Also, you can catch me at the following events this week:
7/25 - Is Abuse Romantic? - abuse awareness month post on Chicks & Dicks
7/27 - Nude Models - guest post on Pants Off Reviews 1-Year Blogoversary - with ebook giveaway
7/31 - Art School - guest post on Long and Short Reviews
Meet the Author - Ana Bosch - July 21, 2012
Hi all! Ana Bosch here, reporting in for my Meet the Author event! I'm really excited to chat with all of you today, and I hope you'll enjoy it as well. I'm celebrating the recent release of my debut novel, Art of Death. I'll be giving away a free ebook copy of Art of Death during the event today, so keep an eye out for the two giveaway threads. I'll be here until 6pm ET today to chat and share excerpts and even share some artwork!
So let's start with an introduction. I go by Ana Bosch, but I'm not particularly secretive about my real identity. Most people know me first as an illustrator, and if you're looking at this post, you've already seen some of my art! I'm an insane workaholic, I'm obsessed with animals—especially ferrets and parrots, and I love providing entertainment to people who like stories that are a bit outside the mainstream.
Your turn! Comment below and introduce yourself. Are you a reader? A writer? A unicorn? How did you happen upon Dreamspinner Press and m/m fiction?
1:30pm: A Little Art for Art of Death - Ana Bosch
If you've read Art of Death, or even just the blurb, you know that art is one of the story's main themes. Like me, Riley is a freelance illustrator, although at the time I wrote the novel, I was actually still a miserable corporate employee who only wished I could have Riley's job (minus the nude modeling part).
To celebrate the art theme of Art of Death, I'm going to do something a little different during this chat. I'll be sketching while we talk, and I'll post the sketches at the end of the chat. Have a sketch request? Drop me a note here! It can be anything, but preferably m/m related. Want me to interpret a character from Art of Death? Want me to take a shot at someone else? Let me know!
Random fact of the day: the cover of Art of Death was inspired in part by Caravaggio's Boy with a Basket of Fruit
(Note: the chat was so busy that I didn't actually get a moment to even pick up a pen. There weren't too many sketch requests, mostly just conversation, but I'm still planning to post at least a couple sketches once my most pressing professional deadlines are out of the way.)
2pm: Enemies Turned Lovers - An Art of Death Excerpt - Ana Bosch
I'm a huge sucker for rivals turned lovers, and for enemies turned lovers. Whenever I see a pair of guys in fiction who are constantly at each other's throats, I'm always hoping for that little glimpse that proves that the two men actually care about each other.
This was my inspiration for Westwood's character. I wanted to play with the idea of someone falling for their potential enemy, and all the uncertainty and danger that comes with it. Westwood is not a safe man for anyone to fall for, and Riley learns that fast enough. But I love the brief scene I'm about to share—which takes place shortly after Riley escapes a sticky situation with the artist Coliaro—because it gives a bit of that glimpse I mentioned above.
Excerpt: Art of Death
Upon reaching the town house, Riley turned off his headlights, easing into the driveway and parking outside the garage. He was hoping Nick had gone to bed, and he didn’t want to awaken him by opening the rusty garage door. He slid out of the car and gently pushed the driver’s side door shut before turning toward the house.
Westwood stood at the hood of the Corolla, his face hidden in shadow. Riley cried out and stumbled back against the side of the car. “Shit, Westwood!”
The man didn’t speak. Riley waited, his heartbeat returning to a normal pace, but Westwood continued to stand without offering any explanation.
“What are you doing here?” Riley asked at last. “My boyfriend is inside.”
Westwood hesitated. Then, softly, he whispered, “I had to make sure.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Coliaro told me he was going to… do things to you. Did he?”
“He didn’t do anything.” Riley crossed his arms over his chest. “Why do you even care? And why are you asking now all of a sudden? After our phone conversation, I was under the impression you were pissed at me.”
“I am. You were an idiot, going after Coliaro like that. But that doesn’t mean I want you maimed or tortured. I’ve known Coliaro for a long time, and he doesn’t make empty threats.”
Riley looked past Westwood toward the house. The curtains were drawn over all the windows, and he couldn’t tell if Nick had waited up for him. “Listen, I just want to go to sleep.”
Westwood reached out without warning, tilting Riley’s chin back. His eyes appeared oddly reflective in the dark as he examined Riley’s neck. His gaze traveled down, pausing on Riley’s wrists. Riley pulled back, bracing himself against his car. “It’s only a couple rope burns on my wrists, and a few scratches from falling into the bushes. No big deal.”
Riley had a feeling he would have been more convincing if his voice hadn’t cracked on the last few words. Westwood narrowed his eyes, and Riley felt himself begin to tremble. He hadn’t realized how shaken he still was by his encounter with Coliaro. Now, in front of Westwood, was not the time he’d wanted to make that discovery. Swiftly, he turned away, cursing under his breath as his tremors intensified.
He could feel Westwood’s gaze on him, scrutinizing him. “I’m tired,” Riley told him, his voice choked. “That’s all.”
A warm hand on his back snapped him into awareness. His muscles went rigid and he turned, meeting eyes with Westwood. The man ran his hand slowly up and down Riley’s spine, easing his tremors. Riley shuddered, alarmed at the potency of Westwood’s touch, and alarmed at himself for how badly he wanted more.
He reveled in the warmth of Westwood’s soft caress, closing his eyes and breathing in deep. This was exactly what he needed—a calm, reassuring hand. After a moment, he opened his mouth to speak, and Westwood immediately withdrew as if assuming Riley would protest. He took a couple steps back, giving Riley space, and Riley almost groaned in frustration. More than anything, he wanted that hand on him again. He wanted that surprisingly gentle touch.
Westwood lingered a moment. If Riley didn’t know better, he would have thought the man didn’t want to leave him alone. When Westwood finally spoke, it seemed to take him a considerable amount of effort. “I only came to make sure you made it home alive,” he said gruffly. “Go inside and go to sleep.”
Riley considered calling back to him, asking him to stay awhile. But by the time he managed to find his voice, Westwood had already disappeared into the shadows.
2:30pm: GIVEAWAY THREAD: Guilty Pleasures - Ana Bosch
Okay, I'm starting the giveaway thread a little early. I want some of you lurkers in here! :)
For me, Art of Death is the type of guilty pleasure book I'd want to read—if anyone else out there were writing stuff like this. On the subject of guilty pleasures, I have quite a few of them.
I'm one of those people who has her collection of Ultimate Fighter DVDs sandwiched between her copies of Legally Blonde and Project Runway. (I wonder how many of us there are out there?) Mixed martial arts is my newest guilty pleasure, and it's actually thanks to researching and choreographing fight scenes for Bonds of Death, sequel to Art of Death, that I got sucked into it. I love anything welterweight and lighter. While I definitely appreciate the sport, I admit that a huge part of the appeal is watching really fit half-naked dudes "mounting" each other, among other colorful things.
My sister tells me I used to be smarter before I started watching MMA (and even smarter before I got pet birds). Unfortunately, I'm no longer smart enough to argue with her about it or tell her she's wrong.
Your turn! What are your guilty pleasures? It can be anything, from food to entertainment to hobbies. Comment any time before 5:30, and you'll be entered to win an ebook copy of Art of Death! (giveaway closed)
3:30pm: Early Favorites - Ana Bosch
I'm not locked into my genre, but I admit that when I write, I have a soft spot for paranormal stories. Demons, monsters, and magic are like crack to me. I first became interested in paranormal stories when I was in middle school and discovered the books of John Bellairs. I read just about every book by him that I could get my hands on, but I was especially fond of the Johnny Dixon books. I think John Bellairs was my first official "favorite author." Looking back, I'm surprised at how much those books are still influencing my storytelling as an adult.
And wow, a glance at Wikipedia has just informed me that they're working with Eric Kripke to make a feature film based on his books! :bounces in her seat:
Do you guys remember your first favorite author? Or do you remember the first author who influenced your creative vision, whatever it may be? Tell me about them!
4:30pm: GIVEAWAY THREAD #2: Places to Visit - Ana Bosch
When I was a kid, my dad would take us on vacation to Orlando every summer. By the time I was twelve, I was that insufferable spoiled brat who complained that she was bored of Disney World. But seriously, vacationing in Florida in the summer kind of sucks when you're like me and you can't stand hot weather. I didn't gain an appreciation for Florida until I went there for college.
Art of Death takes place in Florida, and I really enjoyed getting to go back and "visit," if only in my mind. It was like I was there all over again, feeling the humidity, surrounded by the familiar architecture and tropical plants. And it just so happens that this Friday, I'm going back to Florida with my dad for a week! This is a long overdue vacation, and now that I'm in my late twenties, I have a much greater appreciation for Florida.
What's your favorite vacation spot? Where's your favorite place to go when you need to get away? Any place counts, whether it's Hawaii or the café down the street or even Hogwarts by way of reading. Comment any time before 5:30, and you'll be entered to win an ebook copy of Art of Death! Already commented in the other giveaway thread? Comment here too, and you'll be entered twice!
(P.S. I'm skipping the "chat with the boys of Art of Death" thread, because I think most people here haven't read the book yet, and I don't want to get too spammy on Dreamspinner's page. But if you have a burning question you want to ask one of the boys, feel free to drop it here! Just try to avoid major spoilers.)(giveaway closed)
5pm: Riley's Nude Modeling Session - Art of Death Excerpt - Ana Bosch
Half an hour till the ebook drawing! I can't believe this chat is almost over! I'm sharing another excerpt from Art of Death! Riley poses for a private session for the (amazingly creepy) artist Coliaro.
“You’re so tense,” Coliaro said as he adjusted the lighting around Riley. “Are you nervous?”
Riley swallowed, his dry throat clamping shut. He was in Coliaro’s spacious studio, lying atop cushions that were draped with violet silk. Back arched, head tilted back, arms above his head. It was a terribly vulnerable position. Around him were rows of candles that provided the primary light source, with overhead clamp lights to further illuminate the scene.
As Coliaro shifted the light, it aimed briefly into Riley’s eyes. He blinked, large white spots clouding his vision. “I’ve never done a private session before,” he explained to Coliaro. “And never with a famous artist.”
“John Tobias was relatively famous in his day. And he’s quite a bit more critical than I am.” He glanced down at Riley. Riley could almost feel the weight of his eyes as they traveled over his jutting ribs and flat belly. “How’s your back? Good?”
“Mm-hmm.” He swallowed again; he was parched.
After finishing with the lighting, Coliaro began marking portions of the silk around Riley’s body with tape so he could get back into position after his breaks. Riley squirmed a bit; this part always made him feel like a body at a crime scene. Coliaro’s knuckles brushed against him more than a few times, and Riley began to wonder if he was doing it on purpose.
“Hold still a moment,” Coliaro said. He reached out, turning Riley’s head slightly to the side and gently arranging his hair across his forehead. The man’s rough fingertips grazed his face. “You have beautiful eyes,” he said. “Emerald. I’m looking forward to bringing out that color in the painting.” He gazed down for another moment. “And such long, dark lashes.”
Riley laughed uneasily. “I swear I’m not wearing mascara. Everyone always thinks I am.”
Coliaro gave him a light pat on the cheek. “Either way, you’re stunning.”
The man stared at him for another moment, and Riley wondered what he was looking for. His discomfort began to grow, but Coliaro finally took a step back and turned for his easel. After grabbing his palette, he gave Riley a wink. “All right, my dear. Let’s begin.”
The moment Coliaro set down his brushes and announced that he had finished, Riley realized he was naked. Granted, he knew that he had been naked for the full three hours, but the candles and the soft music Coliaro had in the background made him feel calm and relaxed. Now, he suddenly felt exposed.
He pulled on his maroon silk robe; then he stood up and began doing stretches to loosen his muscles. As Coliaro stepped back to examine his painting, he said, “You were excellent. Better than this morning. I wouldn’t have believed you’ve only been posing for a few months.”
“I think it helps that I’ve taken so many figure classes as a student,” Riley said. “It’s easier to know what the artist needs if you’ve been one.”
“I could paint you all day,” Coliaro mused, admiring his work. He looked back up at Riley. “Would you like to see?”
Riley made his way across the studio, climbing over electrical wires and wooden risers on the way. He braced himself as he stepped up to the canvas and raised his eyes. What he saw made his breath catch. He’d never seen himself in such a way before. He’d always considered himself fairly average and not particularly charismatic, despite Nick’s arguments to the contrary. However, in the image he looked incredibly… sexual. Seductive. He wondered if this was the way Nick saw him.
“You’re so amazing at what you do.”
“Me?” Coliaro asked, brushing him off. “This is all you. This is your essence.”
“You flatter me.”
As Coliaro sat back to admire his work some more, Riley began looking around, checking out the setup of the studio. During the pose, he’d fixed his eyes on the crack between the back wall and the ceiling, occasionally glancing up at the skylight above him. He only hoped one day he’d have the luxury of owning such a spacious and accommodating studio. Considering that Coliaro was known only for his oil paintings, Riley was surprised to see such a variety of tools and media in the room. An airbrush and air compressor, rows of chalk pastels, pads of newsprint, and more occupied the nearby shelves.
Around the corner was a door that was just a crack open. He peered inside tentatively, finding a vast storage area within. There were a couple of unfinished paintings sitting against the sides of the walls. He couldn’t tell in the darkness, but there also looked to be a painting of a fully clothed figure, completed, in an ornate gold frame.
“Who’s in that big framed portrait?” he asked, pointing.
Coliaro raised his head, suddenly realizing Riley was looking in his storage area. He leapt across the room, grabbing Riley’s arm and yanking him away from the door.
“What were you doing in there?”
“I… I wanted to see your works in progress.”
Coliaro let him go, sheepishly running a hand through his thinning hair. “I do apologize for startling you. I show only a select few of my unfinished works to visitors. I’m very self-conscious about some of them, and I don’t like for them to be seen.”
“I was just curious about the framed one. It looked like it was finished. Who’s in it?”
“It’s no one,” Coliaro said curtly. He stepped around Riley, closing the door to the storage room.
Riley’s face flushed. “Sorry,” he said, embarrassed to have overstepped Coliaro’s boundaries.
Coliaro let out a deep breath, as if releasing a week’s worth of stress all at once. “It’s all right, my dear. I hope I didn’t hurt you.”
Glancing down, Riley was surprised to see the beginnings of a deep bruise forming on his forearm. He hadn’t realized Coliaro had gripped him so hard.
“Come here,” Coliaro said, pulling Riley forward gently. He circled around behind him and began rubbing his shoulders through his thin, silky robe.
“What are you doing?”
“The way you reacted to my painting of you, I can tell you don’t recognize your own worth. That’s why you’re always so anxious. I don’t want you to be anxious.” His hands slid down the sides of Riley’s arms, then back up, squeezing at the inner corners of his shoulders. Riley shuddered a bit at the feeling of the man’s hands at the sides of his neck, but he didn’t resist. It felt good, especially after three hours of lying still.
“I don’t need to keep this painting. It’s the act of painting itself that gives me my joy and pleasure. I think I’ll donate it to the school. This way you’ll be able to see it anytime, and you’ll be reminded of how magnificent you really are.” His fingers slid down Riley’s back, still massaging, and Riley let out a shaky sigh. The man really was good with his hands.
When he began to feel his blood heating up, he abruptly pulled away. “I should get going,” he gasped. “My boyfriend will be worried if I’m home late.”
Coliaro lifted an eyebrow in response to Riley’s pointed reference to his boyfriend, but he let it pass without comment. “All right, understood. Do you need directions back to your place?”
“No, I know the way.”
“Good, good.” As Riley disappeared into the neighboring dressing room, Coliaro called after him, “By the way, I come to town fairly frequently. I’m flying out in a couple days, but maybe when I return, we can see each other. And maybe even do another painting together.”
As he pulled on his shorts, Riley considered. Coliaro seemed decent enough, albeit a bit more forward than he would have preferred. The massage was unsettling, but as soon as Riley had broken away, the man had let him go without a fuss. And Riley had to admit the thought of another hefty paycheck was a compelling lure.
After slipping his feet into his sandals, he emerged from the room. “Yeah, sure. I’d like that.”
“Great. And how shall I contact you when I’m in town?”
Riley jotted down his home and cell numbers on a spare scrap of paper and handed it to Coliaro. The man folded it up in a clean, precise square and slid it into his pocket.
Riley reached out for a handshake before leaving, and Coliaro instead pulled him into an embrace. After they parted, he gave Riley a gentle smile. “I look forward to the next time we see each other.”
5:30pm: Giveaway Drawing - Ana Bosch
Time for the giveaway drawing! Thank you so much to everyone who entered! I really enjoyed hearing your guilty pleasures and places to visit. The lucky winner of the Art of Death ebook is… Christine Camellia!
Christine, send me an email at ana (at) bob-artist.com, and let me know the email address you use for your Dreamspinner account so we can add Art of Death to your shelf. If you don't already have an account, it's quick and free to sign up. If you really don't want an account, we can email you the book.
To those of you who didn't win, there are still two more chances to get a free copy of Art of Death! My paperback giveaway on Goodreads ends on 7/25, and you can sign up here:
Also, I'll be guest blogging about nude models on Pants Off Reviews on 7/27 to celebrate their one-year anniversary, and I'll be giving away one more ebook copy of Art of Death. Keep an eye out for the post here:
And one last chat topic for the final 1/2 hour: What are you doing this weekend? Any fun plans? I think I'm still going to try to make it to that mustache party…
6pm: Farewell - Ana Bosch
All right, it looks like it's time to say goodbye. I do hope some of you will continue to look out for my future projects and upcoming guest appearances. You can keep up by checking me out on twitter @anaboschwriting, or on my blog at http://www.anaboschwriting.com. Also, don't forget to pick up your copy of Art of Death or enter the upcoming giveaways I mentioned in my last post!
I had planned to share some info and an excerpt on Bonds of Death, but again, I don't want to be spammy or put up spoilers none of you can safely read. So I'll put it up on my blog after the chat as an "after-party." :)
I really enjoyed chatting with all of you. I'm so lucky to get to meet so many great people! I do hope to see you all more in the future! Thank you so much to Dreamspinner Press for letting me take over the page today, and thanks to all of you for the best chat ever!