Thursday, December 31, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Love Letters ~ Freeeeedom


Wow, New Year's Eve - what can I say? Except no school for another THREE WEEKS - yay! I always knew I hated school. Dunno what sort of dummy I was to think it was such a great idea to go back, heh.

Note to self: Self, you hate school.

There. I've just successfully talked myself out of getting a doctorate degree.

So what is SM Johnson the AUTHOR doing these days?

Well... nothing all that exciting. With just a tiny window of school-less-ness, I decided to go with something super easy, like for instance, rewrite DeVante's Coven, with some crazy aspiration to publish it by the end of January. We shall see how that goes. I've figured out the new structure, and now I'm to the part where I actually need to re-write some stuff. Which might be fun. Or it might be really complicated, I'm not altogether sure yet, but I do know I was never terribly happy with the climactic scene the first time around.

I'm going to play with that a bit, and it's kind of weird and cool, knowing what I know about the future of all these characters, to get the opportunity to tighten things up in the "past."

Plus now that I've had some additional education, I understand Tony a little bit more (oooh, readers of DeVante's Children Revamped haven't even MET Tony yet - man, now there's a delicious thought!) Hahahahaha. Tony is... an interesting character who pretty much gets his own book later....

Okay. Enough on that.

Freedom.

And the end of 2015.

Man, this year. I can't even tell you. If I gave 2015 a word, that word would be Unexpected.

I can hardly wrap my head around all the crazy, terrible, wonderful, awful, beautiful, amazing things that happened this year. It's been like a roller-coaster, and to tell you the honest truth, I'm really fucking ready to get off this crazy ride.

But there's no way.

Purchased stock photo
If the next five months aren't a roller coaster ride, they'll be one of those crazy mountain roads with all the twists and curves and hairpin turns, and the warning signs won't say "downshift, steep grade ahead" they'll say, "Prepare to be wrong, all the fucking time."

I have some intense time as a student ahead, and I'll be learning from the toughest crowd there is. Wish me luck, boys and girls. I'm jumping into the new year with both feet.

Be safe out there Darklings, it's a war zone.

~SM

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SM Johnson ~ UnCommon Bodies ~ Buy it NOW!

Oh Happy Day!

UnCommon Bodies Anthology is available for purchase NOW!

Oh, yes, it is, Boys and Girls! You it's freakishly delicious and strangely odd and weirdly wonderful. You know you want it, lol!

Go! get it now - AMAZON KINDLE or AMAZON PAPERBACK.

This UnCommon Collection can be all yours.


Now why, oh why, should you want this? Well, it already has a slew of fantastic reviews. There's reason #1. And short, sharp little bites of stories, there's reason #2. And.... wait for it.... the very best reason of all, of course, is that MY STORY, Reserved, is hidden inside.


Don't you think that might be the very best reason of all?



It's been five years since the accident that killed Pete Spencer's younger lover and left him grieving, bitter, and broken. He's tired of his lonely world, but the kind of young men he's attracted to dismiss him the moment their eyes land on his cane. Pete's learned to hide behind the safety of his reserve, but he's never met anyone like Rory.




Excerpt time!

***

The music seemed to be winding down, and Rory leapt upright. "Duty calls," he sang, and blew Pete a kiss as he ran toward the stage and bounded up the steps on those crazy high heels.
Pete watched him go, and for some reason thought of hummingbirds, quick and busy, and hesitant to land anywhere for more than a moment.
Rory, the apple-cheeked glitter boy just in from the cold, looking at him, seeing him, and Pete reminded himself that it meant nothing, men like Pete didn't get to have glitter boys like Rory–the world didn't work like that, no matter what Rory wanted to pretend for tonight to save face in front of his friends. The minute Pete started to believe otherwise was the first step toward the fall. And if he fell that hard again, he might never get up.
He should leave the club right this minute, because having these thoughts at all was a sign of trouble. He was only safe if he expected nothing, wanted nothing, longed for nothing, yearned for nothing. He was only safe if he could be satisfied by the touch of his own hand.
He didn't even care about the burlesque show anymore. He didn't watch it. He only watched Rory, was fascinated by him. Captured. Already obsessed. He watched Rory's hands flutter, his lips move, his eyelashes bat. Watched the exaggerated emotions play across his face, his sighs, his laughter, his pout as he wiped away a tear. The cadence of his voice as he told a story, all diva, no falsetto. Breathless. Excited. Cute.
And then Rory was back at the table, standing between Pete's thighs, signaling to the waiter, and the waiter lined up two shot glasses in front of them, and looked expectantly at Pete, who felt obliged to remove his wallet and settle up. "A tab?" the waiter, the same charmer from earlier, suggested. Pete dutifully provided a card instead of cash.
Rory tilted his head up and his lips grazed Pete's ear. "Such a nice Daddy," he purred.
This time the shock of his words was electric.
Pete made sure his voice was as firm as the hands he used to push Rory gently out of his space. "My name is Pete Spencer. Call me Pete or call me Spence."
Rory stared at him, his face  both defiant and hurt. "But don't call you Daddy?"
"Exactly."                                                

***


Ooooh, boy, these guys have ISSUES.

You have no IDEA.

But you can read all about it in Reserved, at the moment available only in the UnCommon Bodies Anthology.

So. What are you waiting for?

Hope you all have a lovely and safe, non-toxic long weekend.

Kisses to all my Darklings.

~SM 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

SM Johnson ~ An Interview with Karl Five ~ Author of the Rick&Jerry series

Good afternoon Darklings, and welcome to winter (ugh). It did not creep up  quietly on me this year while I frantically wrote for NaNoWriMo, because I only managed to NaNo 6,000 words due to graduate school. Graduate school, it turns out, is A LOT OF WORK. And a TREMENDOUS TIME SUCK. In a good way. But still. Doesn't leave a lot of time for writing 50,000 words in the month of November. 50,000 words of research papers, perhaps. But novels? Not so much.

So that's what happened with me and National Novel Writer's Month. But have no fear. I have a month off from school from mid-December to mid-January, so it's very possibly that I will just do a delayed NaNo, because I started working on the next Dungeon novel, and I'm excited about it. But let's move on to today's little treat, shall we?

I have such a treat for you today....

An interview with a delightful writer who goes by the name Karl Five...


I have had the pleasure of reading Karl's Rick&Jerry series, and I'm quite looking forward to reading his Orgasm Incorporated series, too. I'm a girl who writes M/M erotic romance, but I was first introduced to M/M erotica years and years ago on something archaic known as ListServ and File Transfer Protocol (FTP), or, more simply. Alt.com. When you went into Alt.stories/gay, you got gay stories written by gay men. And they were different than than gay stories written by straight women. And you get that difference with Karl's stories. The men are gay, but the men are men. And the stories are a delight to read.







And now for that interview, shall we?


SM: Hi Karl! I had a great time reading about Rick and Jerry, and one of my favorite things to do on this blog is to share with my Darklings other writers that I really enjoy. So I'm tickled that you've answered some questions for me. Rick reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite modern literary characters, Lee Child's Jack Reacher - ex-military, very competent, traveling the states to see what he could see of his home country. Do you have any favorite literary characters or a particular author that you’d love to be compared to?

Karl Five: At the present time, no.  I used to write a lot of fanfiction, and whichever character I was writing about at the time was, of course, my favorite.  Other than that, there are just too many excellent authors out there, so I can’t choose just one.

SM: Tell me something about your writing process. For example, do you write at the same time every day, scheduled like Stephen King?

Karl Five: I write in bits and pieces when I have time, not by a strict schedule.

SM: Are you a 'plotter' or a 'pantser' - meaning do you write from a plot outline, or write by the seat of your pants without much of an outline? 

Karl Five: I’m a plotter as far as making a rough outline of what’s going to happen before I begin the actual writing, but that plot often changes dramatically by the time the story is finished.

SM: Do you write longhand or at a computer? 

Karl Five: Much of my writing is done with pen and paper, especially the new ideas that keep popping into my head.  Once I transcribe all of that into my computer, I use the computer to edit my deathless prose, fill in transitions between scenes when needed, go over the wording, rearrange things if necessary, add details when called for, and so on.

SM: Do you write in an office or somewhere else? 

Karl Five: I don’t have enough living space to have an office, so that’s out.  My computer is in my living room, where a lot of my work is done.

However, if I’m using pen and paper and searching for inspiration, I often sit out on my porch or in the yard.  I keep asking myself “What if ---?” and then jot down every possibility that comes into my mind.  Later on, I separate the wheat from the chaff.

I usually describe my method of writing as being like the creation of a patchwork quilt.  Once I have a rough pattern in mind, I write whichever scene that inspires me at any given time, then set it in place in my planned layout for the quilt.  I don’t sew them down yet, since they may need rearranging later on.  When all of the individual patches are complete, I look it over carefully to see if anything is out of place and should be moved, or even removed and kept for future use in another quilt, if it doesn’t seem to match well in this particular quilt pattern.

When I’m satisfied with the layout, I stitch them all together as seamlessly as possible.  Then I set my hypothetical quilt  aside for a few days, and go back later on to look for any loose threads or small corrections that need to be made.  Finally, I hang my quilt out where it will be visible to others and hope for the best.

SM: Do you NaNo? (participate in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writer's Month, where millions of writers attempt to write 50,000 words of an original draft during the month of November). If you don't, it's not too late to start!

Karl Five: Oh goodness no!  I can barely write one story in a month’s time, much less a full length novel.  To do an entire novel would take at least a year if not more for it to be completed to my satisfaction.
I find that I do best with long story arcs, so that I write stories that range from 1,500 words up to about 20,000 words, each one capable of standing on its own, but when they’re taken together the collected stories form a larger overarching plotline.

I’ve only written one actual novel, and it’s what I call Anthropological Science Fiction, since it deals with aliens on their own planet and in their own culture, with no humans involved. (Walls of Ancient Stone, written under my SF pen name of K. L. Schaefer.)

SM: Ah well. November's NaNo is almost over for this year anyway, lol. I'll put in a plug for next year though - those of us who get addicted to NaNoWriMo never get those 50,000 words completed to our satisfaction - we end up with very very rough drafts - usually the skeleton of a good story that we revise and work on and maybe get to a publishable state sometime in the next year (wink). It's a fun self-challenge. I failed miserably this year (see above) due to being a conscientious grad school student. Anywhoo. Next question....

SM: When was the most inconvenient moment that the Muse dropped a story idea on your head? (I think of my Muse in the guise of a seagull who laughs at me while she flies past, dropping ideas on me like poo – nice visual, hmm?)

Karl Five: I had been mulling over a crucial scene in one of my Rick&Jerry ebooks for several days without coming up with anything that I liked.  Then an idea hit me while I was sitting in the dentist’s chair having my teeth cleaned, trying to keep my mind off the pain by thinking of something else. Usually, when that happens, I grab a pen and scribble down the terrific idea I just came up with, but I wasn’t able to do that under the circumstances.  I had to wait until I was outside in my car, where I keep a notebook and writing implements just for this sort of thing.

SM: What is your favorite of the stories you have written, and why is it your favorite?

Karl Five: I don’t have a favorite.  Whichever story I’m working on at any given time is my favorite.

SMDo you write with a particular audience in mind?

Karl Five: Yes.  Other sex maniacs like me.  :-)

To be more specific, my Orgasm Incorporated Series is aimed at Kinky/BDSM folks, while the Rick&Jerry Series is meant for those readers, mostly female, who enjoy reading gay male erotic romance.  (Of course, I’d like to think that there are gay guys out there reading it also.)

SM: So... (blushes)... why do you write "dirty books" instead of more, uh, "respectable" sorts of stories?

Karl Five: I like to play around with sex, often turning it inside-out and upside-down, especially in my Org Inc books.

I want to explore the many meanings and feelings about sex.  There’s so much variety out there for something that seems to be so very basic and simple at first glance.  I want to create different and unusual ways to have my characters enjoy each other’s bodies, not just repeating lurid descriptions of ordinary intercourse, or even not-so-ordinary intercourse, over and over and over again.  If I can’t change the basic actions, I want to at least change the situations and circumstances, the emotions or the feelings, the meanings and reasons above and beyond just the physical actions and reactions.

SM: I am SO going to have to read the Orgasm Incorporated series. There were some really hot moments in the Rick&Jerry series, but I'm getting the feeling there might be some more of that in the Orgasm Incorporated, and that's just the kind of "naughty" that really winds my crank. 

Thanks so much for being a guest on my blog.

Darklings, you can follow Karl Five here on Facebook


Buy Karl Five's books at 





iBooks 
but I never have luck finding links

Friday, November 13, 2015

Get ready and Pre-Order! UnCommon Bodies!

Coming November 24 2015!



Step right up to the modern freakshow — We have mermaids, monsters, and more. You won't be disappointed, but you may not get out alive.

UnCommon Bodies presents a collection of 20 beautifully irreverent stories which blend the surreal and the mundane. Together, the authors explore the lives of the odd, the unbelievable, and the impossible. Imagine a world where magic exists, where the physical form has the power to heal or repulse, where a deal with the devil means losing so much more than your soul.


I have a darling little story in this anthology called Reserved.




It's been five years since the accident that killed Pete Spencer's younger lover and left him grieving, bitter, and broken. He's tired of his lonely world, but the kind of young men he's attracted to dismiss him the moment their eyes land on his cane. Pete's learned to hide behind the safety of his reserve, but he's never met anyone like Rory.






UnCommon Bodies is available to pre-order from Amazon HERE.

Go! Click! Pre-order! Do it now!

This is an awesome collection of strange and wonderful stories. You won't be sorry.

Thank you!

~SM

PS. If you love Reserved, you can look forward to more of Pete and Rory's story in the future, because I adore these two men, and I'm excited to share more of what happens between them.




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SM Johnson ~ A Collection of Naughtiness

So I did a thing....

I compiled Books 1 - 4 and The Story of Hawk and boy into one HUGE ebook.

Collected Novels from the Dungeon

Amazon



So there you go, my Darklings. It is priced at $5.25, which is a steal for something like a gazillion pages (945, according to Amazon).

If you've nabbed Above the Dungeon for free, the beautiful (and working) table of contents in the beginning of the Collection will allow you to skip right to book 2, Out of the Dungeon, and you may pick up right where you left off.

It is currently only available at Amazon, although I do intend to upload it to Smashwords when I get a chance, and then it will distribute to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks and so forth.

Have a kick-ass Halloween!

Monday, October 12, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Fabulous Fall Giveaway

All links on this page GO HERE


Good afternoon, darklings!

Just want to let ya'll know that I'm sponsoring a fun little fall contest that benefits The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

So click this link and enter a Rafflecopter contest to win Amazon gift cards! Like and Follow awesome authors to get more points (entries into the Rafflecopter drawing, I think? I'm not the greatest at knowing how all this works - I just put up money to fund the gift card prizes, lol) and then you earn even more points when you buy the books on the contest page. And as an added incentive, some authors, including myself, have reduced the price of those books for this promotion.

So what;s the hold up? These books are just hanging out RIGHT HERE waiting for you to buy them! CLICK HERE ALREADY.

Thanks! You're the best readers in the whole wide world. I hope you win $200 bucks to spend at Amazon. Someone has to. It might as well be you.

BTW - All the links on this page go to the same place. I didn't want anyone to get lost. So if you clicked on any link here, you're all good (grins with all teeth showing).

DeVante's Children (revamped) is on sale for .99 from October 12 - October 18. It would be so amazing and awesome if you could find it in your heart to leave an honest review at Amazon. So far there's only one tiny little review available for readers to read (wipes away a tiny tear). It's hard for people to buy a book based on just one totally awesome amazing 5-star review.... (sniffle)









Click HERE to enter

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Love Letters ~ Everything Changes

Love Letters: E is for Everything Changes

And here we are. A jolting, shocking, unforeseen, never could have been expected time of change.

What to do? Where to turn? A crossroads at which it is impossible to foresee which decision might the the correct decision. All choices are right. All choices are wrong. No choices are right. No choices are wrong.

My thoughts are live things chasing tails - there are so many possible directions I could go right now, that what I actually do is sit still and decide nothing.

Isn't that weird? I jumped into graduate school with both knees bent to spring, eyes wide open to the fact that an intense school program would make for a lean writing year, but everything in me was geared up for the challenge - and when the application process and the financial aid process all slipped through like the whole system was well-lubricated, I thought, well, damn, this was meant to be. I was offered a really great internship, but turned it down because I wanted an experience I thought would challenge me in a different way - or, rather, a different kind of growing way.

And then summer semester was really hard. I mean... really hard. I worked my ass off, and in the end wondered if I was actually going to pass my classes. (Yes, I passed, with a B+).

And then the bomb, the betrayal, the absolute stunner... of which I can share no details, but I can tell you this: You can use your skills and education and heart to genuinely and honestly help a hundred people or two hundred people or five hundred people to the best of your ability. You can bring warmth and compassion and build therapeutic rapport. You can be kind to people that few others are kind to. You can try your level best always to do no harm. And still, eventually, you will be fucked over.

If not by the people you serve, than by the people who oversee the people you serve. And it doesn't matter at all what you were trying to accomplish, it doesn't matter if no one got hurt, and it doesn't even matter if you actually helped a real person. Someone, ultimately, doesn't like what you do, or read, or write in your private life, and that cancels out every good fucking thing that you ever did.

Interesting, hmm?

I think it's very interesting.

I was in a panic for a while. I had reasons, after all, to pursue a master's degree in a field other than writing. I wanted to help people.

But I'm starting to think the human condition is beyond my help, and the liability is too big to go into debt over. Like maybe there's too much liability to even try (sigh).

I have two weeks to figure it out and get my money back, so I guess if I sit still today, the world won't end.

The plus side is... I can always write books. But the health insurance plan sucks.

~SM



Friday, August 28, 2015

New Release! DeVante's Curse

NEW RELEASE! NEW RELEASE!



Growing up in Katarina's castle changed a boy named Ernesto into a cold-hearted creature who calls himself DeVante. But which came first, the monster or the man? DeVante's Curse is a 10,000 word companion story to the Vampire DeVante series.




Is this crazy, or what? I didn't even give you guys any warning on this one, just popped it right out there!

This is a lovely little story called DeVante's Curse: Katarina's Castle, and the ebook is for sale RIGHT NOW at Amazon for kindle and Smashwords (all formats) for the tiny little price of 99 cents. Less than a gas station cup of coffee, folks, and way less than a fancy drink at Starbucks, right?


You may remember I released a pretty rewrite of  DeVante's Children back in June (or you may not, since I started graduate school shortly after, and haven't had much time to spend doing promotion) - but Katarina is a nasty piece of work featured in DeVante's Children, and DeVante's Curse gives you a little more background of the history between DeVante and Kat. And lets you see more clearly how DeVante became the cold and distant sort of being that he is - and why his attachment to Emily is such a big deal. Because it is a big deal. A really big, huge deal (grin).

DeVante's Curse is an awesome story of transformation, and it's romantic and beautiful and, yes, somewhat tragic, but not like, in a bad way, although it doesn't have a traditional happy ending - more of a gothic it has to end this way, kind of ending. Okay? So go check it out. And if you enjoy it, remember how much reviews help us poor struggling authors (insert pleading smile here).

Have a great weekend, my darklings!

~SM


Saturday, August 1, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Love Letters - D is for Delightful

Being in grad school is amazing, energizing, and very, very BUSY (summer session, especially, I hope? Meaning that I'm hoping fall and spring will be less grueling - although I'll be doing an internship, so probably not, lol). I am terribly sad to neglect my blog and my writing peeps, but there doesn't seem to be much choice.

So I'm here this morning to give a quick shout out about an absolutely DELIGHTFUL book that I managed to read amongst all this busy-ness.

Play It Again, Charlie, by R. Cooper

This a slow burn, complicated, sweet romance. You can't rush through this one or you'll get lost. And that's not a criticism. It was agony to turn off my kindle and go do life. And anxiety to wait to get back to it. Just... so lovely. Such satisfaction.

Go. Read. Enjoy.




Monday, June 15, 2015

DeVante's Children, Amazon Matchbook







FYI - if you purchased the original DeVante's Children in paperback from Amazon, please note that DeVante's Children (Revamped) kindle edition is enrolled in Amazon's Matchbook program, which means you may download this new rewrite kindle edition for free!


If you purchased any previous edition of DeVante's Children and would like a complimentary copy of the new (and truly, much improved) edition, drop me a line at devante9901@aol.com and I will send you a Smashwords coupon for a free download or email you a copy directly. This edition is so much more about getting it right than about making dollars.


There will be tweaks to DeVante's Coven (book 2, re-release next year, presuming grad school doesn't kill me first) but I don't believe the level of rewriting will be nearly as intense as it was for this book, so a re-purchase should not be as necessary (grin).

Sunday, June 14, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Love Letters ~ Cui Bono

One of the most enlightening lessons I was ever taught, I was taught on purpose. It seems odd to me that I needed someone to teach it to me, but there you are. I was young, in high school; I was white, and I was a middle class kid whose every need was well and easily met, with little effort on my part. There were expectations, yeah - I had to work so I could pay for gas and insurance if I wanted to drive the car, and I had to maintain decent grades if I wanted to have an after school job. I didn't necessarily have to do much else, however, as far as chores and such, since going to school and making the grades was considered my primary "job." I had a curfew. I was expected to follow the rules. Not get arrested. Not get in trouble. I was fully expected to go to college and continue my middle class upbringing. Oh - there was also a sort of unspoken expectation that I was to marry well. Preferably above my current station.

So yeah, I needed some teaching.

And who better to teach me than a punk anarchist, my friend Jeremy, the inspiration for my book Jeremiah Quick.

There are some autobiographical bits buried in there, I do admit, although the story itself is by no means autobiographical.

Jeremy was somewhat astounded that a person could be seventeen years old and just simply accept everything she was told without thought, question, or investigation. Sometimes I'm a little astounded, too, and infinitely grateful that he challenged so many of my "beliefs" - that he taught me to follow the chain of 'who benefits?' as far as thought process analysis. This has become all the links in my chain of thinking, really - from news stories to well, almost everything.

Why do I have to see my doctor every three months? Oh, because I have a diagnosis of "diabetes" and the insurance company will PAY for me to see her every three months.

The thing is, in a capitalist society, you can trace almost every cui bono back to dollars. Think it through.

Watch the news. Listen for what they're (the media, the government, those in power) not telling you. And ask yourself... who benefits?

Keep asking.

What you figure out when you use your brain, or do your own research, might surprise you. Trust yourself, because the truth is, you're probably pretty damn smart. At least smart enough to figure out who benefits.

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, darklings. And if you haven't done so already, don't forget to check out my latest release, DeVante's Children, available for kindle at Amazon and in all ebook formats at Smashwords. Hopefully all formats are pretty and typo-free at this point! And reviews - I would adore you to the end of eternity if you'd leave reviews at Amazon, Smashwords, or Goodreads.

Thanks much!





Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SM Johnson ~ DeVante's Children ~ ON SALE NOW!

Whoo-hoo, here we go!

Good evening, Darklings!

Are you ready? Because I sure the fuck AM READY!

DeVante's Children (Revamped)

is ON SALE RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE at Smashwords, and should be on sale within a few hours at Amazon, and I am so, so so excited!



"Gay people are perverts."

That's what eighteen year old Daniel Winthrop hears as his father kicks him out of the house. And even though Daniel knows his dad is being unreasonable, he has plenty of his own questions on the subject. 

But when Daniel’s first lover, Roderick, claims to be a vampire and attacks him with such cruelty there could be no other explanation, Daniel realizes there are stranger things in the world than men who love men…

92,000 words (approx 300 pages), Gay paranormal romance, M/M

(free with coupon code GW84K until June 10, 2015)







I want to reward those of you who follow my blog and are around for news of new releases by offering coupons for Smashwords, so for the first week of a new release, you can get the book for free. Just follow the Smashwords link or search for DeVante's Children or SM Johnson at Smashwords.com, add the book to your cart, and at check out enter coupon code GW84K. Then you will either be brought to the download page or offered a link to the download page and you can download the book in whichever format you prefer. Mobi files work for kindle and epub for Nook, and I think PDF works for most digital readers, as well. I don't know much about Nook readers, but I know my kindle has an email address and I can easily email Smashwords .mobi files to my kindle, so I don't have to sideload with a USB cable to transfer in order to read, which is pretty damn sweet.

And guys - it would be fantastic if you could find a minute or five to post (honest) reviews on Smashwords, Goodreads, and/or Amazon. I would be so eternally grateful, and they help so very very much, even just a few words, doesn't have to be fancy.

I'm hoping to work out my snafus with CreateSpace and have this title available in paperback before the end of the summer. No promises, but I will definitely try.

Now... let me take a minute to address one more time the fact that this title is "revamped". This baby has been through a sweeping re-write, not just little tweaks and twinges, but a gigantic overhaul with my in-person writer's group, and has involved huge cuts and rewriting of new scenes, deepening of characterization and relationships between characters. It's been a lot of work, and a lot of fun, and it's not at all the same book that it was. It's better.

Happy reading, darklings!


PS - there are a couple of file glitches (sudden font size changes -wtf?) in the Smashwords version which will hopefully be worked out in the next day or so. Bear with me. Oh joy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

SM Johnson ~ DeVante's Children ~ Excerpt

DeVante's Children (revamped) by SM Johnson

Release date: June 4, 2015

Excerpt


Roderick

Over Labor Day weekend Daniel went to the Duluth/Superior Pride festival. It was a first for him, and he begged Rodrick to come, but for obvious sunlight reasons, Roderick had no choice but to deny him. When he caught up to Daniel Saturday evening, the boy was glowing, not only with pride, but with sunburn. He hoped the little idiot hadn’t permanently damaged his skin. Daniel chattered on and on about bands and floats, the Mayor’s speech promoting tolerance, and hung all over Roderick like white on rice. If he weren’t so damn cute, Roderick would have been annoyed. As it was, he laughed at Daniel with all his cute rainbow buttons, slogan tee-shirts – Yes I am! – rainbow flags, and Mardi Gras beads on which condoms hung like medallions. Daniel hadn’t told his roommate yet that he was gay, but Roderick guessed the guy would figure it out, oh, right about now. Daniel tucked his souvenirs away, put on a shirt that said Human across the front in rainbow lettering, and his smile never dimmed.

Damn, he was fucking beautiful.

And he wasn’t letting Roderick get out of any after dark activities. Out to the gay club they went, Daniel’s green eyes glittering as Roderick provided him with alcohol for the express purpose of watching him dance. He was, of course, the youngest in the club, Roderick slipping him past the bouncer with a vampire trick. He was also the prettiest, although he made friends with a good-looking couple from Chicago, and a dreamy local boy who couldn’t be a whole lot older than Daniel himself. Roderick, watching Daniel flirt and charm, laugh and grin, thought he could eat them all right up. Especially that one from Chicago… but he restrained himself. Let Daniel have his fun, what the hell. After a couple hours at the club, they joined a group of drunken gay boys on a party bus and rode out to the beach.

And Roderick made a rule, one rule, that maybe later he would regret.

No telling lies at the beach.


* * * * *

Daniel


Beaches suddenly became the scariest places in the world, because Roderick made a rule that any question asked on the beach must be answered with complete honesty. And Daniel had had just enough to drink to make it sound like a good idea, but it turned out to be a scary rule, and made him afraid to ask Roderick anything, because something in Roderick’s eyes said the truth would hurt. Roderick was oblivious and sat Daniel in the sand some distance away from the rest of the party, and coaxed him to ask a question, any question.

Daniel didn’t want to hurt, so he didn’t dare ask if Roderick loved him. He didn’t want to hurt Roderick, either, so he also didn’t ask why Roderick pretended to be a vampire. He didn’t want the answer to be “because I am a vampire,” said with all seriousness, and he also didn’t want the answer to be “because I’m crazy.”

He sifted cool sand through his fingers as he tried to work out a safe question. “When did you know you were different?”

Roderick’s eyes glittered in the moonlight. “Different in which way?”

Daniel rolled his eyes. “When did you know you liked boys?”

“Ooh, different in that way.” Roderick dropped his head and supported his chin with his thumb, as if giving the question some thought. The answer, though, was thoughtless. “I’ve always liked boys. I like them bronzed and ripped. I like them tall and dark. I like them slim and blond. I like them corrupt, and I like them innocent. Mmmm. Loooove boys.”

Daniel wanted to laugh because it was sort of a campy drama routine, but his stomach was doing that riot thing again, and because there was something really sincere about Roderick’s words, and it sort of took Daniel’s breath away.

“Didn’t it ever scare you?” Daniel asked.

Roderick tilted his head, looked directly into Daniel’s face. “There are so many bigger things to fear,” he said. “I suppose I was scared the first time I had sex with a man, but…” his voice trailed off, and there was something in the silence that felt epic.

“But what?”

“I didn’t grow up here, in the States, you know.”

Daniel shook his head. “I’m beginning to think I don’t know anything. Especially not anything about you.”

“Things were different where I grew up. My mother was gypsy stock, in eastern Europe. She danced and entertained royalty and other wealthy patrons. There was a troop of us, mostly women and children, who traveled together, but my mother – she wrote the songs we performed, choreographed the dances – and she was truly talented, but she was also a realist. I was fairly young when one of the patrons we entertained asked for a private audience with me. Not unheard of young, but young. My mother curtsied politely and requested a word with me behind closed doors. She told me the man would want me to take off my clothes, and would probably want to touch and kiss me, and maybe other things, grown-up things, too.

“I had spied on patrons who requested my mother meet them privately. I had a reasonable idea what the man would expect from me, more or less. I told her that I thought he was handsome, and I wouldn’t mind visiting him in his room. She said I was a good and beautiful boy, and that I should never be ashamed to be those things.”

Roderick stopped talking and Daniel didn’t have any idea what to say into the silence that followed. He leaned closer to Roderick, resting his forehead on Roderick’s upper arm. After a minute in which he tried to be comforting, he asked, “Did he hurt you?”

Roderick shrugged. “No more than necessary, for my first time. I cried, but he dried my tears and was tender with me. He was very light-skinned, like me, and sometimes I wondered if he was my father, but my mother would never say.”

Daniel jerked his head up in shock. “Surely your mother wouldn’t let you go with him if –”

Roderick put an arm around him. “Surely not,” he agreed.


A silent minute passed, and then Roderick leapt to his feet, reaching down to tug at Daniel. “Stand up.” And when Daniel did, Roderick added, “Be still,” and walked a circle around him, the way he did sometimes, as if craving to see Daniel from all sides. Except this time Roderick stopped directly behind Daniel and rested what felt like the fingertips from both hands on the top of his head, lightly. “You are so brilliantly beautiful,” he said quietly, then leaned forward and buried his face in Daniel’s hair, inhaling deeply. Daniel sighed, loving Roderick’s openness in this, how he made no secret that he liked to look at him, liked the smell of him. Daniel knew it was akin to a change of subject, but he didn’t much care.

Roderick put a small amount of space between them, then, as if he’d taken half a step back, away, and his fingers grew heavier on Daniel’s head, then slid down so his palms cupped Daniel’s ears, thumbs rubbing gentle circles at the base of Daniel’s skull. Daniel tipped his head back into Roderick’s hands, like an affectionate cat, and felt his whole body go soft and loose. “Mmmm,” he purred, loving the gentle caress. And then Roderick pulled him tight against his chest, arms wrapped around him, holding him tight.

“Are you scared about your first time being fucked by a man? Being fucked by me?” Roderick asked out loud.

Daniel shivered. “Terrified.”

Roderick’s chin bumped the top of Daniel’s head, and Daniel imagined Roderick nodding, eyes glittering, excited to hear Daniel say it.

He didn’t soothe or reassure or offer any comfort at all. He said only, “Well. It’s not time, so don’t worry too much yet.”

Daniel rolled his eyes.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me.”

So Daniel laughed, instead. “Thank you for that stellar reassurance.”

Roderick’s arms tightened even more. “I can’t lie to you when we’re on the beach, remember?”


92,000 words  M/M Paranormal romance

TWO MORE DAYS! Watch this space for buy links! **happy dance**

Monday, June 1, 2015

SM Johnson ~ DeVante's Children ~ Countdown!



June 4, 2015


"Gay people are perverts."
That's what eighteen year old Daniel Winthrop hears as his father kicks him out of the house. And even though Daniel knows his dad is being unreasonable, he has plenty of his own questions on the subject.
When Daniel’s first lover, Roderick, claims to be a vampire and attacks him with such cruelty there could be no other explanation, Daniel realizes there are stranger things in the world than men who love men…

92,000 words, M/M erotic romance




Me n' Alice have been busy busy busy.

DeVante's Children has been REVAMPED and it is READY! Mark your calendars for June 4th, 2015.... because there will be Amazon and Smashwords buy links, and for you, my loyal blog followers, coupons!

I am so excited.

This is my first baby, and I really had a great time taking so much of what I learned writing the Dungeon series and playing around with this, the very first novel I ever attempted to write. I deepened my characters and their relationships with one another, I found all the important stuff that was in my head and never made it to the page and got it out there where ya'll can SEE it and FEEL it.

I tightened the plot and got it all to make a lot more sense - who are these people and why are they doing the things they do? Why don't they just kill each other and be done each other, for fuck's sake?

The story always had an epic feel - and now you'll have a better understanding of that epic-ness. DeVante and Katarina and Roderick have deeply entwined histories together - ties that just don't break all that easily, no matter their past hurts and betrayals.

And then in come Daniel and Emily, the new kids - we gotta have new kids and new blood, always... otherwise it's just a soap opera, isn't it? Yeah... (sigh). So lovely.

So here's the deal... This book, DeVante's Children was published in digital format by Torquere Press in 2009, then had some minor changes and was published in digital and paperback in 2011 by Rebel Satori's Queer Mojo imprint.

But here's the deal - this isn't the same book with a new shiny cover. This is a tighter, better, sexier story that finally does the characters that have been living in my head for thirty years some justice.

I made sweeping cuts and wrote a ton of new scenes. The bones are all still there, but the flesh and blood is so much more alive.

This is my baby and I'm so pleased to offer it to you.

#DEVANTESCHILDREN

Sunday, April 26, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Love Letters - Be Awake!



Hello, my darklings. Me 'n Alice have a new topic already, so you see, this whole A to Z meme is working already. I've been pondering the letter B since my last post, and ideas have been brewing and stewing. What is it that I want to tell ya'll about?

So, here it is....

B is for BE AWAKE.

I might have said something last time, when I wrote about activism, about being awake, but I think it's important enough to repeat, because the thing is, it's super easy to get complacent. Our society, capitalist society, and maybe even life in general these days, is exhausting.

We're staring at our phones taking in a constant stream of information (a lot of it is bullshit, a lot of it is pointless, and a lot of it is only one tiny piece of a much larger story), and we're working hard to pay our bills, to get out of debt or stay out of debt, and most of us are treading water and barely staying afloat, if we're even managing that.

So there's this thing called "compassion fatigue" - where we literally are on information overload and we pretty much go mental check-out until we can't care much about strangers, or people of different cultures, or people half the world away. So it starts to be okay if the people whose rights are being violated in Egypt are from Pakistani, or if they're gay, or if they're transgender sex workers, or oh, hell, they're all the way over there in Egypt, so whatever, it's not like it's happening down the street.

Things that are horrid and just an absolute nightmare FOR REALLY REAL HUMAN BEINGS get about ten minutes of media coverage, which isn't sustainable to provoke actual change.

And maybe we close our eyes for a moment and maybe the praying people offer up a prayer, but ultimately, we give up on actually caring because A) we can't do a whole lot from where we sit, and B) we're fucking tired.

Let me tell you several things now:

BEING AWAKE IS HARD.

BEING AWAKE IS UNCOMFORTABLE.

and

BEING AWAKE IS ENERGIZING.

You can sleep through life, but you will feel sick and half-dead pretty much all of the time. 

So figure out what's really important to you, and live it.








Friday, April 10, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Love Letters ~ Activism

Good morning, darklings, or evening, or whatever time you have wherever you are. Have some coffee. It's kind of coldish and sleeting here and not like spring at all, but coffee makes everything better.

I am a truly terrible blogger, so I thought I'd try something new, in hopes of inspiring myself to talk to you lovelies a little more regularly.

My progress report for DeVante's Children remains "progress is slow" and I hate to keep shouting "buy my other books" - when probably ya'll already have. (But in case you haven't, I DID just drop the price of Jeremiah Quick from 3.99 to 1.99, so now's a really great time to buy it at Amazon or Smashwords) (grin).

MY POINT IS... it's time to change things up, and so I'm giving myself a trite and busy A to Z challenge, starting now. I'm calling it Love Letters, because, well, yanno, the letters of the alphabet are the tools of my trade, and since I love what I do, and since I want to feel passion, I'm going to write about things that inspire passion in myself. So there. And since Alice tends to hang around above my head in my writing nook, I figure I'll change up the blog, too, and call it Alice 'n Me, and and share some fun little dragon picture and maybe even some cricket massacre videos along the way. Because Alice is a weird kid, and I adore her.

A is for Activism

So we (Alice and I) shall start this challenge off with A is for Activism. Because my darlings, I think it is time.

Time? Time for what?

Time to WAKE THE FUCK UP.

Yeah.

It's time to realize that while I, personally, have been able to do and learn a lot of really great things at my day job, the industry itself is a gigantic mess that hurts the very people I most want to help.

Sometimes the only way it seems like I can be effective is to go beyond the scope of my job, to care too much, and honestly, in what I do, caring too much might actually be a signal that it's time to do something else.

Weird, huh?

I'm not talking about writing books, here, obviously.

So anyway. I need to figure out how to position myself to work with the people I love to work with before they land in the system that I currently work in. And I don't know if that means looking to work in a different place, or volunteering somewhere, or taking a gigantic risk and starting my own kind of place, but... my eyes are wide open.

I can't bear another Leelah Alcorn, Taylor Alesana, or a single one of the SEVEN young trans suicides that have been completed so far this year, as reported by the Advocate.  I can't close my eyes to the fact that kids are dying from bullying and cruelty and being unable to find a safe space in REAL LIFE.

I can't, I can't, I can't.

I don't know what the answers are, but I'm going to look for some.

The weird, the strange, the queer, the antisocial, the trans, the quiet, the lost, the scared, the throwaways, the sensitives, the Dark, the ones who just can't figure out how to fit into mainstream society or can't figure out why they don't - I want them - I want them ALL, and I want to help them learn how to EXIST here. How to be themselves. How to be artists. How to say NO. How to survive. How to stop hurting themselves because the world hurts them enough already.

Eyes wide open and ready for action. That's activism, isn't it?



If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.



And hey - if you or someone you know calls one of the above numbers and gets blown off or treated less than respectfully, I wanna hear about it - in a comment here, or even better, in a quick email to devante9901@aol.com.

Thanks.

Monday, March 23, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Story formats, Series versus Serials

Good morning, Darklings, and happy Monday.

I have no idea what I'm doing, as far as any kind of blogging schedule. We're pretty random these days ("We" being me and the dragon on the window sill of my office), because of Alice's Tree.

See, I had this silk tree behind my bed for oh, about the last decade. But I'm making an effort to eliminate dust and dander from my sleeping space for migraine prevention, and the last time I let Alice run around on my bed, her eyes landed on that tree, and holy smokes, she was hell-bent to climb it. There was a decade's worth of dust on that damn tree. I'm looking at this thing, and thinking... how much of that falls on us during headboard-banging sex, seriously? Yep, gotta go. Dragged that sucker to the shower and washed it. Let it dry. Dragged it into my office where it officially became Alice's Tree.



So. For Alice to sit in her tree and stare out the window, I have to sit in my office and pretend to be productive. Which means editing, writing, updating my reading list, and writing blog posts completely off schedule. I'm going to assume nobody minds.

I updated my reading list. There were about three books that were supposed to be "book one" of hot new serIES - only every single one of them was more like part one of a hot new serIAL.

I have feelings about this.

Not particularly positive feelings.

To me, a series is like... Lee Child's Jack Reacher, or Robert B. Parker's Spenser Tracy, Sandford's Lucas Davenport, Rice's Louis and Lestat, Hamilton's Anita Blake  - we've got characters who get into situations, or private investigators and cops with cases, right? There's a main character who does their profession or their thing, gets into situations, or takes cases, does investigations, and each book has a plot arc with a beginning and a middle and an end. In a series, there tends to be character development across books, and often a romantic subplot (or several) and all sorts of loose ends that flow from book to book and not every single one of them gets tied up into a neat and pretty bow.

But a romantic three-book series a la Fifty Shades (maybe Fifty Shades started this annoy?) where book one ends with we can't possibly stay together, and book two ends with we can't possibly stay away from each other, and book three ends with the wedding, isn't a series. 

This is a serial. It might be a trilogy, but even calling it that is a bit of a stretch. A trilogy tends to be bigger, and have multiple plot arcs - think Lord of the Rings.

And the difference is when you're reading a story in serial format, you don't expect a complete beginning, middle, and ending plot arc in each installment. You EXPECT each installment to end with a cliffhanger, because that's how this format works.

So I dunno, call me picky (I don't mind, I AM picky), but when you call a series of books a "series",  I like a comfortable and satisfying ending to each and every book. That's all. K, thx.

Have a happy week, Darklings. Oddly enough, spring seems to have arrived early here in northern Wisconsin, which is a first. And I am definitely not complaining.

Until next time... Live long and prosper. Peace out.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Progress report

Good morning, Darklings,

I'm popping in to report that DeVante's Children (Revamped) is working out to be A-mazing. I'm so excited to share these guys with you - better (and hotter) than ever. Rewriting a first novel has been an eye-opening process, and all the better with the help of my local writer's group, picking at my characterization flaws, plot black holes, and all the other pitfalls a first-time novelist runs into.

Kill your darlings - gods, how I hate that phrase, and yet, how true it is. Sometimes the words we are in love with have to go, and yes, it's painful as hell - but cutting is part of discovering the real story.

My story meter tells that I'm 150% done with DeVante's Children, which is hysterically funny - and absolutely not true - but it also means that I've written a ton of new words and added new scenes to make up for what I'm having to cut.

DeVante himself is as reserved and cryptic as ever, Daniel as boyish, and Roderick every bit as full of spit and vinegar (and trouble) as before - all of this, but more so, and all within the confines of a nice tight story. With hotter sex. Because I'm better at this now (wink).




When it's ready for release, I promise ya'll will be the first to know.

Have a great week, darklings, and don't try to fix anything today, because mercury is in retrograde or something, and every home improvement project we've touched this weekend (and some we haven't EVEN touched), has gone to shit! Yikes!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Alone in a crowd of two thousand

Alone in a crowd of two thousand fans... and crying.

I would like to say that for an artist, some things never change, but I think perhaps most of us feel this way a great deal of the time - we are always, ultimately, alone.

It's not a bad thing, not at all. But we are so used to constant influx of information and media that being alone with ourselves can feel awkward and scary. Lonelier than ever.

This crying in a crowd of two thousand people? Not a bad thing. Pat Monahan made me do it. There I was, on the pool deck of the Norwegian Pearl, close enough to the large speakers to feel the music inside my skin, the beats vibrating beneath my breastbone, the notes, his voice, winding sinuously though me as if part of my blood.

This song. Here and now. Train sounds as good live as they do from the recording studio, and this amazes me, the strength of Monahan's voice (ironic, considering he would lose his voice later on this cruise), the passion, the pain. But it's not pain that brings my tears, not anymore.




It is joy and hope and comfort. Resonance. Because somehow it is comforting to know that someone else has felt the same as you. That we are not alone in our joy or our pain or our hope.

"Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star, one without a permanent scar? And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?"

She left me, you know.

Best friend. Soulmate. 

I loved her so much, and she left. And I thought I would die. Wondered how I could ever possibly be okay again. It was too big, this hurt. Too empty, this hole in my chest. It left me in too many broken little pieces, and too wounded to even care about gathering them up, much less make any attempt to put them back together.

It was the closest to suicidal I've ever been.

"Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken... your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you’re wrong..."

And then this song.
I heard it on the radio.
Bought the CD.
Put it on the stereo, the one with the floor speakers and the sub-woofer.
Full volume.

I stretched out on the floor and let it thump and flow through me, let this song get under my skin and into my heart, become part of my soul. I let it carry me forward.

I let it give me hope.

And here begins healing.

And there on that cruise ship, alone in a crowd of two thousand adoring fans just like me,  I cry, just for a minute, for hope and joy and comfort. I cry because I still miss my friend every single day, but  I am ALIVE and I am happy, and I am HERE FOR THIS amazing moment.


"Tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way?
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind,
Was it everything you wanted to find? 

And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?"  ~Drops of Jupiter by Train