Dark Magic, 19th Century Romania, and Vivaldi

All right – so let’s briefly talk about new works-in-progress, yes? Yes. 😀 I’ve pretty much lightly touched on what’s next on my plate over at Twitter, and it’s called Camera Obscura. Note that it’s got nothing to do with anything scientific or anything pertaining to, literally, pinhole images. It will, however, make good use of certain elements and concepts defining the phenomenon, the highlight of which is an inversion of an image and the role of darkness in the way that inverted image can be clearly seen.

Moreover, the focal point or the conduit through which dark magic (or influences from the night world, as previous books have stated it) will be through music. That’s one “inversion” I’d like to play with in approaching the story, and another “inversion” involves the setting.

Camera Obscura will be the fourth book in a non-series that takes place in an AU 19th century Europe. Guardian Angel kicked things off from an AU Victorian England. The Flowers of St. Aloysius took us to France. Hell-Knights brought us to Italy. And now it’s Eastern Europe’s turn, but while we’re zeroing in on Romania for this new book, we’re avoiding everything to do with vampires.

I mean, come on. That’s pretty damned predictable. Besides, we’ve already tackled that in Italy.

So the “inversion” here involves Romania and Italy “switching places” with regard to defining cultural and historical elements. Italy was known as one of the great hubs of art, literature, and music, while Romania seemed to be shrouded more in folklore and myth, at least on a very superficial level. So I’m switching things around, hence the use of “camera obscura” for the book’s title.

Of course, the main plot and conflict will heavily be all about inversions and the significance of darkness – literal and otherwise – and everything will be wrapped up tidily in my favorite genre to write: gothic fiction. You know, same old, same old, but still so crazy fun to immerse myself in as a writer.

The two videos I’m sharing in this post are two very specific musical sources of inspiration for me, and I’m referring to not just the compositions, but the actual movements. The 1st movement of Vivaldi’s “Winter” and the 3rd movement of “Summer”. Note: Antonio Vivaldi = Italian composer (see: yet another “inversion” involved in Camera Obscura – seriously, folks, playing with the concept is so much fun).

As I’m trying to revive my online presence via blog, I hope to post more inspiration stuff pertaining to the new book in the near future. I suppose I can end this for now by giving our new young heroes their names: Cosmin Vasile and Iulian Dalca. As before, this will be a gay New Adult book.

E-Book Giveaway and a Review, Hark!

Okeedokee, as threatened, there’s an e-book giveaway happening right now over at The Novel Approach. My guest post is really a quickie introduction to Hell-Knights and an excerpt.

Add your name in the rafflecopter, and two winners will be chosen when the time comes. Good luck, my lovelies!

And Prism Book Alliance recently posted a review of the book, which makes me all shades of trippy-happy. Now if you’ve already gotten a copy of the book, thanks so much for your support! I hope you enjoy it, and be assured there’ll be future books set in the same universe coming at you next year. 😀

Now Available: ‘Hell-Knights’

My newest gay New Adult historical fantasy novel is finally here.

TITLE: Hell-Knights
CATEGORIES: gay | new adult | gothic | historical fantasy | alternate universe | romance | victorian | paranormal
LENGTH: 111,787 words
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon (e-book) | Amazon (print ) | All Romance E-Books | Createspace (print) | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Here’s the blurb:

Decima is a centuries-old Italian city on the water, a vanity project meant to be a fairy tale escape for the titled and the privileged. But something in the distant past had turned it into a murky, putrid dreamscape instead, a crumbling city haunted by a scourge of revenants whose origins and purpose now seem destined to be hidden in the shadows forever. Not even the brave, dogged attempts at fighting midnight creatures by the descendants of a select bloodline can rid the city of the near-daily threat.

Michele De Santis is a young minor sorcerer, a reluctant champion who, along with his twin sister and his cousin, has lost too much through the years and has resigned himself to a life of endless midnight hunts while selling healing and protection spells and artifacts during the day. A life of loneliness, of a forced solitude in a desperate bid at keeping collateral damage at a minimum appears to be his only future.

When long-dead corpses suddenly turn without vampire bites, logical patterns no longer hold true, leaving the weary hunters baffled and unsure for the first time. Decima’s bronze guardians fall silent for no reason, a dark, binding spell muting their warnings. A long-abandoned church shows signs of life in the most grotesque ways imaginable. And everything seems to point to an unknown threat, one that’s long lain dormant but has been awakened by the arrival of a young English heir and his amateur antiquarian uncle.

Romance and the gothic layer ‘Hell-Knights’ with the dark, rich textures of an alternate universe Europe, a nineteenth century world where magic reigns supreme, and love knows no gender.

I’ll be doing an e-book giveaway over at The Novel Approach on Thursday (Nov. 17), so watch this space. For that promo, two e-book copies will be up for grabs.

And the Dust Finally Settles, Yay

All right, so… looks like I’m done messing with my site.

What I’ve done, guys, was retire my previous blog by turning it private and not deleting it. I can’t delete it. Not yet, anyway. It contains way too many useful things there from nine years of posting all kinds of stuff, and I might need them down the line. With the help of WordPress Support, I was able to redirect my domain name to this new root address (or whatever they called it), so this is now my new home.

As you can see, it’s severely streamlined, and that’s exactly how I want it. I at first planned NOT to use pages, but a new blog comes with an About page and a Contact page, and I couldn’t ignore them (I could, technically, by removing them via my menu admin page thing). If WordPress offered a contact widget containing a form that visitors can use, I’d have happily taken advantage of that instead.

The reason for the streamlining involves my move to full-on self-publishing starting this year. And I’d like my site and blog to reflect that shift in direction. I don’t need to maintain my old backlist of traditionally published books anymore since I’m no longer updating them. So if you go to my book page, you’ll see a banner that’ll take you to my author page over at JMS Books, LLC. It’s a one-stop shop, in a way, listing all of the books I’ve released through them in all formats (print and e-book). From this point on, I’ll be listing my self-published titles on one page, which is also very basic and minimalist – the way I want it.

If Twitter weren’t on choppy waters right now, what with their financial troubles and problems involving harassment and so on, I’d have given up my site in favor of it. I’ve seen just how much “traffic” my tweets enjoy, and I’ve had surprising numbers of link clicks where my books are concerned. Since I tend to be followed by like-minded folks, particularly those interested in reading and/or writing LGBT fiction, it’s far easier to get people’s attention that way compared to my more sedate blog. Plus it’s way easier to talk to them in short, quick bursts now and then or throughout the day, depending on how much time I have to mingle. Maybe I’ll end up deleting this blog sometime next year – who knows? At least I made sure to use my author page over at All Romance E-Books for my all-purpose link on my Twitter profile page.

Until Twitter gets its problems sorted out and finds a buyer, I’ll have to hold on to my blog for backup. And so far, this is the result. It might not look terribly exciting, but it’s functional. And that’s really all I ask.