Why I Nearly Gave Up Writing by Alan David Pritchard GUEST POST

Why I nearly gave up writing

 

When I was 9, my parents gave me a battered old Royal typewriter because they realised that I enjoyed writing. What this meant in reality was: I enjoyed coming up with ideas for stories and writing them down. For many years after, whenever anyone asked me what it was I wanted to do with my life, my assured and possibly over-zealous response was: I want to be a writer.

And so, for the greater part of my teenage years, I spent a great deal of my time churning out stories, poems and plays, all the while clinging to the romantic ideal of wanting to be a writer. Of course, nearly everything I wrote was, to a certain extent, rubbish – but I had the naïve belief that if I continued, I would get better and would one day be able to say: I am a writer.

There are two things significant about this: one, because I wrote a lot, I was already a writer; two, because my aspiration was over-simplified and not properly articulated, I was unable to develop as a writer until much later.

You see, in the beginning, I used to think that being a writer meant finishing pieces of writing. For a long while, I was a writer. I wrote things. I completed them. The joy was not in the writing, but in the completing. To be able to say “I finished a story” was more important than the process itself. The destination, as it were, was more of an incentive than the journey. And when I was finished, I would show off my completed product with a misplaced sense of pride: Look what I have written.

And then, after studying English at University and reading a great deal, I realised that I had approached it all from the wrong angle. I no longer wished to simply write, I wanted to write well.

That is when things began to change. From then on, finishing was not the priority – writing something that had merit, recognised by others as being good writing, was more important. Being more aware of the process and of my audience became something that demanded my attention. Quality over quantity now mattered. Thus it was that I spent many an hour painstakingly rewriting pieces so that they had more of a literary quality, with improved structure and well-rounded and developed characters, and cohesive themes and well-integrated motifs and …

It was impossible to finish anything.

Every time I began writing, I would revisit what I had already written and painstakingly go over every word with the fervor of a newly qualified English teacher, until everything was just right, perfect, polished. This meant I amassed many unfinished but well-written snippets. The internal critic took over.

The awful ‘this is not good enough’-syndrome prevented my ever finishing what I began. I was too busy rewriting the little that I had written the day before, and making tentative attempts to complete the next paragraph before over-analysing and re-writing that the following day. This process exhausted me and made writing more of a chore. I lost my incentive to finish because nothing was ever good enough.

Not only did the critic in me take over, but he began comparing my works to those of established successful writers and the gap between what I was producing and what they had published seemed too far to bridge.

So, for four years, I stopped writing completely.

Then, after deciding to sell the house in which I grew up, I found the only copy of a story I had written on my typewriter many years before. I remember reading to see if it was any good. It wasn’t and it was. But it did rekindle an important aspect of writing that I had completely forgotten: I realised that I had begun writing all those years ago, not because I wanted to be a writer, but because I had something to say. Writing was a means of expressing what I had to share with the world.

It was a short story called The Pebble Champion, and was written shortly after the death of my mother. Although not autobiographical, it was my attempt to convey the thoughts of a grieving teenager after news of a death and before the gradual acceptance of it. There were no books in our school library that dealt with grief in a way that I could relate to, and I remembered that that was reason for my writing The Pebble Champion. I wanted to capture what it felt like to be numb and somehow frozen in time – where the present is all that matters, the past is too painful to remember, and the future has no relevance. I wanted to capture what it feels like immediately after losing a parent.

The realisation that writing was about having something so say made me revisit my other pieces of writing, and gradually I began writing again – this time not worrying particularly about quality or quantity. The Pebble Champion was reborn as a novel. I decided to turn off the inner critic, and instead focus on letting the story finish itself. I accepted that whatever I completed was simply a first draft, or second, or third.

Once the book was written, I focused my attention on crafting – on editing, shaping, rewriting, playing with language – getting what I had said just right. This was the most difficult stage of the process and made the writing of the story seem comparatively easy. It was also the most enjoyable part. It meant I could delete aspects, reconstruct sentences and mould what I have written until it was able to convey what I wanted to say, not perfectly, but effectively. It meant I no longer needed to put energy into what I wanted to say but how I wished to say it. And, honestly, it is this how- process that was/is the most satisfying.

I decided to make my main character gay and not to make that the issue of the book. There are loads of coming-out/coming-of-age stories where the protagonists agonize over their homosexuality and it becomes the focus of the narrative. Chris, my main character, does have to deal with coming out, but for him that is not the issue. Dealing with the death of his mother and the collapse of his world is way more important.

I completed the novel in 1999, and it took 13 years and countless rejections before being published by a small British publishing company, Wilkinson House.

So now I can say: I am a writer. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is I have discovered that the joy of writing does not lie in finishing a piece or having it critically acclaimed. For me, the pleasure comes from crafting what you say until you say it just right.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.D. Pritchard is an author, poet and playwright.

His poetry has appeared in magazines, anthologies and websites worldwide since 2000. In 2005, he was made Poet of the Month by the then London Poet’s Letter Society, and was invited to read at the Poet’s Cafe in Covent Garden. His video poem ‘Like So’ was an official selection at the 2013 Visible Verse Festival in Vancouver, Canada. ‘Advancing Backwards’ is his first collection.

His plays, Round Here, Torn Jeans and Genius were published by New Theatre Publications in 1999 after winning festivals at schools in Cape Town in 1993, 1994 and 1995. ‘Genius’ won the Young Farmer’s Club Regional One Act Play Festival in Wales, and was later performed at the Brecon Theatre in 2000. Thirteen years later, it was again staged in Wales, this time at the Theatre Hafren in Newtown.

Alan has also written a number of teacher resources, including activity books for young readers, books on how to teach Macbeth and resources covering spelling and peer and self-assessment.

  • Alan’s official website is:

www.alandavidpritchard.com

  • Click this link to watch a promo video for ‘The Pebble Champion’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgQz9ByBPdc

  • Click this link to watch a promo video for ‘Advancing Backwards’:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkZibtyJMS9oYw5hVpKCeWw

  • Click here for more information or to purchase ‘The Pebble Champion’

http://amzn.to/1bIpGKG.

 

 

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COVER REVEAL Her Ride by Rachael Orman #authorcorner

Title: Her Ride
Author: Rachael Orman
Genre: Adult Romance
Publication Date: June 2014
Tour Host: Dreams Come True Promotions

 

Being happy. It sounds so simple. Yet, it seems that it’s always just out of reach for Shannon Ryan.

After serving overseas for six years as a female United States Marine, Ryan is finally getting out the military. But coming home to live with her biker brother and his motorcycle club is more difficult than she thought it would be. Much has changed in the years that she has been gone, including Ellis, her brother’s best friend and childhood crush.

Ellis ‘Dirty’ Crane is the second in command for Tormented Souls Motorcycle Club. The only thing he lives for is the club, that is until Ryan comes home, no longer the wild little girl that followed him around. The two things standing in his way of getting what he wants are Patrick, Ryan’s brother and leader of the club, and Jeremiah, Ryan’s boyfriend.

Can Ellis break through Ryan’s walls? Burn them and Jeremiah down? Prove to her brother that he’s the right man for her? Or is Ryan hiding more than she’s letting on?

Add to GoodReads

 

 

 

Rachael is a stay at home mom with 2 young daughters and a husband that keep her constantly on her toes. She lives in the extremely hot state of Arizona, where she reads and writes away the blistering heat outside. She is a cancer survivor with a quirky personality. She’s been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and been writing since she was in high school. Her hopes of being a writer were crushed when she was young but one day she decided she was going to do what makes her happy and that was to write.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WriterRachaelOrman?ref=hl

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

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Lesbian Erotica #authorcorner with Terry Birchwood

Lesbian Erotica

 

No matter how refrained from sex we wish to be, most of our bodies ache for stimulation at some point in time. Many of us are sexually aroused through all of our senses, triggered by a well of emotions. Whether the spark is between people of the same gender or opposite, it can lead to amazing encounters.

While the primary goal of my books is to explore what people are willing to do for love and hate, sexual scenes take a prominent seat throughout the book series. As intently as I explore sex, I also delve into professions, relationships, hopes, fears and many other elements that comprise our beings. The stories are lesbian erotic thrillers where the lead characters are lesbians; and we follow their lives filled with families, friends, lovers, and coworkers. Lives tear apart and some mend while love, lust, and betrayal take center stage. Through soft and hardcore sexual content, I explore heterosexual and homosexual acts to capture real life situations. Most straight people know at least one gay person, and most gay people know many straight persons so why not mix their tales in a book? I could not think of a reason to avoid the challenge. Guess what? Many have sex.

In my books, I heavily incorporate lesbianism and eroticism due to the controversy surrounding the topics. I believe we need to free ourselves of the discontent people associate to attractions and acts that are not of their belief, especially when no one is being hurt and the participators are willful. If you want spinach, and I don’t want any, I am not going to bash your head in or cuss you – I will simply avoid purchasing spinach. If you like to engage in soccer and I don’t like it, I will not try to enact a law to ban soccer. I think you all get the point. We need to stop the nonsense of trying to run the world around one system of preferences. I can’t imagine we were all put here to follow one of us.

In closing, why lesbian erotica? There’s a saying about writing about what you know – I am a lesbian who loves sex and mystery. “I wanted so badly to throw caution to the wind, go to her home, knock on the door, walk in, and begin a delicious tasting of each other, no words uttered. However, sense and sensibility had to stay in control.” Enjoy the books. Terry Birchwood

 

 

Ghostwriter

This is a tale that explores what people are willing to do for love and hate. The main characters, Tabby and Star, thought they would be together forever. Time told a different story. One has moved on and married; the other refuses to let another person spend the night in her bed even after fervent lovemaking. Even though apart for years, they cannot erase the memory tattoos of one another. Surrounded by friends and family, each woman faces the consequences of the choices that she has made.

 

Tipping Over

 

In this second installment, your favorite lesbians, Star and Tabby, continue to share their lives with you. A crime has been committed and the circle is seeking an assailant while defending one of their members from wrongful punishment. Who is dead and why? Most importantly, what does this have to do with our favorite couple, if anything? Will Tabby and Star realize that they belong together or apart? Will their decisions drive their choices or outside forces determine their relationship? As they challenge their feelings by taking on new mates, will any of the relationships survive?

 

author pic

Terry Birchwood has been writing books for two years. Right now, the focus is on exploring what people are willing to do for love and hate. That exploration surrounds engaging lesbian erotic thrillers that keep you flipping the pages and wishing you had more to flip when you reach the end of her tales. With an eternal tango between her left and right brains, Terry enjoys many creative outlets based on writing, art, and music. To soothe her right brain, she focuses on providing companies with business solutions to improve online and offline processes

 

LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Terry-Birchwood-Books/241128619270982

WIPpet Wednesday! April 23, 2014

It’s WIPpet Wednesday! w00t! And I can join this week, so it’s an even bigger wOOt!! Last week I spent a wonderful time at Rainbow Conference in Tampa, FL with a bunch of like minded people. It was great and fantastic and overwhelming all at once. I learned so much and met a bunch of people andandandAND I can’t even continue it was such an amazing experience. I can’t wait for next year. I’ll eventually write a post about the weekend with some of my notes from the panels and guidelines to con-going.

This week I also got a new part-time job working with low income kids. I think it’s a great opportunity for me, and one I’m going to sincerely enjoy.

Now… I have two favors for yous peoples. If you have a blog, twitter, facebook, anything that you can use to post on it, PLEASE OH PLEASE sign up for these two cover reveals. The more people who shout it out, the better.

The first is for my novel, For by Grace, TBR June 1. The cover reveal is May 1. This is a F/F Crime/Mystery COPS style novel that you’ve gotten a few excerpts from in the course of WIPpeting. If you live in the DFW area, I’m also going to have a release party on June 2! Here’s the link! All you need to do is sign up, and Rachael the Majestic will shoot you an email.

The second reveal is for S. A. Snow’s debut novel, Across Worlds: Collision. This novel is a sci-fi/erotica blended genre with mixed gender tendencies, so M/F and F/F. It’s a fantastic read to say the least because it’s not just all sex. There actually is plot in it! This book will be released August 1 by Acquitted Books. The cover reveal is set up for June 14th. Here’s the link to sign up.

 

The excerpt this week comes from chapter 10 of Ashes Fall — yes, I’m still working on chapter 10, but I’m going to finish it in about five minutes. There are fourteen sentences for the year, ’14. So that’s what you get. This is actually the very last bit of chapter ten. I’ll be asking for cover reveal goodies on this one too as soon as it gets closer to release date and I actually edit the damn thing. Release date is September 1 *shoot me now*

“Lily.”

“Yeah?”

“I have a question.”

Lily moved over to where Norma sat and mimicked her position on the mirrored sofa.

“Shoot,” Lily said.

Norma cringed at Lily’s choice of words before starting. “In the house, when the deputies were there, after Darcy died—did you make the gun go off?”

Seconds ticked by. Norma heard each one as the large clock in the hallway echoed through the room. Tension burst and coiled in her stomach as she waited for the simple answer or the long drawn-out explanation. Lily licked her lips, and all the air in Norma’s lungs released with a whoosh as Lily answered.

“Yes. I heated the gun until it went off and shot him in the stomach.” Lily blinked before she stood up and walked out of the room with a sway to her hips.

If you would like to join in WIPpet Wednesday’s it’s uber simple. Write a blog post with an excerpt of your current WIP (Work In Progress). The excerpt must in some way correlate to the date. Feel free to get crazy with the math. Then when that’s all done and finished, you head on over here and link it up. Go and read the other posts, comment because we’re comment whores, and get on to more writing or editing or whatever it was you were doing. Thanks to the awesome KL for hosting this thing each week.

 

 

#authorcorner Interview with Erik Schubach

I’m so excited to have Erik on my blog today! He’s a fantastical unicorn. =P

Tell us about yourself.

Not a lot to say. Born in England, raised in the USA. I’m pretty convinced I’m either an alien or a unicorn. Given the choice, always be a unicorn!

My primary language is sarcasm, which I speak fluently. English is my secondary, which I still don’t have a full grasp on as my grammar in my books can attest to.

I love reading, and writing, and working with wood.

There most likely isn’t a person out there as geek-centric as I am. I can quote just about every SciFi/Fantasy/Paranormal show I have ever 10155221_865803850103228_9160434149441726022_aseen. No power in the ‘verse can stop me.

Given the choice between a Delorian and a Police Call Box, I will always choose the Call Box.

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

I have a huge vintage technology collection that I hope to use to start a vintage gaming and computing museum. I have dozens of game consoles like the Atari 2600 and the Vectrex, home computers like the Commodore 64, and dozens of handheld and tabletop electronic games like the Coleco Pacman game.

What made you decide to write? If it even was a decision. And what kept you at it?

It was a complete accident. I have always said that one day I would like to write a book but I never actually sat down to do it. I have always liked strong female characters in books like Honor Harrington, or Killishandra Ree. My nieces are openly gay and so I have been very very cognizant of the severe lack of LGBT characters in mainstream media unless they are the stereotypical quirky gay friend that a main character always seems to have.

So one day I thought of a cool storyline that combined strong female leads with an LGBT storyline. I sat down on a Saturday morning to write an outline for the story so that I wouldn’t forget it. By the time I was done laying it out on Sunday night I had a completed the 75k word manuscript. I believe my exact words when I realized I had just written a novel was… “Huh.”

I researched self publishing and though I find it way as pie now, I had to battle my way through formatting the document correctly for submission, assigning an ISBN, licensing a photo for the cover and getting my book listed on all the major retail sites.

I was seriously expecting to sell a total of 5-10 books to friends and family who would feel obligated to buy it and never read it. Imagine my surprise when dozens sold, then hundreds then thousands. I would have considered it a success if just a single stranger bought my book to read it.

That first book, Music of the Soul, is now part of a nine book (and growing) series.

The rest as they say, is history. (Who is this “they” anyway?)

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.

I’d like to thank the Academy for… oh wait… wrong speech. My Wife v1.0 of course (that is always the right answer). But seriously, yes, my wife. She is an aspiring author as well. She put up with me when I started writing. She puts up with my bad grammar, punctuation, typos and spelling. She put up with me after the books started selling well. And she put up with me when I quit my full time job at the beginning of the year to become a full time author.

Why is it that you are an independent author? What prompted the decision to publish with a small press publisher, and how has that experience been?

I am an independent publisher because I have heard all of the horror stories about the big publishers and how an author’s cut is tiny. Being an Indy, I get from 60-70% royalties from day one and have 100% rights to my books. I want to put out eBooks, no problem. I want to put out paperbacks, no problem. I want to put out audio books, no problem. Since I own the rights I have the flexibility.

I figured my manuscript wasn’t a genre the big publishers would be interested in anyway, F/F lesbian romance, since I have not seen much from them in the genre except token books. They have shown that they are close minded and try not to stray off the path of what they perceive as accepted.

I am so relieved that I went the self publishing route now. I have seen returns beyond my wildest speculation.

Tell us a bit about Drakon: Awakening, without spoilers of course.

Drakon is a new paranormal/mythical action romance series I just started. Drakon is Greek for dragon. The main character, Myra, is a researcher who is studying myths, legends, and folklore, to see how they have influenced the modern world. One day she discovers that she is actually one of the legends she is researching.

Then all hell breaks lose. Myra and the woman assigned to protect her, Special Agent Quinn Trask, have to fight for their lives and the lives of the people of Denver against a madman bent on obtaining immortality. A different kind of relationship spawns between the two women as Myra learns to awaken the magic within.

Only the dragons can stand against the evil that threatens us all.

If you could meet one character in real life from Drakon: Awakening—would it be and why?

That’s an easy one. Myra. She is an intelligent red headed Irish woman with a quick temper and sharp wit. It is easy to see what Quinn sees in her.

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?

Well, please don’t kill the messenger, but I have never experienced writers block yet. So far the closest I cam was with my last book in the Music of the Soul series, Progeny. It was the first book that I have written that had a predetermined beginning and end with no wiggle room. So it took me a tad longer to write.

Most of my books I juat start writing and the story flows out of me and it develops as I go along. Then when I am done telling the story, I am done.

I have always professed that I am a story teller, not an author.

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?

So far I have been blessed with good experiences. The only pitfalls come from mucking my way through the mire of self publishing for the first time. Once I navigated that, I feel comfortable and confident in the process.

My two biggest pieces of advice are… One, Don’t just publish the book and expect people to buy it. You have to let them know it is there. Social networks are the easiest way to accomplish this. Make yourself seen on FaceBook, Twitter and the like. Build a blog. Socialize with potential readers on the various forums online. Befriend your readers! Respond to their emails and posts. Respond to Amazon reviews.

Two, don’t limit yourself to one venue or format. Don’t just publish your eBook on Amazon. Hit all the major retailers like Barnes and Nobel, Kobo, Smashwords and the like. Try to find niche specific sites like AllRomanceEbooks.com to list your books on. Even if each site you list on only brings you a couple hundred dollars each… combined they bring in thousands. And by all means, use resources like CreateSpace to make printed copies of your book and ACX (Audible) to make audio books. Once again, the more formats you have the more sales you will make.

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?

It has been a total and complete joy. It was rough at first, people saw a male writing lesbian romance and their minds automatically shoot to the gutter. But once people found that my books are not smut nor even erotica, only romance stories about two people in love, then my reputation grew and I have some of the best loyal readers and fans an author could ever hope to have. I concentrate on the emotion and the love in my books.

Why focus on the LGBT genre? What are the pluses and what are the minuses of doing so?

The main reason is that, as I stated before, my nieces are gay and I saw a disparity in the publishing world when it came to LGBT characters.

The pluses are many. Not only do I get to share stories with a wonderful group of people, but I also have made some genuine friends in the community. I have increased the pool of books available in the genre and hopefully have made a little bit of a difference getting the genre more recognized.

The minuses? There is the shadow of being a straight male that hangs over me and taints the legitimacy of my books in some people’s eyes.

QUICKIES!

1. Dog or Cat? Dog (Why is platypus not an option?)
2. Favorite color?
Orange… unless you ask me on a Thursday, then it’s “ORANGE! Hellz to the yeah!”
3. Favorite junk food?
Chocolate Eclaires (They is da heaven)
4. Favorite musician?
The Veronicas (Which becomes apparent in my books… I heart them)
5. Favorite curse word?
Kroth! (A made up cuss word I created in my Valkyrie Chronicles books, now I use it all the time)
6. Favorite quote?
“It’s only impossible until someone does it.” ~ Erik Schubach (Doh! Does that count if I said it?)
7. Rolaids or Tums?
Huh?
8. Short or Tall?
Short
9. Favorite body part?
Lips
10. Favorite holiday?
Halloween

 

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Author Bio

My writing style may not be the most professional nor grammatically correct, but I never profess to be an English major, just a person that wants to share a story. I maintain that my primary language is sarcasm.

Each of my books features strong likeable female characters that are flawed. I think that flaws and emotional or physical scars make us human and give us more character than simply conforming to some “social norm”.

 

 

 

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Mandy Harris, the rock world’s bad girl, has lost her sense of self. Turning her back on the music she once loved, she returns to her hometown.

After a chance meeting with Anabella, a deaf girl with a unique appreciation for music and life, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to her. Finding love, pain, and a new sense of self. Their passion gives them the strength to heal both of their pasts, and start again.

 

 

 

 

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Doctor Myra O’Connell is researching myths and folklore. In a strange twist she discovers that she is one of the legends she is researching.

Then all hell breaks loose. Myra and the woman assigned to be her protector, Special Agent Quinn Trask must fight for their lives, and those of the people of Denver and the world, against a madman bent on obtaining immortality.

Only the dragons can stand in his way.

 

 

 

 

Socail Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erik-Schubach-Author/438534946240951

Twitter: https://twitter.com/erikschubach

Blogspot: http://erikschubachauthor.blogspot.com/

 

Buy Links

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Erik-Schubach/e/B00CZE31UA/

Audible http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_pd_Fictio_c2_1_auth?searchAuthor=Erik+Schubach

Barnes & Nobel http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/erik-schubach

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/erikschubach

All Romance eBooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Erik+Schubach

Writing Process Blog Hop!

I was tagged by the awesomely amazing Ruth Nestvold in the Writing Process Blog Hop! I’m also participating in Rainbow Gold Reviews Easter Egg Hunt! If you would like to participate and win an amazing package, check it out over here. What this means, however, is that there is a secret word or phrase hidden among this post dealing with the theme for the day…you get to find it.

So here we go.

1) What am I working on?

Right now I’m suiting up Ashes Fall, making the novel as fancy and professionally looking as possible. This book is the third and final in my James Matthews Series which is about firefighters. It releases September 1, 2014, and I can’t wait for you all to read it! I’m also semi-working on a short story that’s F/F and apparently has spanking in it (will know more when I write it). I also have two novels in progress which I will be finishing up shorting.

A new urban fantasy novel with crazy creatures and a crazier woman. I have it tentatively named Quarter Life: Unbound. I plan for this novel to be the beginning of a serial. I’m also working on the second book to my new Spirit of Grace series. The first book will be released on June 1, 2014. The second book continues with the story of Grace and Amya; it’s titled Fallen from Grace.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write in multiple genres, so I’m going to take a stab at this with the “common” genre. I write lesbian fiction. What I think is mostly different about my pieces is that they do not focus on the romance between the MC and her love interest. Most lesbian fiction pieces focus only on this, and there is an expectation that this will happen. I also don’t write happily ever after pieces either; they’re usually happy for now pieces. I write to have realism seeping through the veins of my pieces, and for me, that simply does not happen in a romance focused piece.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write lesbian fiction because I think it fits my characters and the stories in my head. I do have stories and plots and characters that would fit other genres, but at this point, I’ve yet to write them down. That’s not to say I won’t write them.

I tend to write realism because that’s the way I see the world. So when I write a cop or firefighter novel I like those aspects to be as real as possible. The urban fantasy part allows creativity and imagination that I never would have expected. I write what interests me, and I think that’s true for most authors.

4) How does my writing process work?

Like a madman running on the top of the train solely for the fun of it and then jumps off. I write quickly and in massive quantity. It’s called NaNo-style. This means that it may take me two weeks to write a novel, but it’ll take me months and months to edit it.

I have three people who will be writing next week! Click the links and check out their blogs. It’ll be a fun read!

Amy Mitchell

Kat Armstrong

Sirena Robinson

The other f-word C.D. Sweitzer Guest Post #authorcorner

A few weeks ago, my wife was listening to her newly downloaded 80’s playlist while housecleaning. In the middle of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” she lunged toward the stereo and cranked down the volume. Confused, I asked her what was wrong. She replied that there was a “bad” word in the song, one that we wouldn’t want our kids to hear. I racked my brain trying to recall the lyrics (30 years is a long time), but was stumped. “Are you sure there’s a bad word in that song?” I asked.

 

I didn’t remember it until I heard it again. That other f-word, the one used by Brits as slang for a cigarette. Because of a growing culture of tolerance, as well as the more educated company I’ve tended to keep in recent years, it had been so long since I’d heard that word used that it had dropped completely out of my lexicon. Hearing it again was exactly like hearing the n-word. (I should point out to those unfamiliar with the song that the word was used in the context of parodying blue collar attitudes toward the band.)

 

That got me thinking about how much attitudes toward the LGBT community have changed since I was kid, growing up in a small Midwestern town during the Reagan era. The pervasive homophobia, reminiscent of Red Scare hysteria, has actually subsided to the point that gay rights advocates are gaining ground even in conservative states. That the Mormon Church finds itself exerting its full power in Utah to tamp down momentum for legally recognized same-sex marriage is a battle no one could have foreseen in the 1980s. Skye Wyatt, a young woman in Texas (of all states) won a settlement against her high school for outing her without permission. National support of gay rights in the United States has been increasing exponentially as a younger generation comes of age.

 

At the same time, the rest of the world is experiencing a savage backlash against the LGBT community, partly due to the perception that it is a uniquely “American” phenomenon. Dozens of African nations have passed legislation outlawing homosexuality, radical Islamists have intensified persecution of suspected gays, and Russia is oppressing its own gay community under the transparent guise of protecting children. There are literally refugees fleeing genocide against LGBT people. It is indeed as much a civil rights issue as racism or sexism.

 

So what does this reality have to do with fiction?

 

Attitudes toward other demographic groups only change through growing familiarity and understanding. Visibility and normalization, though at times triggering temporary backlashes, have cultivated lasting tolerance. Not by changing the hearts of established bigots and homophobes, but by fostering understanding among the young and open-minded. Fiction can play a role in changing perceptions of LGBT people through introducing readers to interesting and sympathetic characters who happen to fit that demographic profile.

 

At the moment, there don’t seem to be many popular novels featuring LGBT protagonists. Admittedly, I’m not an avid reader of commercial or popular fiction, so I might be missing something. It’s disappointing that the only pop fiction LGBT character that comes to mind is Jame Gumb from Thomas Harris’s “Silence of the Lambs.” Not exactly a flattering representation of the transgendered. LGBT characters are often portrayed positively in literary fiction, but these stories are almost always about the character’s LGBT-ness. The character is invented for the topic, with a didactic message, rather than inhabiting a gripping narrative. And, well, let’s face it: who reads literary fiction these days anyway?

 

This is my official invitation to other authors to fairly represent the LGBT community in their fiction. It’s obvious that we need to include characters of diverse races and cultures to make our fiction a reflection of the real world. But we also need to remember that anywhere between 5 and 15 percent of the general population (whatever race or culture) are LGBT, and should likewise appear in our fiction. Not as two-dimensional stereotypes, and not as heroes or villains, but as complex and nuanced human beings. By including such characters in general or genre fiction, we can contribute (in a small but meaningful way) to an atmosphere of understanding and tolerance rather than hatred and oppression.

 

IMG_1178

 

 

 

C.D. Sweitzer writes fiction spanning the genres of gothic horror, paranormal mystery, and magical realism as well as literary short fiction. Early influences include Poe, Lovecraft, and Tolkien, with studies of contemporary writers completed at the University of Pittsburgh. He currently resides with his family in North Carolina, where he spends much of his time fending off teeming hordes of rabid wolf spiders.

 

 

 

totem

A collection of short fiction portraying the awkward attempts of three different men to reconnect with nature and spirit. In “Coltsfoot,” a suburban police officer stakes out the new subdivision to solve a rash of vandalism and discovers an unexpected connection to his past. “Totem” tells the story of a discontent husband and father who seeks his spirit animal in a backyard vision quest with unforeseen consequences. “Serves Me Right” follows a Buddhist blues musician in Salt Lake City who finds Enlightenment in the place he least expects it. Ranging from absurd to sublime, these stories explore Man’s disconnection from the natural world and his fumbling attempts at reconciliation.

 

“A collection of short fiction portraying the awkward attempts of three different men to reconnect with nature and spirit.”

Totem: Three Short Stories buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Totem-Three-Stories-C-D-Sweitzer-ebook/dp/B00JDVQRCC/ref=la_B0076D5FHW_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396751895&sr=1-2
51Tv4EGNgyL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_In the dramatic conclusion to “The Grimoire,” hidden gates between the worlds of the living and the dead are opening across New York City. Kat, Lisa, and Alexa of the Greenwillow Coven train for an excursion to recover the missing grimoire responsible for the phenomenon, but their plans are delayed.

The Winters discover that ghosts are being summoned from far and wide by the necromancer Victor Morgen for an unknown purpose. Stefanie follows clues from her traumatic past to solve the mystery of the Shadow Man, threatening to sabotage the coven’s efforts. Tensions within Greenwillow ratchet up as Lisa, poisoned by jealousy, unleashes the grimoire’s dark magic against one of her own. Meanwhile, Nina Locke is drawn irresistibly back to the underground depot where her haunting began.

The alliance formed to oppose the necromancer begins to crumble, and the stakes are raised for Greenwillow as visitors from the netherworld arrive. Lisa turns to the mysteriously departed Ian Kenley’s research for guidance. The Winters begin a descent into madness as a result of their increasingly frequent astral projections, Stefanie grows more enigmatic, and Kasumi returns from Japan with a grim agenda of her own.

When Charles Preston vanishes after attempting to banish the supernatural phenomenon at its source, Greenwillow is finally compelled to take direct action. Disguised as ghosts, Kat and Lisa descend into the Incarnator’s world to uncover the secret of Gorgothon. One by one, the other members of the coven are forced to confront the Shadow Man. But will it destroy them before they can unravel its secrets?

“The chance discovery of a mysterious grimoire pits the gentle proprietress of an occult shop and her fledgling coven, Greenwillow, against forces beyond their understanding.”

#authorcorner James Crawford “Lack of LGBT Heroes”

Welcome back to Author’s Corner! I’m so excited today to have James Crawford here with a very interesting post about LGBT heroes! Or lack there of. My SO is a major superhero fanatic and is put off by this as much as James is, but this and the lack of female/women superheroes in any of the story lines. So keep reading for James’ POV on the lack of LGBT heroes.

Lack of LGBT Heroes

People ask me all the time why I chose to write in my genre. Well growing up, I have always had a fascination with heroes. No, I’m not talking about the ones that put on helmets or a badge. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate all they do for us, but I’m talking about fictional heroes like Batman, Superman, the Lone Ranger, and even Michael Knight from Knight Rider. Heroes that would swoop in at the last moment, save the day, and get the girl. There are hundreds of heroes out there of every ethnicity, all showing kids to stand up, be strong, and hopefully become productive members of society (or at least not destructive cretins).

But as a gay child growing up, I didn’t have any homosexual heroes to look up to. Some might roll their eyes at the thought and say “so what?” or “why do people have to bring sex into everything.” The need for LGBT heroes, I feel, is very important. With LGBT kids being preached to say they are bad, immoral, going to hell, and abominations, they should have heroes who can show they don’t have to listen to others, they too can be heroes. It doesn’t matter what gender you are attracted to, you can stand up, be strong, and become productive members of society (or at least not destructive cretins). And why bring sex into this? It isn’t about sex. Superman has Lois Lane, Batman had a different woman in every movie, and did you once think about that as sex? No, saving the girl was just part of the story line. Love and sex are two different things.

Phew! Sorry, kind of felt like I was shouting into my keyboard there for a moment. Now that being said, the science fiction community is evolving. LGBT characters are becoming more prominent, both DC and Marvel have introduced LGBT characters; we have Captain Jack Harkness, and we can’t forget Willow who I feel stepped up to the plate and broke the mold for LGBT Characters in all genres.

So why do I write LGBT young adult books? I hope I can create a character as powerful as Willow Rosenberg, or as passionate and witty as Jack Harkness to inspire any youth to be strong, to let them know its okay to be different and maybe even inspire them to be one of the real heroes one day.

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 Books

CaleoEvery High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.

Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon!

Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the least of his worries.
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Caleo-Leech-james-crawford-ebook/dp/B004YQVF96/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396283364&sr=8-1&keywords=caleo

 

Jack
Every high school has its social elite; the football players and cheerleaders … you know, the popular crowd. At Butler High, Jack Barely was as close to the top as they came. Captain of the swim team, great hair, and abs that most would die for. However, that was all before the Leeches attacked, taking away everything: his popularity, his house, his grandmother, and even his best friend, Caleo, whom he secretly loved.

Now, living in a destroyed world, popularity means nothing as Jack struggles just to keep him and his twin sister, Jillian, alive. With attacks happening more frequently, Jack starts to wonder why they are even bothering to try and hold onto the past when it just reminds him of all they have lost. Just when he has given up hope, Jack hears a rumor that Caleo is still alive and sets out on a mission to find him. But will Jack make it to finally tell Caleo how he really feels?
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Leech-james-crawford-ebook/dp/B00C275OE6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1396283274&sr=8-2&keywords=caleo

james crawford (All Lowercase please) lives in Horn Lake Mississippi with his partner of 7 years. He began writing the Leech series in 2007 after having a reoccurring dream about a young boy with skin whiter than a sheet. The story inspired a writing frenzy that is shaping into the Leech series.

author photo

 

#authorcorner Interview with GEONN CANNON

Welcome everyone!! Today we have an interview with none other than Geonn Cannon. I know Geonn through fandom and twitter. We both have a strong love of Amanda Tapping and writing!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Geonn Cannon, I was born in Oklahoma, and my original plan was to be an actor. I took a half-semester of Creative Writing and four years of Drama (theatre class) so you can see where my priorities were back in those days. We had a project senior year to write and film something, and our group decided to do a Saturday Night Live-type thing. I wrote most of the skits, and it turned out I enjoyed that much, much more than acting in them. Plus writing seemed much, much less constrained and I had more freedom to do what I wanted with a story.

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

I like my bed to be as cold as possible when I get into it. So much so that I will move my pillows and blankets if I have to sit on the side of the mattress for any length of time. I know it’s supposed to be the other way around, it’s supposed to be a nice cozy cocoon, but I prefer warming it up myself.

What are you currently writing?

At the moment I’m working on revisions for my official Stargate SG-1 novel, “Two Roads.” It was such a huge honor getting the opportunity to write for the series. I credit Stargate with jumpstarting my writing career. Before taking a trip to the Pacific Northwest for a Stargate convention, I had never really thought of it as a place to set stories. I was randomly putting everything I wrote in Chicago. But once I was there, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I think On the Air might have been as popular if it had been set somewhere else, but it wouldn’t have been the same story. Would it have been snapped up by the publishers if Nadine was a disc-jockey in a small Chicago suburb? Maybe.  But I wouldn’t want to find out.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Geonn Cannon, I was born in Oklahoma, and my original plan was to be an actor. I took a half-semester of Creative Writing and four years of Drama (theatre class) so you can see where my priorities were back in those days. We had a project senior year to write and film something, and our group decided to do a Saturday Night Live-type thing. I wrote most of the skits, and it turned out I enjoyed that much, much more than acting in them. Plus writing seemed much, much less constrained and I had more freedom to do what I wanted with a story.

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

I like my bed to be as cold as possible when I get into it. So much so that I will move my pillows and blankets if I have to sit on the side of the mattress for any length of time. I know it’s supposed to be the other way around, it’s supposed to be a nice cozy cocoon, but I prefer warming it up myself.

What are you currently writing?

At the moment I’m working on revisions for my official Stargate SG-1 novel, “Two Roads.” It was such a huge honor getting the opportunity to write for the series. I credit Stargate with jumpstarting my writing career. Before taking a trip to the Pacific Northwest for a Stargate convention, I had never really thought of it as a place to set stories. I was randomly putting everything I wrote in Chicago. But once I was there, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I think On the Air might have been as popular if it had been set somewhere else, but it wouldn’t have been the same story. Would it have been snapped up by the publishers if Nadine was a disc-jockey in a small Chicago suburb? Maybe.  But I wouldn’t want to find out.

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.

My best friend in high school, Robert, was a big influence on me in terms of giving me confidence in myself and my abilities. It wasn’t the usual motivational situation where he gave me a pep talk or rallied me to put pen to paper. We randomly started writing a story together that highly exaggerated our lives, sort of like South Park meets… some highly self-indulgence thinly-veiled bio pic. We were the heroes, our least-favorite teacher was the villain, Bruce Willis made a cameo if I recall. We would alternate chapters, with me writing one and then he’d respond. That went on for a few weeks until he finally said he wanted to stop because my chapters were always so much better than his and he couldn’t compete. But he wanted me to keep writing until the story was done because he wanted to see how it ended. So that’s the lesson here, kids. If you rage-quit, you may just inspire your friend’s entire career.

Why write lesbian fiction?

I won’t lie and claim there’s no “lesbians are hot” component, but that’s not the reason. I realized early on that I always preferred the female characters in fiction. Who cares what Riker is doing, what is Troi up to on the bridge? Can we see some more of Dr. Crusher, please? When I started writing I went the traditional route with a male protagonist who had several women in his life (and yes, one of them was a lesbian). The story never felt complete, never felt right, and I’ve written and rewritten that novel so many times that I honestly have just given up on it. After that I thought, “Well, I like writing the female characters so much more… why don’t I just put as many of them as I can into a story? And if there needs to be a romance, I’ll let them romance each other.” Not to mention the fact the world is overstuffed with male protagonists. Let the women run the show for a change.

What do you think about authors who continue to write both fanfiction and original fiction? (This seems to be a constant debate/conversation to me.)

I don’t really have an opinion on it. I think fanfiction is a great way to hone your skills, using a ready-made template of characters and universe rules so you can focus on the actual process of telling a story without the extra work. It’s like a self-taught class in How to Write. That said, in my experience, once you start focusing more on original writing, the less you’ll be inspired for fanfiction. I wanted to build in my own worlds and play in my own sandbox. Plus every day spent writing fanfiction is a day you can’t spend writing a story you could sell.

Tell us about Girls Don’t Hit.

It started as just a two-word reminder in my notepad: “female hitman.” I thought it would be a good action-y, thriller story to fill the void Riley Parra left when that series ended. After that I started building the world, figuring out who Joss/Jocelyn was, what her motivations were, and I realized this would be one of my least-loved characters ever. Which is not a bad thing! Everyone who has read it so far says that they would cross the street to avoid Joss, but they were also oddly drawn to her. I think that’s the intriguing thing about her. She’s cold, heartless, methodical, and unapologetic. She’s a sociopath, really. She observes other people for clues of how she should react in various situations. She may be unlovable, but she’s certainly one of my more intriguing characters.

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 really don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in bad days, out of the writing mood, uninspired, logy… everyone needs a weekend/vacation/mental health day. But since writers can decide when and how we get those days, we feel guilty taking them and we have to call it writer’s block. When a story isn’t coming or the words are like pulling teeth, I usually just decide it’s an off day and catch up on Netflix or reading. Odds are the inspiration of someone else’s fiction will put me back on the right track.

I know you love Radiation Canary, tell us why?

First and foremost, I wrote it for an extremely dear friend of mine. She introduced me to Brandi Carlile, and almost immediately said, “You need to write a book about a singer!” I was utterly uninterested and kept putting her off, but then I buckled down and thought, “Well, what would that look like?” Secondly, because of the scope (the novel takes place over ten years), I was able to toss in a few things that might not have gotten covered in an ordinary novel. I had relationships that started and ended, I had Karen growing from a nervous and awkward outsider to a proud band member. I really, truly love all my characters, but the band feels even more special. They’re my girls! As I was writing them I found myself falling in love with all of them in different ways, and I’m so proud of how they turned out.

What does your dream writing location look like?

A wood-paneled room with a window looking out at something Pacific Northwest-y, a desk and a comfy couch (I’d do most of my writing on the couch, I’m sure, because the desk is facing the window and much too distracting) with one wall of bookshelves. Not too big, just enough room to pace around if necessary.

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?

Writing is so slow and frustrating. I remember way back when William H Macy was on Leno, promoting a movie he had written. Leno, in his infinite obtuseness, mentioned that it must have been fun to relax and write instead of having to act. Macy quite seriously said, “No, writing is not FUN. Writing SUCKS.” The act of writing, creating characters, is one of the most fun things you can do. Actually crafting and polishing that into a readable story can be one of the most frustrating things. My advice to anyone who wants to write is to write. I’ll steal Stephen King’s advice: “If you want to write, then you have to write a lot and read a lot.” It’s brilliant and very true. Don’t get discouraged when you realize how tedious editing can be, don’t throw in the towel when you finally get paid for a story and you can deposit that seven bucks directly into your account. Writing is one of the few jobs you can get by just showing up every day and getting to work.

What is your best memory from the whole writing and publishing process?

The night I got an email from P.D. Publishing telling me they wanted On the Air. My best friend/supporter/current publisher was just about to leave for the night when I got the news, so I was able to celebrate with her. Afterward I went for a walk and it was cold, and it was drizzling, and I was just so thrilled that I couldn’t stop smiling. Someone wanted my book! I was finally a professional writer. You never forget your first.

QUICKIES!

1. Dog or Cat? Cat
2. Favorite color? Blue
3. Favorite junk food? Donut Sticks
4. Favorite musician? Josh Ritter/David Bowie (depending on my mood)
5. Favorite curse word? Shite. It just sounds so refined and classy.
6. Favorite quote? “You are all better than you think you are. You are just designed not to believe it when you hear it from yourself.” – Community
7. Rolaids or Tums? What’s the generic?
8. Short or Tall? Short, I guess.
9. Favorite body part? Dangerous question… But I’ll say my head. In high school I hated getting haircuts so it would get so long and unruly, and I’d have to wash the whole mess, and comb it and ugh. When it started to fall out, I said, “Screw it,” and started getting it cut as close as I could without shaving. Then I went whole hog and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I really like how my head looks. It’s a good shape for baldness. I seriously sometimes even catch a glimpse of my shadow and think, “Yeah, that’s a good head shape. I approve, skull.”
10. Favorite holiday? I don’t really have one. It’s a bit narcissistic to say my birthday, because that’s all about me, but I don’t really like any one holiday above another.

Books

 

OTACover

 

Nadine Butler is a popular disc-jockey at KELF, the classic rock station in Squire’s Isle, Washington. She’s currently in the closet with her girlfriend and she thinks she’s happy that way. And the end of a bad day, Nadine goes to a Town Hall meeting to take sides in a book-banning debate and manages to out herself in front of the town. Desperate, under pressure and under siege from the startled, family-oriented advertisers and the station’s unsupportive owner, Nadine does one last show. With help coming from some unforeseen corners, she decides to make the most of her last time on the air.

 

 

 

 

 

RCCover

 

 

Karen Everett isn’t looking to join a band the day she loses her notebook of poetry. She plays the cello and is unsure about what she wants in life, but she’s pretty sure it doesn’t involve being a professional musician. But a crush on the band’s beautiful lead singer Lana Kent, along with the desire to have her poetry shared with a larger audience, leads her to throw caution to the wind and play an audition that leads to her being invited to join the band at gigs. After a spur of the moment decision lands them a spot on national television, Karen and the band find themselves riding an unexpected wave of popularity.

BUY LINKS
BIO
Geonn Cannon is the author of 20 novels (and counting). He was born in Oklahoma and spends his free time thinking up cool and exciting things to do. Then he creates fictional characters and has them to all the cool and exciting things for him, since it’s much easier than actually going outside himself. He is currently writing an official Stargate SG-1 novel for Fandemonium and working with Tello Films in an effort to bring Riley Parra to life as a webseries. Contrary to popular belief, he does sleep. Usually every day.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Geonn Cannon, I was born in Oklahoma, and my original plan was to be an actor. I took a half-semester of Creative Writing and four years of Drama (theatre class) so you can see where my priorities were back in those days. We had a project senior year to write and film something, and our group decided to do a Saturday Night Live-type thing. I wrote most of the skits, and it turned out I enjoyed that much, much more than acting in them. Plus writing seemed much, much less constrained and I had more freedom to do what I wanted with a story.

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

I like my bed to be as cold as possible when I get into it. So much so that I will move my pillows and blankets if I have to sit on the side of the mattress for any length of time. I know it’s supposed to be the other way around, it’s supposed to be a nice cozy cocoon, but I prefer warming it up myself.

What are you currently writing?

At the moment I’m working on revisions for my official Stargate SG-1 novel, “Two Roads.” It was such a huge honor getting the opportunity to write for the series. I credit Stargate with jumpstarting my writing career. Before taking a trip to the Pacific Northwest for a Stargate convention, I had never really thought of it as a place to set stories. I was randomly putting everything I wrote in Chicago. But once I was there, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I think On the Air might have been as popular if it had been set somewhere else, but it wouldn’t have been the same story. Would it have been snapped up by the publishers if Nadine was a disc-jockey in a small Chicago suburb? Maybe.  But I wouldn’t want to find out.

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.

My best friend in high school, Robert, was a big influence on me in terms of giving me confidence in myself and my abilities. It wasn’t the usual motivational situation where he gave me a pep talk or rallied me to put pen to paper. We randomly started writing a story together that highly exaggerated our lives, sort of like South Park meets… some highly self-indulgence thinly-veiled bio pic. We were the heroes, our least-favorite teacher was the villain, Bruce Willis made a cameo if I recall. We would alternate chapters, with me writing one and then he’d respond. That went on for a few weeks until he finally said he wanted to stop because my chapters were always so much better than his and he couldn’t compete. But he wanted me to keep writing until the story was done because he wanted to see how it ended. So that’s the lesson here, kids. If you rage-quit, you may just inspire your friend’s entire career.

Why write lesbian fiction?

I won’t lie and claim there’s no “lesbians are hot” component, but that’s not the reason. I realized early on that I always preferred the female characters in fiction. Who cares what Riker is doing, what is Troi up to on the bridge? Can we see some more of Dr. Crusher, please? When I started writing I went the traditional route with a male protagonist who had several women in his life (and yes, one of them was a lesbian). The story never felt complete, never felt right, and I’ve written and rewritten that novel so many times that I honestly have just given up on it. After that I thought, “Well, I like writing the female characters so much more… why don’t I just put as many of them as I can into a story? And if there needs to be a romance, I’ll let them romance each other.” Not to mention the fact the world is overstuffed with male protagonists. Let the women run the show for a change.

What do you think about authors who continue to write both fanfiction and original fiction? (This seems to be a constant debate/conversation to me.)

I don’t really have an opinion on it. I think fanfiction is a great way to hone your skills, using a ready-made template of characters and universe rules so you can focus on the actual process of telling a story without the extra work. It’s like a self-taught class in How to Write. That said, in my experience, once you start focusing more on original writing, the less you’ll be inspired for fanfiction. I wanted to build in my own worlds and play in my own sandbox. Plus every day spent writing fanfiction is a day you can’t spend writing a story you could sell.

Tell us about Girls Don’t Hit.

It started as just a two-word reminder in my notepad: “female hitman.” I thought it would be a good action-y, thriller story to fill the void Riley Parra left when that series ended. After that I started building the world, figuring out who Joss/Jocelyn was, what her motivations were, and I realized this would be one of my least-loved characters ever. Which is not a bad thing! Everyone who has read it so far says that they would cross the street to avoid Joss, but they were also oddly drawn to her. I think that’s the intriguing thing about her. She’s cold, heartless, methodical, and unapologetic. She’s a sociopath, really. She observes other people for clues of how she should react in various situations. She may be unlovable, but she’s certainly one of my more intriguing characters.

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 really don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in bad days, out of the writing mood, uninspired, logy… everyone needs a weekend/vacation/mental health day. But since writers can decide when and how we get those days, we feel guilty taking them and we have to call it writer’s block. When a story isn’t coming or the words are like pulling teeth, I usually just decide it’s an off day and catch up on Netflix or reading. Odds are the inspiration of someone else’s fiction will put me back on the right track.

I know you love Radiation Canary, tell us why?

First and foremost, I wrote it for an extremely dear friend of mine. She introduced me to Brandi Carlile, and almost immediately said, “You need to write a book about a singer!” I was utterly uninterested and kept putting her off, but then I buckled down and thought, “Well, what would that look like?” Secondly, because of the scope (the novel takes place over ten years), I was able to toss in a few things that might not have gotten covered in an ordinary novel. I had relationships that started and ended, I had Karen growing from a nervous and awkward outsider to a proud band member. I really, truly love all my characters, but the band feels even more special. They’re my girls! As I was writing them I found myself falling in love with all of them in different ways, and I’m so proud of how they turned out.

What does your dream writing location look like?

A wood-paneled room with a window looking out at something Pacific Northwest-y, a desk and a comfy couch (I’d do most of my writing on the couch, I’m sure, because the desk is facing the window and much too distracting) with one wall of bookshelves. Not too big, just enough room to pace around if necessary.

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?

Writing is so slow and frustrating. I remember way back when William H Macy was on Leno, promoting a movie he had written. Leno, in his infinite obtuseness, mentioned that it must have been fun to relax and write instead of having to act. Macy quite seriously said, “No, writing is not FUN. Writing SUCKS.” The act of writing, creating characters, is one of the most fun things you can do. Actually crafting and polishing that into a readable story can be one of the most frustrating things. My advice to anyone who wants to write is to write. I’ll steal Stephen King’s advice: “If you want to write, then you have to write a lot and read a lot.” It’s brilliant and very true. Don’t get discouraged when you realize how tedious editing can be, don’t throw in the towel when you finally get paid for a story and you can deposit that seven bucks directly into your account. Writing is one of the few jobs you can get by just showing up every day and getting to work.

What is your best memory from the whole writing and publishing process?

The night I got an email from P.D. Publishing telling me they wanted On the Air. My best friend/supporter/current publisher was just about to leave for the night when I got the news, so I was able to celebrate with her. Afterward I went for a walk and it was cold, and it was drizzling, and I was just so thrilled that I couldn’t stop smiling. Someone wanted my book! I was finally a professional writer. You never forget your first.

QUICKIES!

1. Dog or Cat? Cat
2. Favorite color?
Blue
3. Favorite junk food?
Donut Sticks
4. Favorite musician?
Josh Ritter/David Bowie (depending on my mood)
5. Favorite curse word?
Shite. It just sounds so refined and classy.
6. Favorite quote?
“You are all better than you think you are. You are just designed not to believe it when you hear it from yourself.” – Community
7. Rolaids or Tums?
What’s the generic?
8. Short or Tall?
Short, I guess.
9. Favorite body part?
Dangerous question… But I’ll say my head. In high school I hated getting haircuts so it would get so long and unruly, and I’d have to wash the whole mess, and comb it and ugh. When it started to fall out, I said, “Screw it,” and started getting it cut as close as I could without shaving. Then I went whole hog and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. I really like how my head looks. It’s a good shape for baldness. I seriously sometimes even catch a glimpse of my shadow and think, “Yeah, that’s a good head shape. I approve, skull.”
10. Favorite holiday?
I don’t really have one. It’s a bit narcissistic to say my birthday, because that’s all about me, but I don’t really like any one holiday above another.

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WIPpet Wednesday. A quickie and a PO’d chick.

Afternoon!! I’m late! I’m late! But I’m still on time!

Since I’m in the editing process right now, you get an excerpt from Ashes Fall today rather than from the moral injury novella.

Here are two paragraphs for today because we’re still in the second month!

Lily’d had enough. The fire worked between her eyes, centering just between her brows as she blinked. The gun went off. Heath bolted up straight and looked to his side, his weapon having fired. James jumped up off the couch and moved to the still man in front of her. The brown-haired deputy was sprawled on the ground, the bullet in his stomach, making him bleed onto the floor.

Heath bent down, kneeling over his body and radioing it in. Everything started to move in a frenzy. James grabbed Lily and her keys, running out the back door and shoving her daughter into the car. Lily complied, thrusting her seat belt over her shoulder. James slid into the driver’s seat and started to back out of the drive. Heath stepped out of the house just in time to see her leave the driveway. He leaned down, presumably calling their car in. Lily sneered and made his gun go off again, shooting him in the foot.

Have a great day!!

Nova Sparks & James Crawford Author Spotlight

Feb 5th

Free Kindle Books.

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Book Info

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Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.

Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon!

Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the least of his worries.


Click here to claim your free copy on Amazon today only!


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What if you knew the exact date and time the world will end, what would you do?

Sam Tucker was faced with that dilemma when he began getting visions of the Earth’s demise. Luckily for him, he was able to save his family and as many people as he could before the tragic event occurred, and he did so with the help of unknown visitors. With Earth now destroyed, Sam, his family, and thousands of other lucky survivors must live the rest of their lives on a faraway planet in a Dome that simulates life on Earth. But Sam’s mind can’t seem to rest as a few questions arise. Why did the aliens save them? How did they know about Earth’s sure fate? And exactly what are they hiding?

Emma Tucker begged for an escape from her boring life but never in a million years did she think it would come at the destruction of Earth. Living on a new planet and finding it difficult to get rid of her rebellious habits, Emma finds herself making friends with a member of the alien race and it soon develops into an unexplainable love; a love that is more dangerous than she could ever imagine. While her father is searching for his own truths, she has no idea that she is stumbling on a truth of her own.

Told from the point of view of both Sam and Emma, author Nova Sparks takes readers on a journey to discover love, fate, faith, truth, and the mystery of the DOME!


Click here to claim your Free copy on Amazon today only!

Cover Reveal with Leigh Ellwood

Check out this cover!! Isn’t it awesome!! The book will be released with Ellora’s Cave in June 2014.

Sugar Rush – a Hot Pink Novella
Lesbian Erotic Romance from Ellora’s Cave
Coming June, 2014

Neve Rush, owner of the Sugar Rush bakery, catches the attention of her local community when she accepts the job of baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Judy Goldsmith finds Neve’s open-mindedness refreshing and attractive, and schemes to get to know Neve better. An impromptu online flirtation leads to Judy hiring Neve to cater a surprise birthday party for a friend. Problem is, the friend’s birthday isn’t for three months, so Judy has to figure out how to pull off the deception without upsetting everybody, especially Neve.

To complicate matters, Neve’s newfound fame resurrects bad memories in the form of Gianna, Neve’s ex. Since losing her heart, Neve turned to work to heal, and Gianna’s return threatens to undo everything. Thankfully, Judy is able to satisfy Neve’s sweet tooth. Can their blossoming feelings, however, survive a little white lie and an even bigger, darker secret?

~

Visit Leigh Online!

Web – http://www.leighellwood.com

Twitter – @LeighEllwood

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/leighellwoodauthor

sugarrush_msr

#authorcorner with V.C.!!

Today I’m excited to say that V.C. is joining us! I met V.C. on one of the many facebook groups that I’m a part of and through facebook pages. I couldn’t be happier that she decided to join us today.

Tell us about yourself.

I’ll just share my author bio since it’s most convenient and to-the-point:180917_608094995814_5594213_n

V.C. writes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans* romance/erotica fiction that she affectionately calls glitterotica. Her writing career started in high school where she gained a reputation for her historical short stories, even having been given a couple of gold key awards from Scholastic Inc. She got her start writing erotica during college. After having numerous short erotica stories published on Oysters&Chocolate.com, she has since had various erotic shorts published in anthologies and has written six novels so far, and counting. She’s been published by O&C Press, Ravenous Romance, Freaky Fountain, Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, and Storm Moon Press.

When she’s not writing, V.C. enjoys reading literature, watching classic movies, studying French (and occasionally Icelandic), going to concerts, museums, and drag shows, and simply taking each day as it comes and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. She currently lives in New Jersey.

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

That I am intersex. Not too many people would know this about me because the term “intersex” (meaning that someone was born with both male and female genitalia) leaves people confused because it’s not openly talked about and is still a baby term that hasn’t yet made a big mark on our culture yet. Like, it’s not a household name or anything where people, when they hear it, would go, “Oh, I know what that means.” I wish that were the case because then it would make things less awkward and annoying for me especially when dating and sex is concerned.

Once in a while it hits the radar in the media (like when it was reported that Germany now has a third-gender law for infants born with “ambiguous genitalia”) but I think people still don’t understand what “intersex” is and what it is like growing up and being an intersex individual. Plus, people wouldn’t know this about me because I don’t go around letting everyone know that my body is different from the average female. However, it is something that I’m not afraid to let be known when the opportunity calls for it, which I feel fine and comfortable doing in author interviews. It’s part of who I am as a person and in some ways has shaped me into the LGBT author that I’ve become.

Wow, very interesting. I’ll definitely be keeping that in mind for a while and seeing how we would do things different if intersex were a more common term. But back to writing, what made you decide to write? If it even was a decision. And what kept you at it?

It wasn’t a decision for me. When you are passionate about something, it’s just something that you do, and the “keeping at it” part is something you just do naturally. There’s no other way for me to explain it. I do what I love and what turns me on, and it’s the love and turn-on that keeps me focused on it.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and support in writing and in publishing?

I’d say my teachers during middle school and high school. I don’t want to mention names; I’d rather keep that to myself and their identities private. Many of them time and time again would comment about how I should look into getting published. Some of them even went out of their way to get me published in the school paper. One of them (a drama teacher) had one of my plays for a class project get turned into a stage production that actually got to be on a stage for people to watch and enjoy. They saw my potential in ways that at the time, being so young and all, I just didn’t see. I was only doing what I enjoyed doing on my free time. It was just a hobby then. Now, not so much ;).

That’s great! Why is it that you are an independent author? What prompted the decision to publish with a small press publisher, and how has that experience been?

imagesI never really put much thought as to “why” I am an “independent” author. I guess I am an independent author because I like being an independent person? I don’t know, hehe, I only see myself as just an author. I send my short stories and novel manuscripts to publishers that intrigue me based on their unique anthology calls or because they publish work that I would (or have) actually read myself. They just so happened to be a small press/independent publisher. It doesn’t matter to me if a publisher is independent/small or mainstream.

Not all publishers are created equal of course, but in my mind, be it a small or big publisher, they are the same. Just different in their own way. It’s just a pleasure working with publishers that I admire and respect like oysters&chocolate.com and Freaky Fountain, both who are sadly defunct, Go Deeper Press, Cleis Press, and Storm Moon Press. My experiences with these publishers have been eye-openers in many ways because each press was different and unique in their editing and promotion process. Not entirely perfect experiences, I’ll admit, but even in their imperfections they are absolutely fabulous to work with, and I’m happy to be an author for all of them.

What has been your experience going from short stories and publishing with anthologies, to your first novel and publishing a full-length work?

Oh, it’s just a fun and wild ride. There’s one other thing that not many know about me: I get bored very easily. Not bored as in “Oh, I have nothing to do, I am bored,” but “If I don’t do a variety of things outside of just writing short stories or writing just novels, I’ll be bored out of my mind.”  This variety is what makes the whole experience of going from short stories to full-length works more exciting for me and keeps me from that restlessly bored feeling.

I love the challenge of writing a story in its short-form, but I also enjoy the commitment of being in a relationship, so to speak, with a 50K-100K manuscript for two months before I try and find it a new home. I write these short stories/novels based on the mood I am in. Sometimes I am in the mood to write novels, sometimes I’d rather just write short stories and send them to anthology calls.  I’m still learning to master the art of both forms of storytelling, and that’s really the best part of the experience of going from short stories to a full-length work: the learning process.

Speaking of full-length work, The Man on Top of the World will be your first full-length novel, if I understand correctly, tell us a bit about what goes on in the story.

On the surface it’s a rock and roll love triangle. It takes place during the 1970s glam rock era (think T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxie Music, Lou Reed, and Suzie Quatro). The love triangle in The Man on Top of the World is between a glam rock drummer boy (Jonathan Maxwell, the narrator of the story), the glam rock superstar that he works for and can’t help but fall foolishly in love with (Izzy Rich), and the glam rock groupie (Roxanne Foster, Izzy’s fan girl) who comes between them. The love triangle aside though, in the core of it, The Man on Top of the World is a love story between two passionate, beautiful, and flawed men who, for better and for worse, are meant to be together as the best of mates and as lovers.

You put images and sounds to your characters in The Man on Top of the World when doing character sketches. How is this helpful for you?

This is more helpful for the reader than it is for me. The images and sounds are all in my head. After the manuscript was finished, that was when I decided on doing the character profiles for Izzy, Jonathan, and Roxanne, which then prompted me to search for pictures and video clips that comes as close to those images/sounds in my head as possible.  I do the character profiles for my readers because it’s just a fun way for them to get to know the characters before they get their hands on the book. I’d hope that from those character profiles, and from all the images and sounds I put into them, that it would have the reader feel like they already know (and hopefully identity with) the characters before reading The Man on Top of the World.

So you did entire blog posts on three characters in The Man on Top of the World. I’m going to be mean and ask for one single sentence on each of those characters.

Jonathan Maxwell—a pansexual, drama-queen, hopeless romantic who has such ridiculously fine taste in clothes, jewelry, women, and men.

Izzy Rich—an eccentric pretty boy/egomaniac turned messiah and pariah who, despite all his fame, musical genius, and celebrity, is a tortured soul.

Roxanne Foster—a good girl who has a lot of bite and a whole lot more moxie that she’s too modest to show, offstage, anyway.

If you could meet one character in real life from The Man on Top of the World—and yes, I know this is a hard question—who would it be and why?

Without question, Izzy. I identify with him in many ways, not as the rock star, but as the man. He’s eccentric, misunderstood, and a child at heart, like me. He’s like me in many ways, but he’s far off from being me in a lot of other ways. I’m broke, he’s not, but he used to be, so he doesn’t take his fame and money for granted because of his poverty-stricken upbringing. I’d be the same if I was rich and famous. We both embrace our androgyny, but he is way more over the top and ballsy about expressing his androgyny and femininity. He’s more in touch with his feminine side than I am; he just doesn’t give a fuck, he does and wears what he wants. I can’t walk in a pair of high heels to save my life; he can because wearing high heels is his life. He can be a total asshole, but he’s one that I adore and would love to meet in real life if he were real. That would be so awesome if he was.  A girl can dream.

What has been your process through writing The Man on Top of the World, and how has it been similar or different from your normal writing process?

The Man on Top of the World was originally a short story submission for Storm Moon Press’s Glam Rock anthology call. They GDP002-FemmeFatale_30didn’t get enough submissions for the anthology to go forward, but they liked my story and felt that the word count was high enough to be turned into a short novella. From there, it evolved into a novel. So, in a way, this process of writing The Man on Top of the World has really been like watching a child grow into an adult. The short story was its baby phase, the short novella form was its teenage years, and the novel makes it all grown up. None of this was intentional. It just happened that way.

I wouldn’t say this transformation has made the writing process different. It was about the same. The only change was that I had to expand on a lot of areas in The Man on Top of the World that needed to be there, mostly because of the sequel, All That Glitters. At the time when I wrote The Man on Top of the World, I didn’t plan a sequel. All That Glitters (Izzy’s autobiography/bildungsroman) came a bit later, and I wasn’t planning on having it published in the first place, actually. I did it only as a fun side piece for my own keeping. It was when the story took off that I decided on getting it published. After that sequel got picked up by Storm Moon Press, I had to go back to The Man on Top of the World many times to make sure that some areas were consistent with the sequel. Sorry that I’m intentionally being vague about what those “things” and “areas” are. I’m a no spoilers kind of gal.

Haha! That’s perfectly fine! So, 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?

A lot of writers might hate me for saying this, or may not believe me at all, but I rarely if ever get writer’s block. I’ve had times where I started a story and didn’t finish it, but that’s only because the work wasn’t “speaking” to me and I move on to something that will. When I’m committed to a work that doesn’t just speak but screams at me, I write like the wind. I believe that writer’s block happens when the author overthinks their work way too much in the process of writing it, basically letting their mind (the part that overanalyzes things too much) interfere with the flow of creativity and imagination. I don’t let that happen. I stay calm, cool, and write when the inspiration/creativity is there. I don’t force it or overthink things during the process of writing. I don’t worry about word counts either. I just relax, write, and have fun.

Writing, at the end of the day, has to be fun to result to a finished product that I can be proud of. There’s nothing fun about writer’s block or forcing myself to write something that just isn’t speaking at the moment. To prevent that from happening, if I lose momentum and focus while writing a chapter, I just go offline and kill the potential writer’s block by having fun and living life. That’s really the best medicine to prevent writer’s block from happening in the first place. I like to destroy the problem before it manifests into this big deal. It has worked for me so far. I hate stress, and I sure as hell would hate writer’s block, which sounds like the most stressful thing for a writer to go through. What I do helps me. I hope that I’m not alone in doing this and that other writers do the same thing, for one’s health and sanity.

I actually completely agree with you. I don’t think I’ve ever had “writer’s block,” and I practice living life stress free and creatively. But enough about that. 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?

Editing is not the bane of my existence. I think it’s the best part of the writing process because basically editing is where you are taking this ugly lump of clay, this diamond in the rough, and molding and polishing it into something better and prettier. You can’t do that while you’re actually writing; that can only be done after the work is finished and when you have something to actually work with. So with editing, it gives me that opportunity to really make my work shine. I typically go through three rounds of editing. I take a week off in between each edit round so that way when I return to the manuscript I’m editing it with a fresher pair of eyes and more refreshed state of mind. This helps me stay on track of the process.

This technique of editing—edit, take a week off, edit, take a week off, edit one more time, and take one more week off—makes the process less tedious and more fun, and it helps me to pace myself. I like rewriting areas, expanding on areas, and taking out filler/unnecessary writing that doesn’t add to the narrative. I like being given more than two chances to make my work better. Editing gives me the chance to make my work better as many times as I choose until it’s polished to the best of my ability before it is in the hands of a professional editor.  I find the whole process (self-editing and editing with a professional) exciting. As long as I keep it this way, editing for me is more fun than it is a burden.

Interesting. 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 ups of writing and publishing is of course when you’ve created a work that you are proud of. Even better is when it finds a home with a publisher. The natural high of getting a work published, there are no words. It’s all the more thrilling, and sometimes surreal, when others enjoy your work for days, months, and who knows, maybe years to come. Most would say that the downs of writing and publishing would be getting a rejection email/letter. Yeah, that can sting a little, but I never bothered with dwelling on that negative side of publishing. I’ve had a few rejection emails, had two of my publishers go out of business, and had some not so nice comments about my work. I could have moped and vented about it, but that was far from my mind. What good would that have done? I’m not a fan of misery; I really just don’t have the time or care for it.

Every negative in book publishing can always be turned into something positive. That is, if you want it to be. I chose to look on the positive side of things and to just continue doing what I do.  The greatest thing about publishing that can’t always be said about most things in life is that a negative can always be turned into a positive. There are so many publishers out there that there’s no reason for one rejection letter to bring someone down; solution: just send out the manuscript/short story somewhere else. Publishers go out of business; don’t worry, your work will find a new home soon enough. Bad reviews/negative comments? If you’re entitled to write one and have one, so can other people. Not everyone is going to like my work. Whatever. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Live and let live; life’s too short to dwell on the negativity.

My only advice to new and upcoming authors is to not take yourself, or the publishing industry, too seriously. And don’t take anything too personal either. All the downs I mentioned above that I’ve experienced, if you go through all that too, remember, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Sometimes, the negatives and even the rejection letters/emails can be blessings in disguise, for something better could come along. All the ups of getting published—being published, selling tons of books and gaining a huge readership/fan-base—don’t let it all get to your head and make it big. Nobody wants to support the work of an egotistical/cocky author. Be heard and be successful, but stay humble. Don’t compare yourself with other authors/writers. Unless you are still in high school that kind of drama is unnecessary. No matter what ups and downs you go through with writing and getting published, just stay cool, don’t lose yourself, be classy, and most importantly, keep on writing.

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?

Thankfully, we live in a day and age where LGBT literature, and LGBT issues as a whole, is more accepted and open for discussion and expression than it was years ago. That’s the beauty of writing in this genre for me. It opens a world of opportunities for creativity, breaking boundaries, and challenging the way people perceive the LGBT genre. It also opens a huge comfort level in discussing LGBT issues that matter. For me personally, the LGBT genre is the easiest and most fun way for me to express myself. To have people out there who are as passionate about this “LGBT realm of craziness” and who love reading/writing in this genre as much as I do—that is even more beautiful. The genre lets everyone know that no matter if you are gay, bisexual, transgender, or lesbian, nobody out there is really alone anymore. I can really only sum up the experience of writing in this genre in that one word: beautiful. Oh, and delicious. Who doesn’t want to taste the rainbow? Those who don’t just aren’t fabulous enough to enjoy it for what it is ;).

LOL! What is your best memory from the whole writing and publishing process?

My best memory was when one of my readers commented about my F/F short story, “Stella Loves Bella.” At the time it was published on oysters&chocolate.com (you can now find it in Cleis Press’s Best Lesbian Erotica 2013). This sweet reader said in the comment section that the main character in that story (“Stella”) reminded her of her girlfriend, and that the story as a whole encouraged her to work up the courage to be her girlfriend’s “Bella.” That comment made me smile. It still does five years later. I’ll never forget it.

Storm Moon Press will be publishing The Man on Top of the World when it’s ready for our eyes. I was wondering if you would be able to tell me a bit about your experience with them; I’ll actually be meeting them at Rainbow Con in April.

I’m still a fairly new writer with them, but so far, Storm Moon Press is one of the most helpful and fun publishers I’ve worked with. One of the reasons why I was attracted to this publisher is because of how they like to publish unique niches in erotica that other publishers rarely take on, like blood play, gun kink, and incest. And they’re open to publishing works that feature trans*, poly, bisexual, asexual, and intersex characters. Not that other publishers out there wouldn’t support any of that, but Storm Moon Press stands out in that they are more proud and open about publishing works that represent all that and more.

They are also very author-centric too. If you are contracted by them, they’ll allow you to re-work your manuscript before the hardcore editing process begins. With The Man on Top of the World, that was so needed since so many things had to be fixed and expanded.  I’m especially grateful and appreciative of Storm Moon Press for wanting to take “The Man on Top of the World” and have it become the novel that it is now.  They are a great press, and the founders/co-founders are especially amazing. Have fun at Rainbow Con! I hope you will adore the Storm Moon Press crew as much as I do.

I’m sure I will! I know that you do a lot of reviews on your blog and that you give a lot of promotion to other authors. What prompted you to do this?

I’ve been reviewing movies and sex toys for a professional company for years, so I guess naturally, I’d eventually take on the fun task of reviewing erotica/romance fiction too. Except independently (and for free) on my blog. I started reading/reviewing books on my blog from Storm Moon Press first. Then, last fall of 2013, I thought to myself, hmm, I’d love to read/review erotica/romance fiction from authors outside of Storm Moon Press as long as they give me a free copy of their work in exchange for an honest review from me.

I love reading/reviewing LGBT erotica/romance fiction—that was the first prompt. The second is that I do enjoy seeing what kind of talent is out there in this genre from authors I haven’t heard of. So far, it’s been a real pleasure doing that for these authors who need some more exposure and whose work deserves more attention. By doing reviews on my blog, it’s a win-win for everyone. I get to read/review a lot of free e-book copies of LGBT erotica/romance fiction. These reviews give my blog some exposure. On a few occasions, I’ve made new friends with these fellow authors. The authors get the free promotion from me, and if the review is a positive one, they could use that review to promote themselves. If my review(s) encourage readers to check out their books, then that’s the greatest win. I get immense joy out of doing book reviews on my blog, and I hope the authors and readers enjoy it too.

Why focus on the LGBT genre? What are the plusses and what are the minuses of doing so?

As an intersex woman who identifies as pansexual, I don’t think I could ever stray from this genre even if I tried. I have many friends on and offline who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered. I’ve dated lesbian, bisexual, and trans* people throughout my life, still do. The issues I deal with as an intersex individual can only be understood by another intersex person or by a trans-individual (even better when I’ve found a friend who is intersex and trans. Thankfully, I have that, and she so gets me and I get her). Not that my life is all about LGBT 24/7, but it’s important and personal enough for me to dedicate much of my time on it on a regular daily basis be it through my writing, book reviewing, and watching LGBT-related films. It’s not a hobby; it’s my passion. I don’t see any minuses in focusing on that.

The pluses about the genre is that it allows me the ultimate freedom to be myself. And the genre also helps me, and others, further understand and appreciate the many ways of how we all identify and express ourselves in and outside of the genre and the dizzying number of labels that go with it. The minuses of it are not so much the negative stigma or judgment others might feel about it. Like, I don’t care about people who are turned off by it; it’s none of my business how or what they think of me and the genre I write in. There are assholes out there, that’s just life, I can only live mine. The minuses I notice are when I see that the representations of LGBT characters in the LGBT erotica/romance fiction genre aren’t varied and rely on far too many tropes, clichés, and stereotypes that don’t challenge the reader and are only giving the same ol’.  Other than that, all I see is pluses in the LGBT genre. And lots of rainbows.

QUICKIES!

1. Dog or Cat? Cat.
2. Favorite color?
Fuchsia.
3. Favorite junk food?
Chocolate chip cookies.   
4. Favorite musician?
Björk.
5. Favorite curse word?
Fuck.
6. Favorite quote?
“When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.”—Rupaul
7. Rolaids or Tums?
Rolaids.
8. Short or Tall?
Short
9. Favorite body part?
Boobs
10. Favorite holiday?
New Year’s Eve

Books

images Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 is about the trembling pleasure of anticipation as much as the moment when sex actually happens. Curated by Lammy nominee, Kathleen Warnock, Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 is as diverse as it is delectable- unlikely pairings appear as do sizzling hot one-time encounters and well-developed characters in well-developed relationships. Lesbians meet, sometimes fall in love, have a break up or two but always have lots of intensely great sex. Raw, romantic and always unforgettable, Best Lesbian Erotica 2013 will test your erotic boundaries and take you over the edge and into a world where fantasies become reality. Lesbian literary icon Jewelle Gomez (The Gilda Stories) returns to the series she helped put at the forefront of erotica. Gomez, who selected the stories for the 1997 edition of Best Lesbian Erotica, has returned once again to pluck the jewels of the best lesbian erotica around. In the words of editor Kathleen Warnock, “expect the unexpected.” In “Cucumbers & Cream,” by Helen Sandler, a butch finds herself hosting a burlesque show…not that she minds at all!Sometimes you just want a stranger pushing you up against a fence, as in “Anonymous,” by BD Swain.When one butch with a smartphone spots another, it might be a momentous “Morning Commute” by Penny Gyokeres.

GDP002-FemmeFatale_30

In Femme Fatale, an erotic collection edited by Lana Fox, dangerous women hunt down their deepest desires with everything from guns to wordplay. From a brazen thief who seduces her marks, to the ardent lover of a serial killer, these femme fatales are smart, inventive, and hard to trick.

But as Fox reminds us, women who are viewed as dangerous often challenge society’s thinking, and in this collection, the femme fatales certainly transform the worlds they inhabit. As is always the case with Go Deeper Press, these writers excel at storytelling as much as they do at sexy scenes, so get ready to be erotically and mentally engrossed.
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Email : vcerotica@gmail.com

 

“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.

WIPpet Wednesday! Dec 11, 2013…

Good morning WIPpeeters and guests! I have been mostly iced in since last Thursday, and when I did venture out to work last night, I crashed my car on the way home. All is well. I’m not even sore this morning, and Emilie (my car) is only scared a little bit–more like bruised.

I’m in the midst of finals, so I have done absolutely no writing this week except for the Creative Buzz Hop. The prompt was “serenity,” and it was so much fun to write on. If you want to join in, it’s free for all.

Onward to my WIPpet this week. What is WIPpet? I can hear my guests asking this! WIPpet is an amazing thing. That is all. =P WIPpet is where those who write post their WIP (Work In Progress) on their blog that somehow correlates with the date. For example, today you will be getting 27 paragraphs from me. 25 of those are short, as this is mostly dialogue, and 2 of those are long. So it’s a quick read–I promise. I arrived at this number with some simple by intriguing math. 11 (for the day) + 12 (for the month) + 1 + 3 (for the last two numbers in the year) = 27.

To get you into this excerpt, I will provide some quick information. Peter Schultz has been around since the previous book, where Grace (Deputy Halling) discovered him drunk on more than one occasion. He’s 19, and she felt something tugging at her because of the poor kid, so instead of arresting him for public intoxication and a minor in possession, she finally ended up taking him to a rehab facility. Fast-forward to this book. Peter is trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up. He’s started school again and is working toward his degree once more, which he will accomplish in a few short years. He’s been hanging out with Grace’s ex, Amya, who is the Police Chaplain for the Sheriff’s Department. Grace is taking Peter out on his first ride-along so he can see what she does for a living–it also happens to be Saint Patrick’s Day.

So without further ado–27 “short” paragraphs.

“I promise—you won’t get hurt or shot at tonight. We’ll stay away from those calls.”

“That sucks,” he pouted.

Grace shook her head and turned down Montgomery, heading into her district and away from the university.

“It does not suck,” she hissed. “It’s part policy and part that I don’t wanna get shot at.”

Peter grinned and turned to her, holding out his hand palm up. Grace gave him a funny look, her brow scrunching and her nose wrinkling as she tried to figure him out. Something was off about him, but then again, she hadn’t spent much time with the kid when he was sober.

“Calm down, boss,” he started. “I just want to see what all the fuss is about in this job.”

“Why?” she asked as she turned down the road and started to drive slowly through the residential streets.

“Because I thought about being a cop once. And I thought about not being a cop. Now I know that it’s not what I want to do, but I do want to do something similar.”

“Like Amya,” Grace muttered.

Peter turned in his seat and stared at her full on, giving her a blank and surprised look. Grace caught it and turned back to face the road, following the number eight line from the last bus stop to the transit center. She wasn’t going to ask Peter what that look meant at all.

“How did you know that?” he asked for her.

Grace rolled her eyes and spun her wheel so that they could sit in the parking lot and watch the people get off the buses. Grace rolled her eyes and spun her wheel so that they could sit in the parking lot and watch the people get off the buses. She ignored him as best she could, not wanting to talk about Amya if she could avoid it. She put the car in park and started to watch each individual that got off the bus, hoping that just one of them would do something suspicious so she could avoid talking to Peter even more.

Peter would have none of it and twisted in his seat to face Grace. She ignored it for as long as she could, but by the third time he repeated his question, she felt she had to answer.

“How did you know that?”

Grace sighed. “I took a guess. Between you spouting off Scripture and hanging out with Amya, I figured it was coming somewhere around there.”

Peter smiled and turned to look out the front of the vehicle, whispering, “‘The Lord is my shepherd. … He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.’”

“I know that one.”

“Which one is it then?”

Grace shook her head and looked at a black male, six foot three, wearing a gray hoodie and with pants down his ankles. He looked strangely familiar. She couldn’t place him though, and he wasn’t doing anything that currently would lead her to pulling him aside and questioning him, so she let it go.

“Which Scripture?” Peter asked again.

“Don’t remember exactly,” Grace muttered.

“It’s Psalm twenty-one. People say it at funerals a lot, but I think that it’s much better in other cases. ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’ It’s so awesome. God guides me and leads me and prevents me from going astray.”

“I think you went astray,” Grace said as she picked up on watching another individual walking down the street toward the transit station. She tracked his progress as Peter continued.

“I did—but God came and found me. I’m pretty sure that would happen for any one of the flock that got away.”

Grace snorted.

“What?” Peter asked.

“I highly doubt God’s going to come find me. I don’t want to be found.”

If you would like to join in the wonders of WIPpet Wednesday, head on over to MyRandomMuse after making your post and link it up. If you’re just an avid reader and want some more amazing excerpts, head on over to MyRandomMuse and comment on other’s posts. We’re all comment whores.

Thanks for tuning in!

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.

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WIPpet Wednesday!! December 4, 2013

I spent five glorious days with my babies and family up in the cold Montana weather. I say cold, but it really wasn’t that cold. When there’s no snow on the ground and it’s the end of November, something is seriously wrong. I witness and participated in the baptism of my two youngest Godsons who are now nineteen weeks old.

Secondly, I spent yesterday, 100% all day, relaxing and doing absolutely no work. It was glorious.

I apologize for not getting around to anyones WIPpets a few weeks ago. Time seriously got away from me with NaNoWriMo, class papers being due (a nice and hefty 20 page research paper), Thanksgiving on a Tuesday where I ended up cooking unexpectedly and a death at the church. It’s been a cray ride. I also apologize for not doing WIPpet last week. So this week! Since it’ the last month in December, I’ll give you two WIPpets.

I posted one last week, just on my author facebook page, so some of you have already seen it. But it is one of those posts that I love. Secondly, for my actual WIPpet, I give you twelve sentences from chapter 8, titled Animaniac.

If you would like to join in WIPpet Wednesdays, all you have to do is create a blog post with your current Work in Progress, that somehow correlates to the date. Mine is twelve sentences for the month of December. Then you go to this linky here and link it up with all the others. And remember, we are all comment whores, so if you read someone’s WIPpet, make sure to leave a comment.

WIPpet 1

She pulled into the parking lot and looked around for the suspect and saw no one. Instead, she saw a group of kids standing on the sidewalk across the road, staring at something. Grace parked the cruiser and got out, shuffling over to the kids. She cocked her head at them and wondered why they were out of school before she turned to look in their direction.

Sure enough, a man in bright red pants, a blue polka-dotted shirt, a rainbow afro wig and shoes at least twenty-sizes too large was running down the street with a crowbar in his right hand. Grace sighed and shook her head, taking a second look at the suspect.

She bit her lip and glanced at the kids before starting to run after the runaway clown. Grace’s boots pounded on the sidewalk as she started to catch up with the obviously inbred idiot who tried to break into a car in the middle of the daylight in a busy parking lot in a clown costume. She huffed as she sped up to catch him more quickly.

Children and parents were lining the sidewalk at the commotion. Grace had the fleeting thought that someone had sent out a mass text to everyone on the block, telling them to come out and catch a good show. She drew in a sharp breath and shook the thought as she caught up with the suspect. She was amazed at how fast the inbred idiot could run in his shoes, and the fact that he didn’t trip in them. Had that been her, it would have been no contest.

WIPpet 2 (the twelve sentences one)

Planting her feet on the ground and glaring again at him, she walked him back to the car—a direction he was willing to go—and pushed him onto the cruiser. She gave him another pat down and then stood him up, looking him up and down.

“What’s wrong?”

The man shook his head.

“What is wrong?”

Again he shook his head.

“What’s your name?”

He shook his head and opened his mouth, a bumble of sounds and noises coming out. Grace stepped back and narrowed her eyes, realizing for the first time that the man couldn’t hear her. He was completely and totally deaf. He hadn’t even had enough hearing to learn how to speak. Grace bit her lip and shook her head.

Technically, she wasn’t supposed to handcuff him.

Thanks for joining!! Hope to see you all next week. Oh! And yes, I did finish NaNoWriMo–now I just have to finish the novel.

Crashing into the atmosphere!

Tomorrow marks the first day of my blog tour for Dying Embers. There will be interviews, excerpts posted and spotlights all over the internet! Well, at least a small portion of the internet. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this book to come out (in both senses of that term).

Dying Embers is the prequel to Forever Burn, which came out last March. It was written with a very specific purpose in mind. Let’s get to know Addison Lee far more than we did in Forever Burn. Addison turned out to be one of my favorite characters in this series, and I just couldn’t let her go after Forever Burn happened. She even makes an appearance in Ashes Fall, the third and final of this trilogy. delg

At the beginning of this novel, Addison is a bit lost. She’s making a move to a new city, new state, new job, and away from everything that she thought had been dragging her down. She thinks that as soon as she gets to Norwich everything is going to be better. She won’t be dealing with her old job and other people who have gifts like her, and most importantly, that she won’t be dealing with her nasty ex-fiance.

Well, leaving everything behind is far harder than Addison thought it would be. After moving, her old boss and sometimes-lover, keeps calling her to ask for help. Her new job is demanding, and not only that, but she made a massive mistake before she even started.

Throughout all of the chaos, she’s falling in love and trying to find herself at the same time. Addison is almost there when tragedy strikes, and she is forced to head home to Wyoming to help out. Nothing goes quite right for Addison throughout her first few months in Norwich, and she does her best just to keep afloat. definal3d-300x300

This story was something that was on my mind as soon as I finished Forever Burn. The characters were people I wanted to be my friends, people who were so alive that I couldn’t just cut off all ties with them and move on to my next group of friends. The process of creating was something I had latched onto and couldn’t let go.

I do want to talk a bit about this writing process (and the editing process). It seems to be one of the questions I see floating around the interwebs the most. Writing and editing for every author is a completely different process, and we all go about it in a different way. I tend to write very quickly. I have the story in my head and it’s just “Go! Go! Go!” until the story is done. Editing is where I spend most of my time.

For Dying Embers, I sent it through an amazing site called Project Team Beta. Two beta readers go through each chapter and give constructive feedback. When I’m ready and after a certain amount of chapters, I am allowed to choose permanent beta readers. I have one beta reader that I always use. Her name is Amy, and she’s awesome. Amy is meticulous in finding grammatical errors, something I am eternally appreciative of. (Amy is actually the first day on the blog tour.)

After I do my first round of edits after the beta readers get it, I do a second round. Then I print everything out and put it into a notebook. Once I finish all of my chapter edits, I take the notebook and a brightly colored pen and have at it. This time, though, I start from the back and I go through each sentence individually. At this point, I’m simply looking for typos, and you’d be surprised by how many I still find. (Sometimes I think I make more typos when I edit.)

Once all of this is done, I send it to my publisher. At that point (with this particular novel), we went through two more rounds of edits. It went through an editor and then back to me. Then back to the editor, then back to me. AND THEN we finally arrive at the final copy. I guarantee as soon as I get to see the final version in print, I will still find things that I want to change. I’m never completely happy, but I can’t keep it all to myself either.

Dying Embers was an exercise in my ability to write quickly. And I’m quite pleased with the final results. I hope you enjoy it too!

Blog Tour ScheduleFinalistSM-1

Nov 20: Amy
Nov 21: Autumn
Nov 23: Kirsten
Nov 25: Sarah
Nov 26: Samantha
Nov 28: Anna
Nov 29: Sirena

Dying Embers will be released on December 1, 2013. Right now, it is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.

WIPpet Wednesday and NaNoWriMo update! November 6, 2013

Howdy!

I have goodies for you! We have a WIPpet excerpt from Fallen from Grace (the one I have been doing), and we have a NaNoWriMo update!! Because the update is quicker, we’ll start with that (don’t ask me why I’m typing in the plural…I have no clue why).

I was off to a slow start with NaNoWriMo due to work obligations, but my boyfriend is amazingly awesome. Both on Monday and Tuesday he came with me to two write-ins (the ones I host) and sat there patiently while I typed away. I managed to get up to 19842 words total! That means I’m about one day ahead of where I want to be. My goal for NaNoWriMo is 90,000 words! That’s right, 90,000 or somewhere close to when this novel should be completed. That means I have to average 3,000 words a day. It’s insane. I know.

So I’m at just about 20k words, and I’ve completed three chapters and prologue in that. The chapter titles are awesome, though I still thing the titles for For by Grace might be a bit better. I’m definitely struggling with this piece. It’s the first time I’ve done a series with an overarching story arc that expands ALL of the novels. Meaning, I have to make sure everything is explained and so and so forth.

Anyway…onto WIPpet. If you don’t know what WIPpet is, I’ll tell you. It’s an awesome little thing that a bunch of us do, where you post an excerpt from your current WIP (Work In Progress) that somehow relates to the date. If you don’t have a current WIP, then you can start a brand new one. Once you do that amazingness, you go here and link up with everyone’s WIPpets. THEN you go and read everyone’s (or as many as you can) and comment with some good stuff. We’re all comment WHORES, so make it good. =P

Today I have for you an excerpt from Fallen from Grace, which is the sequel to For by Grace AND my current NaNoWriMo novel. Here we go… My crazy math for today is this. 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 = 6 x 0 = 0 + 6 + 2 = 8 for a total of eight paragraphs from chapter two, which is aptly titled “Fight Club”

“Get out of the room!” she called to all the kids in there except the ones fighting.

Pulling out her pepper spray, Grace started to shake it as she tried to step in between the two boys. The other kids started to file out quickly, and Grace took the only chance she could get. She lifted the tab on the top of the spray can and depressed the button. A stream of white liquid squirted out and in the general direction of the boy’s faces.

Grace held her breath, waiting for the onslaught of pepper spray to hit her as well. The boys stopped fighting and rolled away from each other. Grace grabbed one of them and dragged him out of the room by the back of his shirt. He was clutching at his face in a vain attempted to get the OC spray off of him. Grace ignored him and went into the small confined room for the other one.

She pulled him out kicking and screaming and rammed him against the opposite wall of the other one. She holstered her OC can and stared at them, still waiting for the OC mist to catch up with her and affect herself. Since both of the kids had stopped fighting, Grace let out a breath.

“What the hell was that?”

“OC,” she answered. “And your name is?”

“Danny,” the blond one answered.

Grace smirked and set her hands on her hips. Danny clung to his face, trying to wipe the spray from his eyes. It would only make it worse for him in the long run, but Grace wasn’t about to inform him of that. The punishment of touching his dick after touching his face that had been covered in OC would be enough to warrant her silence and to keep him from attempting to fight in the locker room again.

 

There you have it. And thanks to the awesome and amazing K. L. Schwengel for hosting this each and every week (even when she’s traveling).

A nugget of wisdom…

Sitting at the small table in Panera and waiting for my soup bowl and friend to arrive, I couldn’t have been more bored. While I had been doing a good amount of work,  I knew that I needed to get out and see some people. Hence how I had gotten there. Sometimes I can be completely observant and in tune with everything around me, and other times I’m completely oblivious to it. Luckily, it wasn’t one of those days. As I was waiting for my soup, which was taking forever, I noticed something a bit odd.

Across from me were three elderly women, all in young grandma range, they were jabbering away with no food on the tables. I had assumed they’d already eaten and were just into talking about what ever. Boy was I wrong. It wasn’t long before the one reached into her brown leather purse and started fiddling around. It wasn’t an odd thing to happen, so I didn’t thin much of it. She pulled out a blue tube of lipstick and set it on the table.

The woman sitting next to her did the same thing. Reaching into her blue purse, she pulled out some reading glasses and set them on the table. She straightened her crocheted sunflower vest and nodded at the third woman who sat across from her. A small packet on tissues emerged and was set in front of her.

Then all three women started to get up. Wanting to say something about them leaving their things but so intrigued with what was going on, I remained utterly silent. Five minutes later, my meal still hadn’t come. My friend had arrived but was waiting to order her lunch. The glasses, tissues and lipstick were all still sitting on the table, and I had lost complete sight of where the three women had gone. I thought they’d left.

A server came over to the table and started to clean the table closest to the window. She moved the lipstick, grabbing hold of it but set it back down when she realized the glasses were there. Stepping back, she shook her head and started to search around the room, presumably looking for whoever had left them. I was just about to get up and tell her who had left them, maybe she could get their information from the register or something, when one of the women came back.

It was the one with the crocheted vest. She nodded to the server and said it was her stuff. She sat down with a plate full of pastry and waited. Soon after, her two friends came back. Quickly, each woman grabbed their left item and stuffed it back in her respective purse. I shook my head and smiled at the man who brought my meal, staring wide-eyed with what the grandmother’s had done. I mean really, they’d just outsmarted the system at Panera and saved their seats! What a bit of something that I will always remember. Needless to say, it was a good day to be observant.

***

This was written for the Creative Buzz Hop. If you would like to join in, feel free! This week is just a free write, so write on anything you want and link it up to everyone else’s. Thanks to Tamara and Michelle for hosting this amazing event each week.

Go here to check out everyone’s posts! They’re fantastic to read.

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