Welcome to my little corner of the gay erotic romance universe . . . well, half of it, anyway. (You can find the other half at RachelHaimowitz.com.) This is the place to come for sneak previews of new projects, release information, and the occasional M/M book review. I'll also share thoughts on the industry on occasion, and I hope you'll come share yours in return.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Since Everyone Else Is Doing It . . .

Ah, the narcissistic navel-gazing that is the year-end review. Added to my lemming-like urge to follow the rest of the blogosphere over the wrap-up cliff, and here we are.

But really, such things can have value. For one, it helps with the motivation to look back at where you started and where you finished the last twelve months. It also helps the ego, if the year has been good, particularly when your December has been inundated with rejection letters on the upstream swim that is finding an agent to represent you in a genre in which you're not already published.

. . . that may or may not have been my December.

*whistles innocently*

So, allow me to present my year in milestones and celebrations:

First Published Novel

Yeah, that was pretty exciting. The contract was actually signed toward the end of 2009, but the book didn't release until August of 2010. I'd been writing professionally for a long time, working on everything from press kits to the Huffington Post to ghostwriting books for other people, but this was my first novel under my own name. I had the wild good fortune to be edited by Tal Valante, who taught me something new nearly every day. She made Counterpoint a better book, and she made me a better writer.

Since then, I've had the wild good fortune of many glowing reviews, happy readers, and--a first for me--fans. The contract for the sequel had been signed before the ink was even dry on Counterpoint. And people have threatened kittens to try to speed me through writing Book 2. All in all, I believe the word I'm looking for here is "elation." Also "gratitude": for Tal, of course, and for all my readers who made my first novel a success.

First Company in the History of the Facility of the Year Awards to Win in Two Categories

This has absolutely nothing to do with novels, but everything to do with writing. I was hired by a company called MannKind (yes, they have a sense of humor), makers of a new inhalable insulin, to write a contest submission for their new facility. I knew nothing about the biopharm industry, or drug manufacturing, or even FOYA, yet somehow I wrote a 40-page entry--half white paper and half History of MannKind's Facility--full of words like "cryopelletizer" and "bulk lyophilization." I even knew what they meant by the time I was done :-)

I mention this because MannKind became the first company in the history of the awards to win in more than one of the contest's six categories (equipment innovation and process innovation, to be specific). This was kinda huge. It also led to more work on another contest entry for the 2011 FOYAs. With luck, I'll be mentioning that entry next year as another win.

An Editing Client Makes a Six-Figure Sale

My day job is freelance writing and editing. I do a lot of "book doctoring," also called developmental editing. Sometimes a client comes to me only with a concept. Other times they come to me with a first draft that needs a lot of love and attention. I had the pleasure of working on a book last year called Shmirshky: Think Inside the Box. That's hilarious when you realize the book is about menopause. The writer, Ellen Dolgen, is also hilarious. We tore this book apart, rearranged chapters, cut out the fat, polished the prose. She made the decision to self-publish. A couple months ago she wrote to tell me she'd sold North American reprint rights to Hyperion (who tragically renamed it Shmirshky: Pursuit of Hormone Happiness) for a number I don't feel comfortable repeating in polite any company. She's my second self-published editing client to crack a six-figure sale to a major house, but you know what? It never gets old.

My Second Novel

Speaking of never getting old, I sold my second novel this winter to Noble Romance Publishing. That's Anchored: Belonging Book One, which I've blogged about in the past and which releases on January 17. (Don't forget to follow the release party blog tour for tons of fun and free books and swag!)

My Goodreads, Blogger, and Twitter Debuts

I'm kind of a hermit, so getting out there in the world and interacting with people on social networking sites was a whole new experience for me. And what do you know . . . I loved it. I met a ton of great people, made new friends, even met a future co-writer. Which brings me to my next milestone:

My First Five-Day Novella (A.K.A. "NaNoWriMo Is for Wimps")

As my regular readers know (heh, "regular"; I've been blogging for a week :-p), I just completed a 25,000-word M/M cyberpunk novella called Break and Enter with the illuminating Aleksandr Voinov. First draft in four days. Editing on day 5. I'm pretty sure I broke something in the process, and I don't mean a record :-p But it was exhilirating. And it reminded me of what a person is capable of with the right kind of heart and inspiration and elbow grease and support.

In fact, this whole post reminds me of what a person is capable of with the right kind of heart and inspiration and elbow grease and support. I hope you've found it so as well, because otherwise I'm probably just sounding obnoxious :-p It's been a damn good year for me. And I'm looking forward to next year with enthusiasm and hope.

How about you? What are you proud of this year? Trumpet it from the hilltops; everyone deserves a little recognition every now and then.

Happy New Year, folks!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's THE FUTURE! (And a teaser for Break and Enter)

Break and Enter, you say? Yes, that's the official-for-now name of the M/M cyberpunk novella co-written by me and Aleksandr Voinov that I was talking about in my last post. Complete at 25K words in four days. Mostly the right words, too, and more or less in the right order. Not even bad sex gets finished that fast. I'm still not sure how it happened, but I blame Aleks. If he suddenly goes missing, nobody look in my basement. I would never, ever kidnap him and make him help me crank out a novella a week. Seriously, what kind of person do you think I am?

Oh . . . Right.

Today is editing. By tomorrow we'll have the query letter and synopsis (whose writing I'm currently avoiding by doing this blog post). Six days from conception to submission to our first choice publisher. Not sure we'll be their first choice though. "I can just see the rejection letter now," said Aleks: "You made two editors throw up."

But honest, it's a love story. I promise. In THE FUTURE!

As for THE FUTURE!, it's become my new answer to everything. "Where's the cat, honey?" "In THE FUTURE!" "What's for dinner?" "THE FUTURE!" (As you can see, sometimes it works better than others.) One of the many wonderful and joyous things about co-writing is the discussions that come up in the process. Aleks and I were working on Break and Enter in Google Docs, which meant we could both edit the same document at the same time. When he was writing a passage, I could sit back and watch the smexins appear on the page like magic. And comment on them relentlessly in the document's chat box. Toward the climax (of the story, you pervs!), Aleks wrote a line about our hero getting to break our villain's expensive flat-screen TV. I immediately changed this to holo-screen, and reminded Aleks (say it with me now), "It's THE FUTURE!" Since then, it's sorta stuck.

So, yeah. I'm sure you cared about that much more than this teaser I've delayed posting so I could share our story with you. But just in case you didn't, here's the teaser below the jump:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Unleashing the Muse

This has been an interesting month for me. I told myself in November that I could spend the rest of the year working on anything I wanted that wasn't Crescendo: Book II of Song of the Fallen. The idea was to spend some time and creative energy moving away from the series that swallowed most of my year (in the best possible way though, I assure you. Well . . . okay, maybe the second-best possible way) and focusing on projects that had fallen to the wayside. It's easy to let things slide when you always have an excuse ("I'm working on the novel!"), so I decided to bank that excuse, and bank the novel, and see where it would take me.

(Worry not, Counterpoint fans; it will still be out this fall.)

The first thing I did was revisit an old story sitting in a drawer (and by "drawer" I mean 2003 Dell laptop missing both the "m" and the comma key), a short little novel about modern-day slavery. I remembered, suddenly, my fondness for that piece when I'd written it, all the things I'd hoped to say with it, and--let's face it--all the dark kinks I'd written it to indulge. I thought, Hey, why not, I've got time now. I pulled it out, polished it up, and sold it in a week to the first house I subbed it to. That story of course is Anchored: Belonging Book One, releasing January 17 with Noble Romance Publishing. (**Insert obligatory plug for awesome, prize-filled Release Party Blog Tour here**)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Review of Infected: Bloodlines by Andrea Speed. 4 of 5 Stars.

Click to purchase. Highly recommended!

(Although, if you read Infected: Prey, none of this will be a surprise to you.)

Here's the blurb:

In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds. The newly married Roan is struggling to balance his work with his home life as he grows increasingly distracted by his husband Paris's declining health. One case with strong emotions attached takes up most of his time: finding the murderer of a missing little rich girl. It's a family with secrets so toxic they'd rather no one investigate, and there's no shortage of suspects. But despite the dangers and obstructions involved, Roan won't stop... until he loses something infinitely precious as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ask an Author, the Floor Is Yours!

Greetings all, and as the Chaplain Skeptic says . . . Please accept with no obligation, expressed or implied, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the inter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasions of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

*deep breath*

Now, as I prepare for the ancient and hallowed Jewish Christmas tradition of Chinese food and a movie, I open the floor to you, my readers, to pepper me with questions for the upcoming Anchored blog tour. One of the stops will be an Ask the Author day, where I answer said questions sent to me beforehand, and any I have time for that pop up during the tour stop day, as well.

So (she says, feeling horribly narcissistic for assuming you must be buring with unanswered questions about me, my life, my writerly habits, my books, my characters, my pets, my wilderness acreage in North Carolina, my weird "Three Mile Island" toes [as my ex used to say, referring merely to the second toe being longer than the first]), hit me. Ask anything at all you want, no matter how silly or serious or anywhere in between. Leave your questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer as many as I can.

What's in it for you, you say? Aside, of course, from the endless gratification mild interest of chatting with your idol your favorite author that random chick on the internet who keeps writing about boys kissing? SWAG, of course! One question-writer will be picked at random to receive a swag package with some fun Anchored and Counterpoint products. Or, at the winner's choice, an ebook copy of Counterpoint instead, because both Guiltless Pleasure Publishing and Noble Romance Publishing are awesome and generous and are giving me tons of books and prizes to give away for this tour.

So ask ask ask away. Put your questions in the comments between now and January 10, 2011. Be sure you leave an email addy if you comment anon so I can reach you if you win a fabulous prize. And most importantly, have a  happy celebration of the inter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious or secular persuasions of your choice.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Release Party Blog Tour w/Prizes Galore!

My new M/M erotic romance, Anchored: Belonging Book One, releases with Noble Romance Publishing on January 17. Like any sensible author, I decided that'd be a fine excuse for a celebration or six. Celebratory trip to the absolutely epic vegetarian Chinese restaurant I never get to go to because it's 90 minutes away? Check! Game day with my friends? Check. Plastering the interwebs with fun facts and prizes? Also check.

Starting on Monday, January 17, and running the whole of that week, I'll be visiting a different blog each day for author interviews, character interviews, reader Q&As, and exclusive excerpts. You'll also find reviews of Anchored on stops along the tour. But I know what you're really interested in: swag. And oh my, what swag there will be! Every host blog will have some book-related swag to raffle to commenters. Every host blog will also have an ebook copy of Counterpoint: Book I of Song of the Fallen to raffle off, courtesy of Guiltless Pleasure Publishing, so you'll have at least six chances to win a copy of Counterpoint. AND, at the end of the week, the last stop on the tour--right here at Fantasy Unbound--will be bursting with goodies for those loyal readers who commented on every host blog, including two $10 gift certificates to the Noble Romance Publishing store, autographed and ebook copies of Anchored, and tons of book swag (magnets, mugs, notepads, bookmarks . . . you name it!).

Details are being finalized as we speak. Check back soon to see the complete list of host blogs and tour dates. It's going to be tons of fun; I hope you'll join us. For now, I'll leave you with a question, and the blurb from Anchored's back cover.

Question first: Is there anything in particular you'd like to see or do (or have available to win) on the blog tour? I mentioned some topics above, but this tour is for the readers, after all, so our first priority is to make it as fun for you as possible. If you have ideas about that, share them!

And now the blurb:

Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company who's owned him since childhood, decides to lease him on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.

Daniel's not stupid; he knows there's only one reason a man would pay so much for what little free time he has, and it's got nothing to do with his knowledge of current events. But he's never been made to serve like that before, and he fears he won't survive the experience with his sanity intact.

He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him time and again when it comes to ordering Daniel to bed. Daniel knows what Carl wants, but it seems as if Carl isn't willing to take it, and Daniel's not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, love just might flourish where once there'd been only fear and pain. Can Carl become the anchor in Daniel's turbulent life, or will he end up the weight that sinks his slave for good?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Erotic Romance Website and Blog: Fantasy Unbound!

Greetings all, and welcome to the very first blog post at Fantasy Unbound with Rachel Haimowitz! (And I promise, that's the last time I'll ever talk about myself in the third person.)

It's my hope to make both the website and the blog an entertaining and enlightening experience for everyone, and for this to be an inclusive, open forum for folks to share ideas, talk books, shower me with praise, and keep up with all the latest comings and goings in M/M erotic romance.

Keep an eye on the website. Right now the dust is still settling, and quite a bit of it--the Books, In the Works, Free Reads, and Link pages--is still a work in progress. Book pages will soon have excerpts, full-size cover art, reviews, meta-data, and more. The link page will soon be populated with a wide variety of author blogs, agent blogs, independent bookstores, erotic publishers' sites, and so on. (If you're a friend of erotic romance and would like to do a link exchange, drop me a line.)

To celebrate the grand opening of the blog and website, I'll be giving away a free autographed copy of Counterpoint (or an ebook if you prefer). Just leave a comment here and/or click the "follow" button and I'll do a random drawing on New Year's Eve. Comment and follow to be entered twice :-)

Thanks for visiting, folks. I think you're gonna like it here. (And I promise, that's the last time I'll ever quote Annie.)
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