Stuff and Things

This is just a housekeeping blog post, since I’ve been busy lately, and have a bunch of little thoughts that I wanted to gather together into a post. It’s been a pretty crazy week, with To Summon Nightmares being released, and working lots, and dealing with a particularly severe, if short-lived, bout of depression. I think it may have partially been brought on by book release nerves, which is a pain. Something that will hopefully lessen the more books I release. Anyway, onward!

So, if you received an ARC copy of To Summon Nightmares from NetGalley, and were really confused by the ending, it’s probably because you received an early copy that had a glitch in which part of chapter one was pasted onto the end. A few people misunderstood and thought that I had pulled a Stephen King style eternal time loop ending on them, which – really, I’m not that evil! Although, interestingly at least one person said they liked it that way. So there’s an example of artistic value in interpretation for you or … something. Anyway, if you have the glitchy copy and would like the proper, final version, just let me know and I’ll send it to you.

Secondly, if you read To Summon Nightmares and liked Cohen, do your self a favour and listen to this excellent song. It’s Cohen’s favourite, and he can often be heard singing it in the early mornings when Niall is trying to sleep.

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So, what’s next? Well, Christmas is coming, and I’m super pleased to have been able to write a short story for a Christmas anthology, especially since it meant getting into the Christmas spirit back in June. x) The Anthology is called A Touch of Mistletoe and … well, I haven’t read the whole thing yet, because I’m waiting to get the paperback so I can sit and read it in front of the Christmas tree with a mug of hot chocolate, but it includes some of LT3’s best authors (and me! <–good save) so I’m thinking it’s gonna be excellent. So that comes out December 16th.

Then on January 27th we have Double Take (this is what happens when you decide to write a few short stories in a row) which is part of LT3’s Trans Geek Out Collection. I’m going to share the cover again, because holy crap, I love it so much. If you’re not a fan of incest or menages, then this story is not for you. If you are a fan of misunderstandings, cute genderqueer characters with blue hair and smut, then this story is definitely for you.

As for upcoming projects, I am still knocking away at Skylark Tower. Still. I may die first, in which case, go ahead and publish the unedited draft posthumously, I’ll be dead, so I won’t care. That’s … pretty much how work on this story is going. No, honesty, I really love this story a lot, and I feel really strongly that it’s a story that needs to be told, which is why I’m working so hard on it. It’s sitting at about 53K right now, and I think I might have another 10K or more in me for it, which is good, because I have a problem with my stories being too short. I’m also eventually going to be looking for some more betas, particularly ones who are of Southeast Asian descent, identify as transgender, or who have some academic knowledge of class struggles and revolutions. Yeah, it’s that kind of story. Also, steampunk, if that interests you.

I do have ten days off work coming up (yay!), and I’m going to try to either finish Skylark, or else Witch, Cat and Cobb, which really only needs another 5K that I’ve just been putting off. It’s a fun, light f/f fairytale. I try to contrast my dark, longer works with shorter fluffier stories, to keep myself upbeat.

And after that, I’m not sure! I have quite a few ideas knocking around in my head, but nothing’s really grabbed me super hard yet. I’m thinking of another m/m contemporary because $.$ … ahem, because I’m trying to save up for a down payment, and I’d really appreciate another paycheck like the one I got for Ink & Flowers. But I also want to write more trans characters – I need to write more trans characters. I keep trying to come up with cis characters but they keep ending up trans. Sort of like when I try to think up a contemporary setting and my brain is like “wait, but have you considered vampires? OR they could be on a SPACE STATION. Yeah!” So we’ll see if I manage.

And I have rambled for long enough, I think. I will sign off with a picture of my cat, of course, and wish you all a very lovely week! Bye!

Edit: Oh, I almost forgot! I’m going to be doing some reading on my days off, so if you’ve read any particularly good books lately, please rec them in the comments! (I’m partial to queer romance, of course.)

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This picture is my desktop right now.

Release Day!

*toots party horn*To Summon Nightmares

*throws confetti*

Today’s the day! To Summon Nightmares is now available to purchase from these fine retailers:

Less Than Three Press
Amazon
Smashwords
All Romance Ebooks
iTunes
Barnes & Noble

The winner of the giveaway has been chosen, congrats Rebecca! If you didn’t win, there are still a couple of other giveaways open here and here.

I’ve received some lovely advanced reviews which are incredibly appreciated. Check them out here and here.

*cue heartwarming music, designer dress and gold statuette* I just want to thank everyone who helped make this book a reality, from my betas and early readers, to the editors and designers who worked so hard on it. Thank you to Less Than Three Press for their commitment to publishing diverse queer books, because to be able to read and write books about people like myself is still a dream come true. Thank you to everyone who follows me and shares my rambly blog posts (more where those came from) and to everyone who took the time to message me telling me how much the story meant to them. Holy crap, those are the best messages in the world!

Seriously though, it’s a really amazing thing to be a part of this awesome community and to get to do what I love. And know that my sarcastic, brittle heart is dying a little inside me from all this sappiness. But it’s true, goddamit!

Anyway, a writer’s work is never done! I’ve got more books and blog posts and smut to get to writing. Stay tuned, love you all!

And, of course, because what would my blog be without a million and five pictures of my cat, here she is in all her glory:

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Genre Lovin’

Genre fiction, also known as popular fiction, is plot-driven fictional works written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre, in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre. Genre fiction is generally distinguished from literary fiction.

Wikipedia

I love genre. For me, it’s the fun stuff. The stories that focus on plot and excitement, rather than pages of introspection and characters behaving badly. They have likable characters, and involve adventures outside of the normal every day experience. I’ve always been drawn to fiction (and movies/television) as an escape from my everyday world. I don’t want to crack open a book or turn on the tv to see more of the same. I want adventures on the high seas, sprawling fantasy, science fiction that takes me to the very edge of the human experience.

A lot of the time genre is seen as somewhat lesser than literary fiction, partially because it’s jetpack(apparently) more derivative, basing itself on already established conventions like setting, plot, characters. And a lot of the time that’s true, but working within conventions doesn’t necessarily make you less creative. Sometimes it forces you to be more creative. For every hack-job heartless, dime a dozen sci-fi movie, there’s a boundary-pushing, convention-defying masterpiece that surprises you at every turn. And then there are the stories that fit every convention, don’t really offer anything new, and don’t try to be anything better than just quality entertainment, that you can easily slip into and enjoy, without worrying that it’s going to unsettle you, or take you somewhere you don’t necessarily want to be right now.

And I love those stories. I love writing those stories. I don’t always want to be stressed out, or disgusted by humanity, or depressed all the time. Genre fiction and movies give me characters that I love, stories that I want to know the ending to, and they leave feeling happy and content.

But here’s the thing: What do those stories almost always have? Especially the movies and tv shows, but adult genre fiction most of the time too. (Hint: it’s rooted in the very sexist “hero gets the girl” trope.) Yeah, it’s romance. Romance in genre spans from a barely there, shoehorned in with a kiss at the end type of deal, to a deep meticulously developed love that becomes the emotional basis of the story, and everything in between. But one thing that’s missing from almost all these stories: queer romance.

This is something that I love to rant about, because it’s really depressingly prevalent. Queer characters are always relegated to the depressing stories, the literary fiction and its movie equivalent. We don’t get happy endings very much, and even when we do, it’s usually after a lot of depressing things that happen because of our sexuality. Now, queer people are slowly becoming more visible in genre, and it’s great, but we’re almost always given a supporting role, a side character, with a romance that is mostly sex-based, or else completely side-lined. And yeah, a lot of the time, we die.

It’s always a huge surprise to see a genre-type story with a queer person as the main character. I was plesantly surprised to start season 2 of American Horror Story and see a lesbian as the main character (although, don’t spoil it for me, but I’m guessing she dies). I was super excited to read about a new tv show, The London Spy, starring Ben Whishaw, who was rumoured to be playing a gay character who is also a spy. Further digging shows this rumor to be false. And my interest in the show just dropped down to nothing. That’s the thing though, I’m desperate to see a queer character in the lead role of a genre story. I’ll take anything! But it really is depressingly rare. And that’s where I turn to romance.

Well, okay, no, I love romance anyway. For a long time I pretended I didn’t. Probably partially because I was struggling to express my gender identity, and my solution at the time was to distance myself from all things “girly” including, apparently, stories about being in love. But I do love them. My favourite part of all those sci fi and fantasy stories was the romance, and my favourite ones were the ones that made it the centre of the story. When I grew up and discovered genre romance novels, I was hooked.

And that’s how we come to lgbt genre romance. I love it dearly. I can see awesome lgbt characters, the centre of their own story, with a wonderfully developed romance at the heart. This is what I want to read, this is what I want to write, and I’m never going to leave. With the stigma of “queer” inside the further stigma of “romance,” it’s unlikely that it’s ever going to become mainstream. But I’ll keep doing my best to get the word out.

I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m going to keep writing about people like me falling in love and having adventures. Because we deserve it too.


To Summon Nightmares comes out November 4th! Less than a week!

To Summon Nightmares

Three years ago, Cohen Brandwein was “Ireland’s Favorite Daughter”, a popular teenage author and internet celebrity. But ever since he came out publicly as trans, the media’s treatment of him has been less than golden, and these days, Cohen is desperate for escape.

When he inherits an old house in the country, Cohen sees it as a perfect opportunity to escape the press and work on his new book. What he doesn’t count on is becoming embroiled in a small town murder mystery and falling for the primary suspect, a man whose reality makes Cohen’s fantasy books seem like child’s play…

Wordcount: 53,000
Price: $5.99
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Trans, M/M
Excerpt
Pre-order (save 15%)
Comment to win a free copy + a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Thanks for reading! Oh, I almost forgot.

saphlaundry

1 Month Countdown! – My Fears about Publishing Trans Romance

To Summon Nightmares comes out in just over a month, and I’m filled with both excitement and trepidation.

I’m excited because I honestly believe that it’s a great book, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. It’s probably the best book I’ve ever written, and at the time of writing it, it definitely was. There was a flow to the writing that hadn’t been there before. I knew what I was doing, and although I ended up having to scrap and rewrite quite a bit, I felt confident in my ability to make it To Summon Nightmaresbetter, and to really write something good. I believe that confidence is one of the best tools that an author can have. To make the audience believe that you know what you’re doing, to make the audience trust you, is invaluable.

On top of that I’ve had a couple of people who read early versions go out of their way to tell me how much they liked it, and that it was one of their favourites.

It’s also a subject that is very personal to me, and writing stories with transgender characters is something that I feel is incredibly important. In this story, the fact that Cohen is transgender isn’t just a medical condition from his past (although I think stories that have trans characters without revolving around that fact are important too.) He’s in the midst of the turbulence of transition, dealing with issues of self and self-image, and wrestling with dysphoria. I wanted to get up close and personal with Cohen’s dysphoria, and much of it is lifted directly from my experiences. It’s a story about a turning point, and writing it mirrored and became a turning point in my own life as well.

So the trepidation I’m feeling is because I suspect very strongly that it’s not going to sell well. I shouldn’t care so much, I know. I should be happy if it reaches a few readers who really love it. And it really isn’t about money (although money would be nice, haha.) My last book, Ink & Flowers, did phenomenally well. But hey, it was a contemporary romance with conventionally attractive gay cis boys. That’s what sells. Paranormal fantasy with a chubby trans lead? Probably not so much. I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, and it might end up selling very well.  I’m mostly trying to prepare myself for disappointment. But I’ve read plenty of testimonials from authors who want to write more trans characters, but unfortunately they rely on writing for their income, and trans stories, they say, just don’t sell.

I want to become a successful author with a wide reach. But I don’t want to have to sacrifice writing stories that mean something to me. (Not that I&F didn’t mean something to me, because it did, but so does Nightmares.) So what do I do?  And I know I’m not the first author to lament this. But I do want to be able to retire from my day job eventually. And I don’t want to stop writing trans characters either. The only solution I can think of is just to keep writing really, really good trans stories, and hope they catch on!

Anyway, after all that, I don’t want to be a huge douchewaffle and start pressuring you to buy my book. Instead I think I’ll link to a few romance books about trans characters by authors who I would love to see more trans stories from. If you would too, consider supporting these books!

A Matter of Disagreement by E.E. Ottoman
Breaking Free by Cat Grant
Wallflower by Heidi Belleau
Static by L.A. Witt

If you know of more, please feel free to link in the comments! And of course, you can pre-order To Summon Nightmares here.

And this blog post is now over the recommended length of 500 words, and doesn’t contain anything close to the optimal quota of cat pictures. So I’ll leave you with a photo of my cat and no more words, and that’ll have to do! Cheers!

Girls go crazy 'bout a sharp dressed cat.

My Cat the Book Model

This morning I was sitting in bed drinking tea and reading through Twitter, as I do, and I came across this post by Chuck Wendig talking about self-promotion, followed by  this tweet by Sara Megibow: “#1 mistake I see in publicity campaigns is blog mania the month of book release and crickets two months later.”

I realised that I’m totally guilty of this, as I haven’t posted a blog post in the two months since my book came out. “I want to write a blog post,” I lamented to the bf. “But I have nothing to write about.”

“Well,” he said, “why don’t you take pictures of the cat posing with your books and post that?”

So, without further adieu, my cat, Sapphira, who liked posing with my books so much that she sat on one of them.

she sniffed it first

Sapphira sitting on The Fairy Gift

Every third generation, on the eve of his eighteenth birthday, the eldest son is blessed with a fairy’s gift. His entire life, Marcus has been told that he is that fortunate son, and he has waited with mixed feelings for the day to arrive.

On the eve of his eighteenth birthday, he is indeed visited by a fairy. But that fairy is a stunning man, nothing like what Marcus expected, and the only thing more shocking is the gift he bestows. A quiet, ordinary young man, Marcus suddenly finds himself blessed with the gift of Seduction.

It is a gift that will lead him down all new roads, into dangers and worlds he never predicted. It will lead him to a place he never thought to be, and to someone who is far more than meets the eye…

Ebook: $4.99
Paperback: $11.99
Word Count: 50,000
Buy Link
Amazon

look at that mug

Sapphira posing with Ink & Flowers

About to lose his apartment, and desperate to avoid having to move in with his horrendous relatives, shy art student Luke impulsively agrees to a deal from hell: sex with a man he doesn’t know in exchange for a couch to sleep on.

His new “roommate” Cooper is everything that Luke hates: crude, uncouth, and covered in tattoos, not to mention openly gay. Luke has all but resigned himself to a miserable fate when it turns out Cooper might want something a little different than he expected.

Ebook: $4.99
Paperback: $11.99
Wordcount: 41,000
Buy Link
Amazon

She was also interested in my copy of my friend Alex Powell‘s book Rangers Over Regulus!

sniffing books is the highest praise a cat can offer

As you can see

Liberty is a vampire living on a space station where those who seek to avoid the government always land, and spends his days working for the assassin who runs the place. Life is as peaceful as a colony of thugs at the edge of civilization can get. Then a Ranger shows up…

Print: $5.99
Paperback: $13.99
Buy Link
Amazon

Obviously she took to her role as book model beautifully!

"what is the meaning of this??"

"ah, you are taking photographs of me. proceed."

"yes. i AM that attractive, aren't i."That’s all folks! Thanks for humouring me while I post pictures of my cat on my website, and also for checking out my books!