So, Nano is on us again.
For those not in the loop, Nano is actually "Nanowrimo" - National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind it is a support group for people to knuckle down and write a novel. The aim is 50,000 words... which is 1667 per day. There's websites and trackers and writing groups and everything, all over the world, to try and help you reach that total of 50,000 words, which is the bare bones of a novel.
Today is Day 1. It's 11:30am. I've written 1405 words. I promised that I would write 2000 before I would be allowed to go and watch the show I recorded last night. This is not a good start. I should've written 2000 words before 11am.
Also, I've researched house prices in my area, the cost of pest control (goddamn those spiders are out of control) and emailed my husband 3 times.
Yeah. I'm procrastinating. But my characters are not behaving. **sigh**
Okay, back to it. Shane (he's my character) is microwaving himself a meal and one for his unexpected visitor. Classy act he is. **double sigh**
Nano total: 1405
Today's mantra: Keep going
And - as a super special surprise and a chance to win:
RJ Scott's Birthday Treasure Hunt
Clue Five - Where Edward falls for his marine.
Answers to be entered on RJ's blog on September 3.
Today I congratulate my friend, RJ Scott on her new release - a co-written book with VL Locey.
I'm currently in my first (and at this moment in time - last!) attempt to co-write a book, I can tell you that it's not as straight forward as simply sharing the load to write the book. Integrating another person's ideas with yours takes a lot of compromise, talking, skill and luck. But there are good times too - another person who shares your passion for writing and love for those characters.
I'm hoping you guys will get to see the results of my co-writing later this year. But in the meantime, let's celebrate this new release: Changing Lines.
Today I welcome some promo from fellow author, Louise Lyons and her new release, What's Up, Pussycat?
Release date: July 7, 2017
Length: 24,300 words
Cover Design: Simon Searle
And the best bit? IT'S FREE...
The final performance was sold out and when it ended, the cast celebrated together at the small restaurant next to the theater, that Maurice had booked out for our use. Everyone stayed in costume, makeup and all. Afterward, the bus took us back to the studios. James’s girlfriend, Abby, had come to the show and they slipped away to his room together. I went back to Karl’s room to share a half-bottle of champagne he’d managed to acquire from the restaurant and from then, things took a surprising turn.
Karl put the champagne on top of the fridge and turned toward me. “I can’t believe it’s over! I can’t believe I didn’t throw up this week either.”
I laughed. “Nice, Karl. I was hoping you’d tell me about whether you puked or not.”
“Twat. Come ’ere!” He grabbed me in a bear hug and turned around, almost swinging me off my feet.
I clutched at him to stop myself falling onto the TV. “You idiot! There isn’t room to swing a cat in here.”
We dissolved into fits of laughter, still holding onto each other. When I tilted my head back to look up at the grinning tabby face above me, Karl suddenly stopped laughing. He paused there, his bright green eyes searching mine. Then he ducked his head and brought our lips together.
For a moment, I was too stunned to react. I didn’t know if it was the spur of the moment, or if he liked me. There’d been no sign of anything other than friendship, although he still flirted with everyone, including me, so it was difficult to tell. While I hesitated, he deepened the kiss and tightened his arms around me.
Wow - exciting news. Just to prove me wrong, You Are The Reason has been released on audio much sooner than I had anticipated. (Link here)
I was advised that The Straight Boyfriend had finished production and would be available in about 3 weeks time. I waited and waited, and it was actually longer than 3 weeks. So I was glad I'd not announced it so that my readers (and listeners) wouldn't have been disappointed.
Just prior to The Straight Boyfriend's release, I was advised that the fabulous Dave Gillies had finished You Are The Reason and that would be a 3 week wait... which turned out to be less than a week.
**throws hands in the air and mutters something about "you can't win"**
So BOTH are now release and you have around 16 hours of narration to listen too.
Link to Audible for You Are The Reason: link
Link to Audible for The Straight Boyfriend: link
Now, here's a thought for you:
What do you think the reaction of the four characters would be if Davo and Lee met Vinnie and Aaron?
If you're a fan of audio books, you may be happy to know that The Straight Boyfriend is now available on Audible (link).
I've been promised that You Are The Reason will be out in the next three weeks as well. I thank everyone for their patience and please keep checking for this one.
I hope you enjoy Joel Leslie's narration in The Straight Boyfriend.
Yes, Professor has been unleashed on the world and I thank everyone who has purchased and read a copy.
In Amazon rankings, the story has hit #1 bestseller in its category in Australia, the UK, Germany and Canada. It's made it to #3 in the US that I've seen.
Amazon US buy link: here
I wanted to share this review with you because it made me giggle - and what makes us laugh needs to be spread. With hate and ugliness in the world we need our laughter. So thanks for this review Levi.
Review from Levi:
Damn, she did it again! I swear she does this on purpose just to annoy me! Of course, I couldn’t put her book down, again, till I finished it.The last time I reviewed her book, “The Straight Boyfriend” I may or may not have said that Renae is a closeted man. Well, I may add to that by saying she is a closeted Dom too, or Sub…
So this book is the purest form of BDSM, the emotional part of it. Although the book has sexual content, I can’t call it erotica at all. Why? Because we are guided through Avery’s feelings, who seemed to be attracted to older more mature and dominant men. When he moves into his new house, with his best friend Nick, he suddenly feels obsessed with his new neighbor the Professor. The older man has his own schedule, that, by now, Avery knows by heart. He tends to spend so much time trimming his hedges into a perfect shape, like every day, and that action gives funny tingles to Avery’s different body parts. He can’t help it, the neatness and the puttogetherness of the older man makes him horny as hell.
Then, one day, he has enough with stalking and takes action. With the pretense of searching his mail, what he already collected like a few hours ago, he bends in all different positions, offering the goods, for a very low price. Don’t look at me like that, it was Avery’s words, not mine…judgy readers…huh!
His actions got him an, *cough self-invitation to the professor’s house. Chris, Christopher, oh man he knows what he wants!, has his birthday, and Avery decided that Christopher, not Chris, needs a birthday cake.
Well, that didn’t go as well as he hoped, and he promised himself that he will not give up on him.
I loved Avery, he’s funny, messy and very, very obedient. Avery is all gay men’s wet dream. And by all men, I meant those who like to be in control. Avery needs grounding, and the Professor can deliver it. But Christopher wants more, “more” Avery doesn’t know. He never did more, get in, get ordered around and get out. Being with Christopher though…this time he may want more…
When, last night, I forced Renae to admit that she is kind of a psychic, because she must have gotten in my head, stealing all my wet dreams, and put down in words, she denied it! Well, she didn’t convince me at all!
Dear Renea, I congratulate you again and again, and just so you know, you can crawl in my head anytime you like, and write the stories about my dreams!
One gazillion OptimuMM!
I’ve always been a supporter of the underdog. At school if there was someone new to the school, I would go over and talk to them. It’s hard to be the outsider. I’ve never really cared about popularity contests – I was happy to be happy with the kids the “cool kids” rejected. My social group was made up of a lot of ethnic minorities, disabled and (although I didn’t realise it at the time) LGBT kids. I think I preferred it, as the “cool kids” often rejected people based on their looks and never bothered to sit down and ask people about their lives.
As an adult I find I still have the same habits. Instead of joining in the conversation of the “cool mums” about the latest episode of some TV program they watched during the day, I often find myself in conversation with the minorities. Last week I chatted to a mum about her child who has cerebral palsy and the difficulties she has. The week before that were an elderly couple who had just immigrated from overseas and were picking up their granddaughter. I make it my mission to go out of my way to speak to the mum in the full Muslim dress, or the granddad who tells me in broken English he was born in the Torres Strait islands region.
I’m an example of the adage, if you don’t like what you’re reading, go out and write the book yourself. I have blogged about my writing roots many times. It started back in 2012 when I was reading M/M Romance and not finding what I wanted. There were some great books out there – but not a complete and true reflection of what I thought the LGBT community looked like. After reading my umpteenth novel about two alpha-gay-guys who look and act straight, I decided to write my own. Not because that story was wrong, but because I felt there was an under-representation of certain people in our society. In this case – femme twinks who were out, and proud to look and act gay.
I started Loving Jay in April 2013. I hasten to add that writing the book was solely for me. I had no thoughts at all of publishing it. Before 2014, M/M Romance was growing but there were a lot less books and authors around – and I was struggling to find more than a handful that featured the types of LGBT men who were my friends. There has been an explosion in M/M Romance now, and you can find all types.
But still, a lot of my book ideas came from those dark corners of society where other authors weren’t going. I was happy to lurk and talk to these fringe dwellers and ask their stories. My stories concentrate on the minorities within the minorities – and despite what people may think, I do my research and I seek out the words and feelings of these people before I write.
The Blinding Light is about a man who is both gay and disabled – a minority within the minority. Disabled people can be gay, and gay people can be disabled. The Shearing Gun is about a farmer who is gay – something that is seldom talked about. You Are the Reason focuses on a character who cross-dresses – another minority group out there that rarely gets a voice. Safe in His Arms features a man who was sexually abused as a child. Safe in His Heart features a man who is both Christian and gay – and is happy in this world. Don’t Twunk With My Heart features domestic violence within a same-sex relationship. I don’t pick the popular, “normal” characters you often find in M/M Romance. I like to champion the under-represented. Mostly because I believe they deserve their HEA as much as the next guy.
The Straight Boyfriend features another of these minorities – those people who don’t neatly fit into the preconceived idea that all people must fit one of the labels: straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, intersex, asexual. There is another label on this spectrum – it’s a Q and many people say it stands for “questioning.” I like that. I like when people don’t just take the information someone gives them and never questions it. There are a LOT of people out there who are questioning the label they’ve assigned to themselves previously. And not JUST young people. I know of people in their 40s and 50s who are Q=questioning.
Despite the outrage some people may feel (“Of course he’s bi – why didn’t he just admit it?”) you have to maybe take a step back and ask why must he assign a label to himself? Why must a fictional character in the book be a reflection of “this”? (*draws a box with her hands to indicate the boundaries*). Aaron is actually a reflection of that person over there (*points to the shadowy figure lurking on the outskirts of what people think of as the LGBTQIA spectrum*)
Do you think that a book about a gay man means that every other sexuality on the spectrum doesn’t exist? I actively seek out the people who feel under-represented in the genre and I write about them. I make no apologies for that, no matter how loudly the “cool crowd” want to yell that my character is not a true reflection of them. I’m happy about that. I don’t want to write about the “in” thing.
Without fail, after writing every single novel I have released, I have received at least one message from a reader that says “THANK YOU for writing MY story.” There’s the email I received from a crying reader who thanked me for writing Casey who had been sexually abused as a child and was still working on the emotional issues for that. There’s the email I received from Australia guy who asked me if I was stalking him, because my character of Quackle was so much like him and followed his life story (even down to the sexy shearer boyfriend) – but the only thing I’d gotten wrong was that he was nurse, not a doctor. There’s the message I got from a reader whose parent is blind, the one from the Catholic lesbian, and the one who said that he must’ve modelled for Shawn.
And the numerous messages I’ve received about The Straight Boyfriend from readers who said, “Thank you – I don’t like labels either.”
Story from Reader “A” as sent to me:
First I want to applaud your courage is allowing Aaron to stay true to his own identity. I know that there are those who won't agree with me (and that's fine), it's likely because I have a different view point than they do. To understand where I'm coming from I need to tell you a story that starts 22 years ago.
My first year of college I met Ryan who would quickly become my best friend. He is the opposite of every gay stereotype, but very much gay and very out about it. He became a part of my college group of friends (we were all studying criminal justice), and another person in that group was a guy named Tyler. Ryan and Tyler soon became very good friends, and while Tyler was straight, he had no issues with Ryan's orientation, and we quickly became the three musketeers spending almost all of our time on campus together.
Over the course of our first year together, Ryan and Tyler became even closer, and being as close as I was to both of them, I noticed the change in their relationship. Because I was Tyler's closest friend (aside from Ryan) I'm the one he came to when he was confused and honestly scared of the feelings he was developing for Ryan. I see a lot of Tyler's struggles with his identity in Aaron's story. I will admit that I personally am not a fan of labels, especially when other people apply them to someone else. Even as much as Tyler shared with me of his feelings and what he was going through, I wasn't him, I didn't live in his mind or body so I could feel what he was feeling or live the struggle he was he dealing with between his heart and his mind. What it came down to is Tyler still felt straight, was still sexually attracted to only women, with the exception that he was in love with Ryan, and in being in love with Ryan allowed him to express those feelings in a sexually intimate way.
To this day 21 years later Tyler identifies as straight and openly says "I'm straight, I just happened to fall in love with a man". Ryan and Tyler have been together for 21 years and we're finally able to marry 18 months ago.
It takes great courage in my mind to stick up for what you believe and for your own identity. I am sure that there are those who will read your story and scream about it erasing bisexuality, however what they fail to take into account is that by doing so they are also erasing someone else's identity. NO ONE gets to decide what label applies to someone else, and attempting to force a label onto someone who doesn't identify that way is much more of an eraser than someone believing that someone else's identity affects theirs.
Really all I wanted to say was thank you for your story (which yes I will be buying a copy of for my friend Ryan and Tyler) because while the setting, time frame and family reactions were different, you essentially told my friends’ love story to the world, and honestly it's a beautiful gift that I can give them.
Who spotted the cameo appearance in my new release?
The first four M/M novels I ever wrote – Loving Jay, The Blinding Light, The Shearing Gun and Safe in His Arms – were all written before my first book was ever published. They were written as stand-alone books because when I’d finished their HEAs, I was ready to move on to another story.
Then came Shawn’s Law and people started asking me “When is the next book coming out in this series?” or “When do we get Such-and-such’s story?”
I was surprised, because none of the secondary characters in my books were ever meant to have stories of their own. None of my books were meant to be series. It was only when the readers began asking (and not just once or twice) about secondary characters that I thought to pick up my pen and write about them.
All of my subsequent novels have been because readers asked for them – You Are the Reason, Safe in His Heart, Don’t Twunk With My Heart and The Straight Boyfriend. All written because of reader request.
When writing Shawn’s Law I was writing a scene where Shawn’s in the hospital (again) and Harley runs into trouble with a male nurse. I’d just finished writing a story with a secondary character who was (in my mind although not on the page) a male nurse. So I just slipped in the physical description of Paul. In Shawn’s Law Harley calls him “Steroidal Man” because he’s so pumped. But it’s definitely Paul who appears as Lon’s best friend in Safe #1 and then gets his own HEA in Safe #2. It was fun to slip him in there.
Perth is a small and isolated city. With a population of two million people, there are jokes that everyone knows everyone else… and it happens too often for me to discount. You meet someone and if you search long enough you’ll have a link. (Just to prove it? My husband’s best friend married the sister of my mum’s first husband’s aunt’s grandson’s wife. Figure that.) So it is more than possible that my characters, who mostly live in Perth, would bump into each other.
So I wrote a few more “cameo characters” in when writing Don’t Twunk With My Heart. Obviously, being the second book in the series you see a lot of people from the first book, but I also wrote in two other characters from other series. Did you spot them?
Paul pops up again as a nurse that helps Kee out after his assault. And did anyone notice that Kee and Davo work for the same company? Kee refers to Davo – not by name, but that there’s other LGBT guys that work for the company, even a salesman up in the office.
That brings me to my new release: The Straight Boyfriend.
So, which of my eagle-eyed readers picked up on another character in The Straight Boyfriend?
Hint: He’s mentioned in the epilogue and sells an apple tree to Aaron and Vinnie.
Sometimes things just need to be said.