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

 

Tempeste O’Riley’s Monthly Author Column: Disability Author or Writer of Life?

Hello everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by again. I know I’ve been MIA for a bit *blushes* but health has been kicking me around a bit. But, I’m back and will do my best to be here every month for you. Today I’m here to talk a little about something I keep being asked and thought I’d write up as a post instead of relying on all the little replies making the rounds, lol. “Are you a disability author?”

Now, that’s an interesting question that I both smile and frown at. Yes, you can do both, lol. The answer is no, I’m not. Yes, I have a habit of writing characters that have challenges, be they abuse, family, mobility, health, hearing, or other…. But, I do not consider myself a “disability author.” I’m not specifically writing “disabled” characters as a “thing.” I know some authors have a niche, but mine is homoerotic love, in all it’s forms, though I’ve only written with boy bits so far (under this name). I do have a few differently-abled (love that term, thank you Josh for insisting I see myself that way instead of a disabled or broken as I had been told I was by others now in my past!) characters, but the point of the story isn’t their mobility or hearing or … issue, it’s the friendship and life and eventual love they find that their “disability” has nothing to do with.

We all want to see ourselves in the stories we read, the poor, the sick, the rich, the lonely, the successful, the ___…. I write for everyone. Therefore, I put a little of everyone into my stories. One day, you might even find you in one Winking smile

Right now I’m working on two books—the MCs keep trading off who’s louder, ugh! –and in one, one of the MCs has an anxiety disorder and is a sub and in the other, the soon to be sub has been met before, in Dreamers’ Destiny. Nate was referred to as having twisted legs by one of the other characters, though it didn’t bother the guy. It was just a descriptor like saying he had blue eyes or something. What he actually has is severe Internal Tibial Torsion (rotated shin bone) and Femoral Anteversion (twisted thigh bone).

Should we consider either one disabled?

Now, for a fun question or two… Do you have any questions/topics you’d love to see me write about? If so, please email me at tempeste@tempesteoriley.com and let me know! Also, what should I call my monthly column? It needs a name…. But as most know, I’m shite with naming things. Ask anyone in the know how Whiskers of a Chance got it’s name, lol…. For all suggestions, ideas, or just to drop me a note, please email me at tempeste@tempesteoriley.com.

For a chance to win any eBook from by backlist, tell me your favorite story with an MC that had a disability of some form (physical, mental, etc.) in the comment section below. (Don’t forget to leave your email so I can notify you if you win.)

And remember, having a little glitch makes us unique, not broken. Be proud of being you and hold out for that person that sees all of you, instead of just the issue. It’s worth it—even more so in real life than in the stories we write.

Turn The Page…. (Suicide Awareness & Prevention Anthology)
by Tempeste O’Riley, Dianne Hartsock, Nikki Prince, Grace R. Duncan, Sue Brown, Aine P Massie, Carole Cummings, Hope Ryan, Mark Zubro, Antonia Aquilante, D. Zander Crane

M/M F/F Transgender Genderfluid 
Contemporary Urban Fantasy Paranormal BDSM Romance
(Each story is unique and special, so the genre varies wildly. All are LGBTQ)

Publisher: Abbey of the Brew City Sisters
Cover Artist: Jess Small
Release Date: October 7, 2016 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 270 pages

Turn The Page…. began as a simple idea and grew from there. No matter how bad things seem to be, just turn the page, there’s more—better—things to come. This is only one chapter in your life. It’s not the whole story. With this simple idea, Novice Sister Eroti-Quill—whom most know better as Tempeste O’Riley—began their quest to help Suicide Prevention and Awareness programs in their area. They managed to con (excuse me, convince) other authors to donate their time and stories to the project, and now, many months later, Turn The Page is born!

The authors in this anthology donated their talent as a way to support Eroti-Quill’s hope for others, to help bring strength to programs that so desperately need funding. It will allow them show those that need support but may not have it, or that may be afraid to reach out, just how much love and understanding surrounds them. Turn The Page…. is a diverse range of stories about the journey of love, hope, and acceptance.

Amazon  Create Space   B & N  Smashwords Kobo 

Homo-Erotic Romance Author, Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t – defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since. Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They count their friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life.

Tempe is also a PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA.

Website: http://tempesteoriley.com/

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Sarah Madison

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I frequently have recurring themes in my stories. One of the most common is the notion that life is more than mere survival. That’s one I need to remind myself of often. By that, I mean life is more than going to work, paying the bills, mowing the lawn, etc. It’s more than going through the motions of living so that at the end of your life you can rest. If that’s your sole motivation in this world, your life is going to be mighty bleak indeed.

Another common theme in my stories is the idea that you can build your own family. Maybe it’s with friends or teammates. Maybe it’s with your children, or pets, or the people in your community, but family doesn’t necessarily have to be people who are related to you. That’s another major lesson I’ve learned in life.

I think one of the reasons I love holiday stories and movies is because my flesh-and-blood family doesn’t really celebrate the holidays. There are many reasons why people don’t. They can be estranged from their relatives, either physically or emotionally. They can have bad memories associated with such events and avoid them like the plague. They can be struggling with depression and unable to participate in anyone else’s joy. In the case of my family, we’re scattered all over the country, constrained by jobs and tight finances to rely on an annual phone call on holidays to stay in touch for the most part. This very pragmatic approach to a time of year when most people look forward to celebrations makes me crave the magic and romance of holiday stories. I love the ridiculous set-ups, the cute-meets, the unabashed sentimentality of the songs, movies and stories.

christmas-1524357-1279x1705This year, I compiled a list of mostly M/M romance holiday stories past and present. Some are free, some are only available for pre-order just yet, but if you love holiday stories, this list is for you! And if you’re an author who’s written a holiday story, please feel free to leave a link in the comments!

I’m also participating in Divine Promotions 2016 Christmas Blog Hop! The hop runs until 12/17, so there’s still time to check out the blog posts and enter the Rafflecopter Giveway for the terrific prizes! Many participants are holding their own giveaways as well, so be sure to do the hop! You’ll find links to the other blogs, holiday memories, recipes and more at my website link above.

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Given how much I love holiday stories, it’s no surprise I’ve written one of my own, now is it? Holiday House Swap is available from Dreamspinner Press on Dec 21, 2016, but you can pre-order it now from these outlets:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gT2a1o

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2gOUf6c

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2gOVv9w

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2gGsV9P

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2gfbQDo

Dreamspinner Press: http://bit.ly/2gIcJ8B

All Romance: http://bit.ly/2fS1JDy

Blurb:

Reclusive writer Noah Kinley is facing a dilemma: how to confess to the world he’s really the author of a best-selling romance series. For years, his friend Julie has been the face of his brand, but she wants her life back now. Fast running out of ideas for his popular series, Noah wants to break out into other genres. Not that he’s writing much of anything at the moment anyway, thanks to paralyzing writer’s block. With his publisher breathing down his neck for the next installment, he hopes a change of scene will get his writer’s juices flowing again. Desperate enough to try anything, during the holidays Noah swaps his isolated cabin in the woods for a gentrified horse farm.

USAF Major Connor Harrison has chosen forced retirement over facing charges for an unauthorized mission to rescue a buddy from behind enemy lines. No one expects him home for the holidays, and he certainly didn’t anticipate finding a stranger in his house, much less Noah Kinley with his acid tongue and a wry sense of humor that pierces all of Connor’s defenses.

Both men need to figure out what the next chapter in their lives will be—and whether it will include each other.
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Excerpt:

To his delight, a wall switch within arm’s length turned out to be for a sound system. He fiddled with the dial until he found a radio station playing Christmas music. He sank down into the bubbling water until just his toes and head were sticking out. Bing Crosby sang a rousing rendition of “Mele Kalikimaka.” Obviously another indication the station was getting desperate for different Christmas songs already. Then the playlist segued into one of many versions of “Santa Baby,” all of which Noah hated. Still, the sheer bliss of soaking in a steaming tub without having to cross a snow-covered porch to get there had him humming along when “The Twelve Days of Christmas” came on.

Noah had just belted out “five go-old rings” when he opened his eyes to see the bathroom door slowly swinging toward him. His jaw dropped in horror when he saw a soldier dressed in desert camo standing in the entranceway. The man had a 9mm in his hand and had used the barrel to open the door.

Noah couldn’t help it. He shrieked and flung the Kindle aside, ducking down into the Jacuzzi. It didn’t take him long to realize this wasn’t a workable escape plan, and he burst up out of the water, gasping for air. Blinking soapy water out of his eyes, he grasped the wine bottle by the neck and swung it overhead with the intent of throwing it.

To his surprise, while he’d been underwater, the solider had holstered his gun. The man had also taken off his cap to reveal a shock of short brown hair practically sticking up on end. He was leaning against the sink with his arms folded across his chest. The overhead light made his eyes gleam like a cat’s, almost amber in color. His two-day stubble made him look like an extra from Miami Vice. Although he no longer acted as though he planned to shoot Noah, he gave off a dangerous vibe just the same.

“Calm down.” He was unimpressed by Noah’s defensive posture. “I’m guessing you’re not a burglar after all. Unless you’re the kind of thief who enjoys breaking into other people’s houses to take bubble baths.”

“I’m not a thief!” Fear sharpened into anger. “Your first clue should have been the Ford Fiesta sitting in the driveway. A real thief would drive something more impressive, like a black Hummer or something. The second tip-off should have been the fact there’s no evidence of a break-in, and the third should’ve been, I don’t know, perhaps my luggage sitting in the guest room?” Rage made his blood pressure go up like a rocket. “Whereas you came busting in here with a gun in your hand, so tell me, Lieutenant Soldier Man, why the hell I shouldn’t call the police right now?”

Noah noted his hand holding the wine was trembling, and he hastily set the bottle down. Awareness of his naked state, damp and only thinly covered by soap, made him ooze back down into the bubbles. He swept some toward him to cover strategic areas, all while glaring at the soldier.

“Well, I don’t know,” the military man drawled in a lazy manner that sent a little chill down Noah’s spine, even though he was hunkered down in the steaming water. “Maybe because I’m between you and the phone. Maybe because I still have a gun and you don’t. Or maybe—” The man pushed himself off the sink and took a step closer to the tub, pressing his fists into his hips as he leaned over to speak with emphasis. “Maybe because I live here.”

Noah gasped. “You do not!”

Holiday stories–with their potential for hope, joy, and a little bit of magic–are what makes this the most wonderful time of year for me. How about you?

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. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. 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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Madison/e/B004K9QY5C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1471196589&sr=1-2-ent

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=Sarah+Madison

E-mail: akasarahmadison@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-Madison-Author/106445646104338

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahMadisonFic

 

A Different Kind of Holiday Guide

Hello and welcome to my December column! The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been cold and icy this week, but we got some beautiful snow as well to put us in the holiday spirit.

You might have seen the infographics going around near Halloween, explaining the reasons behind some less-than-desirable behaviors that kids could exhibit around the candy bowls. Well, this is that—sort of—only regarding the queers whose families have bailed.

I know, a lot of people have found their large family of choice and love the holidays. Many—family of choice or not—just don’t. We’re not bad people, we just don’t think or feel the same way holiday-lovers do. It’s not something you’ll hear a lot of talk about—it’s just not socially acceptable to be riddled with anxiety about the holidays, or outright loathe them.

Some of these might only apply to me, but some are from other folks entirely and I reserve the right to preserve plausible deniability. 🙂

  1. If you get an email that doesn’t ask about your Thanksgiving or whether you’re ready for Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/etc., that person might not be a mean Grinch. They could be super-rushed.
    • Or, they could have barely made it past Thanksgiving with their sanity intact and are grateful it’s over;
    • Or, they could be experiencing so much anxiety over the holiday season that they spend hours editing the holiday greeting sentence and still feel it doesn’t sound normal enough to send;
    • Or, they might have so much anxiety about it that they delete the whole email and end up not answering you at all, even if they really want to keep in contact.
  2. If someone isn’t talking about their holiday plans—where they’re going or who’s coming to their house or what they’ll be cooking—consider that they might not want to discuss it because in their world the holidays are a time to batten down the hatches and ride things out, not a time to celebrate.
  3. If you’re organizing a work potluck and someone says they’re not into it because they’re trying to lose weight, consider that they might be using that excuse because it’s easier than saying “potlucks remind me of my mom, who cut me out of the family because I’m queer”. They might honestly be trying to lose weight or eat healthier, but all three are good reasons to bow out of a potluck or resist sampling every treat brought to the office.
  4. This might seem a little off the track, but bear with me. In some cultures it’s seen as respectful to call people cuz—as in cousin—or auntie. I know they don’t mean to hurt anyone, but consider the person whose family won’t let them be an aunt/uncle/cousin because of their orientation or gender identity. If you call someone “auntie” and they’re unhappy about it, maybe stop calling them that without a big discussion about why.

Some people don’t have families to celebrate with, and even some who do have a hard time around the holidays. Your quiet acceptance can go a long way toward making this time of year more bearable. Hugs might also help, but you might want to ask permission first.

Happy Holidays!

holidayweekend_headerbannerIf you like a little angst with your holiday stories you might like my Christmas story Holiday Weekend, Buchanan House: Book Five. It’s releasing next Friday, the 16th.

Sign up for my newsletter here for more information about the blog tour for Holiday Weekend, advance news of a special sale, and upcoming releases.

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This post originally appeared on my Charli Coty blog for #QueerBlogWed.

photo credit: marfis75 santa hood (cc) 🙂 via photopin (license)

Losing the Way… Sometimes Getting Lost Isn’t a Bad Thing by Rebecca Cohen

It has been said that I have the directional capabilities of a dead wombat, my rudimentary map reading skills have gotten me and various travelling companions lost on many occasions. It could possibility be claimed that our SatNav prevented a messy divorce, and now days my hubby asks if I mean my left or his left when it comes to taking the next turn. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that I’ve been known to take the odd wrong turn when I’m writing. Sometimes it’s starting the wrong place, or incorrectly estimating the length of the journey, or even having to scrap the travel plans altogether and start again.

I thought I’d share a few of my adventures, especially in light of what is going on with my current project. This WIP is a contemporary novella set in Switzerland and it was meant to be submitted on the 1st Dec – that didn’t happen. I’d been blocked, the story grinding to a halt, and then I suddenly had a flash of realisation that I’d started it in the wrong place! We’re up and running again and like a few of my other mis-directions below I think it’s going to work out just fine.

 

I thought the journey was over, but when I started the next leg I realised I’d been going the wrong way

servitudefsMy first published novel, Servitude, is a high fantasy adventure that took over seven years to write. This ridiculous length of time is from having three complete rewrites, the most painful of which saw me shelving 120K words and starting again. I thought the book was done, ready to send out into the world, but then I started writing the sequel and I realised my main character’s personality was completely wrong, and there was no way I could keep him as he was originally written and have the rest of the series pan out as it was supposed to. So I started again and Lornyc Reagalos was reborn into the stubborn, sassy bastard that he needed to be. I have to say I love the new version – he is still one of my favourite characters. But, boy, that decision hurt!

 

 

It was meant to be a quick pop to the local shops and I end up half way around the world

actorearl-final-coverBack in 2011 I had an idea for a quick and easy novella. A bit of fun which would get an idea out of my head and let me get back to writing something else I had planned. The idea was to write say 25K words about a young Elizabethan actor managing to bluff his way through pretending to be his twin sister to fool a noble. Yeah, well, that didn’t quite end up like that… so instead of one short novella The Actor and the Earl happened, and the Crofton universe was born. Currently there are 3 novels from Sebastian Hewel’s, the actor, point of view (The Crofton Chronicles) and a modern and spinoff – oh and a whole new side series is in the works where we’ll explore the Redbourn family through the eyes of four of the earls through history.

 

I’d read the map wrong… I was only one quarter of the way there

lifeintheland_origI wrote a short story call The Artichoke Avenger and Sprout Boy and submitted to an anthology (I can’t even remember the particular anthology), but it didn’t make the cut. But I got feedback saying they liked the idea and wanted me to consider revising and making it longer. A bit of head scratching and wondering what else to do, I ended up adding 3 more parts and the novella Life in the Land, where my hero has the super power of being able to manipulate plans, emerged.

 

 

I guess I’m saying, that while I usually like to know where I’m going, and consider myself a plotter when it comes to working out where the book should be going, it is not the time to panic when a journey doesn’t go to plan. In fact, in some cases it is the best thing that can happen to the story. Some punches are meant to be rolled with.

 

REBECCA COHEN is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

 

Contacts:

Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710

Twitter: http://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

 

 

 

 

What is it about Dragons? Rather odd post by Lou Hoffmann

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Yes, it’s me, Lou Hoffmann. I don’t have any kind of serious post planned, but I’ve just been wondering why we (humans from so many cultures) eternally like dragons so much.

No Really.

I mean for heaven’s sake, people, let’s think rationally about this. They’re reptiles. Scaly, cold-blooded. Certainly not cute and fuzzy. And they might be smart but they’re conniving as hell (like in Le Guin’s Earthsea cycle), right? earthsea-cover-le-guin And as destructive as an Armageddon (Like Smaug in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. And what about those dragons George R. R. Martin set loose?

Seriously, Puny humans hardly stand a chance against them, but there’s always a Saint George in every crowd, or else someone to befriend the beasts like Eragon with Saphira, or Merlin with The Great Dragon and later poor, sickly little Aithusa (who can still kick human butt).

I’m not being at all critical—I love dragons too. I just don’t know why. So you tell me: what is you love about dragons? And which is your favorite ever? And what about rainbow friendly YA books with dragons? Can you make some recommendations? I can think of Annabelle Jay’s The Sun Dragon Series and Sulayman X’s Tears of a Dragon—both available at Harmony Ink Press. There must be more?

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May as well mention there are dragons in The Sun Child Chronicles. The brave and beautiful warrior/uncle extraordinaire, Han Shieth, has to fight them at times. But he’s also descended from them, which is not as gross as it sounds and is a story that will be told someday. Meanwhile, here he is in Wraith Queen’s Veil meeting a very distant ancestor, who doesn’t seem to fit the mold at all.

“What about you, Warrior? What do you want?”

Han sputtered in the violet pool, taken off guard. Before he could recover, the lizard-like creature crawled out of the pool and climbed down to him. As she passed through the colored pools, her scales shimmered through the hues, ever so briefly matching each precisely.

“What’s the matter, Wizard’s Shield? Never seen a dragon before?”

“Big ones,” Han said, and immediately felt stupid.

“Green? Gold? Oh yes, the red are in your bloodline. I remember, yes—that’s why I know your name. Well, Warrior, I think you should know that I am the mother of them all.”

“But you’re small.” Duh.

“I am always, only, ever, as big as I need to be.” She flipped her tail at Han—possibly on purpose—as she turned to ascend once again. “So let’s make a deal, eh?” Having reached the uppermost pool, she pivoted suddenly, fixing her impossible-to-ignore dragon eyes on Han, forked tongue hanging out lasciviously.

“Umm—”

“Speak when spoken to, young man.”

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