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


Friday, May 16, 2014

Love's Landscapes (DRitC) - Sugar and Sawdust

So, the thing is this.

I got to the end of Checking Him Out, and it was all ready for submission. And, as all writers will know, it's a bit difficult to...

...just let go.

I had plenty of other stuff to be getting on with, but I was watching the forums for Love's Landscapes. As I explained a couple of posts back, members of the MM Romance Group submitted "Dear Author" letters, detailing the story they wanted to be written, and authors claimed these prompts, which is their agreement to write that story. Unfortunately, circumstances mean that some authors have to pull out, and their prompt is then 'open' again for someone else to claim.

On this particular evening, I was home alone, when two prompts became available at the same time.

One was a sports-related prompt, which I had ideas for, but the prompter was hinting heavily at baseball, and I know next to bugger all about baseball (played with bats, and has that weird ballpark organ music, that gets faster and faster and freaks out my sister).

The other prompt, I read a couple of times, and I liked the prompt, but I wasn't sure about the photos that came with it.

I can't post the photos here, but both are of men with very defined musculature. The first is older - I said thirty-five, the editorial team say he's forty, if he's a day, maybe even fifty. I've since found the model's portfolio online, and the editorial team be right, and he looks a rather lovely, homely sort, except in the prompt photo, where there is absolutely nothing homely about him. Besides, the story's written now. The man in the second photo is younger, possibly around twenty, dark, slim, and a bit pouty.

The prompt:

Dear Author,

I adore my baby brother and I try not to meddle in his life but since our parents are halfway 'round the world, looking out for him is up to me and he is so unlucky in love, I can't help it. Guys are always taking advantage of his kindness and generosity (okay, gullibility). Yesterday, I saw him in a restaurant with this man, and I'm beside myself. Shall I send champagne or a walker? What's a big sis to do? Yeah, this guy doesn't look like he'll take his money but what about his heart?


Note: brother is twenty-something, just very youthful-looking.


Fingers crossed,

Sincerely,

K.

And it dawned on me that the younger of the two guys in the photos looks a lot like someone I know who is a fashion model, which was enough to spark an idea for the story.

Except I had a tiny, weeny problem.

I know NOTHING about fashion. If you know me in the real world, you'll read that and no doubt think, "You can say that again." I'm fine with it. I like what I like. I don't have a look, or not deliberately.

However, fourteen years of teenagers asking me if I'm a goth/emo/mosher, whether I like Slipknot, not to mention a previous headteacher asking me to mentor the senior pupils who were "going through an emotional time", aka the sad and dangerous self-harm-littered emo trend, leads me to conclude that I do have a look.

I like to think of it as 'aging skater dude', other than that I can't skate (except virtually), and actually it's just that I like hoodies and baggy t-shirts T-shirts (nod to my enduring and amazingly patient editor - she is a superstar), and DC skate shoes are THE comfiest footwear ever invented.

But anyway, I digress.

I needed help, so I went to the one person I know who is something of a fashion aficionado. OK, so I'd spent months mocking him for his 'hobby' - he collects brand-name clothes like I collect ebooks. In fact, the contents of his wardrobe are probably worth the same number of quids as there are words on my Kindle!

So, he tutored me, quite extensively, via Twitter, on the current trends that would most likely appeal to my two main characters. He also read the story, and I think is probably still recovering from the experience - I did warn him that it was a little on the erotic side, which is why you're only getting the first half of Chapter One here. For the record, 'the real Jorje' shares only a couple of traits with the main character (he's male and knows about fashion). 'The real Alec' shares only one trait, but you'll need to read the story to find out what that is!

After much playing around with ideas and consulting with my 'creative assistants' (you know who you are - thank you for your input), I settled on this cover.



And lastly, here's an excerpt from Sugar and Sawdust, which will be released as part of the Love's Landscapes Anthology (published by MMRomanceGroup) during Summer, 2014.


SUGAR AND SAWDUST

by Debbie McGowan © 2014

Chapter One (Excerpt)

Jorje stirred from somewhere under the muddled, muffled mass of duvet, trying to fight his way to the top of the bed before his phone stopped ringing. He made it. It stopped.

"Crap."

As he lay there, puffing his bottom lip out to try and clear the sweaty strands of hair from his face, he realised three things. Number one: he had a massive hangover, which meant he'd also been massively drunk the night before. Number two: this wasn't his bed. It wasn't even his bedroom, or his apartment. Number three…

The blonde head approximately six inches to his right emitted a low grumble, something between a snore and a groan. In the distance, Jorje's phone started up again. Slowly, carefully, he turned on his side and sat on the edge of the bed, squinting and locating the painfully bright glow of the phone screen across the room. The ringing stopped. The screen dimmed once more. Hesitantly, he pulled the duvet away, amazed and relieved to find that he was still wearing his Cavalli briefs. He rose to his feet and peered under the duvet—blonde dude was still in his underwear too. Well, that was both good and bad. Good, because he had yet to remember anything about the night before. Bad, because it didn't look like it was worth remembering, and that, at least, would have compensated for feeling like death warmed up.

So. No idea where he was. Not a clue how he got there. Absolutely no memory of the dude in the bed. In fact, the last thing he could remember was being at Bella's night club with Ben and the gang, dropping shots like they were going out of fashion. And now he was here, and it was daylight, and his phone was ringing again. He made it across the room.

"Tay," he mouthed soundlessly at the sight of his sister's profile pic on-screen. He absolutely did not want to talk to her right now. He dismissed the call, gingerly pirouetting to take in the sight of the room—the curtain-muted daylight, the rough woven rugs, like stepping stones, between the door just to his left and the king-sized bed with its king-sized occupant, back turned, still fast asleep. Jorje picked up his clothes, cracked the door open a few inches, and crept through the gap.

The light in the hallway was blinding, and he automatically screwed up his eyes, wincing in pain. At one end was a vast arched window, the sun streaming through and replicating the arch in shadow form on the floor, fading where it collided with the white heat beaming from the skylight above. Light bounced off the plain white walls, starkly contrasting with the black wrought iron banisters that ran the length of the hall and swirled down around a spiral staircase. Jorje used the rail to steady himself, tugging on his Balmain biker jeans. The slim fit was a pain in the ass when sober, near impossible when hung-over (possibly still smashed), staggering with one leg in and one leg out. He almost toppled, but not quite, the slap of his bare feet against the wooden floors echoing loudly up into the rafters. He finally got the jeans on, zipped them, glancing along past the doorway from which he had just emerged, hoping to locate a bathroom. There were two other doors, both identical. Tentatively he opened the first, got lucky, dived in and unzipped his jeans again, the pleasure of that gush of piss utter bliss and loud enough to drown out the sound of someone else entering the room behind him.

"Good morning."

Jorje jumped and stopped peeing. A deep, gentle laugh like distant rolling thunder rumbled behind him.


For more information on the Love's Landscapes event (and previous events), visit the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads / MMRomanceGroup.com

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Love's Landscapes (DRitC) - Checking Him Out - Writing Process and Preview

Checking Him Out is back from round #1 with my editor*, and she's pretty bloody awesome, that editor. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a bolshy, stubborn author who digs her heels in. Luckily she seems to know how to handle me, as I've come out the other side smiling and happy - a very different outcome to the one I had recurring dreams about two nights ago!

*Addendum: it is now edited and with the proofreaders!

There was also an interesting plot hole that she spotted, and it took me about ten minutes of sitting, staring at the screen, saying, "What the hell is she on about?" over and again, before the penny dropped.

It's fixed now, and I've got to say that right at this point in time I think this is the best story I've ever written. It's probably just a post-writing / post-editing moment of euphoric bias, because I love my Hiding Behind The Couch series beyond the capacity for rational thought. However, Checking Him Out was a new kind of challenge for a few reasons, and I feel very accomplished, which is rare for me. I don't think I'm good at writing. I know how to put words together, and I'm very particular about detail, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm any good at it. Nonetheless, people generally seem to enjoy what I write, and I do feel that I've achieved a lot with this story, in part because it's a little bit different to my usual stuff, although you can still expect plenty of interesting secondary characters, and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster along the way. Ever met a perfectly balanced person? No, me neither.


What's different about Checking Him Out

First and foremost, it's a first person narrative. I usually write in third person, and this is brand new for me. Being an academic, it's been trained out of me to even write in active, rather than passive, voice, never mind first person, and to begin with I found it really hard. I wrote the entire of Chapter One (below), feeling very alienated from the writing process, and originally wrote it in present perfect tense, but didn't like it, so I paused halfway through Chapter Two, rewrote, and continued.

Secondly, I've never written to a remit, which wasn't as tough as I anticipated, and turned out to be really good fun. The "Dear Author" letter was almost like I was standing in the checkout line, watching the interaction take place. In fact, I can see it quite clearly in my mind's eye, and it would be exactly the sort of interaction to trigger my imagination in real life.

That said, it did lead to a further challenge, which is that I've never deliberately set out to write gay romance before, and from a male perspective. I do read it, but I struggle to reconcile being a woman (albeit a woman whose friends are mostly male, and often gay) with writing about gay men's experiences. As authors, we have to get inside the heads of our characters. It doesn't matter who they are - age, gender, sexuality, job - we're getting into role in the same way as actors do, in order to create a realistic portrayal. However, I worried that my characters would be less than three-dimensional, because I was approaching the story from the romance angle specifically, whereas I normally "just write" and the characters gradually reveal themselves, shaping the action accordingly. I think they turned out OK - I'll find out when you all go and read it (ever the optimist).

Lastly, for some crazy reason I based a significant part of the story in Boston, MA. I'm still not entirely sure why, as I normally go for fictitious locations that are similar to real places, or base my story somewhere that I know well. Other than watching Boston Legal in its entirety, Boston is a city I know nothing about, but I've always wanted to visit.

So, I visited. A lot - on Google maps and Street View! I wandered up and down streets, past parks, peered inside subway stations...I thought I'd nailed it, and then a fellow author with a rather fabulous knowledge of Boston (and an awesome turn of pen) checked out my geographical / local references. Last minute edit rush! Eek! It's a better story for it, though (thanks, Rick Bettencourt).

I want to say a huge thank you (again) to my "Dear Author" author... :) for such an inspirational prompt. I hope that the story lives up to expectations. And thanks also to Larry Benjamin, for beta-reading whilst I wrote. I needed an honest opinion, and I knew you would provide it. Whilst I'm doing the thank-yous, I also owe quite a few to my fellow beta-reading Love's Landscapes authors, K.C. Faelan and Shayla Mist.


Now, in my last post I said I'd tell you more about the main character, Sol Brooks, but I think I'll just hand over to him! So, without further ado...




CHECKING HIM OUT


by Debbie McGowan © 2014

Chapter One

I probably wouldn't have noticed, but the guy was wearing sweatpants with nothing underneath. First the attempt to shove his way behind me, then the hot palm on my shoulder. Elise stopped talking and all of a sudden I had no idea what she'd been saying.

"Hey, would you mind?" That was Captain Impatient, his crotch now level with my ass, pressing into me, because there's really not enough space in a checkout aisle for two big guys to pass by untouched, though it wasn't the physical contact that threw me.

Captain Impatient.

He was my height, maybe a little shorter, so around six one, and my build—yeah, I work out, a lot. And he was looking right past me, like he was so sure I'd let him go ahead, even though I could take him, in more ways than one. He had a strong, kind of musky scent going on—guess he worked out a lot too, and that's where he'd been. A guy who's got any sense of pride gets a shower first, but not this guy. Probably couldn't wait long enough. His hand was still on my shoulder, the distinctive smell of residual sweat and the metal of weights snaking its way up into my nostrils, the heat coming off his chest radiating right across my back. I could almost taste him. And I could feel him, getting hard inside his sweats...

Elise was about to reply, but I shot him a glance over my shoulder.

We'd been in the store a long time, and I was getting tetchy. Flattered by his reaction, but tetchy nonetheless.

The moment passed. He ground his way back to his place in the line, smiled, far from apologetically, and followed up with, "Sorry. It's just I figured as I only had this, and you're, well..."

His accent. He was British—English, in fact, with a hint of something else, and the words poured off his tongue like maple syrup trickling off hot pancakes. They slid over my skin, pooled around me, stuck my feet to the floor. I was still staring at him. Damn.

I turned back to Elise to find her slamming the last of the groceries onto the belt. She had on her thunderstorm face, the one where her eyes flash with danger and darkness falls, thick and heavy. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow either, but at some point the thunderclap would come, and then the torrential downpour.

Oh boy, was I in trouble.

She left the case of beer in the cart, because there was nowhere else for it to go, and because it was mine. She was making a point of that. She attempted to reconvene the conversation, but I was only aware of her mouth moving. I couldn't hear the words over the blood pumping in my ears. I had my back to him, as he took a call on his cell. I heard that, loud and clear.

"The store on Memorial," he said to person unknown. "Yeah, that's the one. See you in five." A pause. "You too. Bye. Bye."

Pause and confirmation.

Love you.

You too.


That's what it'd be, right? Why should I care? I'm a married man. Happily married man, so they tell me. Maybe I didn't agree with the happy part so much, but I sure as hell wasn't interested in this guy.

"Chrissakes, Sol," Elise hissed.

I snapped myself out of it.

There was space on the belt now and I effortlessly hoisted the beer, turning as I did so, and caught a brief glimpse of him. Dark hair, short and kind of wavy, square jaw, thick ruddy lips. White sleeveless tee, taut against his chest, picking out, enhancing, defining. A dark tattoo graced his left upper arm, though I couldn't tell what it was. He was counting out the exact money for his purchase—a two pound tub of vanilla cream protein shake mix. I looked again at our cart-load of groceries, and maybe felt a little mean making him wait. He glanced up, met my gaze. Smiled again.

"You getting this?" Elise asked and opened her purse anyway.

"Uh, yeah. Sure," I said. I moved forward and handed over my card. Sexy guy moved forward too, hot on my tail, and I really do mean on my tail. I wondered if he had personal space issues, as in he was claiming mine. The teller handed my card back. I followed Elise and the cart out to the car.

"You didn't answer my question," she reminded me. I was wondering how much grief I'd get for admitting I had no idea what she'd asked. She saw that I was clueless and sighed so loudly it could have lifted the groceries out of the cart for her. Instead that was left to me. She decided to help me out, with the question, not the groceries. On that score she stood, arms folded, inspecting her nails, watching me heave the multitude of bags into the trunk.

"Rory's party?"

"Right?" I searched my brain for the scattered remnants of what we'd been talking about. It came back to me. Her new boss was having a rooftop garden party, and as husband of the newest junior partner I was expected to attend. I hated those kinds of things—work socials, grocery shopping, anniversary dinners—but that's what I'd signed up for.

"When was it, again?" I asked.

"A week from Thursday. Eight thirty."

I scanned my mental calendar, hoping to find a clash. No joy. I relented with a shrug and we got in the car, drove home in silence and wordlessly stowed the groceries. Elise went to shower. I filled up the coffeemaker, switched it on, but grabbed a beer instead. I was restless, still thinking about him, building him a life story. I'd have said he was single, were it not for the phone conversation. He seemed kind of...available. Interested. Interesting? I guessed he had a physical job, maybe in security, or something, though people made that assumption about me, wrongly. It was crazy. I mean, I'd just met the guy. Not even that much. I'd likely never see him again, and it wasn't as if I was short on options. I considered calling to Elise, to say I was going for a quick workout, see who was still around, but it was getting late and I changed my mind. I turned on the TV, flicked through a few channels. The running shower made for an interesting soundscape to the muted moving slideshow. I took a big gulp of beer and flopped back onto the sofa, immediately rescued from my reluctant R and R by a knock at the door. I automatically checked the time. Nearly ten. I went to answer anyway.

"Hi."

Captain Impatient.

"Hi," I said. He smiled, extending an arm.

"You left this."

I fought to unlock my eyes from his and looked down. My wallet was in his hand.

"Ah. Um, thanks," I uttered inarticulately.

I reached out to take the wallet, my eyes straying down past it. He was no longer in sweatpants. Stonewashed jeans, tan boots. Clean boots. For some reason that irked me. I followed the blue jeans back up, glancing over the smooth black tee. My gaze met his once more, a glistening silvery blue in the glow of light from the apartment, like molten metal. He was still smiling, his mouth a little crooked, tipped up to the left. Infuriatingly, I found myself smiling back. After what seemed an age, my fingers made contact with the wallet. He relinquished his grip on it, though he still had a hold on me, like we were tethered together and neither of us could break away. Finally he nodded and turned to leave.

"Thanks again," I called after him. He raised a hand in acknowledgement. I slowly closed the door, aware of his retreating form, aware of the scent of his cologne on the wallet I was holding. A thought occurred to me.

"Hey! How'd you know where to find me?"

He turned back, raising both hands now in a dismissive shrug.

"Driver's license?"

Duh.

He rounded the corner and disappeared from view. I closed the door, returned to the sofa, carrying my wallet as if it were the most precious gift ever given to me. Elise appeared before me in a short silky floral robe, rubbing her wet hair with a towel.

"Who was that?" she asked.

"The guy from the store." I waved the wallet at her. She looked at me blankly.

"What guy from the store?"

"With the protein shake?"

She nodded once, clearly no clue who I was talking about. "Did you check he didn't take anything?"

"Seriously?"

Oh yeah, she was serious. It wasn't as if I liked him. In fact he'd royally pissed me off, but really, who finds a wallet, loots it, then goes to the effort of returning it? But Elise was unrelenting. I sighed and opened my wallet, trying not to react when I saw what was inside—apart from everything that should be, that is.

"All present and correct," I reported. Elise wandered away, still rubbing her hair.

"I'm going to turn in," she called back.

"OK, hon," I replied.

I waited for our bedroom door to close, quickly typed his number into my cell and disposed of the evidence.




Checking Him Out is a story of novel length (60K), published in Summer 2014 by MMRomanceGroup as part of the Love's Landscapes Anthology.

Next time, I will definitely tell you about my Love's Landscapes story #2 - it's nothing like this one!

For more information on the Love's Landscapes event (and previous events), visit the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads / MMRomanceGroup.com

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Love's Landscapes (DRitC) - Checking Him Out - cover reveal

I've just submitted two stories to my publisher.

That sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it? And you know what? It is!

But this isn't any old publisher. It's not a traditional publisher, nor an indie publisher. It's an online community endeavour to publish a massive anthology of around 200 stories. Do not think for one minute that this makes it anything less than professional. The support from the moderators, the editors, proofreaders - they are truly incredible, and the community itself really is one on its own.

About The M/M Romance Group

The community I'm talking about is the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads, and I'm a member. That feels a bit like coming out, because if you're unfamiliar with the terminology, "M/M" is male/male, and it's a genre I'm still learning about, even though I've discovered that my first novel, Champagne (2004, 2014), is, in fact, a M/M romance. However, much of what I write falls under the umbrella of contemporary fiction, even if it does include elements of M/M (and all other variations of) romance.

There are also many subgenres within M/M, and different kinds of story. Now, if I tell the uninitiated that a significant proportion of the readership (and authorship) of this genre is female, then perhaps it will be less surprising to you that popular stories are those involving alpha males, as well as what is referred to as 'gay for you' - straight men who end up in same sex relationships. I mention this only to preamble how the anthology works. Because really what binds the stories is that the central characters are involved in an emotional, sexual and / or romantic relationship and are male. Otherwise the stories might be contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, BDSM, historical...or any combination therein!

Love's Landscapes (Don't Read in the Closet 2014)

Back in February, the M/M Romance Group sent out a message to all members (almost 14,000 at time of writing) to announce the 2014 Don't Read in the Closet event, entitled, "Love's Landscapes".

In March, members posted a "Dear Author" letter, which serves as a prompt for the story that the particular member would like to see written.

Now, I'll be honest about this. I had a lot of work on, and I was perusing the forums, kind of procrastinating, but also thinking to myself that I'd wished I'd visited sooner, because the first batch of prompts had been taken. The second batch was being snapped up quickly. Call it fate, but I clicked on one of those still available, and, well, here's what it said:

Dear Author, 


When I met the love of my new life (his words not mine... ass), I was simply waiting in the check-out line. I might have been caught up in a conversation with my best friend/wife of X amount of years about something, I can't remember at the moment. So anyway, we were distracted and didn't notice that the line had moved. So after maybe 30 seconds, or a minute at the most (I'm pretty sure it wasn't that long), Mr. Impatient, with an accent like that character on The Originals (not that I watch that show at my age), got our attention in the rudest way in my opinion, or in my wife's heart-of-a-ho opinion, the kindest way possible for our insensitive asses. I'm pretty sure his accent, mixed with his damn charm, got him out of more trouble than it should. We had a rough start, but we had quiet moments when we weren't all over each other or fighting, in and out of bed. Anyway, I would love a story about our first year.



P.S. I want a story with interesting secondary characters interacting with the main characters. I want it to be known that the marriage is a *lavender marriage— no one is being fooled here. I want humor mixed in with hot-damn, slightly overwhelming sex. Alpha males with a bad case of the giggles at inappropriate moments. No BDSM please. One other request is that I wish the main characters to be in the age range of late twenties to early thirties.


Thanks
T

*A lavender marriage is a “beard” marriage of convenience.


Along with the "Dear Author" letter is a photo prompt, some of which are a bit, err, graphic! Mine wasn't. It was, strangely enough, that character from The Originals!

And I thought...

BRING IT ON!

This is EXACTLY my kind of thing. Strong men who get the giggles? A kind of "coming of age" in adulthood, humour, fighting, a long-term relationship and lots of secondary characters - this is my natural style of story-telling.

In my next post I'll share an excerpt and tell you a little about the main character - Sol Brooks - as well as the crazy, amazing experience of taking part in this event.

For now, here's the grand cover reveal!

CHO Cover


I'll also tell you about the second story I wrote!

For more information on the Love's Landscapes event (and previous events), visit the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads / MMRomanceGroup.com