A Woman of History Who’s Time Has Come

Madame Presidentess eBook Cover No Quote LargeIn her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert poses an interesting question: Do we find our ideas or do our ideas find us? She believes that the ideas find us, and if we don’t do something with them in the time they are willing to wait, they move on. I agree with her. Here’s why. I firmly believe that Victoria Woodhull chose me to write Madame Presidentess, my biographic historical novel about her life, which was just published July 25. Actually, I believe that Victoria’s soul was floating around a few years ago, screaming for creatives of all types to help her get her name into the history books where it belongs. Victoria was a Spiritualist who held a life-long belief she could communicate with the departed, so I don’t think she’d argue with me.

Why do I believe it’s not a random act of inspiration? Well, prior to Hillary Clinton’s second Presidential campaign, very few people had heard of Victoria. This is because she’s not been included in most history texts, so prior to a year or two ago, you’d have to look for specialist publications (like biographies or certain books on the suffrage movement) or consult historical or political experts to learn more than a line or two about her. However, that has changed rapidly.

  1. Since August 2014, four historical fiction novels (including my own) have been published about Victoria. Prior to that, none existed. (I started research on my Victoria book in early 2014 when there were no fictional books about her on the market.)
  2. In the last year, two more biographies or other non-fiction works about Victoria’s life have been published.
  3. A 1980 musical titled “Onward Victoria” just had a one-night, off-Broadway revival in Manhattan last week. (I was asked to sign books in conjunction with it, but given I had less than a week’s notice, I couldn’t make the travel happen.)
  4. A two films on Victoria’s life are currently being filmed and produced.
    1. The Coming Woman
    2. Scandalous Victoria
  5. Maggie Gyllenhall has publicly expressed interest in telling Victoria’s story and is quietly working on a project to that effect.
  6. Since June, when Hillary Clinton became the presumptive Democratic nominee, nearly 100 articles about Victoria have appeared online, including a Snopes page created in the wake of a social media debate over whether Hillary or Victoria was the first female presumptive nominee for President. (The historical truth is that Victoria was the first woman to run for President. Hillary Clinton is the first woman to be nominated on a major party ticket. Many women, including Victoria, preceded her as part of smaller parties.)
Victoria Woodhull
Victoria Woodhull

That’s a lot of concurrent activity for mere inspiration or coincidence, especially for someone most people have never heard about. Now, it could be that all of us had the same foresight to look ahead to the 2016 election and see that there was a strong possibility that Hillary Clinton would get the nomination for the Democratic party. It could also be that American society is finally to a point where we are naturally looking back and the women who were the silent “firsts” ignored by history or co-opted by men are finally getting their due.

But I don’t know. The funny thing is, I’m normally a writer who hears the voices of my characters in my head. That didn’t happen with this book. I don’t know if that’s because this is the first real person I’ve written about or what. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t there. I felt her guiding presence the whole time.

And now that the book is out, I look forward to collaborating with all of those other creative people who are also interested in telling Victoria’s story. Imagine what we can accomplish together…

Do you believe our subjects pick us or do you think we come up with them? Why? Do you have a story to share about a time an idea found you?

More Carrots than Sticks

Before I became a writer, I had a number of other jobs. Some were pretty good, others really weren’t. Obviously, none of them were my passion, but the ones that were especially bad were so because they were the kind that stole pieces of you, every day, until you were little more than a hunched over, dead-eyed employee, who was just waiting for enough PTO hours to take a mental health day.

Some jobs are just tough and that’s okay, they need to be done, and often those are the jobs that pay pretty well because of how hard they are on you, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally. But what makes those jobs bearable or unbearable is the work environment. At my worst job (and best paying), I had a manager look at me and say, “No one should need to hear ‘You’re doing a good job!’ or ‘Nice work today!’ You should just do it because it’s your job.”

I mean. Okay. Sure, they were right, in theory. But does it cost a boss anything to utter those words? No. Would a tiny piece of moral-boosting recognition like that help? Yes. Would it make you not hate your job just a little bit less? Maybe. I mean, at the very least you might think, “Well, the job sucks, but at least the place/people I work for don’t. It could be worse.”

So, now, you’re a writer, or some other kind of artist. You’re your own boss (even if you have another job that’s paying the bills and this is your second job), do you want to be a dick to yourself or think, “Well, this job is hard, but I love it and I love working for myself”?

Telling yourself, “Hey! Nice work on that project today!” doesn’t quite have the same effect, right? Okay. So figure out what does.IMG_20160720_170409_resized

Yesterday I hit the 100 page mark on the book I’m writing right now. So, today, my husband and I went out for sushi for lunch. It’s a small reward, but a reward nonetheless. I accomplished a milestone and it needed marking. It deserved it.

Of course you need discipline, don’t think  you can’t say to yourself, “No, I can’t do the dishes/watch that whole season/go for froyo until I get my word goal for the day.” Or meet some goal. Sometimes I set myself a word goal for the day and I break it up into chunks. So if I want 2,000 words, I’ll write 500 at a time, taking short breaks in between. And sometimes I’ll do a morning session and a night session if I’m struggling or going for a larger goal. Sometimes the words just come and you can get everything out in one non-stop setting, but just because you can’t, or maybe one day is harder than another day, doesn’t mean you’re failing.

Just figure out what works for your brain and motivation as long as you’re still being productive.

Last year, after I finished the final installment of my Post-Apocalyptic trilogy, an especially difficult story to tell, to live with, to think about for as long as I did, I bought myself Screenshot_2016-07-20-18-11-26-1-1something pretty and sparkly because after so much grit, I needed pretty and sparkly. I deserved it.

After I published that book, closing that three novel story, my husband took me to the tattoo parlor to get a commemorative tattoo. That story was all about hope in the face of death and pain and suffering, so I got a triskle made out of leaves, representing Screenshot_2016-07-20-18-19-38-1the course of time and life and rebirth and growth. I needed that. I deserved it.

Big rewards and little rewards.

Don’t just reward yourself for the big things because those always seem so far away. When you’re just starting a project the end can feel impossible, so if you only have your eye on the end with no little milestones to help you on the way, it becomes daunting.

IMG_20160527_121913Maybe it’s an adorable little thing that you’ve had your eye on for awhile. Yes, even a little toy that can sit on your desk, so when you’re feeling the slow trickle of words, you can look at it and remember, you’ve accomplished this before, you can do it again.

Did you finish a rough draft? It may not be a finished project, but Screenshot_2016-07-20-18-12-04-1-1getting the bones of a book done is huge. Remember those shoes you really wanted? Guess what! They’re on sale now and you deserve them.

Reward yourself. Be a boss you like to work for. Take care of yourself. The next day you come to work, you’ll do it with a smile and you’ll work harder because the next milestone isn’t that far off and when you get to it, you can go to the comic book Screenshot_2016-07-20-18-14-57-1store and buy a coffee and refill your well to get to the next milestone.

You need it. You deserve it. You’re doing a really great job.

NOLA Naughty Nine Anthology Cover Reveal

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The Spellbound Scribes were gracious enough to let me pick up an extra blog post to share the cover reveal for an anthology that’ll be coming out soon. Scroll down to find the gorgeous cover, and if it appeals to you, check out the preorder links. The price will go up after it’s published, so grab it for $0.99 while you can! There are some great authors and some really fun stories in this one – including my story Change of Heart –
and the cover is beautiful…
Thanks!
NOLA Naughty Nine


Guilty Pleasure. Perfect Sin.

 

Just 0.99!

 

 

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Cover Reveal Synopsis

 

Bayou Shadows by Erzabet Bishop

Voodoo dreams and buried lies bring Delia to New Orleans. A sexy shifter with secrets of his own might just get her to stay…

Sultry by Amanda Byrnes

Ash is really fuckin’ tired of being a virgin. Rory’s suddenly got an urge to seduce him. But can their friendship survive?

Sinfully Hot by Tina Donahue

A hotter-than-sin reaper. A badass demon. Hell doesn’t get steamier than this.

Playing with Fire by Margaret Madigan
When Vlad Golakov is sent to New Orleans to find a missing woman, he plans to get the job done quickly, then enjoy the Big Easy. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with the woman-turned-werewolf or teach the pack’s alpha that when you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned.

Creole Corsair by Wren Michaels

Sabine Chauvet needs closure on her family’s past. But when she runs into Jasper Carrington, her old high school crush, the one thing in her past she wasn’t searching for finds her instead.

Phenomenal by LeTeisha Newton

We all lose, and it snatches our souls right out our chests. When I lost her, I wanted to destroy the world with the same bloody hands I used to pound my enemies. When I win her back, she won’t get away again. I’ll risk my life for it.

Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt

Preacher always said New Orleans was a den of sin,
so of course Clarabelle had to see for herself…

 

An Evening at Crossroads by Kate Richards

They broke every taboo, an ancient vampire, an exotic shifter on the run sharing gay romance under the roof of the newest and most daring club in New Orleans

 

Lion of Frenchman Street by Teresa Noelle Roberts

When saxophonist Peter Lyons invites New Orleans newcomer Kelsey into his world of jazz and kinky sex, his dominance ignites her body and his music speaks to her soul. But Peter’s hiding old pain and when Kelsey’s offered a job out of town, everything goes out of tune.

 

Cover Reveal Buy links

 

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Cover Reveal tEASERS

 

 

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NOLA Teaser Image 3 1000x1000 Sexy

 

Cover Reveal Meet Naughty

Tina Donahue Picture - Color.jpgTina is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for traditional publishers and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly,Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.

DSC_2232.jpgWren hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her below the Mason-Dixon line to Texas, where she promptly lost all tolerance for cold and snow. Fueled by coffee, dreams, and men in kilts, Wren promises to bring you laughter, sexy fun time, and action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The easiest way to her heart is anything to do with the Green Bay Packers, Doctor Who, or Joss Whedon.

 

Teresa Noelle Roberts 72 dpi for WEB-14.jpgTeresa Noelle Roberts started writing stories in kindergarten and she hasn’t stopped yet. A prolific author of short erotica, she’s also a published poet and fantasy writer—but BDSM-spiced contemporaries, hot paranormals, and sexy science fiction romances have become her favorite things to write.

She shares her Massachusetts home with her husband, a Leo in law enforcement, and three cats. She and her husband would visit New Orleans all the time if she could get the dang teleporter to work.

 

selfie with roses.jpgI write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets. Who steal things. Because they’re brats.

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So I think this is the part where I’m supposed to say something super cool, win you over, and make you my life-long superfan…OR wait, is that how I am about my anime collection?

Probably.

Basically, I’m an author, blogger, geek, and villain lover (Joker IS MINE!). There shouldn’t be any surprise then that I tend to love my heroes a bit broken, all messed up, and in need of someone who understands them just the way they are.

Hell, my heroines are right there with them. You see, love is nice, it’s sweet. It can be all rainbows and glowing stars. And then it can be dark, twisted, hurtful, and feel so damn good you have to scream about it. So I write like that. From one side of the spectrum to the other, because that’s real. That’s life. And that’s what we crave–delving into a fantasy world or not.

Erzabetflowery.jpgErzabet Bishop is an award-winning and bestselling author who loves to write naughty stories. She is the author of Lipstick, Crave, Snow (Three Times More Lucky Box Set), Malediction (upcoming-A Wicked Halloween Box Set), Map of Bones (upcoming-A Wicked Affair Box Set), Sanguine Shadows (Vampire Bites Box Set), The Science of Lust, Wicked for You, Heart’s Protector, Burning for You, Red Hot (upcoming), Bayou Shadows (upcoming-Nola Naughty Nine) Hedging Her Bets (Alpha Fever Box Set), Cat’s Got Her Tongue (Alpha Heat Box Set), Arcane Imaginarium: Spirit Board, Holidays in Hell, Mallory’s Mark (upcoming),The Devil’s Due (upcoming), Charity Benshaw’s Enchanted Paddle Emporium (upcoming), Sigil Fire, Glitter Lust (upcoming), Written on Skin, Club Beam, Pomegranate, A Red Dress for Christmas, The Black Magic Café, Fantasies in Red, Sweet Seductions, Holiday Cruise, Fetish Fair, Temptation Resorts: Jess, Temptation Resorts: Marnie, Taming the Beast, The Erotic Pagans Series: Beltane Fires, Samhain Shadows and Yuletide Temptation along with being a contributor to many anthologies. She lives in Texas with her husband, furry children and can often be found lurking in local bookstores. She loves to bake, make naughty crochet projects and watch monster movies.

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When she’s not plotting ways to sneak her latest shoe purchase past her partner, Amanda writes sexy, snarky romance and urban fantasy. She likes her heroines smart and unafraid to make mistakes, and her heroes strong enough to take them on.
If she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking hot chocolate, and trying not to destroy her house with her newest DIY project. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and no, it really doesn’t rain that much.
I write a variety of different kinds of romance for Entangled Publishing, Evernight Publishing, and M&M Publishing. I’m an Oregon Ducks fan. I’m a donut and pastry addict (pretty much any carbs, really). I like cats. I’m terrified of balloons. When I’m not writing you’ll find me in a college classroom teaching English, and of course, wrangling my family.

Kate at WWW 2016 (1)Kate Richards divides her time between Los Angeles and the High Sierras. She would gladly spend all her days in the mountains, but she’d miss the beach…and her very supportive husband’s commute would be three hundred miles. Wherever she is, she loves to explore all different kinds of relationships in her stories. She doesn’t believe one-size-fits-all, and whether her characters live BDSM, ménage, GLBT, spanking, or any other kind of lifestyle, it’s the love, the joy in one another, that counts.

Cover Reveal Connect

 

 

TINA DONAHUE

 

 

WREN MICHAELS

 

 

TERESA NOELLE ROBERTS

 

 

LIV RANCOURT

 

 

LETEISHA NEWTON

 

 

ERZABET BISHOP

 

 

AMANDA BYRNE

 

 

MARGARET MADIGAN

 

 

KATE RICHARDS

 

Naughty Nine Boxed Set Cover Complete
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The Sum of Its Parts

tumblr_mmro28hxbv1rzc0ato1_500A few days ago my mom sent me a link to a version of The Beatles’ Abbey Road with the vocal tracks completely isolated. Being a lifelong Beatles enthusiast, I was excited and curious to hear what the band’s final album sounded like sans musical instruments. I put it on this morning as I was making my coffee, and allowed the three part harmonies to wash over me. It’s definitely an interesting experience to hear very familiar songs sung without the usual accompaniment of guitar and bass and keyboard. I found myself focusing on the way the harmonies built on each other, and how the different tenors of the singers’ voices blended and complemented each other. But as the final song ended, I couldn’t help thinking to myself how much better I liked the original version, instruments included.

There’s a very, very famous quote that, although commonly attributed to Aristotle, actually originated with Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka. I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before: “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” This is an integral concept to Gestalt psychology, in that our perception of any whole exists as an independent entity from all of its parts perceived individually. The sum is not necessarily greater, or better, but it does exist as other than the sum of its parts. A house is more than the bricks, mortar, timber and metal that went into its construction. A year is more than all of its days added together.

200I know, I know. I’m rambling.

Basically, this deconstructed Beatles album made me think about that quote in a way that I never had before. I thought the a capella version of Abbey Road was striking and melodic. I’m sure if I had listened to the guitar track or keyboard track individually I would have experienced something similar. And you could easily argue that Abbey Road (and many other albums) is basically nothing more than a series of vocal and instrumental tracks layered on top of each other. But anyone who has heard a truly great album knows that when everything is added together as it was designed to be heard, it becomes something more than it was before. A whole; complete and independent from the individual parts that were used in creating it. Both the sum of its parts and something more than…other than…greater than.

This is an incredibly important concept to internalize with writing. There are so many individual parts to writing–any kind of writing: journalism, short stories, genre fiction, poetry. Writing, when deconstructed to its most basic form, is comprised of a panoply of parts: tone, imagery, dialogue, rhythm, structure. And especially when revising and editing a manuscript, a writer must examine each of these in turn to make sure all the parts function independently of each other. Is the structure consistent throughout the piece? Does the dialogue sound realistic?

But at some point, a writer needs to step away from this collection of parts they have spread out before them and decide whether those parts function together as a whole that exists as something more, something independent of those parts. Does the tone work with the imagery to produce an evocative atmosphere? And is that atmosphere consistent with the plot and the structure? All the parts must function together, complementing and supporting each other, just like John, Paul, and George’s harmonious voices on Abbey Road. A book, poem, or short story, like a music album, is made up of a whole bunch of parts layered together, above, below, and twisted together. But if done well, the whole of those parts combined will be something other than and greater than the parts used to create it.

I’m On To The Next One, On To The Next One

What’s next?

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That’s the question writers always have rattling around in their heads, isn’t it? Sometimes you might have half a dozen new plot ideas floating around in your brain soup and sometimes the ol’ skull bowl will have been drained bone dry. It’ll fill up again eventually, though. The stream of ideas is never truly dammed up.

One thing is a constant in the life of the diligent writer (0r any creative pursuit, really) – regardless of where you are in your current project, there’s always going to be a Next Thing. There will always be the need to make the Next Thing.

I tend to be someone who has too many Plot Bunnies frolicking through my Mind Fields at any given moment. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I run quite a bit. In the Not Winter months, I’ll log about 10-20 miles over the course of the week. The portion of that running time not spent on keeping myself from collapsing into a wheezing heap is devoted to plotting stuff. Plotting whatever my current WIP is, but also thinking ahead to what the Next Thing is going to be. A lot of time out on the open road has turned into wild Plot Bunnies.

bunny piano

But now it’s decision time. My YA Superhero manuscript, THE MANY FOES OF AURORA OVERDARK is done and it’s being queried right now (and eternal thanks to a number of my fellow Scribes for their invaluable input into the final product). It’s time to start the Next Thing. I had three ideas I was kicking around for the OVERDARK’s successor:

Weird Western with demons and this kinda Hellfire-punk technology and stuff. The Dark Tower is one of my favorite book series, so I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing a western-themed story (really hope they don’t butcher the movie, btw).

Lady Heroes of the Multiverse – basically female trope heroes joined up to save the Universe. Multiverse hopping is a thing that’s done a lot in comics, and by golly do I love my comics. Also, I recently read Michael Underwood’s first GENRENAUTS book and that kinda got me excited to do a multiverse team thing.

Those two came up from the usual On-The-Run-Brain-Bubbling.

The third one has a bit of a story. If you’ve listened to fellow Scribe Kristin McFarland and I’s podcast The Young Podawans, you’ll know that we discuss What We’re Drinking at the beginning of each episode. One week I had a beer called the Ginga Ninja and on the side of the can was a mini story about The Brewmaster and his Ninja Wife. I said to Kristin on that episode “I want to write this book.”

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And I think I’m going to next. I’ve got a little Brexit inspired plot starting to brew (lol) around the Brewmaster and his probably not Ninja, but some kind of soldier wife and also his husband who’s also integral to their beer making / soldiery business.

So what’s the point of this post besides “look at these ideas I have and and have to pick one waaaaaah”? It’s interesting where we get our ideas from. The impetus for some of my previous books were a D&D campaign from high school, a ghost girl from a comic book, and now a story on the side of a beer can.

And not just that inspiration can come from anywhere, but that it can come at any time. Some people do their greatest thinking in the shower. Like I said before, I do a lot for my plot brainstorming during my runs, but I also have a 30 minute or so commute to and from work everyday and I find that to be a good time to mull over new ideas as well.

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I think it’s vitally important for writers to carve out not only writing time, but thinking / plotting time. The ideas for the Next Thing need a place to be cultivated, whether they’ve come from the random mundanities of everyday life, plumbed from a lifetime of stories we’ve consume, or a little bit of both.

So, I guess I’ll leave this post with a question:

When and where does everyone else do their plotting and idea brewing? We all have so many different commitments and needs pulling us away from our stories, and I’d really love  to know how people find the time in their lives and keep the stream of ideas still flowing.

 

Sequels Revisited: A Sequel

There approximately a flobbity-gillion sequels being released in 2016. Have you noticed this? It seems like half the movies I’ve seen advertised are sequels, follow-ups, or continuations of years-old franchises — and, prepping for this post, I found about a dozen I haven’t seen advertised.

Fellow Scribe Nicole Evelina wrote about this phenomenon, too, arguing that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, and I had so many thoughts about it that, naturally, I thought we could use a sequel to her post. I don’t disagree with her: some of these movies are beating horses so dead, they’re basically just pounding on a burial site. But I do think there’s a phenomenon here that deserves some attention.

So what gives? Has Hollywood run out of ideas, or are we collectively so frightened of the future that we’re clinging to familiar characters and stories we already know and love?

Well, the latter may be a bit of a logical leap, but I know from my own experience that when times get tough, the familiar becomes comforting. It’s no coincidence that some of my annual rereads occur during times that are inevitably stressful: my favorite books travel to cons with me, and anniversaries of sad dates find me rereading books that make me smile.

I’m not the only one who does this, either. There wouldn’t be $200 limited collector edition DVD sets if people didn’t enjoy consuming and re-consuming the same media they already love. Comic book continuations of canceled TV series satisfy slavering fans of Joss Whedon shows, and anime series regularly horrify their fans by creating devastatingly cruel sequels to beloved shows.

Obviously, these movies were all in development for ages before their release this year, but it’s hard not to look at our national climate and see a little bit of myself in the collective return to familiar franchises. When we’re immersed daily in hatred and bigotry, it seems right to return to an Earth where we can pull together to fight off aliens (though I hear the new Independence Day is a bust!) or an ocean where the broken-hearted or disabled can be the heroes of their own adventures (Dory, I heart you!). We all need some encouragement and a reminder that some things don’t change, even if those fixed points are fictional characters we continue to love.

I realize this is a romantic view to take of what is clearly a money-making ploy (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny? Really?), but I do think that the successful franchises continue to exist because they offer us something we need. Whether it’s our love for the characters, the power of the stories being told, or the wonders of the world that’s the setting, something keeps these particular stories alive for us. And while I’m now a confirmed Ilvermorny skeptic, I do know that it can be hard to let go of the Harry Potter world.

What do you think? Is there any merit to my faith in the power of repetition?

And the winner is….

…not me.

Kirk dissapointed

 

But I did get to be a finalist!

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A few months ago, I entered my novella The Secret of Obedience in the Virginia Romance Writers Hold Medallion Award contest. I’m not much for contests, and I didn’t know how my novella would be received. While the Holt is open to all romance writers, Secret is a story about a gay college boy and his Vietnamese boyfriend.

Well, the don’t start out as boyfriends, but it *is* a romance…

Even though I didn’t win, acknowledging this award has me thinking lots of thinking thoughts.

And chief among those thoughts?

stevie nicks twirling

YEAH!!!

Somebody out there liked my story, liked it enough to put it in the top five entries in the contest. For me, there’s an extra layer of goodness knowing that the Virginia Romance Writers treated an m/m romance the same as any other.

I can’t speak for every writer out there, but I think most m/m or queer or lgbt writers want their stories on the same bookshelves as any other stories. They don’t want to be set off to the side in their own little section, where readers have to take that extra step to find them. That’s why when Publishers Weekly says Alexis Hall’s For Real is one of the best romances of 2015, or when Heidi Cullinan and Amy Lane (and Alexis, too!) are nominated for RITA awards, it’s a big deal.

And that’s not to put my story on the same level as theirs. Secret is a good story, and I love the characters, but I worry that my take on a queer Vietnamese young man doesn’t do justice to the lived experience of someone who is in the same position. It works, as far as it goes, but I wonder if I’d done a bit more research, could I have made it better. I’d hate thinking one of my characters brings someone else down, you know?

But for today, I’m going to twirl like Stevie, happy to know there’s one more organization out there willing to judge a story by the romance, not the characters’ gender. I hope if the judges hadn’t read m/m before, that they seek out more, because there are some fantastic writers exploring all different aspects of what it means to be gay and lesbian and queer and bisexual and trans and ACE and all the variations in between.

I’m going to leave you with an teaser from Secret

Obedience teaser from banner

Ronnie Durand is a country boy who transfers to the University of Washington after two years at Central. He’ll have to give up playing football, though finishing his education at a major university in Seattle – and being out and proud without having to look over his shoulder – makes the sacrifice worthwhile.

But finding friends at a huge school is tough, especially when the hottest guy Ronnie meets makes him doubt his own sanity.

Sang’s been on his own a long time. He’s only a couple steps away from living on the street, and he’s got dreams so big they don’t leave space for a steady boyfriend. Then he meets Ronnie, who just might be strong enough to break through his barriers….as long as Sang lets him in on one big secret.

Buy Links

Amazon   –   ARe   –    Evernight  –  Barnes & Noble