Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stealing Innocents

I've often said that I don't know why I call myself a romance writer. Even when I write romance, it often tends to skew dark. And there's always been a little voice inside me that whispers, "But it could be darker." 

There's a definite relationship between sex and violence, and one I've always been interested in exploring. So a while ago I decided to do an experiment in self-publishing, and to write a few very dark stories, put them up for sale, and see how they went. I used a different pseudonym, because these stories were not stories I particularly wanted to attach to the Lisa Henry brand. I mean, presuming I have a brand. 

And what happened was this.

The stories went out, caused some modest waves in the dark little corner of m/m I often hang out in, and then, surprisingly, I got an email from one of my cowriters saying how much she'd liked them. I wrote back and admitted it was me. What happened next was the awesome team at Riptide offered me a contract to expand and re-edit the stories, and package them in an anthology. And so, I share with you: 

Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.
Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.
Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.

The stories included are Gamble Everything, Crazy, and Falling Angels

There's also a previously unpublished story written for the anthology, called First and Only, about a man who decides the perfect way to get revenge on his cheating wife is to seduce her barely-legal son. 

These stories are dark. There are no happy endings here, well, not unless you squint and tilt your head the right way. But for those of you who like to take the occasional trip to the dark side, I hope you enjoy them! 

Stealing Innocents is out from Riptide on January 11. You can preorder it here

Friday, November 13, 2015


Here's a free novella I wrote for the BDSM Group on Goodreads. Because how could I resist a wolf shifter story? 

In the shifter world, submission means something different than it does to humans.

Ezekiah Sadler is an omega who doesn’t want to be claimed. 

Parker Ellis is an alpha who needs to make the omega his. 

Ezekiah’s wolf might submit to the first alpha who claims him, but Ezekiah wants more than that. If Parker can see past old prejudices, he might find his omega is more than he expected, and exactly what he needs. 

You can download it here: 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why I have left the MMRG on Goodreads

It’s been an interesting few days for the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads. Basically, people of color were hurt by the racism in a historical master/slave story that was written as part of the Don’t Read in the Closet event. A white master/black slave story set in the United States around the time of the civil war.
Hey, who remembers the uproar over the concentration camp “romance”? Frankly, if anyone couldn’t see that a master/slave story set during the American Civil War was a terrible idea, I’m not sure anyone can help them.

Here’s the thing. It is absolutely beyond question that the writer of the story did not mean to cause harm. Nobody is accusing her of that. Nevertheless, people were harmed by this story, because the effects of slavery are still felt today. Racism is a thing. Institutionalised racism is a thing. And so is privilege. And if you can’t see that people are still harmed every day in absolutely tangible ways by racism, then you need to check your privilege.

I’m a white Australian woman. When it comes to privilege, I win some and I lose some. But I always do try to be aware that because I’m white, I’m Western, and I’m middle-class, then there are a hell of a lot of prejudices out there that other people face, that I simply don’t. I recognise that I have privilege, and that sometimes I need to shut up and listen to what other people are saying, rather than dismissing their concerns as something that just doesn’t happen because it’s never happened to me.

For truly excellent reviews of the story in question, I suggest you read Emma Sea’s review, or Mmeguillotine’s review.

The issues with the story aside for now, let’s turn instead to the response from the M/M Romance Group. When people of color stated that they were harmed by this story, I would have thought that the response from a group that so fervently defends LGBTQ rights would have been different than what amounted to: If you don’t like it, leave.

Let’s just repeat that: People were harmed, and instead of the mods apologising for that harm, they threw out the old red herring about censorship, and told people that if they were unhappy in the group then they should go.

Firstly, smarter people than me have pointed out that rejecting a prompt or a story is not censorship. And secondly, telling already marginalised people who are complaining about being marginalised again in a group they thought was a safe place that they’re over-reacting, or they’re too sensitive, or they’re making a big deal out of nothing -- excuse me, that loud bang was the sound of my irony meter exploding.

I have written three stories for the DRitC event, and I have enjoyed doing it. But I have asked that this year my story Hellion be removed from the anthology. It will still be available on the M/M Romance Group site for anyone who wishes to read it. However, I have left the group and will not be writing for the event again. On a professional level, I do not wish to have my work publicly associated with the group whose response to this incident has been tone deaf at best, and racist at worst. On a personal level, I do not wish to be part of a group where others are made to feel unsafe, unwelcome, or unwanted.

And while I know I run the risk of being labelled a sycophant, as others have already been, I assure you that I can and do think for myself. And if anyone wants to label me a badly behaving author, as others have already been, because I believe in taking a stand in this matter, then if that’s easier to do than checking your own privilege, go for it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

4 Days To Go!

Darker Space is out on the 13th from Loose Id

(I am loving this cover by Mina Carter. Sadly, cover Brady wasn't available this time around, so we found a cover Cam instead!) 

You know what a new release means! It's time for a blog tour. For the chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, the tour will be making the following stops on the following awesome blogs:

Boy Meets Boy Reviews - October 13
Rainbow Gold Reviews - October 14
Boys In Our Books - October 14
MM Does MM - October 15
J.A. Rock’s blog - October 16
Love Bytes Reviews - October 17
Joyfully Jay - October 17

And for a special extra, and a chance to win an ebook copy of Darker Space, visit Crystal’s Many Reviewers on October 21!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

To editors: an incoherent ramble in your honour

There's a very famous author out there who makes a lot more money than me, who, also famously, doesn't use an editor. And, as someone who's brain is currently mush thanks to spending the last few hours straight editing Darker Space, I get it. I do. Editing hurts my brain. But the simple fact that I can't remember my own name right now does not mean that I will ever think that editors are unnecessary. 

Because, frankly, I'm not that egotistical and I hope I never will be. There is always something I miss. There is always something my awesome beta readers miss. And there will always, in anything I do, be some way I can improve. 

Case in point: Darker Space. This is probably the most polished manuscript I've ever sent into an editor. God knows it should have been. I stared at it for long enough. 

And there was not a single page that came back without an edit on it. Sometimes it was just a comma, and sometimes it was a missing word, and sometimes it was just a " know this doesn't make sense, right?" 

When you're writing a thing, and when you've been staring at it for what feels like your entire life, your brain does this thing where it sees what you think you wrote, even though it turns out what you wrote was total gibberish. But it's not just that stuff an editor will fix it. You editor will tell you when a plot point simply doesn't make sense, or when a character suddenly acts like a completely different person with a completely different motivation, or (thanks, Katriena!) when a character thinks back to a particularly traumatic scene that happened earlier on, and apparently forgets the other guy specifically wasn't wearing boots. That's the sort of clanger that I didn't spot, but you can bet every reader would have! 

So yes, in some respects I hate editing. It's slow work, and it's not usually very exciting AND I'VE READ THIS S MANY TIMES I WANT TO PRINT IT OUT AND BURN IT UNDER THE LIGHT OF THE FULL MOON, but it's necessary. An editor is the person who takes your sometimes incomprehensible word vomit (and by your, of course I mean mine) and actually shapes it into a book. 

Editors are geniuses. They know what comma splices are and everything, whereas I have to Google it every time. 

Editors are magicians. They know what I'm saying even when, half the time, I wasn't that sure. 

And, incredibly, editors are modest. Okay, so writers are the ones that put the words on the page, but editors are the ones that make sure those words are publishable, and reach readers. And guess what? They don't take any of the credit? It's not their names on the covers. And that's kind of awesome. 

So yeah, I hope that I will never become the sort of writer who thinks she doesn't need an editor. If that ever happens, please slap me. 

There are probably at least three typos and a million extraneous commas in this blog post. I will never not need an editor.