Thursday, August 07, 2014

What’s Next? Fabulous Five Blog Hop

I've been invited to answer these questions by C.M. Walker, author of M/M Romance. Her current titles include Pledge Number Seven and Gravitational Force. Both can be downloaded from her website cm-walker.com.

What am I working on?

I'm currently writing Crying in the Rain - a standalone story (novella, probably, but it's still growing), but with characters that will be familiar to readers of the Hiding Behind The Couch series.

Crying in the Rain explores the romance blossoming between Kris and Ade, who meet for the first time whilst both working on the same radio play. It's told mostly from Ade's perspective, and "romance" is very much not on his agenda. He's recently come out of a traumatic long-term relationship, and is barely getting through from one day to the next, yet finds he can't ignore his attraction to Kris, and the feeling is mutual. But starting a relationship isn't going to be easy for either of them. It's going to require patience, understanding and trust.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I don't really write romance, I write relationships. My published work that is tagged as "M/M Romance" can thus surprise readers, and not always in a positive way, because there are certain expectations that go with the genre, and the stories I write don't necessarily fulfil them. So it's really quite difficult to categorise my work as one thing or another, which means it is contemporary fiction.

Of course, the genre of contemporary fiction is vast, and there's a great deal of diversity within it. I think what sets my work apart is characterisation and realism - I get a lot of readers commenting on how real my characters feel, and I'm told that they evoke strong emotions. I write about the everyday - the good and the bad. I try to get to the root of thoughts, feelings and motivations for why the characters (and all of us) do what they do, and the effect this has on their lives and the lives of other people. In real life, I see people's psychological rather than physical presence - personality, emotions, beliefs - and that is how I write . Thus, a character can be beautiful on the inside, but that beauty is only realised when others see it, or they know it for themselves.


Why do I write what I do?

I just write and that's what comes out. I've tried to force my writing in specific directions (for instance, to fit particular genres/subgenres), and it naturally drifts back to being about what makes us who we are - past events, the people around us, our perceptions; our uniqueness. I love exploring the minutiae of social interaction, and find it's much safer to do this from within the realm of a novel than in a pub in a northern working class town. Ultimately, I write because I must.

How does my writing process work?

I wake up pretty much every morning with ideas - if I'm already writing something, then these will generally be about where the story is headed next. I just free-write, all the while thinking "this is rubbish and it makes no sense", and then at the end of the day I send the document to my Kindle, read through what I've done, come back to it the next day, revise, continue, repeat. When it's finished, I leave it alone for a while, send it to some trusted people to read, then revisit it and edit some more. Only then, after it's been through about four revisions, will I be anywhere near the editor/proofreader stage.

Sometimes I have some notion of where the story is heading, and if a particular scene comes to me, I will write it, but usually I write in a linear fashion and let the story evolve. With Hiding Behind The Couch, the characters tend to hijack the narrative, so I just do as they tell me. That same process happens with my other writing too - once I get inside a character's head, I just "know" what's going to happen next.

Who's next on the blog hop?

Larry Benjamin - Bronx-born wordsmith Larry Benjamin is a 2014 Lammy Award finalist and the author of the gay novels Unbroken and What Binds Us and the short story collection, Damaged Angels.
[http://authorlarrybenjamin.blogspot.com]

Rick Bettencourt - Rick originally hails from Boston’s North Shore, and is the author of Tim on Broadway, Marketing Beef, Painting with Wine and Not Sure Boys.
[http://rickbettencourt.com]

L.M. Steel - author of crime thrillers, including the Once Upon a Set of Wheels series. [http://www.lmsteel.co.uk/]

Shayla Mist - author of M/M Romance, including Only You, Doctor's Puppy Love and Love Rivals. [http://http://shaylamist.blogspot.com/]

Monday, June 23, 2014

LGBT Roundtable Week #4: Rick Bettencourt and Lane Hayes

This week, our final Pride roundtable discussion is led by Rick Bettencourt and Lane Hayes.

You can read what they had to say by following the links below:





Our panelists are a diverse group of readers, writers, and supporters of gay fiction, including Larry Benjamin, Rick Bettencourt, Brandilyn Carpenter, Rob Colton, Andrew Q Gordon, Lane Hayes, and Debbie McGowan. Each week, two people will answer two questions related LGBT pride, rights, and related topics.

We will also be giving away free copies of our eBooks and an Amazon gift card. (Enter on the RC on any of the blog posts.) There are special entries for each week of June, so don’t miss out on those.

Please join in the discussion in the comments. You can gain entries into the giveaway, but more importantly, you can be part of a important and fun discussion. Although only two panelists will be posting each week, we will all be joining the discussion.

If you missed the previous weeks' discussion points, you can find them on the links below:


Andrew Q Gordon's Post:

Debbie McGowan's Post:




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

LGBT Roundtable Week #3: Brandilyn Carpenter and Rob Colton

This week, our roundtable discussion is led by Brandilyn Carpenter and Rob Colton.

You can read what they had to say by following the links below:



Rob Colton's Post:




Our panelists are a diverse group of readers, writers, and supporters of gay fiction, including Larry Benjamin, Rick Bettencourt, Brandilyn Carpenter, Rob Colton, Andrew Q Gordon, Lane Hayes, and Debbie McGowan. Each week, two people will answer two questions related LGBT pride, rights, and related topics.

We will also be giving away free copies of our eBooks and an Amazon gift card. (Enter on the RC on any of the blog posts.) There are special entries for each week of June, so don’t miss out on those.

Please join in the discussion in the comments. You can gain entries into the giveaway, but more importantly, you can be part of a important and fun discussion. Although only two panelists will be posting each week, we will all be joining the discussion.

If you missed the previous weeks' discussion points, you can find them on the links below:


Andrew Q Gordon's Post:

Debbie McGowan's Post:




Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lucky Seven Game

I've been tagged in the Lucky Seven Game by the wonderful Hunter Frost.

How does it work?
  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current WIP.
  • Go to line 7
  • Post on your blog the next 7 sentences or 7 lines—as they are!
  • Tag 7 people to do the same. 

It caused me a bit of a dilemma, as my current work in progress is Two By Two - Season Six of the Hiding Behind The Couch series - I'm well into writing the final episode of this instalment, and everything is a spoiler!

Thusly, I'm going with page 77 of the full season, and here are the seven lines:
    “You know when you go collecting tadpoles?” he said.
    Krissi frowned. “Yeah?”
    “And you get the ones with two tails, or the ones that just kind of wiggle and get nowhere?”
    “Hmm?”
    Ade nodded. “That’s what my sperm are like.”
    Krissi giggled. A lot. Then blushed. “I’m sorry,” she spluttered. “That’s so not funny, but the way you said it…”
Oh, and this is the first outing of the cover for episode one!

Two By Two will be out sometime in 2015.

Monday, June 09, 2014

LGBT Roundtable Week #2: Brandon Shire and Larry Benjamin

This week, our roundtable discussion is led by authors Brandon Shire and Larry Benjamin.

You can read what they had to say by following the links below:



Larry Benjamin's Post:




Our panelists are a diverse group of readers, writers, and supporters of gay fiction, including Larry Benjamin, Rick Bettencourt, Brandilyn Carpenter, Rob Colton, Andrew Q Gordon, Lane Hayes, and Debbie McGowan. Each week, two people will answer two questions related LGBT pride, rights, and related topics.

We will also be giving away free copies of our eBooks and an Amazon gift card. (Enter on the RC on any of the blog posts.) There are special entries for each week of June, so don’t miss out on those.

Please join in the discussion in the comments. You can gain entries into the giveaway, but more importantly, you can be part of a important and fun discussion. Although only two panelists will be posting each week, we will all be joining the discussion.

If you missed last week's discussion points, you can find them on the links below:


Andrew Q Gordon's Post:

Debbie McGowan's Post:




Monday, June 02, 2014

LGBT Pride: A Roundtable Discussion

This week on my blog, we're trying something a little different. In honor of LGBT Pride month, I am among a great group of panelists who will be hosting a month long discussion about Pride, LGBT Youth, Allies, and more.

Our panelists are a diverse group of readers, writers, and supporters of gay fiction, including Larry Benjamin, Rick Bettencourt, Brandilyn Carpenter, Rob Colton, Andrew Q Gordon, Lane Hayes, Debbie McGowan, and Brandon Shire. Each week, two people will answer two questions related LGBT pride, rights, and related topics.

We will also be giveaway free copies of eBooks by our participating authors and a Amazon gift card. You can enter on the RC below. There are special entries for each week of June, so don't miss out on those.

Please join in the discussion in the comments. You can gain entries into the giveaway, but more importantly, you can be part of a important and fun discussion. Though only 2 panelists will be posting each week, we will all be joining the discussion. 

This Week's Discussion

As the LGBT community gains more rights and acceptance, how has this affected LGBT youth?

It's a very emotional time for me to answer this question, and not necessarily for reasons directly associated with the topic of this roundtable discussion. Back in 2000, I started work in a high school - not my planned career, I must admit, but the job came up, and, well...we all know that story, and it's one for another time.

I was employed to teach in the sixth form, housed separately from the school's main building that I tended to enter and exit via the staff-room door, which meant for the first couple of months of working there, I didn't come into contact with the main body of students. This particular day, however, I decided (for reasons I do not recall) to step into the foyer in the middle of break (recess).

Bam! Wall of sound! The best analogy I can give you is the clacking of a multitude of seagulls - the school's located near Liverpool, which has a very guttural dialect and accent (much more so than any of The Beatles - have a listen to footballer Steven Gerrard, and you'll get the idea).

So, I'm standing there, utterly stunned by the noise and the sheer volume of teenagers. Bewildered, I look to my right, where there is a long corridor, with windows running all down one side. Children are scurrying everywhere, racing to get to the canteen for their break-time goodies, and teachers are yelling, "Stop running! Keep to the left!" And through the midst of this commotion strides a young man, flanked by two young women. He has big blonde hair, spiked and drawn forward. His thumbs are hooked in the pockets of his black, skinny jeans (sooooo not school uniform), and he's swaggering, right down the middle of the corridor, all not-give-a-f**k, king of the school, yet he was only in year nine (14-15 years old), so not yet a senior pupil.

Out. Loud. Proud.

It was just the most incredible thing, and he made so much difference in that school - I don't know if he's aware of that, but he, and other students who took that first brave step, paved the future for others. It's an amazing school for that reason, if nothing else. For there, sexuality is no more of an issue than any other aspect of growing up, and it's...wonderful.

To answer the question, therefore, rights and acceptance mean young people can concentrate on the million other things that are going on - learning, exams, going out with friends, choosing uni places, playing football, having romantic relationships - without worrying about a "difference" that doesn't matter, because it's just one of many things that make them a unique individual. It's not other. It's just...different. Growing up is tough enough already.

As for that swaggering young superstar: these days he runs a theatrical production company. He's an incredibly talented writer, actor and director. He has every right to be as out, loud and proud as he damn-well likes.

What does "gay pride" mean to you?

My answer to this question is really the flipside of my answer to the question above. First and foremost, I'm going to make a point of calling it "Pride" rather than "gay pride", because it's not about being gay. It's not even about being bi, or trans, or straight, or asexual, or any combination therein.

See, for every swaggering superstar in the world, there is at least one shrinking violet, who is simply too shy, too introvert and too self-conscious to be out and loud, however proud (or not) of themselves they might be. For those of us who fit this mould (yes, I am an introvert, contrary to what people might think), drawing attention to ourselves is not something we welcome, and being non-heterosexual, or not fitting the binary male/female gender categories does precisely that. We don't want that. We just want to get on with thinking, and creating, and philosophising, because that's what we do. But it's like having an enormous spot on the end of your nose. However great a conversationalist you are, you just know that the person you're talking to is thinking, "Look at that spot!" and even if they're not, you're thinking, "They're looking at my spot."

The point I'm making is that pride is an inner state of being, whereas Pride is a political endeavour.

Pride is the celebration of progress, affirmation, solidarity. It is about a safe space, raising awareness, and it is about drawing attention, so in some respects, the measure of its success will be its demise, inasmuch as it's characterised by garish carnivals, partying and entertainment. And who says you can't have fun whilst being political?

On the other hand, pride is self-affirmation, being comfortable in one's skin. It's about being true to oneself, and it's political on a deeply personal level.

To return to the question of what "gay pride" means to me, I get that it's politically important, I really do. But I worry about the separatism. I've heard and seen too many times the questioning by gay people of the motivations of straight people to join the fight for gay equality - why should they care? There's an implicit assumption that straight people only care if they have seen for themselves the damage that "phobia" has caused to a loved one, and I don't believe that's the case. So for me, it's not "gay pride". It's just pride: standing up for what is right, regardless of who or what we are.

Andrew Q Gordon is also hosting this week. You can read his most excellent roundtable blog post here: http://andrewqgordon.com/2014/06/02/gay-pride-month-virtual-roundtable

 

About our Panelists

Larry Benjamin: Bronx-born wordsmith Larry Benjamin, is the author of the gay novels, Unbroken, and What Binds Us and the short story collection Damaged Angels.
Larry will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014
 Twitter: @WriterLarry
Website: http://www.larrybenjamin.com 

Rick Bettencourt: Rick Bettencourt is the author of Not Sure Boys, Painting With Wine and Tim On Broadway. Rick hates to cook, and can often be seen eating out. He lives in the Tampa Bay area, with his husband and their dog, Bandit.
Rick will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014
 Twitter: @rbettenc
Website: http://rickbettencourt.wordpress.com 

Brandilyn Carpenter: Brandilyn is the odd duck in this group. She owns an LGBTQ fiction focused review blog, Prism Book Alliance, and is the married mother of 3 young children. She is an advocate for equal rights and tirelessly promotes the gay fiction genre.
Brandilyn will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014
 Twitter: @BrandilynRC
Website: http://www.prismbookalliance.com 

Rob Colton: Rob Colton is a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings.
Rob will be hosting the discussion starting 16 June 2014
Twitter: @robcub32
Website: http://robcolton.com

Andrew Q Gordon:
Andrew Q. Gordon lives in the DC Metro area with his husband and 2 year old daughter. While he enjoys most types of fiction, his current works include MM Fantasy, Paranormal and Contemporary Fiction.
Andrew will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014
Twitter: @AndrewQGordon
Website: http://andrewqgordon.com

Lane Hayes:
Lane Hayes is a M/M author, 2013 Rainbow Award finalist for her first release Better Than Good, designer, reader, lover of chocolate, red wine and clever people.
Lane will be hosting the discussion starting 23 June 2014
Twitter: @LaneHayes3
Website: http://lanehayes.wordpress.com

Debbie McGowan: Debbie McGowan is based in Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven fiction, runs an independent publishing company, and lectures in social science. Sometimes she sleeps, too!
Debbie will be hosting the discussion starting 2 June 2014
Twitter: @writerdebmcg
Website: http://www.debbiemcgowan.co.uk 

Brandon Shire: Brandon Shire writes fiction about human intimacy and interactions. He loves chocolate and is a staunch advocate for homeless LGBT youth.
Brandon will be hosting the discussion starting 9 June 2014
Twitter: @thebrandonshire
Website: http://brandonshire.com

Giveaway

Prizes (4 winners):
  • $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Listening to Dust by Brandon Shire, and eBook Not Sure Boys by Rick Bettencourt
  • $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Painting with Wine by Rick Bettencourt, and eBook from Andrew Q Gordon's backlist
  • $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook Unbroken by Larry Benjamin, and eBook Champagne by Debbie McGowen
  • $ 10 Amazon GC, eBook from Rob Colton's backlist, and eBook from Lane Hayes' backlist
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 30, 2014

In The Stars...most definitely!

I've spent sixteen hours typesetting the paperback and formatting the ebook for In The Stars Part II today.

Am I inefficient?
Maybe.
Or perhaps it's down to the 210k, 572 page, fifty-five chapter leviathan I spawned... (yes, you read that correctly)

Better still (or worse yet), this is only the second half of the story of In The Stars, which spans a year in the life of The Circle - the nine characters around which the Hiding Behind The Couch series revolves.

The full story consists of the 105 chapters below - around 1,150 pages and something like 384,000 words.

Which is, of course, why I'm releasing it not only in two volumes, but also as twelve separate episodes.

Each episode is released in the month in which the related zodiac sign falls, so the first six episodes are already available (at time of writing). It doesn't have much else to do with astrology, to be honest, although the themes of religious beliefs, science, fate and fortune are key.

I'll explain more about the story in another post. Review copies available, author is happy to be interviewed, but after she's had some sleep!

Buy/Download Links

IN THE STARS PART I

Episode 1: Capricorn
1.    MARIGOLD Friday 6th January
2.    HAIR Friday 13th January
3.    EXTERMINATION Saturday 14th January
4.    SWEET LITTLE LIES Monday 16th January
5.    U-TURN Thursday 19th January
6.    HANKERING Thursday 19th January
7.    ROBERTA Thursday 19th–Friday 20th January
8.    KID GLOVES Friday 20th January

Episode 2: Aquarius
9.    CORRESPONDENCE Saturday 21st–Sunday 22nd January
10.    ROOMS WITHOUT VIEWS Monday 23rd January
11.    RELEASE Tuesday 24th January
12.    STRANGERS Thursday 26th January
13.    BINGO Saturday 4th February
14.    BIRTH PLAN Thursday 9th February
15.    BLOODY VALENTINE’S Tuesday 14th February
16.    THE GODFATHER Tuesday 14th February
17.    WHEN HARRY LEFT SALLY-ANNE Thursday 16th February

Episode 3: Pisces
18.    WHODUNNIT PART ONE Monday 20th February
19.    MILK BAR Monday 27th February
20.    REDEMPTION Wednesday 1st March
21.    CLAIR VOYANT Saturday 4th March
22.    THE KISS Wednesday 8th March
23.    THE CHECK Thursday 9th March
24.    CLAIRVOYANT  Wednesday 15th March
25.    DEMONS Friday 17th–Tuesday 21st March

Episode 4: Aries
26.    DEAR FRIENDS Friday 24th March
27.    SHADOWS Saturday 25th March
28.    MILK BAR REVISITED Monday 27th March
29.    DOG PEOPLE Saturday 1st April
30.    BF—FE? Sunday 2nd April
31.    THE CHRISTENING Sunday 9th April
32.    HOMECOMING Monday 10th April
33.    BLACK HOLE SON Saturday 15th April
34.    LOVE HEARTS Wednesday 19th April

Episode 5: Taurus
35.    THIS LAST NIGHT Sunday 23rd–Monday 24th April
36.    MAKING PLANS  Monday 24th April
37.    JEFFRIES AND ASSOCIATES Thursday 27th April
38.    THE BEST MAN Monday 1st May
39.    BREAKSTUFF Wednesday 3rd May
40.    FIXING A HOLE Thursday 4th–Sunday 7th May
41.    MADNESS Monday 8th–Saturday 13th May
42.    ACHIEVEMENT, UNLOCKED Tuesday 16th May

Episode 6: Gemini
43.    ROTATION Wednesday 24th–Sunday 28th May
44.    TWO MINDS Monday 29th May
45.    FLAT Tuesday 30th May
46.    TWO HEARTS Thursday 1st June
47.    PERFECT MATCH Friday 2nd June
48.    AS ONE Monday 5th June
49.    IF Monday 19th June
50.    WHEN Monday 19th June


[BREAKING WAVES - a short story interlude]

IN THE STARS PART II


Episode 7: Cancer
51.    ONE FOR MY BABY Saturday 24th June
52.    24 HOURS EARLIER: LOW TIDE Friday 23rd June
53.    24 HOURS EARLIER: HIGH TIDE Friday 23rd June
54.    WIPEOUT Saturday 24th June
55.    BREAKTHROUGH Saturday 24th June
56.    THEN Early July, 32 Years Ago
57.    NOW Sunday 2nd–Monday 3rd July
58.    THE FULL MONTY Tuesday 4th July
59.    MORE THAN WORDS Friday 7th July
60.    BEHIND BLUE EYES Wednesday 12th July
61.    DEAD FUNNY Thursday 20th July

Episode 8: Leo
62.    THE LEGEND OF SHABINA Saturday 29th July
63.    HAZE Thursday 3rd August
64.    ONE Sunday 6th August
65.    SOMEONE ELSE’S ARMS Monday 7th August
66.    SHORT CIRCUIT Thursday 10th August
67.    STARLIGHT Thursday 17th August
68.    MISTAKES LIKE THESE Sunday 20th August
69.    MILK, GENES AND KIDNEY BEANS Monday 21st August

Episode 9: Virgo
70.    CRYING IN THE RAIN Wednesday 23rd August
71.    LABOUR OF LOVE Thursday 24th August
72.    POISON Wednesday 30th August
73.    LIPS OF AN ANGEL Wednesday 6th September
74.    TIPPING THE SCALES Saturday 16th September
75.    CROSSROADS Friday 22th September
76.    THE LONGEST TIME Saturday 23rd September
77.    FULL CIRCLE Saturday 23rd–Sunday 24th September

Episode 10: Libra
78.    MORNING SUN Sunday 24th September
79.    SAVIES Monday 25th September
80.    GOODS AND SHACKLES Wednesday 27th September
81.    LEAF FROM A TREE Monday 2nd October
82.    PLAYGROUND IN MY MIND Monday 9th October
83.    FIRE, WATER, BURN Monday 16th–Thursday 19th October
84.    IN THE SHADOWS Friday 20th October
85.    SHORT BACK AND SIDES Monday 23rd October

Episode 11: Scorpio
86.    PAINT, BALLS, WARFARE Tuesday 24th October
87.    THERAPY Monday 23rd–Thursday 26th October
88.    WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Monday 30th October
89.    HURLYBURLY Tuesday 31st October
90.    SLEEPLESS AND UNSETTLED Wednesday 1st November
91.    NOT THIS TIME Thursday 2nd November
92.    DOGGED DETERMINATION Saturday 4th November
93.    THE J WORD Tuesday 7th November
94.    DOT Wednesday 8th November
95.    HARD ON THE KNEES Thursday 9th November
96.    TO DOT Monday 13th November
97.    BIG ENOUGH Saturday 18th November

Episode 12: Sagittarius
98.    THE Y FILES Thursday 23rd–Friday 24th November
99.    LUMINOSITY Monday 27th–Wednesday 29th November
100.    HIGH AND LOW Friday 1st–Tuesday 5th December
101.    GUMSHOON Wednesday 6th December
102.    IN I SVARTA HÃ…LET Wednesday 6th December
103.    SQUARED Wednesday 6th December
104.    WHODUNNIT PART TWO Monday 11th December
105.    EVENT HORIZON Thursday 21st December


In case you missed them up there...

Buy/Download Links

Thanks for reading. :)

Deb x