Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Patric Michael is my Balthazar...

Patric Michael is far more than a wizard with words.

He's an extraordinary teacher, and a lovely, gruff, solid to the core man who makes the world a better place simply by being in it. I find he has a delightful, acerbic wit that has made me shout with laughter more than a few times.Sometimes with my coffee still in my mouth, and well, let's just be glad I was quick enough to turn my head before the computer was bathed in java.

So he's all that, a bag of chips, and a thousand thousand things I will never know.

Because Patric plays some things close to the chest.

He doesn't believe in unnecessary whining. Actually, I think if you ask him he'd say all whining is unnecessary.

Patric took me under his sturdy Papa-Bird wing for no reason that I can discern, and let me ask a hundred and four idiotic questions, and taught me how to see my own work critically.

And he made it fun.



I'm just his humble apprentice. There will be times I get it right, and live my life in a way that would make him proud. There will be times I get it wrong, and wail and bitch and blame the world for my problems. Times I don't see my work, or myself clearly.

That's all me.

When I get it right, you can be sure it is because I've listened to the little Patric on my shoulder. He dishes out more than just lessons on the art and craft of writing. He teaches me to be a better person.

Patric Michael is far more than a wizard with words.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Manic Monday: Eliot's take on April

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,                            10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,                                  20
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.                              30
     Frisch weht der Wind
     Der Heimat zu
     Mein Irisch Kind,
     Wo weilest du?
"You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
"They called me the hyacinth girl."
- Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,                                    40
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Od' und leer das Meer.

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.                                                 50
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sweet Sunday Excerpt: an unedited peep at my new m/f short; When in Rome

A beep sounded outside Carol’s apartment before she got a chance to finish her first cup of coffee. Carol hated having to face the world without adequate caffeine intake! Her morning cuppa was…well, her shield against the big bad world.
Gah! Just what I wanted…to have to face today without my normal 12-20oz of liquid love! Cripes, I hope the shuttle driver the law firm sent will stop by somewhere I can get a to-go cup from. I really don’t want to have to pay airport prices for coffee!
When Carol stepped outside, juggling her luggage while trying to keep a hand free to lock up with she crashed into a black garbed wall of muscle. She felt her laptop bag start to slip off her shoulder, made a wild grab for it and nearly fell on her butt. A huge hand wrapped around her upper arm completely. Carol tilted her head back and then took a half step back to see the face of the man towering over her.
“Easy there, piccolina! You would be Miss Caruso, si?”
His voice rolled over her rich with a pronounced Italian accent. It had a dark rasp that sent chills racing down Carol’s spine despite the humid warmth of the morning. She was unable to repress the shiver the sound caused. His dark eyes seemed to burn into her, demanding an answer.
“I—I’m Carol Caruso, yes…are you the shuttle driver?”
Carol repressed the urge to smack herself on the forehead.
Stuttering like a social incompetent was so not the first impression I would choose to give a man as beautiful as this one.
A niggling thread of caution screamed in her head to run. The deeply hazel gaze locked with hers seemed to push that voice of reason into the far distance. Carol’s limbs felt heavy, weighted down by the mesmerizing combination of the sound of his deep baritone voice, the feel of his big hand slipping caressingly down the bare skin of her arm and the riveting look of intensity in his wild hazel eyes.
Strong white teeth flashed in a sudden smile, transforming his deeply tanned face from merely handsome to something Carol didn’t even have a word for. It hit her like a solid blow to her midsection. Her lips parted on a rapidly indrawn breath. Carol waited with her breath suspended for his answer.
“No, piccolina, I am not the shuttle driver. I am Alessandro Feliano. Mr. Jacobsen told you I would be meeting with you this morning, si? Ah, perdonami, ach, you say forgive me, yes? Sometimes the English, she slips away from me!”
His eyes were lit with some internal fire, the greens growing darker as he spoke and the gold flecks seeming to almost glow with light. The early morning sun shone brightly over his shoulder, dazzling Carol’s eyes further. She cudgeled her recalcitrant brain into formulating a sensible response.
“Oh! Yeah, ah, he did mention that I would be meeting with you. I—I have to leave for the airport though Mr. Feliano. I assumed we would be meeting there. Oh dear. I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to follow my shuttle there—”
He placed his forefinger against her mouth in a shushing motion. Before Carol could stop herself, her tongue had slipped out to touch the tip of that silencing digit. The light in his eyes flared bright, and he began to lean down toward her. Carol felt the skin at the back of her neck prickle as a frisson of excitement passed over her. She stumbled back another half step. Alessandro’s eyelids fell, screening his gaze. A shudder rippled through his tall, thickly muscled frame. When he opened his eyes fully again the calmer hazel of earlier had returned.
“Si, piccolina, I go to the airport with you. Mr. Jacobsen sends me to represent your interests and translate for you in Italia. You understand? I go with you.”
Carol struggled to make sense of what he’d said. The warm, faintly salty taste of his finger spilled from her mouth to fill her head, pushing out all logic and reason. His large hand descended slowly to rest at his side. Carol’s tongue swiped across her lips, seeking more of his flavor. Horribly revealing words fell out of her mouth the moment she let her lips part.
“You taste like salt and sin.”
Alessandro shuddered again. This time however, he stepped back away from Carol. The air immediately felt noticeably cooler. His smile this time seemed almost angry.
“Come piccolina, we must get to the airport.”
With that he stepped back again, sweeping his arm out in a strangely old-world gesture for her to precede him down the stairs. Carol stooped to pick up her suitcases.
“Leave them, cara. The driver is coming for them already.”
Carol blinked. This was the best fantasy she’d come up with yet. Alessandro was exactly the ideal she’d been striving to create in her head. Sheesh. The guy was actually better than any ideal she’d dreamed up. He looked like sex-on-a-stick and oozed Old World charm, smelled like positively edible man and tasted like sin and salt.
“Oh. Well then, ah, oh yes…I’ll just go with you.”   

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Introducing Me

Pennames are important. They are a big part of an author's 'brand' as it were. They can be a shield that guards, a cloak of mystery, an gentle misdirection...or the unvarnished truth. I've opted for the latter.


Because I believe in what I write. Because I've got a pair of big girl panties, and I'm not afraid to use them! You know, when someone is mean or petty or quite rightly gives me a crap review (though I hope it never happens-lol!) because I let something go to print (literal or e-print) too soon.

Er, come to think of it, I may need some more of those big girl panties. I heard Walmart's having a sale on them next week. Think I'll stock up! Cause, you know, I'm about to meet my editor.
*nervous laugh*
Yeah, I'm shaking just a tad in my size 11's, but I do have the big girl panties on!

We all need those big boy/girl underpants from time to time, don't we? When we've gotta be where the buck stops, and the only place to point a finger is at ourselves. Meh. I'd much rather go jump in a puddle.


It's fun to jump in puddles!

So, to reel this blog back to the direction it started out in...we're talking about the name that goes on the book cover... and, just as when I performed my music at live gigs, I'm going by Cherie Noel. It's part of the name my mother gave me...and that lady? Had darn good taste. And, eh, I like my name. It's worn all soft and comfy in all the right spots. I don't wanna go through wearing a new one in.

Right then. Nice to meet you.  I'm Cherie Noel, and I write homoerotic romance among other things. I'm proud of everything I write, because as my dear friend Jo Snodgrass would say, I put my blood and snot and tears and heart into each and every piece. So I'm still the same me. Because pennames are important.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Publishing, Pennames, and Pushing the Product

Being a writer is surprisingly complicated. I mean, we all get the writing part of it. But we don't necessarily see the rest of the process. And (whoo-boy!) let me tell you, it's quite a process!! Because just writing the story isn't enough. It's the first step, and perhaps the most critical, because all the other steps hang from it, but still, only the first step.

Next comes the finding of folk to help you polish your story, and the begging of knowledge from already published authors...I was fortunate to run into a whole slew of helpful folk over at ZA Maxfield and Ethan Day's Yahoo Group Loops. Some editors, some authors, some avid readers. They all helped where they could.

Oi! Now we start getting to the rough part. Letting someone critique the story. Ouch. If you're very lucky, as I was, you'll find one or two folk who will hold no punches, giving you the unvarnished truth and encouraging you to push through the pain of realizing your story/characters aren't born in fully fledged perfection.


So you get that. Then those slave drivers *rolls eyes* expect you to learn to critique your own writing! Jeez! Double ow!!

Right then. That bit's done, and you come to the place where I, shaking in my size 11's subbed my first story. And oh...the burning sting of that first rejection. And the second. And the encouragement to keep picking myself and my stories up, letting those blows strengthen us. Heh.

And then.


Glory and Snoopy Dances abound!! A publisher, a really good publisher says...eh, maybe. If you can fix such and such I'll give it another look. You have to listen hard here. Very hard. Because those revise and resub letters? Are things of beauty. They say, listen child, I see something of worth here. Let's polish this together. So if you hear that, and polish what your asked to polish...well I got a contract offer.


Still not the end though. Revise again, and get to work on your networking and promoting and hey, what's your penname...

Er. Huh?

Penname? Well, how about this one? Smack/pow...that one's too hard to remember even if it does make you giggle.

Okie dokie. Umm well, this one's short. C.N. Lee.
But...not sure I like it. *pouts*

Well, cripes kid, figure it out!!

And the emails to editors, and the...

oh SHIT!!

...did you say I need to be my own advertisment agency?

Yep. Cause as good a the book is? And as better as it's gonna get with top-notch editing, and as awesome as the cover will be...

In the end, the product isn't the book. It's the author.


So yeah.

Being a writer is surprisingly complicated.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I got a contract! It came in my email yesterday, sneaking in all quiet-like when I truly least expected it. I'm a little shell shocked--in a good way--right now.


Pretty soon you'll see my name up at MLR as one of their authors.


Just wanted to let y'all know...I got a contract!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sweet Sunday Excerpt: The Water Nymph's Tale (An UnEdited Excerpt)



“Is there a point?”
“Is there reason?”
“Is there love? Is there still hope? I’m…lost. And, that sucks.”
The glare from his computer screen lit Tim’s still handsome face, highlighting the lines of fatigue and sorrow etched deeply around his mouth. He recalled when he’d been a beautiful young man, and the wide world was filled with endless opportunity. That seemed so very many years ago now. The once vibrant green of his eyes reflected the light back dully now. His lids grew heavy as he mused about the fateful winter hiking trip with his best friend Josh that had ended so badly for him. He’d been losing feeling in his feet and hands so gradually in the months before the trip that he’d been unaware of how bad it had gotten.
In the glow of the monitor the fluttering of his lashes as he slipped first into sleep, and then into a dream seemed almost surreal. Tim floated in a grey state of semi-consciousness for a brief time before he fell into the same dream he’d had countless times since that trip.
It had started in the hospital. They’d given him a diagnosis of frostbite when Josh managed to get him there. He’d been optimistic at first, thinking it would heal in a while. Then the gangrene had set in, and nothing the doctors did seemed to slow it down. For a while he’d actually been in danger of dying, sliding into a coma state as his body waged war with his spirit. That was when the dream had started.  It was always the same, starting with his face, and the pain pouring from his soul to permeate the very air around him. Across time and space his sorrow echoed to resonate in a scrying pool set in the center of the royal compound of the water nymphs. A father and child pair sat watching the play of emotion unfold across his anguish filled face. Their sound of their voices would sometimes still resonate in his ears as he woke.                       
“Father, he’s so alone. He-he’s one of us, isn’t he?”
“Yes child, he belongs to us.”
A shining tear splashed from the child’s eye onto the edge of the marble basin they gazed into. It hung shimmering in the light for a moment, a crystalline sculpture of unearthly beauty. Then the tear was pulled inexorably downward to shatter against the floor. It embedded itself into the floor, adding to the pattern there, altering it ever so slightly. The father glanced down at it, nodding his head in approval. It was well done, glittering as only the true gift of a grieving heart could. His attention turned back to the conversation, drawn by the flute-like sound of his child’s voice.  
“Why do we leave him there father? That place is so very dark, and he is grievously wounded.”
“Oh child, you break my heart with your simple questions. He stays both because he has forgotten how to come home, and because he is waiting.”
“What could be worth waiting in that awful place, Father?’
“Shush child, and watch the pool. It is a story told and re-told from the beginning of time. Some say, and I believe them to be right, that even when all the stars have fallen from the sky, there will still and forever be the echo of The Water Nymph’s Tale.
Obediently the child turned back to devote his full attention to the scrying pool. His father noted the changes quickly taking place in his once gender neutral child. He didn’t think the boy had noticed yet. Soon his rapidly maturing body would force him to acknowledge that those changes were taking place. King Leander wasn’t sure what would happen at that point. He hoped that his child—his son now—was up to the challenges coming his way. He had done everything he could to prepare him.
It was so hard for their people to come of age. It happened after they caught their first glimpse of their souls-mate. For some the volatile changes were too bewildering, and they sought the solace of abandoning their mate so that they might return to the comfortable simplicity of childhood. The king sighed to himself, and turned back to the viewing pool as well. Only time would tell which path his child…his son now…would tread.
“What do you think of him, child…aside from his sadness?”
The young man at his side started in surprise. He glanced up at his father, and then back to the man pictured in the pool. He swallowed audibly.
“He’s…he’s very beautiful father. Like the sea-glass they have there.”
The king nodded. The tight feeling in his chest eased a bit. His son had set his foot firmly upon the path that would eventually lead him to his mate.
Tim would startle awake at this point. He never got to see what the younger man looked like as he fully matured. Once the child had become a young girl, and Tim had woken with tears streaming down his face. It only happened once, and Tim was fiercely glad. He didn’t like the tight hotness he’d felt in his throat and behind his eyes that day. It…he didn’t like it at all. The dreams with the young man left him feeling soothed. They came more often as he got sicker. Once the doctors stabilized him they went back to being infrequent. Tim took to writing them in a small journal he kept at his bedside. Sometimes, when his day had been particularly trying, he’d pull the journal out and read the entries over and over, trying to recapture the warm, safe feeling he got from the dreams.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Getting Steamy in the Big Easy

Today is a wonderful day. It's rainy, and I woke up with a horrific sinus headache, and...it's still a great day. A whole lot of that can be attributed to the fact that I opened my email this morning to find that I had won 2nd place in a contest. I won the cost of my registration to the Gayromlit retreat in New Orleans this coming October. If you wanna check out what the retreat is all about, here's a link: http://www.gayromlit.com/

The contest was put on over at Goodreads, in a fabulous group I belong to called M/M Romance. here's a link for that as well. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/20149.M_M_Romance

What a cool group it is to  belong to, and not just for the prizes. I...geez, it's kinda too much to explain. Just take my word for it and go check them out, okay? You won't be sorry. Cause it's brilliant.

So. I won. Squee! Squee! Squee!

Color me estatic!

I am so thrilled about this I'll probably be giddy with joy for days and days.

So. Thank you to those who came up with the contest. Thank you to those who donated the prizes. Thank you to those who voted for my essay.

Yea! Today is a wonderful day.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

An Ordinary Hero

The best heros are ordinary.

They ease into rooms quietly. No fanfare. No fuss. No cape waving majestically in the breeze. They often shun the limelight, at least in regards to their good works. Should you be so bold as to call one of them a hero to his or her face...well, these folk will probably chuckle as they assure you that they are not heros.


Straight from the horse's mouth and all that, yes?


They really are extraordinary people. They're the ones who return lost wallets with all the cash intact. Who shovel out their elderly neigbors walkway without fail. Take the garbage cans to the curb every week without being asked because they know you have a bad back or an early class, or some reason that makes it just plain difficult for you to do it. They stop to let you cross the road as a pedestrian and leave you room to merge as a driver.

They take in foster kids for over 30 years and say it's no big deal that they've changed the life of every one of those kids for the better.

And they donate a month's worth of their portion of a book's sales to help victims of the recent tragic events in Japan.

This week I'm saluting Alan Chin, author of The Lonely War. If you've got time today or tomorrow, pick up a copy. Easy, peasy, click on the picture of his book for a link to buy it. You'll get a fabulous read (better get some facial tissues as well, cause you will cry!) and get to feel good about following in Alan's footsteps by doing your bit to help the people in Japan. I think his deal with his publisher to donate the money is only good through Friday, so get to stepping there my friends.

Trust me, you will love the sense of empowerment you gain from knowing little ole you can help.

You'll also gain proof positive of another gem of truth.

The best heros are ordinary.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tag Line Trouble

So I've come to realize that I need a tag line. Some little catch phrase that folks can hear and immediately think; I know that author!! I'm a little stumped as to what it might be though...Gah. Maybe I'll run a contest/open a suggestion box. I could really use some help joggling a good one out of my brain!!