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