Ch-ch-chaaanges!

Well, hello there again and thank you for stopping by my little corner of Authors Speak at Rainbow Gate!

Writing professionally requires certain things and not all of them pertain to the technicalities of putting words together to form a story. Sometimes writers have to make choices about what to write. There is the hard reality that we have to make a living as well as writing what we love.

There is absolutely no reason one can’t do both.

That choices can be difficult if one isn’t willing to expand horizons and change a bit. However, there are a lot of choices and with a bit of thought it’s easy to discover there are other stories that need writing.

I’ve always said I’m a serial offender. I write in series. Series have much to offer in the way of extended plots and character development. It’s my writing as well as reading preference.

However stand alone books have a great deal to offer as well. Some stories don’t need four or six books to complete. There are readers who’d prefer a story be told with the covers of one book.

I decided it’s time to switch gears and write more stand alone stories. Some discussion with Lynn West, Dreamspinner Press editor in chief, helped me decide on a good direction to pursue.

Romantic suspense will still be part of my line-up, though I think the Circles series has come to an end. The next mystery will be a full length novel with more development and probably a more complicated plot. However, my mysteries will be in the same high action/adventure (sometimes in the wilderness) style as the Circles mysteries. I’ll still be working on The Vampire Guard, however it’ll be my ‘written for me’ side pet project stories. Sentries has been completed, though I may offer free stories on my website from time to time.

This isn’t the first time in my life I’ve taken a new path. I’ve always tried to live by the adage “I’m nothing if not adaptable”. Honestly, every change of direction for me has always been a good one. I’m excited over this change.

Coming soon, awaiting contract decision and in the works are two Dreamspun Desires books, a BDSM featuring an ice dancer and a hockey player. Of course there is a murder mystery planned, it will take place in Wrigleyville. There may also be a scifi romance in the future.

I hope you’ll join me in my new writing adventure!

I’m always excited and happy to take requests from readers, so if anyone has a plot bunny bouncing around you’d like to share please let me know!

Elizabeth

PS…you can find all my books on my website, click on the banner below.

There is also a great new repository site for finding Quiltbag/LGBTQ+ books. Check out Queeromance Inc.

Relaunching a Series by Sarah Madison: Why do it?

Sorry, I’m a bit late getting here today. I’ve been working a number of things, not the least of which is trying to put some blog posts in the bag so I can get ahead of my commitments for a change. Among other things, I’m putting together a series of posts about my experiences at Writer’s Police Academy last summer, which I plan to share here. As soon as I can decipher my notes, that is!

In the meantime, I’m delighted to share with you the brand new look for the Sixth Sense series!

You might be asking yourself why anyone would relaunch an old series wit a new look? I’m glad you did! On the surface of it, it probably doesn’t seem to make much sense. A little backstory is necessary.

Unspeakable Words was the very first major story I submitted for publication back in 2010. I did it on a whim, really. I had no expectations of it being accepted by Dreamspinner Press or winding up on their bestseller list for over a month! I’ll be honest, when I got the acceptance email I was flabbergasted–and came very close to snatching the story back from them. I was afraid if I did, however, I would blow my one chance to be a published author. I’ve always wished I’d trusted my instincts and held out for the opportunity to flesh the story out the way I saw it in my mind.

There was an unfortunate delay between Unspeakable Words and the next installment, Walk a Mile. Some of it was inexperience on my part,  some of it was as a result of life getting in the way. When I submitted Walk a Mile, I don’t think anyone realized that I’d jumped from a long novella into novel format. I didn’t think anything of it myself–not until I began running into people who didn’t want to buy the paperbacks because the first in the series was only available as an ebook. Truth and Consequences rolled on in the same novel format–it was only Unspeakable Words that didn’t fit the lineup.

So I went to Dreamspinner and asked if it would be possible to expand Unspeakable Words into the story I’d always meant for it to be. They said yes–and then suggested revamping the series look for the revised version. I’m delighted to announce that not only has L.C. Chase done a bang-up job of capturing the essence of these stories–which I was far more capable of conveying due to developing the skills I needed as an author–but you can now pre-order the expanded, revised version of Unspeakable Words! Release date March 10, 2017.

I hope you’ll enjoy revisiting these guys as much as I have–I’m working on the fourth (and final) installment now, tentatively titled Deal with the Devil.

Lou Sylvre on Dickens, Fiction, and Politics (Or when is an author like a bird? Tweet-tweet.)

Lou Sylvre Gay Romance Happy Endings Hi, Lou Sylvre here, switching places with Lou Hoffmann for my February blog post on Authors Speak. I apologize to readers and fellow bloggers for being absent from this blog for a while. I’ve taken to combing the news and spreading the word via twitter and facebook about how the USA and the world are in acute danger, worsening every day. To do that, I’ve let the writing and promoting of books—including blog posts where I usually talk about books, either mine or someone else’s—fall woefully behind schedule.

The reason I’m doing this isn’t that I don’t think my books can make a political difference. They can, especially if someone reads them who is not already “on the same page” politically.

This is true even though I write genre fiction, not the “literary” stuff, as it’s generally classified. In a New York Times (NYT) “Bookends” discussion from February 17, 2015, Karen Prose quoted a 2013 NYT “study” as showing that “after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence.” I didn’t read the NYT study conclusions or methodology and therefore can’t comment on it. However, Prose then goes on to opine that “Though the novels of Charles Dickens failed to radically improve the lot of poor children in Victorian England, they did raise public awareness of the Oliver Twists and Little Dorrits whom readers might otherwise have ignored.” Indeed, that seems accurate as far as it goes, though I believe there may be more to be said about the overall impact of Dickens on the world of his day, and it of course says almost nothing about his impact on readers ever since. My point, however, is that using Dickens to illustrate the difference of impact between so-called “literary” fiction as opposed to “popular” fiction is in itself questionable.


By all reports Dickens work was wildly popular during the nineteenth century. Many of his novels were serialized, which would suggest it was intended for the masses (at least those who could read and had sufficient leisure to purse the pastime), and he is said to be one of the earliest novelists to produce work with mass market appeal. Popular fiction? Now—now—his works are “classics of literature,” but they wouldn’t have seemed so then, I think. Of course, the pedantic distinction between popular and literary fiction is not about how many people want to read it. Research it a bit and you’ll find two ideas:

First: literary fiction focuses on reflecting society to itself, so that society can figure out the world, whereas popular fiction only seeks to entertain.

Second: literary fiction focuses on character and is character driven, while popular fiction hinges strongly on plot.

To the first, I say pshaw! Read quality genre fiction and you will come away with the feeling that you know yourself, your world, and humankind better. And guess what? Entertainment is engagement, and engagement improves learning.

To the second, because I already used “pshaw,” I’ll begin by raising the ghost of Aristotle, the creator of the seemingly sanctified arc in fiction. To the great Mr. A., fiction and its arc was about plot, though we have learned to apply it to various things like character and relationships as well. So, for starters, if Aristotle liked plot-driven fiction, who are you literary pundits to walk on his grave? Another thing, though certainly Dickens (our man of literary fiction) wrote character foremost and best, his plots were well-planned, twisty, purposeful, and very present. But more importantly perhaps, plenty genre fiction is character-driven, and the fact that genre writers are also good at giving those characters a compelling story, as well as the fact that genre readers prefer fabulous characters to do something, doesn’t mean the writer hasn’t succeeded in doing what all quality fiction does well—reflect society back upon itself!

So why, then, am I neglecting my books to promote awareness of the current political catastrophe? First, I write male/male romance, which means that my readers are by and large people who are already aware and in general agreement with my political outlook. Twitter ad Facebook provide the possibility of reaching outward from that base. Second, and more significant, the progression of political disaster in the Unites States is unfolding rapidly and accelerating every day. Yes, my books address (though I hope not in soapbox fashion because that’s boring) political realities. No, they can’t make people aware of what donald trump and his tribe of white supremacists, plutarchists, science-deniers, and people with poor grammar did an hour ago.

Writers have some skills that come in very handy when it comes to promoting awareness. The job of “Fiction Writer” in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles is rated as requiring an education and skill level of “8.” This is a high value—only advanced scientists, medical doctors, and similar have a higher rating. The level doesn’t mean writers have to all be super-smart, but it means they have to achieved proficiency in skills requiring education (self-education counts!) and lots of practice before they are perfected, and the skill set is broad. One such skill could be described as the ability to assess information, assimilate it, extract or synthesize underlying concepts, and express them in ways that are understandable, meaningful, and impactful.

That’s the skill I strive to use when I write that tweet or Facebook post. I don’t always get it right, but after many years, I still feel I’m learning my craft. If I come close—if I convey my outrage and urgency along with accurate fact, if something I write might make someone more aware of the thin ice they are perched upon, I feel I’ve done some small bit of good. Tweeting and Facebook posting certainly isn’t all I’m doing to resist the disaster that is a trump presidency, but I will keep doing it. I am also returning my attention to my fiction—what writer can keep from writing stories?

But if my time on social media is spent on politics rather than promotion, and if that means I sell fewer books… well, I hope that won’t happen. But if it does, so be it.

Those are my thoughts, for today. Thank you for reading them! Also thank you if you keep reading my books despite everything. My characters will get very lonely without you.

Brunch At Gotham – Anne Barwell

Being a Kiwi MM author I do 99.9% of my interacting with other authors online. While there are a few MM authors who live here, we tend to live in different parts of the country.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting another Kiwi MM author for brunch. Gillian St Kevern and I had met years ago online through fandom, and then in person when she came to Wellington to stay over for Armeggedon which is our local pop culture expo. Since then we exchanged a few emails and after she moved to Japan we lost contact for a while. Then I received an email from her telling me about this vampire book she’d read. The writing style—and the fact one of the characters was a Kiwi and into graphic novels and in particular Nightwing—reminded her of me and she thought I might like to read it. Ben’s ringtone was ‘Slice of Heaven’ which was also the name of a Kiwi fandom site we’d set up together about fifteen years ago. The book was Shades of Sepia and I’d written it.

As a fun aside and a discussion as to whether we actually shared a brain in some form – she’d also written a vampire novel with a character called Ben called Fangs and Thorns. What are the chances of that?

When she contacted me to say she’d be in Wellington for a few days for a family wedding we decided it was long past time we met up again. With both of us being huge comic book fans, and especially DC and the bat family, with a side dish of Kon aka Superboy, we naturally decided to go to brunch at a local café called Gotham.

Gillian wore her Batgirl T-shirt especially for the occasion.


We spent a lively four hours catching up, and comparing our planning notebooks—both purchased from Typo! I really enjoyed being able to talk to someone about my writing process and plans for books face to face, and I can’t wait to read the books she is planning to write. It was a wonderful experience which I’d love to be able to do more often. The staff at Gotham were great too. They were very friendly, and kept us well supplied with water and tea. We went through two bottles of water and two pots of tea, not to mention the delicious food we had for brunch.

Apart from the digression into comics, and a discussion about Tim/Robin/Red Robin and Kon/Superboy, one of the big things that came out of the morning was that we both felt strongly that we needed to do something about a regular meet for MM authors in New Zealand. Given geography and leading busy lives, we’d love to set something up online first with it hopefully leading into the opportunity to meet up in real life. Stay tuned for more on that front, and in the meantime if you are a Kiwi MM author, we’d love to hear from you.

Changes, legacies and thinky thoughts

My basement flooded recently.

It’s a special sort of treat said no one EVER!

So what the heck does this have to do with writing you ask? Well, it turns out quite a bit.

When I moved to this house twelve-ish or so years ago I had visions of using my finished basement in all sorts of grand and glorious ways. I could have a whole other floor of living space. I thought creating a living room and dining room down there would be a great place during the hot summer months. It’s nice and cool, I’d save on my electric bill.

Then the darn thing flooded–every few years. Yeah, that’s soooo much fun I can’t even begin to describe it. My oldest son (thank heavens I had the foresight to give birth to a plumber!) suggested an indoor pool during the last flood. Excuse him, he’s convinced he’s funny.

After this last flood I realized I don’t even like it down there anymore. It was time for a change. I decided I needed to move some of the shelves and furniture and things down there up into my main living space.

One of those pieces of furniture was this cute little dresser.

Since it’d been previously sitting in my basement for a decade plus I decided to go through what was stored in those drawers. Discovered something interesting.

Writers keep A LOT of paper. Lined paper, blank paper, colored paper, no pens just paper–I don’t even write by hand anymore! Some of those papers (and notebooks) had things written on them.

Writerly things.

One of those drawers was filled with different stories I’d written or begun to write. Some were from long ago when I was in school. A few were finished, others were not. I’d venture to say I could look in any closet or filing cabinet I own and find such a stash. These little writing clippets range from not so bad to OMG I hope no one ever sees these!

For the better part of the last six or so years I’ve written almost exclusively on my computer. My research, notes, ideas, visual aids are all on there. I have a few friends who’ve I tasked with the duty that if I drop dead they MUST come wipe my hard drive. I’d die of embarrassment if some of those things were seen by others.

Which is silly, I’d be dead so what’s the difference?

My recent find in that little dresser made me think, what about all that stuff I have written on paper and squirrel away throughout my house?

From a writer standpoint this stuff is awful. Gimme a break some of it was written as early as grade school! That’s not to say the ideas are horrible, some I think I might revisit and use. But the writing–gah, blah!

But then I thought how my kids make comments about my writing. Not what I write, but that I DO write. It’s part of who and what I am. My youngest son has commented numerous times the thing he remembers most about me when he was small was I was always creating stories. Writing them down and later typing them out.

Even if I think these handwritten bits and pieces of stories are horrible is it possible they might become something treasured to my children or grandchildren someday? A memento of who Mom was?

Maybe. I won’t know because of that whole being dead thing.

The fact remains, useful or not, these early stories I created do represent me. I’ve decided I’ll collect them all from their hiding places in the back of closest and forgotten drawers and put them in one place for others to find someday. If my kids don’t want them, they can toss them, no hard feelings and I’ll understand. However, it’ll be their choice. I shouldn’t take the opportunity from them to save something they might find precious and meaningful.

Now, as for the raunchy pictures that are purely research on my hard drive–they gots to go!

Until next month,

Elizabeth

To read the better stuff that is eBook compatible and not handwritten visit my WEBSITE.

 

Defending Your Copyright: What You Need to Know

Recently, I found out the hard way what you can expect in a battle to defend your copyright.

First, let me put a disclaimer here: this information, to the best of my knowledge, only applies in the US. You should check into the regulations within your own country.

summer_fling-200x300I’ve posted extensively on my website about the conflict I got into with Amazon over my right to publish A Summer Fling, but I’ll share the highlights with you here: a short time ago, I updated some information in my bio on a long-standing free short story on Amazon.

The next day, I received an email from KDP saying that prior to my submission they’d received a complaint and takedown notice from a third party and they declined to re-publish the story. A story that had been available for the last three years. I was given four days to prove I was the author of the story in question or face a lifetime ban from publishing on Amazon.

I was aghast. My initial thought was I’d done something wrong with the file changes. I contacted friends, who assured me this wasn’t all that unusual, and that Amazon was getting tougher about establishing copyright due to copyright claim jumping as well as people stealing the pen names of established authors to publish their own stories. Self-published authors may be at greater risk.

This is a good time to state here that in the US, copyright is conferred at the time the work is created, and it is not necessary to register it with the copyright office to claim copyright or even defend that copyright in court. Is *is* necessary, however, if you intend to sue for damages due to copyright infringement. I have since learned that having your works registered will go a long way toward defending your copyright in many cases without going to court–something most of us would probably prefer. I also believe in this age where theft of digital products is on the rise (funny how everyone wants access to the end product but few want to pay the actual creator of these works…), it behooves us as authors to think proactively about our stories.

From the US copyright office:

1. Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship.
2. Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.
3. Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.
4. The United States has copyright relations with most countries throughout the world, and as a result of these agreements, we honor each other’s citizens’ copyrights. However, the United States does not have such copyright relationships with every country. For a listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States, see Circular 38a, International Copyright Relations of the United States.

Here is the link for the US copyright office.

That said, I was able to provide Amazon with ample proof that I was the copyright holder of the story. I sent in the original draft (written in 2011), as well as links to where it appeared as a free story online during a fest, and then the 2013 Smashwords creation. I also, for good measure, retroactively registered the copyright and provided Amazon with that case number. Satisfied there was no way anyone could contest I was the author of A Summer Fling, I sent the email and dismissed it from my mind.

Only the next communication changed everything. Amazon no longer disputed that I had written the story. The problem was some third party claimed I didn’t have a right to publish the story. WTH?

This was no longer a case of random copyright theft. The number of potential claimants in this case was quite small. Two as a matter of fact. The first party contacted Amazon on my behalf and received a generic email response that told her nothing.

A fourth refusal from Amazon to re-establish the story included a generous invitation to continue publishing with them in the future–and a suggestion to hire a copyright lawyer. In the meantime, I’d been on the phone with Author Central and KDP, and I’d forwarded Jeff Bezos all my communications with KDP–including a statement from a now-defunct ebook retailer (who happened to have closed doors 24 hours before this problem arose) showing they had no publishing rights to my story. Because now I’m suspicious. Highly suspicious.

And then suddenly, I receive an email from Amazon stating ‘on further review’ they’ve decided to reverse their position and put the story back up again. No explanation. I have no idea if it was my loud persistence, the intervention of one of the two possible claimants, or my contacting Jeff Bezos about the matter that resolved it.

I doubt that copyright registration would have made a difference in this case because this was about publishing rights, not copyrights. But I will definitely be registering my previous and future stories with the copyright office as an extra layer of protection.

I will also download copies of *every* agreement signed to allow distribution of my stories. I was fortunate to still have access to a copy of the ARe agreement, even though I don’t know if they were the source of the conflict.

The takehome message here is to be proactive in defending your works. I was facing hiring a copyright lawyer to determine if a free story was being blocked by accident or a malicious attempt to lay claim to all my self-published stories. You can see why I had to seriously consider hiring that lawyer.

 

Bio:

Sarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a large dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

Website: http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com

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E-mail: akasarahmadison@gmail.com

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Write it and They Will Come by Charley Descoteaux

Hi everyone! Charley Descoteaux here for my monthly column, thanks for joining me. Hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are keeping warm (or cool :)) this crazy January.

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January is when we start working on the goals we made in December. I didn’t do a lot of goal-setting this year, but do have a couple. One is to launch a new pen name: Charli Coty. Eventually everything I write will be under this name, for many reasons. But those reasons aren’t what I’m talking about today.

Part of launching a new pen name—or a first pen name—is a social media presence. Some of us love social media , some loathe it, and most of us are somewhere in between. I like it when I’m having fun, chatting with friends or making cool graphics (when they don’t end up looking like a five year-old made them ;)).

2015-rainbow-rose-facebook-iconBut promotion is hard. When I began establishing the Descoteaux name I worked hard to promote it without going overboard, usually by hosting other authors on my blog and talking about their books. I’m much more comfortable promoting other authors than myself, and didn’t completely crash and burn, so I considered it mildly successful. With Coty, I wanted to take what I’d learned and work smarter, not harder.

Setting up the accounts was easy, but it’s another thing maintaining two complete sets of social media profiles, along with a day job and trying to write. I kept forgetting my Coty presence. With a book coming out Jan. 30 that’s no longer an option, so I came up with a way to give myself the needed incentive to post to my Coty blog at least once a week.

queerblogwed-50percent

#QueerBlogWed is like #MondayBlogs (in theory, not in scope :)). Every Wednesday I post something new and Tweet it on the hashtag, and most weeks a handful of Tweeps join me. It’s a fledgling group to say the least but I’ve been posting every Wednesday, so it’s a win. So far we’ve had a lot of snippets from WIPs and posts about yearly goals, book recommendations, and cool places to hang out online.

If you’d like to join us please do—no sign-up necessary—just Tweet a link to a blog post on Wednesdays, use the hashtag, and RT others. The post doesn’t have to be new that day; bring back a golden oldie or a post you’re especially proud of and get it in front of new eyes. Or just read the posts and RT the ones you like! The only two rules are no promo, and the content has to be by/for/about the LGBTQIA+ community. Check out the pinned post at @QueerBlogWed or the hashtag to see offerings from past weeks, but that’s pretty much it!

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The first novel originally released under my new pseudonym will be released by NineStar Press on January 30! It’s a dark paranormal with romantic elements and I hope you enjoy it!

thevisionary-fThe Visionary by Charli Coty

Colin Page, eighteen-year-old community college student, apple polisher and all-around goody-goody, has a secret. He sees things that aren’t there. Unfortunately, the Doc Martens on the floor of the mail vestibule in his apartment building really are there and attached to a dead body. Hunkered over the body is someone Colin had barely noticed before, Private Investigator Al Green. Most people scare Colin, but for some reason, Al doesn’t, even after he reveals that he knows about the hidden reality of their world.

Alonzo Green, despite his low-power mind, is determined to help right the wrongs he unknowingly contributed to. He’s also hopelessly smitten. He knows it’s wrong—probably even dangerous—to enlist Colin’s help with the investigation. And that’s before considering all Al has to fear from Colin’s fiercely protective and powerful mother.

Colin and Al put some of the pieces together, but as soon as one thing becomes clear, the picture changes. The search for the Big Bad takes them from Portland to Tacoma and Seattle, and eventually to San Francisco, but their journey into each other’s arms is much shorter.

Pre-order The Visionary at the NineStar Press store!

Join #RainbowSnippets for sneak peeks at The Visionary and more fabulous LGBTQIA+ fiction!

Keep up with the new me!

Newsletter: https://my.sendinblue.com/users/subscribe/js_id/2m34r/id/1

Blog:  https://charlicoty.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charli.coty

NineStar Press Author Page: http://ninestarpress.com/authors/charli-coty/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/CharliCoty

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charlicoty/

 

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There And Back Again – Anne Barwell

At it’s almost the end of another year, I like to look back on the year that was, and forward to the new one.

I always get to the end of the year and wonder at where it went, as I swear they’re going faster these days. I’ve found that one way to put things in perspective is to think back on what I’ve achieved in the year that has just gone, and to make a note of what I’m aiming for in the new one. I’m a big fan of lists, and I guess this is another version of that, but on the plus side it reminds me that I have achieved more than I thought even if I felt as though I spent the year swimming up a steep stream.

I’m going to focus on positive stuff, as we’ve lost far too many people this year, and for me, that includes members of my family too 🙁 And, with news we received this week, the new year is promising more of the same.

2016 was the year for 2nd editions for me. With shifting my WWII Echoes Rising series from Dreamspinner Press to their DSP Publications imprint, that meant the first two books in the series—Shadowboxing and Winter Duet—got re-edited, polished up a bit and republished. Shadowboxing was my second published book with the first edition having come out in 2012, so it was nice to revisit it again.

Re-editing both books was also very useful in re-checking continuity as I wrote the third and final book in the series—Comes a Horseman—this year too. As I tend to average one to two books a year, given that I work full time and have other commitments, I’ve never been writing a book before while the previous ones in the series have been in edits. I kept having to double check where I was in the timeline!

On the flip side of working on historical novels in 2016, I co-wrote Sunset at Pencarrow with Lou Sylvre for Dreamspinner Press’s World of Love series. The novella is contemporary and set in Wellington. I loved working with Lou, and we had a lot of fun conversations while Nate and Rusty looked on, most probably rolled their eyes, and then did what they wanted anyway like all good characters do.

Trying to fit edits, promo, and deadlines into a limited time frame is always a challenge, but I got there in the finish. I figure that’s an achievement in itself considering the other stuff I do that isn’t writing, such as orchestra concerts, SF Club and everything else. And working at the library of course.

I also managed to get through a few books in my review pile, and joined Top2Bottom reviews this month as a guest reviewer. I figure the move is a win-win as it means when I do review those books will reach a larger audience, and it also gives Top2Bottom more reviews for their site. So many good books out there I want to read and not enough time. Occasionally I get the silly idea that I’ll catch up and then reality hits. If someone finds a TARDIS—preferably with a Doctor onboard—send it my way, will you?

2017 is going to be just as busy, if not more so, and I’m already looking at deadlines and thinking ‘yikes’. But along with that feeling, is one of excitement and looking forward to what’s to come.

Sunset at Pencarrow is being released from Dreamspinner in June/July and Comes a Horseman from DSP Publications in August. I see my life being full of edits and lots more promotional blog posts.

I’ve also started work on The Right Note, which is a contemporary romance for Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desires series. Lou and I are also aiming to finish our co-written novel, The Harp and the Sea, which is an historical with a dash of magic set in 1745 on Skye.

After that I’m heading back to Astria to write the sequel to A Knight to Remember. I didn’t intend to take so long to finish this series, but unfortunately RL and other books got in the way. I’m looking forward to tying up loose ends and giving Aric and Denys the HEA they’re been waiting for.

Add to that the usual other stuff already in my diary like orchestra concerts, SF club and movie nights, and Armeggedon (the pulp culture expo not the four horseman), and 2017 is looking to be an even busier year than the one preceding it. Finding new anime such as Yuri!! On Ice and Psycho-Pass isn’t helping, but down time is important too, right?

I’ll just sneak in gardening and housework in my spare time! Plus knitting for the new grandchild on the way.

And for something different and exciting I’m going to the NZ Romance Writers conference in August with Gillian St Kevern, as it’s in Wellington this year. That, I suspect, will be the topic of a blog post all on its own.

Wishing you and yours all the best for 2017. *raises glass of sparkling grape juice* I hope it’s a good one for all of us.

In Memoriam

George Michael
George Michael

So, I had a totally different post planned for today, but 2016 had decided to have another jab at us today and yesterday and I decided a different post was in order. A lot of folks are looking at 2016 and pointing out how bad it was. We seem to have lost an inordinate amount of celebrities this year, many of which were people who were either icons of our youth or people who were very young—or both.

Many of these deaths hit us so hard because they are pieces of our childhood or teenage years. They were representative of things that got us through hard times. Wham!’s song, Careless Whisper, was the first song I ever learned all the lyrics to. I remember vividly my friend and I singing it for our moms in her living room.

George Michael has appeared on many of my book playlists. His music spoke to many, made people smile, and echoed a lot of heartache. Where Did Your Heart Go  was another that always got to me. I have played Father Figure, literally, hundreds of times. In fact, just go through his channel. There were so many wonderful songs.  I’m crying right now, as I write this. So many memories tied to his songs.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

He’s only one of the icons. How many of the folks out there got through rough times because of the Harry Potter books? Alan Rickman’s Snape will forever be the only one I ever see in my head. Hans Gruber appears every Christmas in this house and the snarky angel from Dogma will make me laugh every time.

Prince
Prince

Then there’s Prince. I played my favorite, When Doves Cry, so much, I wore out several cassette tapes (and who else remembers those? Raise your hand!). I believe all his official YouTube music has been pulled, but I did find this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnMY3YeVXoY. Yet again, tied to so many memories of my youth.

The list is ridiculously long of those we lost this year. David Bowie and

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher

Glenn Frey add to the music icons. Then there’s Gene Wilder (Blazing Saddles, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Carrie Fisher (Do I really need to say it?), Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), Ron Glass (Firefly, Barney Miller), and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek 2009), just to name a few of the wonderful folks who graced our screens with their talent. We’ve lost both the To Kill A Mockingbird and Watership Down authors, as well a mess of other names that we all have memories of.

Ron Glass
Ron Glass

What I am struggling with is the now oft-repeated idea that, really, 2016
was no worse than 2015 and will certainly be better, even, than 2017. That we should somehow get over it and deal with it.

Except, I respectfully submit that we have a right to grieve in our own way for the death of folks who have impacted our lives. Telling us to get over it sounds suspiciously like we’re being told we’re doin’ it wrong. No two people grieve the same way. And further, it seems like we’re not honoring all the wonderful art, literature, characters, and more that they’ve given us. Some of them have hit us hard, and I

Anton Yelchin
Anton Yelchin

think we’re allowed to deal with it in any way we need to. Sometimes, that means yelling our anger at a personification of the year because who else can we get angry at?

I hope to honor these amazing actors and artists in my upcoming works. I hope 2017 is better, at least in when it comes to the folks we lose. And if not, I say to you: Grieve for them how you need to. It’s good to hold onto those memories.

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Careless Whisper ©1984 Epic/Columbia Records. Written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.

Where Did Your Heart Go ©1986 CBS/Epic Records. Written by Dave Was and Don Was.

Father Figure ©1987 Columbia Records. Written by George Michael.

When Doves Cry ©1984 Warner Bros. Records. Written by Prince.

I Write What I Love and Love What I Write

There’s a ton of advice for writers whether they be published, aspiring or true hobby writers. We’re all authors, the difference is some of us are professional authors who get paid in currency. The truth is we all get paid in compliments and reviews no matter in what the forum and format we publish. Follow the rules of grammar, research your facts and write what you know, that’s preached in dozens, if not hundreds, of books offering writing advice.

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I say don’t worry about writing what you know, you can learn about a topic you wish to include in a story.

I believe in writing what you love!

One thing we all have in common is at some point we write a story for ourselves. We write the tale we want told, the one we want to read. There are various reasons we authors write different stories. Some are continuations of other stories–the birth of the series. Others write about events in their lives or a world they created as an escape.

All of us who write stories that are shared with the public in some manner sometimes create those stories to please others. I’ve run contests where fans can choose character names, or situations one or more characters need to face in a certain story. I created an entire series from prompts offered to writers in a fandom group I once belonged to. I’ve participated in author auctions where readers bid on their favorite authors to write a story for them. The money goes to charity and they’re a lot of fun. I’ve also written stories for group projects that required adhering to a certain theme.

Those stories turned out to be good stories and were well received. Some have won amateur and professional awards.

Then there are the other books and stories. The ones I wrote for me. The ones that were total self-indulgence.

Some of those books were a bit of an experiment, the representation of stretching my writer’s wings so to speak.

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Others progress a bigger story, but are written around plots I had swimming around in my head for months or years. These were stories that include elements I’d been waiting to work into a story. I simply had to wait for the right story to come along.

 

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Then there are stories I write that fall into that pure self-indulgence category. These are the books that are truly for me. The story I wanted to tell and I don’t waiver much, if at all, from my original plot ideas.

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Each of these books have something special to me, near and dear to my heart.

Readers may be surprised to learn authors have favorites, and write books not only for their audience but themselves, but I’m here to say it’s true! Books are important to different people for many reasons. We all have our comfort reads and for me, I have my comfort writes. Even though I adore all the books I’ve written (and the fanfic), these are the books that I go back and read again and again, not as their creator and not as an author, but as Elizabeth the person, the reader.

One might think that because I created these works I’d know everything inside the covers. Not so! When I read them, or any book, as a reader more than once I always find something new. That’s the joy of reading and of writing. Discovering something that makes you feel good inside.

I’m always excited to hear from readers. If you’d like to contact me for any reason I can be at elizabeth.noble19@gmail.com, or visit my website, Emotion In Motion.

Elizabeth

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Circles

The Vampire Guard

The Sleepless City