RSVP for the Daron's Guitar Chronicles Reader Meetup! 8/15 Oakland, CA

Banner for the DGC Fan Meetup August 15
We’re getting close to the date of the Daron’s Guitar Chronicles fan meetup for 2018! I’m coming to the Bay Area for the World Science Fiction Convention, and I’m coming out a day or two early so we can have the meetup before the con gets going!
Right now the plan is for the meetup to be Wednesday August 15th, in the evening (something like 6p to 10p depending), somewhere in either Berkeley or Oakland.
Before we can nail down a place, we need to know how many people to expect! So please if you’re interested, even if you’re just a “maybe,” drop an email to daron.moondog@gmail.com by July 31. We’ll email you back with more information!
(If you missed last year’s meetup in Louisville, Kentucky, you can read the recap of it here: https://daron.ceciliatan.com/archives/6965)

Get your copy of Mind Games erotic paranormal romance before July 3!

Mind Games by Cecilia Tan free download banner
Since the book that was originally slated to be released in May 2018 has been pushed back, I figured I would fill the gap by self-publishing a book I originally wrote ten years ago for now-defunct Ravenous Romance. MIND GAMES was the first real Romance Novel I wrote, and the reviews and immense positive reactions to it from the romance community were a big part of why I dove into writing romance almost exclusively for the past ten years.
I’ve revised the manuscript some, adding a new prologue and adjusting a couple of scenes to make some things that I downplayed a bit more obvious. (In particular I brought out the fact the heroine is half-Asian/half-white a bit more explicitly.) All the sex is still there, of course. 🙂
And of course a new cover.
To encourage people to sign up for my author newsletter, MIND GAMES is now available for download from Instafreebie. It’ll be up there until July 3, so go grab it while you can! It’s in both mobi (Kindle) and epub formats. (If you’re already a newsletter subscriber you can still go download the book.)

Here’s the download link: https://claims.instafreebie.com/free/2rRcekHI

The official release of the book for sale will be the following week, July 10!
Official description of the book:

MIND GAMES by Cecilia Tan

A Paranormal Erotic Thriller
Print ISBN: 978-1-9877-7202-9 $14.95
Ebook price $3.99

When your stalker can enter your dreams, there’s nowhere to hide.

Ever since she foresaw the death of her parents, Wren Delacourt has suppressed her latent psychic abilities. Avoiding strong emotions, Wren leads a placid but lonely life until her quiet is shattered by her sister Abby going missing… and the private investigator searching for her.
Derek Chapman isn’t what Wren expects. He’s young, handsome, and immediately protective of her. Wren is attracted to him right away, but fears that deepening any connection with Derek—emotional, spiritual, or sexual—will open the floodgates locked in her mind.
A mystery man appears in Wren’s dreams, dealing pain and pleasure. Is Wren’s subconscious warning her away from Derek, or longing for him? When the search for Abby leads to a secret sex club, it seems fate is pulling Wren into Derek’s arms, whether she is ready or not.

PRAISE FOR MIND GAMES:

“Tan has written a truly engrossing and all out hot story that twists the norm into something totally unexpected… It’s great. You’ll be riveted to your seat until you finish the story.” — Roxane Rhoads, reviewed in Fangtastic Books (author of Paranormal Pleasures)
“Prepare yourself to be blown away. Reading this book will draw you into a world of telepathy and mental control that will change any prior beliefs you had in such abilities. Wren and Derek are a couple that are aligned in ways that are unheard of. To say they clicked is an understatement. The plot is suspenseful and gripping. The reader is taken along a path with twists and turns and unexpected events that lead to a stunning conclusion. Ms. Tan weaves a wonderful story of love, risk and leaps of faith that are unparalleled in the world of romantic suspense.” — You Gotta Read Reviews
“Tan writes with her usual melodic prose combining engaging characters with a deftly plotted treat for the senses.”–Patricia’s Vampire Notes
“Mind Games is brisk, fast-paced, ironic and completely sexy. The writing is crisp and concise with characters any reader can easily identify with. The point of view never jumps, and the scenes are well described and packed with delicious adjectives. Writing premonitions, visions or even telepathy is a challenge for any author while maintaining the story flow and not confusing the reader. Mind Games pulls this off beautifully. There is never any uncertainty for the reader and I must award the author “TWO THUMBS” way up on a job well done!”–Whipped Cream reviews, 5 cherries
“Ms. Tan is going to blow readers away with Mind Games! Superb from beginning to end, I discovered new faith in the paranormal erotica genre. … Fans of Ms. Tan’s erotica will rejoice at her venture into the paranormal world. This was such a treat for me… I certainly hope this won’t be Ms. Tan’s only foray into the paranormal world because Mind Games is definitely an all out hit!”–Manic Readers Reviews
“Cecilia Tan brings together love, suspense, and scorching sex in a story well worth reading. I would love to read a sequel to see what more trouble Wren and Derek can get into.”–Paranormal Romance Reviews

Book news: Initiates of the Blood publication delayed

Oh, the ups and downs of publishing. I figured I better post about this since some of you are starting to wonder… hey, weren’t you supposed to have a book come out around now?
If you’ve been following me any time since 2013, you might have heard me mention The Vanished Chronicles, my sex magic urban fantasy series, that Tor Books bought back then. At one point the first book was slated for release in 2016, but that turned out to not be a realistic target. However, I really didn’t expect it to take an additional three years for it to see the light of day. But that seems to be what’s happening.
Continue reading →

Seeking stories from authors & beta readers about incorporating feedback, critique


So I’m teaching a couple of writers workshops coming up, and I’ll be talking about the various kinds of feedback and critique writers can, should, and will receive throughout the writing and publishing process. I’ve gathered a lot of stories already, but I’d like to hear more from both authors and folks who give solicited feedback: critique partners, writers groups, beta readers, and sensitivity readers.
It’s OK to remain anonymous if you don’t want to out yourself or who you’ve worked with. I’d like to hear stories of when feedback worked well and also when it did not.
Some questions to think about and the type of information I’m seeking:
Authors:
Which kinds of feedback have you worked with before? Did you discover one type of feedback worked better for you than others? What *didn’t* work for you? How did you go about soliciting the feedback? How did you meet the person or people? Did you thank them publicly/in the book? Did you compensate them in any way? Can you describe to me some specific advice you were given and how it changed the book or story, what you did to revise, and whether it changed the way you wrote future work? Both good and bad experiences would be helpful to hear. How do you decide which feedback to incorporate and which to leave aside?
Beta-readers and critiquers:
Are you also a writer? Do you specialize in some specific type of critique (whether sensitivity reading or specific genre expertise or knowledge i.e. police procedure, medical)? How do you provide feedback? How did you meet the author(s) you have given feedback to? Can you give a specific example of advice you’ve given in the past? Do you feel authors actually listen? Can you give examples of when you feel your advice was taken the wrong way?
For writers who also give critique (either to a critique partner or writers group):
Do you feel like you give the same kind of critique you want to receive? How does critiquing the work of others help your own writing?
Please either leave your responses in comments below (anonymous responses OK, just don’t put your real name or email in the comment fields) or email me at ctan.writer @ gmail.com

Image credit: Mohamed Hansen, Pixabay

Viceland TV's "Slutever" Talks to Erotica Writers about "Women & Monsters"

If you haven’t seen it, Karley Sciortino, the writer of the Slutever blog and a regular for Vogue magazine, has a Vice TV video documentary series (also called Slutever). In December I went to NYC for an erotica reading they were filming that fit this week’s episode’s theme, Women Who Love Monsters.

New anthology

Check out this preview featuring me, Laura Antoniou, Lori Perkins, and a couple other folks who were at the reading! “Women Who Love Monsters” was the reading theme, and by the end of the evening, Lori, who is director of Riverdale Avenue Books, had decided to put out a call for an anthology. That book is launching this week as well, to coincide with the ViceTV air date. I have a brand new story in it–the one I wrote for the reading specifically to coincide with the theme.
Interestingly enough, while the male-gaze pleasing Hollywood conceptions of Beauty & the Beast, The Shape of Water, and King Kong tend to make the pairing “monster and human female” it turned out I had never written that in a story. Whenever I had merfolk or cat-shifters or such it was always the female character or *both* characters who shifted/were monstrous. So I had to write one on the train on the way down, and it came out fantastic. Nothing like a deadline to motivate me, eh?
Funnily enough, most of the stories at the reading had female monsters, and when I mentioned this to J. Blackmore, the editor of the “Beauty and the Beast” themed erotica anthology A BEASTLY AFFAIR, she mentioned that was true of many of the stories in that book as well. (Now I’m editing an anthology on a similar theme, though not limited to female characters at all, entitled “Fantastic Beasts and Where To F*** Them” and I am seeing more of that trend. Methinks erotica writers write more about sex as transformation, and in fiction the main character has to have agency, rather than centering on a passive role.)
A snippet of the segment I’m in:
[evp_embed_video url=”https://blog.ceciliatan.com/wp-content/SLUTEVER_MONSTER_FANTASY_SOCIAL_CUT_01_FINAL_IG.mp4″]
You can tell the reading took place in a bar (The Daisy) because of how red my face is–that’s what happens when you put alcohol into the fine-tuned machine that is my body! *smile*
At Heliosphere we had a screening of the whole 6 minute segment at the reading and Vice did a fantastic job of capturing why so many of us find writing erotica about monsters empowering. A friend recently binge-watched all the Slutever episodes and I’m probably about to do the same! Thanks, Karley, for including us on your journey through 21st century women’s sexuality!
Trailer:
[evp_embed_video url=”https://blog.ceciliatan.com/wp-content/30_SLUTEVER_109_MONSTER_SEX_EPISODIC_SUBBED_SQUARED_TONIGHT.mp4″]
UPDATE:
The full episode can now be streamed here:
https://video.vice.com/en_us/video/slutever-monster-fantasy/5a9dbfccf1cdb3165e039382

The #ICFA39 Panel on Power & Politics in SF/Fantasy/Horror

I’m live-blogging this from the writers panel on Power & Politics at ICFA 39 (International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts: Orlando, FL). When I do a live-blog typing like this I capture about 60% of what is said, so this is just a fraction of all the commentary and discussion. (And any bad grammar or things that don’t make sense are definitely my fault and not the panelists!)

Sally Weiner Grotta, Sam J Miller, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Fran Wilde, Stephanie Feldman at ICFA 39

On the panel:

  • Fran Wilde
  • Mary Anne Mohanraj
  • Sam J Miller
  • Sally Weiner Grotta

Moderated by Stephanie Feldman (Crawford award winner and current anthologist in Who Will Speak For America.)

Stephanie Feldman: My opening statement: All art is political; it either enforces the status quo or challenges it. Does speculative fiction have a particular relationship to politics though?

Panel: (silence)

Mary Anne Mohanraj: Okay. I’ll put on my professor hat for a while. When we’re teaching we talk about cognitive estrangement. By saying here we are on another planet, we’re talking about aliens, then you can start exploring gender, race, neoliberal economics, and it lowers people’s defenses. If I talk about moms in Oak Park and my neighbors read it, there would be an immediate defensive reaction. But if I talk about tentacle creatures on another planet there’s a distance there which lets us get at issues.

Fran Wilde: I think the way we can re-key the map of history is the most important thing we can do and almost an obligation. Read Everfair by Nisi Shawl (who’s in the audience). It take King Leopold’s war and makes it all work out. When science fiction does it, it’s felt as entertainment, but it helps make us better humans.Continue reading →

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2018 NLA-I WRITING AWARDS

I just got this press release from NLA: International with the finalists in the NLA Writing Awards and thought I’d post it to share with all. This year I wasn’t involved in the judging so this is my first time getting to see the finalists! Looks like a great crop of books and stories!

(Columbus, OH) — National Leather Association – International (NLA-I), a leading organization for activists in the pansexual SM/leather/fetish community, announced today the finalists for its annual writing awards. Named after activists and writers Geoff Mains, John Preston, Pauline Reage, Cynthia Slater, and the groundbreaking organization Samois, they are awarded annually to recognize excellence in writing and publishing about Leather, SM, bondage and fetishes.
The finalists for the Cynthia Slater Non-fiction Article Award are:

  • “Super Tight: A Fetish For Restraint” by Claire Rudy Foster which appeared April 20, 2017 on TheRumpus.net
  • “A Defense of Erotic” by Jeff Mann which appeared as the introduction to his book Consent which was released April 28 , 2017 by Lethe Press
  • “California Dreamin: West Coast Directors and the Golden Age of Forbidden Gay Movie” by Jack Fritscher which was released in the U.S. in early 2017 after originally being published by Editions Mustache in the U.K. December 14, 2016

The finalists for the Geoff Mains Non-fiction Book Award are:

  • The Big Workbook For Submissives by Rebecca Blanton (Auntie Vice Productions)
  • Better Bondage For Every Body by Evie Vane (Wanton Press)
  • Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Magazine Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999 by Jack Fritscher (Palm Drive Publishing)

The finalists for the Pauline Reage Novel Award are:

  • The Master Will Appear by L.A. Witt (self published)
  • Insatiable by Jeff Mann (Lethe Press)

The finalists for the Samois Anthology Award are:

  • Unspeakably Erotic: Lesbian Kink by D.L. King (Cleis Press)

The finalists for the John Preston Short Story Award are:

  • “Winter Fantasia Captive Club” by Jeff Mann which appeared on Great Jones Street reading app
  • “The Artist” by Daniel Erickson (self-published)
  • “Sand Trap” by L.M. Somerton (Pride Publishing)
  • “Falling Action” by Kiki DeLovely from the anthology His Aura: A Collection of Transmasculine Erotica ed. Shaun J. Phree (Phreedom Publishing)
  • “Pygmalion” by J. Belle from the anthology Unspeakably Erotic: Lesbian Kink ed. D.L. King (Cleis Press)
  • “The Brute and The Brat” by Sinclair Sexsmith (Maverick Press)

The winners will be announced at the National Leather Association – International’s Annual General Meeting, which will be held October 21, 2018 in Reno, NV in conjunctions with NLA-Northern Nevada’s event, Revelry. We hope our finalists will attend the AGM to receive their awards and congratulate the winners. Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information.
For more information about the awards, please contact the Award Committee Chair, CandiAnne Shafer, at awards@nla-international.com
 

2017 Duck Day Wrapup, Picspam, and Links

I haven’t had a spare minute to do a full write-up of this year’s Thanksgiving extravaganza that corwin and I put on, as usual, until now, that is! This post incorporates all the Instagram photos and links to various recipes I referred to online. (corwin’s recipes were mostly in books, I think.)
We always have a theme. Sometimes that theme is a cuisine (French, kaiseki). Other times it’s more conceptual, like the year we did the “Silk Road” so we could pull Far East, Middle East, and Mediterranean together, or the year Chanukah overlapped with Thanksgiving so we did each course as a different Festival of Lights (including Diwali and Yule).
This year we thought it would be fun to do something we’d never done before: AMERICAN. Here’s what the spoiler-free version of the menu looked like on our guest’s plates:Continue reading →

WATCH POINT blog tour & giveaway wrapup!


It’s been a blast launching WATCH POINT, my gay Navy SEAL abduction romance, and I would like to thank all the blogs and sites that featured the book, reviewed it, hosted my essays, and participated in the giveaway! All told 154 comments were entered the drawing for a Cecilia Tan gay fiction prize pack, including some Daron’s Guitar Chronicles swag, The Prince’s Boy, and such!
Scroll to the bottom to see the ultimate winner! 🙂

Some highlights from the tour:

  • I did a “Down and Dirty” interview for USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” column, in which I reveal my love of Sour Patch Kids, Yuri!!! On Ice!, Queen + Adam Lambert, and Peter Tork of the Monkees.
  • At Heroes & Heartbreakers, I blogged about how everything I learned about wilderness survival, which is put to good use in Watch Point, I learned not on the Internet, but in the Girl Scouts:
    “At first, I resisted [my mother’s attempts to get me into Girl Scouts]. I resisted anything that was associated with the word ‘girl.’ I got the Handbook with all the merit badges in it and was mildly disgusted how many of the badges were for things like cooking and sewing. (I’d already learned to sew.) But I stuck it out because there was talk of going on a camping trip. Real camping! Staying overnight in a tent in the woods! I couldn’t wait for that. The Girl Scout motto is ‘Be Prepared.’ I brought my own camping kit (including canteen, frying pan, etc), Swiss army knife, and other tools…”
  • At Love Bytes Reviews I posted a list of Eight Things I Learned About Navy Seals:
    “The average man trying to qualify to be a SEAL can do 79 situps in two minutes. The best of the recruits can do 100. They may be the only romance heroes who actually have the abs pictured on the book’s cover.”
  • At Bayou Book Junkie I wrote about why I had to write our hero, Eric, in not just the first person but in present tense, something I don’t normally do, but which just worked perfectly for him:
    “In the case of Eric the puzzle I needed to solve was how to let the reader see what’s going on in Eric’s head even though Eric himself avoids introspection? It was important to give the reader a deep look inside because so much of what Eric does– like kidnapping Chase–looks villainous from the outside. But inside we know he’s deeply concerned with honor and justice. This parallels Eric’s sexuality, which includes role playing and BDSM which may look abusive from the outside, but from the inside we experience as deeply caring, careful, and loving.”
  • At The Novel Approach I wrote about explicitly giving Eric half-Asian/half-white ethnicity and why that choice was important thematically to me:
    “I am a mixed-race person, and being ‘mixed-race’ has been the ‘hip fad’ three or four different times in my life. Like bisexuality, it is a trait that is easily appropriated by authors as an easy ‘outsider’ marker, a metaphorical symbol of their character’s uniqueness.”
  • At OMG Reads I blogged about “Military Romance as Guilty Pleasure“:
    “I am against using the term ‘guilty pleasure,’ because it is so often applied against things that we shouldn’t be guilty about [especially liking romance]. But I do have a wee bit of guilt over one corner of romance, and that’s military romance. My conscience nags me: how can you enjoy reading and writing Navy SEALs when you don’t agree with American military might being abused around the world?”
    I write about the paradox of loving military heroes, but not the way our government abuses them. In Watch Point we get into the subject of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as the reason why Eric is no longer in the military. In future Wayward Warrior books I’m planning to also touch on other ways our government has failed to serve those who serve us, including budget cuts to veterans programs and so on.

Reviews

Dog-Eared Daydreams reviewed the book, saying:
“If you think Watch Point is your usual falling-for-your-captor story, you’ve got another thing coming. This is my first Cecilia Tan read and I was more than impressed with how she made this such an original tale of vengeance, freedom, and kink.”
The Novel Approach loved it, as well:
“I’ve always loved miscalculation as a romantic catalyst, and Eric falls into the trap of underestimating Chase from the start … and watching Eric’s respect for Chase grow was the lit match to the short fuse you know damn well is going to blow up before the happy ending.”
The one negative review (if I can call it that?) was from Boy Meets Boy Reviews, who were disappointed that the dubious consent was not dubious enough. Riptide Publishing is pretty serious about making sure content warnings are used, and Watch Point is tagged with dubious consent, BDSM, military, enemies to lovers, and hate sex. As the review states: “Most of those tags (IMO) should come with a “lite” disclaimer,” and “All the people who do not do dub or non-con, this is the dub-con for you. This might be the fluffiest dub-con I’ve ever read.
I don’t disagree at all. Compared to my dub-con fanfic–or even to what goes on in The Prince’s BoyWatch Point is *relatively* lighter on the transgression. 100% valid review! I still support the content warnings, though, since this is still a kidnapper/kidnappee setup, so for those who find dubious consent triggering or problematic, this is not an allergen-free book. People who are sensitive to those issues should still proceed with caution.

The Winner!

To pick the winner I compiled all 154 comments left throughout the tour in a spreadsheet, assigned by row number, and then I used the website Random.org to pick the winning number. People who left comments on multiple blogs were entered multiple times; each comment counted as an additional entry into the drawing. The number that came up was 94 and so therefore the winner is Lisa for a comment left at the Erotica for All blog!
I truly appreciate all the comments, thoughts, and enthusiasm from everyone on the tour. I’m emailing all of you a little something in thanks for making it a really fun and memorable week. 🙂 So thank you HB, Paul, James, Didi, Joanne, Nancy, Christina, Timitra, Jennifer, Ginger, Lee, Debby, Trix, Shirley, Jennie, Lee, Tanya, Diane, Jodi, Lennis, Brian, and everyone else whose names may not have come through. 🙂
Here’s the full itinerary of giveaway stops:
1. November 6, 2017OMG Reads Essay on Military Romance
2. November 6, 2017Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
3. November 6, 2017La Crimson Femme
4. November 6, 2017Diverse Reader – Excerpt from Ch. 1
5. November 7, 2017My Fiction Nook
6. November 7, 2017Bayou Book Junkie – Essay on the First-Person Present-Tense Narrator
7. November 7, 2017Creative Deeds
8. November 7, 2017Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
9. November 8, 2017The Day Before You Came
10. November 8, 2017MM Good Book Reviews – Excerpt from Ch. 2
11. November 8, 2017Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
12. November 8, 2017TTC Books and More
13. November 8, 2017Erotica for All
14. November 9, 2017Jessie G Books
15. November 9, 2017Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review
16. November 9, 2017Book Reviews and More by Kathy
17. November 9, 2017The Novel Approach
18. November 10, 2017We Three Queens
19. November 10, 2017Love Bytes Reviews
20. November 10, 2017Open Skye
21. November 10, 2017Unquietly Me

Researching Settings in WATCH POINT gay Navy SEAL romance


There are only two main settings in WATCH POINT, my gay Navy SEAL romance.
One is the mansion of the billionaire Aiden Milford where he lives with his son Chase. I wanted this to be in Massachusetts. I’ve lived in MA since 1990 but decided to do some research about where to put the Milford Mansion. (I knew I didn’t want to put it in Milford, for example.)
I settled on Duxbury partly because I like the word “Duxbury” and because of articles like this one in the Boston Business Journal naming it the 6th “Most affluent” community in the state.
While Googling “Duxbury mansion” I came across various candidates for the Milford estate:Continue reading →