Readers Meet in London! 4 Authors! 1 Night! 14 March 2019!

On 14 March 2019 at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel’s The Booking Office, we welcome you to join us for an unprecedented gathering of authors the likes of which have never been seen before!
Actually, that’s a lie. I have no idea if The Booking Office has ever had gathering of authors before and I imagine since the hotel’s been there for a long time, I’m pretty sure it has BUT this will be the first time Bru Baker, Rhys Ford (me), TA Moore and Carroll S Poe will be there for a Readers’ Meet and we’d love to have you come see us!
 
Please RSVP to one of the authors or comment here so we know how many glasses of water to set out (That also is a lie… we need to know how many chairs to get).
 
Date: 14 March 2019
Place: St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, The Booking Office, Gillow’s Booth
Time: 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
 
We will be more than happy to sign books and anything else you bring with you providing it is not a deed to a house or a cheque. That said, we do so hope you will join us! Let us know if you can make it and we’ll add your name to the list. See you there!
 
You can also RSVP by emailing me at rhysford AT vitaenoir DOT com

I am Alive. Mostly.

I haven’t forgotten all of you. Promise. Mostly I’ve been heads down and writing. Hellion’s at the end stretch and there’s a lot to do before I head to Paris and the UK. Mostly organize swag, make sure I have all of my UK things and fret over forgetting my passport which I do ALL the time. Fret. Not forget.

It’s early here and cold. And I could use about five more hours of sleep but that’s mostly because my bed was warm. Don’t you hate that about getting up knowing it’s cold outside and you have to go into it?

I have to start thinking about Hellion’s cover. That’s going to be a hard one to do. BUT I do have the tattoo so hopefully I’ll get to work on that before I leave for Europe.

Whatcha all doing?

Covers and POCs

This isn’t going to be a rehash of… brown people on the cover of a book means no sales. I can’t answer that. I don’t think that it’s true but I also don’t have any evidence one way or another to speak about it with any sense. So… I’m going to leave that to the side.

What I have noticed is the discussion about the Asians in my books and how some people view them. I’ve heard for years Asian men are read as “feminine” by US readers and to some extent, I guess? I don’t know about that either. I usually try to make sure I hit the cultural notes of writing an Asian character and I have noticed one thing… if the character is depicted as Asian on the cover, this impression seems to carry through.

Case in point… two very different characters; Cole McGinnis and Miki St. John.

Both of them are mixed. Literally half Asian and half European. Both of them actually don’t have an Asian upbringing although Miki has more Asian influences from living in Chinatown but neither one of them is culturally Asian. Cole is depicted as more Anglo-featured on the covers whereas Miki is more Asian looking. This was done because of choices available and well, how they appear. Cole is bulkier and there was only one stock model that came close to what Miki could look like. Don’t get me started on trying to find Asian men in stock photography.

Now, if I had to talk about which one of these characters I would not want to meet in a dark alley while pissed off, it’s hands down Miki. While he’s probably more broken than Cole, he’s a hell of a lot more street smart and well, can be as mean as junkyard dog. Okay probably meaner since he literally has a junkyard dog named Dude and that pupper is very sweet.

Cole’s more of a white knight and well, is cowed by a tiny black cat so there you go there. Cole would save you from Miki. And probably break his nose while doing so.

So here comes the discussion, what leads to this “femme” impression on an outwardly Asian character? Or at least a main character depicted as Asian on a cover but isn’t written as being culturally Asian.

Cole’s lover, Jae-Min, is also framed in these terms and he’s very culturally Korean. So let’s toss that into the mix.

I think a lot of it has to do with someone’s idea of what masculine is. That a man can’t be emotive or reflective in any open way without having his masculine identity taken from him. We see this all the time in how writers and film makers treated the “pansy” stereotype of a gay man in the past and to some extent, this transfers to the Asian man because often times, their body shape is less bulky, less hairy and definitely not fitting into the archtype of a manly man as seen by the West.

Mind you, this is spaghetti against the wall talk. I have no idea. I’m trying to make some sense of it only as a way to see someone else’s perspective because I don’t see any of these characters as feminine. I see them as people I’ve created who have different ways of reacting to things.

Am I offended by someone calling my character feminine? Truth? No? Yes? I don’t know. I think it does minimize the character, shoving them into a gender box no man should belong in. So much of today’s society really could use a little bit of what traditionally is called feminine energy but in reality, it’s just being human.

Men shouldn’t cry. They shouldn’t show emotion. They shouldn’t hug. Or care for another man as a friend. Their relationships should be couched in grunts and manly hugs. The only time tenderness should be shown is if it’s to their kid and only when it’s small because hugging your grown son is just weird.

Just weird.

I’m guilty of thinking this. I have in the past. It’s hard to change what we’ve been taught and I’m not even a guy so I can’t even begin to imagine how fucking hard it is to deal with being told you can’t do these things that show how you feel just because you have a dick. Women are now being told it’s okay to be strong. Well, guys… it’s okay to be strong and cry. Or laugh. Or hug. (Preferably with the consent of whomever you’re hugging).

So… what’s your take on this? Think on stuff and let me know. I’d like some opinions. Mostly because I really want to hear other people’s perspectives on this. Phone lines are open. Keep it civil and most of all, decide if you want ketchup on your eggs or not. But… if someone does and you don’t, just pass them the bottle.

Savior on Audio and Hellion on the Page

If you missed the news of Savior coming out on audio, well… it’s HERE! https://www.amazon.com/Savior-415-Ink-Book-2/dp/B07MXPS6G9/

Once again, Tristan’s done a great job and the funny thing is, someone just sent me a question through Goodreads  about hearing Greg Tremblay doing Ichi’s voice on Rebel, the first audiobook in the 415 Ink series and also voiced by Tristan James.

Funny thing is, that IS Greg. It’s a small Easter Egg that came about  when the three of us met up in Los Angeles last year at a very hipster bar in K-Town. A bit of booze and a bit of chatting and well, Greg graciously agreed to do Ichi’s lines and Tristan worked them into the audio.

That kind of stuff makes me very happy and it was great to have two of the best narrators in the business working on one of my books so thank you for that, guys! I owe you another round.

I’m working on Hellion now and it’s… man, Ivo’s hard. But see, that’s okay because there’s stuff… all the stuff… I have to work in. And this has a different flavour to it. I don’t know how to describe it but there’s a caramel taste to it. We’ll see how it comes out.

So that’s what I’m up to. Wish me luck and I’ll be back to talk about Kai.

415 Ink: Savior is out on Audio! Narrated by Tristan James!

Savior is out on Audio!

And as always, Tristan James delivers an incredible job! Much thanks and hearts for such a wonderful talent!

Grab it now!

A savior lies in the heart of every good man, but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside the savior.

The world’s had it out for San Francisco firefighter Mace Crawford from the moment he was born. Rescued from a horrific home life and dragged through an uncaring foster system, he’s dedicated his life to saving people, including the men he calls his brothers. As second in command of their knitted-together clan, Mace guides his younger siblings, helps out at 415 Ink, the family tattoo shop, and most of all, makes sure the brothers don’t discover his darkest secrets.

It’s a lonely life with one big problem – he’s sworn off love, and Rob Claussen, one of 415 Ink’s tattoo artists, has gotten under his skin in the worst way possible.

Mace’s world is too tight, too controlled to let Rob into his life, much less his heart, but the brash Filipino inker is there every time Mace turns around. He can’t let Rob in without shaking the foundations of the life he’s built, but when an evil from his past resurfaces, Mace is forced to choose between protecting his lies and saving the man he’s too scared to love.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Savior-415-Ink-Book-2/dp/B07MXPS6G9/

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Savior-Audiobook/1644054515

Coming soon to iTunes Audiobooks

Wanna Talk About Something Stupid.

Did you ever notice some people are violently aggressive in their hatred for Starbucks.

Like lose their fucking shit if they even see the logo crazy.

The same holds true for Amazon and other companies. There’s animosity against Apple or PCs, stirred up by social media and commericals. And entire campaigns have been waged over Walmart and Target for various reasons. Articles and opinions flung about in a constant battle to influence people.

Here’s the thing… I think sometimes we’re so busy fighting for our “flag” of choice, we forget something… in a lot of cases, it’s none of our fucking business.

I’m not talking about civil rights or environmental initiatives… I’m talking about someone liking a coffee chain and getting attacked for it by someone who doesn’t pay their bills or is a part of their lives.

Some companies are problematic in some areas. Not going to lie about that. Chik-fil-A will never get a dime of my money but I’m not going to fight a friend over the fact they stop for chicken nuggets. I can speak out against their practices but I’m not going to police someone’s choices based on my own. People aren’t going to change doing something unless they want to change… be it for social concerns or simply personal taste.

I get it. We’re all social warriors at some level and with different passions but honestly, I could give a flying fuck if you think Starbucks burns their beans. I know that’s not true. But that’s my own take on things (also, burnt beans turn into powder and can’t be ground but you know, physics or so I’ve seen and been told). I also don’t care if you don’t drink your coffee with bells and whistles and hate pumpkin spice lattes. I don’t like PSLs either but you know what? I’m not going to drink one and it’s not going to be found by a four year old who will then shoot and kill their younger sibling with it.

Because THAT kind of shit is where I need to get angry. That’s where I need to speak up. And I invite you to speak up with me… but keep in mind, people are going to scream to drown you out and for some reason, they just can’t seem to understand we’re sick and tired of our kids being slaughtered.

I want to save my outrage for something that matters. Because I’ve got finite energy. And time. People are tired. And I think we’re all tired of being angry. Choose your battles isn’t just sound advice, I think it’s a good way to maintain your sanity. Or at least mine.

And did you notice there’s no hardcore battles about KFC vs Popeye’s? I mean no one gets into long dissertations about how KFC’s got a good crust but fucking totally lacks on the heat scale. Even the hot wings aren’t that spicy. Why aren’t we passionate about that?

So… maybe take a breath before we build that soapbox…and while I am firmly #TeamNoKetchup, at the end of this day or the next… what you put on your eggs really isn’t any of my business. And it should not affect how we interact.

Stuff! And More Stuff! Okay, not really.

I’m probably going to ramble here for a moment just to check in with all of you.

Hellion (Ivo’s story from 415 Ink) is coming along well. After the initial 45K-ish toss of the first go at it, it’s shifted better and settling in. I’m looking forward to seeing where I can go with it.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading of late, mostly to cleanse my brain. Since I don’t read the genre I’m writing, I’ve been eyeball deep in mysteries. And doing series binges. There’s been a couple where I’ve said… oh man, no…this isn’t for me but for the most part, it’s been good.

Making plans for Paris and London in March. That means pulling the swag out and taking inventory. I will have some unique to Euro swag, including a backstage pass from the Sinners crew. Rebel and Savior will be available for pick up at the DSP booth at the Salon du Livre so if you’ve ordered ahead, be sure to grab some of the 415 Ink swag.

I probably will be at MxM and Reines-Beaux booth at some point but I don’t have the schedule. I’ll let you know what that is.

I DO know we’ll be at the Booking Office at the St Pancras on March 14th for the reader meet. I’ll roll out that information in a bit and start gathering RSVPs because it’s a small space and we need a headcount.

AND Ramen Assassin is into edits so… we’ll be talking more about that book and what’s going on there soon. I really liked writing it and I’m looking forward to sharing the cover!

Rhys Ford’s CafePress Store has been updated!

Store Link is here: https://www.cafepress.com/rhysford

Finally got the Chibi merch up. These were created by the fabulous Em Chan of Stupid Fox fame. Huge shout out and thank you to Em… who also did Ivo’s tattoo for the upcoming 415 Ink: Hellion novel.

AND there’s a new Crossroads Gin shirt to celebrate the Euro Invasion tour coming in March! I’ll be at the St Pancras and the Salon du Livre mid-March. More details to follow BUT I will have Euro Invasion backstage passes at both events to celebrate the Sinners heading over the pond!

Lots of Chibi with all the couples… including Brigid and Donal but I’m only putting a few here.  A sample of what you’ll find and yes, I do distress these but that’s because of the printing process CafePress uses. If they’re not distressed, then it becomes a solid, unforgiving block of stiffness on your shirt. This allows a bit of fabric to cut into the design and make it nicer to wear. Trust me on this 😀

Trust Your Self. Have Faith In Who You Are.

There are times when it’s difficult to be in this space. As a writer of LGBTQ characters. As a person who presents female. As a non-white individual who struggles to share different cultures without preaching. As someone who battles with Aspergers and brain wonkiness and has to deal with the minefield of people’s conflicting statements and as always, the confusion of sarcasm.

I’ve been told I shouldn’t be here and a lot of other things by other people. Usually to my face but also through badly hidden whisper campaigns because you know, my existence in this space is offensive to some. Trust me, I can’t count the many ways it’s been relayed to me that I “don’t belong here” or that “I’m not really a writer” or “I should just stop writing, stop talking, stop being here”.

I’d love to say fuck you to all of them. But I try to stay above stuff. I don’t always succeed. My gut instinct is that fuck you. I hate bullies. I hate people who only “talk” to another author if they believe they can get something from them or believe it somehow raises their cachet. Truth: It doesn’t. Readers find the writing they like and as writers we have to find the stories we want to tell. No one can make you popular or unpopular based on your stories.

But it can be influenced by behaviour and well, how we treat people.

When I first started out, I paid attention to the authors who only speak to people they feel are their financial equals or better, dismissing others around them. This told me who to avoid and how I shouldn’t behave. I still pay attention to this because it’s kind of like someone being nice to you but treats the waiter like shit. My opinion of someone often isn’t formed by how they treat me (although that’s got something to do with it) but more importantly, how they treat others.

Mind you, some people I adore tell me they were scared of me which is hilarious. I’m going to assume it’s because most of the time, I’m off in my own little world and not paying attention to what’s going on. My mother says I sometimes look like a dragon debating whose head to nip off for breakfast. I swear to God, this is not true. Mostly because really the head’s got a skull and bony bits are hard to crunch through. It’s not like salmon bones.

There’s no “little people” in this world. Just people who try to make other people little or less. I hate those people the most. I’d say hate is a strong word. I’m just gonna lay it out there because dudes, sometimes the behaviour is just horrible.

It’s an assault on a person, the diminishing of a person’s worth. It’s the reducing of a soul and mind to nothing more than a fish or a rock. And yeah, I fucking hate it when I see it and not going to lie, usually cements my opinion about the person doing it.

Am I perfect? Fuck no. Do I dislike some people? Hell, yeah. I can give you a list. But I’m also not going to seek them out and shove them into the darkness. I can dislike someone and remove them from my life, my awareness. AND act civil to them when we interact. It’s not hard. We’re thinking creatures. We’ve got thumbs! We can comport ourselves with a modicum of decorum and be socially shallow for a few minutes.

Still, we have to speak up against the diminishing of a person. I can disagree with someone’s opinion but still respect their existence.

That said, assholes seeking to destroy society and our homeland are exempt from this. In my mind. I will forever rail against this because well, they seek to diminish not just one but many.

So I leave you with one thing… you’re worth being nice to. Being civil to. Being civil in return or maybe even being civil first. Our behaviour should not be dictated by the way others behave and if a foul bitterness rises in you at something someone says or writes, stop and assess. We have to right our own ships… or we will never reach the stars we’re aiming for.