Wordy Wonderland

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Story Behind the Story

I thought it might be nice to share a little of where Growing Strong came from and the, well, story behind it.

Originally I wrote the story without any chapter breaks. It had scene breaks (because I’m not crazy :), but the idea was more that the story was like life, an ongoing, continuous thing. That changed in editing, but I think the feeling of the story remains.

The concept was that the story was going to be vignettes of Hunter’s life, showing, sort of like a video montage, of him progressing in life and love and everything. This was in answer to pretty much every book out there that has a dramatic opening, a climax, and a resolute closing. Now, that’s not to say there are dramatic parts in the story, and there’s definitely a climax, but the rhythm of the story is more like waves, with each wave getting bigger as Hunter learns to stand up for himself and he can take on a bigger fish, so to speak.

So, I suppose, a warning about this book is that it’s going to be…mellow in a lot of parts. It’s really about the journey (although the destination is nice too). Because life is all about the journey. And growing as people because of the challenges we face.

Of course, I didn’t have all these ideas when I first sat down to write. No, the initial scene was just “a guy coming out to his friend, who doesn’t care.” I didn’t really expect it to go the direction it did, but I’m happy with the slow dance that this story became, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Growing Strong Banner v2


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And then it was May!

I was bebopping along, doing edits, writing a Christmas story, living life, when suddenly it occurred to me I’d never checked on Growing Strong’s release date. Or I had, but I hadn’t put it in my calendar, which means I promptly forgot when it was.

So I checked.

Growing Strong Banner v2


I maybe need to stop rewatching the entire M*A*S*H series and pay attention to life.

There’s going to be a blog tour (which will enter to win you a copy of Sometimes the Cowboy Falls from my backlist)! Be sure to check it out!

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Growing Strong: Blurb and Link!

Growing Strong_cover_500Growing Strong

A chance—and embarrassing—encounter brings Hunter and Chase together, but it’s patience and kindness that keep them there. Through a slow-blossoming friendship and a series of misunderstandings, Hunter finds himself fighting an attraction he thinks isn’t returned. But with the help of his roommate, Tony, he may just be able to make the leap and confess his feelings.

But love isn’t Hunter’s only concern. With his sister’s upcoming nuptials, he also must learn to face a family that hasn’t quite disowned him for his sexuality. With Chase by his side, it’s going to take strength for Hunter to stand up for himself and to hold on to what really matters.

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Spectrums and Sexuality

Last month there was some hub-bub in the queer romance community about bisexuality erasure in the gay-for-you tropes. There was a lot of drama, which I try to avoid, which is why I’m making this post now instead of then.

If you missed it, here’s the quick and dirty:

One side said that the gay-for-you trope is assuming a binary of sexuality and erasing bisexuality and the wide spectrum present. It should be called “bi for you” or “out for you” if we’re going to have it at all.

The other side argued that it was just a trope and shouldn’t be taken too seriously and that it’s rarely authors that label things “gay for you” and they aren’t necessarily writing gay for you, it’s the readers who label it (and changes take time).

I’m sure there was A LOT more said in the “conversation” but that was the gist (and I tried to remove a lot of hurtful things that were thrown around, so hopefully I didn’t make it worse by simplifying it all!)

I’ve mostly avoided this complication/argument by writing 100% gay characters. The conflicts haven’t been about understanding their own sexuality or coming to realizations about their sexuality. I’ve never really been a fan of the gay-for-you trope, mostly because it seems to center around the idea of a magical penis that can make anyone gay.** Obviously the story is supposed to be about how the people fall in love, not just sex, but in my reading I’ve found most of the GFY tropes have a lot of sex in them. Which isn’t bad, but tends to highlight one part of the relationship more than the others!

Because I don’t write this, I didn’t feel an intense reaction when I saw everything hitting the wall, and instead just watched and listened. And pondered.

One point I think those pro-trope have is that romance is fiction and it’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable and doesn’t always need to be grounded in reality. The fantastical elements are those that we might consider our guilty pleasures, things we wouldn’t enjoy in real life, but in our imaginations their tantalizing. That’s why we read, isn’t it? We don’t want reality pushing into every aspect of our books and dulling the joy and pleasure there. We can ignore points about hygiene and whether spit is good lube and if having a burrito is a good idea before sex.

On the other hand, having a burrito before sex is very different from a trope that hurts feelings and further erases/hides a part of the queer community that already struggles against being ignored. And I think when we think that our pleasure is more important than your pain, that we need to stop and think.

Instead of right and wrong, why can’t we sit down and discuss how X can still have her tropey stories while not hurting Y? Is it enough to change the concept to “out for you” instead? I don’t know the answers, but the screaming matches I saw happening sure didn’t help anything (except maybe raise awareness). I did see lots of posts making points and sharing personal stories, and those I think did help. They weren’t blaming or accusing, but just saying “This is my experience.” Hopefully those each were read by the other side, and hopefully an actual discussion can come of it and a happy place can be reached.


And now I shall return to my hidey-hole.

** There’s an anime called “Antique Bakery” that my friend told me about that has a character called “the Gay of Demonic Charm” because he supposedly can turn anyone gay for him, but it’s all done very tongue-in-cheek, probably mocking the gay-for-you trope that shows up in BL and yaoi often enough.

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Cover reveal!

March flew by so fast, I don’t even know where to begin!

I did eventually get my edits for Growing Strong, and turned them around, better than before. I did a complete read-through, and I’d almost forgotten how sweet the story was. It’s super mellow and sweet and very much just a slice of life.

I also worked with the artist and have a cover now! It’s fairly simple, but I like that about it. Simple and clean, just like the story 😉

Growing Strong_cover_500

I hope you’re looking forward to this as much as I am! (Blurb and link and such to come.)

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Awaiting Edits and Writing

I was anxiously awaiting edits this weekend, and to distract myself I finished my taxes. So at least it was productive, even if my edits didn’t come in yet. I’m eager to get them, but I totally understand when life goes crazy and you just can’t hit that deadline.

In happier news, I have a new project started. There’s an open call for tattooed characters that I’m seriously tempted by…but who wouldn’t be?

I don’t know if my idea is quite along the lines of what they’re looking for–they seem to want a character who is a tattoo artist or covered in tattoos. My character LOVES tattoos, but doesn’t have any himself. However, the love interest is a tattooist, so I’m hoping that counts. The story opens at a tattoo convention too…oh hey, does this mean I have an excuse to go to one of those? Twist my arm…

This story also seems primed as a series, with it spreading out to include the customers of the tattoo shop–I have a few ideas–but I won’t be counting chickens. Finish the first one and then we’ll see how it goes.

Just a short update today, but I wanted to let you know the fires are burning!

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A Week of Contemplation

I’ve been recuperating from my rush to get my reading edits done and preparing for edits from my editor (which haven’t come in yet), so this week I took it fairly easy. Watched some TV (my friend turned me on to this anime called Love Stage, which is like super cute and hilarious, especially if you’re familiar with boys’ love manga), but mostly did some reading. And thinking.

Since the beginning of the year has been so hectic, my writing and editing has felt less fun and more…like a chore. And that’s not what I want it to be at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love polishing my stories to be the best that they can be! I want to see them pretty and send them out into the world. But I also wonder if I’ll hit a point where the fun is outweighed by the work. I think that would make me write boring stories, and I don’t want to do that to my readers.

So I’m starting to thin about putting out my stories through posting forums (fictionpress.com is the only one I know off-hand, feel free to rec others!) or do some sort of free/self-pub through SmashWords. Publishing through SmashWords seems like it’d be more work intensive, so that’s not likely to happen, but if I can figure out a way to make it work for minimal effort, I may go for it.

I guess I’ve just hit that part of my life where I’m re-evaluating things.