Rebecca Cohen Writes It All!

April 7, 2015

Today we interview the multi-genre writing Rebecca Cohen!

Dreamspinner Press: What is the most erotic scene you’ve ever written?

In Duty to the Crown (the second of my Elizabethan historical series, The Crofton Chronicles), I have Sebastian Hewel pretending to be prostitute, hanging around the seedy backstreets of South Bank in London. He’d slipped Anthony Redbourn note and told him to meet him. Anthony arrives and is more than happy to play along with Sebastian’s game. Especially as Sebastian has procured a room for their use at a nearby tavern. They act out their roles, Anthony tying Sebastian to the bed with his hose, and promising to get his money’s worth from Sebastian. Which he certainly does.

Dreamspinenr Press: Your new novel is a science-fiction gay romance. What were some joys and challenges writing a romance set in a sci-fi world?

In Under Glass I wanted to play with the idea that for certain people true love is genetically determined. I’m a biology geek, and so I created a concept called psychogenetics to describe how Ollie and Kai, the main characters in ‘Under Glass’, are linked and how the link is mediated by a special organ called the caerellon. Only in science fiction could I get to play and run away with such ideas. Another joy was making Kai a novice planet builder. His species creates planets, one of which is where Ollie was spirited away to by his mother as a young child. New races and planets mean I get to shape the evolution of a species and create their mythology, and that is so much fun. But there are things to be mindful of and it is a challenge to keep the balance right. ‘Under Glass’ is a romance, its focus is on the relationship between Ollie and Kai so the world building and background needs to support and not overwhelm the story. I’m also very aware not to drown the reader in jargon or make them think they’ve accidentally wandered into a lecture.UnderGlass

Dreamspinner Press: Do you listen to music when you write? Snack? Drink tea/coffee/vodka?

I’m very fortunate that I can write pretty much wherever and don’t need specific places or rituals. I tend to curl up on the sofa so I can still be the same room as my family and don’t have to lock myself away. My hubby does provide tea on demand and the odd glass of wine when I’m writing after dinner.

Dreamspinner Press: How did you begin writing gay romance?

I didn’t set out to write gay romance. In fact, I didn’t realise it was a separate genre. I was writing a high fantasy novel and the only way the plot would work was if the two male main characters were in a romantic relationship. When I came to try and get it published I started looking around for a suitable publisher and market and discovered that gay romance was a genre in its own right. The high fantasy story was ‘Servitude’, my first published novel with Dreamspinner Press.

Dreamspinner Press: What are you working on next for readers?

One glance at my back catalogue and you’ll see I like to play in different genres. I’ve written historicals, contemporaries, fantasy and sci fi, and where I’m heading next is a contemporary novella series based around an amateur dramatics society. The series is called ‘Treading the Boards’ and the first novella, ‘Overlay Dramatic’, is already contracted to DSP (tentative release this summer). I submitted the second, ‘Summer Season’, at the end of March and I’m currently writing the final one – a Christmas story called ‘He’s Behind You’ – which I plan to submit before my summer holiday at the beginning of June. They are romantic comedies, each with a different leading couple. The first one includes a papier-mâché goat and a very bad play called ‘Whoops, Vicar. There Goes My Trousers’.

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Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Time To Desert the Desert

March 19, 2015

Well, that about wraps it up for me.The cookies are done and the verdict is…not so good. They spread despite chilling out in the fridge for awhile. Oh, well.

I saw an old travel poster and decided I couldn’t afford to start buying old travel posters, so I recreated it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into Something To Die For. It’s available now on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and your favorite ebook retailer.

 

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy! I’m going to be hanging out, answering comments, and looking out for the winner of the giveaway. I’ll make one last post to announce the winner later on, so check back in a few hours or tomorrow to see if you’ve won.  If you are the winner, please comment on my blog and I’ll get back with you.

Please check out Something To Die For by me, Piper Doone. Out now.

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

 

Thank you.

Call For Backup!! And a Giveaway

March 19, 2015

Calling in for Backup…and a giveaway!

 

As much as this is Josh and Adam’s (and the desert’s) story, there are a number of important secondary characters in  Something To Die For.

 

And I want to talk about them so badly, but in the words of River Song on Doctor Who…spoilers.

 

I can say right off the bat we meet Josh’s husband, Sergio. Sergio is an amazing guy: patient, kind, playful, sexy, and gorgeous. And so not what he seems.

 

Josh and Sergio’s kids, as well as Josh’s mother and siblings, figure heavily in the story as anchors for his sanity. Or do they? Because there are others who show up and throw that idea on its head, leaving Josh to wonder just who is real and who isn’t.

 

Saying too much more would give it all away…so, in that spirit…let’s do a giveaway!

 

In the comments, tell me the most magical, inspirational place you’ve ever been to. The more unusual, the better! This isn’t your typical café in Paris or three weeks in the Alps kind of question. Mostly because I haven’t been on real vacation in over a decade. Well over a decade, actually.

 

If you have photos, show us! Tell everyone about the time you took a wrong turn in Kenosha and ended up almost getting eaten by a moose and you were taken in by a kindly old couple who housed you for a night and you learned to crochet and make maple syrup pie.

 

Winner receives a copy of Something To Die For!

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

Mysteries of the Desert

March 19, 2015

When I was promoting Playing Hard To Forget (looky…it’s on sale, too, for $5.24. Would you look at that), I talked about how the wolf has figured into my family history for a thousand years. On my father’s side, the history was bloody and my family became known as wolf-slayers in Scotland around the turn of the last millennium thanks to an ancestor who saved the King from an attacking wolf in the forest.

 

So when I began having dreams of being in the desert at night with an old man speaking to me in a language I understood at the time but never when awake, hidden among the bush as a wolf stood guard to protect me from the dangers outside the protective circle of the fire and plants, my mother became fascinated by them and was obsessed with finding its meaning. This was well before I learned of my father’s side’s history.

 

Many bottles of sunscreen later, I still don’t know what they meant. All I do know is that the desert was its own character in my dreams. There was danger outside the light of the fire and the desert had sent protection for me. The only thing anyone can agree on is that it was odd that I was dreaming of a wolf, an animal not seen in the desert for many, many years, and not a common coyote.

 

I’ve always held the desert in high regard since then.

I call this one “Agave Agave Everywhere…and not a drop (of Tequila) to drink)

But a few years ago, I saw something that left me, for lack a better term, completely freaked me out. And it was then that the seeds of Something To Die For were planted.

 

I still have trouble processing what I saw into words, which, as a writer, really says something about me that using my words is difficult.

 

What I will say is that writing Something To Die For was a way for me to come to terms with what I saw that night. Giving it some humanity and a happy ending was something I needed to do, whether it got published or not.

 

I needed my desert to be the place it once was–my protection, my safe place. I didn’t want to think of it in the context of that horrid night and turning the story into something I could control from start to finish was a form of therapy for me.

 

In Something To Die For, just like in my dreams, the desert is a secret main character. Josh needs his desert to ground him. It is a part of him and helps him to get to where he needs to be.

 

But beyond all that, it’s a love story. The love story of Josh and Adam. And a love story from me to my desert.

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

(Cookie update—the dough is chilling in the fridge. I’ve eaten 4 spoonfuls now. Everything seems good from here. I must do further research, though)

The Music of the Desert

March 19, 2015

 

An easy way to get into the mood of Something To Die For is to load up everything Queens of the Stone Age and toad the wet sprocket ever did. If you want to get specific, listen to the entirety of QotSA’s Like Clockwork and toad’s High on A Riverbed (from Pale), Hope (From In Light Syrup) and Reincarnation Song (from Dulcinea) and you pretty much have my obsessive playlist that fueled the writing of this story. Throw in a little Civil Twilight’s Letters From the Sky, some One Eskimo’s Amazing*, and a few other random alternative rock and you’ve got a soundtrack of sorts.

*secret time: this song makes me tear up like WHOA. It was one of those “first songs I heard after a tragedy” type thing and it was a poignant song to hear at that moment and three years later I still have to lie and say there’s something in my eye. Damn it.

 

It’s no secret that I need music to be able to write. Playing Hard To Forget was a crazy combination of folk tales and 80s Dark Wave and Something To Die For was no different in its development.

 

Josh Tucker, named so for the Joshua Tree that only grows in the Mojave Desert, seems like he has the perfect life when we first meet him. He has a gorgeous husband and two amazing children. He has a great job and a nice home and he’s close with his mother and siblings, all of whom have a similarly great life.

 

But when is that ever anything like reality, right?

 

Cracks start to show very early on that things aren’t what they seem. The chaos that Josh descends into is very much the intense cacophony of a Queens of the Stone Age song. The flashes that come through the cracks are loud and confusing and makes him wonder just what is real and what isn’t. Queens’ songs are driving and percussion heavy. They’re fast and come at you from every direction. And in that chaos, in those cracks, there’s truth, and it may be shitty truth, but it’s there and it’s real.

My accomplishment of the YEAR was crawling down there to get this pic while I was wearing TIGHTS and a DRESS and I didn’t get a run.

Adam Davis is a mystery and one that is at the center of all the confusion. Is he telling the truth or is he a product of Josh’s decreasing sanity? That Josh (and by extension, us) doesn’t know if Adam is really there lends him an impish, supernatural quality. He appears and disappears at random and there’s no real way to prove what he’s saying is true. But he’s earnest and seems desperate for Josh to believe what he’s saying and there’s a sincerity in Adam’s tone that makes Josh think twice.

It’s weird to say I modelled these characters after bands’ styles, but, yeah, the impish earnest (for lack of a better term) of a toad the wet sprocket song is pretty much Adam (in the way that toad can be singing about the most depressing subject ever but still do it in a way that sounds almost upbeat and hopeful).

 

If you do YouTube any of the songs up there, and you like them, throw the artists some cash and buy their stuff.

Listen to the soundtrack here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAcHqWJyh_nv8wGCd4-hdl4eEpQf-yROb

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

Two updates:

1) Just got a great review for Something To Die For:

The characters were very likable, the storyline kept me turning the pages till it was over, and it was something new and fresh to read. I really enjoyed it. 

It’s About The Book reviews–4.5 Stars

and 2) I now have my youngest kid doing the cookies because he’s bored and needs something to do. He took a year of culinary last year in 6th grade, so I think he can do them justice?

About Piper Doone: A Primer

March 19, 2015

Piper Doone only does biographies of herself in third person. She works in professional sports during the day and before that she worked for Disney.

She is a treasure trove of recessive genes. She’s red headed, hazel-eyed, left handed, she can’t roll her tongue into that little hot dog bun shape that everyone else can make, her second toe is longer than all her other toes, she has hitchhiker’s thumb (look it up), and when she clasps her hands together, it’s right thumb over left.

She like The Monkees over The Beatles and The Rolling Stones over both of them. She doesn’t think The Clash is any good and doesn’t know why people look at her funny when she says that. She’s way too into Canadian indie music for her own good

She has a  pretentious screenwriting degree but her favorite movies are The Mummy and The Parent Trap (the original, not that remake that doesn’t actually exist, damn it), and she can quote every line from The Fifth Element instead of, like, whatever people with screenwriting degrees are supposed to like (probably foreign? Something French?).

Her preferred gym entertainment is reruns of Law and Order: SVU.  And new episodes of SVU. And, if I may take the opportunity here in public, that new detective, Carisi, is a-ok in my book. And by a-ok, I mean he’s really cute.  I hope this gets indexed by Google. Hey, here’s my blog…stop by. Wink wink. Also, here’s my Twitter. And I’m on Facebook….

She loves Cuban food. Like, a lot. A lot a lot.

She has a costume closet and never goes out in public without being in some kind of character, complete with name and backstory— Serena, the alcoholic trophy wife who had to give up her career as a ballerina when she married a rich investment banker, but never gave up the dream; Mallory, the poor art student who dropped out of school to run away to Coober Pedy to marry an opal mine owner; Mitzy, the Palm Beach wannabe heiress who dresses from head to toe in Lilly Pulitzer because that’s how she thinks all Palm Beachers dress; Christy-Sue, the southern university football coach’s wife who’s as sweet as pie in the streets and trash in the streets…. Because she lives in Miami and Miami, believe it or not, can be so boooorrriinnngg and why not have a little fun, right?

She is an archer and named her bow Janosz Bow-ha, after Peter McNichol’s character from Ghostbusters 2,  Janosz Poha.

She raises and breeds hedgehogs so she can give them stupid names like HedgeHäagen-Dazs, Quilliam Shakespeare, Quilliam Shatner, Peter Quill, Se-Quill (the second quilling),  and Josh Hedge-homme.

She is a photographer and is never without her camera. She uses a Pentax ME Super SLR  and a Pentax k-30 because her mom’s old lenses from the 70s fit both and HAVE YOU PRICED LENSES LATELY OH MY GOD.

Yucca of some sort…I’m a photographer not a gardener

 

She has run out of things to say now….

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

The Living Desert

March 19, 2015

When I was promoting my last book, Playing Hard To Forget, I talked a bit about my weird experiences in the desert. Something To Die For was born out of some of those experiences.

I, being of red hair and see-through skin, really don’t belong in hot, sunny climates, but I keep finding myself in them. My skin keeps saying, “Move to Seattle. Save on sunscreen. Buy a pine tree farm,” but fate keeps flicking me off and throwing me to the hottest places on the whole of Earth.

It takes a special type of person to survive in extreme climates. My stupid body is stupidly efficient in temperatures above 90 and even more so when there’s the oppressive humidity of a tropical rainforest climate added to it, like where I live now.  I have the horrible feeling that even if I managed to outrun my destiny and move to a place unlike the desert or the tropics, where everything tries to kill you all at once, I would probably be dead of hypothermia within six minutes of any temperature under 50.

So, maybe there’s a reason I keep finding myself living amongst the palm trees, yucca, and agave I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with. I mean, it’s not all bad, I guess. Extreme climates tend to harbour extremely weird subcultures of people and I guess I have to count myself among their numbers. Beach bums, desert rats, island bums, we can’t do things the way the rest of the world does things and that’s okay.

And our stories are amazing.

 

Something To Die For takes place in the Mojave Desert. Things exist there that don’t exist anywhere else, like Joshua Trees and Palm Springs’ obsession with midcentury modern architecture.

But beyond that, the desert is alive. It’s its own character with a personality and motivations. As a child I used to frequently dream about being there at night. The desert protected me. The plants hid me from danger and the coyotes (and, unrealistically for modern times, the gray wolf, which is no longer roaming the deserts and hasn’t since well before I was born) stood guard.

Today I will be talking about some of the experiences and stories that led to Something To Die For, as well as other inspirations from music and pictures and I will be doing a giveaway as well.

 

 

 

I like painting the desert. I also like torturing myself with those 50 cent bottles of acrylic paint from the craft store instead of oils or whatever I’m supposed to use that probably costs a lot more.

I hope you’ll join me for the story behind the story.

 

Something To Die For

(a brief update on the Southern Living Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER recipe experiment mentioned in my first post: it’s 3/4 butter and 1/4 shortening. Is that the secret to making it the best? Stay tuned)

Something To Die For Release Party!

March 19, 2015

Okay, boys and girls! Sit down and strap yourselves in ‘cuz we gon’ have a release party!

The Dreamspinner Press people were so kind to let me, Piper Doone, steal the blog today to talk about Something To Die For, out March 18.

I mean, sure, I had to sneak past three security guards, four locked doors, and barricade the door behind me, but the point is that they haven’t broken that door down yet, so until that happens, this baby is all mine!

 

Stay tuned for behind the scenes insights, music, inspirations, a giveaway, and possibly even an honest review of the new cookie recipe I’m trying out in between posts (I picked up an old Southern Living cookbook that promises they are the best cookies ever. We’ll see).

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

The Top Five Most Amazing Exploits of the kiddos from Ever the Same

February 27, 2015

Randi and Grainger are the heart and soul of Dixon and Audie (and by association, Ever the Same). They start out, as so many of my fictional relationships do, with a fist fistfight (note: when I met my wife in person the first time, at one point she did threaten to beat the hell out of me while I was driving in a pouring down rainstorm on the highway in San Antiono traffic. True story.).

However, a birthday party, a giant mouse, some horses and a guitar later, they became partners in crime.

Instead of having fights with each other, they turned on the world.

1. During a riding lesson, Grainger dares Randi to impersonate the trick rider they’d seen at the rodeo and when Audie turned around, she was standing on Sarge’s back.

2. Randi dared Grainger to trap the possum so they could keep the babies and raise them. Possum bites hurt. So do the rabies shots.

3. Together, the kids decided to find out which spice burn. Cinnamon for the flamtastic win! FYI, powdered creamer burns pretty damned well too.

4. Grainger told Randi that she couldn’t be a cowgirl unless she rode a calf backwards holding his tail.

5. At Christmas, they dressed the dachshunds up as reindeer, tied them to a miniature sleigh that belong to Randi’s gran and proceeded to take down the tree. Dachshunds are not beasts of burden.

Much love, y’all

BA

Ever the Same is available now! 

Ten Things about Dixon from Ever the Same

February 27, 2015

Dixon, world. World, Dixon.

1. Dixon’s best friend is his younger brother, Daniel, who is currently serving overseas in the military.

2. His favorite date night used to be watching the sunset at the Oasis on Lake Travis.

3. Dix has a huge crush on Gordon Ramsey and on Sidney Poitier.

4. The first song he learned to play on the guitar was Where Have All the Flowers Gone

5. He was drum major in high school.

6. He’s a huge Blues fanatic and his first out of state trip was to New Orleans with his dad to see live music.

7. His favorite food is cheesesteaks with mustard sauce from Texadelphia.

8. His first dog was a bloodhound named Bill.

9. He lived in Texas his whole life, but Audie taught him how to ride a horse.

10. Dixon’s prized possession is a 1974 Fender Stratocaster played by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

 

Much love, y’all

BA

Ever the Same is available now!