Banned Books Week 2013: Read for Freedom of Speech

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Dear Editor: Just Because It's Not Active...Doesn't Mean It's Passive

Good morning. *sips coffee* Welcome to my humble abode on the web. I've been writing for three years now, having started back in October of 2010. I've learned a lot in that time. Many things I struggled to learn on my own (marketing, finding my voice, time management) and many things I've learned from other authors, industry professionals, and editors. Please excuse me if the following comes off as arrogant. Or just snort and drink your coffee and think I'm an idiot for quibbling about inconsequential things. Totally up to you.

Everyone is full of advice for writers; even people who have never written a word want to tell me how to write. I listen, weigh, and use what I believe is valuable.

It's easy to dismiss some things, especially when you consider the source.

It's harder to say that a publisher or an editor is wrong, especially when you can tell that there's a kernel of truth in what they're saying. Sometimes, as a person with a degree or two in the English language, I stare at the comments on my manuscript pages, dumbfounded.

More than once I've said WTF?

More than once I've taken your comments to my colleagues and asked for an interpretation.

More than once, I've shaken my head and rejected your suggestion, because it just didn't make sense.

I've received comments that sent me off to find the CMOS, or any other grammar guide for elucidation. Sometimes I've searched in vain, and had to accept that things aren't the way they used to be, just because you said so.

But sometimes, it's not me; it's you.

For example... I occasionally get comments of "passive" in my margins. ( Is there a term for heavy reliance on "state of being" verbs? Maybe we ought to come up with one that's not already in use?)

Passive vs. Active. - Passive and active writing does not mean what you think it means. In order to BE passive, a verb must first BE active. An active sentence is one in which a subject performs an action. A Passive sentence is one in which an action is performed on the subject.

He ate peanuts. (ate is an action verb)
Peanuts were eaten by him. (were eaten is a passive construction of the action verb eat)

A BEING verb, does not convey action and cannot be passive.

He was nuts. (Nuts was he... hmmm rather poetic but hardly sensible.)
He appeared nuts.

I did not FIX the passive nature of that sentence by changing the verb from was to appeared. Appeared is a BETTER word choice, but it is still NOT active. It's a linking verb (expressing state of being), and any word I substitute for was in that context will serve the same function. Otherwise, the sentence doesn't make sense. (Now, shouldn't I be showing you that he's nuts and not telling you? Sure, but that's an entirely different post.)

I even have a list of verbs from one publishing company that they have deemed "passive". What they meant, of course, was "These words are commonly overused in one way or another so please don't use them in your manuscript more than once or twice."  I know this because I know that watch, listen and think are action verbs. I can use them in active sentences. I shouldn't use them in my ms, but for an entirely different reason than their supposed passivity.

The problem: When you tell me something is passive, you aren't actually referring to the voice. You're referring to the lack of action. Do I know what you mean? Well, I do NOW!

The solution: Tell me my passage is heavy on linking verbs, or that lengthy descriptive passages are boring. Tell me to break up the dull passages with actions, but don't tell me that it's passive. In grammar, passive does not mean simply inactive.

Simply put, an editor needs to use correct terminology. Otherwise, I think you don't know what you're talking about, and I don't trust your suggestions. 


Updated Discounts, Deals and Offers : M/M Romance on a Budget

Hey there! Great News! My publisher, Breathless Press has a selection of M.m romances on sale this week for only 99 CENTS!

Included in that is my novella, Loving Eden

Eden St. Cyr wants to let the boy who's crushing on him down easy. 

Drew Harris wants to protect his son from what he considers a disastrous relationship.

 Neither of them counted on on the scorching attraction between them.

Pick up your copy at 

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A Beautiful Silence is 75% off at Smashwords with coupon code FN92H making it 0.99 until Sept. 22nd. 

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Crawl in Bed With Raven, Felicity, And Nash

Crawling Into Bed With Felicity Oakley and Nash Gretton
 from Nash's Niche ( book four, Behind Closed Doors, the story of The Brigstock Family)
And a Good Book

Important things first, are these sheets silk or cotton?
Felicity: Always silk. It makes me feel much more sensual, and in touch with my romantic side. Yes I do have one, even if it's well hidden.
She pokes Nash, he grunts. "Huh? I didn't say a word. I prefer cotton, but I abide by my lady's rules. In this anyway.

What are you wearing?

Felicity *looks down* A muslin shift, with a chemise.
Nash: Much to my disgust. Chemises are worn simply to annoy men
Felicity: true.
Nash: I'm in working gear. Boots, breeches and a tweed thornproof jacket. I will be in noth...er a nightshirt I believe. Felicity however will stay clothed, or put on that voluminous thick nightrail, and my banyan over it.

What are we snacking on in bed while we read tonight?
Felicity Cheese, Fruit, and no bread. I hate crumbs under me. Or over me, or in places where someone thinks they should be nibbled or licked.
Nash Spoilsport. *he winks* But I always find crumbs. Cheese is very good for that.

If I open this nightstand drawer, what will I find?
Felicity... You tell him. I'm too much of a lady.
Nash *rolls eyes* Yes love. *they both burst out laughing*. A candle, no sorry three candles varying thickness, an inking set, scissors, and some silk scarves. Oh and ouff, er… nothing else. *aside* Love that elbow very nearly stopped us having any young Grettons.

Do you roll up in the blankets like a burrito, or kick the covers off during the night?
Nash I get what's left.
Felicity it depends on the weather. I prefer to roll up with Nash, and then roll us both in the covers.

Can I put my cold feet on your calves to warm them up?
Nash No.
Felicity. Well if you do and he lets you I will be very upset. I do try and Nash does extract retribution.
Nash That's why you try.
Felicity So true

What are we reading? (include your cover art, buy links & excerpt)
Felicity *sigh* Oh it's our story. Nash's Niche... *jumps out of bed, does a little jig around the room and jumps back in* from www.evernightpublishing.com

A wee tease...
What is it?"
Nash looked in the direction she was pointing. Set on the table was a leather pouch, around seven inches long, and a mere one or so wide, with several bulging pockets. "An inking set. To mark skin."

"For people?"
He inclined his head. "Or animals. To show to whom they belong. You pierce the skin and add ink to where the puncture is. That leaves a permanent marking. My animals are valuable, and this
way I can prove they are indeed mine. There will be no thought of disputed ownership." He knew he sounded grim, but he had been duped once, when he'd first set up his pack. It would never happen again.
Madame Felice knelt up and stretched over him to lift the leather pouch. Nash had left it there the night before to remind himself to take it back to Rutland with him.
"So can we use it? On us? To celebrate tonight? For even if it matters little to you, it has shown me what lovemaking should be. If I never feel like this again, then I'll have something to remind me." She looked so eager, his heart jumped. It had meant something more than a fuck to him as well.
"Why will this be the only time? We have other nights," he told her, and watched her eyes cloud over.
"But this is our first." Her gaze skittered away from his. "However, if you feel differently that is fine."
His decision made, Nash lifted her from him. "Stay there whilst I get what we need." He collected cloths and water, scissors and razor, in short shrift. "So where shall we mark? I thought here." He ruffled the curls that covered her quim. "As close to heaven as we can make it."
She nodded and sighed. "How beautiful. Will you mark yourself the same?"
He shook his head and she went ashen.
"No, I won't mark myself. You'll do it for me. I will however do the shaving. I'm not sure how well you would operate a cut throat and strop, and I need my cock and balls to fill you again."
 Her color returned and she giggled, even though her eyes were still shadowed by some indefinable sorrow. "Then who'll begin?"
"It's usually ladies first. Let me shave us both whilst you decide on the design." He cut her curls as short as he could. Her eyes widened as the cold steel skimmed over her skin. It seemed his lady was oh so receptive to that cold touch. If only he had some ice he could introduce her to many more sensations. Nash let the closed blades stroke her cleft, and laughed softly as she gasped and took a deep shuddering breath. It was with reluctance he put the scissors down and picked up the razor and strop and denuded a small circle of hair just above the entrance to her channel. He wanted to pin her under him, and tease every last inch of her with the chill of anticipation before showing her how heat and cold could work so well together.
 She didn't move but watched him with wide eyes. Each scrape of the steel, each tiny piece of skin that showed under his blade, brought more tiny drops of perspiration to her skin. Her body had taken on a soft rosy sheen, her eyes cloudy with desire, and Nash wanted her with a need so fierce it took his breath away. Carefully he set the razor on the table and moved, to thrust his tongue between her lips. She met it with a determination to match his, and then to his delight, pinched one of his nipples. He had to force himself to move back.
"If we carry on no ink will be used, and you will be bare for nothing."


WIP Wednesday : Gerard and Martin -

Welcome back to WIP Wednesday. I am continuing my work on the regency Gerard's Gamble this week, at a little more than 12K, its about 1/3 done. The first phase of writing is over, and I'm moving into the second, central portion of the story, bringing in the last little bits of the smuggling/treason plot. It's interesting because I'm getting to include some research about Venice in the 1800's, and let me tell you, I would SO love to be able to travel there!

Okay- enough of the babbling.

Gerard's GAmble
copyright 2013 Lee Brazil

Helplessly, Gerard stroked a palm down Martin's spine, cupped a taut buttock through the silk of the banyon. It had come from one of their first ventures, a trading ship to the East. The lush silk had netted them a small fortune, and Martin had selected the elegant grey on grey print for his payment. Gerard had allowed his siblings and spouse to do likewise, then the rest had been sold and the proceeds reinvested. The banyon was a reminder of Martin's faith, his friendship. Gerard calmed, the pain in his belly eased. He relaxed. Martin was his friend, first and foremost. They understood each other.
  He bent his head and inhaled a dear, familiar fragrance, lemon and vanilla, a hint of other spices. "I think, that I shall miss you more than any of the rest. The children will carry on, and that is as it should be, but what of you my steadfast friend? What will you do? How shall I picture you in my absence?"
Martin pulled back and peered into Gerard's face, his expression slightly incredulous. "I? You've left me the most daunting task of our careers. Riding herd on your offspring like a Yankee cowboy. If you must picture me as you explore the treasures of the continent, I do doubt you'll have time for it, picture me tearing out fistfuls of my hair because Harold has managed to blow up some national treasure, or wasting away from constant travel as Perry manages to annoy all his brothers. Perhaps I shall grow wrinkled and squinty eyed from worry as Randall insists on risking his life in service of our country. Yes…"
Gerard laughed until his stomach hurt. Bent double, he clutched his belly and gasped. "Please. Stop. While I can well imagine Harry blowing up something, it is more like to be Nash's ice house than a national treasure, and Perry has a good heart, despite what he may show the world. They like and respect you Martin, they always have. No…" He raised and a hand to stop more outrageous commentary. "I mean …I wish to picture you happy."
"Then picture me in the rose garden, digging up rocks and planting cuttings. Picture me, at the desk in the study, balancing our accounts and realizing that we could not only pay all the quarterly bills, but set aside a healthy portion for the boys schooling. Picture me, teaching Randall to fence, and allowing Celia to trod upon my toes as she practiced the forbidden Waltz."

*A lump rose in Gerard's throat and he swallowed hard. Seeking to hide the tears that threatened to spill over, he stepped back and let his gaze wander, searching for his clothing. "Damnation." He whispered under his breath as he realized his trousers were the only thing he'd been wearing when he'd stumbled through the door hours earlier, lips locked with Martin's, body humming with lust.

Gerard's Gamble is the third of my contributions to the Behind Closed Doors Series I am writing in conjunction with Raven McAllan. 

Available at All Romance 


Fabulous Reviews: Randall's Romance at Mrs. Condit's & Friends

whoohoo! 5 Sweet Peas at Mrs. Condit's for Randall's Romance! 

JOSIE’S OPINION: Randall’s Romance by Lee Brazil is a thoroughly enjoyable, steamy, action packed regency romp.

Randall's Romance is the first book in the Behind Closed Doors Series written in collaboration with Raven McAllan. 

Available at All Romance 


Top Five: The Spin Doctors

Good morning and welcome back to Monday! *sips coffee* *pushes pot across* Caffeine?

Dashing back to the 90's this morning, because hey, not only was I twenty years younger then, but I could actually  stay awake for 72 hours straight if the right combination of music, books, company and caffeine were available...*spins* I love this group, and I always forget how much until I hear them again. This usually begins with an overwhelming urge to listen to Cleopatra's Cat and then from there....

Then the lyrics get stuck in my head and... yeah.

The Spin Doctors

1. Little Miss Can't Be Wrong
2. Jimmy Olsen Blues
3. Two Princes
4. What Time Is It?
5. Cleopatra's Cat


New Video from Steve Grand - Loving It!

If you liked All American Boy, then you're going to love this one!


It's lovely.

Get your copy at  https://stevegrand.bandcamp.com/

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955