Guess what? My first novel, Letting Jack Watch, will soon be available in a trade paperback anthology!
Canadian Connections, available from Ellora’s Cave, features my book as well as Hot Fusion by Cristal Ryder. Both Hot Fusion and Letting Jack Watch are contemporary erotic romances originally released as part of EC’s Oh, Canada! line.
Some lovely friends are helping me promote my new release on their own blogs; please drop in to their websites and take a look around! Here’s the schedule thus far:
- Right now I’m up on Berengaria Brown’s blog;
- On release day – November 9 – I will be hosted by Tracy Cooper-Posey;
- And Naomi Bellina is letting me take over her Tuesday Treat on November 13.
I’m really excited about my trade paperback release – I can’t believe this is happening so soon. Thank you to all my readers for your support.
And now, I must get some work done to try to clear some time for writing…
Wow, it’s been over a month since I posted anything here – that’s terrible. Well, I started a full-time research job at my local university in September, so I’ve been busy getting set up there (and moving offices; right after I got settled into a routine in one office they made me move to a new one in a different building. Sigh).
I’m also buying a condo, which has turned out to be a much longer and more complicated process than I realized. Well, I did assume it would be somewhat complicated… but I didn’t realize it was the kind of thing that you had to put time into every other day for several weeks. For a while there it was almost like having another part-time job (on top of the three I already had). Thankfully, however, the process is pretty much over, and I now have almost two months to languidly go through my possessions and start sorting, tossing, and packing.
I’m at the university right now, and in less than two hours I’ll be having coffee with a colleague who studies queer young adult literature. Last week I had the opportunity to hear this fellow give a brief presentation about his research, which sounds fascinating. He talked about how, in the anti-gay culture of the very recent past, gay characters in fiction were generally not permitted to have happy endings, and instead experienced a lot of tragedy, loss and even death, including frequent suicide. If I understand his research correctly (and I hope to hear a lot more details over coffee), he is studying the effects this literature had on the queer youths reading it, how that literature (and its corresponding influence) has changed in recent years, and what changes might (should?) yet be ahead.
Though my first book is a straight romance (and for adults, since it’s an erotic romance), I am planning to write gay (m/m) romance as well. I also hope someday to write books that will appeal to young adults (though honestly, I find the ‘line’ between adult and young adult fiction to be very blurry and arbitrary). And as an older-than-I’d-like-to-admit straight (mostly straight? I like boobs, but doesn’t everybody…?) female author, I’m very curious to hear what a young gay or bi* man thinks people should be writing.
*I’m not making assumptions simply based on this young man’s research topic; I’ve met his boyfriend.
I hope in turn my experiences as a(n erotic) romance author, and knowing other erotic romance authors, will be of some use to this young man. I guess we’ll find out.
Either way, it was a delightful surprise to find my academic and author lives coming together like this. I did not expect this to happen – and certainly not less than two months in.
I’m delighted to announce the first of what I hope will be many guest posts by fellow romance and erotic romance authors. I’m doubly delighted to be hosting Tracy Cooper-Posey, author of more than forty romance novels in various categories. Tracy appears to have three times the energy and work ethic of the average human (or three times as much as me, anyhow), is as nice in real life as she is on the web, and has been very generous with advice and encouragement to a novice novelist (me again). Take it away, Tracy!
May You Live In Interesting Times
You may not like vampires in your fiction because of the blood sucking and the biting…and well, you may just simply be sick of them. They’re everywhere in romance these days, and they’re endlessly sexy and often omnipotent. But I continue to write about them because of their longevity. It’s not quite immortality because they can be destroyed in a small handful of unpleasant ways, and immortality by definition implies life unending. But vampires, like a tiny number of other mythical and fantasy species, get to live very, very long lives, which means they pass through history and observe it changing.
That’s the fascinating part. A vampire that is one thousand years old was around to see the Normans tearing up England and tossing the Anglo-Saxons around. How cool is that? Or depending on where they were sitting at the time, they could have watched the fall of Constantinople a few hundred years later. Wow.
If you’re interested in history at all, think of all the significant events you’ve read about that have stirred your interest. You don’t have to go all that far back, either. The landing on the moon in 1969: Would you like to have been an adult, or even around for that?
Personally, I would have loved to have visited Hollywood during the golden age of movies in the 1930s and 1940s, just before the war broke out. And that’s just one of a long list of events and eras and locations on my list of time travel stops.
There’s just a wee catch.
No one gets to just visit anything. Even if vampires have been around for thousands of years, passing as humans through the centuries, none of them would have got to just watch history pass them by. They would have had to participate in each event as it happened, right alongside the humans they were living among. Every war that came along would be their war. Every famine, every tsunami, drought, disease, disaster, recession, revolution, evolution, changing currency, change of weather, change of outlook, change of language, change of seasons, tides, continental shift…it would all affect them just as much as their neighbours.
They would have fought, lived, and pretended to die. And they would have mourned the passing of the humans they lived with…and loved.
We as humans live these days for eighty to one hundred years (it’s extending with each succeeding generation). We consider ourselves most fortunate to live a good, long life free of wars, strife and disease, to be surrounded by family and loved ones, and die peacefully in our own beds, with our families around us. That recipe holds none of the “interesting” events I’ve just listed.
No one wants to live through “interesting” events. I have personally lived through a civil war. Twenty three years later, I still sometimes dream about wild rides in jeeps, while machine guns fire from the jungle. Even if it sounds romantic, the reality is very different. No one likes interesting times, which is why “May you live in interesting times” is considered a curse, not a blessing.
Vampires, because they live for so long, are beating the odds. Sooner or later they’re going to hit interesting times. The longer they live, and the more they move around (which is often, in order to avoid detection as a vampire), the more frequently they’re going to get caught up in “interesting” historical events and have to call on all their hard-won survival skills to live through them.
After a few centuries of surviving interesting times, a vampire has to get mighty tired of it all. Live for long enough – a millennium or two – and a vampire would be in danger of developing severe psychoses. Except, vampires don’t change – it’s a factor of their longevity. If they can’t change and therefore their brains don’t change, it should be impossible for vampires to develop mental illnesses at all. They can, however, choose to change their behaviour.
After a millennium or two of constantly adapting to changes in human society and surviving “interesting” events, it’s reasonable to assume that some vampires would chose to opt out. Suicide is next to impossible for vampires without concerted effort and help from others (although in some fictional universes it is as simple as stepping out into the sun, but the resistance to ending a long life is high).
Another way of opting out of human society is to completely withdraw. For well-monied vampires (compound interest does, well, “interesting” things over several decades), buying up an island or mountain retreat far from the madding crowd, and cutting off nearly all contact from the real world is completely possible. A vampire could recreate his own original environment that he remembers from his youth, or an ideal moment in time, and live as he or she prefers, almost without interference.
Live long enough alone in these rarefied fishbowls, and it’s possible that the vampires within would develop quite unique and bizarre behaviours and ways of thinking. They would be disconnected from society and could have real problems interacting with the world when they really need to. They would need help – an interpreter – when from time to time they needed to reach out.
This is the theory and structure I built to explain The Unspoken Ones, the ancient, hidden and aberrantly petulant vampires that bring Nial’s plans to a grinding halt in Blood Stone simply because they have objections to their private lives being ruffled.
Blood Stone is my 44th title and my ninth indie book.
Nial orders Calum Garrett to get close to Hollywood producer Kate Lindenstream. Garrett reluctantly complies for he has held himself apart from humans for centuries. Kate doesn’t fall into Garrett’s arms, either. She already has someone for that. Roman Xerus — whom Kate knows as Adrian — and Garrett go way back to the sixteenth century Scottish highlands, but they parted bitterly two hundred years ago.
With Roman’s support, Kate battles Garrett in wills and business as he methodically forces himself into her life. However, on the closed-in movie set in the Californian desert, Garrett’s calm, orderly world crumbles for Garrett is drawn to Kate. He has begins to experience real, human feelings.
Kate doesn’t cooperate in the chess game Nial orchestrates, despite being unaware of the strategies swirling around her film set. Demanding and expecting only the best for her movie, Kate’s agenda forces Roman and Garrett to work together to protect her and keep the humans around her ignorant of the Pro Libertatus, the anonymous and all-powerful vampire group who nearly killed Nial, Sebastian and Winter, and shield Kate from the excesses of the League for Humanity. But could Roman really be with the Pro Libertatus?
There’s hidden intentions everywhere, and centuries of repressed feelings, along with at least two different groups that mean them harm. Then there’s the rumours that Kate has found the mythical Blood Stone, the key to unlocking vampire history and lifting their curse. Who is Kate, really? Because once Garrett begins to notice, things about Kate don’t quite add up, either…
Last time I blogged, I mentioned I was investing in an ergonomic saddle chair, in the hopes of improving my posture and reducing the number of headaches I experience. After a bit of a delay (the company sent me the wrong chair at first, so I had to send it back), I got my chair. This is it (and yes, this is my messy bedroom/office):
I’ve had the saddle chair for a couple weeks now, and I think it’s working out okay. From the first time I sat on it, I could tell immediately that it did indeed straighten my back, take the pressure off my neck and shoulders, and lift me into a much better position for typing (and for viewing my ginormous computer monitor). Because it’s backless, it was a bit of a core workout at first, but my torso muscles got used to it after only a couple of days.
My butt and other nether regions are having a tougher time of it, though. Sitting on my saddle chair is kind of like sitting on a bicycle seat, in terms of pressing uncomfortably on one’s private areas. At the moment I can only do it for about two or three hours at a time, before things start to get really unhappy. That’s not so bad, though – you should probably move around after three hours on any chair, right?
Now I just need to get some writing done. I had planned to write Novel #2, and possibly also Novel #3, over the summer, but I hardly got any writing done at all. Some of it was other work and personal things sucking up more time than anticipated; some of it was taking a much-needed rest after teaching while working several other jobs in the spring, and some of it was sheer laziness and procrastination.
I don’t know why I think I’ll have more time to write in the fall, since I’m starting yet another full-time job (a research postdoc at my local university) on top of everything else I was already doing, but I remain optimistic. Foolishly optimistic, perhaps, but optimistic nonetheless. We’ll see how it goes.
What do you do, in terms of physical space, mental preparation, and/or time management, to make sure you get everything done that you need to?
I haven’t blogged in a while because I’ve been plagued by headaches lately, which have put me behind in all of my work. I get headaches (tension headaches, sinus headaches, and migraines) for a lot of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with work… but some of them do.
Lately I’ve realized that as a writer and freelance editor, I spend a huge chunk of every day working on the computer. And, as we all know, this sort of work can lead to a host of physical problems, including eyestrain, repetitive strain injuries, and headaches. I have prescription eyeglasses, and I’ve had carpal tunnel surgery… now I just need to get a handle on the headaches.
I think a major cause of my work-related headaches is poor posture, and I’ve decided one of the biggest causes of my poor posture is chairs that do not fit me. I don’t know who designs most chairs or who they think they’re designing them for, but I can tell you they are NOT being designed for the comfort of short, heavyset women with particularly short legs. I have a very hard time finding chairs that are not too tall, too deep, and too tilted back (both in terms of the seat itself and the seat back).
After much searching (and after trying some of the “best” ergonomic office chairs on the market, which haven’t worked for me at all), I think I’m going to invest in a saddle chair and/or a kneeling chair. Both designs encourage (indeed, force) you to sit with your back perfectly straight, both allow your legs to rest more vertically than traditional chairs, and both allow you to sit higher than normal chairs (which I think will help me compensate for the fact that most tables and desks are too high for me also). So I think these will be a good fit for me.
Have any of you ever used a kneeling chair or saddle chair? Would you recommend it? Why or why not? What tools and strategies do you use to help you write in a more comfortable and healthy way?