The anthology Fifty Gays of Shade is officially released! Woot!
My story, New to This, is excerpted on the Torquere Livejournal today, along with others in the book. Go check it out!
NaNo ends, and I lose all writing mojo for a month. In this case, more like two months.
I honestly admire and respect any writer who can charge through December and keep writing. Forget NaNo burn out–the holidays seem all consuming. I blame my own overachiever nature. I decided to hand make gifts which left me no time to write. Or at least, not enough time to spend on writing when I could spend it in a coma instead.
On the heels of that came a January full of sick family members. Everyone got sick but me. I’m still looking over my shoulder, waiting for the flu to sneak up and say “AHAHA FUCK YOU.”
I know writing isn’t a thing you can pick up and put down at will, and yet, I seem every year to take a few months off of the process. I suppose that’s why I’m not a superproducer of stories. I plug along though, stories come to mind and I try to write them down as best I can.
In good news, though, my story New to This finally has a release date! It is part of the anthology titled Fifty Gays of Shade, coming to Torquere Press on February 13th! More news as it comes, but here’s the cover for you:
My story is a sort of response to the whole 50 shades phenomenon. It has nothing to do with the books at all, but I wanted to write a story where BDSM wasn’t thinly veiled rape, and wasn’t about the hurting but the deep respect between top and bottom. About consent, really.
Plus, the main character is super cute. Just sayin’. I’m super excited to be a part of this anthology, and I have been looking forward to the release for months. I’ll post all the details as they come in.
Hope you, my invisible reader, had a good holiday and are feeling ready to get back to whatever it is you’ve been avoiding. Or maybe that’s just me. Sigh.
So… how’d you do? Did you cross the finish line yet?
I made it on the 25th with 50001 words, no kidding. The story is… I don’t know yet. I have half a mind to redraft it with a different concept, and half a mind to finish it as-is. There are bits I *really* like. There are bits I can’t stand. So, pretty much all first drafts, heh.
Today I’m pleased to host my friend Bella Leone for a Can’t Talk, Reading post. She has a new book out herself, one with boys and kissing. No down side. Enjoy!
Why haven’t I been writing?
Well part of it is because I’m making a human, and that shit is some serious energy suck. My baby will be a ten pounder if my exhaustion has anything to do with it.
The other reason I’m not writing?
The Bloggess to most people.
She has an amazingly hysterical blog at www.thebloggess.com. I read her posts and snicker at my desk trying to pretend I’m working hard when in all actuality I’m reading about taxidermied rodents, wine-slushies, and sloth hugs. I also follow her on Twitter to see what her daily shenanigans entail, usually medication and robots.
I’d like to be Jenny Lawson when I grow up. She’s delightfully fucked up in a charming and adorable way. She makes me feel…not as crazy.
And she now has a book of her childhood and young adulthood adventures!
I thought her blog posts about giant roosters named Beyonce and all the other fabulous ways she’s causing her husband grey hair would be just enough funny to kill the average person, but then I bought Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.
Holy crap. I laughed so hard at the first chapter, I thought I was going to scramble my unborn child. I’ve giggle-snorted so hard I’ve had to take pee breaks. I haven’t been this entertained, second-hand embarrassed, and delightfully delirious about a book in a very long time. Maybe ever.
Jenny has a way of stating things so plainly and simply and with just enough sarcasm that you have a hard time believing her “mostly true” memoir, but you also can’t help but imagine it all. No one could make this shit up! It has to be true! There are some poignant moments, especially when she was writing about her infertility. That struck very close to home, but she also dealt with it with humor and grace or ungraceful spazzing, but it worked and it, again, made me feel less crazy. I really recommend you read this book.
In Jenny’s own words, why you should buy her book:
I wrote a book and it only took me 11 years. (Shut up, Stephen King.)
You should probably go buy it right now, because it’s filled with awesomeness. And cocaine. But only if you hollow it out and fill it with your own cocaine. I’m not buying you cocaine. Because I love you.
And that’s why you should buy my book. Because I’m saving you from yourself. And from cocaine.
And you will be glad you read it, I promise! And I won’t buy you cocaine either, but I did just give you a great book rec, so it’s kind of the same thing!
Check out Bella’s new release from Loose Id, Downpour:
We are officially one week into NaNoWriMo, and I have already neglected everything in my life including laundry and shaving my legs, so we’re right on track.
I’m working on a romance novel, something I’ve written before but I am attempting to pull off a deep POV, semi-believable romance between two unlikely candidates: an ex-drug addict and a demon.
I tell you, these dudes have beautiful backstories. I can write them alone for hours. Get them in a room together, though, and they just sort of stare at each other, waiting for someone to tell them what they’re doing there. As always when I try something out of my comfort zone, I have a newfound respect for authors of deep POV romance. It’s frigging hard!
I’m ready to write this morning, ensconced at my dining room table with coffee and a laptop. Week two is ever the difficult week of NaNoWriMo, no matter the word count going in, things seem to slow to a crawl this week.
I’ve got things for the blog: A guest post, some Can’t Talk, Reading of my own, and more information on my upcoming release, New to This. In the meantime, enjoy the NaNoWriMo Blog Chain–lots of us crazy people out there!
The story I wrote for the For the Cure anthology has been reprinted in a BDSM anthology titled Coming Together: With a Twist.
I suspect my brain has been trained, now, to develop story ideas right around this time of year. I thank the discipline of NaNo for that. I’ve been trying to come up with a couple short stories in the mean time, but the brain keeps returning to the new novel, so I’m just going to let it. I’m working on plot structure and how to really get deep in a POV with characters this time around. I’ve been a dedicated world builder, now I want to focus my attention on the people, really get to know them.
Also, it’s a m/m erotic paranormal romance, so that should be fun I think.
This year my local group is full of people I don’t know well, and the people I used to write with every year have nearly all moved on to other things. I suspect I’ll be relying heavily on the online community and the truly awesome people of the NaNo Blog Chain to keep me motivated.
I’m still excited though! This is my favorite time of year
*Fable is a great series of games, from which I cribbed that title. You should play them, they’re super fun.
So, a few months ago I invited anyone interested to write a guest post for my Can’t Talk… series about whatever they were enjoying at the moment. I don’t know about you, but I rely on the recommendations of trusted friends to fuel my entertainment consumption.
Here’s the first post, which is written by my best friend and all around gamer genius, Bell. She runs the blog Razorblade Sammich, which you should read. Enjoy!
Cinders and Games as Art
A few months ago, I started hearing about a game called Cinders. Until I started seeing tweets and Tumblr posts mentioning it, I’d never heard of it, so naturally I was intrigued. I like to get in on the ground floor with things. I’m like a video game hipster, really. (Not really.)
Cinders, as it turns out, is best described as an “interactive storybook”. It’s an attempt to re-imagine well-known fairytale (I bet you can’t guess which one!) (That was sarcasm. You can totally guess which one. Because, you know, the name), and while I don’t think it was entirely successful in regards to the story, it was successful in introducing a new kind of gaming experience.
The graphics are simple and the animation is sparse (although the artwork is gorgeous), and all of the dialogue is provided in subtitles instead of voiced by actors. It’s a game without what I would think of as “actual gameplay”. You know, jumping, shooting, and solving puzzles- things we might refer to as “playing a game”. These are all things that modern gamers expect and even demand. Loudly. (Because gamers can be whiny, entitled babies, but that’s a post for another time.)
Cinders has none of that, and people loved it.
When I was a kid, we had these things called “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. I don’t know if they’re still around (I hear kids these days with their newfangled devices aren’t familiar with old-school reading technology) but before video games really took off, these books were like paperback single-player RPGs. (Um. That’s a “Role-Playing Game”, in case you’re not familiar; games like Dungeons and Dragons inspired an entire genre of video games in which you get to play the hero, and often making decisions that effect the outcome of the story.)
Cinders reminds me a lot of those old “Choose Your Own Adventures”. When the story begins, you’re introduced to the main character and her sisters, and the first thing that you have to do is determine Cinder’s feelings toward them. Does she pity them or resent them? Is your Cinders compassionate or bitter?
This theme continues throughout the game, with the player choosing dialogue options and actions that effect the attitudes of the people and events of the people around her. Sometimes the changes are quite subtle, but throughout the story your character grows and her relationships change, all in response to the player’s choices.
If I’m being honest, I have to admit that I wasn’t blown away by the actual game as much as a lot of people I know; I would have liked more depth to the choices and more choices than were offered. (Also, there were occasional grammatical errors in the text and that is a terrible immersion-breaker for me. But that’s just nitpicking.)
What blew me away was that this was a game that relied entirely on storytelling and succeeded, and this has the potential to change the way we view games and the way we play them.
When you talk about video games to “grown-ups” (that’s what I call people who don’t play games and who don’t understand why I do; I endeavor most earnestly never to become one) the image that a lot of them get is this one:
That is how they remember gaming, and the exposure they have to the games being made today isn’t all that positive. Advertisements flaunt shocking violence and explicit sexuality; news reports talk about how kids spend too much time playing games, how this murderer or that one played games, or how OMG THERE’S SEX IN THIS GAME.
If that’s all they know about games, it’s no surprise that they might have a negative attitude towards games and the people who play them. (I can’t count the number of times I’ve mentioned that I played games and had people look at me like I’d just picked my nose in front of them.)
What people don’t see is that games have evolved past mindless platforming (games where you have to jump a lot) and gratuitous violence. Games have become a medium for story-telling; much like movies and books, they have detailed plot lines and relatable characters.
Imagine your favorite book or movie; now imagine you get to play the lead role. It’s like that. (Don’t believe me? I cried harder during Mass Effect 3 than I did during The Deathly Hallows in either its print or cinematic form.)
Game writers and developers are gaining as much fame in the gaming community as writers like Suzanne Collins or Neil Gaiman do in writing communities. If you ask a dedicated, informed gamer who David Gaider or Cliff Bleszinski is, there’s a good chance they’ll know.
Many gamers aren’t playing games just so they can shoot aliens in the head. (It’s fun, though, not going to deny it.) They’re playing so they can experience grand adventures first-hand. I’ve been to Jerusalem during the Third Crusade and roamed Constantinople in the 1500’s. (I learned more about world history from the codices in the Assassin’s Creed games than I did in school and from watching the History Channel combined. Although the History Channel did teach me that Nostradamus was an alien Bigfoot that built the pyramids or something like that, so good work, History Channel!)
I’ve saved all galactic life from extinction. (I’ve done that one a lot. Best. Game. Ever.) I’ve fallen in love over and over again and made sacrifices that broke my heart.
Just like books or films, games are art. They inspire the same dedication and passion because they can make you experience things you hadn’t, feel things you never expected, and even reframe the way you think about life.
And you get to shoot aliens in the head while you do it.
Two awesome reviews for The Ruby turned up on the intertubes. I’m very glad someone out there read and enjoyed the story!
I have more good news on the horizon, too.
People–I’m starting to feel a little bit like a Real Writer ™.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Rainbow Reviews Blog Hop! I thought there were some thought provoking and fun posts out there.
The winner of my little giveaway, as chosen by the all powerful random.org, is shawnyj of this most delightful website: http://cupoporn.net. They’ve won me over by saying I could come on and talk about knitting.
Anyway I’ll contact her by email, and thanks again to everyone! I had a great time reading all the comments
I’m also going to a water park this weekend, but that’s not really as relevant.*
The theme of this blog hop is “What Writing GLBTQ Literature Means to Me.”
Writing fiction with queer characters is very important to me. I believe in visibility. I believe in the power of being seen, not just being seen with a big rainbow sticker on but being seen as doing the dishes, driving a minivan, fucking and falling in love. In other words, being just like everyone else.
I write fiction with queer characters because queer people exist. We’re not hiding in dark alleyways waiting to jump out on to unsuspecting straight folk. We’re here. We’re friends of yours, we’re parents at your kids’ schools. We’re not really any different from anyone else.
Do you guys remember when Joss Whedon answered that now-famous question: “Why do you write these strong, female characters?” (He gave this glorious speech, which you should go watch.) His answer, well one of his answers, is simply “because you’re still asking me that question.” That is what writing queer characters means to me. Why are you even asking me that? I write queer characters, kinky characters, characters who are pirates, characters who have tattoos, characters who are very tall or short. I write about people, people who interest me or entertain me. I write stories that I like to write. Sometimes, the people in them are gay. Sometimes demons live in the back of their neck. Stuff like that.
When I first came out as bisexual to friends and family, the reaction was mixed. What I often sense, even now, is an undertone of “who cares? You’re married to a man.” There is still a lot of invisibility attached to being queer, and inside that invisibility is a “disappearing” that makes queer people seem mysterious. “Othered.” Strange.
I am so happy that there are so many people, of all walks of life, who are enjoying reading fiction with queer characters (whether it be the dirty dirty kind that I write, or any other kind). I love to know that for them, a love story is a love story no matter the genders or whatnot involved.
I guess the answer to the question of what it means to me to write about queer folk is: Nothing. And everything. It means I write what I know and I write what turns me on and I write what I want to read. I’m so glad that others write that same way too.
Now for the giveaway. If you leave a comment here, I’ll pick one at random and offer a story from my backlist. You’ll find gay, straight, completely pansexual, pirate, ghost, deadly virus, treasure hunts and kinky dealings in there. I’d love to see which one appeals to you!
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of the blog hop, via this link: http://rainbowbookreviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-rainbow-book-reviews-blog-hop-is-here/. I know I will.
*I don’t do sun. I burn. I’m a writer for heaven’s sake, we don’t go outside! I’m currently trying to figure out how I can carry a giant beach umbrella with me the whole time.