wine & song questions

Some questions sent to me by two lovely people on twitter, @missmalaper and @chococriskis

Are you aware there is no physical description of David in any of the 4 books? Can we get a hint?

Heh. I am aware, yeah. I think I got this question on tumblr too last year sometime. In general, I don’t think about physical descriptions unless my beta readers ask me something like, “Hey, so what does this guy look like, anyway?” I’m trying to get better about that; I’m just not a very visual person. And I find it really awkward to describe point-of-view characters. So, David: short, dark, curly hair; light olive complexion; about 5’10” (same height as Jazz).

It’s so good the main theme of the story it’s not the sex though David’s psyche. Are we correct?

Absolutely. It’s about both of them and the psychological progress they make, and the sex is more of a medium for that than an end in itself, I guess.

Can you pinpoint the exact moment when David falls in love? I can pin point the exact moment and of course my bet: when David gives Jazz the ipod at the airport. He is not only taking care of him, he is also assuming Jazz being a pest. 

Hmmm. I don’t think I can, really, but that’s as good a bet as any. It was a long process for him, an accretion of small moments, and I don’t think he could pinpoint it either.

What is the most difficult thing for David, get his routines ruined by Jazz or getting used to a young man who is still growing up? I mean, David has a steady personality but Jazz is in his 20’s and he has a long way to be walked. I don’t know if this question has any sense.

They deal with this quite a bit in the next book (The Air We Drink), actually. David is settled in his life, and Jazz is just starting out, and I’d say that’s definitely one of the larger issues between them.

Are we going to know a little more about Ian? I think he is a character with a lot of potential. And I pity him. 

Again, yeah, in the next book! :) There’s a bit more of him, and he and Jazz have nearly a whole conversation without being obnoxious to each other.

Do you think Jazz was one of the cool kids in high school? Sometimes he acts like one and certainly he has a history but he also has a very sweet heart and strong values. I mean, he almost never fucks it up. 

Yeah, I mean, more or less? He played football and was pretty good at it, and he got along well with the other guys on the team and probably got invited to parties. Not top-tier cool, but fairly popular and well liked.

I wanna talk about that time, David’s being a, oh surprise, little shit not saying he is overwhelmed by Jazz’s slap or maybe not overwhelmed, just weaponizing that moment. When he says Jazz he’s been hurt and he is not cool with what happened between them. Jazz’s heart breaks so hard. Would David be capable of doing that again now they have a safe word?

Good question! This required a lot of thought…and I think it’s unlikely, because David knows how much it would hurt Jazz and he’s really trying not to do that, but…you know, David’s kind of an asshole, and sometimes he says and does things without really thinking them through if he’s upset about something. I don’t think he’d do it again on purpose though.

I think Jazz has a compulsive need to test the boundaries. I mean, for example, in the fourth book, when they are in Jazz’s town and Jazz almost throws his relationship over his friends’ faces and his father’s and, of course, David notices. I think that’s something he shares with David and something that it will probably get him in trouble but also he doesn’t do it for himself. When Jazz has to stand up he is always for the greater good, eg: the band, saving a cat or giving credit to his relationship, and I think that’s what marks his behaviour as “healthy” and marks David’s as “unhealthy”. Again not a question, I know. What do you think?

David’s behavior is unhealthy primarily because so much of it is self destructive. Jazz’s behavior could easily get him into trouble (and probably will someday), but he’s doing it (usually), as you say, for the right reasons, or at least ostensibly for the right reasons. There’s also a lot of insecurity and aggression behind the things he does, but he’s young. As he gets more self confidence, a lot of that will probably settle down.

I guess I have to ask you about the consent thing. The very beginning of the story has a mild approach to David’s behavior. The reader knows it’s not healthy, David knows it’s not healthy but I think he is beating the bushes not asking even once for professional counseling. Were there any of it in his past and it wasn’t good and that’s why this possibility it’s not even suggested by anyone?

It probably has been suggested to him – Angie would have brought up the idea to him at least once, and it was probably also the topic of David and Ian’s only serious fight, but I think David would literally rather die than see a psychiatrist. Jazz might talk him into it eventually, but that’s years down the road.

Most important question: are you going to break our hearts in the next book?

Would I do that? :) :) :)

Btw, these are my friend’s comments while reading the next book…

At the Fair

A short bit from the Wine & Song series, written for my newsletter.

David’s back was sweating. A child with a towering cone of cotton candy ran past him, shrieking. A tuft of pink spun sugar ended up stuck to his leg. He looked at Jazz.

Jazz held up both hands. He was trying not to smirk and doing a poor job of it. “All I said was maybe we could stop. I didn’t even have to talk you into it.”

They had gone up to David’s house in Maine for the weekend and passed the little fair on the way into town. It hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea at the time. “It’s nearly October,” David said. “Shouldn’t they all be in school?”

“Probably not at eight on Friday night? Come on, I’ll win you a  stuffed bear.”

“Those games are all rigged.”

“How do you know?” Jazz said.

“Everyone knows that.”

Jazz shrugged. “I used to be pretty good at them when I was a kid. We’ll see.”

“I don’t want a  stuffed bear,” David said, but Jazz was already giving his money to the man behind the counter. In return, the man gave him three plastic balls and gestured without enthusiasm at the five concentric rings at the back of the booth.

Jazz’s first two throws missed even the outer ring. He weighed the last ball in his palm, wound up like a pitcher, and whipped the ball at the center ring. It went through. Colored lights blinked on and off. A tinny tune played. Jazz looked at David and grinned. “You just gotta get a feel for it. So what do you want?”

“To leave?”

Jazz got him a small plush cactus. They walked down the midway in the long dusk. Lights blinked on around them, and carousel horses with shining glass eyes watched them as they passed. “You really want to go?” Jazz said.

David steered him toward the ferris wheel. They bought their tickets and sat, pressed together, in the worn metal seat. It started up with a jerk. They rose into the sky, went around once, and then stopped at the very top. A breeze blew away the sticky evening heat. Overhead, the stars were appearing as the sky faded from blue to purple to black. Underneath them, the fair lights whirled. Some of the kids had sparklers that left trails of light like fireflies.

Jazz put a hand on David’s thigh. Neither of them spoke. David covered Jazz’s hand with his. They sat, swaying, at the top of the world, until the ferris wheel lurched forward and brought them back down to earth.

If y’all have any ideas for short bits like this, let me know. Maybe I will do more in the future. :)

Your Breath My Wine Excerpt

Screenshot 2016-07-14 11.07.14

Your Breath My Wine, Wine & Song #4, will be out late July / early August of this year (2016 if you are reading this in the future)! This is an excerpt from Chapter 2.

Your breath my wine

David went into a sex shop to buy a set of graduated dildos. He’d meant to order them online, but Jazz had mentioned it again at breakfast and then texted him at lunch. When he got an idea in his head, he usually wanted to get started immediately if not sooner. David would’ve put it down to his youth – and did, out loud – but he couldn’t remember ever having been that impatient himself.

He walked along aisles of brightly colored toys. The floor was black granite tile, and arty glass light fixtures hung from the ceiling. The last time he’d been in a sex shop was in the 1990s. It wasn’t the seediness of it that had bothered him, but the grunge, the dirt in the corners, the unpleasant customers fingering the wares. He’d bought less than he’d intended and washed it three times when he got it home.

This was a marked improvement. Not only did they have the set of dildos he was looking for, they’d set it out next to a series of videos that was apparently meant to teach someone how to take it up the ass with minimal discomfort and fuss.

“Can I help you with anything, sir?”

David turned to the shop assistant with the bright smile and the snake tattoo wound around her neck. “No, thank you. These are all I needed.” He held up the dildos and followed her to the counter to pay while she told him with enthusiasm about the solid craftsmanship behind them, the silicone, the sizing, and did he need any lube?

“We have plenty,” he said.

“Carrying case?”

He stared at her for a second. “Do they seriously make you try to upsell dildos or are you doing this on your own initiative?”

She gave him a sheepish smile. “Well, bit of both? The case is pretty useful though. Otherwise they all just rattle around in the drawer and sometimes you lose the size you want.”

“All right. Carrying case.”

While she was getting it for him, his phone rang. “David Cross.”

“Good afternoon, sir. This is Salter County Hospital. I have this number on file for a Mr. Jasper White?”

David paused. “I’m sorry, he’s not here right now. Can I take a message?”

“It’s about his father. Could you ask him to call us back as soon as possible?”

David agreed that he would. The tone in the woman’s voice had been urgent. Alive then, and probably not critical or she would’ve stressed the time factor. David paid for his dildos and carrying case and walked out onto the street, already dialing.

“What?” Jazz said when he answered. “Can’t talk. I’m unloading like a billion tubs of mayo.”

“It’s important. Take a break.”




august 2015


I’ve now officially spent longer editing the third Wine & Song book than I did writing it, but it’s coming along. If it was one of you who left the sole, lovely review on Songs You Know by Heart, BLESS YOU. They make a ton of difference, especially on Amazon.

In other news, I have a story coming out in an anthology from Less Than Three Press. The theme of the anthology is May-December relationships, and it’s out on Oct. 7, but available for pre-order now. More info below…

silver and gold cover art. two rings with silver and gold trees growing through them.

Silver and Gold

From one-night stands to on-and-off love stories that span decades, the roads of love are diverse and have no map. One of the hardest relationships to navigate may be those with an age difference. Society isn’t always sure what to make of May-December pairings, and the odds seem stacked against them. But the wisdom of age and the optimism of youth is a combination not to be underestimated…

In One Last Leap (Helena Maeve), Phillip carries the old wounds of his partner’s death, and he’s not sure how to deal with an attraction to the much-younger Ivan. In Coffee Boy (Austin Chant), new grad Kieran interns at a senatorial campaign, and has to deal with being an out trans gay man in the workplace, his overbearing supervisor Seth, and his growing, begrudging affection for Seth—not to mention Seth’s crush on their straight boss.

After his brother’s death, Navy SEAL Zev comes home to take care of his estate in After the Dust (Eleanor Kos), and finds ex-prostitute Julian on his brother’s doorstep. A Corgi Named Kilowatt (C.C. Bridges) turns the teacher-student dynamic on its head when young TA Evan clashes with Marc, a dog groomer back at school at forty.

Maddie flirts with the older and mysterious Claudia at a movie, but doesn’t expect to see her again—especially not at a cake-tasting session for her best friend’s wedding. The Memory of You (Erica Barnes) explores not only the promise of chance encounters, but the reality of them. Runner (Sam Schooler) brings us Eden, who answers an ad for a caregiver but somehow ends up married and trapped in an isolated, dilapidated cabin with his snarly new husband, Mick.

(Edited by Amanda Jean.)


The Captive Prince: Book 3 by C.S. Pacat

recced the first book in the series a couple months ago and at that point I had nearly despaired of ever getting the next one because it has been ACTUAL YEARS, but book 3 is finally up for pre-order! I obviously haven’t read it yet, but I have faith that it will be as good as the first two.

links of the month

heloise in july

a small blue ceramic hippo sitting in a teacup

Here is Heloise bathing in a teacup while she considers the books I’ve read this month. Not listed, because I haven’t finished it, is East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which is … way more exciting than I expected it to be? So far one of the brothers tried to kill the other at the age of 15 and Cathy murdered her parents and burned down their house (spoilers, I guess …). I may do a blog post on why it reminds me of The Walking Dead.

new releases


So hey, I got some books done! One of them you may have seen before if you read Shousetsu Bang BangSongs You Know by Heart was published there years and years ago. It’s basically the same story, but I’ve rewritten a lot of the beginning and done a painful amount of editing. The sequel is Music in a Dry Country, and you can get it free if you want to join my list.

Both are novella length, and the third one, Singing in the Wilderness, will be novel length, probably around 60,000 words, coming out in September. I was going to put it up for pre-order, but Amazon wants a draft manuscript for that, which just makes me nervous. No, Amazon. Why? It’s not done yet, what do you plan to do with it??




When David was younger, he spent a lot of Saturday nights on his knees: in alleys, in men’s rooms, occasionally behind a hedge in Central Park. He liked it rough and he still does, but he tries to be safer about his choice of partners and locations these days.

He didn’t expect an attempted mugging to be the cause of his relapse. The guy shoves him up against a tree and puts a knife to his throat, and something in his voice makes David want to offer him anything – so he does.

It was a stupid idea – David’s had a million of them – but he got it out of his system. When his mugger shows up at his door in the rain like a lost puppy, it’s hard to say who is more surprised when David invites him to come inside.



David wanted a nice trip to the Argentine wine country with his new boyfriend, Jazz. He wanted some new contracts for his import business, maybe a good tan, and a lot of kinky sex.

Instead, he gets an uncomfortable reminder of the difference in their ages, a stiff dose of irrational jealousy, and the realization that his feelings for Jazz are much stronger than he thought they were.

He tries to keep it all to himself and let Jazz enjoy the trip, but his withdrawal, founded on old insecurities and the memory of loss, is the real threat to their new relationship.


Transformation by Carol Berg
Seyonne is sold as a slave to Prince Aleksander, heir to the Derzhi empire who made a spirited attempt to eradicate Seyonne’s entire homeland. In his former life, Seyonne worked as a Warden, protecting his people from demon incursions. When he finds evidence of a demon at the prince’s court, he has to make a choice between his duty as a Warden and his hatred for the people who enslaved him.

This is not actually m/m, but I wish it were. The relationship between Seyonne and Aleksander is beautiful anyway, and I think you guys will enjoy it.

links of the month

heloise in june


This month I read John Steinbeck’s notes to his editor, written every day (ish) while he was writing East of Eden. And that is it, mostly because I spent the rest of the time editing and wanting more sleep. I haven’t read East of Eden, so this book was a slightly odd experience – he’s writing to a friend, and this was never meant for publication, so he never explains who anyone is, either characters or people they know in real life. It’s slightly voyeuristic but interesting. Also the man was obsessed with pencils in ways that I did not know anyone could be obsessed with pencils.

The quote below is from the book.

Screenshot 2015-06-30 08.24.58

sample – songs you know by heart



David left the party without saying goodbye. He now deeply regretted the time and energy his secretary had spent on finding him a costume, even if he did look damn good in breeches and a frock coat.

Fondue, for God’s sake, like it was 1975, and most of the guests seemed to have hit their peak in the seventies too. A headache was creeping up on him from the terrible vodka, and the cat’s piss Ian had tried to pass off as 1947 Cheval Blanc was the last straw.

Out on the street, he stood still for a second and let the breeze chill him while he waited for an opening in the traffic. He’d take a shortcut through the park and be home in ten minutes. He set out as briskly as his blood alcohol level would allow.

The cherry trees were in bloom, thick as snow along the boughs. David passed into their shadow and stopped to look up at the glow of blossoms in the dark.

From just behind him came a voice: “Don’t move.”

David started to turn automatically, but a hard shove sent him to his knees, pieces of gravel and bark stinging his palms. Something sharp and cold pricked at the back of his neck, and he froze.

“Up,” the man said.

David rose unsteadily and rubbed his palms over his thighs. He glanced back but saw the man behind him only as a dark shape in tight jeans. Long hair and poor light obscured his face.

He got another shove, this time against a tree. “Money,” the man said. “Where are the fucking pockets in these pants?”

“Breeches don’t have pockets,” David said, with enunciation careful enough to compensate for the vodka. “That is why I don’t have money.”

“You don’t – fuck. Like hell you don’t.” The man crowded in close behind him, holding him in place with his body. “You must have something. Give it to me, or – or I’ll cut you. I will.”

David could hear the man’s quick breaths. His heartbeat thudded against David’s back. The knife was so sharp that David could barely feel the edge. David tried to concentrate on that instead of the man’s solid warmth, his hard thighs, his hair brushing David’s neck. Knives didn’t usually do it for him.

“I don’t,” he said, voice just a little unsteady. He swallowed hard. “I promise.” And then, unable to help himself: “Search me.”

“I will,” the man growled. “Don’t fucking move.”

One hand groped up David’s sides, over his chest and his hips. A rough, hard grip on his ass seemed to linger a little too long and pulled a shaky gasp from him.


The side of the man’s hand covered David’s mouth, and the knife lay flat against his cheek. The other hand slid slowly and thoroughly over the curve of his ass and down his thigh. David tried not to squirm. Or to push back into the touch. He’d done stupider things, but he tried not to add to that list these days.

The man slammed a hand against the tree. David jumped. The blade was back at his throat, and it caught against his Adam’s apple. His heartbeat picked up, and he felt his cock stir. He might need to rethink his position on knives. And his sanity.

“You gotta have something. Twenty bucks. Come on. Rich assholes like you don’t walk around with nothing.”

“We do when we don’t have any pockets.”

“Are you laughing at me, fuckface? Fine. Get out of this, take it off.”

He yanked at David’s jacket hard enough to make him stagger. A seam gave way. David struggled out of it, hands shaky.

The knife point drew a sharp line between his shoulder blades. “Shirt too.”

David worked at the buttons, but not fast enough to keep the man from slicing his shirt up the back. A few more seconds and it lay on the ground, certainly in no fit state to be returned to the costume shop.

The man grabbed his shoulder, turned him, and shoved him back against the tree. He planted a hand on David’s chest. He was close enough that David could see his eyes, gray and sharp, the color of dawn.

“You want to lose the pants too? Come on. Cough up the cash.”

David curled his fingers against the trunk. He could feel his cock stiffening despite his best efforts to think about anything else. Breeches hid nothing, and he held his breath as the man’s eyes traveled down his body.

“Are you getting off on this? What the fuck is wrong with you?” He sounded more confused than angry, and he was still staring.

“I really don’t have any money.” David swallowed. He tried once again to keep his mouth shut, but he’d never been particularly good at that. “Maybe you’d like something else.”

The man frowned at him, like he didn’t understand what David was offering, and then his mouth sagged open as he got it. He surged forward, pinning David hard with his body, knife tight against his throat again.

“I don’t like being laughed at, asshole. I thought I made that pretty fucking clear.”

Maybe not, but he liked something about the situation. David could feel his cock pressed against his thigh, and it wasn’t entirely soft. He seemed to realize that at the same time David did. A moment of stillness stretched between them, and then the man took a step back.

“Fuck you, man. You’re nuts. Just – get out of here. And don’t tell anyone. Or I’ll find you.” His voice wavered on the last sentence, and then he took off running into the dark.


june 2015


To put off writing today, I finally cleaned spider guts off the book I used to kill a spider two weeks ago. So, procrastination, but at least I have my book back. For a while I thought I might just leave it there. That’s a legit life choice when spider guts are involved, right?

In other news, I made an Amazon author page where you can see two pictures of me, one of which I’ve been told looks like a picture of a goth paint smudge (I’ll let you guess which one that is):



Autobiography of a Flea 
by Stanilas de Rhodes

I don’t know that this is a recommendation, but if you have ever wanted to read Victorian erotica written from the point of view of a flea…this is the book for you! It’s here mostly because: (a) It was hilarious, although I admit I haven’t read the whole thing, and (b) I am so amazed and pleased that it even exists. Apparently, there was even a sequel…

links of the month

heloise (and pavlov) in june


Except for The Little Stranger and 30 Days in Lithuania…this is all Nero Wolfe books. I didn’t realize I’d read so many this past month, but I don’t regret it. The Little Stranger is the one I’d recommend though. Just don’t read it right before you go to sleep.

Wine bottle vectors from, a v useful site.