Writing has never felt so good! #ROW80 #amwriting #ROW80Update

My goodness I’ve actually written! It feels so good, you have no idea. Monday I spent a lot of Spider-Man’s nap time writing, and as soon as my spouse got home from work, I pounded on the keys as long as I could. That was at least until my wrist started hurting. Gotta start exercising it again so I can write longer.

I have officially decided what will happen in Poor in Spirit, Kansas Beatitude #1, which is a miracle. It’ll have one main character from the second story in it as a side character to further the connection between them. I’ve also decided the third story will be about a side character in the second story. If that all makes sense to everyone.

Story 1: about unnamed people, Ashley is a side character.
Story 2: about Ashley & Moira, Martha Grace is a side character.
Story 3: about Martha Grace

I’ll have to start thinking about how to connect all the stories together like that, but I anticipate that’ll come with the writing and figuring out in more details what’s going on and who is in each story.

I’ve realized that to keep up with my ROW80 goals I need to be writing about 1500 words a day. So I’ve joined an accountability group on Facebook to help me with that. Thus far, it’s been somewhat helpful. What I really need is someone who will come after me and spank me or yell at me when I don’t write for the day. I’m still waiting on that invention.

Here are my goals:

SHORT STORY TITLES: Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Hunger & Thirst, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

DATES TO FINISH BY: July 14, July 24, Aug 3, Aug 13, Aug 23, Sep 2, Sept 12, Sept 22 (if I counted correctly)

TOTAL WORD COUNT:

Goal                —           Actual
120,000         —           11,288

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Progress is Progress #ROW80 #AmWriting #Mourn #KansasBeatitude

I feel like I can add the tag #amwriting this week because I did actually do some writing, even if it wasn’t a lot. I managed 1700 words on Thursday before I headed off to work, and while I’d had intentions to write on Friday and Saturday, it just didn’t happen.

I spent Sunday afternoon cleaning. Isn’t that a fantastic way to round out the weekend? hahaha, but it does need to happen. This story is constantly on my mind, which is a good thing. I think it means I’ll actually finish it, and seeing as how I’ve had several short stories that I’ve started and not completed lately, I’m aiming for finishing it.

I think I also had an idea for the first short story, Poor in Spirit, in the Kansas Beatitude series. It’s based off something happening in my world right now, and that’s probably why I couldn’t think of writing it before I had admitted it to myself.

Again, I have high aspirations and goals for this round of ROW80, but my true goal is just to finish at least one short story. I need to start writing novels this year soon enough anyway. I have to write De-Termination (Quarter Life #2), which I had to ask my publisher to extend the date on it, and I have to write the next book for Grace. If I could fit in a sweet romance in there too, I’d love it, but that’s not my focus.

There’s also a great debate as to whether or not be an ML come November. There is not a lot of ML support where I live, and I absolutely loved doing it in Texas. I’m just very concerned about time and baby and family and life and adjustments that will be happening right about then at work and all that jazz. I only have 6 more days to decide, so I best get deciding soon.

I’ll stop rambling now =P

Here are my goals:

SHORT STORY TITLES: Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Hunger & Thirst, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

DATES TO FINISH BY: July 14, July 24, Aug 3, Aug 13, Aug 23, Sep 2, Sept 12, Sept 22 (if I counted correctly)

TOTAL WORD COUNT:

Goal                —           Actual
120,000         —           4271

 

A time to sleep & a time to write #ROW80

I love how as soon as I start sleeping again because the baby starts sleeping again, he immediately stops. It’s been about three days straight of no sleep at night, and while last night was better, it’s not been great at all.

I’ve also had a lot of pressure and stresses going on at work the past two weeks, meetings that involve my future in my position and the future of the institutions I work for. It’s not been a fun few weeks to say the least.

In other words, I’ve done jack squat on my goals for ROW80 or my goals for like anything, really, except one. I am blogging again, even if it is just updates of “I didn’t do anything.” haha, so that’s something at least.

That was one of my back goals through ROW80 and joining up in WIPpet again. I’m also trying to work on a new series that I can do for a year or so on my blog. I’ll stop gabbing now and go to writing. I have an hour and fifteen minutes left before my word day begins officially, so let’s see how much I can get done.

Here’s my goals:

SHORT STORY TITLES: Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Hunger & Thirst, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

DATES TO FINISH BY: July 14, July 24, Aug 3, Aug 13, Aug 23, Sep 2, Sept 12, Sept 22 (if I counted correctly)

TOTAL WORD COUNT:

Goal                —           Actual
120,000         —           2,538

A new work in progress #Mourn #KansasBeatitude #WIPpet

It’s been a while since I’ve done WIPpet. It’s also been a while since I’ve written and posted on this blog. I’m attempting to get back on track with this writing stuff and back into the habit of writing everyday.

I’ve joined up with ROW80 this round in an attempted to basically write one short story every ten days. It’s not going well. I still only have 2500 words that I wrote the first day, but I’m going to share some of it today.

The idea for this series of short stories is romance shorts based on the beatitudes. There are eight beatitudes in total, and each short story will be a minimum of 15,000 words, totaling 120,000 words when I finish all eight. I have all but 3 planned with basic plots, and I’ve been working on the second beatitude since that plot came easiest for me. Each short story will take place in Kansas (where I’m currently stationed) thus making the theme complete.

I do hope I can finish them all so I can publish these. =P But it’s romance so maybe it was a bad idea to write romance to get me back into the game since it’s not my strongest genre. Oh well, only time will tell.

WIPpet Wednesday is a day where we post snippets from our Work In Progress. It’s got one very simple rule: your snippet must in some way relate to the date. For this WIPpet, I’ll be sharing from Mourn, Kansas Beatitude #2. These are the first 21 sentences of the piece, 20 for today’s date and one for good luck because I really need it. This is straight draft form, and I haven’t gone through it at all, so forgive the typos/grammar/spelling.

“Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted.”

With her finger bent, she rapped her knuckle against the screen door. The wooden door was wide open, and the heat from the house, which was actually a business, rushed through the screen and barely touched her cheeks. Taking a  deep breath, Moira sturdied her shoulders and waited for someone to answer. The figure shown through the door in seconds, and she took a step back off the cement deck so the door could be opened.

“My sister called and said this is where I was supposed to meet you?” Moira said it like a question, but she knew exactly where she was. She’d only been there once before when she was a little kid and her grandmother had died, but she remembered the smell of the makeshift funeral home distinctly.

“Moira.” The voice was smooth and warm.

Moira finally raised her gaze, locking her eyes with the woman standing on the other side of the doorway, pity lacing her features. Moira gritted her teeth and tensed her shoulders. She had never expected that woman to be standing in front of her, had never expected to see her again, in fact, she had prayed every night for years that she wouldn’t have to look upon her beautiful face again.

“Get in here out of the cold.”

Without saying another word, Moira pushed her way through the screen door until she stood just inside. Shivering in the sudden warmth, she stripped off her winter jacket and twirled her scarf from around her neck. She was going to be there a while, whether she wanted to be or not. With her heart racing, Moira lifted her gaze once again, this time prepared.

“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again, Ashley.”

Ashely gave a wry smile and took Moira’s jacket, hanging it next to the door. “Me either. Thought you’d left never to return.”

Want to join in WIPpet? Check out the linkie here.

Update 1 on Mourn #KansasBeautitude #ROW80 #amwriting

I ended up writing 2500 words on Thursday and then not writing again. haha! But 2500 words is something, and I have to keep telling myself that. I would love to average 2500 words a day again like I was doing, but maybe I need to work up to that instead of just assuming writing is going to come back to me at the snap of my fingers.

Mourn is the second beatitude but the first I’m writing. I have it completely plotted out, which helps me a lot in my process of writing. I’m planning on working on it some more this afternoon if I can get baby to take a proper nap.

It’s also very difficult for me to update on Sundays & Wednesdays because of my work life, so my actual updates will likely be Mondays & Thursdays throughout ROW80.

Here’s my goals:

SHORT STORY TITLES: Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Hunger & Thirst, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

DATES TO FINISH BY: July 14, July 24, Aug 3, Aug 13, Aug 23, Sep 2, Sept 12, Sept 22 (if I counted correctly)

TOTAL WORD COUNT:

Goal                —           Actual
120,000         —           2,500

How’s everyone else doing?

Long Time No See! #writing #releases #ohMY!

Whew, it’s been a long time since I’ve been around here. It’s completely my fault, but I’ve had a lot going on in my life. For starters, I had a baby. And you know what? Sleep deprivation is REAL! I haven’t been doing a lot of writing either because of said sleep deprivation. My mind just doesn’t function well without a good amount.

A lot of things have been going on though. For starters, I released a book! I know, right!? I should have said something, right!? The timing was really NOT in my favor.

It’s a short story, one I submitted as an experiment to another publisher, an experiment that is still ongoing. Well, here’s the experiment.

Deathscape_final

 

 

Standing in the center of a storm, waiting for lightning to strike has always been one of CL’s favorite moments: the anticipation, the buildup for the moment for when the downpour begins.

This time is different. In the midst of a storm, a mysterious woman keeps appearing at her cottage, watching CL before disappearing. At first, the woman seems like lonely imaginings, but as the storm and CL’s interest in her strengthen, CL realizes that’s far too easy an explanation.

 

 

 

So far it seems to be going well. It’s always interesting to work with someone new, to find out a different process of doing things, and to be a little scared, you know? In the midst of having a baby, I was doing final edits on this story.

Then, my normal publisher, reminded me that I had a novel due to her soon too. OH BOY! Can you say overwhelmed? I had to get the final edits to her asap because she needed to do edits and make the covers and pre-order stuff etc. There’s a lot of work to be done on a novel before it’s released. I guess pregnancy brain and lack of sleep made me forget all that.

Curious as to which one it is? Well, here you go!

Lost&ForsakenFINAL

Detective Grace Halling has a nice ring to it, or so Grace thought until she receives her first case.

Grace has been visiting Harold Crighton for years, and when he suddenly goes missing from the Campbell Home with seemingly no trace, her world is thrown into a spin. From finding her feet as a detective to learning how to be a better girlfriend to Amya and trying to find her place in a new and different world of no longer being a beat cop, Grace plows ahead and grits her teeth.

Although not the lead detective on Harold’s case, Grace is determined to put as much effort into finding him as possible. That is until she’s saddled with her own case and her focus becomes divided.

 

RIGHT!? GRACE IS BACK AND IT’S IN STYLE! lol. I love Grace so much. She makes me swoon all the time.

That’s just a small update from this accidental country girl living in Western Kansas. I hope to update again soon!

 

Tears and Pain #ROW80 and #WIPpetWednesday

I’ll start with ROW80 since it’s far more quick to do. I did finally remember that other goal I wanted to tag onto my goals this round, and of course I remembered on Sunday evening. Anyway…here we go.

1. Write 1667 words a day.

Sunday – 0
Monday – 7282
Tuesday – 8202

2. keep up with all blog posts ROW80, WIPpet, Open When and add in 1 extra post a week

ROW80 on Sunday/Wednesday this week
WIPpet on Wednesday
Open When happened Saturday
Extra post = Cover reveal for Ruth!
3. Edit at least one chapter a week on something.

I edited chapters 3 & 4 of Unbound, and I’m waiting on them back from 3rd run beta so I can do another edit. Yay!

4. Crochet one round of border a week

I haven’t done this yet this week…perhaps Thursday

*****************

It’s WIPpet time!

I struggled with which excerpt to share this week. It is Halloween soon, and there’s some creepy things in this book. I’m going to be sharing creepy things I find for the rest of the month methinks. Math is kind of interesting this morning. This is from Unbound, and the only context you get is Faye is walking around a sketchy part of town.

From chapter 21, I give you 9 paragraphs.

9 = 10 – 1
21 = (4 x 5) + (2 – 1) + 0

All right, here we go, now that math is done!

The sweet iron tang glistened along her tongue as she imagined drinking the fine wine she loved and hated so much. Whatever it was, it was dead or very near death. She closed her eyes and sniffed again, trying to pinpoint a direction. If it was dead, she would taste—even if it was human. It would give her the stamina she would need to fight off Kirill and whatever his men had in store for her.

The tingles hit her heart, pulling together in a way she knew wouldn’t be good. She tamped them down, focusing on staying in her human form instead of becoming Tainted. It wouldn’t do good for strangers on the street to see her bare her teeth and scratch her way through a body. No, that wouldn’t be good at all.

There! She turned her body and faced East, the scent wafting to her and calling her in that direction. She opened her eyes and took off at a job in the direction she was being pulled toward. She crawled over the desolate of the desolate, curled up under boxes and raggedy old blankets, everything they owned of clothes layered on their bodies. Some gave her nasty looks as she stepped over their strewn about forms. Others didn’t even move when she stepped on a finger, and she knew those ones would probably be dead. But that wasn’t what she was smelling.

Making it to the middle of the street, Faye turned down an alleyway. Her eyes sharpened in the darkness, the tingles taking over her sight to give her better vision as she moved through the darkness in silent. For some reason none of the homeless were in the alley, and it gave her the shivers to think of why.

Spiders ran in the opposite direction, heading toward the exit of the alleyway. Mice followed suit, scurrying past her worn down tennis shoes and brushing up against her leg. Faye shook one or two off before clenching her teeth and pressing on through it. The air wasn’t as cold down here as it was out on the street. She stopped shuddering just as she hit the dead end.

Stopping again, Faye sniffed the air. She turned to her right and saw immediately where her nose had led her. Behind the dumpster, a foot lay out, bare and dirty. She pulled the metal canister away from the brick wall and watched as the body slumped over in the night. Bending down low to it, Faye put her nose into his hair and inhaled his scent.

The gurgling noise hit her ears before the smell of his breath did. Looking down, Faye saw his eyes blink rapidly in her direction. She cursed under her breath and shoved back from him, forcing herself against the wall. The man should have been dead. She didn’t have the time or the desire to bleed him dry.

Kneeling down again, she reached for his head and turned it in her hand. He had a gash across the top of his skull and down to his brow. Someone had hit him with something. Licking her lips, she pushed back the urge to take the energy she wanted. She didn’t need it. He was going to die anyway, but she didn’t need to feed on someone who was still alive. Had he just died—well, that would have been a different story.

“You’re in luck for tonight,” she whispered.

The Addition and Subtraction of #ROW80

Well it happened, and it happened a lot more quickly than I thought it would. I didn’t write yesterday, at all. I got on the computer in the morning, made up two blog posts for my review blog and one for this blog and then I got off, went and sat on the couch and watched Raising Hope the rest of the day. Literally, the rest of the day and half of the night. *head desk*

I really did need the break though. I’ve been going, going, going for about three weeks, and I really just needed a day where no brain power was necessary. It was beautiful, and it was amazing. However, today is Sunday, which is the start of the work week for me, so that means I get to dive right back into work.

Here are the goals.
1. Write 1667 words a day, like NaNo, continue this until my two books are written and at least one short story companion piece. This should take me through to mid-December. If not, I’ll add in a third book to start.

Wednesday — 8318
Thursday — 2288
Friday — 4736
Saturday — 0000

So I made progress. I’m still working on making up for my word count from a few weeks ago when I didn’t write anything for 3 or 4 days (sickness, so doesn’t really count as a break), which is why my word count is high on a few days. I’ll still be making up, today and probably tomorrow. Sunday and Monday on my Wednesday update (that’s a lot of days right there), will have higher word counts. But this novel will be finished on the 18th if I stick to it. That’ll give me time to work on a short story before NaNoWriMo.

2. Actually check in each day I’m supposed to check-in, even if I finish my goals.

This post, which I almost skipped because it’s Sunday and the start of my work week and a morning thing. =P

3. Edit at least one chapter a week on something. Will start with Unbound and a copy-edit I have due this month.

I edited a short I wrote ages ago for my publisher (who just wanted to read it), I edited chapter 2 of Unbound, I beta’d a chapter for a fellow author, and I copy-edited a chapter for a fellow author.

 

Now here comes the fun part. I realized I needed to add in some new goals, since they’re projects I really need to finish before the new year. I totally forgot one of those goals though, so maybe by Wednesday I’ll remember. The goal I’m adding, is not writing/reading related. =P

4. Crochet one round of border on the blanket for Katherine (P.S. I started this blanket three years ago, and it really needs to get finished).

 

thanks all folks! Catch you on Wednesday! =P

Cover reveal for Her Journey by Rachael Orman #erotica #motorcycleclub

Title: Her Journey (Her Series #2)
Author: Rachael Orman
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publication Date: August 27, 2014
Tour Host: Dreams Come True Promotions

 

He’s exactly what she doesn’t need…

He’s exactly what she shouldn’t want…

He’s exactly what she should stay away from…

But she can’t.

After losing her mother, Melia knew her life would never be the same, she just didn’t expect it to be so drastically different. Her mother’s final wish was something that not only changed her life but also the way she lives it. And it put her right in front of a man that angers her as much as he excites her.

Patrick ‘Wrench’ Ryan is president of the Tormented Souls Motorcycle Club. He’s strong, tough, and his word is law, but his sister knows how to get the upper hand with him. So, when she showed up with Melia and told him she’s staying in the club house, it didn’t take much to get him to relent. He tried to play nice, but Melia gets under his skin.

Things change when the club’s biggest foe escalates their rivalry in an attempt to bring the Tormented Souls President to his knees. It’s up to Patrick to protect his sister and the things most important to her. Will he be able to keep everyone safe? Will Melia get caught in the crossfire? Or will it all be for nothing in the end?

 
 

 

 

 
 

Stay at home mother of two with a passion for reading almost as much as writing. She is often found curled up with her Kindle reading while her children cuddle up on either side ‘reading’ books of their own. Married for almost ten years to the most wonderful husband and father, she couldn’t ask for more out of life. Except maybe to live somewhere not quite as hot as the desert she currently lives in

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterRachaelOrman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachaelOrman

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Orman/e/B00DSY2Y4U/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1408226905&sr=1-2-ent

Author GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7145471.Rachael_Orman

 
 
Her Ride (Book #1 in Her Series)
 
 
Her Journey (Book #2 in Her Series) – Pre-Order TODAY!
 

Playing with words #WIPpetWednesday and #ROW80

Let’s do ROW80 update first today.

 

1. Fallen from Grace: write 1 chapter a week (moving week excluded)

FINISHED!! Cue the chimes! Ring the bell! Throw the confetti!! I’m FINISHED!

2. Promo: Answer three interview questions a day until done
3. Promo: Write out a guest post a week until done

4. Lovely, Dark, and Deep short story needs to be written/plotted 2k a day due Aug 31st

Time to get cracking on this.

5. Paranormal Romance short story 2k/day due Aug 9th

Since I’ve finished most of my goals for this round, I’m going to make new goals.

1. Lovely, Dark, and Deep short story needs to be written by Aug 31st. 2k words a week.

2. Post-Apocalyptic/Zombie short story needs to be written by Sept 27th. 2k words a week.

3. Editing Fallen from Grace. 3 chapters a week.

yayayayayayayayayayayayayay!

Also…

Today is cover reveal day for Ashes Fall! I’ve already given a bit of a preview of it, but I’ll post it and two teasers I made up.

Ashes2finalAshesFallTeaser1 AshesFallTeaser3

This book will be released on September 1st!

Okay…now onto WIPpet.

I was told last week, after I had posted last week, by my beta reader that I needed to post this excerpt. If you get the reference, you get bonus points for the day! Today I give you 13 short paragraphs from chapter 12.

She fired up her computer as she sat outside the house with her lights no longer on. Opening a new report, Grace filled in all the appropriate information before clicking “Report Complete” at the bottom of the screen. Her stomach growled as she put her cruiser in drive, and Grace decided to hit the diner for lunch before it closed. Not being one for driving while talking on the phone, Grace put her car back in park and called the top number on her favorites list in her phone.

“This is Ruby’s.”

“Hey, Sueanne. I wanted to place an order for pick up.”

“Go ahead with it.”

“I’d like a healthy dose of hash and scrambled, dry. Also two sides of toast, white with not butter, and four packets of strawberry jelly.”

“Grace?”

“Yup, that’s me.”

Sueanne giggled. “I should have known it was you. I’ll have them put in an order for chocolate milk too.”

“Thanks!”

“Total is seven o’ nine.”

“That’s it?”

“It’s a special.”

Grace smiled, said her thanks and hung up. She would have fifteen minutes before it was ready to be picked up, but that wasn’t a long way. She drove through the neighborhood to give it a quick check before heading over to the diner to pick up her meal. She’d eat in her car, not wanting to talk to more people than necessary.

GOD and LGBT: Adrian responds to a blog comment.

I was asked to write a response to a not so Christian comment, and I do believe God was with me while I wrote it.

Rainbow Gold Reviews

RGR received a comment yesterday that had nothing to do with the guestpost it was left on. However, we felt like we needed to respond, even if no one had seen the comment before we marked it as Spam. These are the kind of words gay men and women often hear and I am glad Adrian can give us a new way to see the words and take away their power.

There’s one thing in life I have never struggled with and that’s being a Christian. I’ve always felt called by God and loved by God. I’ve always been supported in my family even though I’m not “normal.” I’m on the queer spectrum, and I fall in a place that is rarely accepted. I’m bisexual, and yes, I’m also a Christian.

It’s important for me to explain this because I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard things like this…

View original post 638 more words

Rainbow Con 2014

Hello one and hello all!

I do realize that normally I’m supposed to be posting a WIPpet, as it is Wednesday. However, I’m not going to do that this week because I’m traveling to Tampa, FL for the first annual Rainbow Conference. I’ll be attending as an author, so that also means, this is my first ever conference as an author.

I have to skip out a day early to be back for Easter, but I still expect this trip to be amazing and awesome. I have books for purchase and bookmarks to give away. I hope to see lots of new faces and get to know some old friends even better. I’ll be attending with WIPpeteer Sarah Hart and Carolyn Gray.

As I write lesbian fiction, I’m thrilled that I’m on at least one lesbian panel–the only one they have dedicated to f/f. I hope to suggest they do more of that in the future, btw.

Here’s my schedule of events for anyone there who wants to catch up with me.

Thursday — Author Q&A 4:45-5:15 in Salon B
Thursday — Sex Toys in Erotic Fiction 10pm Salon C

Friday — Author Reading 2:45 Salon C
Friday — Anatomical, Please! 4pm Salon A

Saturday — We <3 Pussy 2pm Salon C

I hope to see lots of people there and come back with some good information about publishing and marketing and basically just making friends in the writing business!

If you’re curious as to what else I’m up to, I’m looking for people to join in two cover reveals. The first is on May 1 for my lesbian crime fiction novel For by Grace. If you have the date open and would like to join in, you can sign up right over here. The second cover reveal is for S. A. Snow’s debut novel Across Worlds: Collision! It will be on June 14. The book is sci-fi erotica with mixed gender thrown in there. If you would like to sign up to help out a new author, you can do that right here!

Thank you all so much and talk to you soon!

#authorcorner Kristen Duvall

Hello! Hello! Hello!! Today Kristen Duvall is joining for an interview. I’ll not bog you down with introductions, but check her and her books out!

Tell us about yourself.

I often tell people that I’m a writer of tales both real and make-believe. I’ve been published in several anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, and I have one book out now titled Femmes du Chaos. I’m also a contributor to several sites, including http://www.celebrityy.com, http://www.therichest.com and http://www.urbanfire13.com. I currently reside in Southern California with my boyfriend, my Great Dane, and a rescued calico kitty I lovingly call the KiKi Monster.

Besides writing, I enjoy hiking, going to the beach, traveling and playing board games. I’m currently the reigning champ of Trivial Pursuit, and I play a mean game of Scrabble.

What is one thing not in your bio, something totally random that only a few people know?

I grew up in poverty. And by that, I mean I went without heat and running water as a child. My family still lives this way today, while I managed to work my way through college and graduate school. I don’t talk about it often simply because I don’t want people to assume I’m playing the pity card. I’m blessed with how far I’ve come, and I know that.

Oh, and I’ve been attacked by a baboon. How many people can say that?

A baboon!? I’m going to have to ask for the story on that one sometime. But back to writing, what made you decide to write? If it even was a decision. And what kept you at it?KristenAuthorPhotoCropped

I started making up stories before I could even write. I’d tell them to my mom, and she’d write them down and illustrate them with me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been making up stories in my head and creating characters with backstories. What has kept me at it? It’s my escape. I enjoy doing it, and there are few things I enjoy doing more than writing.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and support in writing and in publishing? Doesn’t have to be an author or anything, and yes, it can be your mom or dad.

Kevin Saito, my boyfriend. He’s also a writer and a very good one too. I fell for him through his writing, and he’s always been my biggest supporter. Years ago, I struggled with low self-esteem and thinking I wasn’t good enough. Yet, he never gave up on me and helped me through the hard times. He helped push me to where I am today.

Awwww. I love stories like that!! So, why is it that you are an independent author? What prompted the decision to publish, and how has that experience been?

I like having the control over my work. I haven’t published through a publishing house, big or small. I’m completely self-published. The reason for that is because I see greater earning potential this way. I have the skills needed to publish my book, and I see self-publishing as an amazing opportunity for writers to get their work out there. I may consider submitting to publishers one day, mainly to build up more of a following, but I may not. I’d whether be writing than querying, personally. I feel my time is better spent writing more words.

Tell us a bit about Femmes du Chaos, without spoilers of course. It’s still on my TBR list!

It’s a book of short stories all featuring strong female characters. I simply adore short stories, both reading them and writing them, and I noticed that I wrote from a female perspective more often than not. Even when a character would traditionally be male, I made them female (in the case of a bounty hunter, for instance). Like I said, all the characters have inner strength… and while some of them are villains, they all share some of the same qualities. I think we need to see more strong women who aren’t out just to fall in love, and that’s why I wrote this book.

The stories range from a bounty hunter out for revenge to a little girl witnessing her father killing someone she loves. There’s horror, science fiction and fantasy stories in there, but yes… most have a darker tone to them. There are zombie stories and evil king stories, too. I’d like to think there’s something for everyone.

If you could meet one character in real life from Femmes du Chaos—and yes, I know this is a hard question—who would it be and why?

Sylvia, the bounty hunter. I’d give away spoilers if I said why, but let’s just say she seeks revenge for a reason I can personally get behind. I may not go to her extremes, but her and I are a lot alike in what we value.

What do you do when you get stuck in your writing? What happens when that nasty writer’s block sets down and refuses to budge—if you believe in writer’s block that is?

I don’t really believe in writer’s block, though some days are easier to write than others. I force myself to get through it. I write and write and write… even if I don’t want to. There are days I think everything I write is crap, but I remind myself that I can always go back and edit. I can’t edit a blank page. Most of the time, I look back on the stuff I forced out and it’s actually pretty good.

If a story or scene isn’t working, I sometimes change things around. Maybe I need to change the point-of-view? Maybe I need to start elsewhere in the story? Most of the time, a simple thing like showing the scene from someone else’s POV is enough to get me writing.

I do a lot of those things, too! What is your editing process? Editing seems to be the bane of a lot of author’s existence, so how do you edit and stay on track?

My boyfriend helps me edit. Oftentimes, I do a quick edit, but then I send it over to him and step away. He gives me insight, and I come back to it. Honestly, as far as my novels go, I’ve not been the best at editing those because I keep getting sidetracked with new ideas… But yes, soon. I will put my focus back on them and have them out too. I also seek the advice of other friends of mine and most of my stories in Femmes du Chaos were read by at least 5-6 beta readers before I put them in the book (and they were also read and sometimes critiqued by a writing group too).

Beta readers and critique groups are sometimes the saviors of the world!! Would you mind sharing some of your ups and some of your downs about writing and about publishing? Any advice to new and upcoming authors?

Advice? Develop a thick skin. When I first started writing, I was sensitive, and it was painful. People can be so mean when you put yourself out there. I’ve been personally attacked by people who don’t like my work. They tore me down and said some hateful things. Luckily, this came as I was already getting stronger or else it would have destroyed me.

My lowest points had me in a constant state of self-hate. I hated my writing. I hated myself for not being good enough. I wanted everyone, and I do mean everyone, to like my writing. But I learned through the years that not everyone will like your writing, and that I needed to focus on those who did. I obviously had people who enjoyed my writing, so why was I ignoring them in favor of those who don’t? Because I was stuck in a negative downward spiral of low self-esteem.

Not anymore. I like my writing. Is it perfect? No, I always have room to grow. But regardless, I’m proud of my work and even if someone else doesn’t like it, I still think it’s good. In the end, isn’t that what matters the most?

That’s some great advice! Here’s a more serious question. What is it like to write in the LGBT realm of craziness that we all support? What’s it like to dip the toe into the rainbow through writing and publishing?

My forthcoming novel (which doesn’t have an official name yet, but I call it The Princess and the Piper because it’s a bad pun) features a lesbian protagonist. The way the story unfolded that wasn’t the plan. I believe I found out she was a lesbian about the same time she did. I don’t know how the publishing world will respond to this story, but I did have two agents already request the full manuscript by me describing it as a utopian Prince and the Pauper with lesbians on Twitter.

If agents don’t pick it up, I’m self-publishing it. I love the story, I love the characters and my early readers have loved the story from my first short story based on the world. Overall, people have enjoyed it, and most say they like that the romantic element in my story isn’t straight.

That’s awesome about the agents! And sometimes romance is just better with two women, not that I’m biased at all. Anyway, back to questions. What is your best memory from the whole writing and publishing process?

A recent one… I just got my first check from a piece I’ve written. My personal essay got picked up for Chicken Soup for the Soul, and I got a check for $200 yesterday. It’s hard to fathom that someone out there found my 1,200 word essay worth $200. Following up with that, someone messaged me on Facebook to tell me they saw my name in the book at their local Target… 3,000 miles away from where I live. How cool is that?

That is ridiculously cool!! Why focus on the LGBT genre? What are the plusses and what are the minuses of doing so?

It’s not intentional. Personally, I just write people. Some of them are gay, and some of them are straight. They are who they are, and I don’t try to change them. I love them for who they are.

That being said, I’m a huge advocate for LGBT causes, and I hope that by including a variety of people in my writing, it can reach the right people and make a difference.

The minuses? I don’t really know. I’m sure some people might not read my work knowing that I write LGBT characters, but that’s okay. Those aren’t people I need to reach anyway. The plusses of writing real people far outweigh the need to please everyone and to play it safe.

Quickies!

1. Dog or Cat? Both? If I have to choose… dog :)
2. Favorite color? Purple
3. Favorite junk food? Peanut butter anything
4. Favorite musician? Too many to pick just one!
5. Favorite curse word? Hmm probably fuck. I know, boring, huh?
6. Favorite quote? I have many, but this is one I like a lot… “A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” ~Paulo Coelho
7. Rolaids or Tums? I’ve never used either.
8. Short or Tall? Both are just fine by me :)
9. Favorite body part? The brain… with fava beans and a nice bottle of chianti, please ;)
10. Favorite holiday? Christmas.

 Books

frontpaperback

They messed with the wrong girl this time. From heroes to villains, Femmes du Chaos sets out to show the world what the fairer sex is really made of. You’ll meet women of all ages and from many different walks of life… Warriors and schoolgirls, side-by-side in one place. One thing connects them all, and that is their ambition. Whether they use their ambition for good or evil, well that’s for them to decide. Gritty, fantastical and sometimes uncomfortable to read, Femmes du Chaos is a tour de force that holds nothing back. There will be violence and there will be blood. Some will survive and come out stronger in the end… And some will let the darkness consume them. After all, no two girls are ever alike.

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The history of mankind has been dark, violent and oftentimes bloody. HoH Front Cover

Have you ever wondered what really happened in Roanoke or whether Vlad the Impaler was actually a vampire? Within these pages, you will discover a world where mermaids meet up with Jack the Ripper and the undead fight in the Civil War. You’ll explore history from horrific medieval diseases to present day disasters. This is the history of the world like you’ve never seen it before.

Horrors of History is a collection of tales brought to you by both established and up-and-coming writers alike. Each story has a unique vision and voice, combining to bring you a creepy collection that will scare you like the Black Death terrifies a Medici. Gracing these pages are mermaids, demons, witches and sometimes just good old-fashioned humans doing evil things. Be prepared for anything and everything. You will never know what to expect with each turn of the page.

History just got a whole lot darker

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#authorcorner Jaye McKenna Interview!

I’ve had over the past few months the wonderful opportunity to get to know Jaye. We’ve been communicating back and forth via email after meeting on Goodreads in one of the groups. We can’t stop the conversations as they just continue to unwind. We originally met because I put out a call for LGBT authors and/or authors who write LGBT. She answered requesting to do an interview. This is the fruit of it. I hope you enjoy it and check out her books!

Hi there, Jaye. Just to start out, let’s make it easy. Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Britain and dragged across the Pond before I was old enough to really make a case for staying there. I’ve been telling stories since I was four, writing them down since I was nine, and dreaming them forever.LGBT Giveaway

What is one thing not in your author bio that you want to share with us? Something totally random that only a few people know.

I spin my own yarn on both a drop spindle and a spinning wheel. When the apocalypse comes, I’ll be ready…

Haha, well, let’s hope we’re in the same vicinity when that happens! But getting back to writing and away from the apocalypse, although sometimes the two go hand in hand. What made you decide to write? If it even was a decision. And what kept you at it?

I don’t think it was a decision but a need. It’s something I’ve always done and something I miss if I don’t do. It’s part of what keeps me sane and whole. I have all these ideas, all these characters, screaming at me to tell their stories. And I’ve come up against an awful lot of obstacles to writing over the years, but what always kept me at it was the need to do it.

As an engineering major in college, the writer rarely won the fight for time, and when there was time, there wasn’t always any energy or inspiration. When I left the workforce to raise my kids, I thought I’d finally have some time to write—except I didn’t really have a clue how exhausting being at home with two toddlers actually was. So again, writing was pushed into the corners and only done when I had the time or the energy. When the kids were finally old enough to be in school all day, I got hit with a bipolar diagnosis, which meant medications that made it impossible to write. It took me two years to get off the meds and four more years before I could write again.

HFHS_200x300_HiWow. It sounds like you’ve had to really fight to let that need be heard and come through. Throughout all of that, I’m sure you have some inspirations. So who has been your biggest inspiration and support in writing and in publishing? Doesn’t have to be an author or anything, and yes, it can be your mom or dad.

Definitely my husband. He’s always been supportive, and since he’s an artist, he gets that whole creative thing. He understands that if I’m on a hot streak, we might be having Nutella sandwiches for dinner, and that if I’m working my way through a rough spot in the writing, I’m going to be distracted and edgy. And he doesn’t take it personally.

That’s a great thing! Also, Nutella sandwiches for dinner is a fantastic idea! Before we get anymore distracted, your blog is called “The Swamp”, any particular meaning to that?

My creative alter-ego is the Swamprat, so it kind of made sense to call the blog The Swamp.

Where the Swamprat lives…totally makes sense. So why is it that you are an independent author? What prompted the decision to publish on your own, and how has that experience been?

I sort of fell into the self-publishing thing. When I got back into writing after my Bipolar Adventure, I knew the publishing landscape was changing and all these epublishers were springing up. I decided I’d take a year or two to re-hone my rusty skills, study the growing M/M market, and then try submitting some stuff. Last spring I had just wrapped up the first draft of the entire five-book sci-fi series, Guardians of the Pattern, when I learned about the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s writing event, Love Has No Boundaries. I took part in this event, and my story Human Frailties was very well received. People kept asking me if there was a sequel. There was—I had written it right after I’d submitted the original story—and it didn’t take long for me to realize that the only way I was going to get the sequel into the hands of the people who wanted to read it was to self-pub it.

The whole self-publishing experience was a lot less scary than I’d imagined it would be. Through the Love Has No Boundaries event, I’d gotten to know people who were willing to work with me on beta reading, editing, and formatting, and my husband was willing to do the cover art for me. I liked the whole process (and the level of control I had) so much that I decided to have a go at self-publishing the science fiction series, Guardians of the Pattern.

Seems you like have a lot of work to share and have found just the way to share it. I know you still have writing that is coming out and that you are producing still, but you do currently have quite a few works out. Facing the Mirror is one that caught my attention. What is it about?

Facing the Mirror is a science fiction novella that covers a pivotal moment in the life of undercover agent Cameron Asada. When Cameron meets Miko, a psychic slave owned by the drug lord Cameron is investigating, he starts to question his mission priorities. Eventually, Cameron is faced with a moral dilemma: complete the mission that he’s devoted four years of his life to and maybe take down the drug lord’s organization or help Miko.

Facing the Mirror serves as an introduction to my M/M science fiction series, Guardians of the Pattern. It takes place about three years before Psi Hunter, which is Book 1 in the series (and I’m planning to release it in March of this year).

Yay! for a March release! And what about Human Frailties? You mentioned before that this started as a shorter story and it turned into a novel, so how was that process? Did everything work out how you had hoped?

FacingTheMirror_200x300Although Human Frailties was a complete story with a reasonably satisfying ending, not everything was resolved at the end of it, and it really was crying for a sequel. The main characters had come to a resolution regarding their relationship, but during the course of the story, they’d unleashed something rather nasty into the world, and that still needed to be dealt with. I started working on the sequel, Human Strengths, as soon as Human Frailties was submitted. Once I’d finished Human Strengths, it was clear to me that the two stories really needed to be one. It made sense to me at that point to rewrite the whole thing as a novel. To that end, I wrote a new first chapter for Human Frailties and reworked the ending to allow for a smoother transition into the Human Strengths part of the story. Rewriting the whole thing also allowed me to add new material here and there and fix a few things that I wasn’t happy with in the original version of Human Frailties. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out. I was happy with Human Frailties, but I’m even happier with Human Frailties, Human Strengths.

It’s always good to be happy with a story. I was wondering, do you think there was an advantage in having the shorter story out before the novel because Human Frailties turned into Human Frailties, Human Strengths?

Yes, but I think most of that advantage came from the fact that Human Frailties was part of the Love Has No Boundaries Event. As a part of that event, the story got more attention and a wider audience than it would have if I had just released it into the wild by myself. By the time the novel came out, there were plenty of people who had read Human Frailties and were waiting for the novel so they could find out what happened next.

That’s always an advantage. Speaking of Human Frailties, Human Strengths, in the giveaway that you so graciously donated to, entrants can win a copy of the novel. Would you mind telling us a bit about it, without spoilers of course?

Human Frailties, Human Strengths is an M/M fantasy romance. It’s about Tor, a misfit human who, through a strange encounter with an old woman and a magical book, is transported to another world. When Tor is dumped at the feet of Ash, an arrogant god-in-exile, it’s irritation-at-first-sight. Magically bonded to Ash by a goddess who intends to teach Ash a lesson in humanity—and humility—Tor has no choice but to follow Ash as he seeks a way to break his exile. Along the way, they find adventure and love, and Ash learns what it means to be human.

Wow, sounds interesting and romantic tension ridden. If you could meet one character in real life from Human Frailties, Human Strengths—and yes, I know this is a hard question—who would it be and why?

Definitely Tor. The poor boy seriously needs a hug!

LOL! Aside from giving Tor a hug, what made you fall in love with either the plot or the characters?

I think it was Ash’s journey—his gradual realization that he had feelings for Tor, and what those feelings taught him about humanity. I loved the idea of this arrogant jerk of a god suddenly being stripped of all his power and having to learn live as one of the humans he’d spent most of his life manipulating for his own pleasure. And then suddenly finding himself stuck with one of them as a traveling companion. He’s used to being worshipped—and here’s this human refusing to do as he’s told, questioning every order, and giving him backtalk instead of the blind obedience he expects. I enjoyed the challenge of constructing a journey that would change Ash from an arrogant ass who cared for no one into someone who was willing to sacrifice something important to him in order to save the humans that his own selfish actions had endangered.

Sounds like a complicated relationship in the making! But here’s a question we all want to know. What is your writing process, and what do you do when you get—that scary, scary word—stuck?

My stories always start with a character in conflict rather than a big-picture plot. A guy with a problem. The plot grows out of trying to understand what the problem is, how it came about, and what the character is going to have to do to work his way out of it. I do work from an outline, but it starts out as a vague collection of ideas with lots of wiggle room. I don’t like to be tied down because one of my favorite parts of writing is those WTF moments when the characters decide to do something you never thought of and taking the story in a whole new direction.

What I do when I’m “stuck” depends on what kind of “stuck” it is. If it’s the sort of “stuck” where I have no ideas and no inspiration, that’s a sign that I’ve been working too hard and I need to take a break and fill the creative well again. Read books, watch some movies, go for walks, just get away from the keyboard for a while. If it’s the sort of “stuck” where I’m not sure what comes next in a story, then it’s time to brainstorm, shift the point of view I’m writing from, or maybe get deep into a character’s head and figure out why things aren’t working right. Or work on something else for a while. My subconscious has a way of chewing over story problems even when I’m not actively working on them… and solutions to story problems often come to me when I’m not writing. (The shower is my best place for inspiration!)

The shower really is the best place for inspiration AND for working out all the tangles and webs that characters create. I do have a series question, would you mind sharing some of your ups and some of your downs about writing and about publishing? Any advice to new and upcoming authors?

The biggest “up” is that I’m doing what I love… and I think the biggest “down” is that it isn’t just about writing that first draft anymore. Once I’ve had that initial fun of being immersed in a story for a couple of months, the hard work begins—wrestling the thing into the story it wants to be and getting it fit for human consumption. Turns out the writing that initial draft is actually the least time-consuming part of the whole process! Who knew?

I think the best advice I have for new authors is to tell the story you want to tell. Don’t write something you’re not passionate about just because it’s selling because that’s going to show in your writing. Write what’s in your heart because that’s where you’re going to shine.

What attracted you to the sci-fi and fantasy genres? Would you ever consider writing something completely out of your comfort zone and in a completely different genre?

As a child, fairy tales were always my favorite stories, so I think my love affair with fantasy goes all the way back to that. I discovered science fiction in grade school and devoured everything I could get my hands on. What I like about these genres is creating my own world with its own rules really appeals to me (there’s that control thing again!), and if I’m working in my own world, the stories I can tell are limited only by my imagination.

Since my story ideas usually begin with character in conflict, it’s very possible that I’ll do something in a different genre at some point. It probably won’t be soon though—I’ve got ideas for at least two more novels and half a dozen shorts in the Guardians of the Pattern series, and once that’s finished, I have a M/M fantasy series that’s mostly outlined and about half written. After that, though, who knows what will tickle my muse.

Speaking of M/M fantasy series, what’s it like to write M/M as a female? Have you run into any problems or pushback from readers? Did you anticipate any when you decided to publish?

Well, to me it seems pretty natural. I’ve always identified better with males than females, preferred to read about male characters, and preferred to write about male characters. I don’t write women well, because despite being one, I don’t understand them.

The only problem I anticipated when I decided to publish was telling my dad what I was writing. He’s a conservative, old-school, British gentleman, and I figured there would be… issues. In fact, there were not. He told me he was proud of me, and then asked if it would be okay if he didn’t read it. What a guy!

LOL! I’m glad he was so supportive even without reading it. Here’s a more serious question. What is it like to write in the LGBT realm of craziness that we all support? What’s it like to dip the toe into the rainbow through writing and publishing?

I don’t know that writing LGBT stuff is a whole lot different than writing mainstream stuff… we’re all human, after all. Regardless of what we look like on the outside and who we love, we all experience the same array of emotions. As with any kind of writing, if something you want to write about is outside your own realm of experience, you research it. And although I’m married to a wonderful guy right now, gender has never been a barrier for me in relationships, so I’ve got a bit more than just a toe in the rainbow!

And lastly, what is your best memory from the whole writing and publishing process?

Participating in the Love Has No Boundaries event is probably the best memory I’ve got so far. The event was a lot of fun, and I learned an awful lot in very short time. Human Frailties was the first thing I’d ever put out there, and I was really stunned at how many people liked it and wanted to read more about the characters.

QUICKIES!

1. Dog or Cat?  Dog.LGBT Giveaway
2. Favorite color? Black.
3. Favorite junk food? Chocolate. The darker, the better.
4. Favorite musician? Changes on a daily basis.
5. Favorite curse word? Shit. (It has a such a nice ring to it!)
6. Favorite quote? “I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” –Anna Quindlen
7. Rolaids or Tums? Tums. Smoothies only, please.
8. Short or Tall? Er, hang on, let me grab a box to stand on…
9. Favorite body part? All the ones I don’t have!
10. Favorite holiday? Winter Solstice

Books

If you’re interested in either Facing the Mirror or Human Frailties, Human Strengths, here are the blurbs and book covers.

Facing the Mirror (A Novella in the Guardians of the Pattern Universe)

FacingTheMirror_200x300Special Agent Cameron Asada has spent four years deep undercover in an attempt to deal a death blow to the Sapphire Guild, the largest drug cartel on Alpha. The things he’s done in the name of his mission weigh heavily on his soul, and Cam is reaching the point where he’s not sure he recognizes the man he sees in the mirror anymore.

Things come to a head when Cam finally gets the break he’s been waiting for: an invitation to work for the boss himself as a psionic interrogator. While working at the boss’s estate, Cam meets Miko, a powerful psion trapped behind a wall of silence. It doesn’t take long for Cam to realize that Miko is a slave, handed around to the boss’s associates as a reward for a job well done.

Miko’s plight tugs at Cam’s heartstrings, forcing Cam to examine just how many lines he’s willing to cross in the name of serving the greater good. Will Cam risk his life and his career to help Miko? Or is the trail of broken minds and bodies he’s left in his wake worth the possibility of victory over the Guild?

Human Frailties, Human Strengths

Ashnavayarian is a god-like entity who lives in the leythe, the fluid confluence of space, time, and energy that permeates the HFHS_200x300_Hiuniverse and binds the worlds together. Ash has always considered the human worlds his playground, and has spent many human lifetimes manipulating the creatures for his own amusement. When his meddling leads to a terrible war, the echoes of which disturb the matrix of the leythe itself, the goddess Jhara sentences him to live as a human in the war-torn world that Ash’s manipulations may yet destroy. There he will stay until he learns compassion for the human creatures he so casually toys with.

But cold, self-centered Ash is far more interested in escape than redemption. Furious at the way he has been trapped, he vows to break his exile by whatever means he can. The only problem is that Jhara has crippled his power over the leythe, leaving him only two choices: bow to her demands or find some other way to raise the power he needs to break his exile.

Tor MacAran has been alone all his life. He’s never belonged and he’s never been able to shake the feeling that something is missing. There’s a darkness in his soul, an emptiness that has haunted him for as long as he can remember. When an encounter with an old woman and an ancient book pulls him through the Void Between Worlds and dumps him at Ash’s feet, Tor thinks he’s found the answer to all his problems. Because not only is Ash the embodiment of every fantasy Tor has ever had, but when the man touches him, the dark empty places inside him are filled with light, and for the first time in his life, Tor feels complete.

But all Ash sees in Tor is the answer to his own problem, for a hidden power slumbering deep within Tor may well be the catalyst Ash requires to effect his escape. But Ash risks far more than Jhara’s wrath in his bid for freedom—for both Tor’s life and the future of the world are endangered by his plans.

Acceptable losses, as far as Ash is concerned.

Or are they?

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“Damn Straight” with Francis James Franklin

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Today begins the newest project I have. I’ll be posting interviews, guest posts and author spotlights every Monday throughout the 2014 year. For the first part of the year, I’ve decided to specifically focus on LGBT writers, meaning either the writer is LGBT or the novels/stories they write have main LGBT characters. This is  very small niche of which I am a part of–on both sides of that spectrum. I just wanted to represent. Now to the fun part.

 I’d like to introduce you all to Francis James Franklin! He’s from the other side of the pond, but due to the wonders that are the interwebs, he has joined us today. Today he writes about LGBTness and what that means to him.

***

“Damn Straight”cover-small

In 1996 (I think) I went with a friend to the London Pride event. It was a great day. Gina G. was on stage singing ‘Ooh, aah, just a little bit’ (like I believe she was made to do again in Stockholm this year). One of the speakers that day made a remark along the lines of: ‘10% of people are gay, 10% are straight, and all the rest are bisexual!’ At which I cheered.

My friend looked at me, baffled, and asked, ‘Why did you cheer?’ The implied question, of course, being, ‘Are you saying you’re bisexual?’

Am I? No! I’m 100% straight, a.k.a., ‘damn straight’. Or maybe 99.5% straight – but I’m rounding up.

And yet… In my imagination, and in my writing, there are no restrictions on my gender or on my sexual and romantic orientations. In my first novel, Kings of Infinite Space, or: The Quest for Alina Meridon, the main character’s gender and orientations change during the course of the story. My second novel, Suzie and the Monsters – a fairytale of blood, sex and inhumanity…, features two characters whose romantic and sexual orientations differ, while Suzie herself is pansexual (or possibly omnisexual).

I’ve never questioned my gender. I am a man… but what is a man? There are so many characteristics of appearance and behaviour that we (most of us) identify instinctively as masculine or feminine. If a man has feminine characteristics, is he less than a man? Or if a woman has masculine characteristics, is she less than a woman? Should gender archetypes be limited to Conan the Barbarian and Cinderella?

cover-suzie-smallFor the first six weeks of our existence our gender is undifferentiated. Thereafter, a soup of hormones influences our development, minor fluctuations in the concentration of androgens affecting the way our minds and bodies grow. Is it any surprise that gender identity and expression, and sexual and romantic orientations, don’t always correlate with chromosomal expectations?

I am a man. Yet I read Cosmopolitan, I am quite opinionated about shoes, I have almost no interest in sport, I love reading and writing about strong heroines that don’t need to be rescued by a man… Gender inequalities trouble me, and I love stories that overturn traditional (patriarchal) gender roles.

I find the idea of gender shifts very seductive. As a teenager devouring science fiction and fantasy, two gender-shifting visions had a huge impact on me. Iain Banks’s Culture series is a utopia where gender (and, in fact, all aspects of physical nature) can be changed at will. John Varley’s Steel Beach is a society in crisis where new bodies are purchased and, to some extent, follow fashion trends; where for some people sexual orientation depends on their current gender, and for others it doesn’t.

In real life, I am a heterosexual man. In my writing I am most comfortable writing as a woman. And since attraction to women is something I understand, it’s natural for my female characters to share that passion.

So, why did I cheer? Because I believe most people don’t exist at the extremes of homo- and heterosexuality, that social conditioning forces us to take sides in a war of identity that shouldn’t exist. But perhaps also it’s because the bisexual woman in me isn’t just a fantasy…

transfagarasan-6-640x480

About Francis James Franklin

By day I’m a university lecturer and researcher. By night I’m an author. I was born in England, grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and live now in Newcastle upon Tyne with my beautiful wife and daughter.

Over on my blog,I publish short stories and poetry, publish the occasional review, and discuss vampires and sexuality.

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LGBT Giveaway

Francis has also graciously allowed me to do a giveaway for two of his stories. So click the “Giveaway” icon to enter to win either An Aromantic Romance or Quantum Sex. Next week we will have an interview with Jaye McKenna. She has graciously donated a copy of Human Frailties, Human Strengths for the giveaway.

Keeping it real…

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’ve had to take a break from the writing world. It wasn’t willingly, but I had to. Depression hit hard and fast. I think it’s something most people, if not most writers, deal with on a daily basis. Just recently Ned Vizzini killed himself; he was a young adult novelist and television writer. Ned struggled with depression.

So I’ve been depressed. I struggle with depression. It’s a crazy cycle in my life that goes up and down, and I’ve hit a down. Or I had. It took a few weeks to get back to being semi-normal, but I made it–this time. I do often wonder what would happen if I didn’t make it. Or if I spent more time on the down slide than I could actually handle.

Depression is a funny thing. It makes you look at all your failures and suddenly forget about every success. It makes you inadequate to be with anyone or be around anyone–be it friend, family, or significant other. It makes you realize that you are alone in this vast world, and that you are the only one who is alone.

Once depression leaves after it’s stayed vacation, we realize how many lies it told and just how convincing and manipulative it was. But what if depression kept extending its visit to the point where you thought it would never leave? What if depression was that friend you let couch surf for a few nights who never left and three years later you can’t take it anymore? All these questions run through my mind each time depression comes for a vacation, and each time I have no answer.

Throughout my history and battle with kicking depression out, I have written. It’s been a release and a relaxer for me. But this time–this time I couldn’t even fathom writing. I don’t know if it’s because writing has become some form of work or simply because it doesn’t work as a coping mechanism anymore. But it is something that I am missing.

I’m missing the words spilling forth from the subconscious of my brain and onto the computer page in front of me. I’m missing the rush of feelings as I create something so beautiful and amazing (even if the story sucks =P) that I can go back to later and enjoy. I’m missing the release.

Depression has a way of hitting. It’s slow and sneaky but throws a mean punch.

“Taken” by Felicia Starr

Title: TAKEN (Breaking the Darkness, #1)
Author: Felicia Starr
Expected Release Date: November 11, 2013
Genre: Fiction | YA | Paranormal

 

Opening her eyes to an imposing prison of complete darkness, Kasha is accused of possessing powers and abilities she had no previous knowledge of until the moment she comes face to face with herself while meditating. Haunted by memories strung together by lies and deceit, she soon discovers that maybe her beloved grandmother kept a few secrets she had not been aware of.

 Secrets that could be her salvation… or her undoing.As she struggles to control her newfound powers, only time will tell if they will be enough to help her decipher who has imprisoned her or what they want from her. She must search for the answers and the freedom she so desperately desires. Could a handsome guy whom vows to help her get away prove to be the man of her dreams… or perhaps her worst nightmare?

NOT KNOWING WHO TO TRUST, SHE MUST FIND A WAY TO ESCAPE BEFORE SHE PAYS THE ULTIMATE PRICE AND FINDS HERSELF TAKEN BY THE DARKNESS.

 

You must betray your heart and walk amongst the darkness in order to find the truest light.

                                                                                                          

Without the sun and moon to guide my inner clock, there was really no way for me to
distinguish how many nights or days had passed. The darkness was different from any I had experienced before. My eyes could not quite adjust.

Although I had a real bed and a partial bath with a toilet and small wash sink, there was no sense of comfort. What seemed to be the only entrance was   sealed so tight that no light seeped in from the perimeter. There were no windows; the walls were cold and barren. My hands explored my surroundings, yet I could not even find an outlet or light switch.

I tried to escape my fears by focusing on remembering less stressful times, most of which were with Gram. I replayed the past in my head, hoping that somewhere hidden in those memories might be a clue as to what happened and how I ended up in the dark.

When my fear and confusion subsided enough, I willed myself to sleep. It was my only escape from the heaviness the darkness imposed upon me. This didn’t help my capacity to estimate the length of my imprisonment. I didn’t know how long or how often I drifted off to sleep. There were moments I lay there struggling to determine if my eyes were open or closed.

One would think the quiet would be soothing, only it amplified every little thing. I realized there was no true stillness. I could envision the flecks of dust floating through the air, crashing into the floor like pellets of hail on a summer day. The anticipation of hearing footsteps approaching my room sent continuous chills up my spine with every little noise the silence allowed.

There was something about the smell in the air and the chill of the walls and floor that led me to believe I was still somewhere in the desert. The lack of moisture in the atmosphere left my mouth sticky and dry. Being dehydrated from lack of fluids wasn’t helping. I wasn’t sure if the faucet water was safe to drink.
The pains in my stomach reminded me how much I longed for a veggie-filled pita with hummus and feta cheese. My mouth watered at the thought of a guilt-filled bag of Doritos. I should have been grateful I wasn’t completely being starved in there. I don’t know how or when, but food did appear in my room from time to time—and I use the term food loosely. A couple of crackers or a piece of jerky doesn’t really constitute food to me. I had to take what I could since I still didn’t have a clue where I was, who was keeping me, or why.

Since Gram died, while I was away at college, there really wasn’t a home to go back to. I decided to take the small amount of money she left me and put most of it in the bank. I’d just moved to Santa Fe and
prepaid a year’s rent for a studio-sized house on a small side street. Santa Fe was appealing because it was close to the last place Gram lived, La Cienega, just outside the city limits. The sad thing is, without employment and friends or family in the new city, no one would miss me.

At this realization, my heart grew heavier. Although I could feel the burn in my throat, threatening the shower of tears, I choked it back. Tears wouldn’t fight off the shadows. Appearing resilient would help me keep up my strength.

I contemplated screaming out, demanding an answer as to why I was there. Trepidation brought that action to a silent halt. I didn’t want to face the potential terrors that stalked the future. I watched enough crime television shows to know how much worse this could get. I counted on my silence as my best defense.
I continued to make desperate attempts at feeling around the walls that encased me. Pressing my face against the cold surfaces, I struggled to hear a trace of someone, anyone, only my ears were denied. Could it be I was truly alone in this unwarranted exile? Perhaps this was it; in the end the darkness would consume me.

I dropped to my knees at the center of my prison. I could feel the surge of sadness and anger coursing through my body. My core heated and it felt as though my blood was on fire. I acknowledged each pore of my skin as the fine hairs stood at attention from the vibration that shook my extremities. With my teeth clenched and my eyes pressed shut, I tried to regain my breath and focus on Gram.

In a whisper, I called out to her. “Gram… Gram, I know you are out there watching over me. I just wish I could hear your voice.”
I continued to speak to her in my head. As much as I always wished something exciting would happen to me, being incarcerated in this godforsaken dark box wasn’t at all what I had in mind.

As I looked down toward the amulet resting on my chest, my fingers encased the charm. I closed my eyes, and memories of the time my grandmother draped it around my neck flocked to the forefront.

It was the summer I turned sixteen. Gram and I took a road trip to the Painted Desert, one of our favorite places to visit. I loved being surrounded by mountains made of rainbows of rock. Some people referred to this location as the “badlands.” When I was there, though, I felt filled with a unique sense of lightness that almost lifted me off my feet. Being there was effortless.

I could walk for hours, soaking in the beauty and freshness of the landscape. I felt connected, not necessarily to anything in particular; I just felt at one with nature. It was like the spirit of the earth moved through me. Even when I was alone on a trail, I never felt lonesome.

The day Gram gave me this necklace, it was as if the heavens had opened up and dumped colors all around us. The sun sank past the painted-rock walls that bordered our location. The sky swelled with layers of purple, pink, orange, and even a touch of gold at the tips of the earth. Gram always knew how to pick just the right moment and location to make a special occasion feel magical.

“Kasha, you are becoming a strong and beautiful young woman. The women in our family have always had a special bond with one another. You must always remember, even when we’re not together, we’re a part of each other, linked always.”

I knew part of what she was being at had to do with my mother. It had been many years since I saw her last, but now was neither the time nor place to start thinking about that. Squeezing the pendant in my hand, a giant, slow breath helped push her out of my head, for now.

Gazing back down at my necklace, I pretended to make out more than the silhouette in the darkness. In my mind, I could see the pentagonal piece of petrified wood encased in silver. The pie-shaped stones enhanced each point of the rounded pentacle. Beautifully etched floral designs in the metal surrounded the stones. A remnant of something engraved on the rear side was almost visible, but it had worn down long before I took possession. If only I could make out what had been there; I often fantasized about what it might have said.

I wasn’t sure if there was any significance to the markings, but they looked ancient. Maybe it once belonged to an Egyptian pharaoh or a Celtic princess. Too bad I never took the time to ask Gram if she knew the history of this piece. It would have been interesting to know to whom it had belonged.

“You have an intensity about you that is unrivaled. Keep this with you at all times. You will find it will keep you grounded and connected to what is important.”

Gram always said weird stuff like that. I’d gotten used to it and stopped trying to figure out if her comments had hidden meanings. As a kid I would get embarrassed when she talked like that in front of other people. I saw the way they looked at her, probably thinking, What a shame that beautiful woman is so crazy. It was that quirkiness I grew to love most about her when I became a young adult.

I guess Gram was at least a little bit right about this amulet. Holding it brought thoughts of her to me. It seemed to cool me down and calm my nerves. At the same time, it warmed me and gave me comfort. A brief moment of peace helped subdue the constant fear and avoid the panic that could set in at any moment.


 

December 9th – Angela at I Feel the Need, the Need to Read– Review, Top 10

December 9th – Kelly atKelly P’s Blog – Spotlight/Excerpt

December 9th – Cherry at Cherry Mischievous – Guest Post

December 9th – Chemistry at Books 2 Chocolates – Author Interview

10th – Taneesha at Kaidan’s Seduction– Review

December 10th – Diana Ramsey at Offbeat Vagabond – Spotlight

December 10th – Brianna at abookandalattee – Review

December 11th – Jess at Jess Resides Here – GP & Playlist

December 11th – Taneesha at A Diary Of A Book Addict – Review

December 11th – Laurie at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Top 10 List

December 11th – Crystal at Book Worms and Couch Potatoes – Review/Interview

December 12th – Kim atLittle Red’s Book Reviews– Review/Playlist

December 12th – Kendall at Book Crazy – Review

December 12thRavenz Reviews – Review

December 12thalwaysjoart – Top Ten/Playlist

December 13th – Tiffany at Painted Words – Review/Playlist

December 13th – Adrian atAdrian J. Smith – Top Ten List/Other

December 13thKnock Your Books Off – Review

December 16thOzero – Review

December 16thPage Flipperz – Top Ten/Guest Post

December 16thUrban Fantasy Investigations – Top Ten/Guest Post
December 17th – Sarah at Literary Meanderings– Interview/Top Ten List

December 17thI Heart Books – Guest post

December 17th – abookandalattee – Review

December 18th – Our New Generation for Reading – Spotlight

December 18th – Becca at Becca the Bibliophile – Top Ten/Playlist

December 19th – Good Choice Reading – Review

December 19th – Katelyn – Kate’s Tales of Books and Bands – Playlist

December 20th – Tiffany at Bookish – Review

December 20th – Jayne at Fiction_TheNewReality – Review/Interview

December 20th – Kelly at Lisa’s Book Lair– Review/Playlist

December 20thScorpio’s Tantalizing Teasers – Review
December 20thMiscellaneous Thoughts of a Bookaholic – Review 



Author Felicia Starr lives five miles from her favorite Jersey Shore destination with her amazingly supportive family.  She loves to spend time creating special memories with her husband and two young boys.
 
Everyone expected her first publication to be a cookbook, but her love for writing has surpassed her love for cooking.

 Felicia graduated magna cum laude from Kean University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a post baccalaureate in elementary education. 

She is a licensed real estate sales person, a certified yoga instructor, and most importantly, a stay-at-home mom. 

 

 

Top ten television shows right now

I don’t watch a lot of television but what I do watch I record with the DVR and catch what I can. There are a few other shows I wish I had time to still watch but I will probably be watching these shows well into the summer.

  1. The Arrow
  2. The Originals
  3. White Collar
  4. Parks and Recreation
  5. Psych
  6. The Vampire Diaries
  7. Witches of East End
  8. Sleepy Hollow
  9. Nova
  10. Impractical Jokers

 

Top Ten things Felica likes to spend her free time doing outside of the book world.

  1. Spend a day at the beach collecting shells with my husband and two sons
  2. Visit family
  3. Host a party
  4. Visiting historical locations
  5. Eating home made food from my friends with different ethnic backgrounds
  6. I love a good sale
  7. Reminiscing with childhood friends about the funny things we said and did when we were teenagers. We have fun laughing at each other and ourselves.
  8. Grocery shopping with my husband
  9. Taking the boys to the boardwalk
  10. Anything that makes my kids smile


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Jumping in, two feet forward

I feel as though I’m completely jumping into part of the market world. I’ve signed and paid for my first ad to be placed (no, I’m not saying where or how much–maybe if it works or does work, there will be another post on that). I’ve been doing a lot of giveaways with eBooks and even a few with printed copies.

What I’ve found is this. I have no clue if my sales have increased. I should know at the start of next month. This month I got a whopping $6 on royalties. Which isn’t bad, considering it could have been $0 and the book has been out for nine months with little to no promotion! I have to say, it’s done far better than I thought it would.

But I have bigger expectations for Dying Embers. I want it to sell more, and I want it to help sell more of Forever Burn. The question that remains is just how to do that. From everything that I’ve read, discoverability of the book and of me is supposed to be far more important than sales. I supposed that’s because if people can find you, they will buy you–so the two are actually related.

In order to achieve this discoverability thing that I keep reading about, I jumped head first into a lot of giveaways. I upped the ante to try and get facebook likes as well as twitter followers. I’m ignoring sales and trying solely to be “around.” I think it might have actually worked.

Starting the second week in November, I’ve participated in about 3 or 4 giveaways as well as some other promos for other authors. It’s suggested on twitter that 5 out of ever 6 tweets for promotion should be about other people, not me. I’ve upped that, and my own promotions on twitter. I’m also still on there writing random things as I usually do.

There is a giveaway going on right now, Morgan Jane’s 2500 Likes Giveaway that I think has given me the most Facebook likes. I went from a mere 167 to well over 500 in the span of about 3 weeks. I’m still in shock over it. I’m also participating in Diane Rinella’s giveaway. For this I just did the post on the 6th as an author spotlight for her. Likewise, today I spent an hour on This Redhead LOVES Books page on Facebook doing a giveaway of Dying Embers and talking up my books. I’m also participating in a Strong Women in Fiction Giveaway that came up and I couldn’t resist it. I’ve done a guest post and provided a print copy of Forever Burn for it. Likewise, I’m also doing my own giveaway right now, for the pleasure of having achieved 500 likes on my Facebook author page.

It seems that I have jumped in with both feet into the marketing world. I was very hesitant to market at first and to take any risks. I didn’t know at all what I was doing or what I should be doing. Back in March–when Forever Burn was released–I don’t think I even really knew what a guest post was! I certainly didn’t know how to use raffelcopter. The learning curve for marketing has been steep and sharp, as well as having lots of rapids on the way. But something my mother always taught me when rafting down the river was to keep two feet forward–that way you only break your legs when you crash into something and not your head.

So, upon taking her advice, which she certainly did not intend for the writing world, I have jumped two feet forward into the waters of marketing, and I’m letting the current and rapids take me where they go. The theory remains the same. If I push my discoverability rather than sales, then the sales will come as a result of being found. The likelihood that my sales go up because more people actually know about the book seems rather logical (I think Spock would even like that answer).

So, ttfn folks, I hope you see me before I see you!

Love’s Forbidden Flower — Diane Rinella

*** Please note: This is a New Adult Romance novel involving
two siblings who struggle with their emotions. This is not a work of
erotica.***

The heart cares not what society forbids.
Lily nurtures a secret love for a flawless man—the one who is her soul mate.
Donovan is gorgeous, charismatic, and delights in all of Lily’s talents and
quirks. Their innate knowledge of each other is almost telepathic. Together
they interlock like fine threads creating luxurious silk.
But society dictates this picture-perfect adoration is the ghastliest of all
possibilities.
As Lily embarks on a quest for the romance the heavens intended, her suitor
turns reluctant. Desperate to uncover why Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hiding decayed
from a tender-hearted gentleman into a ferociously self-serving, cocky bastard,
Lily is prepared for battle when it comes to the salvation of her soul mate.
However, Donovan traps Lily in a mental game of chess, leaving her to question
his sanity. When Lily’s revelations about Donovan’s destructive alter ego lead
to an inconceivable truth, can she help Donovan survive fate’s cruel joke?
Impassioned, witty, and deeply moving, Love’s Forbidden Flower is filled with
stunning controversies that will forever haunt your heart.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16181908-love-s-forbidden-flower?ac=1
Click HERE to read chapter
one of Love’s Forbidden Flower!

 

 Amazon
Smashwords 

Society’s torch only illuminates our path.
Very disturbing or somewhat intriguing? That is the question Donovan asks
himself over his soul mate’s latest idea for bedroom antics. Undecided, he
enters into a bet. If Lily wins, Donovan will become a willing participant in
an unsettling new adventure. If she loses… Well, does Donovan really want her
to lose?
Love’s Erotic Flower is an erotic, stand-alone, short story featuring the
characters from the controversial New Adult Romance novel, Love’s Forbidden
Flower. This piece is approximately 8000 words.
Warning: This title contains graphic language and raunchy sexual situations. It
is intended for those 18 years of age and older.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18217787-love-s-erotic-flower
 Amazon

 Smashwords  

An eternity of passion cannot
be quelled by society.
 

Once upon a time Donovan assured Lily all of her dreams would come true. But
how could he keep the promise of a fairy tale when her truest goals could not
involve him, though her deepest desires did? Now, Lily has it all—love,
passion, a family, and the career of her dreams—with Christopher. But something
is lacking. She and Donovan have spent the last ten years living apart, and the
soul mates are eager to reunite. Can Donovan keep his promise to give Lily all
she desires, even with Christopher in the way?


For Lily and Donovan, the past is a mirror to
the future that cannot be shattered.
 

Donovan is convinced Lily has been his love for all eternity. Determined to
unravel the past, they embark on a journey to discover where it all began. For
centuries Donovan has stolen Lily’s heart while forced to suffer for his love.
How much can a soul endure before the breaking point is reached and a monster
emerges? Can the demons of the past be combated to pave the way for happiness
in the next life? Or has the abuse suffered in this life already turned Donovan
hell bound? Time and again, one woman has destroyed their happiness. It’s time
to silence her once and for all.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17339474-time-s-forbidden-flower

The light of the alarm clock
covers my face in a soft glow while its progressing numbers remind me
that life is passing by. Finally, Christopher’s breath deepens into a
low snore. Like a paranoid ninja I slip out of bed and head down the
stairs.
Is the frigidity of the knob on
the library door brought about by the weather outside, or the
betrayal I feel stepping through this portal, knowing a letter from a
former lover awaits?
Grabbing the designated book off
of the shelf, excitement and apprehension course through my nervous
system. Hidden in the section on making gum paste lilies is a sheet
of stationary that bares an uncanny resemblance to the stationary on
which I once wrote letters to Donovan, sharing in the madness of an
alternate reality.

To My Lovely Lady,

You are, and will always be,
the force that drives and inspires me. On my brightest days, you are
the warmth that shines upon me. In the darkest nights, you provide
the voice that soothes me. Because of you I face each day knowing who
I am and the good I bring into the world. Because of you, I am whole.

Until the end of forever,

Donovan

Placing the book back on the
shelf, I head for the family room, unable to bring myself to return
to Christopher. Curling up on the sofa I turn on the TV where the A
Christmas Story
marathon continues. Quickly I change the channel,
only to return to it, and then flee again. Finally I settle on an
infomercial, staring blankly, striving to force myself into panic
over the details of the New Year’s Eve party to come. The diversion
proves to be a terrible idea. This will be the first New Year’s Eve
Donovan and I have spent together since we split. How do I move past
the impending pain of the night while finding a way to heal?

“Cannoli,” I softly mutter aloud. “I’ll switch from cream
puffs to cannoli. Maybe I should stuff the cream puffs with cannoli
filling…”

Enjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in Diane’s 150-year old Victorian home
augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices
have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun’s crowning
hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to
their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake
designer, software project manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock n’
roll journalist/fan girl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence
her idiosyncratic writing.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads

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Break through the walls…

Breakthrough Authors blog hop

Breaking through into the published world has been mostly pure luck for me. Staying in that world has been a series of mistakes, hundreds of thousands of questions that have even more answers, and trial and error. I am published through a small press publisher who does not have a lot of marketing—so while I have the backing of a publisher, I’m in charge of actually getting my book to the reader. It’s a lot harder than most people think!

I knew that I wanted to be published from a very young age. My senior project in high school was about the publishing industry and all the different types of publishing. I had decided at that traditional publishing was the way to go when I was sixteen. Well, by the time I was twenty-three, I had decided that wasn’t so much the case.

I knew I didn’t want to self-publish. It might be vanity or it might just be laziness, but I did not want to ever be in charge of everything. If the publisher took money from the sales of my books for doing work I didn’t want to do, who was I to complain? But in my mind, that left me with traditional big house publishing, and finding a publisher was hard. I had a list of literary agents that I was going to send queries to.

I discovered small press publishing very much by accident and it was through twitter and fanfiction that it happened. Once I realized the world of publishers wasn’t as small as I thought, I knew that was the way I was going. However, this does leave marketing mostly to me. I’m still as clueless as I was about it when I started.

Recently, in the past two days, I’ve had almost 100 likes of my Facebook author page. I’m not saying this to brag; I’m saying this out of pure honesty. In the entire year that I’ve had the page, I’ve managed to get about 160 likes on my own—then suddenly, in the past 48 hours, I get another 100? HOW? It’s the question constantly running through my brain. I obviously did something right, but what did I do that was right? Did I join some blog hop, blog tour, blog something or another that would gain me this much popularity? I even asked the likers how they found me, and I haven’t gotten an answer.

I’m left bewildered and thankful. I’ve spent money on marketing and ads that haven’t done me much good. I’ve had a twitter and Facebook presence, that hasn’t done my much good. Building my audience is hard. Not only is it hard because I’m an independent author, but I write in a very small niche. Let’s be honest, lesbian fiction isn’t all that high up on some peoples reading lists.

Honing in on those readers is truly a hard thing to do. I’ve haven’t been in the community because I frankly find it exclusivist and purest (the community meaning the LGBT et all community). So working my way around it has been truly difficult. I don’t know where to go for certain things, and recently discovered a few websites that would have been most helpful six months ago.

All I can say about breaking through in the business of publishing is that I’m constantly breaking through. It seems to be a never ending cycle of pushing the barriers and boundaries away and making the space just a little bit bigger, inch by tedious inch.

###

My second novel, Dying Embers, is to be released in five days! Oh my goodness! Five Days!! I’m not panicking at all. =P

If you would love to support an indie author who is still breaking through the business, please do so. Below you will find an excerpt of Dying Embers and a link to where you can pre-order the book. Don’t forget to participate in the Grand Prize Giveaway with the AHA Blog Hop! My first novel, Forever Burn, is listed there.

Excerpt time

Rob glanced back over to the bar.  He had made a horrible habit of looking over every thirty minutes or so to see if the curvy raven-haired woman was still seated.  Her friend, he assumed, had left a few minutes before, and he wanted to know if she was alone.

“I have an idea,” Rob started.

“No, you do not,” she responded, gritting her teeth.

“I do.”

“Rob!”

She was too late.  He swiveled out of his seat and headed to where the woman sat.  Addison’s face started to burn, and she couldn’t help the embarrassment that took over.  Her heart started to pound, first in her chest and then it moved into her throat when Rob turned and pointed to her.  Addison’s cheeks flamed red and a sudden heat came over them.  She couldn’t control her embarrassment, which only embarrassed her more.  The woman turned and gave her a look—appraisal.  She gave Addison a once over, and Addison’s stomach dropped.  She hadn’t been looked at that way since well before the jackass proposed.

She gave a small wave back upon prompting from her brother before she took a long swig of her beer to try and calm her demeanor.  She sincerely hoped that the amount of alcohol in her system would give her a smooth and composed persona.  However, knowing her, she doubted that would happen.  Addison practically choked on her beer when the woman took Rob’s proffered hand and rose off the barstool.  Her mind screamed and yelled at her, and she closed her eyes.

Focusing on her brother, she spoke so only he could hear, the words flitting around his mind.  “I hate you.”

“This is James.  She said her friend ditched her for a date, so I thought she could join us.”

Rob sat in the seat he previously occupied and left James to sit either by him or by Addison.  Addison knew the tactic from him: a test for James to determine which team the woman swung for.  Sure enough, James slid into the booth next to Addison.  Their thighs touched under the table as they each got comfortable, and Addison felt small tingles race from where they touched, the warmth began and went straight into her stomach.  She ignored it and glared at Rob.

“You’re an ass,” she whispered it in his mind.

He smiled at her and turned to James.  “We were just talking about families.  Kind of.”

“Ah.”  James bobbed her head up and down, taking a long swig of her beer.  She didn’t seem very interested in the conversation, and Addison risked a glance to her brother.

Grasping for a topic of conversation, Addison tried the only one she could think of.  “I just moved here, so we thought we’d check out the local places.”

She reached for the water that the waitress had kindly brought her.  Sucking on the straw, she savored the cold water as it slid through her burning mouth and throat.  Embarrassment still raged through her body.

James twisted so she could face Addison, skimming her gaze over Addison’s body again.  Addison’s cheeks blushed further.  She was definitely being checked out.

“Well, this is a great place to come.  It’s one of my favorites.”  James finished off her beer and nodded to the waitress to bring her another.  “I come here a lot with my friend, Max.”

Rob raised his eyebrows at Addison and mouthed the gentleman’s name.  Addison shook her head at Rob and turned back to James.

“That sounds cool.  I start my new job soon, so I doubt I’ll have much time to go out.  Not to mention, my brother will be kindly disappearing tomorrow.  No longer at my beck and call to buy me beer.”

She lifted her pint and nodded it toward him in a mock toast.

“Starting a new job is always interesting.”

James’ voice gently lilted, and Addison strained over the other patrons to hear what she said.  The combination seemed odd, a voice so mild coming from a woman who screamed physical assertiveness.  Mentally shrugging, Addison turned back to what James was saying.  She shifted in her seat and brushed against the woman again.  Her heart started to pound, and her palms began to sweat.  She wiped her hands on her jeans, leaving them there.  Closing her eyes, Addison reached for her water glass again to wet her parched tongue.  As she took a drink, she felt cool fingers slip into hers and squeeze tightly.

Addison coughed and sputtered.

She reached for her napkin to press it over her lips.  Rob gave her a funny look, which she ignored, and James rubbed a hand along her back.

“Deep breaths.”

“Uh huh.”

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Smashwords

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