Tag Archives: contemporary M/M erotic romance

Villains with Vaginas

I was on social media the other day (shocking, I know) and stumbled over a thread that piqued my interest. Someone had read a book in which women seemed to be vilified to the point of misogyny. The disappointed reader said it was a theme she’d been running into frequently and numerous other readers chimed in that they had the same issue with MM books. I haven’t read the book in question, so I can’t speak to its content, but women being portrayed negatively in gay romance is hardly a new phenomenon. Readers have been complaining about it for years.

When I first began writing MM, rumblings about women being cast as conniving harpies abounded on review sites–every female in nearly every book was pure evil. Or there were no females in books, in other cases.

Female sorcerer with two troll beasts

Long ago, I vowed to be super conscientious about how my female characters came across. And then I largely washed my hands of the worry. Seriously, I’m the girl who likes to joke that women can’t do X because their vaginas are so cumbersome they get in the way. I used to go to parties in HS to challenge dudes to mercy competitions just to prove what a bad ass I was. Well, and to drink (shot for shot with the guys, of course). Yeah, also to get laid because treating men the way I perceived they’d treated women since the dawn of time–like a piece of meat to be used–was my shtick, I’m rather ashamed to say (they rarely minded, for the record, so I guess I won’t feel too guilty).

My point is, I’m not the girl who thinks women are in any way inferior to men (really–why would any woman think that?). I mean, we squeeze squalling 8 lb beings from our bodies and then we’re like, give me some fucking pizza and let me walk around or I’ll drown you in breast milk. If anything, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder when it comes to how undervalued women are.

Yet, whenever I see these posts, I get paranoid.

I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. I am woman, with better plumbing, carpentry, and electrical skills than most men I know. Hear me roar. I won’t even mention my chest hair (I blame gin).

Oh, but people were complaining about the evil fictional ex-wife! The evil mother-in-law!

Well, I’ve written a character mid-divorce in a nasty custody battle. Yes, his wife came off witchy, but she’d given her best years to a guy and wanted to keep her kid. No, she wasn’t nice to her soon-to-be ex-husband, but I’ve seen more ugly divorces than I can count, and I don’t think a bit of reality is untoward. Guaranteed, if I’d been writing from the ex-wife’s POV, Gio would have looked like a total cobnobbler.

Not that anyone has accused me of defaming women. But the conversation makes me rethink every female character I’ve ever written. Was she too bitter? Did I make all women look bad by writing one woman going through a shitastic stage in her life? Should I never write female characters I wouldn’t want to be friends with IRL? Should I never write a female as an antagonist for fear of being labeled a misogynist?

I have more awesome women than bitchy women in my books, when I do the math. Probably equal amounts antagonistic men to antagonistic women. Realistically, someone needs to be the adversary in contemporary romance.

And then I just wrote a rather unlikable mother-in-law(ish)…

Maybe exes and MILs are overdone at this point. Maybe that’s the problem, in which case, contemporary MM may be overdone too because, well, as I know I’ve complained before, we can’t just pull a (sexless) monster out of our asses to make a villain.

Now, is Greg’s mom in my latest book (Balancing Act~~Coming soon to a website near you! Shameless plug!) absolute evil? No. Not even remotely. Matter of fact, she’s based on a woman I happen to adore. Is she a horse-pill to swallow? Oh, you bet your ass. On the flip side, Kyrie’s mom is a love, she just doesn’t get major screen time in this book. Same for his cool friend, Liv.

Nice can be boring, TBH. Suspense doesn’t come from that totally humorous Comic-Con scene I keep contemplating. A book needs to move forward and then get kicked in the teeth to make it step back. It needs tension. Bad guys and bad girls.

Sigh. No one was complaining about my characters, so I know I shouldn’t get all twitchy about this. And, yes, if I happen to come across a book that makes me think the author hates women, I’ll get way fucking twitchier, but I hate how this conversation makes me think twice about using female characters at all. Much like complaints about authors writing persons of color incorrectly make me nervous about just writing any damn character that comes to mind.

I don’t want to shy away from female characters–or any characters. Occasionally, I even want to write a hard-nosed bitch. Just as sometimes I want to write a psychotic would-be murderer who happens to have a penis. Neither one makes me a misogynist or a misandrist.

I guess I’ll just keep reminding myself of that and follow wherever my characters lead. No fear. After all, they’re in charge–even if that means they come off a little cunty sometimes.

Hey, don’t we all?

-Kimber

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If Rain Is What You Want #editorsblock

So, November is going full steam ahead and I am full stop on my NaNo project. Hardly surprising. I always plan to fail (even if I don’t fail to plan). Thing is, I finished my last project at the beginning of the month, and after a couple of weeks letting it simmer I’m always anxious to dive back into the polishing business.

Oh, and it was going so smoothly. Seems I’d already re-read the first half a couple of times as I’d gone back to add/change scenes later on. The editing was breezy. I’d also had a much easier time writing that first half. At the halfway point, though, I hit the wall and my editing slowed to three pages in two hours. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. It wasn’t that it was so poorly written, it just was so not perfectly executed. Something was off.

It made sense. That spot was the same wall I’d started slamming my head into during the writing process (the first in a number of walls). It’s the wall that slowed me to a crawl and had me doubting whether or not I was wasting my time on this project; a sad scene and subsequent sex scene that had me thinking maybe I’m all set writing smut for now. Maybe I need a new genre, because I just don’t want to make this happen.

Yup, this book has been a toothpuller, but I’ve had a tough time trying to put a finger on what wasn’t working. For one, the subject matter is somewhat darkish–and I love dark, don’t get me wrong–but it’s been hard to balance the dark with romance and have it be believable. Or maybe my version of believable involves not so much sex because my one MCs has more issues than Time Magazine, and believable isn’t romantic. But wait, there is romance. And there’s even sex. It just isn’t dripping off the pages. Sometimes I get the feeling a lot of readers want wall to wall sex. You know, except for the readers who hate it.

The scene I got to today was a sad one, but my MCs are more on the fringes of the sadness–close so it affects them, but it isn’t their tragedy to own, more to watch and empathize with. Right on the heels of that is a sex scene (more or less–those are rather sparse and slow building in this book, too, which is another reason I keep wondering if I’m only screwing myself here. God knows my MCs aren’t doing much of it).

But I’m currently reading Josh Lanyon’s book on writing MM romance, and there was a little blip about how sex when people are physically injured is dumb (paraphrasing here, and no, that is not the case in my book, and yes, it is dumb) and another blip about how surviving a near death experience can be bonifying (again, paraphrasing, and also making up words). This is closer to what’s going on in my book. No, my guys don’t almost die in that particular scene, but there is a pall of death, I guess, that clouds most of the book (I know I’m really selling it here. Admit it–you’re dying to read this book! Dying. Tee hee.). Survival is a key theme, and for that reason I think I was able to twist my original scene around so it works. I think. I hope.

Of course, that’s only one wall. Plenty more where that came from. I’ll be lucky if I finish my first pass this week and then get back to dropping more words in my pathetically bereft NaNo bucket as planned.

Anyway, stay tuned for next time when I second-guess my work some more and admit to completely flunking NaNo most shitastically (told you I was planning to fail).

Oh, and enjoy this song. It’s perfect for my current editing WIP playlist. Per-fucking-fect.


Double Takes Review Round-Up

Wow, I’ve been spreading my love on a bunch of other blogs lately, but ignoring my own little baby over here. 😥

Well, as my Double Takes blog tour rolls along, I figured I’d accumulate links to DT’s reviews. Since they don’t all necessarily end up in one spot, I figured I’d make it easy for anyone wondering.

Here are the highlights from Amazon reviewers:

“While Gio finds himself falling for Lance behind the scenes, he has to pretend to be falling for Kyrie, a cute twenty something college student, in front of the scenes. Kyrie is studying acting, so he puts his skills to good use in front of the camera. The rest is a great story, well played out. The editing is spot on, no typos anywhere. Oh and did I mention there is a dog? If you are a fan of MM stories, please do yourself a favor and get this one. You won’t be disappointed.” 5 Stars from Tamela Gibson

“With near-flawless prose that sparkles with wit and heat, the author leads us hand in hand with Gio as he tries to keep his world from completely crashing down around his ears. The author never makes it easy for Gio, and his soul searching to find the real person under all the rock and roll glitter makes him all too human. As Gio sheds his old self for the new, he finds a new love, Lance, but Gio is not the only one who has past mistakes to account for. The author pulls out all the stops as their hearts and worlds collide.” 5 Stars from J.A. Matthews

“It was well written and actually edited so typo’s were non-existent. Not your typical cookie cutter rocker romance. I liked it as a sequel. Read the first book too!” 4 Stars from Mary

And on Amazon.co.uk:

“Since reading Forever is now I feel like I had been waiting forever for the second book in Ms Vale’s series to come out and this does not disappoint. It was a book that was filled with laughter, tears, misunderstandings (Kyrie and Greg), hot scenes between both MCs and a lovely twist that I did not expect.

As described Gio is in the middle of a divorce when the producers of the show wants him to get a boyfriend for the camera – enter Kyrie (gorgeous, funny and sexy to boot that he did grabs some of the scenes from Gio). Gio them meets Lance who knew who and what he wanted, the scene where he first kisses Gio made him open his eye really wide as to what he wanted – Lance.

The two MCs bounced off of each other really well with how they communicated together until the end when I had tears in my eyes (no spoiler included but you need to read) when Lance told Gio who he really was and what he had done (keeping you intrigued now).

Now it is a waiting game for number three to see just how Ms Vale brings together Kyrie and Greg and how funny I can see it will be with hopefully some of the Drama that is Kyrie.” 5 Stars from Bobbie Walker

Meanwhile, on On Top Down Under:

“Double Takes is a really enjoyable book. I really did liked Gio and Lance, individually and as a couple. The sex was hot without saturating every Double Takes Quote 2second page and the plot was very good. I also REALLY liked the occasional dirty talking from both guys –  the sex in the gym shower was mmm, mmm, mmm. I also thought Kyrie was a hoot. I would have loved more of him to be honest. If Kimber Vale writes another in the series, and I hope she does, I would love to see the flamboyant Kyrie and the uptight Greg get a book. Oh yes, there is a very interesting relationship right there.” 4.5 Stars from Kazza K.

From Susan of The Blogger Girls:

“So all in all, if you love rocker stories with a twist than I would highly recommend K Vales “Double Takes”. It’s sexy, funny, a little sad, a little surprising, a lot sexy, and a unique story. Loved the fake boyfriend, he was divine and fabulous; loved the twist at the end with Lance; and loved that the ex-wife and Gio were able to settle without destroying their son.” 4 Stars

From Jackie of The Novel Approach:

“The last fifteen percent of this book is totally shocking and fast moving. Very rarely does an author completely blindside me with a plot twist, but Kimber Vale totally got me this time. This book had me laughing out loud in parts, gasping in shock and crying my eyes out.

I loved Forever is Now, but I believe that Gio’s story eclipsed that book completely. I cannot wait to see what is next for these rockers. I would highly recommend y’all joining me on the ride.” 4.5 Stars

———

Double Takes is on sale over on Amazon (for whatever reason) so pick it up while the gettin’ is good (a savings of $1.17 good, that is).

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And don’t forget to enter my $25 gift card giveaway! RIGHT HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Kimber

 


The Spring Fling Blog Hop #Giveaway

Sepia Shot of a Young Kissing Couple.Happy spring!  Few words are sweeter on my fingertips after the long, hard winter we had. I probably say that every year. They always seem to go on and on, and I know parts of the country have been bent over and slammed harder than the North East, but still…

Adios, winter. Don’t let the Green Man stab you in the back on the way out.

How about a bunch of amazing prizes to celebrate the changing of the season? Hell, yeah, we’ve got ’em!

For my personal giveaway, I’m going to get out my crystal ball and look into the future. April 28, 2014, to be specific. That’s the day my next release, Double Takes, comes out.

That’s also the day I will send an e-copy of said book to a random person who adds it to their Goodreads: Want To Read shelf. That’s right, peeps. Win it before you can buy it! Sweet, right? Click over and add Double Takes, and you are in!  I’ll pick a winner via Random.org on 3/25.

Double Takes-highresSeriously? I could stare at this cover all day. I’d only need a drool rag on occasion.

Blurb:

Ah, the life of a rock star. Everyone thinks it’s nothing but sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Not for Giovanni Savale.

For the lead singer of Three Deaf Mice, a band that reached its pinnacle in the late nineties, it’s nothing but an ugly divorce with a custody battle, money trouble, and now the nightmare exposure of starring in a reality television show. When his producer decides to cash in on an infamous interview Gio did years ago, and give the self-confessed bisexual rocker an onscreen boyfriend, things really hit the fan. Gio is certain his sexual experimentation back in his drug-abusing days meant nothing—after all he’s been married for nine years, clean and sober for nearly as long, and he has a son. And Gio is not remotely attracted to Kyrie, the funny, flamboyant actor they choose for his love interest. Of course, Lance Garrett, the mysterious and sexy owner of the local antique shop, Double Takes, is a whole different story. The man has Gio planning out a future he never imagined. With the threat of losing all custody of his ten-year-old son, ghosts from the past returning for revenge, and the cameras rolling, can Gio keep his head above water and his heart from getting broken?

****

To celebrate my coming release (that sounds dirty, huh?) here’s a teaser from Double Takes to whet your appetite.

————-

“How much more do you need?” Lance’s face was stone serious.

“For what? You want to rent a sailboat and escape for a week? I got it covered.” He held up the paper to prove it.

“I want you out of this show. What’s left to pay back your advance?”

“Hmmm.” Gio glanced down again, disappointment warring with common sense. “Shit. I guess it’s just the fifty K they advanced me when I signed on for next season. I have maybe half that socked away still. Put a chunk of my initial payment into buying Christine out of the condo, and then Marco’s school … it was spent before I got it…” His voice trailed off as he looked up to see Lance bending over his desk. Good Lord, the man was temptation personified. The sound of paper tearing accompanied Lance standing straight. He turned and handed Gio a check for twenty thousand more than the printout in Gio’s hand.

“Does that work?” Lance took Gio’s fingers and pressed the paper into his palm.

“No. I mean, yeah, it would, but I can’t take your money. It’s only another week or two of filming. A little more tape with Kyrie, and then we break.” Gio paused to think it through. “Although, if I pay back my advance, I should be off the hook for the additional filming since, technically, we were done with this season.” He shook his head. “Maybe we can book a couple local shows, and I can scrape enough together—buy my freedom before work on season two starts. Or see if the bank’ll give me a line of credit on the house.” Not fuckin’ likely without a dime of equity. Gio tried to hand it back.

“Take it.”

This felt wrong. He was always the provider; never took a dollar from anyone unless he’d earned it. “I can’t, Lance.”

Lance stepped toward him and shook his head stiffly, his greenish gaze skewering Gio. “This is not for you. This is me being completely selfish.”

Gio frowned, mesmerized by Lance’s moving mouth despite his reservations.

“I don’t want to be jerking off in front of a computer screen when you’re a few miles down the road—as much fun as it’s been. I don’t want to see you kissing anyone else on my TV. I don’t wanna miss you like I do.” His palms covered Gio’s cheeks. “This isn’t for you. It’s for me.”

Gio hissed in a breath as he reached one hand behind Lance’s head while his other grabbed the guy’s hip and pulled their bodies flush. Their mouths crashed together, warm lips and steel wool cheeks pulling hungrily, grappling for purchase. Gio sucked Lance’s hot tongue into his mouth, groaning as his dick swelled at the familiar taste of his lover while his hand on Lance’s neck crushed their lips closer.

“God.” Lance shuddered as Gio bit a rough trail across his scruffy cheek and down his neck, Gio’s tongue soothing the sting his need couldn’t bridle. He grabbed Lance’s cock through his jeans, fingers reaching possessively under his denim-clad sac.

“Fuck.” Lance’s voice hitched in time with Gio’s rough hands all over his erection. “Do we have time for this?”

Gio pulled his mouth off Lance’s collarbone and glanced at his watch. “Five minutes to fuck you,” he said in a growl. “You want it?”

“Not long enough but I’ll take it.” Lance began to unbutton his pants with one hand as his other opened a drawer behind his desk.

Gio turned, kicked the office door closed, and twisted the lock. He flipped open his fly and released his painfully hard cock as he walked back toward Lance.

With one hand on his desk, Lance reached lubed fingers back to grease his hole. A light trail of flame-kissed fur led the path down to his tight, glistening entrance, and his slick fingertip teased the spot hypnotically. Gio bit his lip as raw animal desire tore through him. He grabbed the rubber on the desk and had it opened and on in a matter of seconds.

“Look out.” Gio’s voice was gruff, demanding, as he pushed a hand down on Lance’s back and aimed his dick with the other. Lance’s palms slapped the surface of the desk and his cheek followed as Gio surged inside.

——-

This hop has got some fantastic stuff free for the Rafflecopterin’!

The Grand Prizes are:
One Kindle Fire–Donated by Blushing Books!
One $75 Gift Card to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble)–Donated by Jane!
One $25 Starbucks Gift Card–Donated by Sue Lyndon!
One $25 Gift Card to Blushing Books–Donated by Patty Devlin!
One $25 Gift Card to Loose Id–Donated by Cara Bristol!

Go ahead and get your name in there!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out all the other posts and giveaways here:

www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com

Thanks for playing!

-Kimber


Cyber Monday on All Romance! 50% off and Freebies!

Just a heads-up, folks. In case you’ve been thinking about picking up one of my books (or someone else’s), but couldn’t shell out the cashola, here is your chance to get them at half price!

This is one day only, so jump on it now. 🙂

Forever is Now for $2.50 (read it now before book 2 comes out!)foreverisnow

Star Catcher for $2.50

Bound by Ink for $.99!

Lust in Time for $4.00

Slave for Love: A Vampire BDSM Anthology for $3.50

And there are cyber-tons more! Just look for the books with the little crown emblem on them to qualify for the 1/2 off rebate.

Oh, and Geek Lust has been free over there for a while now, if you need to save all your pennies for the holidays, but still want something spicy for your road trips. 🙂

Also, if you haven’t read my free gymnast and the nerd M/M Sticking It, the download links are here.

Happy Reading!

-Kimber


I Got Tagged. Hard.

I was tagged to write this blog post by the damn awesome Sofia Grey.

Thanks much, Sofia! You can find her post here. 

What are you working on right now?

Well, I’m trying to finish up my second Shooting Stars book, Double Takes.  It’s an MM romance involving a middle-aged, sorta-washed-up rock star and a younger guy. I originally pegged it for 50K words, but I’m there now and still have a sex scene, a climax (not the sex scene kind), and a happy ending (again, not the sex kind) to go. Sigh. I’m thinking 60K at this point.

Gio_veNaLe

Gio_veNaLe (Photo credit: Niccolò Caranti)

After that, I have plans for the third in this series, (top-secret title, with a main character who is an actor, not a rocker) but I may take a break to write the futuristic thingy I have keeping me up at night. We’ll see. Book three smacked me upside the head with inspiration while I was in the shower earlier today, so it may win out. It’s gonna be angsty (she said, shaking like an excited terrier)!

How does Double Takes differ from other works in its genre?

It probably doesn’t. 😉 Actually, I think Gio’s book has a pretty original premise, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. And it takes place in my old stomping ground, Bean Town, so it’s near and dear to my heart. The entire book is told only from Gio’s point of view, which was different for me, but a fun writing workout. I had to make my other MC likable and relatable without ever getting in his head (In his pants? Yes, but not in his head). You can check out the first kiss scene from Double Takes posted here, if you are so inclined. And Chance and Alex from Forever do make an appearance in Gio’s book, for anyone who’s wondering.

Why do you write what you do?

Basically, I write what I like to read. I’m also a crazy rock-metal-concert-going-fan-girl, so the music theme in my current series was a natural. I was always a huge fan of rogues and romance ever since I was a young thing who shouldn’t have been reading such business, and I devoured horror, sci-fi, and adventure my entire reading career. Now, I just mash-up my favorite things and hope for the best. I also firmly believe that love isn’t ruled by anything, including gender, so I will write any damn sexual pairing that beckons my muse.

How does your writing process work?

Does it? I’m not so sure. 🙂 I usually have a flash of idea—a character, an overall plot arc, or even a title—that dictates the whole shebang. Very often a song will spark an idea. I plot via an outline and copious scribbles in a black and white composition notebook. When I feel I have enough to actually seal the deal and not get stuck in a plot rut, I start writing.  And that’s all she wrote.

Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance, I mean tag three other people.

The fickle finger of fate lands on Diane Saxon, Heloise West, and Max Vos.

-Kimber


I Suck at Blogging!

I must think I’m on vacation from blogging, huh?  Lame. Very lame.

Well, I’ll fill you in on the latest and make false promises to blog more often, especially phenomenal content that you won’t want to miss.

My newest news is that my book Forever is Now is due for release from Liquid Silver Books on 9/9/13!  We are rockin’ through edits and I’ve gotten the mockup for the cover art from the awestastic Valerie Tibbs.  It’s an M/M rock star romance. I’m so excited to have it out and read and I’m working on the second in my Shooting Stars series when the procrastination devils aren’t tempting me too badly.

Image courtesy of Photostock via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Photostock via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Actually, Gio’s book (called Double Takes at the moment) is about 38 K done, and the light is shining at the end of the tunnel.

Of course, today I started writing on another book I’ve been mulling over for a while now, rather than working on Double Takes. It’s kinda dark sci-fi/futuristic with super hero stuff and it’s going to be tons of fun to write.  And read.  I’m leaning toward making it M/M, but not entirely sure it won’t be M/F. Decisions, decisions. I do so love my boys.

So, here is where I say I’ll be better about blah, blah, blogging.

As soon as I get the go-ahead, I’ll flash you all my … cover. Oh, and the cool trailer I’m working on.

Here’s my blurb in progress for Forever is Now:

If you love someone, set him free. If he steals something of yours, hunt him down and make him sorry.

Alex Bremen is over Chance Ralan. Ever since his high school boyfriend ditched him nine years ago, Alex has barely thought of Chance at all. Sure, Alex attended a concert or two when his ex’s band, Armageddon Showdown, was in the area, but that was more curiosity than anything else. Who wouldn’t want to see firsthand how his once clean-cut boyfriend transformed into a pierced and tattooed heavy metal god?

But when Chance has the nerve to record a love song Alex wrote for him years ago, Alex crosses the country to confront him. Revenge becomes a dish best served sizzling hot. The two men lock horns, but find the chemistry between them has only intensified with time, and occasionally love needs to do some growing up before it can be done right.

-Kimber


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