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( Apr. 13th, 2011 09:01 pm)
Embracing the Dragon by Kathryn Scannell

Danny O’Riordan’s life was complicated before the vision of a past life
forced him to admit he was bisexual. There’s a war going on, and being
Liegeman to Aran, the Elven King of Avalon puts Danny squarely in the middle
of the politics of two worlds, Earth and Avalon. Adding a romantic
relationship to the mix could be explosive.

His lover from that previous life has been reborn as Mordellir, the ruler of
the Tengri Empire. The Dragon of Heaven is the most powerful person in his
world. Will he want Danny back once he knows he’s been reborn? If he does,
how far will he go to get his way?

Find out today:
kathryn_scannell: Kathryn Scannell photo icon (Default)
( Apr. 12th, 2011 10:09 pm)
I've done two guest blogs this week, in anticipation of the release of Embracing the Dragon on the 13th:

I'm a guest at Suzan Isik's blog today, talking about good ways and not so good ways to borrow real world mythologies for your fantasy novel. I'm also giving away a free short story (M/M romance) to everyone who visits and comments, so please come check it out:


I also have an interview up at Margaret Fieland's blog:


On Thursday I'll have an essay on the Pitfalls of Titles at Julie Lynn Hayes blog, Full Moon Dreaming: http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com
This blog has adult content, so you may not want to visit if you're at work.

On Sunday, assuming Live Journal is operating normally,  I'll be hosting the Torquere Social Live Journal community: http://community.livejournal.com/torquere_social/ . Stop by and say hello

I'll also be at Pat Brown's Blog: http://pabrown.livejournal.com/ on Sunday.

Finally, the Literary Nymphs Chat Yahoo Group ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LiteraryNymphsChat/ ) will be having a multi-author chat this weekend (April 16-17), showcasing authors of M/M fiction. I'll be dropping in there on Sunday. If you want to get the chat you do need to join the group. I'm not sure if you can browse messages without joining - a group can be set up either way.

There will be more blogs coming next week, but I'll save those for a separate post later in the week.

I just got an email from my editor at Torquere telling me the release date for Embracing the Dragon has been moved up from April 27 to April 13. Ack!

I love the internet, and its various writing communities in particular - I posted to a couple of lists about how my promo dates were all now at least 2 weeks after the book releases, and now I have four more promo dates scheduled. I'll have a full list in another post later this week.

I'm also planning to have a short story, previously published by Torquere, as a promotional item when I'm out and about talking to people about Embracing the Dragon. Leap of Faith, which is set in the same world as Embracing the Dragon, and shares some characters with it, was originally issued by Torquere as part of the 2009 Charity Sip blitz. The rights came back to me in September of last year, and I've been debating what to do next with it. Then I started thinking about promotional give-aways and it was clearly a match made in heaven.

I've hooked up with a cover artist, Sheri McGathy (http://www.sherilmcgathy.com) who is hard at work on a wonderful cover for it, and am now working on figuring out how to get the text into various e-book formats.
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( Dec. 18th, 2010 10:52 pm)
I just got notice that my submission to the upcoming Dragon Moon Press anthology, Swords and Swashbucklers, has been accepted. Details of the line-up are on the editors blog: http://vg-ford.livejournal.com/606113.html

This is a companion volume to Rum and Runestones, and like its predecessor, is a collection of stories features pirates and magic as primary plot elements.

I'm excited because this is my first sale outside the romance genre. My story, currently titled "Running from the Storm", is set in the same world and several of my romance stories (Embracing the Dragon, Lessons, and Winter King), but it's pure fantasy, with no romantic elements at all.

Morien, an Elven mage with a rare talent for manipulating weather, has been captured and enslaved by Tengri pirates. When the ship is taken by a larger pirate boat, he expects to die. But life rarely gives you what you expect. Will the new ship bring him simply a new set of masters, or a chance of rescue?

No publication date has been set yet. I'll post when I know more.
It's been a while since I updated here. I've got a relatively recent story out with Torquere, as part of their annual Charity Sip Blitz. This year's beneficiary is Doctor's Without Borders, which does some truly amazing work. If you're not familiar with them, I urge you to check them out: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org

The charity blitz is a joint offering by the participating authors and Torquere Books ( http://www.torquerebooks.com ). We donate our royalties on the stories, and Torquere matches our donation. You can buy just one story, or the whole collection of 28(http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=79_111)

My story, Borders, introduces you to Kevin, a young doctor working in Gaza City, who is taking a long weekend away in Tel Aviv because that's the nearest place where he dares to be anything like open about his orientation. He's only looking for a weekend of fun, but he finds something that may have potential to be more than that, if its genuine... You can buy it here: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=79_111&products_id=2823

Right now I'm ecstatic because I just came across a fantastic review: http://www.darkdivasreviews.com/?p=2801 Kathy at Dark Divas was kind enough to give it 5 Delightful Divas. She was kind enough to describe Borders, among other things, "a vibrant, extremely sexy and romantic tale that has already sent me to discover anything else that she may have written"

It also got a great review from Jenre at reviewsbyJessewave.com (http://www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=31148) : 4 stars out of 5. But I'm every bit as happy about this one as the 5 diva review, because of the comments. It's absolutely wonderful to read a review where everything the reviewer said is on target for what I was trying to convey.
I came across a reference to this op-ed piece from the New York Times on a friend's LJ: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/opinion/03galassi.html?ref=opinion

It's a very thought provoking piece, but as a writer I find some of it disturbing.

First, the piece presents a somewhat narrow view of e-publishing, in that it assumes that you're only talking about exactly reproducing an edition of a book that existed first in print somewhere. In the case under discussion, that's apparently the situation, but that's a relatively small portion of e-publishing today. There are a great many smaller presses these days which publish primarily in e-book format. Often the e-book is the first edition, complete with ISBN, and print rights may be negotiated for later. The two are very clearly differentiated in the contract between author and publisher.

With respect to the situation which prompted the editorial, it seems pretty clear that the current copyright holders of the text cannot legally simply reproduce the Random House edition without the permission of Random House.

For one thing, while Mr. Styron's heirs own the copyright to his works, subject to agreements he made with any publishers which may they be in force, they very likely don't own the rights to the cover or interior art. If the rights to the text have reverted to them upon expiration of an agreement with Random House, the right to the art have probably also reverted to the artist, unless they were considered work-for-hire, in which case Random House still owns them.

Nor can Random House simply produce an e-book edition, unless there's language in the original contract which allows for multiple formats. If Random House still holds rights, and the language in the contract regarding formats is sufficiently vague, then they might be able to generate the e-book edition, and send royalties as specified in the contract. Otherwise they would need to negotiate with the current copyright holders for the additional format rights.

However, as an author I'm disturbed by the suggestion that the editor was such a substantial contributor to the work that it conveys any kind of proprietary interest in the work to the publisher, beyond the term of the contract between author and publisher.

It's pretty clearly spelled out in my contracts that I supply the work, and am expected to work with the editor to make it meet my publishers house editorial standards. There's a give and take between author and editor, which results in a final product. That final product is still mine, regardless of the amount of blood, sweat and tears the editor expended on it. (And I don't mean to denigrate editors here - a good editor is a wonderful thing.)

But when my contract lapses, if the publisher doesn't renew it, or I turn them down because I don't like the terms, or for no reason at all, the final text which the editor and I agreed upon is still mine to take away. Not the typesetting, layout, page design, and production details, and not the marketing text and materials (unless I also wrote that, which is often the case with my current publisher), but the edited final text is mine.

This article reads as if Mr. Galassi would like to claim otherwise, and that bothers me.
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( Nov. 29th, 2009 12:08 pm)
I've been very lazy about posting here. I'll plead being busy.

I have another story in the works. This one is called "Private Performance". It's a short, abot 7500 words, and will be available for purchase on its own. It's my first attempt at historical fiction. It's set in Dublin, Ireland in 1904. The characters in it are entirely new - Jason Goldsmith, a young actor, and Neil FitzHenry, a dock worker. This tells the tale of their first meeting, and their first Christmas Eve together. Jason has the notion that he will dress up in women's clothes, and they can spend the night on the town like any other courting couple. After all, he plays women's parts on the stage. But can he pull it off?

It's just been accepted by Torquere Press (http://www.torquerepress.com) for their line-up of Christmas themed stories. I don't have an exact release date yet, but it will certainly be sometime between now and Christmas.
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( Nov. 29th, 2009 11:09 am)
I got my very first piece of fan mail about one of my stories earlier this month. After my immediate reaction, which was to do a very undignified happy dance, it prompted me to think about the whole question of the relationship between readers and authors.

I was inordinately pleased to receive the letter. As an author, I write something and send it out into the world with no real idea who's going to see it, or indeed if anyone is going to look at it. I know the editor who bought it liked it, and presumably thinks other people will like it, but I have no way of knowing if they're right. Eventually, if it's going somewhere that pays royalties rather than a one time payment, I'll get some feedback, at least in terms of how many copies of it have sold. That doesn't tell me if the people who bought it liked it when they read it though.

So I'm sitting here with a piece of genuine, unsolicited feedback, thinking how wonderful it is to know that at least one person really like my story. Then it hit me. I've read dozens, maybe hundreds of things that really touched me, that spoke to me in ways that made me read them over and over again. But it never once occurred to me to pick up pen and paper, or in more recent years, email, and write to tell the author that.

I always felt that authors were terribly important people, who would never have time to read my letter, or care than some fan had written to them. After all they were famous and undoubtedly very busy. They wouldn't care that a fan had written to them. It would probably just get thrown out by some secretary. (And all the authors who are reading this are probably now either laughing or wondering what planet I grew up on.)

Now it suddenly dawns on me that I'm, at least in theory, now one of those important busy people. And all kinds of things I thought about what it's like to be an author were completely wrong. I haven't suddenly become too busy and important to care what my readers might think. In fact, it means quite a lot to know what that what I wrote worked for someone, and maybe made their day a little brighter. I'm learning now that even established authors have days when they question the value of their work.

I find myself thinking now that perhaps if I had written to some of those authors whose work really touched me, it would have brightened their day just as much as the letter I received did for me. I wish I'd realized that. Who knows, maybe one or two of them would even have written back.

So if something someone writes touches you, don't be shy. Write the author and tell them so (assuming you can locate an address). As long as you don't overdo the number of letters to someone, the worst thing that will happen is they ignore it. On the plus side, your letter may be a bright spot on a day when they really needed one, and maybe you'll make a friend.
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( Aug. 24th, 2009 08:28 am)
I've just heard back from my publisher, Torquere Press (http://www.torquerepress.com) that they would like to publish my story "Winter King" in an anthology that will be coming out some time in October. I'll post more details when I have them.

This is very exciting because this will be my first publication in print. All my other stories have been published as e-books only. This anthology will be issued simultaneously in both print and electronically.

This is also a little different from my previous works. It's part of the same setting, and features the same main character from Embracing the Dragon and Lessons, but instead of being M/M, it includes his wife, in a threesome with his liege lord, King Aran.
Today I'm hosting the Torquere Press Community on Live Journal (http://community.livejournal.com/torquere_social/). Come on over and check it out. I'm posting snippets from the new story, and will be trying my hand at writing a short bit of fiction based on prompts from the community members.
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( Aug. 18th, 2009 10:17 pm)
I'm happy to say Torquere Press (http://www.torquerepress.com) has accepted my latest submission, "A Leap of Faith", as part of it's "Changing Lives" series of short stories, with proceeds going to benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation (http://www.matthewshepard.org).

It will be available some time next month as a download. I'll have a link here as soon as it's issued.
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( Aug. 14th, 2009 10:07 pm)
I've just sent off another story submission. This one is going to Torquere Press's annual charity benefit:



Anniversary Charity Sip Blitz - Changing Lives

In 2008, Torquere Press decided to use its September anniversary and its Sip short story line for a little good work. Dedicating the month to supporting the fight for equal rights in marriage, Torquere and our
authors published gay and lesbian wedding themed stories, with the profits going to charities such as the Lambda Legal Fund. To date, more than $5000.00 has been donated to the selected charity.

In 2009, our authors have chosen the Matthew Shepherd Foundation as the recipient of our anniversary Sip Blitz, with the theme of Changing Lives at the core of the stories.


This one is called "Leap of Faith." It features a secondary character from Embracing the Dragon, Greg Taylor, Danny O'Riordan's personal attorney. It's set about a year before Embracing the Dragon, and tells the story of how Greg came to be working for Danny, and found the courage to come out of the closet.

Assuming they decide they want it, it will be available as a stand-alone item, and probably as part of a collection of all the stories submitted for the benefit.
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( Jul. 27th, 2009 08:13 pm)
Strictly speaking, the anthology Lessons appeared in has a review, and very good one at that. The reviewer took note of my story though, so I'm counting it as a review.


The reviewer noted that it read more like the first chapter of a novel than a short. You'd think they knew how much blood I sweat to get it down under the 8K word mark for the collection. :-)

Edit: Actually, that's two reviews. A review has also been added to the publisher's sale page for the anthology:

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( Jul. 20th, 2009 08:28 pm)
My very first royalty check came in the mail today! I'm not going to be quitting my day job any time soon, but it's still a tangible bit of evidence that my writing is worth something to people other than my friends.
I decided to put these thoughts here, rather than in my personal blog (http://aishabintjamil.livejournal.com/) because the chain of thought was partly set off by some research I'm doing for a novel in progress.

A week or so ago a friend sent me a link asking me to sign a petition in support of Lt. Dan Choi, and Army Reservist who is in the process of being discharged for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. If you haven't come across his story, you can read some details here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/07/dan-choi-fired-gay-arabic_n_199592.html). It's a story which has been repeated many times in the last several decades - a competent, skilled and dedicated member of the armed forces being thrown away because their sexual orientation frightens people.

I signed the petition, although I expect it to accomplish little more than perhaps providing some emotional comfort to Lt. Choi after they discharge him. The military will not listen to the opinions of a random civilian, and indeed, may not be able to legally, if they wished to. The military court is bound, at least in theory, to abide by the regulations as currently written. Only a change in those regulations will make any real difference.

I found myself thinking about this situation in contrast to some research I'd been doing for the novel project. I've been reading quite a bit on the history of Israel, and specifically on its military. The Israeli military is widely respected as one of the most professional and effective armies in the world.

They've also had a formal policy forbidding any sort of discrimination against personnel who may be gay or lesbian since 1993. (There's a nice summary of this history, as well as that of several of our other allies here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090712/ap_on_re_us/gays_in_the_ranks ) That's a trial period of some 16 years, and the skies appear not to have fallen. Israel's army has not evaporated, or turned on itself, and or become so incompetent that their neighbors have rolled over them, or any of the other catastrophes so frequently cited by supporters of the ban on homosexuals in the military.

The contrast between their policy and ours is even more stark when you consider it in light of the fact that Israel is explicitly a religious nation. Judaism is enshrined as part of their national identity. The country virtually shuts down for the Sabbath, including things like public transportation. Public and government institutions, including the military, which serve food are required to serve it according to the Jewish dietary laws. There are specific exemptions and accommodations made in their military services for service members from ultra-orthodox backgrounds to serve while continuing their religious studies. In short, everything revolves quite openly around the practice of orthodox Judaism, which in general is not particularly accepting of homosexuality. (You can find a quick overview of the topic here: http://judaism.about.com/od/homosexualityandjudaism/a/samesex.htm)

So, here we have a country which is an openly religious state, embracing a religion which disapproves of homosexual activity in much the same was a conservative Christianity, yet it still feels able to accept and co-exist with its homosexual citizens, and of including them in its military services.

Now contrast that with the US, which is in theory a secular country, explicitly forbidden from embracing or endorsing any one religion. We, apparently, do not think our military personnel are capable of co-existing with gay service members, if the proponents of the ban on gays in the military are to be believed. What's wrong with this picture?
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( Jul. 8th, 2009 09:06 pm)
Today is a red letter day on my calendar. 'Lessons', the first story I sold, released today in the anthology "Cherry" from Torquere Press:

'Lessons' features Danny O'Riordan, the main character from "Embracing the Dragon". It takes place a couple of months after the events featured in "Embracing the Dragon" and its sequel. Danny has agreed, against his better judgment to a course of lessons in the arts of love as practiced in the Tengri Empire. Here's a very brief sample:


“Sometimes it’s more pleasurable to do things for each other than to let servants do them,” Liu explained, picking up a soft, fluffy towel. He patted Danny’s upper body dry with it, very gently, then began working his way down the back of Danny's legs. He came around in front, kneeling to dry the front of Danny’s legs.

Danny looked down at Liu, kneeling there, with his long dark hair falling around him like a curtain, the ends dripping water from the tub, and thought he was one of the most beautiful things Danny had ever seen. He reached out gently to stroke Liu's hair, brushing the tip of an ear as he did. Liu gave a pleased gasp. “Oh, yes, Danny. Do that again. That’s wonderful.” He looked up, his eyes wide in his pale face. Water drops sparkled on his chest.


I'll stop there because I don't want to have to mark this post as 18+. If you want the whole lesson, follow the link above and check out the book.
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( Jun. 28th, 2009 11:52 pm)
I've made another sale, and have been frantically turning out edits on it. Torquere press has bought a short novel (about 80,000 words), Embracing the Dragon, for distribution as part of it's Turn of the Screw serial fiction service. You can find details here: http://www.aturnofthescrew.com/

A warning: It's explicit romance. Please don't go look at it if you're going to be offended by explicit sexual content, or if you're not of an age suitable to view explicit materials.

The setting is one originally created by BA Collins ( http://ba-collins.dreamwidth.org ), which she's graciously encouraged me to play in. Go check out her journal and see what she's writing too, if you aren't familiar with her work.

Here's the cover blurb:

Danny O’Riordan likes women. He never gave a guy a look. Then he has a vision of a past life in which he’d had a male lover. Now he’s not so sure. Should he try it? Danny knows his liege lord, the Elven King Aran of Avalon, wants him. Aran thinks Danny isn't interested and Danny knows if he encourages Aran, he might never get disentangled.

Of course, that’s not the only problem. There’s a war going on, and being Liegeman to the King puts Danny squarely in the middle of the politics of two worlds, Earth and Avalon. Adding a romantic relationship to the mix could be explosive.

His lover from that previous life has been reborn as Mordellir, the ruler of the Tengri Empire. The Dragon of Heaven is the most powerful person in his world. Will he want Danny back once he knows he’s been reborn? If he does, how far will he go to get his way?

Danny knows he shouldn’t get involved with the Dragon of Heaven. Aran hates the Tengri. If Danny yields to temptation, can he balance his obligations to Aran with the feelings he still has for Mordellir?

And a sample:


It will be posting on the serial page at the rate of 1 chapter a month until it's complete. Chapter 1 is up now. When all 19 installments have appeared on the serial service, then it will be available as a regular download from the main site, http://www.torquerepress.com. That will be a little over a year and a half from now.

There is likely to be a sequel. The original story line was going to result in a book longer than would be a good fit for the serial mechanism, so they suggested I split it into two books. I don't have a formal contract for Book 2 yet (nor is it written, except for a few scenes), but there's certainly a reasonable expectation that it will happen.
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( May. 27th, 2009 08:32 am)
I have some good news to share this morning. Back in March I submitted a story, which some of you have seen in draft called "Lessons", to Torquere Press (http://www.torquerepress.com/). They accepted it, and it will be in a forthcoming electronic anthology called Cherry.

This is my first paid publication, and I've been superstitiously not wanting to announce the acceptance, which I had via email back in April, until I had the contract in hand.

It's here, and now I can do the happy dance publicly.

The anthology is planned for July. I don't have an exact date, but I'll have a link here when it comes out.

A word of warning: Torquere specializes in "alternative romance", which in practice means that most of the fiction they publish is male-male romance, often with very explicit sex scenes. You probably shouldn't look at their web site from work.
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( May. 21st, 2009 08:15 pm)
I've just recently made my first professional fiction sale, so I figure it's high time I started creating an on-line presence. I'm going to use this blog for discussing things like writing plans, issues that seem important to me as a writer, and maybe the occasional bit of helpful advice. And, of course, opinions. I have lots of those.

I'll have links to the forthcoming story as soon as it's up on the publisher's web site for purchase.