Monday, May 29, 2017

Cover Reveal: The Queer Collection

It's finally here!

 A compilation of my best short stories is now available in one book! 
This collection includes The Encounter, Compatible Gardens, The Dragon's Gift, and A Place of Permanence. With two gay and two lesbian stories, and heat ratings from sweet romance to spicy hot, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Like my cover? It was created with the help of Calderwood Covers. Check him out on Facebook

Excerpt from "The Dragon's Gift"

A long claw presses against my lips, preventing my words from becoming anything more than unintelligible garble. It’s one of those sensitive places on my body; when touched under the right circumstances by the right person, I spiral into delicious shivers. The sensation penetrates both upper and lower lips like a delicate kiss, courses through my cheeks, and triggers my on button.

And Maxine knows this. We’re friends—we talk about everything from our boring breakfast made by Grandma on vacation in the boonies, to the last person either of us fucked. My triggers are no secret.

I gulp as her claw becomes the flat of her finger, tracing the outline of my mouth and further sending me alight. I want to close my eyes and accept the responses from my body, but my mind tells me I should see who causes them and understand why. But all I see is the dragon and the light of the lantern flickering, appearing and disappearing as the shape of Maxine’s costume continues to sway back and forth, repeatedly blocking it out.

Why knowingly trigger me? Maxine is never cruel, nor does she make decisions lightly. She’s methodical in all aspects of her life, carefully choosing every move before its execution. I think surprise and want to melt into the floor. There could be no greater gift than finally experiencing the touch from the single most desirable person in my life, and no better place for her first experience with the same sex than the private dark under the stage where Maxine has just fabulously performed.

A single clawed digit pushes into my mouth, spreading my lips apart and caressing over the flat of my tongue. I create an O shape around it and curl around her finger. The front of my tongue slides smoothly over her pointed tip as she withdraws, and I enjoy the light smacking sound our actions make from my suction once she’s left my mouth. My mind wanders as I imagine gliding in and out of multiple places…extra-long caresses reaching extra, extra deep… If this is really happening, I tell myself I cannot let her down.

I reach with both my hands to grasp the hand still floating in front of my face. I kiss each knuckle in turn, and then lick the space between her thumb and pointer finger with the tip of my tongue. The texture of the costume is rough in the opposite direction of the layered fabric, and smooth as glass down the other way. I taste something I imagine to be the remnants of the stage makeup she might’ve helped a fellow actor draw on, but it’s the warmth radiating from underneath that lures me further; I want to feel it all over my body. Grasping her hand tightly, I place it over my face, guide it down over my features to my neck, and push into the dip of my shirt collar. I feel the trail linger like a mild burn long after her hand cascades onto my shirt fabric and pauses above my rapidly beating heart.

My eyes closed sometime during the action, but I open them to confess what I’ve always wanted to say, “I want you.”

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

An Open Letter to my Former Publisher: Torquere Press

The following letter expresses my own personal thoughts and opinions and does not speak for all former Torquere Press employees. This letter serves to fulfill my need for closure with the Torqeuere Press issue.

An Open Letter to my former publisher, Torquere Press: 

A part of me that is bitter desperately hopes there is a special, designated circle of hell for those who break their word, but the light inside of me battles this bitterness, wishing to set it aside. We reap what we sow, the past will haunt us, and a higher power will be our eventual judge. I only ever did my best to be a dependable, responsible human being while included in your collective fold of talented authors, editors, proofreaders, and artists, and therefore can with an honest heart say that at the end of this letter I will have washed my hands clean of you. 

What you have done is beyond imaginable. Anger, like mourning, is a process, and I feel entitled to explain this to you. 

You made me promises backed up by legal contracts, encouraged me to submit more work to help Torquere Press grow, and accepted everything I gave you. You “shot the shit” with me on social media, listening to my hopes and dreams, allowing me to spill secrets and express the deepest emotions of my heart. And as our professional affiliation blossomed into friendship, I put my trust in you. I kept my trust in you despite others speaking out against you. I defended you, stood in your corner, and called these others haters. You said thank you, and told me how much my friendship meant. 

But you’re liars. 

These others who spoke negative were not lying. These others were trying to give warning. You stopped paying your authors. You stopped paying me. To this day you still owe me statements and royalties for ¾ of 2016, which I imagine I will never see. You excused yourself with illness, with stress, with being beyond busy, but somehow you were free of time enough to do nothing and make your employees wonder where has all the money gone? You left your readers in the air, unable to download their paid purchases from your website. You let your editors, proofreaders, and artists continue to work on the promise that you could and would be back on track soon. You misled your authors to believe that something was coming when you had no intention of seeing your promises through. And while you failed to pay everyone, you had the nerve to offer me a paid proofreading position—attempting to use me further—knowing full well you could never pay me. There was no warning for your abrupt closure. Never did you give anyone a plan of when or how you would deal with the situation. You chose to ignore us all. But what’s worse than all this is the rampant, uncontrolled abuse of each and every author’s work that you continued to - and still to this day - continue to sell online despite breach of contract on your end, efforts made by authors for reversal of rights, and despite giving some of us our rights back. . What you’ve done is unforgiveable. Our work is part of our soul, and you exploited us. Honesty could have gone a long way... You could have handled this differently, and you chose not to. 

Friends don’t do this. Professionals don’t do this. 

I’ve done all I can. I’ve had my work removed from distributor sites since you neglected to do so. I got myself a lawyer to do all he could for me. I contacted authorities seeking help. There’s little more I can do without filing in small claims court in your state. But this is something I can’t do; I live on another continent. 

That’s right, ladies. You’ve gotten away with it. You’ve collected thousands and thousands of dollars—taken the bread off my table, the shirt off my back, the money for my kid’s college fund—and done God knows what with it. 

I’ve never felt so betrayed. I lost my faith in people. I lost my faith in publishing. What’s worst is that I lost faith in myself, feeling blind and ignorant. I haven’t been able to write more than a few dozen words for months because you soiled my creativity, dragged me to a dark place where I couldn’t breathe. 

But I can’t be bitter about it anymore. I have to move on. My work is online again, and I’m now part of a talented group of authors who cross-promote their work together. I’m making new friends—trustworthy friends. I will write new stories that you’re not a part of and which you cannot steal from me. My spirit will heal, is healing. 

I’m done being angry, sad, and creatively destroyed. I’m done wondering about how you live with yourself. I’m finished wasting another thought on you two duplicitous women. But I’m not sorry in admitting how I’m comforted in knowing that your names are mud, you failed as honest human beings, and that any other universe-directed comeuppance heading your way will be undoubtedly justified. It’s out of my hands now. My hands are clean. 

Your former writer, 

Angora Shade