes of joy all over the place.

Can you tell I’m excited?

I, personally, am celebrating the same way I did last year. By giving away some Pepero goodness. Check the giant box:

Giant Box of Nude Pepero

I’m also giving away one small box of Almond Crush Pepero (Today is like Valentine’s Day and it’s a whole box of crush.)

Almond Crush Pepero

And AND I have two boxes of Fran. One person will get the chocolate, and one person will get the white. What is Fran, you say? Why it is much like Pepero and Pocky but hella decadent. And it's in stick form so it qualifies in today's celebration.


Can you tell how much I love you?

That’s a total of four Pepero Day gifts. All you have to do to win one of these is to comment on this ( blog post. You have until 11:59pm tonight (11-11-12), Central Standard Time to play.

Winners will be announced on this blog ( 11-13-12 (Nov. 13, 2012).

So play! Love me back by making a comment! XD

Happy Pepero Day!

It's also Veteran's Day. As I understand it, Sandy knocked out the Manhattan VA Hospital as well as the regional Veterans' Assistance office. If you are one of the vets affected, the Maddow Blog has a list of resources you might be able to use, including how to get emergency refills of your meds.

Stay strong. Stay safe. And thank you for your service to our country.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Main characters in my finished and published stories, ranked in order of straightforwardness, starting with the most straightforward and ending with the least:

Rafe Dirisio -- (Lone)
Paul Graham -- (Paul’s Dream)
Joe Wilson -- (A Picture’s Worth)
Kian Somers -- (Paul’s Dream)
Zakai -- (Paul’s Dream)
Joel Beckett -- (Want Me)
Keith Taylor -- (Chasing Winter)
Ace Donovan -- (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Riley Jameson -- (One Shot)
Walker Cain -- (Want Me)
Nick Carlyle -- (One Shot)
Spade Hart -- (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Seth Anderson -- (Lone)
Draven Donnor -- (Just Perfect)
Mason Ripley -- (A Picture’s Worth)
Asher Croft -- (Paul’s Dream)
Jesse Winter -- (Chasing Winter)
Dorian Burns -- (Lone)
Cody West -- (Just Perfect)

You might be thinking, “What?! How is Jesse so far down on the list, and how is WALKER square in the middle??” If you are thinking that, what follows is what passes for logic on my end:

First, this list only gauges straightforwardness, and does not take badassitude into account. Though, really, when you think about it, Jesse is plenty badass. Whenever Keith--who is gigantic and endowed with freaky super strength--steps out of line, Jesse never hesitates to knock him right back into it.

Second, the ranking is value-neutral. So whatever nefarious schemes a character might have going on (I’m looking at you, Draven), they don’t count for anything in this list.

Last, straightforwardness does not mean trustworthy. So, while Spade is arguably the most trustworthy character on the list, he waits till damned-near the end of the first book to tell Ace what he is, which Ace doesn’t take well. At all.

But anyway.

Jesse is in the bottom three because through most of Chasing Winter what he says and what he’s thinking are totally out of sync. For example:

“You always told me that willpower could accomplish anything.”

If I had known he’d remember every damned thing I said, I would have tried harder to stay away from such trite clichés. “Yes, I did say that.”


Keith grinned. “I’m making you uncomfortable, aren’t I?” He left the couch and searched out his briefs. “I’ll get out of your hair.”

I grabbed the top of the couch with my right arm and pulled myself up to watch him dress. Now that he wasn’t touching me, I felt…oh, God, I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. “Thank you.”

And he’s like that through most of the book. So now he’s on the bottom of a totally arbitrary, written-by-the-whim-of-the-author list on straightforwardness.

Jesse was fairly easy to place. If you’ve read Just Perfect, then you know why Cody ranks rock-bottom. No brainer. Same with Rafe and Paul. Rafe wears his heart on his sleeve and is always sure everyone around him knows where he stands. Paul’s heart is frozen solid for a while, but even then everything he does has a reason and he has no qualms about explaining those reasons to you.

Walker wasn’t so easy. Sure, he locks Joel to him in a horrifying spiral of magic that pretty much ruins both their lives, but remember--nefariousness has no weight on this list. He’s also a liar by nature, which would naturally rank him lower. But he doesn’t fuck around when it comes to his obsession with Joel. Never deviates. Never lets Joel forget that he’s never going to deviate. So, yeah, horrifying. But hey, straightforward.

You’re probably safer if you just don’t believe in anything Dorian does or says. Ever. I know it sort of worked out in Lone, but dude. Trust me on that one.

Riley was also hard to place. One Shot’s told from Nick’s point of view, and he’s royally freaked out through most of that story, so it’s hard to gauge how much of Riley’s actions are warped by that filter.

Seth was a pain in the ass. He’s got that crazy Ravager-magic-want-it-now-so-will-HAVE-IT-NOW thing going on. And first instinct is to rank him higher because even in human form he’s all “Look at my massive brown puppy eyes don’t you want to pet my hair?” But Seth doesn’t even know himself, so by default that cripples his ability to be straightforward with Rafe.

So that’s my logic, such as it is. I think it’s pretty easy to see why I put the others in their places on the list.

My question: Do you agree with me? Disagree? Where would you rank these guys, and why?

Interesting fact: I was not aware that “straightforwardness” was a legit word until I typed it up for the first time and didn’t get the red spell-fail squigglies. Prior to that I’d assumed I had made it up. “Squigglies,” however, is apparently fake, which feels wrong to me. >.>

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I’m going to try and self-publish an e-book this December. It’s a short story, and I’m thinking of making it free. If I don’t make it free, then all proceeds will go to charity. I haven’t decided on which one yet, since there are a lot I like. But if I go that route, I’ll be sure to let you know the specifics.

While I’ve semi-self-published a hardcopy book (Want Me) before, I hired a company to handle the heavy lifting regarding formatting and distribution. I’m going to be doing this e-book mostly by myself (I say mostly because I have great beta readers and an awesome cover artist, etc.) and the process boggles my mind. Whole new respect for the attention to detail my publishers give my work.

The story’s called Chains. I should probably write a blurb for it. And build a page for it on my site. And get it formatted correctly for different e-reader formats. And…

It’ll be fun. I’m sure it’ll go off without a hitch. >.>

Chains is a good story, though. Even with hitches it’ll be worth it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Jascian's Toy - 15

I meant to post the above when I uploaded Chapter 14 of The Jascian's Toy but never got the chance, so I'm posting it now. ;)

Chapter 15 is up! It turned out shorter than planned, but when I hit that last line, I knew that's where it had to end. Putting little asterisks at the bottom to start a new scene would have weakened its emotional punch.

Originally I was going to write chapter 16 before posting 15, but given my current schedule delaying 15 just seemed mean.

You can read the new installment at: It should be making its way through the Nifty mirrors soon. As always, feedback is welcome in the comments section.

I hope you enjoy Chapter 15.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Writer’s block can be triggered by any number of things. Real life gets too busy, you get sick, you wrote yourself into a corner, you can’t get that freaking song out of your head and it’s ruining your scene.

Sometimes it’s pressure. With writers, there are three main sources:

  1. From your publisher
    • Although I’ve been lucky in this respect, some publishers take that wonderful book you wrote over the course of a year or two or five and want you to write three more just like it. By the end of the year.
  2. From readers, real or perceived
    • This can be tricky. Most readers aren’t trying to pressure you when they’re asking when the next installment of this or that series will be out. You did your job as a writer, and now they’re a fan of the world you’ve created. This is a good thing. It’s a compliment.
    • Occasionally, though, I get a letter telling me to finish a particular storyline, and that generally has the opposite effect intended because I’m childish that way.
  3. From yourself
    • This is the worst, by far. Writers by nature have overactive imaginations, and we can blow things all kinds of out of proportion. So everything listed above gets spun into your own psyche, along with:
      • If I don’t write three books a year the readers will forget me.
      • If I don’t write this freaking sequel the publisher will drop me.
      • What if this sequel isn’t as good as the first story in the series?
      • You’re only as good as your last book.
      • Nothing I write now will ever be as good as that one beautifully crafted book I wrote five years ago.
      • What if I never finish anything again?
      • I suck.

Dealing with the first two sources is easy.

  1. If your publisher honestly expects you to write five books a year and that is not within your skill-set, tell them that. If they still expect the wordcount, then find a new publisher.
  2. Acknowledge that people love your world/characters enough to write you about them. Then take your time, and write a book that you love as much as the first one. Be good to your readers by being good to your story.

See? Easy peasy. #3, though… There’s no simple way to lose all that baggage. But here are some of the things that I do:

  • Get a hobby that is not writing.
    • It clears my mind, relieves stress, and reminds me that there are other things in life.
    • I draw, fold origami, take pictures of toys and sometimes make animated .gifs of those toys, play soccer with my nieces and nephews (because apparently one little league season during kindergarten makes me the expert in my family).
    • I know other writers who sing, who cook. I’ve seen a lot of them knit during wait times at conventions.
  • Make friends with creators who are in the same fix.
    • Writers, artists, comic book creators. Talk about stuff. Vent that frustration we all get when we try to create a work of art only to have to market it as a product. Share that fear that we’re being pretentious when we refer to what we create as “art.”
    • This helps me realize I’m not alone. That these problems that seem so devastating are actually very common. Once the problems become common, they put a lot less pressure on me.
    • Note: Make friends. Don’t join a gang. The point is to get all those positive vibes flowing, which clears the air around you, which makes it easier to write.
  • Write under a secret identity for a while.
    • Hold on, hold on. I know this sounds mad sketchy. But it helps, especially given that I’m an established (am I being pretentious when I call myself “established”?) writer and the people around me tend to assure me that I could never write anything short of wonderful. Which is bullshit. Everyone will write a flop eventually. Most people will write several. But sometimes I get caught in one of two traps:
      • I get tied into knots because I’m terrified that the next book will suck and all these people who had faith in me will be disappointed.
      • I start to suspect my friends are lying to me.
    • I create a new username. I pick a forum or other such free story site that either aligns perfectly with my interests or falls way out of my comfort zone. I write. I get feedback from strangers who don’t know I’m Rowan McBride.
    • Rules:
      • Tell no one (not even my best friend who lives in another state and doesn’t like the internet) of my username. The primary point of this exercise is to see how I do when I have to “start from scratch” in a sea of people who do not know me.
      • If I’m writing in my comfort zone (frex: muscle growth) then go all out and write it, without all those invisible rules that come with being a published author tying me down.
      • If I’m writing out of my comfort zone, write it. Do my best to rock this strange new world.
      • Experiment.
      • If I fail, be glad. It won’t affect my writing career and I’m learning something.
      • If I rock it, be glad. I have proof that I am awesome.
  • Create long, rambling lists with bulleted points on how to relieve pressure. ;)
  • Read. Inside your genre. Outside your genre. Discover how absolutely fabulous you really are and realize with joy how much better you have the potential to be.
  • Listen to music.
  • Dance.
  • Breathe.
  • Write.

Note: Thanks to Sherry on Goodreads for the suggestion of "breathe." :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Writerly Things

If you followed the link in my last post, you know I've lost my freaking mind on tumblr. There's no organization to the stuff I post and that's freeing for me, although I'm not sure how much fun it is for the people following me. It also somehow allows me to get a little more personal while simultaneously giving me more distance, which turns out is something I need.

This is my writing blog full of mostly writing things, and I've been mulling over its direction. Been considering topics like:

  • The mechanics of writing, which would cover how I, personally, approach the craft.
  • Stuff that keeps writers up at night. Not all writers, obviously. Many writers sleep very well. But I'd talk about things I've noticed with me and my particular group of friends.
  • Inspiration for certain stories/characters, what I think of them, etc. Sometimes I get the urge to share, but then I remember reading "DeathNote v13: How to Read DeathNote," and there was some stuff in there that I wish to this day I could unread.
What do you guys think? Is there anything you'd like to see me blog about?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Got a tumblr.

Because clearly what I need most in life is more distractions. ;) 

(Totally not safe for work)

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Elizabeth Brooks tagged me on the Lucky Seven meme!

Rules: Go to page 7 or 77 of your latest work. Read down to the seventh line and then online the next seven lines or sentences. Then head off and tag seven more writers.

So, without further ado, I'm posting seven sentences from my latest publication-- "One Good Year."

I want what you want. I want you to be happy. But most of all I want... Curving my palm behind his nape, I drew him to my body. I lowered my head and buried my face in his hair, inhaling deeply. Even with where he'd been tonight, I could still catch the green-apple scent of his shampoo.  "I love you."

Now, who to tag? I choose Katrina Strauss, Z.A. Maxfield, Kari Gregg, Eric Arvin, Belinda McBride, Zach Sweets, and Alex Woolfson (because I'm curious to see how he'll swing this with a comic book).

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Size Differences

Oh, man, I have a thing for size difference stories. Love it when one character towers over the other. M/M, M/F, it doesn't matter. Such happiness!

But it's sort of hard to find them in M/M. Was wondering if you had any suggestions for stories with a size difference between the protagonists. If the bigger guy has a bit of muscle, that would be doubly appreciated. XD

Edit: I thought I'd also list a few of the ones I've already read here as well, in no particular order. If you have a suggestion, list it in the comments and if I read it and like it, I'll put it on this list. I've also created a GoodReads list, so you can add book there and vote! Click here to see it.

  • Pyromancer by Amanda Young
    • The main character is an angsty firefighter who constantly works out to work off that angst (and sexual frustration). The scene where Tanner first sees said firefighter is priceless.
  • Collared by Kari Gregg
    • A mutation has spread across the world that makes almost everyone "bigger and badder." A very small percentage, though, go the opposite direction, and Kari Gregg does a great job of portraying both the terror and the hawtness of that situation.

There's more, but I have to look on the book shelf to see. So, in the meantime...

Share yours! I want to reeeeeeeeeead!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Winner of ERSH Mini-Drawing

Congratulations to Shadow, who has won an 8x10 print of Spade from "One Good Year."

Thank you to everyone who entered. It was a lot of fun.  :)

click the pic to learn more about the story

Friday, May 25, 2012

Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt

The Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt is a blog hop featuring nineteen authors, a ton of exclusive material and fantastic giveaways, and an amazing grand prize for one lucky scavenger hunter.

Just joined the hunt? Click here to start from the beginning.

RULES: Hidden within each post on the hunt will be a single letter that is red. Jot those letters down because they're part of the following mystery phrase you'll need to unscramble:

_ _ _ _ I _ _     _ _ _ _ _ _ _     _ _ R     _ _ _ _

At the bottom of each post will be a link to your next stop on the hunt. Once you've completed the hunt, read all the fantastic exclusive material and entered all the individual giveaways, unscramble the letters you collected to reveal the mystery phrase. When you've uncovered the phrase, fill out the entry form in order to qualify for the grand prize. Grand prize is open internationally. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The hunt will only be open for 72 hours so play fast! Entries sent without the correct phrase or without contact information will not be considered. All entries must be received by May 28 at noon Central Time.

On with the hunt!

Hey, all! My name is Rowan McBride, and welcome to my blog. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Angel Martinez, who has a gift for writing fairy tales and sci-fi. She also rocks at seamlessly fusing the two genres to create something new, which blows my mind. So far my favorites from her book list are “Boots” and “Vassily the Beautiful.” Here's a bit more about her:

Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres. Her experiences as a soldier, a nurse, a banker, and an underpaid corporate drone give her a broad view of the world and a deep appreciation for the astounding variety of people on this small planet.

She currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband of over twenty years, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

To learn more about Angel, please visit


Sub Zero
A new M/M Science Fiction Novella by Angel Martinez
Coming September 2012 from Amber Allure

Major Aren Dalsgaard's newest assignment is to investigate a series of murders on the frigid planet, Drass, where relations between the Treaty settlers and the natives have taken a nasty turn. A linguist and trained xenologist, Major Dalsgaard should be comfortable with the case. So why is this assignment the hardest he's ever faced?

Drass is where he died, over a hundred and twenty years ago.

Excerpt (from Chapter Two: The Goblin Problem):

As they passed through the security doors, Aren pulled Sergeant Wickstrom back a step to murmur. "Earpiece in, Emma, on my personal translation channel. It's possible I might not want our local friends to understand every word I say, but I don't want you to miss a syllable."

"Yes, sir."

The lights grew brighter as they rounded the corner into a corridor lined with the cell viewing windows. Captain Underwood stopped at the third on the left, with a nod to its occupant. "There he is, Major."

Oh, yes, he looks like a dangerous character to me. The dangpo male lay on his side, hands cuffed behind him, cheek pressed to the plasticrete floor. Slender, with delicate features, he appeared hardly more than a boy. His chest rose and fell in uneven pants. His long, white hair lay plastered against his skin in damp strands.

"Captain, what's the temp in this cell?" Aren fought to keep his voice soft and even.

"A little warmer than it is out here, sir."

"I assume you know that's not healthy for him."

The captain gave him another of those odd, bland looks. "Helps soften them up for questioning, Major. We don't believe in coddling criminals here."

"Lower it, please. I'd prefer to have a conscious suspect to question." He stripped off his coat and gloves, which the sergeant retrieved with quick efficiency. "Ice. Water. This boy looks a bit past 'softened' to me."

To their credit, his escort didn't grumble over his orders. The lieutenant returned quickly with the requested items and a report that the cell temperature was dropping.

"Have the door opened for me, Captain," he ordered and then held up a hand when the whole delegation would have followed him. "I need to do this alone, please. He won't say much of anything with a whole squad looming over him."

"But he's dangerous, Major!" Mr. Cisneros protested. "He's killed four people!"

"Allegedly killed four people, sir. He's cuffed. He's half my size. I think I can manage."

"Sir?" Sergeant Wickstrom broke in. "If you—"

"I'll signal if I need you, Sergeant. I assume these are standard viewing panes? One way?"

"Yes, Major."

"Then you all can keep an eye on proceedings and rescue me if our desperado gets out of hand."

The young man barely twitched when Aren stepped into the cell. Not good. He pressed the ice pack to the prisoner's forehead and waited for his eyes to open.

"Good afternoon. My name is Major Aren Dalsgaard, and I'm here to ask you a few questions."

"Registered," came the faint reply. "Jack Waters. Registry band. Please..." Frightened black eyes stared up at him. "Registered."

"Yes, I know." Aren slid an arm under the young man's shoulders and helped him sit up. "Here, drink. It's just water. Nice and cold."

"Jack" drank in desperate gulps, and then sat back, staring at him from behind his curtain of disheveled hair.

"Do you know why you're here?"

The young man shook his head, though whether that meant he didn't know or that he didn't understand the question was unclear.

Aren sat cross-legged on the floor facing him and switched to dangpo. "You're name is not 'Jack Waters,' is it?"

The dark eyes narrowed and he persisted in answering in standard. "Registered. Have band."

Talk to me, please. God, I've missed hearing the language. "Child, you are too young to be chilok khyimtshang."

"I am not a child!" the young man shot back in his native language. "I have seen twenty and four summers!" He scooted back, derision coloring his soft voice. "Did you learn to speak dangpo from old tapes? You sound like my great-grandmother."

"It's possible that I knew your great-grandmother."

A toss of his head cleared half the hair from his face. "You are not so old."

"I am somewhat older than I look." Aren placed his hands on his knees, palms up, hoping it still meant he wished peaceful negotiation. He jerked his head to the cell door. "The chigyel, they think you killed that woman last night."

The young man's mouth dropped open on a strangled squeak. "What? No! I was trying to help!"

Aren tilted his head one way and then the other, a gesture of understanding. "Tell me what happened. From the beginning. Perhaps you could start with your name."

"Why should I trust you?" the young man cried out. "You, a chigyel who smells of offworld things, who tries to imitate our speech, our manners! You try to make me think you are a friend, but you are no different from the rest!"

"You're too young to remember, of course. But I had a family, once. I made my home with the Changki pod, adopted as one of their own." He raised his right hand, index finger curled under his thumb to indicate a sworn truth. "I am Serpodom."

The prisoner let out a hysterical laugh. "Now you think me stupid. Serpodom died a hundred twenty and three summers past."

"Yes. I did. In pain and anguish, I died." Aren unbuttoned his uniform jacket and slid out of it as he spoke. "I am Serpodom, the voice of the dangpo. My beloved's name was Akarnyima, the hunter."

The youngster's eyes darted back and forth, uncertain and off-balance. Aren undid his shirt cuffs and continued. "Akar taught me to live here, to speak, to love. He gave me my first hunting knife and a khyi pup named Dawanying. Do you know the story? Do I have it right so far?"

Black eyes wide, the young man nodded.

Aren started on his shirt buttons. "A day came when Akar and I were fishing. The sun was bright. The fish seemed to leap into the nets. We laughed and chattered, distracted by our happiness. We heard the ribul slithering through the snow too late. I killed it, but it had bitten my Akar. He wasn't one of those who survive a ribul bite. My beloved died screaming."

"But before he died, he went mad," the young man said in a breathless rush, obviously caught up in the story. "Raving and half-blind, he struck out with his venom spurs and stabbed his Serpodom in the shoulder."

His hands shaking in the chill room, Aren slid off his shirt. The young man gasped when he revealed the blue circle of the zi chiwa venom site on his shoulder. "And his Serpodom lay down beside him to die. Do they tell what my last words were before I died?"

The white-haired head nodded rapidly.

"I said to the Changki, my family, 'Don't weep. My place is with him.' Is that what they say?"

"Yes." The young man's complexion had faded to an unhealthy shade of gray. He curled over his knees with a little moan. "How can this be? How…I don't feel well."

"Should I help you to the bowl?" Aren asked in a gentler tone as he pulled on his shirt.

"No…I…no. Just…how are you here? Only the Changki know those final words."

Longing stabbed through Aren, sharper than any surgical blade. "You're Changki? What's your name, little one?"

Rocking, with his head against his knees, the young man murmured, "Nyachung."

Little fish. It suits him. "The chigyel have a way of freezing the body, of preserving it so it remains undamaged and unchanged. When they found a way of reversing what the venom did to me, they thawed my frozen body and woke me."

"They ripped you from death? From your rest? From your Akar's side?"

"Yes." Aren finished his buttons and stared at his hands. "Though I don't remember anything about death. So maybe I wandered lost and never was beside him."

Nyachung lifted his head, swallowing hard. "It is an evil thing they did. I sorrow for you, for your loss."

"Thank you. Though I am pleased to meet Changki again." Aren resumed his open palmed position. "Nyachung, I want to help you. To try to protect you. But you must tell me only truth. Why did you come to the city?"

"On family business. The khepa bumé sent me."

All right. Evasion, I think, but not a lie. "Tell me what happened last night."

"I have a room near the stone river. Walking back to it, I saw someone dragging a heavy bundle. He put the bundle down and began pulling things off. As I moved closer, I saw the bundle was a woman. He was pulling her clothes off. I thought…thought he was taking her by force. I didn't know she was dead."

"You had no reason to. Can you describe the man?"

"No. It was dark and he had a scarf wrapped around his head."

Of course. That would've been too easy. "What happened then?"

"I yelled. I wanted to frighten him off. He pulled a long knife from his coat. I was…I was afraid."

"A sensible person would be."

"Yes. And I know it was wrong. We are forbidden to extend the venom spurs in the city. But he lunged at me. I…I had no other weapon."

"Did you strike him?"

Nyachung ducked his head. "No. I tripped and struck a metal post. The man ran off." His white ears turned a pale blue, showing his acute embarrassment. "And then the city guards came and shouted at me and threw me to the ground."

Aren fought against a smile. The situation wasn't at all funny, but Nyachung's mortification was endearing. "You're not a hunter."

"No. I am the pod's third tale-singer."

"And I think you were sent here, to ask questions, to negotiate, to trade, whatever the reason, because you are a good speaker, persuasive and gentle. You speak the chigyel language better than you pretend, don't you?"

That got him another shame-faced nod. Oh, to be so young again. "They speak so fast here, and when I didn't understand, they spoke fast and loud, which only made things worse. I pretended to be stupid."

"It must have been frightening. Be patient. Be brave. I will go speak with the chigyel." Aren clambered back to his feet, gratified that he managed without calling for help.

"I will try."

He made a gesture toward the viewing pane, confident his observers monitored every move, and the cell door clicked open on cue. "Do what they ask. Answer their questions honestly. If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear."

While he wished he had more to offer, fervently wished he could order the cuffs taken off, it was the best he could do for the moment. Steady. Stay focused. Empirical evidence. You're feeling protective because of his family associations, and you're not here to be a white knight.


One Good Year

If you'd like a fab 8x10 glossy pic of Spade from the One Good series (and you do-- I mean, look at all the sexy!) just make a comment below. A winner will be drawn at random and announced on this blog the evening of May 28th.

Ready to move on? The next stop on the Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt is...

Avril's Banner

Avril Ashton

Good luck!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Winner of the HAH drawing

A reader with the initials KN has won a print edition of "Want Me."  Congrats!

Thank you to all who entered, especially to those who took the time to share your thoughts and experiences.

I have the reading speed of a third grader, so I've gotten through less than a third of the blogs posted so far, but I'm looking forward to reading all of them. :)

Thank you again to everyone who participated.

Take care,


Hop Against HomophobiaInternational Day Against Homophobia

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

When I was in college, I met a guy who we’ll call Mike. Oddly enough, most of my friends from that era would end up coming out in one form or another after graduation, which brings up interesting questions on how we’d come together as a group in the first place. But Mike was my first friend who was out before I even met him.

At first, he was a friend of a friend. But we’d talk, and it was cool. I didn’t yet have a word for how I identified, and being around him was a breath of fresh air for reasons I wouldn’t understand until years later.

My college had a movie night. It was a very small, rural town and the two big weekly events for students were movies on Wednesdays and dancing on Saturdays. Most of us would go and catch a movie every. single. week. This particular time was no different. I went with my usual group of friends, which now included Mike because he was a friend of a friend. I don’t remember what was playing. I only remember that one of the main characters was gay.

And there’s a reason I remember that detail and nothing else.

Five minutes into the movie, there were snickers all through the theater. Five minutes after that, I started hearing things like “Oh, he’s totally a friend of Dorothy’s,” and “He’s light on his toes,” and “What a cake walker.” I frowned, wondering what the hell they were talking about. I’d lived overseas most of my life, and at that point I wasn’t at all familiar with the vast array of slurs that existed in the guise of almost-normal sentences in America*. But then words like “fag” began to filter through and I started to get the context.

I glanced at Mike, who somehow in the seating shuffle had ended up next to me. His jaw was tight, every muscle in his body had gone rigid. He kept his gaze locked on that movie screen.

I had no idea what to do. At nineteen, who does?

So I did the only thing I could think of. I leaned close to him and asked if he wanted to go outside.

His whole body slumped against the seat. He took a deep, shuddering breath and nodded. Without another word, we got up and walked out of the theater.

Once outdoors, we wandered aimlessly for a while. Quiet. Listening to fall leaves rustling on the wind. He apologized for ruining my night. I said I liked being there with him better and it was the jerks in the theater that had ruined the movie. He apologized again. I asked why because I was dense like that back then. He smiled and started to talk about other things. I listened.

That’s all we did. I don’t know how long we were out there—for damned sure past the length of the movie. And somewhere over the course of the night we went from being two people with a friend in common to actual friends.

A while back, Anderson Cooper did a special on bullying. It turns out, as much as bullying often induces a complex mob mentality within groups, intervening is just as contagious. All it takes is one intervener to get the ball rolling. A person witnesses the intervention, learns from it, and steps in when a similar situation pops up. More people witness, more people intervene. Even in the case of the person being bullied—if someone intervenes on their behalf, that person is much more likely to become an intervener as a result, developing a sense of empowerment that not only makes them want to change their own situation, but everyone else’s situations as well.

That is amazing for so many reasons. It’s also amazing because almost every bully interviewed in that special admitted to being bullied at some point in their lives, sometimes continuously. We repeat the behaviors we’re taught, and we go to great lengths to survive the culture we are in. Intervening not only helps victims, it changes society by creating a culture where the goal is not to survive, but to thrive.

Often it doesn’t take much. A word. A hand. A little quiet attention. It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as much that you do something that diverges from the tactics that bullies use.

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia. It makes me think about that night at the movie theater so many years ago, and how stepping out into the open air changed two people. It makes me think about how utterly terrified I was to come out to my own family and friends, then again to my readers. Both those times, I thought about Mike, who often told me his horror stories, but also shared how he loved and how he was loved, and how—even beyond that—he loved himself. I took a deep breath. And it was better.

That’s the power of intervention. It doesn’t always succeed, but it always, always makes a difference. So be an intervener. Change the world in big and little and amazing ways. Start today. Make things better now.

Listen. Tell your own stories. When something happens to your friend (or someone who could use a friend), speak up, step in. Give them a safe space. A breath of fresh air.

*I’m not saying other countries don’t have the same sorts of slurs. I grew up a military brat, so while I lived overseas, I wasn’t immersed in those cultures because I lived on base. At the same time, I was far away from the States and didn’t experience American culture as many Americans might experience it. An odd little bubble that wasn’t without bullies, but had its own culture and vocabulary.

I'd very much like to hear your stories and experiences on both acceptance and non-acceptance, so please feel free to comment below.

Hop Against HomophobiaThis post is a part of the Hop Against Homophobia. Click here to see what many other writers are sharing on the subject. I'm also giving away a copy of Want Me in a drawing open to anyone eighteen years and older. To enter, send an email with "hop" in the subject to (mcbride_rowan at yahoo dot com) with your name and snail mail addy in the body. Drawing closes at 11:59PM CST on May 20th, and the winner will be notified via email the morning of the 21st. The winner's initials will also be posted on this blog that day.International Day Against Homophobia

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Just Perfect review

just perfect cover image

Check out the great review Elisa Rolle wrote for Just Perfect:

My favorite line is "I’m pretty sure some readers will find questionable most of Cody and Draven’s behaviour, but if you are used to Rowan McBride’s stories, you are already accustomed to them."  XD

Friday, April 27, 2012

Help a Fab Editor

My editor at Loose Id, Raven McKnight, is ill and is currently trying to get her health insurance to do right by her.  She's a total fighter, but fighting requires being able to sit up and breathe at the same time, and she can't even get *those* meds.  So Katey Hawthorne got a bunch of us together in order to raise some money that will help her do just that.

How can you help?  Go to There's different ways to donate, and each donation level gives you a chance to win a different prize.  They're awesome prizes, for a very good cause.

Raven edited "One Good Hand," "One Good Year," and "One Shot."  She's sharp, savvy, and not afraid to rip a manuscript apart in order to make it better.  She also keeps me from losing my damned mind at the height of edits and in those tense days just after a book release.  She's a great editor and a credit to writing.

Let's help her out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Let’s ready to HOP!

I keep telling myself that I'll write better post titles. It doesn't appear to be working

I’m participating in two blog hops in May, and I’d like you to hop along with me!

Hop Against Homophobia logo

The first is for Hop Against Homophobia, which runs from May 17th to 20th. May 17th marks the International Day Against Homophobia, so a lot of authors are getting together to share their thoughts and experiences. I encourage you to participate, not only to win prizes (I’ll be giving away a hardcopy of Want Me), but to share your stories with us as we share ours with you. You can find more information here.

Scavenger Hunt Logo

On May 25th, Miho Li is hosting a scavenger hunt. Follow the clues to solve the puzzle, and you’ll be entered to win twenty books, including an e-copy of One Good Hand, the first book in the “One Good” series. During the search, authors Katrina Strauss, Z.A. Maxfield, Sloan Parker, and many more will be posting content exclusive to the hunt. I don’t know who I’ll draw yet, but the writer who gets me will post a sneak peek of the first chapter of One Good Verse, the third story in its series. More details can be had on Miho’s site.

It should be good. I hope to see you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's it mean when you win a badge in cyberspace?

An army of cats took over deviantART for April Fool's Day. Random thumbnails were replaced propaganda posters and clicking on anything pretty much meant you were going to get some weird fact about cats. Did you know that a cat's jaw is designed in such a way that makes it physically impossible for it to grind its sharp little teeth? Well, ya do now.

When I first saw it, I was sorta meh on the whole deal. Cats? Really? Not a fan. The mudkip invasion was much better.

Then I saw The Note. And The Note said that anyone who submitted a cat picture would get a cat BADGE. Oh, and there was something about getting 15000 submissions in order to release the dA logo from captivity, but the important thing here was the BADGE.

I saw The Note late. I hadn't drawn anything in a year and I'd certainly never drawn a cat. I thought briefly about making my brother wear my neko-ear cap and taking a photo, but then realized he would have put a pox on all our houses if I posted it. So I figured I'd draw the Cheshire Cat. Pretty easy, yeah? I mean, most of the time he's all face anyway.

Drew the line art. Had fun with the eyes. Remembered that my scanner has been broken since January. Took a picture with my phone and uploaded the sucker anyway. For some reason it's on its side and I have no idea why. It's quite well-behaved on my computer. Cheshire tease.

But I got my badge! Everything I dreamed it would be -->

I love internet badges and stickers. You can tell that just looking at my stories page. Every time a reviewer awards a badge or sticker to one of my books, it is on my site as fast as I can code it. Often in varying sizes depending on the page. I make a conscious effort to not learn exactly what GetGlue is because I see all my twitter friends earning stickers there and I have a feeling I'd never leave. I would definitely never write again.

But back to the cat badge. Once I got it, I figured I should at least finish the original picture. So I did. Remembered *again* that my scanner is busted. Sighed loudly in that frequency that only moms can hear.

She asked me what was wrong. I told her about my scanner (she was there when it bit the dust so my story of yearning packed quite the angsty punch) and suggested I try it again and see if it works now.

My words were literally, "Yeah, Mom. Maybe Jesus will come down from on high just to give my scanner a sweet, gentle kiss, raising the machine from the dead because it's Easter."

I laughed. She laughed. We both laughed.

So anyway here's the scanned pic:

Cheshire by ~rpm77 on deviantART

It was, ah, posted on the day after Easter. Scanned on Sunday.

Heh heh heh.

Heh heh.


There you have it. There is a God. Although considering the absolute creepy nature of the image, I'm sort of inclined to believe that it was the devil making sweet sweet love to my scanner. That or Holy Humor has a bit of twistyness to it. Makes for an interesting afterlife, either way. ;)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Just Perfect story review

The first official review for Just Perfect is in! Serena Yates, of QMO Books, wrote “The characters and their roles are flipped around, turned inside out and any preconception you may have had will go out the window when you read this. … This is definitely a book worth reading for its lack of conventionalism alone.”click the pic to visit the book's Torquere page

Pretty snazzy, yeah? She said a lot of other great things, which you can read at

Reader reviews are also filtering in, but I don’t know what the protocol is on quoting those so I won’t post any here. Last I checked, the ratings on GoodReads have been across the board, resulting in a weird, perfect aggregate rating dead center at 3 stars. I’ve never had that before. Usually, the majority either likes or dislikes my book, so the rating is either over 3 or under it.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that a lot of readers felt Cody was cold and Just Perfect was generally unromantic, while many readers of One Good Year believe the story was too sentimental and overly romantic. So my advice to you is to read both stories simultaneously in order to achieve perfect balance. ;)

That’s it for the Zen of Rowan.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Chat!

I'll be participating in an M/M chat on Easter weekend, hosted by Literary Nymphs. Some of the other writers attending are Ariel Tachna, Jaime Samms, Andrea Speed, Christiane France, Kathryn Scannell, Berengaria Brown, Sloan Parker, and Jessica Freely.

To play, you have to be a member of the Literary Nymphs Chat loop here: These chats tend to be mega high traffic, so when you join I highly suggest selecting "web only" as your membership default. I've known people to wake up with a thousand emails in their inbox. lol.

The chat goes from April 7th to 8th. I'll be posting excerpts, chatting people up, and giving away an e-copy of One Good Hand. If you drop by, please give me a wave. It's my first official chat in two years, and I'd love to hear from you. :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bought a Nook

My beloved hiebook fizzled out a few weeks ago. I was totally sad because it had been my e-reader for almost 10 years, and it had been my very first e-reader, so naturally I was attached. Given all the platforms available today to read electronic books, the prospect of finding a new one was daunting. Especially since nothing seemed to compare to my hiebook. It had a built-in dictionary, it had an address book, it had games, it translated handwriting to text, it stored pictures, was an MP3 player, had external storage.

And it was light, with page turn buttons that rested perfectly under my left thumb. If I wanted to hold it in my right hand, all I had to do was flip it over, and the text on the screen flipped right along with me. It re-sized text, and had a back-light. The list goes on and on, but it was way ahead of its time. So ahead of its time, that its company went bankrupt before the e-book boom hit, so there was no chance of getting an upgraded version.

No choice but to jump ship and try something new. I looked at a lot of e-readers and tablets, trying to find one that was right for me. A high-end tablet wouldn’t work because all I wanted to do was read and maybe watch some videos. I like the idea of e-ink, but I wanted to be able to read digital comics, many of which are in color. And it definitely needed to be able to read more than one format.

So I'm dinking around, mourning the loss of my hiebook. Narrowed it down to a few. Then I got lucky. A friend of mine who works at a manga publishing company had the opportunity to compare several e-readers and tablets. She told me that the Nook tablet blew away the competition* in terms of reading manga files, and it could read epub and PDF. Technically it can also read HTML, but to do so the Nook opens the file in a browser which means you're scrolling through the document instead of turning pages.

My Nook

My Nook Tablet. Sexy Spade is my sexy wallpaper. Note my strategically placed "most recent reads" along the bottom. ;)

I'm still getting used to it, but here are my impressions so far.

What I like:
  • External storage

    • This is a must for me. I'm a digital pack rat, so I’m always adding way too much stuff to my devices. It takes a micro-SD card, sold separately. The card I picked up is 32GB.

  • Resolution

    • My friend was right. It does read manga beautifully. The Sublime Manga titles are in PDF and read crisp and clear. I bought Blue Exorcist directly through the Barnes & Noble store, and it's also wicked clear, with the added bonus of being able to flip pages from left to right. I also bought Venom vs Carnage through the BN and store, and it is sweet.

    • So far, the videos I've downloaded onto it look fab as well. They’ve all been mp4’s.

  • Size

    • It's bigger than my hiebook but still pretty comfortable to hold. It has a little bit of heft to it but I am told the Kindle Fire is actually heavier.

  • Dropbox

    • I love having a cloud. I downloaded Dropbox onto my Nook, and set my Calibre library inside my dropbox ecosystem. So now when I add e-books to my library via my laptop, it's automatically uploaded to my cloud and downloaded to my Nook. I export the file to my SD card, and add it to one of my shelves. I like this method because it lets me skip the usb cord part.

      • If you’d like to try out Dropbox, you can follow this link: It’s free, and if you use the link I gave you then you’ll get a little extra space as well as give me the same amount of extra space.

    • There’s also an app (drop2sync) that I think can access your Dropbox directly from the cloud as opposed to downloading all your Dropbox files to your Nook. I'm looking into it, but haven't downloaded it yet because it costs $1.99 and I want to be sure it does what I think it does. Plus if you don't want either app on your Nook, there's always the option of accessing your Dropbox directly from the web.

  • Wireless with Wi-Fi

    • I like being able to download things directly either from the Barnes & Noble store or from my Dropbox. Streaming video kind of rocks, too. The Nook has a decent browser, but I prefer DolphinHD, which is one of the few free apps available in the app store.

  • Battery life

    • Excellent. I'm a slow reader, so any device that lets me complete the book without needing a recharge is a plus.

  • Clean interface

    • There's a Nook menu button on the bottom, an on/off button on the left edge, and a pair of volume buttons on the right edge. Other than that, everything else is done by touchscreen.

    • Accessing the dictionary while reading a story is very easy. The native software also allows you to make notes and to set bookmarks.

  • Customer service

    • So far, only had to contact them once. But I got to do it on an honest to God phone and {gasp} even talked to a real person who walked me through the steps necessary to fix my issue.

  • The interactive Nook books

    • Some of them are so freaking cool, you have no idea. I had way too much fun with the Lorax and Puff the Magic Dragon.

  • It's got a hook for cellphone charms

    • Which is useless and weird, but I have a cell charm *obsession* and yet I never hook any into my phone, so this totally works for me.

  • The twitter app is user-friendly.

  • Comes with Netflix :)

What I Don't like:
  • the Barnes & Noble search engine

    • Oh my God it is horrible. You can shop the store directly from your Nook, but I can't tell you how many times I've searched the title only to have the engine come up with "no results available" with a parenthesis containing a 29 or 82 or a 300, indicating that the store actually does have those results, but the system just doesn't feel like showing them to me.

    • There's no way to search the products you want to search. If you type up a search phrase in the app store, the system will also give you all the books that includes those words.

  • The Barnes & Noble storefront

    • It's not as easy to browse as it is at some other retailers. For instance, I could go to Amazon and browse graphic novels, narrowing my categories to manga, to yaoi, all the way down to salarymen stories. The BN store will only take you as far as manga.

  • Shelves

    • The Nook lets you create customized shelves, which is a feature I do like. You can't really organize those shelves, though, which is a problem if you have a lot of books. Even when you do create a shelf, you can't even organize the books on that particular shelf alphabetically, let alone by author, or series.

    • There's also a separate kid's shelf, which is cool because it’s a completely different niece/nephew safe tab, but for some reason it doesn't think that Dr. Seuss's the Sneetches belongs there.

  • Sound

    • The speakers seemed very weak to me. But I also found out this year that I lost some hearing and I might be going deaf, so I might not be the best judge of that particular feature.

  • Not a lot of apps

    • Every time I check there are new ones listed, so this might get substantially better in the near future. But there are also apps that are free on my phone but can cost up to $1.99 on the Nook, so I pass on those.

    • Like I said above, searching for a particular app can be a pain in the ass.

That's all I can think of right now. What e-reader do you use? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?

*under $400, including the Kindle Fire.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A new way to think about creativity

I missed my usual Thursday post. But today's post, although late, although not mine, is really, really good.

This is a Ted Talks lecture given by Elizabeth Gilbert. Everyone who's felt that spark of creativity should watch this twenty minute video. The viewpoint she shares is straight forward, poignant, funny, and inspirational.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ace of Spades

Want to learn the card trick Ace does for Spade in One Good Year? You're in luck! Here is a very polite man with a very polite accent to show you how!

Like it? I also put together a playlist featuring a few flourishes similar to ones in the story. There are 13 vids because the book was released March 13th.

That is, of course, a bald-faced lie. There are 13 vids because I started out with 50, got way overstimulated, and my brain shorted out during the narrowing down process. They're short, though, and a helluva lot of fun. You can view them here:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Good Year is here!

Heh. My title rhymes. XD

And my book is out! Book two of the One Good series, One Good Year, is Ace and Spade's second story, and is available now at

click the pic to learn more about One Good Year


Ten months ago, Spade was won in yet another high-stakes poker game. But Ace Donovan was different from his previous masters--kind, generous, possessed of a playfulness that only Spade could see. His new master was also broken, slowly crumbling under the pressures of undeserved guilt and pain. As Senai--a genetically engineered servant--Spade had the ability to sweep the anguish from his soul, to fulfill his every desire, and to set Ace's spirit free.

He had not known doing these things would grant him the human's love, or create an answering emotion within him.

There is no greater pleasure than Ace in his arms, and Spade will hold on for as long as he is wanted. Even when the orders given to him hurt, even when they make him lonely, even when it becomes clear that his master no longer needs a servant. He's Senai. What he has now should be enough. Yet it's not. He wants more.

One good hand brought them together. Could one good year entwine their souls?

I hope you enjoy my very first sequel!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One Very, Very Good Year

Got my cover today. It's Spade in a suit. And although that sentence alone is enough to fuel the imagination to wonderful places, here's the cover in all its glory. Feel free to lick the screen. XD

click the pic to learn more about the story

Anne Cain did the art, and as always it is fantastic.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Losing Myself - Will Young

I am loving this vid:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Bit of Fluff

A couple of months ago, my editor at Torquere suggested I write a bit of bonus material for Just Perfect. Something from Cody's point of view that showed what he might see in Draven. At first I had reservations, but when I started, I felt...good. So good that the piece came out 300 words over word count.

click the pic if you'd like to learn more about Just PerfectIt reminded me how much I really do love the sweet and fluffy stories. I've been in a dark place lately and I think my stories have been reflecting that (in really fun and twisty ways), but this tiny little excerpt made me smile. The combination of my editor's suggestion and the card my friend sent me a while back is probably what got me going on One Good Year. It's funny how events sometimes come together in odd and perfect ways.

Not that I have any plans to abandon my twisty stories. ;)

We had to cut the word count down to 500 before posting it on the Torquere social group, but I got permission to post the original version on my site. You can read it here.

I hope you like it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dude, here’s my sequel.

If you’ve been following my stuff a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve got a bit of a…hang up when it comes to sequels. In that I don’t have any. The recent release of Just Perfect is a prequel to a dark little story I wrote a while back called Just Wait, but Just Wait’s been out of print since 2007, so does Just Perfect even count as a prequel? I labeled it #1 in the Drayner series so I’m guessing not.

But now, finally, I have a bonafide Book Two. It seems right that it’s part of the One Good series, since that's what I was working on when I angsted about sequels in Dude, where’s your sequel? Of course, it’s also kind of ironic (or maybe just sad—I don’t have a good grasp of irony) that back then I was working on One Good Verse.

Turns out, Book Two in the One Good series will not be One Good Verse.

It’s called One Good Year and it’s an Ace & Spade story. XD

The novella’s tentatively scheduled to release March 13th, 2012 from Loose Id. You can read a little more about it here.

I’m excited. Are you exited?

Note: While hidden, the new One Good series pages have been available to view for newsletter members since this past Sunday. One of the perks of being on that list is getting to peek at stuff a few days (if I'm on top of my game) before it goes live. They'll be getting another sneak peek this Sunday, so if you'd like to join the list, go to It's newsletter-only and very low traffic, plus you can decide if you want to have all posts delivered to your inbox, or just the ones that include chapter/installment/story announcements by choosing the "special notice" option. Special notices do not include sneak peeks unless I've just posted a new installment to one of my serials.

Wow, that was a very long post script.

But I'm still excited. Are you still excited? :D

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Goals: I haz them.

I didn’t write a New Year’s resolution post because I didn’t feel like I’d achieved much in 2010/2011. I sorta figured I was hella lucky to have a novella out in 2012 and shouldn’t push that luck. Plus I go through this thing periodically where I feel like I suck.

Then an old friend sent me a card. Inside, she had cut and pasted (as in actually cut and pasted, with paper and scissors and—I assume—paste) a dozen little quotes and images that reminded her of me. It made me laugh. It totally made me feel like I didn’t suck.

So I got back to writing, and my short little bonus fic turned into another novella. Sold novella to publisher. Rocked out to The Offspring in my living room. Realized it was only January and that this could get interesting.

Below are a list of my goals for 2012. I’m going to do my best to achieve them. I’m not going to beat myself up over it if I don’t. I'm also going to be flexible and open to change.

I think it’s going to be a good year.

  • Updates to the website

    • I didn’t put up any additions to Best of Rowan’s Ramblings for 2011, and there were some pretty good ones. (Check: 2-16-11)

    • I’m thinking of doing a bit of a redesign to the overall look and navigation to the site. For a while there I never had more than three published books out at a time, but I’m up to seven now so I think it’s fair to say that the trend is good and over. My book list is starting to look a little unruly.

    • I’d also like to make the place more mobile friendly. As is, it doesn’t look too bad on phones because the original design took into account smaller laptop/monitor screens, but a mobile option could make things cleaner and easier to navigate on a phone.

  • Updates to Stories

    • This is the year I finish The Jascian’s Toy. I can feel it.

    • Write One Good Verse, which will bring the One Good series to three. I do like that number. Plus I’ve been working on it forever and I’m really digging the world right now.

    • Maybe Touching Fire: Asher's Magic. Asher Croft is so very hot and his story should be a lot of fun.

    • If things go well with Drayner series, #1: Just Perfect, maybe I’ll get the green light on #2: Just Wait, the rough of which is already done.

    • Get Want Me into e-book format. XD

  • Conventions

    • DragonCon, if any. I ditch it for something else this year there's a certain group of friends who will probably murder me in my sleep.

  • Blogging

    • I’m going to try and get into a regular schedule. Maybe {gasp} write a few posts ahead of time, so I can have them set to upload automatically. Most likely Thursdays. Of course, all bets are off if I’m on a roll with the story section above.

    • Post parts 2 and 3 of my 2011 YaoiCon wrap-up before YaoiCon 2012. *headdesk*

I think that’s the plan. There’s some tweaks I want to make to my own attitude, which brings us to one of the quotes my friend sent me:

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
--Marilyn Monroe

There was a time when I wrote fearlessly, when—no matter how crazy the idea—I would take what came to me and run with it. Didn’t matter whether it was thirty-five foot giant alien teenagers kidnapping humans to be their toys, or hell-bent roommates sucking the life out of the objects of their desire. They were the stories inside me, and I had every confidence I could tell them.

That’s the big goal. The one I’m going to work hardest on. I want to write madly, brilliantly, ridiculously. I want to be the person in that carefully crafted card.

And I want to have a blast doing it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's simple math, really.

Sometimes I storyboard. I take a pack of index cards, write down all the scenes that are jumbled together in my mind (one scene per card), and lay them out on the carpet. This way, I can see if the storyline and character arc makes sense. I like storyboarding more than outlining because I feel as if I have more leeway to add scenes, delete scenes, and shuffle stuff around (this advantage, of course, is all in my head because cut & paste lets me do all of that on the computer). It's a way of getting organized that works for me.

Below is one of the cards from a novella I just finished:

Recognize those names? ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

On heroes, villains, and what I can get away with.

A while back I got a rejection letter (I know, shocker, right?). It was nice as far as rejection letters go. Said my writing skills were tight. The story itself was too dark, though. I know this because the word ‘dark’ was used five times in two paragraphs.

It made me realize that I’m not so good at telling my heroes from my antiheroes from my villains, and that this could actually be a problem.

click the pic to learn more about One ShotSometimes I don’t cross a line by much and an editor will tell me how to revise. In the original manuscript of One Shot, Riley was much scarier than he is in the published version. When I made him nicer I made the mistake of not toughening up Nick by a proportional amount, but Nick’s still a little hottie in my book so that’s okay.

click the pic to learn more about Want MeWalker Cain from Want Me, however, didn't get dialed down at all. For good or ill, it was one of the reasons I chose to self-publish. It meant I could go crazy with the storyline. I got to write a character who literally had no concept of right and wrong, not even as other people saw it. He wanted. He took. That was his life. Unfortunately what he wanted most was Joel, and the spiral they were thrown into as a result turned out to be razor sharp and painful for both of them.

Ahh, how I loved that book.

Still, there was an element of likability to Walker. Partly because he just didn't know any better. Innocence born from madness.

click the pic if you'd like to learn more about Just PerfectDraven Donnor is not mad. He knows exactly what he's doing. And he knows that almost everything he does is not right by human standards. So that would make him a villain, yeah? Except that he's not human. He has a moral code, but it's a product of who he is, of a culture very different than ours. And when it comes to Cody, he's all about loving, he's all about protecting, he's all about getting closer. So he's got flaws, but he also has one really, really good trait. Maybe that makes him an antihero. But…

When he becomes an assassin, he finds that he enjoys his job. That never changes. No angst. No crisis of conscience. Plus at the beginning of the story he steals from Cody. His best friend. Which brings us back into villain territory. On the other hand, from his perspective he is a natural, right being, rightly doing what comes naturally to him. Then again, most villains think the same thing about themselves, meaning Antihero Upgrade denied.

As you can see, I’m not entirely certain how I should feel about my newest character. But I feel for him all the same. He is Draven and I love him. Just like I love Walker. Just like all those psychotic characters I adore so much in anime. (I’m looking at you, Akabane.)

This says something serious about my psyche. I've yet to figure out what, exactly. As the writer of such stories, am I the hero or the villain? Maybe I’m trying to write the best story possible with a concept that’s always intrigued me, and maybe I hope Just Perfect catches on and its popularity will let me write more of it. Some of the stories I'd like to tell are cool and dark and possibly twisted. And I believe they belong on the shelf right next to my fluffy stories, because I love fluffy too.

Perhaps my ultimate goal is to bring balance to my backlist. That’s a worthy aspiration, even if the road is five times as dark.

Does that mean I'm the antihero?

Or am I just a writer with wicked thoughts, trying to see what xe can get away with?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just Perfect Release Day

My new novella, Drayner Series #1 - Just Perfect, is officially available from Torquere Press.

I hope you like it. ;)


click the pic to visit the book's Torquere pageThree years ago, Draven was forced to leave behind his human best friend to become a Drayner Assassin. Cody knew nothing of Draven's ability to steal a person's physical attributes by touch, and the Drayner intends to keep it that way when he returns to Maryland. Remembering the innocent, flawless human he left behind, he looks forward to rekindling his relationship with his friend.

He's taken aback to find Cody a different man, and Draven is stunned by his own attraction to a harder, more brilliant kind of perfection. But getting close to the human is not easy—Draven has more secrets than ever. Like that day, all those years ago…

When he used his magic to steal from Cody.

Friday, January 13, 2012

X’s and Bios

I’ve written and rewritten this post so many times over the last few months. The drafts ranged from Dramatic Announcement to Flippant Lines to Absolutely Nonsensical. I knew what I wanted to say—just couldn’t figure out how to say it. But writing is all about drafts, so let’s give it another try:

It’s nothing big in the grand scheme of things. Just decided to use gender-neutral pronouns in my author biographies. I prefer them over “he” or “she” in reference to myself, and I complain a lot that I hardly ever see them used. I say I don’t use them because most people don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, and because there’s no standardized system for gender-neutral pronouns in America and Why does America suck so bad?!

Around then is when I realized I might be part of the problem, because if I don’t use them, then how the hell are the people around me supposed to become familiar with them?

So I’m going to use them now. In my author bios, as well as during those odd times when I think it’s a good idea to talk about myself in the third person. I don’t think it’ll change anyone else’s lives in any significant way, but it’ll change my life, and that’s what I’m going for.

Now, there is one advantage to having no standardized system for gender-neutral pronouns in America. It means I still have time to put in my vote, and I’m going with the X-set:

Xe, Xem, Xyr, Xyrs, Xemself

The “X” in these has the same sound as the “X” in xylophone.

The Sie/Hir set is probably more common, and I’ve used it online on several occasions. Using them can be an interesting study in perception because in my experience most people will assume I’ve made a typo and will correct it for me. So “Hir” is often reflected back at me as “His” or “Her” depending on the person reading it. It’s kinda cool from a sociological standpoint.

But I’m also a writer, and I’d rather not have people thinking I make that many typos. :-D

With the X-set, it’s pretty obvious that I’m deliberately spelling the words that way. Plus it fits well with “Mx.” in place of “Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss” and I absolutely believe that “Mx.” should be an option on every form that feels it requires that sort of information. And, come on, X’s are cool.

I went through a phase (that I’m likely still going through) where I tried on all sorts of pronouns, looking for a set that fit me. I don’t mind He/She. I tend to joke that since I’m gender fluid, chances are one of those is right some of the time. The Sie/Ze/En sets made me feel more…settled. But the X set is, by far, my favorite, and it’s my bio. So, by definition, it’s all about me, yeah? ;)

If you’re interested, I’m posting the revised bio below. It's nothing in the grand scheme of things, but it's changed my life for the better.

Born an Air Force dependent, Rowan McBride traveled the world and totally missed the 80’s as most Americans know it. In exchange, xe’s gotten to walk in clogs, break an arm at Mt. Fuji, and say prayers at a Korean Buddhist temple. So far it seems like a fair trade. Although xe graduated from high school in Hawaii, xe didn’t learn to hula and make leis until going to college in Iowa. After leaving the Midwest, xe moved to Washington, DC and very nearly got xemself a Juris Doctor degree. Now xe’s chilling out in Texas, diabolically planning road trips that could span years.

People say xyr life is random, and that’s probably true. Rowan comforts xemself with the working theory that a random life makes for good stories. When that doesn’t work, there’s Pocky. Lots and lots of Pocky.