Hey There. Come Here Often?

[pulling out the Dory voice] Well, hi!

It’s uh… been a bit of time since I’ve posted here so I thought I’d check in, crack open a drink, and have a conversation with you all.

The last few months have been extremely hard for me, I’ll be honest. Some stuff happened that redefined the way I look at people I know in a serious way. There were police investigations (closed now) and the fallout will continue for years to come, but the initial whirlwind of holy shit has subsided. I’m relieved and disappointed, angry and fearful, determined and protective. It’s an exhausting mix of emotions, to be honest. All I have to say is thank god for Kate. She has always been and always will be my rock in stormy times. Things are looking up, at least somewhat. I’m trying to be a positive, immovable wall of reliability for those who need me. It’s difficult, and in quiet, solitary moments, I break more often than I’d care to admit, but those moments are becoming less frequent at least. Maybe we’ll all be okay with time and perspective.

Then of course there’s the election of our new Dark Lord POTUS and the fallout from that, which will also have ramifications for years. I stand in shocked disbelief on a daily basis since Lord Cheeto took office. But I also see the protests, the activism, the phone calls to representatives, the sheer rising up of our nation to keep the new PEEOTUS from sinking us all, and it gives me hope. I cling to the hope sometimes, because it feel like the only thing I have, this tiny little lifesaver ring in the face of racism, sexism, cronyism, nepotism, and discrimination. And also batshit crazy. Because Bannon is fucking insane and he’s Wormtongue, whispering his evil into the King’s ear.

But! I don’t want to get into all that political shit in this post. This is more of a hey, what’s up? thing. I’ve been working as a virtual assistant the last couple months, too. The book sales are still decent, but they don’t stretch the way they used to, so I picked up some extra work to even out the valleys and make it easier to save during the peaks. This is also the reason Kate and I have started a Patreon, so we can worry less about scraping together money for bills by doing side jobs and devote that time to the actual writing. It’s been a bit stressful, if I’m honest, but hopefully in the next few months, we’ll have a little more breathing room. Honestly, the Patreon is a lot more fun than I anticipated. I have lots of ideas for it, just need the time to execute.

I’m 42,000 words into Restraint (PE 4) and I’m predicting it’ll be around 100,000 words. This one is not quite as dark as the first three (quite possibly another reaction to the last few months. The darker real life gets, the fluffier I write. Maybe. If I could ever be classified as “fluffy,” which I think is a stretch. More like Addams family dark rather than Ted Bundy dark.) I’ve been having fun with the research for Restraint though. It’s set in Seattle, which is a city that’s always fascinated me. In fact, Kate and I have tentative plans to move there for a couple years when the kids are in college, and before we go to England. Assuming the US still exists by then.

I’ve also got the second Long Fall of Night queued up and ready to begin as soon as Restraint is released. Honestly, I need to write it before what I’ve had plotted for 2 years now comes to pass and I get accused of taking advantage of sick and twisted times. It’ll be quite the roller coaster, for sure.

After that, I have a few ideas. There’s a possible Reaping Havoc 3, a PE spinoff with a character from Restraint (plus another spinoff from Consent with a couple of those characters), and then the beginning of a futuristic slave epic I’ve been kicking around for months now, tentatively called Genesis Rising. That one, I cannot wait to sink my teeth into, but the plot is slow in coming, and I’m taking my time with it so as not to force anything. It’ll be a flop if I don’t do it right. I’m also considering whether or not to make it a menage. I haven’t written a poly relationship in a long time, and never for more than a scene in a work I’ve published. I miss the dynamics of it, and I would love to explore all the facets of it again. It’s such a beautiful kind of love.

I’ve also been knitting and listening to audiobooks. I’ve got intentions of getting audio production going for my backlist in 2017, but that depends on a lot of factors, so I can’t make promises at this point. I wish I could, because I want to hear Gavin come to life in a bad way, but patience is the name of this game.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Trying to keep my head above water and hold on tight in these changing, somewhat troubled times. I’d love to report Casa Rose-Aaron smells of roses and freshly printed money and is filled with the sounds of books being written at a lightning pace, but the reality is much more mundane and less exciting.

I do want to know what you all have been up to, even if it’s not glamorous or exciting, or even if you think it sounds like complaints. You know what? We’re all in this together and can share strengths. So come sit by me. Tell me a little bit about your worlds and what you hope happens in the next few months. I’ve missed you guys.

Restraint (Power Exchange Book 4) or How This Disastrous Election Won’t Stop Me

I think I’m done reeling from the election results. I might have my balance back. Now, I’m rolling up my sleeves and ready to fight. I’m ready to take on those who want to see immigrants and Muslims and People of Color and LGBTQ people shuffled out of their country, into dark corners, or into some other kind of oblivion. President Trump is the dying gasp of a white patriarchy who can’t handle otherness, and while it may feel like a hurricane force wind right now, I’ve got lungs, too, and I plan to scream back. I will be like Lieutenant Dan, on the mast of a small ship riding stormy waves, screaming into the wind and the rain, “Is that all you got! Come on! Bring it!”

I will not go quietly into the closet/dark corners/oblivion like apparently half the voters in this country would like me and other marginalized groups to do. Nope. This is MY country, too and I absolutely refuse to be a doormat because these people have deemed my differences are not differences they can tolerate.

So much for America the melting pot.

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a 4th Power Exchange (this series has taught me to never say never. It keeps coming back so much I might as well make that the tagline). Ben of all people has been whispering to me, saying, “Hey, I have a story, too. Maybe I’m ready to let you tell it.” It has some legs, so I’ve tinkered out a plot and in the last couple weeks have gotten the first scene down amid a wedding, some serious personal strife that knocked me over like Hulk punching Thor, and this ugly, UGLY election. I cannot promise when Restraint will be released other than to say 2017. But it’s my foremost project, and is the one getting my attention. It may not go as fast as Consent did (4 months to write) or it may. The point is that I’m writing it and in the wake of heartbreaking, devastating news, I wanted to share with my people that maybe we still have things to look forward to. I know I still have a voice, and I plan to use it. I’m going to be getting louder. This is my way of saying I will not sit down, I will not shut up, and in fact, I will write about the love of people like me until I take my literal dying gasp. I will never quit.

So, as a promise to you all, I give you the first scene from Restraint, Power Exchange Book 4. I hope you like it and are excited Ben and Gavin have more to say. Click through to read on.

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DEFENSELESS Available for Pre-Order!

 

For a limited amount of time, get a special pre-order price of Defenseless, only $3.99 (regular price $5.99). Available now at Amazon! Get it now while you can!

Title: Defenseless
Author: AJ Rose
Length: approx. 145,000 words, 438 pgs
Genre: m/m, bisexual romance, legal drama, contemporary
Publication Date: September 13, 2016

About Defenseless:
From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.
——

Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.

But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.

While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.

With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.

 

 

 

 

Defenseless Cover Reveal

I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and the day’s finally here. The cover for my new release, Defenseless, is up at Diverse Reader and you can enter to win a pre-release copy, one of three I’m giving away. The book will be released in September. Sooooooon.

Let me know what you think!

Reaping Fate Cover Reveal (and a Sale)

For a limited time, Reaping Havoc (Reaping Havoc Book 1) is available at the following retailers for $0.99:

Amazon:  mobi format
All Romance Ebooks: 
mobi, epub, pdf
Barnes & Noble: 
 epub
iTunes:  epub
Page Foundry:  epub

What is the reason for my generosity?

I’m so glad you asked! The reason is, you need to catch up on book one this week, because next week, dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnn…

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Tomorrow’s the Day!

Are you ready?

Reaping HavocNo one asked Mitch Seeker if he wanted to be a grim reaper. He didn’t sign up for the rumors, the lack of friends, or the erratic schedule. He doesn’t want to go through life watching people die. Especially not a man he loves. Mitch’s solution is simple—don’t fall in love. He’ll never have to explain why he doesn’t age or why he’s around death so often. Most of all, he will never be a widower.

But when his head is turned by world-class skier Nate Koehn, Mitch believes he may have the answer. If the soul attached to Nate is any indication, Mitch has found himself another reaper, in which case, his undeniable feelings don’t have to be suppressed. However, the spectral tag-a-long is only the beginning of Nate’s burdens. After a catastrophic loss, Nate is no stranger to grief and the hole it leaves behind.

The question they both must answer is loud and clear: is the pain of losing love worse than the pain of never having loved at all?

Ebook available November 12th on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and All Romance eBooks!

Q&A Giveaway

I asked you, dear reader, to send me your questions, whether for me or for characters in my books, and one lucky commenter would win an advanced copy of my upcoming release, Reaping Havoc, before anyone else could buy it. You came through for me, so now it’s my turn. As promised, here are the answers you’re all dying to know.

theartistryofthebipolarbrain:
The blurb for this says Mitch didn’t want to be a reaper. What would he have wanted instead? Why would someone WANT to be a reaper?

AJ: Mitch would have made a great teacher. He has a natural curiosity about the world and is pretty eager to be a part of it. Also, because he’s a reaper, he has to keep to himself or risk people finding out about him because of odd behavioral quirks. This lends to him feeling starved for human contact, so though he is a solitary soul, if he didn’t have to be, I think he’d have quite a lot of friends and would be good with mentoring people.

 

Helena Stone:
I know this is not a fair question, but I’m going to ask it anyway because I’m evil that way 🙂
If you had to pick one of your characters as the one who most resembles you, or you poured most of yourself into, who would it be?

AJ: There are elements of my experiences in all my characters. It’s difficult to write a book without something personal leaking into their personalities. I try to keep this to a minimum to avoid all my characters sounding the same, but my sense of humor lurks in them, my hot temper, my sense of justice and right and wrong. There’s not one character who is me, or most resembles me because I specifically avoid letting that happen. If I had to pick one it would be Gavin. I identify with his fairness and sense of duty the most.

 

Tanya Prophet:
I was wondering…. how do you choose the covers for your books?

AJ: I like dramatic covers that don’t tend to be busy, that quickly focus the eye to one element, and the rest of the cover serves to highlight that element. With the Power Exchange series, it was the rope. For Queers, it was the piano. My last three titles, I’ve hired a fabulous graphic designer named Elizabeth Mackey, whose work is breathtaking (I’m not speaking only about the work she’s done for me, but also for Kate Aaron, Kade Boehme, George Weir, Russell Blake, BG Kring, Suzie O’Connell, Nick Russell, Holly Spaulding and so many more). She’s incredibly easy to work with, and even when I don’t have a concept, she manages to find a vein of visual inspiration in what the book is about and runs with it. When she has a few mockups to look at, I choose the one that speaks to me the most, and then we tweak the wording, placement of title/author, fonts and such. It’s a process, but in the end, it has to stand out in a page full of cover thumbnails.

 

El @ Just Love:
I recently re-read “Power Exchange”, so I hope it’s okay to ask about that. Did you draw inspiration from people you know in real life for any of the characters, especially Cole, Myah, and the rest of Gavin’s family? I realized in re-reading it that as much as I love Gavin and Ben’s relationship, I also love all of the characters who support Gavin!

AJ: Of course it’s okay to ask about Power Exchange. I tend to have an idea of what each character’s major traits will be like in my head as I’m plotting, like if they’re a wallflower, if they’re kind of loud and brash, if they’re good humored and laid back. Once I know that, I troll through celebrity photographs looking for visual inspiration for some of the characters, picking people who not only resemble what I see in my head for the characters’ physical traits, but who also carry themselves in a manner consistent with the personality I’m going for in a specific character. Once I have that in place, the character comes to life in my head, and even if it takes me a couple chapters to get fully in their heads, once that initial visual inspiration is made, they get a voice and a face and that’s when my imagination goes into overdrive.

 

Andrea M:
I understand why it would be difficult for Gavin and Ben to resume their relationship as it was before the attack. They were gradually introducing new elements but does Ben ever want to get back to what they had in the beginning and how would Gavin feel about that? And will we see them again? Please?

Ben: Every relationship goes through its evolution organically, and those experiences shape not only the people involved as individuals, but who they are as a couple. Gavin and I would not feel how we do about each other without the past we’ve had together. Going back to how things were at the beginning wouldn’t fit who we are today, warts and all. Would I wish Gavin hadn’t suffered as he did at the hands of the Breath Play Killer, or being targeted by Alex Dennan? Absolutely. I’d save him all the pain I could. But I cannot deny we are closer because of those experiences. When you hurt and learn you can rely on a loved one, that love deepens despite the pain. Or even because of it. So no, I like who we are now. Our marriage has been hard won, and we earned every drop of sweat we’ve put into it. I believe Gavin feels the same.

AJ: Ben and Gavin are always going to be very dear to me. They were my first foray into the world of m/m (for a novel), and as such, will always be old friends. I have, however, decided to leave them alone. They may have a cameo, or extremely secondary role in any book I might write from that world. If we see them again, it’ll be in a minimal amount. I have ideas about two other characters from the third book, Consent, in that series, however. It’s in the writing queue.

 

TJ:
We know Gavin’s family but next to nothing about Ben’s family or his past. Where was Ben born and what is a favorite childhood memory? One more if I may … have Ben and Gavin thought about having children?

Ben: I was born in Seattle and lived there until I left for college. My father was a neurosurgeon and my mother was a sculptor. She worked with police departments in the Pacific Northwest on facial reconstruction cases, as well as the statues and pottery she made for a landscaping company. They had resigned themselves to being childless after years of fertility treatments, so by the time I was born—and yes, I was a surprise to them—they were both older. My father spent years working on neurological treatments for patients with mental disorders, but when I was in high school, he retired. The last years I was home, they were a constant presence, and when I left for Washington University in St. Louis, they sold their home and moved here. While I was in graduate school, they spent time traveling all over the world. On one of these trips, their plane crashed. It was a mechanical malfunction resulting from negligence, and the families of the passengers each received a hefty settlement. My parents were well off to begin with, and I have no other relatives, so the lawsuit basically set me up for a few lifetimes. I knew my father had hopes for me getting a PhD, so the first thing I did was move into their home to care for it myself, and finish school. In a way, I feel it’s my legacy to them, becoming a doctor—albeit of a different kind—and in a way, carrying on my father’s work, while also working with the police as a consultant in honor of my mother.

They taught me about compassion and finding what moves you in life, and while I wish like hell I had more time with them, they did right by me. I can only hope I’m doing right by them, now.

A favorite memory. Hmmm. My mother tried to teach me to throw a pot. Just a bowl or something for a small flower, I don’t remember. I ended up actually launching this blob of clay off the wheel and smacking a tree plantar she had just finished but had yet to fire. She loved the starburst pattern on the side of her plantar so much she carved it out and ended up carving the rest of the plantar with a stellar pattern, painted and fired it, and planted an ornamental tree in it. It was my tree and we named it Sonny.

As for children, maybe in a few years Gavin and I will want them, but right now, he’s happy teaching criminology and playing with his nieces. We have an idea for a project that keeps getting more airtime in our conversations, and it has to do with kids, but not how you might be thinking. We’ll see if it pans out.

 

deidremeyrick:
Which character, of all you’ve written, scared you the most either during conception or through the writing process, and why?

AJ: That’s tough to answer because none of them really scared me. Surprised me, inspired me, made me laugh out loud, absolutely. But the worst one of them could do is go off the script and push me to write the story the way they wanted to go with it, and I find those moments to be the best part of writing. Pure creation. Sure, it might wreak havoc on my plot, but I find there are always better details from listening to the characters than trying to shoehorn them into my idea of where to go. Ben was notorious for throwing in a wrench now and then, but I generally fell in love with him more when he did it.

 

 

jennysmum2000:
Hi Ben and Gavin, do you keep in touch with McKnight, I’d love to see him again.

Gavin: We do keep in touch with him. There are some plans afoot…

 

And the winner of the advanced copy of Reaping Havoc is… *dramatic music* Andrea M. Andrea, I will email you for your format of choice. Thank you all so much for participating!

Ask Me Stuff (Giveaway)

*taps mic* Is this thing on? *clears throat*

Facebook does this thing where they show you what you posted on this day in previous years, and I find it kinda funny sometimes to look back and see what I’ve done. Last year tomorrow, I became a full time writer. So that’ll be fun to see.

Today, however, I saw a Q&A post I’d done for a review site interview and giveaway, and one of the questions was about Gavin’s mindset in the process of realizing he was a sub. Because I was already in Gavin’s head with having just released Consent the month prior, I answered as Gavin. Someone in the comments asked if other characters I’ve written would be available to answer questions, and I said of course.

So here’s your chance. I’m doing another Q&A. You can ask me stuff, or you can direct your questions to a character in one of my books if you’re so inclined. I’ll be happy to answer them (as myself or the character involved) in an upcoming post, as well as giveaway a copy of Reaping Havoc to one lucky commenter.

Reaping HavocNo one asked Mitch Seeker if he wanted to be a grim reaper. He didn’t sign up for the rumors, the lack of friends, or the erratic schedule. He doesn’t want to go through life watching people die. Especially not a man he loves. Mitch’s solution is simple—don’t fall in love. He’ll never have to explain why he doesn’t age or why he’s around death so often. Most of all, he will never be a widower.

But when his head is turned by world-class skier Nate Koehn, Mitch believes he may have the answer. If the soul attached to Nate is any indication, Mitch has found himself another reaper, in which case, his undeniable feelings don’t have to be suppressed. However, the spectral tag-a-long is only the beginning of Nate’s burdens. After a catastrophic loss, Nate is no stranger to grief and the hole it leaves behind.

The question they both must answer is loud and clear: is the pain of losing love worse than the pain of never having loved at all?

The Details: Reaping Havoc will be available Thursday, November 12 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and iTunes. I will accept questions until 8pm CDT Thursday, November 5th. Over the weekend, I will post the answers and choose the winner, who will receive the book before it’s available to the general public. Wanna be the first to read it? Ask me (or any of my characters) a question for a chance to win! Comment on this blog post with questions, or send them to my email address ajrosefiction@gmail.com. Either way gets you entered.

Comments are now closed.

Cover Reveal: Reaping Havoc

Coming November 2015 to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and iTunes.

Health care reform is dead. Concept photo.

No one asked Mitch Seeker if he wanted to be a grim reaper. He didn’t sign up for the rumors, the lack of friends, or the erratic schedule. He doesn’t want to go through life watching people die. Especially not a man he loves. Mitch’s solution is simple—don’t fall in love. He’ll never have to explain why he doesn’t age or why he’s around death so often. Most of all, he will never be a widower.

But when his head is turned by world-class skier Nate Koehn, Mitch believes he may have the answer. If the soul attached to Nate is any indication, Mitch has found himself another reaper, in which case, his undeniable feelings don’t have to be suppressed. However, the spectral tag-a-long is only the beginning of Nate’s burdens. After a catastrophic loss, Nate is no stranger to grief and the hole it leaves behind.

The question they both must answer is loud and clear: is the pain of losing love worse than the pain of never having loved at all?