Warning: Today's post is for those over the age of 18 years old.
Thanks so much for having us here today! Oh wait,
who are we, I can hear some of you ask? Let me back up a mo and start again.
I’m Julie Lynn Hayes, she’s M.A. Church, heretofore
to be known as Michelle. Just call me Julie. We’re here today to talk about our
first joint project, Be My Alien,
which will be released by Dreamspinner May 8th.
Let’s start at the beginning. I totally blame
Michelle for hooking me on aliens.
Michelle: *snort* I corrupted her, or so she says.
Julie: *laughs* That’s my story, and I’m sticking to
it. It wasn’t until I read your most excellent book, Nighttime Wishes, that I
first encountered your fixation on beings from other worlds, and… wait, hold on
a second. What are you two doing here?
Reed: Don’t blame me, I was just following Taz. He
said we needed to come here, and I guess he’s right. Look, you’re talking about
us. That’s a bit cheeky, don’t you think?
Julie: What? Cheeky? Hey, Reed, I was going to say
nice things, how does that make us cheeky? Michelle, a little help here?
Michelle: Oh no, don’t drag me into this. Besides, I
think you’re doing just fine on your own, Julie.
Julie: Gee, thanks. *sneaks a peek at these two
lovely men* Wow, what gorgeous guys we’ve created, I have to admit.
Taz: Reed, I appreciate these two humans and their
efforts to talk about us, but I feel that we can handle this ourselves, don’t
Reed: Indeed I do. So why don’t you two ladies find
something else to do? Maybe go to a strip club or something?
Julie: *look at Michelle, and she shrugs *
Michelle: Well, if they screw this up, it’s on them.
I say we go look at pretty men. You’re driving, though.
Julie: *walks out door mumbling under her breath* Don’t
Michelle: *pokes Julie in the back* But you like
driving. Am I going to have to listen to this all the way to Atlanta???
Purses are grabbed and a door slams shuts.
Good Lord, are they gone?
Taz: *looks around the corner* Yes, thank the stars.
I swear, those two… So… *Taz rubs his hands together, a gleam in his eye* Looks
like we got free rein now. You ready to start?”
Reed: Yes, more than ready. They’ve gone about
things the wrong way. Did you even hear mention of the title?
Taz: No, not a word.
Reed: *shakes his head* Women!
Taz: *cocks his head and regards Reed* My mother is
a woman, Reed.
Reed: *snorts* I know, I met her, remember? So’s
mine, by the way, and thanks for asking…
Taz: But I didn’t ask?
Reed: *sighs* It’s just an expression. *mumbles
under his breath* Damn, need to get that book. Bad. Hey, babe, where do you
think we should start?
Taz: How about like this? *he climbs onto Reed’s lap
and lays his head on Reed’s shoulder, purring*
Reed: Oh damn, seriously? *takes a deep breath* I
thought we’re here to talk? You know, about us?
Taz: *purrs louder* Go ahead and talk. I can hear
you. *begins to rock in Reed’s lap*
Reed: Oh jeez Louise, that’s distracting… *clears
throat* Um, okay… we met… we met… oh yeah, it was almost Valentine’s Day. I was
working late ‘cause I didn’t have anything better to do. You know how it is
when you’re single and it’s been a while… that day means less than nothing.
Taz: It didn’t mean anything to me either.
Reed: Well, to be fair, you never heard of it ‘til
you got here.
Taz: Oh yeah, I guess that’s true.*squirms a bit on Reed’s lap* I’m just lucky
I was in the right place at the right time.
Reed: I think I’m the lucky one, babe. That’s what
they call karma.
Taz: Karma? What has this to do with driving?
Reed: *groans* Later, I’ll explain later. So anyway,
I had to meet a customer at the Empire State Building after work, and that’s
where I met Taz. He knocked me off my feet, literally.
Taz: What can I say, you caught my attention? My
night hadn’t been going very well. I had just been dumped, then I saw you. I
really didn’t mean to knock you down, you know.
Reed: Oh, I wasn’t complaining. I ended up on the
floor with an arm full of sexy male. *blush* Well, at the time I thought I had
an arm full of sexy male. Little did I know just what I was holding.
Taz: *giggle* You should’ve seen the look on your
face the first time my stripes showed up! I mean, you freaked out, but still,
for a second there… I don’t have the words!
Reed: *shakes head* It was probably the same kind of
shocked look I had when that tail of yours put in an appearance.
Taz: *rubs cheek against Reed’s jaw* That reminds
me, when are you going to let me—
Reed: Whoa now. Let’s not go there, babe. You give
that away, Julie and Michelle will both want to skin you. It’ll be a race to
see which one of them gets you.
Taz: Silly women. Neither one of them gets me. I’m
all yours… *licks his way up Reed’s neck*
Reed: All mine, you’re right. Um, um…. Oh yeah, the
title. Be My Alien. Pretty cute, don’t you think?
Taz: Mmhmmm, you’re very cute.
Reed: Not me, the title *blushes*
Taz: Oh, that’s not bad. Those two earth women seem
to be able to put words together rather nicely, don’t they?
Reed: Better than me at times. Oh babe, you gotta
quit that, or I might…
Taz: I’m wearing those special—
Reed: Oh lord, from the shop? *groans* Oh yes, my
shop. I have my own business, I should mention that. A Touch of Class. Here in
New York. I mean there… I mean… Taz, please be careful, you’re right over my—
Taz: I know, Reed…I know… *silences him with a kiss*
Taz: Oh yes. We told
them how we met. Did we tell them about ourselves though?
Reed: What do you mean?
Taz: Well, I’m from the
planet Trygos, the most important planet in the Trygos galaxy, and only one of
two planets capable of sustaining life. The other planet is Haatmiess. When
Trygosheans put someone down, they say they’re like a Haatmiess, which is
considered a major insult. My full name is Fabrintazo, Taz for short. I’m about
5'11" in your earth measuresments, and I have a wiry, muscular build. My
hair is a mixture of red and orange and brown and it’s long and luxurious, and
reaches below my shoulders.
Reed: That’s very true.
He often twists it into a braid and lets it flow loose over his back. He’s very
acrobatic and he loves heights. Which scared the hell out of me at one point in
the book. Taz has cat green eyes and purrs when he's pleased. *smiles* I make
him purr often.
Taz: Yes, you do.
Reed’s full name is Reed Hatcher and he’s about my height and build. He
has very light brown hair that tends to bleach out in the warmer months and he
has the most beautiful hazel eyes. Oh! And he has this cute little
dimple in his cheek too. The one on his face, not the other one. Though
that’s cute, too.
Reed: *blushes* Babe,
too much information.
Taz: *grins* And he’s a
business owner, too. A very important man in his world.*nods head* And in his business, he has a
back room that sells very special things. I like the back room.
Reed: I actually have a
degree in elementary education, but I never taught. My parents moved to Florida
and I ended up here in New York.
Taz: Thank the stars
you did! *frowns* Should we tell them about Vorlod?
Reed: What’s to tell?
The bastard’s no longer here on Earth and can’t bother you anymore.
Taz: Well, he was the
reason I was here on Earth to begin with.
Reed: We should save
that story, though, don’t you think? Can’t spill all the beans, now can we?
Taz: *glances around
the floor* I don’t think we spilled anything.
Reed: *rolls his eyes*
You’re right, we didn’t. What was I thinking?
Taz: *eyes him
suspiciously* Are you having fun with me?
Reed: Not yet, babe,
but I intend to, I promise you.
Taz: *grins even
broader, stripes appearing on his neck* Then let’s go now and, how did you put
it, avoid the rush hour?
Reed: *tries not to
laugh* Close enough. *fastens their lips together, he rises, Taz clinging to
him, and they make their way from the room. *
* * *
Hope y’all enjoyed
meeting the characters from Be My Alien!
Blurb:Reed Hatcher’s life is work, work, work. He owns a successful men’s boutique in New York City, but a love life is out of the question—for many reasons. It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and business is brisk. On an unexpected visit to the Empire State Building, a sexy man literally falls into Reed’s lap. His name is Taz and he’s just been dumped by his date. One look and Reed is hooked. He offers to buy Taz some coffee and they leave together.
Reed is attracted to Taz and takes him home to his apartment. But Reed discovers there’s more to Taz than he realized—especially when Taz’s stripes begin to show. And he has a tail? Turns out Taz is not quite like Reed. In fact, he comes from another planet, far far away, and he’s only on Earth for a vacation.
Reed never believed in aliens before, but he’s facing one now, and dear God, what is he going to do? Just when he decides he loves Taz and together they can handle anything, the alien that dumped Taz decides he wants him back and steals him away.
Can Reed live with the memory of what he almost had, and the love he found and lost? How can he ever face the moonlit skies again?
Excerpt: “Are you okay? Hello?”
Reed dragged his mind away from those sexy green eyes. “Ah, huh? What?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall on top of you like that. You see, it was like this. I was pushed, and you just happened to be there and….” The stranger grinned at Reed. “And down we went.”
Reed shifted under the body lying so contentedly on top of him. Hell’s bells, the guy fit against him perfectly. From the feel of things, they were both close to the same height. Which also meant certain things were… aligned. “Oh yeah, I’m okay. Banged my head a little, but I’m fine.”
The stranger bit his bottom lip, his teeth worrying the tender skin. Reed debated slamming his head against the floor a few more times in the hopes of rattling his brain back to normal as the stranger rolled off him.
“I really am sorry.”
“No harm done.” Reed sat up and looked at the guy once again. Well, not much harm, anyway. His libido just had to pick now to perk up, didn’t it? But damn, this guy was sexy. Reed struggled to his feet and held his hand out to the man still on the floor, looking up at him. The guy took his hand and let Reed pull him up. “Name’s Reed. Are you okay?”
“Hi, Reed!” The guy hopped to his feet in a single, lithe movement, as if it was the most….world. “My name is Taz. Nice to meet you, and yes, I am.”
For a moment there was a flash in the guy’s eyes that belied his statement. “Good, that’s good. Glad to hear it. Well, I guess I’d better be going—”
A forlorn expression crossed Taz’s face and his pretty eyes clouded. “Oh.”
Reed hesitated. There was something about the guy that pulled at him. When was the last time he’d felt that pull? Way too long ago. Taz was cute, sure. But there was this look of hurt. Dammit, Taz just looked so lost. Insane as it was, he wanted to make it all better.
M.A. Church lives in the southern United
States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married
to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are
gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football,
racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.
But her most beloved hobby is reading.
From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later
nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into
the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the
thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would
write a book.
By sheer chance she stumbled across a
gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she
fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she
enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.
Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of
nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five
children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames
her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a
world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing
in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men
finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer
in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and
two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She
enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint
and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write
her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the
internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to
the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all.
Her other published works can be found at
Dreamspinner Press, MuseitUp Publishing and No Boundaries Press, and coming
soon with both Extasy Books and Torquere Press. She has also begun to
self-publish and is an editor at MuseitUp.
How will this work? I am taking all the names on my friend list and randomly picking ten names out of the thousand.
I will notify you if you're one of the winners; and ask what format you want for your E-book.
The two titles that are being given away are If I Fail, A Jake Carrington Mystery, book one, Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery, book two.
Thank you all for your friending and connection here! I look forward to getting to know you all.
As you sit at your desk
searching your brain for that perfect word, do you ever image a famous author
sitting at his or her desk, typing away, every word perfect?
Sorry, but that never
happened for any famous author I’ve studied or taught. Hemingway told
interviewer George Plimpton for the Paris
Review that he revised the last page of A
Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times. When Plimpton asked him what stumped
him, Hemingway said, “Getting the words right.” (Theodore A Rees Cheney, Getting the Words Right, p. 10)
I advise writers to get the
words right, not to strive for the perfect word. I promise you’ll have more
hair if you switch your thinking just a little. Besides, getting the right word
is hard enough, thanks to confusing word groups like “affect” and “effect,” but
you already knew that, didn’t you?
I have chosen a few confusing
words that drive writers crazy. Before you ask, I do have a workshop on
confusing words in August, 2013, and again in December, 2013. Check out my blog
at http://queenofenglish.wordpress.com for more information on this workshop and on many others.
Before I go on, let me tell you
a true story. I was on a book seller’s website browsing for an e-book to add to
my Nook Color when I found an intriguing romance title. I clicked on it and up
came the blurb from the back cover of the book. I was about to buy the book
when I read the last sentence (I’m paraphrasing here): Can the heroine’s love
save the hero from his decent into madness, or will her love doom her to
madness as well?
I didn’t buy the book. If the
editor and author couldn’t find a mistake on the back cover, I didn’t feel
confident that the story inside the covers would be mistake-free.
When I read a romance, I want
to lose myself in the story. I become the heroine. I can lust for the hero all
I want, and it doesn’t bother my husband one bit. Nothing takes me out of the
story quicker than a mistake like the one in the blurb I gave as an example.
Did you find the mistake that
cost that author a sale? I’ll give the answer in this post later.
Here’s the list of words I will
fewer and less
decent, descent, and dissent
anxious and eager
My biggest pet peeve I have as an editor in
this category is fewer and less.
If you use these two words correctly,
you’ll be ahead of most of the English-speaking population. You’ll hear these
words mixed up on even TV news programs and in publications.
Here’s the rule:
fewer, fewest to refer to objects that can be counted. Use little, less, and least to refer to things that can’t be counted, with a singular
noun (countable or noncountable), with time, distance, and sometimes money.
rule: noncount noun
I have less flour now that I have baked
can’t count flour.
I baked fewer cakes today than I did
CAN count cakes.
with a singular noun, count or non-count:
I baked one less cake today than I did
Less is correct because CAKE is singular.
I had less time to answer the questions
because I was late for the test.
is a non-count noun. Think amount here.
vs. dollar bills:
I have less money after spending some in
the soda machine.
here is a non-count noun. Think amount here.
I have fewer dollar bills in my wallet now
that I left a tip.
CAN count dollar bills.
time and distance:
It took less than two hours to fry the
of less than two hours as one unit
That distant planet has fewer hours in its
day than earth has.
we are talking about many individual periods of time – hours, not one unit of
time made up of many hours.
Here’s a confusing threesome—another pet peeve of
mine and of an editor with Entangled Publishing
Decent, descent, and dissent – These three words sound very much alike, but have very
Decent is an adjective and means
honest. A decent person is an honest
Descent is a noun and means a downward
slope or family origin. The missile’s sudden descent worried the soldiers on the ground. Darwin wrote about the descent of man.
Dissent is a noun and means a
disagreement. If students had been on the rules committee, there would have
been no dissent.
Remember my example from the
book blurb? The mistake is here. Do you see it?
Yes, decent should have been descent.
Another one of my pet peeves—the mistake most
Anxious and eager – These two are my second biggest pet peeves in this
category. DON’T USE THESE WORDS AS SYNONYMS. If you are anxious about something, you don’t want it to happen. If you are eager about something, it can’t happen
too soon for you.
Many people think these words
are interchangeable. They aren’t. Using one for the other can change your
story. Let me show you what I mean.
Sandy waited anxiously
in baggage claim for Tommy. He was coming home from Afghanistan after being
gone for six long months. During those months, she had kept her secret out of
her letters and phone calls. Not telling him had been easy. Facing him today
would be hard.
She saw him coming down the ramp. How would he take the news?
Unsure of the answer, she bit her lip and crossed her arms over her swollen
Second paragraph – same
situation, changes result from eager’s meaning.
Sandy waited eagerly in
baggage claim for Tommy. He was coming home from Afghanistan after being gone
for long six months. During those months, she had kept her secret out of her
letters and phone calls even though it had been the hardest thing she had ever
done. She had wanted to wait until they were face to face.
She saw him coming down the ramp. He waved his hand and had a big
grin on his face. What would he think of the surprise? she wondered.
She gently patted her swollen tummy. He’s love the surprise just
as much as he loved her.
If I swapped anxiously and eagerly, I would be guilty of misleading the reader. The details in
the passage would seem to contradict the first sentence. Writers who mislead
their readers through the misuse of words don’t keep their readers for long.
That’s it – my three biggest pet peeves as an editor and trouble for
Okay, let me ask you a question? Want to win something? How about a pdf
of Apostrophe Anxiety and MM’s Cure for
It?Here are four rules that take
the anxiety out of using apostrophes. Promise.
I will e-mail my cure for this dreaded yet common condition among
writers to all who leave in a comment words that drive them to tear their hair
out, bite their nails, reach for the bottle--only joking about the last one. I
Deadline to win is December 20, 2012.
ABOUT MM Pollard
As a copy
editor for Black Velvet Seductions for three years and now acquisitions editor,
MM Pollard has read many entertaining and thought-provoking stories. She has
also found common mistakes in the fundamental skills of writing.
fifteen years of experience teaching English serving as a resource of knowledge
and a life-time love of teaching and of language, MM began presenting workshops
in February, 2011. She has presented workshops for many RWA chapters, Savvy
Authors, Writers Online Classes, and in her own virtual classroom. MM is
excited to have over thirty workshops scheduled for 2013. Check out her blog for more details.
check out her new forum for
free workshops and advice on using English correctly. If you
aren’t a member of Lefora.com, you’ll first have to register as a member. It’s
helped many writers improve their language and writing skills through her fun
workshops. MM is sure she can help you, too, master the fundamentals of