September 11, 2015
Hello there, I’m Skylar. I’m the person with the messy house, cute puppy, crazy, funny kids, and scattered coffee mugs. Dreamspinner says to introduce ourselves here, and I think this gives you some idea who I am. I’m treading chaos all the time, but I honestly love my life.
I feel lucky to be here with all of you today. I feel lucky with my family and my friends.
But not always….
Recently a friend hurt my feelings by repeatedly ignoring me and it got me thinking about the nature of friendships. I vented a little on Facebook and was amazed and humbled by how many people offered sympathy and support.
My books very often include a group of friends. As I get older and busy with my family’s needs, it’s harder to have a circle of friends in my life. In college and elsewhere, it was easier. But free time- once you have a job, partner, and maybe some kids tossed into the equation- is tough to manage.
While my books always have a central romance, I often think the secondary characters are of equal importance. They are the ideal friends. Not in terms of being perfect characters—for they are often deeply flawed—but in terms of being there for each other, no matter what.
Isn’t that what we all crave? Good friends who don’t fade away. Who are there, always and forever?
In Lovers, Losers, and You friendship is of paramount importance. They help each other, protect each other, and remain loyal to each other throughout the good times and bad. From the zany fun of Andrew’s reality show entry to the heartbreak of loss, these guys stick together.
Friendship should be a two-way street and not a dead-end. I wrote that on my Facebook, and I still believe it now.
Just for fun, answer these questions below in a comment, and I will randomly pick two winners by the day’s end.
1. I can’t be friends with somebody who doesn’t like:
A. coffee B. animals C. books D. kids E. wine F. I can be friends with anybody
2. The most important quality in my friend is:
A. Loyalty B. Humor C. Compassion D. Intelligence E. Other quality
3. A good night out with my friends would be a night of:
A. Wine and books
B. The movies and lots of candy
C. A bar and some dancing
D. An evening of fine dining and conversation
E. Something much wilder
4. It is usually possible to remain friends with an ex-lover
A True B False
5. When a friend does this repeatedly, I would end the friendship:
A. Lies to me
B Holds grudges
C Breaks promises
D. Gossips about me
E None of the above. I am forgiving with my friends
F. All of the above. I’m particular about my friends
Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it! List your answers in a comment to be included in the giveaway.
Prize: A ten dollar DSP gift card (two winners)
Feel free to explain some of your answers and share your stories of friendships. I always love chatting.
Where to find me:
September 10, 2015
You’ve got your outline done, your story plotted out, and you’re ready to start flushing out the story. You sit down at the keyboard (or grab your pencil, or your fountain pen, marker, or crayon – whatever you choose to use), and you start writing. The words are flowing, except there’s one tiny problem; they’re all the same words. Well, not all the same words, but you find yourself repeating certain words. And that’s all you can see when you look back over your work. No worries, you can just pop on over to Thesaurus.com and replace some of the instances.
But surf around a while and you’ll find there’s a lot more help out there for getting unstuck over word choices.
Wondering if what you’re writing makes any sense? Try checking out the Skeptic’s Dictionary, which delves into “definitions, arguments, and essays on hundreds of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions.”
Google Translate can help when you aren’t quite as fluent in another language as you wish you were. But its predecessor Babelfish is still around, too. And of you’re stuck for just the right words for your Downton Abbey fanfic, here’s a table with British to American translations.
Because if there’s anything I understand, it’s how getting stuck can bring your momentum to a grinding halt.
Now, go forth and conquer. (As in defeat, or trounce, or master. Not masturbate in an unusual places. But then again, if it helps, have at. Don’t let me stop you.)
September 10, 2015
Ladies and gents, mortal and immortal, masters or mistresses—yes, even sacrificial lambs—whet your appetite and pull up a seat… The feeding hour is nigh!
Radke here with the release of DEATH AND THE MAIDEN.
Wow, I’m beyond thrilled to be here, finally opening the door on this world. DEATH AND THE MAIDEN was the second full-length novel I ever wrote and the obsessive days and manic nights spent on this hold a really special place in my heart. This trilogy, with DEATH AND THE MAIDEN as the first installment, was the defining moment for me as an author—it was the moment I thought, “Yes, I can write a book. And I will.” Little did I know it would not be the first to be published, and in all honesty, there was part of me that thought it wouldn’t make it there. At all. Ever. End of story was end of story.
DEATH AND THE MAIDEN’s origins are kind of funny and maybe a little cliché. But if I had to trace one key inspiration, the spark that lit the flame, it’d be Interview With the Vampire.
Yes, yes, I know, like I said, we’ve all got our clichés.
I remember the two months consumed by DEATH AND THE MAIDEN and its prequel like this: a Los Angeles apartment complex called “The Palazzo” with lion heads carved in its courtyard fountains, lots of scary movies, lots of victorianlondon.org, fascinating vampire folklore anthologies, Schubert and Vivaldi, the Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes, very little sleep and way, way too much caffeine.
See, it went sort of like this—when I was 16, I saw the movie with Pitt and Cruise. I was in need of something good to read, so I picked up the book next (and consequently read through half of my junior year classes). At this point, I never imagined I could write a book, myself. I wrote fan fiction, of course. And through countless nights staying up way too late, me and my partner in role-playing crime co-conspired to make this intricate vampire crossover idea that was not only really fun but really worked. So well, in fact, that when we hit the end—and we didn’t usually hit the end on anything, because we wanted to keep ideas going—I thought, “No, I have got to write this down.”
So I did, mostly. The first half. As a fan fic. And it went nowhere. It just sat on my computer because I was too scared to put it anywhere and fail the genre, fail the mythology.
Then the VC series took me hostage for good. When I was 17, while moving to Los Angeles, I saw The Vampire Lestat at Wal Mart and thought, “Why not?” Needless to say, I devoured it on the road trip. And I never stood a chance of escaping the rest of the books. See, when I write something, I like to read something with the same tones and atmosphere, to really stimulate me and get me in that place. So Anne Rice’s books—not just her vampires, but her other works, too—have always been my go-to when writing horror or gothic fiction.
That’s the history of DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, but it’s still unfolding. The second volume of the series is in the last stages of work right now.
I studied a lot of different vampire mythologies, too, trying to build and expand on my own once I picked DEATH AND THE MAIDEN back up. And I had a lot of fun making the mythology in DEATH AND THE MAIDEN unique in very particular ways—the sacrifice system, the science, the creepiness—but chiefly, when it came to sex. Because my vampires were going to have sex, damn it. In a perfectly vampire way.
So I leave you with some of the most important questions I asked myself when writing DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, questions I still ask myself:
What about vampires do you find sexy? What about them is scary? Would you trust one?
Death and the Maiden at Dreamspinner Press
September 9, 2015
One of the interesting things about writing a series is how it develops from the initial book. Unless you plot out a story arc every new twist and turn is a wonder. You could call the Frankie series a collection of men and attitudes I’ve met in my life and wish they loved each other. And no, I’m not going to tell them I put them a in book, especially as some of them are very straight.
Frankie & Al was easy to write. I wanted to write a book about the sort of person I’ve always wished I was, in a situation I found myself in the eighties. Frankie has the confidence I wish I had combined with the flamboyance of a good looking guy I know. I put him in an insurance company – I worked in pensions – and going to the team-building exercises they made me suffer – hence Womb Weekend. Do companies still send their staff on team-building weekends? What do they make you do?
Of course, with Ed & Marchant I had to pick the boo hiss villain from Frankie. I was fascinated by Ed Winters. What made him the man he was? I think I felt sorry for a man who hated everything about his world. I wanted him to find his happiness with a man who gave Ed what he needed. Marchant was that man. They met in my local supermarket and Marchant recognised what Ed was from the start. Have you ever met someone and understood them from the start?
I think you could describe Anthony as a little man in a large body and as a sub, he’s always overlooked. I wanted him to find a man who wasn’t the mirror image of him. Sometimes you have a tall sub and an even taller Dominant. I didn’t want that. Leo isn’t anything Anthony is looking for and yet somehow it works. When you look at couples do you think “Yep, they suit,” or “What the heck? They look all wrong.”
Here are six men; from the confidence of Frankie, to a man who has hidden his entire life, to a man who just wants to be loved and… actually you can find out what he wants.
My Frankie series will be out in paperback on the 9th September.
Frankie’s Series Collection:
Dumped by his boyfriend, Frankie Mason gets totally trashed and ends his night by falling in front of a taxi. He’s rescued by a man with beautiful green eyes who takes care of him until he’s put into an ambulance, but Frankie fails to get the man’s number. A few days later, he’s dragged out to a club only to be saved by Green Eyes again. This time, he isn’t letting the man go.
Ed is miserable in life and at work, until he meets Marchant Belarus. Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a closeted sub. Marchant tries to draw Ed out of his shell, but nothing helps until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.
Tony is unhappy at not having found a Dom of his own. He thinks he’s too big, too old, and too hairy—until he meets funny, toppy Leo, who also sells sex toys. When tragedy strikes and Leo offers his support, Tony believes Leo is the Dom he’s been looking for… until he catches him kissing another man.
Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn’t following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. Sue discovered M/M romance at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favourite television series. The kissing was hot and tender and Sue wanted to write about this men. She may be late to the party, but she’s made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.
Sue’s internet links
September 8, 2015
Hey guys. I’m Nash. Thanks for stopping by.
I’m here to chat about my new novella that’s coming out tomorrow titled Lovers & Fighters.
You can also check out my pathetically small Pinterest inspiration board for Lovers & Fighters.
I wrote Lovers & Fighters about a year and a half ago. It was my first exploration into M/M contemporary in a slightly longer format. I have a tendency to write short stories. I think it’s because of my short attention span. I went through a lot of ups and downs with the story, mostly because I thought I created two almost unlikeable characters. Scott and Julian each have redeeming qualities, and hopefully most readers will enjoy their story despite their obvious flaws. Or maybe because of their obvious flaws.
At one point in the story, Scott reflects on his poisonous first love. I call the relationship poisonous because I viewed it as being manipulative, one-sided, and extremely unhealthy. I think a lot of people have been in relationships like this. Not necessarily abusive relationships, but ones where the love is so fierce yet completely unrequited.
Here’s a quote from Lovers & Fighters about first love, and first loss:
It felt to me like someone had ripped my heart out of my chest, like there was a vacancy there that I wanted to fill with all the bad things that embodied this talented boy I’d thought I loved.
My first love took me this way. It wasn’t an unhealthy relationship, and we’re still friends, but the kind of longing I felt at that time for another person was something indescribable, and almost torturous. I knew I’d never be able to go on without him in my life. Mind you, I was sixteen years old, knew everything about everything, and thought my life would fall apart if my best friend was angry with me. So, I wanted to write a story about that kind of overbearing love, not necessarily first love, but consuming love. Lovers & Fighters is the result.
A few lovely readers have said that this story isn’t a romance, and that it is, instead, a love story. That’s given me a lot of food for thought. I completely agree with them, and thinking about it now, I think a good majority of the stories I’ve written, or plan to write, could be considered love stories instead of romances. Which makes sense. In person, I’m not romantic.
Sometimes when people I know ask me what kinds of stories I write and I say, “Romance”, they’re surprised. It might be because I’m an atypical romantic. Romance to me isn’t flowers or rom-com movies or wedding rings (not that there’s anything wrong with any of those things, of course). To me, romance is companionable silences while driving through the rain down a dusky stretch of road. It’s listening to my favorite album and holding someone’s hand. But it’s also drinking beer and playing a co-op FPS together.
I guess I think the word romance can mean absolutely anything to anyone.
Thanks for stopping by! If anyone out there in the great, big blogverse would like to tell me about their first love, or even their ideal version of romance, I’d love to hear it.
September 7, 2015
Hello and thank you for stopping by today! I’m Elizabeth Noble, author of Shifting Chaos (book 4 of The Sleepless City) which coincidentally released today.
How well do you really know those closest to you? What about how well they know you?
In the series The Sleepless City (co-written with Anne Barwell) vampires and werewolves live and work alongside humans. While humans and werewolves reproduce naturally, and pair bond for love and to create offspring, vampires have mates for a different reason. They live incredibly long lives bordering on immortality. Nature gave vampires the unique ability to bond with one person, their soul mate, for life. Each person in the soul mate bond complements the other. Where one is weak the other is strong.
Vampires can and do soul bond with other vampires, humans and on rare occasions werewolves. Each couple experiences different things and each soul bond is unique. The bonding between two vampires takes place in stages. During that time it’s possible for each party to telepathically see some important, highly emotionally charged memories of the other. Think of it as those Facebook life event highlights for the mind.
Soul mates aren’t the only loves vampires have. Before they meet their soul mate they form friendships and have relationships with other lovers, some for hundreds of years. After a 150 years or so you get to know a person pretty well. You might think you know everything about them. Or do you? Do they really know everything about you?
During the course of The Sleepless City the three oldest vampires of the group, Declan, Forge and Simon meet and bond with their soul mates. One with another vampire, one with a human and one with a werewolf. This gives the relationships they’ve already formed with one another a good, hearty shaking up and dynamics change. Together they are a family and those family ties are challenged to the brink of destruction.
Throughout Shifting Chaos, the final book of the series, all of those individual relationships are strained, tested, and given room to grow. There is the very real threat to one man that the discovery of the deepest, darkest event of his life will leave him rejected by his soul mate and family, an outcast. He’s even managed to hide this event from his soul mate. There is the risk of losing loved ones to death and inner demons.
While writing Shifting Chaos I wanted to show a bit of the past for a few of these men. Two of them have known each other—intimately—since 1821, so there is a lot of history there. Getting ideas for snippets of what they’d lived through and then presenting it into the story was a wonderful challenge for me. I didn’t want to have an overload of flashbacks. In some places I went the route of these two individuals sort of competing to tell the best, most embarrassing, entertaining story about each other to the rest of their family of choice. Doing this allowed me the opportunity to forward the plot and add some humor along the way. Their pasts become very relevant to the conspiracy they face and the disaster they’re trying to prevent in the present.
The fight with demons, inner and otherwise, causes memories and events long buried to resurface. Men who think they know each other so well, find out there is more to be discovered. What they learn is not only surprising, but frightening. How each individual reacts to those revelations is an important aspect of the story. Most importantly they all learn love really does conquer all, and in their case allows for a lot of forgiveness. When you love someone, truly and deeply love them, you take the good with the bad and work it out because that is part of what love is.
What would you do if you discovered some deeply hidden secret about the person you loved most? How do you think they’d react finding out something like that about you?
Everyone commenting will be entered into a drawing to win any ebook off my backlist (Shifting Chaos is excluded from the contest and not eligible for the giveaway).
Thank you for stopping by today and as always, happy reading!
Chaos reigns in The Sleepless City, and it’s really beginning to piss Detective Jonas Forge off. He’s got inner demons to battle and a life to build with his new soul mate, Blair Turner. Nothing is going right, and he already feels the universe is conspiring against him when a turn of events he never saw coming flips his world upside down.
Hallucinations grip the town and everyone in it, threatening to tear their precariously built family apart, and the only way forward is to bare all to each other. This means Declan and Blair need to learn to accept one another. Lucas Coate has to move forward without ties to his werewolf pack and live a monogamous life with Declan.
But while Forge and Declan confront horrors from their shared past, Simon learns a terrible truth about vampires—one he couldn’t have imagined in his worst nightmares.
Blair had only been a vampire for five years, not nearly time enough to have learned the depths of power he possessed. Or how to really control it. A simple shove to Ben’s shoulder could have shattered bone and sent him flying. Fortunately Simon intervened, catching Ben around the waist and dragging him away at high speed before Blair could
Simon whirled around, putting himself in front of Ben and Blair and shielding them from Forge. For a split second, his eyes were deep, dark brown with no whites or iris visible.
Declan stood at the bottom of the steps, fists clenched. He didn’t say a word, but he didn’t have to. It sucked knowing someone that well. Forge could still tell what Declan was thinking. Yet the memory that surfaced surrounding those killings so long ago were events Forge had never told Declan, or anyone, about. It had been hidden even from Blair,
it was so deeply buried in Forge’s subconscious. So how did Declan know? How could he possibly know?
It was Declan who finally ushered them up the steps—Simon, Ben, and Blair first—muttering, “I go out for twenty minutes to pick up pizza, and everyone goes nuts.”
When Declan glanced over his shoulder and nodded at Lucas, he reached down and took Forge’s arm to help him up.
“What happened? What did I do?” Forge asked.
Lucas pulled him into a hug. “Nothing. You yelled. Knocked some furniture over and scared the crap out of Blair and Moose. And me.”
When Lucas leaned back, holding Forge by the shoulders, Forge noticed for the first time Lucas’s clothes were ripped and his jeans had split, but not enough that they fell off him. He must have mostly transformed to get control of Forge.
“Where’s Moose?” Forge looked around. Moose moved slowly out from under Blair’s desk. He whimpered and wagged his tail, then ran to Forge.
Lucas put his arm around Forge’s shoulders and steered him toward the stairs, clicking his fingers for Moose, who followed. “You’re colder than usual.”
As soon as they were up the stairs in the living room, Forge saw Blair on the couch, knees tucked under his chin, arms around his legs. Lucas sat him next to Blair, and Forge immediately gathered Blair in his arms and pulled him close. He was ridiculously relieved when Blair grabbed on, and bent his head to press his face against Forge’s shoulder. Never letting Blair out of his sight and never letting him go again was what Forge wanted; however, that was impractical. Blair couldn’t enlighten the young minds he taught with two hundred pounds of irritable vampire attached to him.
Lucas wrapped a blanket around the two of them and sat on the arm of the couch nearest Blair. Simon showed up with two cups of steaming liquid. He moved the coffee table back and crouched in front of them, holding one cup out to Forge. After he took it, Simon tapped Blair’s arm and said, “Blair, here, drink this. It fixes everything. I promise.”
Declan sat on Forge’s other side and rubbed his hand over Forge’s head before dropping his hands to his lap. He chuckled, and Forge relaxed. Tea was Simon’s cure for all disasters.
Links and things:
My website, Emotion in Motion has information on Shifting Chaos, and all my books. There are excerpts, reviews and links as well a sign up for my newsletter (I promise to never get spammy). Please feel free to look around.
I’m always thrilled to hear from my readers and one of my biggest joys is interacting with them. I’m one of those people who will chat with others in line at the grocery store, so don’t be shy!
The Sleepless City website
The Sleepless City Facebook Page
September 4, 2015
Hey, y’all. How’s goes?
So, I feel weird doing the whole formal intro thing, but waves. I’m BA Tortuga, happily married redneck in the high desert mountains. Turn ons are quilts, coffee, and gluten free Cheerios. Turn offs are assholes, slugs and the word peculiar.
Seriously, I’m here to bounce about my newest Dreamspinner release and the second in the Release series, The Articles of Release. Insert happy squeal (a la Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias): y’all, I’m a CHAIN! Eric is an injured soldier and battle buddy of Adam Winchester. He calls Win to ask for a place to stay and Win and Sage bring him into their lives, introducing Eric along the way to Sage’s trainer, Troy.
Instead of doing a lot more explaining, I’ll let the boys introduce themselves.
“Guess you didn’t serve, huh?”
“Oooh, tacos.” Sage peeled off and left him and Troy to check out the falafel rolls.
“No.” Troy gave him a look like he was totally out of his mind. “That’s never been on ye olde opportunity table.”
Eric bristled a little. “Yeah? You got something against soldiers?”
“Huh? Why would I? I’m spectacularly ill-suited for the job, that’s all.”
“Oh. Sorry.” He shrugged, his ears hot. “Still a little touchy, I guess. Sorry.”
“Dude, no worries. I’m cool. What looks good to you?”
“I think I want to try the falafel stuff. I always liked it when I was deployed.”
“Cool. I’ll get some hummus, I think. I have a client that wants me to try vegetarian for a few weeks, see what changes I see in my body.”
“You look like you’re doing pretty good.” Did he just say that? Maybe he had brain damage.
“It’s more for her graduate degree than any genuine interest in giving up brisket on my part.”
“Ah. Gotcha.” He was torn between liking Troy and being a little irritated at the earlier Army shit. Mood swings were hell. They managed to get a couple of little paper baskets of food, but Sage and Win were nowhere in sight. “Mind if I sit a minute?”
“Go for it.” Troy held out a hand to hold his falafel.
“Thanks.” He got settled, then nodded to the other side of the table. “Want to join me?”
“Thanks, but I’ll stand. Sitting’s a pain in the ass.”
Eric blinked. That was a new one. “Uh, did I piss you off? I didn’t mean to.”
“Huh? No. No, you’re totally good. Completely. How’s your falafel?”
He hadn’t even tasted it. What was it about this guy that got under his skin? “It’s fine. What, the trainer doesn’t want to be seen with the cripple or something?”
“Pardon me?” The asshole actually looked around, like he didn’t know what Eric was talking about.
“Well, it’s not like I wear a T-shirt, but the heavy limp is kind of a giveaway.” He could do sarcasm too.
“What the hell are you going on about, man?”
“I want to know why you would rather stand and hold your food than sit with me!” That came out loud enough to draw few stares, and Eric kinda felt as if he was having an out-of-body experience.
Troy’s cheeks went a dark red, and the man moved over and set his food down. “Sorry, man.”
Sage and Win were heading over, and Troy sat at the end of the table, sitting awkwardly at the edge, legs barely tucked under.
Eric tried to breathe, to calm the fuck down, but his fury hit him about the time Sage stumbled into the table and Troy damn near went ass over teakettle onto the grass. That was it. Seriously? Seriously, this motherfucker was going to treat him like a goddamn leper because he limped? Gonna fall onto the ground rather than sit with the crip like a decent human being? Fuck, the bastard was probably one of those liberal hippie types that thought every soldier was a fucking murderer and deserved what he got.
He’d just been doing his job, goddamn it!
“Jesus, just go, would you? Some trainer you are, being ashamed of a guy with a bad leg!”
“Don’t you fucking pretend that you don’t know what I’m talking about!”
“What the hell?” That was Sage, who always managed to look vaguely confused, which pissed him off too. What? Did falling in love give you the magical ability to live in fucking lala land? Huh? “What happened?”
“Just fuck off.” He wasn’t sure who he was aiming the snarl at.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Troy was looking at him like he had two heads and neither one of them were speaking English.
“What’s wrong with me? I’m sick of people humoring me and pretending that it doesn’t matter that half my leg is missing when they’re grossed out by it.” Eric kinda lost his shit, right there, slamming his hands on the table.
“It’s not missing.” The words from Troy were flat, dead still somehow, and didn’t really make sense.
Troy got up, stood like he was setting himself, then carefully pulled up the legs of his jeans, exposing metal rods disappearing into the motorcycle boots. “This is what missing looks like, just sayin’. Sage, Adam. Have some hummus. I got to go. See y’all Monday.”
And with that, Troy headed off, and with distance, Eric could see the odd gait, the way Troy held himself.
Sage stood there, staring like a goat looking at a new fence.
I was doing the promo work for The Articles of Release and one of the questions I keep seeing is “why”?
Why write a wounded warrior who hooks up with a double amputee?
Now, honestly? I’ll tell you my main truth. I don’t pick. I never feel like I choose these guys. They come to me and I write about them.
I know, y’all think I’m a nutcase and that’s not far from true.
I believe in ghosts. I believe in fairies. I believe in happy endings and I believe that the boys show up for me to write.
My second truth is way more personal and a little deeper. I write about people in challenging situations to work out my own shit. Seriously. I write about my love/hate relationship with Texas, I write about being scared and being angry and trying to figure out where the hell I belong in a universe that seems like a strange and dangerous world.
I write about losing things. I write about that a lot, because I’m worried.
You see, I’m losing my sight.
There, I said it. Out loud. In public.
I’m losing my sight.
I can’t drive anymore. I have special software for the computer. If it’s dark, you can’t trust me not to fall over things. I swear tinted glasses and huge sunglasses.
I can’t read my own paperbacks.
I don’t talk about it. I don’t talk about how goddamn scared I am. What do I do when I can’t see anymore and my wife needs me to do things for her? How do I work? Writing I can do, but what about edits? I don’t know how to deal with that and I’m scared to find out because that means it’s real.
I write to work out the lump that sits in my heart and says, “you’re totally screwed, woman”. I write men like Eric and Troy so that they can teach me how to be brave and look at my wife and say, “no worries, babe, we got this”.
I write a wounded warrior who hooks up with a double amputee because I had to.
There was a story that needed telling.
I’d love to hear all y’all’s stories, too. Honest.
Much love, y’all.
September 2, 2015
A big thank you to TJ Klune, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of his readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.
Thank you for having me!
First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.
I don’t know if I have any secrets left! I usually just tell my readers everything these days, no matter how uncomfortable it gets. I like to overshare. I suppose if I had to say something, I guess I can tell you that I can wrap the entire Vanilla Ice song from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies. The song is called Ninja Rap (Go Ninja Go). And yes, it is amazing.
What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?
When I started writing, I didn’t really think of it in terms of M/M, but more in the fact that I just wanted to tell a story. Bear, Otter and the Kid was the end result of that. It was the first story I wrote to completion. It took over a year to write, and I thought I was going to have to submit it to a few publishers before it found a home. I sent it to Dreamspinner first, and they bought it a couple of weeks later. I finished the book in January, and it was published by August of that year.
What were your feelings when your first novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
Shock. And joy. When I first learned BOATK had been bought by DSP, I really wanted to write back and say, Are you sure? Fortunately, I didn’t do that. And then when Paul Richmond did the cover of BOATK, it just made it all that much more surreal.
Complete this sentence: If I weren’t a writer, I would ______.
If I weren’t a writer, I would probably go insane from all the voices I hear in my head.
I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?
It’s a question of balance. I work full time, and I also write about 15-20 hours a week. It makes for a few late nights, but the people in my life know it’s worth it. It also helps that I’m working toward retiring early from my job so I can write full time. Hopefully, sometime next year that will be a reality.
When you write a book, do you plan it before you start writing or do you let things just develop themselves? Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one?
I can only focus on one book at a time. If I try writing on more than one thing at once, I tend to get distracted by whatever I’m not working on, and it never works out.
It depends on the book I’m writing if I plan it ahead. Books like Burn and Into This River I Drown are meticulously plotted before I write them, just because they are so intricate with large casts of characters. When it comes to the BOATK books, I like how they can meander at times, so I typically just write them with a vague end game in sight. Sometimes it works, other times I have to delete a lot of stuff just to get back on point.
Be totally honest, what’s the most difficult part of being a writer?
For me, it’s probably the social side of things. Before I became a published author, I didn’t have Facebook or a blog and didn’t belong to any online social media platforms. I’m typically uncomfortable in social settings and don’t really do well in front of large groups of people. When I was fortunate enough to have my books become successful, it was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I never thought something like that could ever happen. And a curse because it was difficult for me to get over my hangups about being in a spotlight. You lose a lot of anonymity when you find success, and I never thought I’d have that, so I didn’t prepare myself for it. But I’m getting better at it.
What’s your favorite cover of your books?
It’s a tie between Into This River I Drown and How to Be a Normal Person.
How do you come up with titles?
Depends on the book. BOATK is the more literal out of the titles as it’s titled after essentially what the book is about. I typically have a title picked out when I start writing a book, but 99.9% of the time, the title will change by the end of the book, when a phrase or an idea pops out at me while I’m writing.
Do some protagonists grow dear to your heart more than others? If yes, which are the ones you like best?
I wish I could say no, that I love all my characters equally, but that is a total lie. I have a soft spot for secondary characters, because I want my main characters to be surrounded by people that are real and true.
That being said, my favorites are probably the Kid, Benji from Into This River I Drown, Nana from Tell Me It’s Real, and Gus from the upcoming How to Be a Normal Person.
What character from one of your books would you like to have come alive and be real? Why?
Paul from Tell Me It’s Real. I don’t think I need to explain why.
Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?
Paul from Tell Me It’s Real. I don’t think I need to explain why. =D
If you get the chance to end up in one of your books which would it be? Why?
Probably Burn, just because I think it would be so epic to be an Elemental. I can’t wait to get back to that series and write some more. Felix and Seven need a happy ending.
You’ve just inherited a sheep farm. What do you do now?
Sell it, use the money from the sale to start a business where I pretend to be a psychic, but everyone already knows I’m not really a psychic, they just pay me money to make up shit about their future.
Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it? And how do you react to negative reviews although it’s obvious the writer just want to do your book poorly?
Every writer gets negative reviews. It’s just part of the business. Some are honest critiques. Some people just don’t like the book. And some others just want to write something bad, even if it’s just meant to be an insult to the author. Honestly, I don’t read any of those, or most reviews, really. If someone sends me a review they took the time to write, I’ll read it, because that is very kind of them to do. But reviews aren’t for me. They are for the readers. People can write whatever they want after they’ve spent their money on my book.
Rapid Fire Time
- coffee or tea? tea
- contemporary or paranormal? paranormal
- sweet or sour? sweet
- handcuffs or rope? handcuffs
- day or night? night
- Rock or Jazz? Jazz
- cats or dogs? dogs (don’t tell my cat because she will yell at me)
Last week DSP published the german translation of The Art of Breathing. It’s the third book of the series Who We Are. What aspect of The Art of Breathing came to you first – the setting, characters, something else?
The characters, specifically Tyson, aka the Kid. He’s been with me for years, and I was so happy to finally be able to tell his story. I always wanted to see what kind of person he’d grow up to be, and by the time I finished Who We Are, I knew it was going to be a bit of a rough road ahead for him. But I think it worked out okay in the end.
What part of the novel was the most fun to write and why? What made you struggle the most?
The dialogue was my favorite part to write, but then it usually is. I love writing how I think people talk in real life. It’s not always going to be perfect sentences. We ramble, we stutter, we talk in run-on sentences without proper syntax. I try to make it so when you’re reading the dialogue, it sounds like you could be listening in on a normal conversation.
The part where I struggled was with the angst. I absolutely hate reading angst, which is strange given that I’m so adept at writing it. I’ve really put this family through the ringer, and it was painful to see the Kid stumble as much as he did. I was relieved he figured things out in the end, because there were a few moments I wasn’t sure he was going to.
If you had to pick a theme song for this novel, what would it be?
To Build a Home by Cinematic Orhestra.
Who was the most difficult character to write in this series? What inspired you to create the characters Bear, and the Kid, and their madness of thinking? Are you the same?
The most difficult character to write was probably Mrs. Paquinn. And not because of her age, or the way she spoke, but because of what I did to her in Who We Are. Yeah, that was probably one of if not the most difficult things I’ve had to write.
Bear and the Kid think like they do, because that’s the way I think. It’s manic, it’s oppressive, it’s too much for a lot of people, but it’s my reality. My thoughts are jumbled and I tend to blurt a lot of things out, whether the situation calls for it or not.
Can you tell us a little bit about the sequel of your novel Tell Me It’s Real?
The Queen & the Homo Jock King is the complete opposite of Tell Me It’s Real. Whereas Paul and Vince had a love at first sight relationship (at least for Vince), Sandy and Darren are more hate at first sight. They are very antagonistic of each other, and I love that dynamic. But something happens in the book that forces they together and Sandy learns that maybe Darren isn’t as bad as he seems (spoiler: he isn’t, and there is butt sex).
Tell us a little bit about your newest novel The Lightning-Struck Heart. What inspired you to write this? Who is your favorite character to write in this novel?
TLSH came at a time when I needed to laugh, to write something that made me feel happy. I sat down one Saturday morning in September 2014 and thought, “why not?” and then proceeded to write almost 12K words that first day. It felt good, writing again, as I hadn’t written anything in close to a years.
TLSH was inspired by my desire to write a fantasy novel for the Tumblr generation, using contemporary language, but taking it one step further and having every be a snarky asshole using modern lingo. It was also a partial ode to my love for The Princess Bride.
And I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I pick Gary as my favorite. There is something about a sassy unicorn that makes me happy.
Will there be a sequel or do we have to say goodbye to our darlings?
There will be a sequel to The Lightning Struck Heart.
And one more book in the Tell Me It’s Real series.
And the final BOATK book.
Last but not least: What book will be published next, and what are you working on right now?
The next book will be How to Be a Normal Person, my asexual stoner romantic comedy out in October.
After that, The Queen & the Homo Jock King will be released in January 2016.
That will conclude what I unofficially call my Happiness Trilogy (TLSH, Normal, Queen) before we go back to the more serious, darker works that I also write.
Withered & Sere, part I of my post-apocalyptic story will be out April 2016.
June 2016 will most likely be the release of the book I’m finishing writing now, called Wolfsong.
Crisped & Sere, part II of the post-apocalyptic story will be out August 2016.
And somewhere in there will be BOATK4. And Burn II.
September 1, 2015
DSP: Why did you choose a wounded veteran as your lead for The Articles of Release?
Cackles You say choose like I had any control over this. Win informed me that he had this battle buddy named Eric, handed him over and informed me that I had novels to write. Seriously. I never choose anything. They choose. I obey.
DSP: What’s your favorite sex act to write in a gay romance?
Frenetic, mad rubbing off, still mostly clothed. I love the intensity, the ferocity. The wild passion of it.
DSP: What does your writing space look like?
Writing space is a little bit of a misnomer, because my wife and I write all over — the rolltop desk in the front room, the sofa, the sunroom. I offer pictures of the office which is a crazy mish-mash of art and color and words and love.
DSP: Name 5 things you can’t live without.
Things? Okay, I want to just point out that I don’t count living beings as things (because WIFE and puppies and best friends and all my 39 nieces and nephews and sisters and Moma and Daddy and and and)
1. My internet connection. The internet and me? We’re buds. Totally. I would let them insert a jack (although when I say that my wife cackles and reminds me that I rant about the home DNA tests and people using that information for nefarious purposes).
2. Coffee. Coffee is why I don’t kill people.
3. My Apple products — MacBook, iMac, iPhone, iPod, iPad. Yes, please.
4. Fabric. I’m a dedicated quilter. I need my stash.
5. Yarn. YARN. ALL THE YARN! KNITTING, WEAVING, CROCHETING, YARN!!! ahem
DSP: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be and why?
I’d move to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Hot springs, river rafting, mountains, skiing, snowmobiling. I’m all in. I just need to get that six-figure book deal first, right?
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia, her best friend, Sean, and coffee. Lots of good coffee.
August 31, 2015
My final post of the night. Who wants to know more about Alex and Lindsey from Beautiful Thunder? We all know they’re young pretty guys living in the early 1990s and they love rock music, but what else can I tell you?
Alex Randall is 22 years old, living in a maisonette (a two-story apartment) in a decent area of Nottingham. He has a sister Anna, ten years older, who’s a nurse. Their parents died when Alex was fourteen, leaving a small fortune which means that neither Anna nor Alex needed to work if they didn’t want to. But Anna’s a loving, caring woman who always wanted to help people, hence her career choice. Admittedly Alex hasn’t done much with his life prior to the start of the story. He spends his life singing in front of his mirror, dreaming about being a star, dressing up and going to the club, Rock City, and picking up one girl after another to the extent that he can’t remember their names. Of course he hasn’t met Lindsey yet!
Picture Alex, long dark hair, brown eyes, tall and slim, usually clad in leather pants, cowboy boots and a fancy shirt. He’s not much into the makeup wearing “thing” but he’ll go for a bit of “guy-liner” at a push. He pores over the local music press every week looking through the ads for bands who want singers, but so far he’s not found anything remotely suitable. Until Chapter 1 of Beautiful Thunder where he discovers the ad from the River Rats asking applicants to “call Lindsey”.
Alex scores an audition and goes to the drummer’s house. Mark Short, nicknamed Shorty, lives with his parents and uses the garage for rehearsing. The other musicians meet up at Mark’s house for practise.
Bass player, Ricky Wade, and Mark are both instantly friendly and welcoming to Alex. But guitarist Lindsey seems standoffish and arrogant – an act covering up his shyness.
Lindsey is blond (long haired of course), hazel eyed, and slim, with piercings, tattoos, and a heart-breaking past. He’s a natural guitar player, barely looking at the strings when he plays and there are times in the story when Alex watches him play and feels like he’s watching a real star, despite the fact that none of them have ever played a stage bigger than the one in Rock City.
Lindsey is the typical glam-rock boy, with his spandex pants, silk shirts, nail polish, makeup, and jewellery, but he’s tough with it, having had to fight in school to survive bullies.
Lindsey’s parents threw him out of the house when they discovered he was gay, leaving him alone to fend for himself in the city at just 16 years old. But he survived and now he works in a record store, behind the counter selling records and occasionally deejaying upstairs in the store. He’s a couple of years younger than Alex and in a relationship with a character called Steve, who crops up briefly on a couple of occasions in the story. He doesn’t make Lindsey happy and that’s all I’m saying!
Lindsey lives in a rough part of town, struggles to make ends meet, and holds his cards close to his chest. He doesn’t like to ask for help, even when he’s in desperate need of it, but luckily he has three good friends in Alex, Mark, and Ricky, who look out for him. When he eventually opens up to Alex and the pair begin dating, they keep it a secret from the other two guys, even though they already know Lindsey’s gay. Despite his feelings for Lindsey, Alex is still afraid to commit and worried about being with a man. With him dragging his feet and Lindsey’s shyness giving way to a volatile nature and temper, they struggle to move forward together.
The cover of Beautiful Thunder depicts Lindsey on stage, a scene from later in the story where Alex isn’t performing, but looks up at Lindsey and sees not only the man he loves, but also someone he admires – a star.
So, that’s my boys. I hope you like the sound of them and check out their story. Beautiful Thunder is available as eBook and Paperback of course.
I’ll be drawing the winner of the competition tomorrow so if you’re reading these posts after I’m gone, it’s not too late to comment and enter on THIS POST
And that’s all from me. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by. I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts and if you’d like to find out more and keep in touch, please look me up on my social media pages:-