I've just completed the 2nd draft of Blue Ruin 5. Whew! I'm setting it aside a week or two before giving it a final polish, and then it's off to my editor who hopefully approves of Derek and Blue's final sendoff. Please stay tuned. In the meantime, I'm off to my next exciting project: kitchen re-organization!
I've drafted a working blurb for Blue Ruin 5: Only You. This may or may not be the blurb eventually used, but I thought I'd share for those of you itching to know what to expect. Keyword? Angst. It wouldn't be yaoi-inspired otherwise. Here goes:
Derek and Blue are settling down after their first eventful year together. To Derek's relief, Blue's managed to avoid kidnappers, mobsters, and murderers, not to mention he's stopped suggesting those hot but complicated threesomes. Their love is strong, the BDSM play kinkier than ever, but the couple is learning the normal, everyday world comes with trials of its own.
Derek faces the crunch as finances grow strained. Blue struggles to accept his best friend Jodi's new relationship with a sexy but questionable boyfriend. And then there's their parents. Between a visit from Derek's estranged mother, and a looming scandal with Blue's high profile father, simmering tensions threaten to erupt.
When Derek takes an out of town job, he faces temptation in the form of the attractive young man “who might have been.” Meanwhile, Blue is left home to weather the brewing storm alone, and when a lie comes to light, it may well be unforgivable. As the distance between Master and servant grows by more than just miles, can their hard-earned love endure? Katrina Strauss concludes the Blue Ruin series with the fifth and final installment, Only You.
This will be my last ever annual review, a yearly post my readers have come to know as "State of the Ruin." Although 2013 may have seemed like a low-key year, I was certainly more active than I was in 2012. Looking back at the past twelve months, I'm actually surprised to see how busy 2013 was. I just sort of went about it in ninja stealth mode -- so stealthy I managed to drop off my own radar, even.
The beginning of the year saw paperback releases of the 3rd and 4th Eldritch Legacy titles, Fates Fulfilled and A Forfeit Owed. After one of my publishers closed, I found a new home for my 1920s historical Efflorescence at Amber Heat. I then dipped my toes in the self-publishing waters and reprinted my other homeless story, Windswept, on my own. That experience encouraged me to self-publish a completely new story, Body Language, my first M/M release in 3 years. That's five releases, even if only one was a new story, the only in my reader-preferred M/M genre at that. Maybe that's why 2013 seemed much quieter than it actually was.
My two biggest announcements -- or at least, the ones that garnered the most attention -- were that I was writing the final Blue Ruin installment, and that it would also be my last Katrina Strauss title. I'm pleased to report I'm halfway through the second draft of BR5, titled Only You. I'll be submitting the final draft to my editor at Loose Id after the holidays. I feel I've given Derek and Blue a fitting, worthy ending, as well as that of their supporting cast. I hope readers who've braved the rollercoaster ride this far with me will agree.
In a move that raised a few eyebrows, but mostly went unnoticed, I dismantled my author site and redirected the domain to my blog. At one time, author sites were vital to backlist sales, but the majority of my sales these days are through Amazon, a trend reported by other authors as well. Between that, and my upcoming retirement from erotic romance, I honestly have no reason to maintain an author site or keep paying the domain registration fee.
I'll be back after the holidays with further updates on Blue Ruin 5: Only You. Because the show isn't over till the blue-haired bishie sings.
Available now on Kindle! My first M/M release in three years -- 15,000 word novelette Body Language:
Seth Winters has a dirty little secret: he likes to be
watched. When he discovers online playground Body Language, he finds a world of
anonymous men eager to watch him perform naughty deeds on cam. Anything goes,
so long as viewers only see him from the neck down. If only
he could broach the topic of his taboo fetish with offline love interest Logan...
Logan Chase blogs food reviews by day, and gets off to
online exhibitionists at night. He repeatedly deletes his profile at Body
Language, vowing to focus on real-life pursuits like his sexy new friend Seth, only to return to his
guilty pastime again and again. When the voyeur gets up enough nerve to reveal
his true identity to his favorite cam performer, will it be a match made in heaven? Or
the biggest mistake of Logan's life?
As many readers have observed, each Blue Ruin book is named in honor of an 80s song. Yes, it's legal to use a song title (but not lyrics) without permission, as many e-book series out there will attest. It's why the Red Hot Chili Peppers had to sue the writers of TV show Californication for trademark infringement rather than copyright. (Yes, you better believe I've researched the crap out of this.)
I didn't initially plan to name the BR series the way I have, but a certain "ohmigoth" Sisters of Mercy song came on the playlist while I was drafting book one and the idea grew from there. (Lead singer Andrew Eldritch's surname had already inspired my first series, the Eldritch Legacy.) I followed with a Cure B-side for book 2, and then went more mainstream with Erasure and INXS. (Although the last two were beloved by the New Wave set first. Hey, gotta maintain my street cred.)
In keeping with my running homage to the music of my formative years, my working title for the final BR manuscript was originally Love My Way. However, not only has Loose Id previously published a BDSM title under the same name, but as I've drafted the story it's become clear to me that title just doesn't fit. I considered Never Let Me Down Again, but that didn't fit either. I jokingly tossed around Super Freak, Don't You Want Me Baby, Like a Virgin (yeah, right, ain't no going back, Blue!) or just Rickrolling everyone with Never Gonna Give You Up. I briefly weighed If You Leave but didn't want to give readers a heart attack before they even opened the book. (Don't worry, that title really didn't fit either. It was just a thought...)
One song from my top five 80s albums kept coming to mind. I finally changed the name of the manuscript yesterday to see how it looked, and it instantly clicked. Vince Clarke will hopefully be honored and not litigious to know he's inspired two Blue Ruin titles. Here you go, the official title of Derek and Blue's final excellent adventure, named after one of my favorite songs ever:
I e-mailed my Loose Id editor yesterday to let her know the same thing I am announcing here. Now that my youngest child has started back to school, I figure it's as good a week as any to start drafting Blue Ruin 5. I can't promise when it will be done, exactly, but I'm writing it. This will likely be not only the final Blue Ruin book, but my final Katrina Strauss book. If I end up with two books' worth of story, well then, it will be the final two BR installments. I'll post status updates over the next few months to keep everyone in the know. For now, I've got a Coke for breakfast, and an IAMX playlist queued up. All right, gang, I'm going in!