Wednesday, January 18, 2017

#WIPpet Wednesday - Reunions (Shaunna and Andy - Pillow Talk) #amwriting

WIPpet numbers for 18th January, 2017:
(18-1)*17=289 words from Reunions

The current word count on this beastie is 182,500! I think it’ll be finished in less than 200k, but don’t hold me to that.

I decided to go with this particular scene because daughter #2 brought her second tiny son home from hospital today. He was born six weeks early (tiny grandson #1 was twelve weeks early), and a short while ago, she was chatting to me on FaceTime whilst expressing, which she’s doing to keep her milk flow, and because tiny grandson #2 doesn’t like the right breast (I had this with daughter #1 – it’s rather fun to compare notes).

WIPpet Context: Shaunna and Andy are an established couple with twin six-month-old daughters. Just prior to this scene, Shaunna and Andy were…well, you can figure it out from the first line. ;)

* * * * *
“I’ll get the machine in a sec,” he slurred, drunk on sex hormones.

“Don’t worry about it. They don’t need me anymore.”

“Whoa.” Andy lifted on one arm, instantly wide awake again. He switched arms and peered down at her through the almost dark. “What d’you mean? The girls don’t need you?”

“Not me. My milk. It’s getting too hard. I’m hardly producing any now, but it’s OK.”

Andy moved to her side and fed his hand under her neck, drawing her close and kissing her head. “Talk to me, RHB.”

“It’s nothing sinister,” she lied. It was true her milk was dwindling, and expressing had become a chore she could do without. [spoiler removed] “Can I have the breast pump, please.”

“Sure.” Andy went to get it from the other side of the room. Shaunna switched on the lamp and watched his glutes ripple as he bent and stretched to gather everything. He turned and came back, smirking when he saw her face.

“He doesn’t talk,” he said, pointing down.

Shaunna grinned and took the breast pump from him.

Andy settled in the bed beside her with his arm under his head. “It’s still amazing.”

“What is?”

“All that milk.”

“Yeah, but cows? Look how much they produce.”

“Cows are awesome.”

“You are so weird sometimes.”

“In a sexy way.”

“Of course!” Shaunna leaned back and closed her eyes. “I could fall asleep like this.”

“Sleep if you need to. I’ll pack up when you’re done.”

“Yeah, I don’t think I will fall asleep for real.” She opened one eye and peered at him. “You’re still wide awake.”

“Yep. Why? Did you want to talk?”

“Not necessarily. Did you?”

“Nah. Unless you’ve got anything interesting to tell me.”



* * * * *
What is WIPpet Wednesday?

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Witt - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Reunions - George reflects #RainbowSnippets #LGBTQ

Reunions: the never-ending WIP. Sigh. Today, the word count stands at 173,100. It’s a mess, still not finished, but I do believe it’s getting there. That said, trying to find six sentences that make sense in isolation is getting a bit tricky.

Brief explanation:
George is thinking back to the verbal bullying he went through in high school.

Here's the snippet:
Of course it bothered him. He hated being gay first, everything else second. It was what he’d always loved about Josh; he wasn’t ‘gay George’ or ‘star footballer George’. To Josh, he was ‘just George’, and when Josh had taken on Suzie Tyler, it hadn’t been only for George’s sake. He’d given her hell on Shaunna’s behalf, and Kris’s, and Rob’s—the list was endless.

You make me brave.

* * * * *

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you'll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story's main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

* * * * *

Thanks for reading,
Deb x

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

#WIPpet Wednesday - Reunions (with the Tierneys part 2) #amwriting

WIPpet numbers for 11th January, 2017:
11th January - 11+1=12 paragraphs from Reunions

Sean Tierney is one of the main characters from Hiding Behind The Couch, and first appears in Ruminations (Prequel #2).

WIPpet Context: This scene is from a few pages after last week’s WIPpet: Sean is in Derry with his son, Dylan. They’re spending Christmas with Sean’s mum and his older brother, Finn, who was in a serious car accident in his teens and has a long-term disability and (subsequent) painkiller addiction. Erin is Finn’s girlfriend, a nurse practitioner, whom Sean knew nothing about until she turned up with Finn for Christmas dinner. Finn has gone for a lie-down; Sean and Erin are finishing up from washing the dishes.

* * * * *
For as much as Sean hated what Finn had become, he tried not to hate him, to keep an open mind. Whenever he heard of a new pain treatment, Sean emailed the information to his old GP, who, as far as he knew, was still Finn’s GP. In a way, he supposed what he was doing—under the guise of a specialist sharing knowledge with his colleagues—was unethical, but it was nothing compared to what he suspected Finn and Erin were up to.

“What’s he taking these days? Still the oxycodone?”

Erin wiped the draining board down and wrung out the cloth before she turned his way with not a trace of the friendly warmth she had given off over dinner. “You’ll have to ask your brother.”

“Yes, of course.” Sean smiled and shrugged ‘silly me’, as if it hadn’t occurred to him that he was out of line. “Sorry. I…worry about him.”

“So do I.” Erin turned away from him again and hung the cloth over the tap. “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re really asking me, Sean. I’ve been a nurse for twenty-two years, eight of those in a drug treatment centre.”

“Look, Erin…if it sounded like an accusation—”

“Aye, it did.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Trust me, I would never abuse my position or risk my job. I care about your brother, enough to want to see him on the mend. You know better than I that he won’t get there through the bottom of a bottle. So next time you’re throwing your weight around, Doctor Tierney, think on. Right…tea…” She picked up the kettle, but Sean took it from her.

“I really am sorry, Erin.”

She looked him dead in the eye for several seconds before she nodded, he hoped, in acceptance of his apology.

“I’ll leave it in your capable hands, go see if the eejit’s up to being sociable again.” She moved towards the kitchen door but waited for Sean to finish filling the kettle and turn off the tap. “For the record, I’m worried about him, too, because he’s getting something from somewhere, but I promise you, it’s not from me.”

* * * * *
What is WIPpet Wednesday?

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Witt - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Reunions - Spread Your Wings #RainbowSnippets #LGBTQ


I’m at a bit of a loss today. I’m still trying to…oh, I don’t know anymore, lol. Reunions is driving me nuts! So, I decided to step away from it for the purposes of this RainbowSnippet and go with something from the opening pages of Spread Your Wings (the opening pages being all I’ve written so far).

Brief explanation:
Spread Your Wings is the sequel to Champagne—my first novel, originally published in 2004. I wrote it in the mid-1990s, which was a very different era in LGBTQ fiction, added to which, the story covers the first half of the 1980s. Spread Your Wings is set ten years later (1995-ish). Champagne doesn’t have even so much as a ‘happy for now’ because, honestly, none of the characters deserved it.

Spoiler alert for anyone intending to read Champagne! (Highlight below to read synopsis.)
Champagne tells the story of Sammy, a young man who goes to London in search of his abusive father and instead stumbles upon a seedy revue bar, where he promptly falls in love with Champagne, a drag queen (off-stage name Charles). Champagne is manipulative and an alcoholic. Frank is the son of ageing flamenco dancers who also perform at the revue bar. Also a dancer, Frank has been working in Spanish holiday resorts but returns to London for the close of the revue bar, which Sammy has bought with his inheritance from his grandmother. After Champagne emigrates to NYC, Sammy and Frank become lovers, but theirs is a destructive, violent relationship, and Sammy is still in love with Champagne. Three years later, when Champagne comes back onto the scene, their relationship is already at rock bottom, and Frank gives Sammy an ultimatum: it’s him or the club. At the same time, Champagne pleads with Sammy not to sell the club.

Here's the snippet (9 sentences, or it wouldn’t be complete):
“I heard Charles died,” Frank said, a casual announcement delivered as he turned to face Sammy and adopted an arms-crossed pose, knee drawn up, heel resting against the wall behind.

Sammy shifted his gaze from the coffee maker and over Frank, settling on the point of contact between Frank’s foot and the centre of a printed sunflower. The wallpaper was gaudy and outrageous; so, too, were the furnishings—yellow doors, white timber chairs with orange, red and yellow seats, a leaf-motif green and yellow tablecloth. In the midst of it all, Frank’s monochrome attire—black pants, white vest, bare feet—was vivid and powerful.

“I can’t recall who told me now. There were so many men.”

“At the club?” Sammy asked, seeking a clarification to strike out the double meaning of Frank’s words. Not an admission—Frank didn’t sleep around, or never used to—but another jab of the pain stick. Sammy deserved it.
* * * * *

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you'll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story's main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

* * * * *

Thanks for reading,
Deb x

Thursday, January 05, 2017

#WIPpet Wednesday - Reunions (with the Tierneys part 1) #amwriting

WIPpet numbers for 4th January, 2017:
Going US style on the date - Jan 4 - for 14 paragraphs from Reunions

Sean Tierney is one of the main characters from Hiding Behind The Couch, and first appears in Ruminations (Prequel #2).

WIPpet Context: Sean has arrived in Derry with his son, Dylan. They’re spending Christmas with Sean’s mum.

* * * * *
Alas, Sean’s optimism was crushed when he heard the front door open, followed by the foreboding click of an aluminium crutch. A familiar cold sweat descended.

“Was your bathwater a bit on the hot side, Sean?” Finn limped into the kitchen and grinned at Dylan. “You’ve shrunk since I last saw ye.”

“All right, Finn?” Sean greeted neutrally and then was stunned to the point he muttered “Jaysus” by his brother’s embrace.

“I’m not bad at all.” Finn gave him a good, firm pat on the back and released him. “Yourself?”

“I’m grand. You’re looking well, Finn.”

Finn nodded noncommittally, but to Sean’s eyes, he looked healthier and happier than he had in a long while.

“So this is the nephew, then.”

“It is,” Sean confirmed even though they’d met before. The way Finn was eyeing Dylan, like he was an unidentfiable object, was as amusing as it was annoying.

“How you doing there, young man?” Finn set his crutch down and crouched with his bad leg stuck out to the side. He couldn’t quite get down to Dylan’s level, but the fact he was trying was a wonder in itself. “What is he now? Eighteen months?”

“Coming up on that, aye.”

Finn nodded and struggled, with a fair bit of grimacing, to stand upright again. Dylan was transfixed. Sean and his brother had never been alike to look at—they shared only the same thick, dark hair—but they sounded the same, even to their own mother. Or they used to. A quarter of a century across the Irish Sea had anglicised Sean’s accent, and he talked much slower these days. He had to or else his colleagues, patients and students didn’t have a clue what he was saying.

“Are you still off the booze?” Finn asked. He was en route to the fridge and pulled out two cans of beer.

“I am, I’m afraid.” Sean hated sounding so apologetic. He missed social drinking, and regretted having to turn down the first opportunity ever to have a drink with his brother, but kicking his addiction remained one of the greatest achievements of his life.

“Good man,” Finn said. He put one of the cans back without further comment and opened the other. Dylan startled at the noise and glared at Finn, who was swigging long from the can and didn’t notice until he moved it away from his face, at which point he held out the can to Dylan and said, “You’re a wee bit underage, so you are, but if you ask nicely…” He winked and got a half smile for his troubles.

* * * * *
What is WIPpet Wednesday?

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Witt - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 02, 2017

2016 Writing Round-up Part 2: Gray Fisher, Sol and Adam, and the future


Am I going to rant? I don't normally. Haha.

OK, I'm not going to rant as such, but I am going to make a number of points in this post that are powered by utter fury and frustration, but I'll do my best to remain objective and not shoot my mouth off.

First up, in my last post - 2016 Writing Round-up Part 1: Those Jeffries Boys - I said "I've stuck to [taking Christmas off] with one exception, which was a Boxing Day discount event on All Romance eBooks. Obviously, that couldn't wait, but the twelve emails I've set aside can."

Well, what a total bloody waste of time that was! Between Boxing Day (26th December) and 28th December, All Romance eBooks went kaput. I won't go into the nitty-gritty, but what I can tell you is the email I received on 28th December, announcing the closure of the site, offered to pay 10% of royalties owed to authors and publishers. Authors for whom ARE acted as publisher were offered their rights back, and I believe the deal was even worse for them. You can imagine the opinion I have and all that I want to say. It involves a lot of swearing, but onwards and upwards...sort of.

If you bought any of my books (or any other Beaten Track titles) from ARE and lost them in the shutdown, email shopATbeatentrackpublishing.com with screenshot/receipt for replacement copies.

2016 was a year of genre trouble for me (to put it mildly). I don't like genres. They're too restrictive to my creativity, and ultimately I'm writing stories because I want to. You, loveliest reader, should read them because you want to.

I went through the ever-repeating roundabout of the genre dilemma when I was writing The WAG and The Scoundrel. I know how to write a romance; I know how to write a crime mystery. But both have been done to death, and writing within these narrow confines bores me seneseless, so my choice was...

a) write the story (some) readers expect
b) write the story I want to write

Naturally, I always want to go with option b). It's more fun for me, even though it means fewer readers (potentially), but that's fine (see above, re. write/read if you want to) because I don't write for money (thank f**k, given the amount of plagiarism, theft and piracy).

However, as I've written a few books that are a much better fit for specific subgenres (i.e. M/M Romance), there are readers who come to my other stories with certain expectations (bonking menfolk, mostly), and when those expectations are not met...



Yep, the one-star review. Or two stars, if I'm lucky.

And I get it. I do. If I'd been looking forward to a 'crime mystery / gay romance' for a month only to find that's not what I was reading (although WAG has significant elements of both romance and crime mystery), I'd be disappointed too. But here's the rub: there are certain retailers (Amazon) who categorise books NOT according to the categories authors/publishers select, but according to a combination of text analysis of the ebook file, the blurb and the keywords.

The result is that Of The Bauble - a young adult fantasy romance - ended up in 'Children's books - Magic' and I spent several days switching keywords until it finally stuck as a young adult fantasy romance. The WAG and The Scoundrel - listed by me as contemporary fiction / LGBT romance - landed in gay romance / crime thriller.

Add to this that other retailers (Smashwords) don't have specific categories for some subgenres, while still others (iBooks) make demands that books be re-categorised (incorrectly) before they agree to list them...well, it's all a bit of a nightmare for both authors and readers.

We would do well to all work together and extend a little understanding to each other.

-- Here Endeth The Moaning --


The Good Stuff
There are readers who love my books - I know because they've taken the time to tell me so. We chat online (and sometimes face-to-face). They don't care about my disrespect of genres or how my work is categorised. They read what I write because they want to and they enjoy it. In the end, it is those readers who always matter most.

Thanks bunches - for reading, for reviewing, for saying 'hi'. You are wonderful! :)


What's Next?
There is so much I want to write this year, but I'm not going to tie myself up with deadlines and stress, so here's the tip of the iceberg.

I have 2017 plans for Gray Fisher. More than plans, I have a cover for Book Two! Oh, yes. I'll be starting work properly on the story in the next couple of months.

The title: Tabula Rasa.

The main characters from The WAG and The Scoundrel will be back: Gray, Rob, Will, Naomi, Aaron, dogs, rabbit, guinea pigs, parakeet, chickens etc. I have no idea what they're up to yet.


The Checking Him Out world - it's been odd not to visit Sol et al for a year, but he's still around.

I have the beginning of The Making of Us, which is Jesse and Leigh's story.

I also have half a story idea and a dodgy draft cover for Checking Him Out At Home, which is Sol and Adam doing what they do best (argue and shag).


Hiding Behind The Couch - I continue to scribble away at Reunions (Season Seven). It's getting there...

In case you missed them, I released THREE HBTC stories in 2016:

  •  Chain of Secrets (Josh and George novella)
  •  Those Jeffries Boys (Mike, Andy and Dan novel)
  •  Class-A (Simon and Taz short story)

I think I'll pause there, catch my breath, and get back to writing!

Thanks for reading.
To you all, I wish a happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.
Deb x

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reunions - Ade and Barbara have a confab #RainbowSnippets #LGBTQ

Well, I wanted to post a New Year’s Eve snippet, but the only part of Reunions I’ve written for NYE is about Shaunna and Andy, and they’re not LGBTQ. But! I do have a scene from Christmas Day that links to the NYE scene by one degree of separation. ;)

Brief explanation:
Shaunna and Andy are a couple. Ade (in the snippet) is with Kris, who was married to Shaunna. Barbara (in the scene) is Andy’s mum. They’re all at Barbara’s rather grand house for Christmas dinner, and there’s some (huge) awkwardness going on between Kris and his stepdaughter (Shaunna’s daughter). Barbara is worried it will ruin the day for everyone.

Here's the snippet:
“It won’t,” Ade assured her. “Kris respects you. I’d even go as far as to say he loves you. You’re his second mum.”

“I’m very fond of him, too, and it’s lovely to see him happy at last. Well, I imagine he was happy with Shaunna…” Barbara pursed her lips before she said something she ought not.

Ade made a point of looking around the room they were in. “That window lets in a lot of light, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, it does, especially considering the time of year. The rest of the house is a little on the dark side, mind you.”

Ade nodded, still facing the other way. “Did Andy crush on her as badly when he was young?”

“Oh, he was shocking,” Barbara admitted with a certain amount of relief. For a minute, she’d been worried she’d offended Ade, but judging by the sweet smile he offered her, it wasn’t so.

* * * * *

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you'll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story's main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

* * * * *

Thanks for reading,
Deb x