Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

I had a serious pair of grumpy pants on earlier today. I mean the really, really tight ones that pinch and rub in all the wrong places.

This year, I spent New Years Eve alone. First time ever. Xto is away working and my family went to Maui. Now, before you get to feeling all very sorry for me, I was invited out to a party, but I chose not to go. I wanted to stay home and get some work done. That didn't stop me from throwing my own pity party though.

All sorts of little things went wrong today. Getting ready for work, I ran out of eyeliner (complete disaster), I was at work on New Years (horrible tragedy), I forgot the right pen (cause for meltdown), etc etc etc.

Now there is just under an hour left until midnight -- the joys of being the second to last time zone to change over -- and I am feeling much better. Know why? I thought about all the amazing things that have happened to me this week alone. There have been too many to count over the last year (some of the highlights were: I got married, my first novel was contracted, I began the process of changing careers, I traveled to some really amazing places, and I met my new niece Isabelle), but three of the highlights from this week:

1. I got my cover comps from Brooke Albrecht, who is amazing, and they were everything I could have hoped for. I had a hard time choosing, but I think I've picked one and I should have the final copy soon. Of course the moment I have it, I will post it here because it needs to be shared. So gorgeous.

2. I finished the first book in the Hope Cove series. It took me a lot longer than I thought it would, but I was working on a few other projects at the same time. I actually finished it, did a happy dance, went to bed, and then at 5:00 the next morning, woke up to the realization that I had written the ending all wrong. So I rewrote it in my head, went back to sleep, then got up and rewrote it for real.

3. I finished the second book in the Hope Cove series. You know those other projects I just mentioned? This was one of them. And I finished it about an hour ago.So yeah. Two books in one week. It was my goal to have them both finished by the end of December, and I did it with two hours to spare! So those are done. One more book and the series is complete. I've started the third and hopefully it will be done by the end of January, which makes February the Month of Epic Edits before I can submit it in early March.

There have also been a host of other, smaller accomplishments this week, like, for example, me flying all by myself without completely losing my shit during takeoff and landing (I am not a good flyer), and making it through Ikea during boxing week without being trampled to death.

So looking back on 2012, some really great things happened, but I am hoping for even better, even greater things from 2013.

Happy New Year!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Home for the Holidays

I am officially home for Christmas and it's great to be here. My parents give Martha a run for her money every year with holiday perfection.
This is their tree. Gorgeous, is it not? I'm hoping this shows up properly as I am posting this from my phone (a first for me).
It is nice to be home, even if the roads were a little scary. Family is always good, especially at Christmas and this year was especially good because my sister didn't know I was coming home so it was a fairly emotional homecoming (we don't get to see each other often).
Anyways, hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy all sorts of Christmas themed stories (which are always so nice to read this time of year).
Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Merry Early Christmas

There is officially less than a week left until Christmas. Life is hectic for everyone everywhere and our family is no different. We leave tomorrow morning to spend Christmas at my parents' house. I am so excited to be going home, but there is so much to do before I leave. I haven't even started packing yet. In fact, I haven't even started writing my packing list yet.

Instead of actually starting on that list, I'm updating instead. I just can't help it. Too many exciting things happened this week. So here it is, the list of all the totally thrilling stuff that happened to me over the last seven days:

1. The editing department from DSP contacted me to fill out my blurb questionnaire. So effing exciting. I was completely over the moon until I actually tried to fill them out. I've never felt so brain-damaged in my life. Those questions were hard! Questions like "what is your book about?" Huh? What? Who knows? I sure don't. I managed to get it filled out and sent back, although embarrassing detail: my friend Lex Chase (hilariously talented author) warned me that spell check doesn't work on the form for some reason, so I went over that thing six times looking for errors. Satisfied that there were none, I fired off an email with the attachment and in my haste I left the subject line of the email as "blub questionnaire". Fingers crossed that the editing department doesn't retroactively cancel my contract for being a dumbass.

2. The art department from DSP contacted me to fill out my book cover spec sheet. The email was from Paul Richmond, who I adore (not that we've actually met, but he is seriously talented and hilarious to boot -- if you haven't seen his video about his bootlegging revenge escapades, you need to watch it now). I got that all filled out too and I really can't wait to see what they come up with. This whole thing is starting to feel more real for me now, and I think once I am able to see the actual cover for the book, it'll feel like I'm a real author. It's pretty much the most exciting thing that's ever happened.
3. Xto came home early from work on Monday. He scared the shit out of me, because I thought someone was trying to break into our apartment, but then I realized that a burglar wouldn't use a key, so I stopped being scared and got happy instead. It's so nice to have him home, and so rare. We had a glass of wine, stayed up watching Tosh.0 for a while before bed.

The next morning he took me for breakfast in Fairhaven just outside of Bellingham. If you're from the  area and you've never visited the old part of Bellingham, you need to go now. Today. Do it. it's beautiful. Breakfast was at the Skylark Cafe, which I recommend. They have banana bread French toast. What more could you want in a breakfast food?

4.Yesterday, I got to open my Christmas presents from Xto early. I am a very lucky girl and got completely spoiled this year. He bought me a Canon printer that I so desperately needed and (drumroll please) my new KINDLE PAPERWHITE. I am completely in love with it. This is technically my fourth Kindle. Xto teases me that they are just burning out from overuse. In reality I am clumsy and keep breaking them. The Paperwhite though? Epically good. The thing glows. GLOWS.

5. Last night, Lex Chase (previously mentioned hilarious & talented writer extraordinaire) sent me the second installment of her Pawn Takes Rook series to read through. Granted I am only on page six, but so far it is completely amazing. She makes me so jealous sometimes with how funny she is. The first book comes out in March from DSP, so in three months, go buy it.
Here is her "Next Big Thing" blog post for the first book to tell you all about it.

6. Today, I hit 60,000 words on my WIP Brokenhearted (the first book in the Hope Cove series). It's officially a novel! I only have a couple of scenes left to do and then some heavy editing before it's ready to submit. I've set a deadline for myself of the end of February to have all three ready for submission. It might be a little overly ambitious, but shoot for the stars, right?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Next Big Thing Blog Chain

Last week my fellow author Rebecca Joyce tagged me in her Next Big Thing, so this week it's my turn. The idea is that I answer ten questions about my latest project, Keeping Sweets, and tag a few more authors who will talk about their next big thing next week.

What is the title of your book?
Keeping Sweets

How did you come by the idea?
This is a tough question to answer. Since this is my first book I think it was kind of a culmination of many mind wanderings over the years. Who wouldn't want to know what boys get up to on and off the camera on a porn set?

What genre does your book fall under?
Contemporary m/m romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
I'm not sure about actors. I have a fairly specific idea in my head of who these guys are and what they look like. I can't think of actors that would fit them perfectly, but maybe Matt Lanter and this guy:

Evan is young and fairly small, with brown hair and brown eyes.
He looks something like this.

Bran is bigger; broader. He has blonde hair and blue eyes.
He looks something like this.
Delicious, are they not?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Love blooms on the set of a porno.

Will your book be self-published or traditional?
It will be published with Dreamspinner Press and it set to be out in March or April of 2013

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took me almost six months from word one to submission, but it was a very lazy six months. I would write for a couple of hours, then pick it up a few days later and write a little more. Since Keeping Sweets was contracted and I realized that people may actually want to read what I've written, my current WIPs have been a bit speedier.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Blatant curiosity more than anything else. For me, one of the best parts of reading romance is the aspect of fantasy that is created in each and every book. Keeping Sweets was like that for me. I wondered what those boys get up to when the cameras aren't rolling on set, so I imagined the answer for myself.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
One of the reasons I enjoyed writing this story so much is the setting. It takes place on the coast of Oregon, which has always been one of my favourite places to visit. It is so beautiful and there is something there for everyone. I enjoyed putting the characters there and living vicariously through them for a while.

And that’s my Next Big Thing. Here are the writers I’m tagging...
The multi-talented Lex Chase, whose Superhero novel will be out in March from Dreamspinner Press
The supremely creative Jamie Fessenden, who will talk about his upcoming Occult Murder Mystery
and the Ever So Romantic Skylar M. Cates, who will be blogging about her contemporary romance, Exposed.

They will be posting their Next Big Thing on December 18th, so make sure you check them out!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Kim Fielding Blog Tour

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding and I have a confession to make about one of my pet peeves. It really bugs me when people say, “Wow! I don’t know how you find the time to write.”

Now, I realize that people who say this aren’t trying to offend me. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s meant as a compliment. But it bothers me anyway, because the truth is that time to write isn’t something you find, like a lucky penny on the sidewalk. It’s something you struggle for, usually at great expense.

I love writing, but it’s not my only job. Most weeks I spend way more than 40 hours as a university professor and administrator. I write textbooks too (fun, but m/m romance is much more fun to write!). I’m also a parent. My kids are 9 and 13, which means I get to be chauffeur, homework tutor, chore taskmaster, housecleaner, cook, counselor… well, you get the idea.

So, how do I make time to write? Well, I have to say that I’m fortunate enough to have a very supportive husband. He works long hours too, but does more than his share of the parenting and housework when he gets home. Therefore, my first tip on making time is to choose your partner wisely.
My second tip is to write whenever and wherever you can. Don’t wait for that perfect moment when the coast is clear and the muse is singing, because it will never come. I do most of my writing on a laptop at the kitchen table, often with the currents of life eddying around me. At this very minute, for instance, my younger daughter is sitting across the table from me, humming and coloring a picture of a turkey—a task that apparently requires much noisy rearranging of colored pencils. My husband is a few yards away watching football. And my older daughter is in the living room, periodically shouting requests for advice on zombie control. I write at doctors’ offices, in the car (not while driving!), while eating, on airplanes, in hotels, and, if I can get away with it, during boring meetings.

The third tip might be difficult for some people, but you have to make your priorities. In my case, that means I watch exactly one hour of TV per week (Dexter, Game of Thrones, or True Blood, depending on the time of year). I play only one electronic game—Word Welder—which has the advantage of being playable in small bursts. I’ve had to give up on knitting. My house is usually messy and I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie. Even my reading has decreased since I began to write.

And finally, make time to write by writing fast. Until the first draft is complete, don’t spend time going back, tinkering and editing what you recently wrote. My writing is never perfect in the first draft anyway, so why waste time attempting the impossible? When I just let the words flow instead of struggling for perfection, I get a lot more done. And I think the finished product is improved.

I do all this work for the same reason all writers do: because the stories are in me, clamoring to get out. And this month I get to enjoy the fruits of my labors because I have three new releases. The longest of these is Brute, a novel about a giant with much more serious challenges than finding time to write.

by Kim Fielding

Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.

Buy links at Dreamspinner Press:
At Amazon

Kim Fielding’s blog
Kim Fielding on Facebook

As part of the Brute Blog Tour, Kim Fielding is running a contest. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this entry, stating what you find hardest to give up in order to make writing time. Please leave your email address in your comment. You can comment at multiple blog tour entries for multiple chances to win! Click here for the full list of tour stops. Winners will be chosen on December 25. One person will receive a paperback copy of Brute and another person will receive an e-book copy of Brute.

Excerpt from Brute:

Time passed achingly slowly. Sometimes someone would pop out from one of the little doors and take one or more of the waiting people back in with them, but nobody ever came for Brute. New people came through the large entry doors, did a double take when they saw him, and sat far away. They were eventually escorted through doorways too. His ass grew sore from sitting on the hard bench, his stomach gurgled and growled, and worst of all, his bladder began to complain quite insistently. He knew it was impossible for the giant with the ugly face to have been forgotten, and yet none of the people who worked there even glanced his way. Maybe they thought he was a new and especially unbecoming statue.

Just as he was about to give in to desperation and ask where he might find a place to relieve himself, a round woman with a feathered hat and the widest skirts he’d ever seen appeared from the far left door and sailed in his direction. “This way,” she commanded.

His hips and legs had cramped a little as he sat, and he limped very badly as he followed her.

The far left door led to an office smelling of tea and crammed with books and papers. The woman went away and shut the door behind her, leaving Brute alone with a man who was a few years older than him. The man was dressed in rather plain clothes and was tiny—barely five feet tall and probably one-third Brute’s weight—but he managed to project an aura of such powerful authority that he was almost terrifying. He stood several feet away and looked Brute up and down slowly. “You have a letter?” he finally said.

“Um, yes sir.” Brute produced the paper from the folds of his cloak and held it out, but the man didn’t take it.

“You will address me as Lord Maudit. You may call me milord or Your Excellency as well, for variety’s sake.”

“Yes, Lord Maudit.”

Lord Maudit rolled his eyes and snatched the paper out of Brute’s hand. He tore open the seal without ceremony and scanned the contents. When he was finished, he considered Brute again, this time appraisingly. It reminded Brute of the way Darius would look over a mule he was considering buying. “So you’re a hero?” he said at last.

“I—no. I mean, the prince, he—”

“Needed to be rescued from his own foolishness. Again. And rather dramatically, I understand.”

Brute didn’t know how to answer that. He licked his lips nervously and fought the urge to shift his feet. His bladder was full to bursting, and the glimpses of the sea he could catch through Lord Maudit’s window weren’t helping.

“Not very chatty, are you?” the lord said. “Good.” He folded the paper and slapped it against his thigh before tossing it onto his desk. “Wait here.”


Lord Maudit was nearly to the door when Brute blurted out his plea. The little man turned, eyebrow raised. “Yes?”

“I need to—is there an outhouse? Milord,” Brute added hastily.

“Garderobe’s through there,” the lord said, waving at a narrow door in the corner. Brute made what he hoped was a dignified dash for it while the other man left through the main door.

To reach the garderobe he had to climb a set of very narrow, winding stairs. The stairs dead-ended in a rounded little chamber with tiny slits for windows. The room contained a wooden seat with a hole in it and a small table bearing an earthen pitcher of water. Fumbling his laces open one-handed seemed to take forever, but eventually he managed to get his trousers undone. He emptied himself with a long groan of relief. At least he hadn’t lost his good hand, he reminded himself for the thousandth time. The gods only knew how he would have managed to get himself undressed then.

Lacing back up again was even more troublesome, but at least his need was no longer quite so urgent. He just wished he could have managed to find a way to pour the water in the pitcher over his hand to cleanse it.

Lord Maudit’s office was empty when Brute descended the stairs. Brute resisted the temptation to poke around—he had an eerie feeling that the man would somehow know—and instead admired the view from the windows and then a large painting of a hunting party chasing a stag.

“Hideous painting, isn’t it?”

Brute jumped at the voice and whirled around. Lord Maudit had returned, but it was his companion who had spoken: Prince Aldfrid, attired in riding clothes and smiling broadly. The prince showed no sign of limping as he crossed the room. “I’m glad you’ve recovered enough to make the journey,” he said to Brute. “How are you managing?” He seemed genuinely concerned.

Brute pulled his stump out of his cloak pocket, which made Lord Maudit’s eyes widen. Apparently the prince’s letter hadn’t mentioned that Brute was maimed. “Your Highness, are you certain—” the lord began.

“Yes,” the prince interrupted sharply. “Completely. He’s the man for the job.”

“The job, Your Highness?” Brute asked.

“That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? I could just give you a sack of gold and send you on your way—you’ve earned it—but I’m guessing you’re not that kind of man. You want to be… useful.” His laugh sounded a little sad. “More useful than a king’s fourth son.”

Brute took a moment to consider the prince’s words. A sack of gold. He’d never have to worry about his livelihood again. He could buy a little cottage somewhere, have some clothing made that actually fit. He could eat decent food every day. And then… what? Sit by himself and wait to grow old and die? “I would like to be useful,” he confirmed. “But I don’t know what I can do for you, sir, not like this. I’m sorry.”

“Have you any skills at all?” Lord Maudit asked. “I suppose it’s too much to ask that you know how to write.”

Brute hung his head, ashamed. “I wanted to. Had no money to pay the schoolmaster.” After his parents were dead, when his great-uncle would send him scurrying around the village to fetch this and carry that, Brute used to pass the little schoolhouse now and then, and he’d pause long enough to gaze at it enviously. Once he’d even dared to ask his great-uncle to send him—Brute had promised to work twice as much to pay for it—but his great-uncle had cuffed him hard enough to send him sprawling, then growled that Brute was too stupid to learn.

“Doesn’t matter,” said Prince Aldfrid, pulling Brute out of the bad memory. “I have something perfect for you.”

“Aldfrid, you’re taking an enormous risk.” Lord Maudit sounded irritated with the prince, but in a resigned sort of way, as if he were used to conversations like this.

“He’s the one, Maud.”

“But the king—”

“My father, if he notices at all, will see that a very large and not especially bright man—sorry, Brute; I know you’re no idiot—has been put in place. That’s all.”

Brute stood there mutely, slightly surprised at the obvious familiarity between the men and not having the vaguest clue what they were talking about. But then the prince clapped him on the arm and grinned. “It’ll all work out. You won’t be seeing much of me, Brute, but if you need anything, just get word to Maud here and he’ll take care of it.” He smirked at Lord Maudit and sped out of the room.

Maudit briefly closed his eyes, as if he were in pain. “Scrambled your brains a bit more on those rocks, didn’t you, Friddy?” he muttered. Then he glared at Brute. “Follow me.”

It seemed that everyone was saying that to him today. But Brute shrugged and did as he was told.

He was led through another dizzying arrangement of corridors and stairways. Once he caught a glimpse of an enormous room—by far the largest he had ever seen—with a polished marble floor, gilded pillars, and a ceiling fresco considerably more elaborate than the one he’d been admiring while he waited. But he didn’t get a chance to enjoy it, because Maudit dragged him along at a pace surprising for a man with such short legs. Guards saluted when Lord Maudit passed, and various well-dressed functionaries and servants all tried to look more industrious. Maudit ignored them.

They eventually left the building—through a different door than the one by which Brute and the guard had entered—crossed an oblong grassy area where several women in colorful gowns sat and embroidered, and entered a narrow passageway between two buildings. The passageway dead-ended at a grim little building of dirty stone. The windows in the building were simply narrow vertical slits, and even those were covered by iron bars. The door was iron as well—arched and sporting a heavy bolt—with a bored-looking guard stationed outside. The guard snapped to attention when he saw them coming.

“Has everything been readied?” Lord Maudit snapped.

The guard nodded sharply. “Yes, milord. The maids just left.”

“Good. This is… well, Brute. Obviously. You’ve been told of his duties?”

“Yes, milord.”

“If he needs anything, make sure he gets it. I’ll be checking on him.”

The guard looked slightly horrified at the prospect but nodded again. Then he unlocked the door and waited for Maudit and Brute to enter.

This time, Brute found himself in a small hallway with a ceiling so low he almost had to stoop his head. The walls were rough plaster, dirty and cracked, interrupted now and then by doors made of thick dark timbers. The building smelled of damp and age, with a faint sickly sweet undertone, as if something had rotted long ago.

“What—” Brute began.

“In here.” Lord Maudit pressed the latch on one of the doors; the hinges squealed in protest. Brute stepped inside and saw, to his astonishment, a somewhat dim but comfortable-looking apartment. The ceiling was higher than that of the hallway, although he could still have brushed it with his fingertips. The room contained an oversized bed piled with quilts, a chest of drawers with an actual mirror on top, a solid table with two equally solid chairs, and a matching wardrobe and bookshelf. The window was tiny, of course, but the walls were hung with colorful tapestries that depicted scenes of beasts in the forest and creatures under the sea. A small stove with dark green tiles was tucked in one corner, but not lit today because the weather was far too warm.

And in one wall, over near another corner, was a door constructed of heavy iron bars, with only darkness visible behind it.

“Welcome to your new home,” said Lord Maudit from the doorway.

“But… what?”

“His Highness has decided that you will be a very specialized sort of guard, with only a single prisoner to watch over.”

“Prisoner?” Brute’s eyes strayed back to the barred door.

Maudit twitched one shoulder. “See for yourself.”

With some degree of trepidation, Brute crossed the room.

The bars separated the apartment from a small cell. He had to squint to see inside—there was no window slit in the prisoner’s space—but there wasn’t much to see. Bare walls, bare floor, and in the corner, a dirty pile of rags. But as Brute stared, the rags shifted slightly and chains clanked, and a matted mass of hair appeared from under the edge of the fabric. A man, Brute realized. He was looking at a man huddled under a blanket. Chains sounded again, and Brute noted the metal collar around the man’s neck, manacles on his wrists, and shackled ankles fastened by chains to bolts in the floor. It was impossible to make out any details of the man past his rat’s nest of hair and tangled beard until the prisoner lifted his head slightly. Brute gasped at the man’s obvious blindness: eyelids closed over sunken, empty sockets.

Lord Maudit sighed. He still hadn’t actually entered the room. “Brute, meet Gray Leynham.”

Saturday, 1 December 2012

NaNo Hangover

Picture So NaNoWriMo is officially over. I'm hoping everyone that participated feels like they accomplished something great whether they got to 50K or not.

Three months ago I had never heard of NaNo. It was completely new for me and what an experience. Talk about lighting a fire under your ass. Seeing other people's word counts rise around me made me want to write...and I'm not a competitive person. Unless we're playing Monopoly. Then I'll kick your ass.

I'm pretty proud of what I managed to accomplish for my first time though. I wrote just over 68,000 words, 52,000 of which were on the second installment of my three part Hope Cove book series. Now I just have to finish the last little sections on the first two, write the third one in its entirety and hopefully they will be ready for submission sometime after Christmas.

I am going to try and get some freebies and excerpts posted up here in the next couple of weeks, so all of you who read this (a.k.a. Mom) you have that to look forward to!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Anyone Need Fluffing?

I have been reading some chats this week and there have been a few that have been talking about tropes, specifically the idea that love is all you need to overcome any obstacle.
One of the reasons I chose to write romance is because I love a lot of the tropes that exist in the genre. I love the idea that love conquers all. In my opinion, it is the basic foundation of the romance genre. It's also one of the largest reasons I read (and got started in writing) romance. Romance is fantasy; it's escapist and I like it that way.
There have been some grumblings about writers using the classic (or maybe cliché) "love conquers all" trope as an easy way out -- a fallback because they are not talented or creative enough to write something different -- and that the characters and plot lines in these stories are one dimensional and trite. Yup, some are. I've read quite a few that left me feeling annoyed and shortchanged.
But have also been lots (and I do mean a lot) of stories that are perfectly fluffy and feel-good and charming just the way they are. Is it possible to fall madly in love with someone after three days? Three minutes in some cases? Maybe, maybe not, but it's awfully fun to imagine.

One of my favourite m/m romance books ever is Bareback by Chris Owen. That story fucked me up. I started it somewhere around eleven and by midnight I was so upset that I felt like I was going to throw up. It was that good. I had to stay up to finish the rest of the book because there was no way I was sleeping otherwise. Amazing book. If you haven't read it, go buy it now. It is such a good book (I just can't emphasize that enough), but so emotionally taxing at the same time. I try to read at least four books a week, and if they were all like that I might end up throwing myself off a bridge somewhere. There has to be a balance in the book world, just enough "brain popcorn" (as my friend Lex calls it) to feed the soul. I'm not asking for literary masterpieces inside every book I read. God knows the book I've written isn't a literary masterpiece, but I believe there is value to it. It's hopelessly written for hopeless romantics (the club to which I received my membership at the tender age of twelve) and I think it has merit.
American History X was a great movie. It carries an important message and I believe that as disturbing as it is, people should see it. Would I want to watch it over and over? No. You know what movie I would like to watch over and over? The Little Mermaid. Yes, it's a kid's movie. Yes, it's animated. (By the way, I fucking LOVE Disney). But it's a good story, and Love Conquers All.  (Besides, Ariel is a redhead, and us redheads have to stick together).
The chats that I was reading reminded me a bit of conversations I had in middle school about music. Everyone was trying to fit in; no one wanted to be the uncool kid that listened to the crap music, so most people I knew pretended to like some indie band no one had heard of that only played dissonant chords and performed at skeezy hole-in-the-wall clubs. There is nothing wrong with liking bands like that, if that's what you truly enjoy listening to. I'm betting though, that a lot of those people went home and listened to Backstreet Boys on repeat when no one else was around.
I suppose the moral of my long-winded rant is that there is value in fluff. There is nothing wrong with liking boy bands or believing in love at first sight or happily ever after. If there is, maybe I should quit writing now

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

It has been two weeks since I've posted anything. They have been two frickin' hectic weeks. I started back to school and my husband turned 30. To celebrate, I decided to throw him an 80s themed party. He was born in 1982, so I thought it would be fitting. It was a costume party. The men seemed to head to value village and come out with a plethora of graphic t-shirts fitting for the decade. The women, however, all bought their outfits. New. At the mall. I bought an off-the-shoulder hot pink sweater, hot pink fishnet stockings, black legwarmers, hot pink lightning bold dangly earrings and hot pink leopard print glasses with a bow. I looked like a neon slut, but it was a blast.

I went way overboard with the food, but it means we'll be in leftovers for a week, and the leftovers will be damn good because there was melted cheese in almost everything...and cheese makes everything good. There was drunken twister in the basement, Michael Jackson to dance to, Nerds and Fundip, and I made PacMan cupcakes. How often do you get to make PacMan cupcakes? Everyone got neon slot glasses and jelly bracelets.

The husband hooked up his Atari 2600 to the 80" plasma TV (it was so terrible, but oh so good). Everyone had fun. I had fun planning it. At one point one of the guests said, "have you decided what you want to be when you grow up yet? Because you should be an event planner." which is the same thing my wedding photographer said when he saw my wedding. What can I say? I love planning parties. If I could plan events and write smutty romance all day, I would be one happy girl.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Free Dreamspinner Press Books

Dreamspinner Press is giving away books like crazy this month!
They are partnered up with Top 2 Bottom Reviews and starting yesterday they are doing reviews of 25 books, complete with 25 giveaways! All you have to do is comment on the review and you're entered to win. Visit them here.

Secondly, to help out those that lost power during hurricane Sandy, Dreamspinner is redoing the last four days of their Tweetaway. If you haven't already, make sure you follow DSP on Twitter to take part.
Click here for Dreamspinner's Twitter page, or follow them @Dreamspinners.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Start of a Revolution

What a wonderful week for America and the rest of the world that stood watching, waiting for history to be made, and history certainly was made. Four states voted and either approved changes for or overturned bans on same-sex marriage.

This is a long overdue victory for gay people across the country, as hopefully these four will just be the start of a nationwide show of support for love, and ultimately that's what this is all about. The freedom to love the person you choose; a freedom which should be universal for everyone, but unfortunately we are still living in a society where some people are holding onto prejudice and bigotry. Maybe though, one day soon the number of people who believe in love will outnumber the people that are holding onto hate.

Author Rick R. Reed and his partner, Bruce, announced their engagement the day after the vote was finalized. They live in Washington and are now able to be legally married. They have been married in almost every sense for the last ten years, but now their home state will recognize their relationship. It is such an exciting time for so many couples. Read the story in Rick's words at Rick R. Reed's Blog.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

When Arrogance Attacks

I was on the NaNo chat today, just hanging out and I saw an exchange between three writers that I just couldn't believe. It went something like this.

Newbie Writer: How is everyone doing so far with their stories?
Writer 1: I'm doing so great. How are you doing?
Newbie Writer: Pretty well. I'm right on schedule with my word count.
Writer 1: Have you started your query?
Newbie Writer: What's a query? I'm new. :)

Looooooooooooooooooooong pause where Writer 1 ignores the question.

Writer 2: *Posts link to Wikipedia article*
Writer 1: I have an agent though, so I don't have to worry about that.
Writer 2: I went to (inserts acronym for conference no one has heard of in town most people don't know), and when I left I had requests to submit three queries.
Newbie Writer: Congratulations. That sounds awesome.
Writer 1: Newbie, I hope your story is new and original though, or it's never going to be accepted.
Writer 2: Yeah. Well known authors can publish boring and unoriginal stories, but new writers can't.
Newbie Writer: Oh, thanks. This is my first time trying to write something, so later on I hope I'll be able to pick your brains, because I have a lot to learn.

I read this, dumbfounded by the pure awesomeness of such sage advice, and I thought to myself, "I wonder who these super famous authors are who are clearly using aliases to hide their epic famousness?" So I Googled, and discovered the biographies for the writers who have so much knowledge and experience that they feel the need to pass it on to poor newbie writers who know nothing.

Writer 1: One book published in 2002 and another out ten years later through a publisher of Canadian lit that puts out 10-12 books per year.
Writer 2: None. Nothing. Nada. The guru of book publications has not had anything published.

I wanted to reach in through my computer and smash their heads together. Maybe I jumped to conclusions, but the whole conversation sounded condescending and patronizing. The Newbie Writer was excited to be interacting with other writers from her area, and was being friendly. These other two girls were just trying to prove how important they are. I guess they didn't check Newbie Writer's word count, because she's written more than both of them combined.

I'm new to the writing scene too, but the impression I have gotten from most other authors is that as writers, we need to stick together and support one another. Writing is so personal, and so subjective. Constructive criticism is one thing (when asked for), trying to belittle or make another person feel stupid is quite another. Ugh! I find things like this so infuriating.

Yes, as someone who has published before, Writer 1 may have some insight to share with someone who is just starting out. It's always nice to know someone with experience who can show you the ropes before you go through it yourself, but writing two novels does not make her an expert, and being arrogant and rude isn't going to do anything for either writer personally or professionally.

/end rant.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

For the Love of the Prostate


I love the prostate about as much as someone without one could. Movember is a great idea and raises awareness (and much needed funds) to fight prostate cancer.
However, I think November 3rd to 10thish is pretty much the least sexy week of the year. I'm not anti-facial hair. A guy with that delicious rough and tumble stubble? Yes please. A guy with a skeevy scraggly lip cover? Not so much.
It's great to see how many guys are participating this year. It's a great cause, and a creative way to bring attention to the prostate, because honestly, without the prostate, reading m/m romance wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
For a hilarious blog post and even funnier comments about euphemisms for the prostate, check out the (somewhat ancient) article from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. My personal favourite? Butt Nut.

My sister sent this to me this morning. They've thought of everything now.

If you're a chick, and you want to participate, you can do so by clicking here and signing up.

Happy Mo/Muffvember!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Day 1 of NaNoWriMo

Picture So the plan was to get up at 4:30 am when the husband did and get started right away...and then I fell back asleep and work up three hours later. Whatever. A girl needs her sleep if she wants to be awake enough to write proper smexy books.

And so without further ado, meet Declan Grant (or at least what  the Declan Grant that lives inside my head would look like if he were real), the newest deputy of Hope Cove, Maine. He's the protagonist in the story I'm writing for NaNo.

He is so fucking yummy, isn't he? Almost makes me want to get arrested to end up in cuffs with a guy like this.

Addendum 1: There are still a few hours left of the day for writing. Generally anything I write after 9:00 is utter shit, but the point of NaNoWriMo is quantity, not quality, so bring on the Write or Die!
I've managed to write almost 6,000 words today, which proves that everything is easier when you're doing it
for bragging rights.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Happy Halloween!

In celebration of the creepy holiday there are tricks and treats (and giveaways) going on all over the internet.

Head over to Dreamspinner Press to get 20% of all new releases for the rest of the day.

Kim Fielding is hosting a giveaway on her blog for her book Good Bones. All you have to do is leave a message with your answer to this question: If you were to dress up for Halloween this year, what would your costume be?

Anel Viz is hosting two different giveaways. You can win copies of his two horror anthologies Horror, Dark & Lite. Volume 1 is available to win here and Volume 2 is available to win here.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Puppy Pick Me Up

I have to say that I am definitely, 100%, completely a cat person. I appreciate the things about dogs that dog people love, but I just couldn't convert. Love the kitties too much. This collection of photographs made me laugh though. Almost-peed-my-pants-laughed.

Check it out.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Knocked on my Ass

After working with kids (a.k.a. germ mongrels) for years and being married to a guy who spends more time in hospitals than anywhere else, I would have thought that by now I'd have contracted and subsequently developed an immunity to every cold/flu virus on Earth, but those bastard viruses keep mutating and attacking.
And I am not one of those people who handles being sick well. I don't get little sniffles and carry on. My eyes water and swell until they're red and half-shut. It's hot. Really.
So that's what happened and I've been a whiny, drippy mass of ick for the last few days and not been productive at all, which makes me angry because I really really wanted to finish the first Hope Cove book by the end of this month. Looks like that probably won't happen, but c'est la vie.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

More Procrastination...and FREE Books

Who doesn't love free books? is an updated catalogue of books that are available for free through Amazon
I haven't had time to look around too much, but it seems as though the free stuff are the books that are shown on the main page. I did a search which came up with lots of results, but none of them were free. It would be a good place to check out every couple of days though and see if there is anything that interests you.

Last Day for DSP Sale

Today is the last day of GRL, and so is the last day for you to get 25% off of all books written by authors attending the GayRomLit Retreat.

If you haven't checked out the huge list of authors, head over to Dreamspinner Press to take a look at all the discounted books today. There are too many authors to count, and this is a great opportunity to pick up new books at a quarter off.

Sweet Procrastination

I got some writing done...about 3000 words today so far, so I thought I'd take a little break. I came across this, and I think it's so great, so I wanted to share.

Dear Customer who stuck up for his little brother...

Read it. First you'll be really angry that there are still ignorant assholes out there who do not deserve to be parents, but the end will make your day.

A Little Inspiration

I started an account with NaNoWriMo yesterday. What was I thinking? November is going to be the busiest month ever for me. I will be starting school through distance ed, and wanted to get the course finished as soon as possible. I was counting on doing a large portion of it in November. November is also the husband's 30th birthday. I'm throwing him a party. A big one. Which I am also catering, and hostessing, making the decorations for, and there is a ton of prep needed too.

It's also right before Christmas. Oh fuck, Christmas. The time of the year where I run around like my ass is on fire. I usually try to get most things done in November because December is so fucking hectic.

I am on the cusp of finishing my second book right now, and was hoping to wrap it up before the end of this month so I can start early planning my NaNo if I ever hope to finish by the 30th, which means I need to get my ass in gear and get writing.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Solutions - Day 4

16. Not Knowing What Your Theme/Intent Is. Theme was something that I always had trouble with when I was in school. I could never figure out what theme was. Then, one day it just clicked. I finally realized that all I start with is a theme...the feeling I have about the story, the overarching idea of it all, and then I build around it until what I have on paper matches what's in my head (or at least a close approximation).

17. Not Knowing Who Your Audience Is. This is a little tough for me, since technically I don't have an audience yet. My audience is me. But up until now, I was the target audience for many other writers. I think people might like what I write though. I hope so. Only time will tell. DSP seems to think they might, and as much as the self-conscious thirteen year old girl inside of me keeps pestering that I'm not good enough, I trust DSP. They put out good books. I like their books. A lot. So if they like me, then I must have done something right.

18. Playing Out Your Personal Demons on the Page. I think that every author leaves a piece of themselves on the page. How could you not? But leaving your mark on your work and blatantly psychoanalyzing your relationships in thinly veiled characters is something completely different. My life is pretty dull. I know that. No one would want to read about it. Ever. Not even me. The editing alone would be painful.

19. Not Having a Hook. Oh God. I am having horrifying flashbacks from debate. I get it though. I do. Be interesting, or no one will get past the first chapter.

20. Telling, Not Showing. This is yet another problem I am working to overcome. The telling is so much easier than the showing. I like the telling. The actions are much more difficult for me to write. The exposition, and background information just flies from my fingertips, but dialogue and actions are a struggle akin to Wesley pulling Buttercup from quicksand. Difficult, but necessary.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

70 Solutions - Day 3

11. Not Managing your Time Correctly. How very appropriate that this lesson falls on today (or rather yesterday). Yesterday was crazy. Once a month, my husband and I do a day trip to Washington to spend the day together. Usually it is just a day trip. We get breakfast or lunch in the old part of Bellingham, we walk around for a while, we buy the world's greatest chocolate milk and then we head home. It's a nice little tradition we started about two years ago. It gets us out of town, away from our phones and besides all that, the old part of Bellingham is beautiful. If you live nearby and you've never been, go. You won't regret it.
The day before yesterday, unfortunately, some whack job in a white car decided to drive through the Peace Arch border crossing and shoot one of the female border guards in the neck. Thankfully, she is in stable condition, and even more thankfully, the shooter is not. He shot himself. I'm not usually so jaded about loss of life, but I think in this case, exceptions can be made.
Anyways, I was afraid our trip over the border would take much longer than usual, so we left extra early (which for me, is never fun, as I am anything but a morning person). We got back, and I headed to work while the husband went for dinner at our friends' place. I was supposed to finish work at 5:30, but alas, it was not to be.
Anyways, long story short (well, shorter anyway) I didn't get home until 8:30, and by the time I sat down to write I was way to tired and what came out was muddled garbage, so I decided to call it an early night and start tomorrow.
So no, I do not manage time very well. I would love to be one of those people who can adhere neatly to a schedule, but I am more of a roll-with-the-punches-as-they-come kind of girl. I fit the writing in where I can, which means some days I write -67 words by going back and taking out a section I'd already written, and some days I write 8,398 words. Depends on the day and my motivation.
Perhaps I should try to schedule in my writing. I'll pencil that in for later.

12. Failing to Learn from the Masters. Mayer talks about picking up other authors' successful work and looking at the mechanics of what she has done; to look at the how instead of the what. He recommends reading something you in a genre that you don't particularly like so you don't get lost in the story, and instead you see the structure of the writing. Maybe. I could try. I'm not picky when it comes to book. I'll read almost anything, but I'm not usually very good at getting though books I don't like once I've started reading them. I have ADD when it comes to reading, and if I'm not drawn in right away, I'll put it down for later and never end up coming back to it. It might be worth a try though. Can anyone recommend a really horrible, well-written book for me to read?

13. Not Having an Idea That's Different Enough. I don't know if this tip necessarily rings true in the world of romance. Yes, there are about a billion stories of gay cowboys that fall in love despite all odds. There are a billion for a reason. Cowboys are hot. Gay cowboys are hotter. Gay cowboys that get all angsty for each other? Yes please. Every time. As long as you're not directly plagiarizing someone else's work, I think that for the most part, if you would read it, other people would too.

14. Not Doing Enough Work Prior to Actually Starting your Writing. This is part of the learning curve for me. The first time, I started with the first word of the introduction and moved through the story one chapter at a time until I hit the end. I made it up as I went, and if I didn't like something later, I went back and changed it. This time, I actually took the time to write out a tentative outline. I made a collage like I did for Buffy's Angel when I was in the sixth grade. I know everything there is to know about these characters, their families, friends and what is going to happen to them next. It has made writing easier this time. I have direction; I know where I'm going. It turns out that my high school English teacher was right about writing outlines. They help.
That being said, everyone is different. I was curious how other people write, so I asked on the DSP forums. Turns out no two writers do it the same way. Everyone has different things that work for them. Most of them said they make it up as they go. I find the outline helps, but then again, I have the memory span of an amnesiac goldfish. True story.

15. Not Being Able to Succinctly Say What Your Work Is About. This one I don't think I have a problem with. I have a million ideas for new books, and they are all written in one sentence on a scrap piece of paper. Too succinct? Is that a thing?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

70 Solutions - Day 2

I'm back today for the second day of Bob Mayer's book. I'll dive right in.

6. Not Breaking Rules. I'm not all that good at this one. Once, in the third grade, my teacher accidentally gave me two candies when everyone else got one. I actually stayed after class to return the extra candy. What third grader does that? Me. That's who. And the honesty was rewarded. I got to keep both for telling the truth. Since then, I've always played by the rules. I understand what Mayer is saying. Playing too safe means that you will never stand out. Never breaking the rules means you are the same as everyone else, and getting noticed is one of the most important parts of being a successful author. I think this will come with experience and practice. Most of the authors I've read, however, get noticed by producing consistently well-written stories. The world of romance novels, especially with HEAs, can be somewhat limited. There are only so many directions you can go in. In terms of breaking the rules in romance, I think it might be more of rule bending than breaking that will ensure success.

7. An Unwillingness to Learn. I am guilty of a lot of things, but this is not one of them. I love learning. I will soak up any information thrown at me (whether or not I retain that information for long periods of time may be another story) but I am not naive enough to think I know everything there is to know about writing. Not even a little.

8. Letting your Ego Run Amok. I would hope I'm not guilty of this. Mayer warns against getting too caught up in the results of your writing -- book tours, signings, parties -- rather than writing for the sake of writing. Maybe I'm a little guilty of this. Since this is my first book, I have no idea what it will be like to be published. I somehow doubt that there will be people lined up around the block to hear me read a couple of paragraphs. I do hope, though, that I am able to make it to a couple of conventions, and that I meet a person or who likes what I've written. If not, then why bother trying for publication? If I didn't want to meet people who enjoy what I do, I could just write for myself and receive the obligatory praise from friends and family. I understand what Mayer is saying, I just don't know if I believe that looking forward to reaping the rewards of your effort is totally ego.

9. Not Understanding the Difference Between Craftsman and Artist. I am still working on this one. I would definitely still qualify as craftsman. Craftswoman? Craftsperson? Anyways, I'm still new. I'm still learning. A lot. I think that the experience of this is one of the things I'm looking forward to the most. Don't get me wrong. I love writing. Love love love it. But I have a lot to learn, and even just these last few weeks of being able to say "I am going to be published", I feel differently. It's a nice feeling.

10. Waiting for the Mood to Strike. I am totally guilty of this. When I first started writing, I would only do it late at night, with my living room lit by candles. (I know, I know). Even now, it's hard for me to force creativity, but I tried it yesterday. I didn't feel like writing. I told myself "just 100 words". I wrote 1600. Not too bad. Mr. Mayer says that writing is an emotional business, and it is, but I found that while the emotion drives the action, alternatively, the action can evoke the emotion.

Well that's all for today. I'm going to ignore the mood and write for the next 45 minutes until I have to go to work.

Monday, 15 October 2012

70 Solutions - Day 1

I am a new writer. Brand new. I've started what feels like millions of writing projects in my life, but thus far, only one has been completed and submitted to a publisher. I feel pretty lucky that my first attempt was accepted, but I am not naive enough to think that I am a perfect writer. I have a long way to go, and a lot to learn. I am also lucky that I will have such great writers to learn from and bug with incessant questions.

Anyways, in an effort not to annoy the hell out my my fellow writers, I have picked up a couple of writing books to read. The first one is 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer. He's sold more than 40 million copies of the more than 50 books he's written, so I figure he's probably got a good idea of what to do/not to do.

If you're interested, you can see the book here:

I thought about tackling one per day, but the idea of it taking more than two months to get through the thing was not all that appealing to me. I am far too impatient for that. Instead, let's try five per day and see how it goes (although I am famous for starting out a project all hung-ho and losing steam halfway through (just ask my sister)).

1. Not Starting. Okay, simple enough, and done! Go me. Do you ever make lists and include things you've already done, just so you have something to cross off and you can feel productive. I totally do that. This is a little like that for me. Perfect. I've started. To quote Mr. Mayer, I've "opened a vein and started bleeding on the page".

2. Not Finishing. Well, I've finished my first one, but historically this is a problem for me. I have a whole folder of half-written work. This is definitely something I need to work on. I'll start immediately...or in a minute...

3. Misusing Writer's Groups. I've never actually used a writer's group, but after I signed my contract with DSP, I was able to join their online forums, which has been amazing. I am totally starstruck by the names of the people posting in those threads. Amazing, and I've already made use of their knowledge and expertise. It's been quite valuable to far.

4. Forgetting the Reader. I may or may not be guilty of this. I'm not really sure. I seem to forget a lot when I'm writing. Things like eating, or sleeping. I started writing for me, and submitted my writing because I thought other people might like what I like. So in a way I write for us both.

5. Thinking You're the Exception to the Rule. Mr. Mayer explains that following the rules is important, especially for writers who are just starting out. I believe it. I will follow them gladly. Writing is so subjective that it is nice to have some guidelines to follow.

Alright, so the first five are done, and I think it's so far so good.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Happy National Coming Out Day!

There is still a long way to go before civil equality exists worldwide, but we are taking steps in the right direction. Celebrating National Coming Out Day is a 24 year tradition that brings awareness to this very important -- and for many people, very personal -- issue. Whether you are gay, bisexual, transgender or straight, show your support in any way you can.

In honour of this very important day, two talented authors, Ariel Tachna and Jamie Fessenden, are hosting giveaways on their blogs.

Ariel is giving away a copy of Once in a Lifetime and Stolen Moments. Visit Ariel here for details!

Jamie is giving away a copy of either his novel By That Sin Fell the Angels or his novella We’re Both Straight, Right? Visit Jamie here for details!

Home Alone Again

My husband is a paramedic and works at a station that is about 2 hours away from where we live. He is only home a few days a month, and he spends the rest of his time sleeping in cramped quarters with five other guys (or girls) in an ambulance station in a somewhat remote area.

This is probably one of the reasons I chose to be a romance author -- being alone so often leads me to have a rich fantasy life. I really do enjoy it though. As brief as my writing career has been up until this point, I have yet to meet another author who does this for any other reason than pure enjoyment of writing. It's therapeutic, cathartic, fun. I just feel so lucky that someone thinks my writing is good enough that other people might actually want to read it.

He'll be home in a few days though, and in the meantime, I want to try to get some decent progress on my next book before life gets too busy again. Luckily (for me anyway) the weather is starting to turn. Yesterday was foggy and cold -- the perfect day for my favourite hazelnut hot chocolate -- but I love the dreary weather. My darling husband teases me that it's because it's in my heritage to be drawn to rain and fog (my whole family is from England). Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that I love fall, and it's beginning to feel decidedly like fall. Perfect weather for cozying up inside and indulging in some seriously hot fantasies.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A Good Month

The past six weeks have possibly been the most exciting weeks of my life. I got married to a wonderful man in one of my favourite places on Earth. It was beautiful, magical, and for once after a big party, I didn't have to clean up the mess! The next day we jetted off (after a four flight delay in a crappy airport) to beautiful California to spend a week in honeymoon bliss at one of the nicest hotels I have ever seen.

We got back a couple of weeks ago and were just beginning to settle back into the mundane when I received an email from Dreamspinner Press. They want to publish my book! I am over-the-moon excited. I think my friends and family are a little less so, as I haven't shut up about it since.

This is my first experience with the publishing world and I'm not entirely sure what to expect. All I know is that I can't wait to get started, and that the six month road to publication will be exciting, nervewracking, way too long, and way too short.

Wish me luck!