Alex Gabriel

Writer. Reader. Romancer.


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New Cover for “Love for the Cold-Blooded”!

Several readers mentioned they found the original cover of “Love for the Cold-Blooded” bland – so I enlisted the talented, amazing and endlessly patient Joanna of Book Cover Master Class to design a new one. I am very happy with the result. Thank you again, Joanna!

Ccold-blooded 200lick on the image to check out the full glory of the dramatically posed hoagie – ahem, hero – with his imposingly billowing cape! The little mind control ray! The snakes! The jaguar! The cheeky minions peeking over the cape! And, of course, the heroically shirtless Silver Paladin, aka Nick!

(I’m only sad Nick isn’t slinging a Ghost Matter t-shirt over his shoulder. Alas! Clearly this was a day when he was forced to leave his lab.)

I hope this cover reflects the light-hearted, whimsical nature of the book, while also alluding to the superhero theme, flirting with its comic book origins, bringing out the affectionate parody / satirical homage element, and – not least – emphasizing that this is a book wherein readers can expect to find men without shirts.

The print cover is even lovelier, you guys. Just saying.

What do you think?

As an aside on the subject of cover models, let me just say: argh. Finding this one took a long and painful search (sifting through endless archives of half-naked men; I’m sure you can picture my suffering). He still doesn’t quite match my mental image of Nick, but he’s like the fictional movie version. In my mind, this is the underwear model who portrays the fictionalized character Golden Warrior in the films within the novel’s world.

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Still Waters

Usually, I have a hard time writing to prompts – but I risked it for the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s “Love Is an Open Road” event, in which group members write free image- and prompt-inspired gay romances. And I am very glad I gave in to temptation, because I was lucky enough to snag the perfect prompt for me! It’s by Kathleen, and reads simplyI only have two words for you: ginger merman! Everything else is up to you.

Still Waters Cover

My myth-inspired novella “Still Waters” is roughly 30k long and will be published this summer – first in the M/M Romance group, then in all the usual places. And it will be entirely free!

This is the book’s blurb – extract to follow.

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A reformed nix.

Drakjan has been living as a harmless freshwater merman for so long he sometimes almost believes in the lie himself.

Almost.

A deadly hunter.

Hraban has dedicated his life to taking down creatures like Drakjan, protecting those who cannot protect themselves.

An uneasy truce.

When fate forces them together, the nix and the hunter discover a dangerous attraction… and a threat that can destroy everything Drakjan has come to love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Why, yes. Faced with a prompt consisting of two words, I still managed to avoid complying with both of those words, if you want to get technical. Ahem.)


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Writing about Beavers, Demigods and Shadowy Government Agencies

Right now, I have three books lined up waiting to be written… plus a challenge story involving a ginger merman, and a potential sequel to First Contact. I also have what seems like a negative amount of time, but I refuse to let that stop me. Time is a state of mind. Ahem.

background-647559_1280Amazingly enough, I already have titles for most of these stories – and even a book cover for one of them! I really do seem to have overcome my title impairment of yore, I’m glad to say. So really, there’s very little standing in the way of me just finishing them already.

The merman challenge story is up first, and will involve beavers, corpses, lots of singing and (probably) no fluff at all. Possibly a Little Matchgirl and/or other eldritch horrors. We shall see.

After that I want to return to an m/m urban fantasy I’m already about a third of the way into. It needs to be extensively rewritten for reasons of both creeping chastity and general plot, but I think I have a good handle on how to tackle this now.

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Falling in Love with the Cold-Blooded

Several people have asked where I got the idea for “Love for the Cold-Blooded, Or: The Part-Time Evil Minion’s Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero”. I’ll try to answer this as briefly as possible… which is still not very brief at all.

You rang?

A little over a year ago, a friend recounted several interesting anecdotes from an article about serving the extremely wealthy. There was a family who entirely forgot about one of the many estates they owned, for example, while the estate in question was kept in top shape by staff: a ghost mansion running smoothly along in constant readiness for a visit that never came.

mansion-425272_1920My friend also mentioned that most of the fiction she read got the details of extremely rich people’s lives wrong. Hmm, I thought. Yes, I’ve also read stories like that, and those details have always rung false to me. Fictional characters living in a billionaire’s mansion check what they have in the fridge and fix themselves a sandwich, making a mental note to go shopping because they’re almost out of ham; they call out for fast food; they forget to do the laundry; they discover they’ve run out of their favorite cereal, and squabble over who ate the last portion; they split chores like making breakfast and doing the dishes. All perfectly ordinary activities – all things that a very rich person living in a mansion would never ordinarily do.

What might a story that got it right be like…?

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Villain Cookies

Are supervillains attacking your city? So sorry for the inconvenience. Here, have a cookie.

villain cookies Yes, I made villain cookies – double chocolate, of course (Nick’s favorite). If you can identify all the villains, I will be extremely impressed!

If you want to make your own and don’t have any suitably villainous cookie cutters handy, here’s a template with the shapes I made. Bear in mind that I’m not an artist, though.

I also made diagonal cake a while back. It’s not very pretty, but that makes it all the more authentic – and it tasted great. 😉

This concludes my baking spree of baked goods featured in my books… for now. (Insert deranged evil-mastermind-type laughter here.)

 


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The Quest for Titles

I love titles. Titles are essential; they are the first part of the story the reader comes into contact with. They can be works of art in their own right. They can add additional meaning, provide interpretation or focus, sound allusions… their potential is near-endless.

There are titles I admire, titles I love more than their stories, and titles I love despite having no interest in their stories at all. There are titles I don’t initially like, but that later reveal themselves to be perfect. And, of course, there are titles I dislike; that I find awkward, ugly or ill-fitting, or so lacking they do their story an actual disservice.

For a long time, finding titles was a trial for me. Continue reading


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Paper Love: “Love for the Cold-Blooded” paperback giveaway

Given my abiding love of the printed book, it won’t come as a surprise that I’m publishing my longer stories in both ebook and paperback form. Love for the Cold-Blooded is available already – and it looks great! (Sorry for the low-quality phone pic… it does look great, seriously.)

Cold-blooded paperback2
Even if nobody except me ever orders a paperback copy, it’s been well worth all of the work just so I can have one for myself.

In case anybody else would like to have a copy, though, I’m hosting a giveaway on goodreads. Why not sign up? With a bit of luck, you could win a free paperback copy of “Love for the Cold-Blooded”.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Love for the Cold-Blooded. Or by Alex Gabriel

Love for the Cold-Blooded. Or

by Alex Gabriel

Giveaway ends February 09, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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Ebooks or printed books? My answer is YES, absolutely.

My first ebook reader was a Rocket eBook. It must have been, oh, 1999 or 2000 or thereabouts. The Rocket eBook was a giant, chunky and heavy thing, and it was absolutely wonderful. It was also incredibly sturdy – I used it intensively for almost a decade, dropped it repeatedly, and lugged it along on every trip and vacation. I might still be using it today if it hadn’t stopped being compatible with my PC. It still worked fine at that point – the battery life had shortened and it was a bit battered, but that was all.

rocket ebookNobody I knew had ever heard of an ebook reader when I first got the Rocket. Reading it in public was a sure way to start a conversation.

Go back a few more years before the Rocket.

When I was young, I would finish a good book and reluctantly emerge back into the Real World, longing for the next book. If only there were some way to have a single book that would magically change to be whatever book I wanted to read, without lengthy delays for ordering the sequel, waiting for it to be shipped, picking it up after weeks or months…

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On the love of narrative clichés

I have a confession to make: I love narrative clichés. Not all of them, of course, but certain well-used plot ideas get me interested every time. Undercover in a gay bar, pretending to be a couple, amnesia, enemies forced to work together – yes! Sign me up!

Sure, these plots have been done many times before. But the same is true of every plot; after thousands of years of fiction being created all over the world, there isn’t a single plot or theme that hasn’t been put through its paces in countless different ways.

The magic is in the details. Originality is in the writing. It’s in the storytelling, the specific set of characters, the way they meet the challenges that confront them, how the author uses familiar themes in fresh ways and plays with existing conventions. I’ve read absolutely amazing, fresh and original books built around a basic premise that sounds tired and worn.

Given my love of narrative clichés, writing “First Contact” was an act of pure self-indulgence. Cops undercover as a couple in a gay bar (okay, a bdsm club run by the mafia – but that’s details)… 😉

Do you love any narrative clichés? Tell me about it!


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Going live!

All of my titles are now available on Amazon! Well, to be exact, they’ve been available since just before the holidays… I merely neglected to announce it due to a complete lack of sleep, followed by a seasonal break for cookies, Scrabble and too much good food.

I am ridiculously happy and excited, as well as somewhat nervous.

Next up: