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.

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#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!

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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)

Looking Backward with Charley Descoteaux

2015-rainbow-rose-facebook-iconHello, Charley Descoteaux here, welcome to my monthly column at Authors Speak. The column below was written last week and doesn’t feel appropriate today. I’ll leave it up, though, with the hope that it will do a little good to someone, somewhere.

Take care of each other out there~tough times are ahead but we can make it through, together.

 

This month I’m going to talk a little about success.

While pursuing goals sometimes it’s easy to overlook our successes. I know, that sounds strange, but please bear with me. Failures are often impossible to overlook, which is okay as long as we learn something. In my opinion, overlooking success is often worse than not learning from our mistakes. It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of taking the time to reflect on our successes.

Recently I had the privilege to join a group of LGBTQIA+ Romance authors for a reading at a local Barnes & Noble. An amazing experience, it was something I’ve dreamed of since I first began writing with the goal of publication—way back in the mid-1990s. A reading at a real bookstore was one of the lines I drew in the sand. I told myself that that’s what successful authors do, and if I ever did it then I would officially be Successful.

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I’m not going to say I didn’t have a blast or that I don’t value the experience, because that would be lying. However, it did reframe a few things for me. For one, I don’t feel any more “successful” than I did before that reading, and am still battling the same burnout I felt before the reading. Secondly, if my monetary rewards are doing the talking, they’re saying success is still more of a concept than a reality where my career is concerned.

Since my books aren’t burning up any bestseller lists and I’m not busy buying a new home or taking exotic vacations, I thought a look backward at all I have accomplished was the way to go.

  1. In the past four years I’ve published fifteen works of fiction: 5 short stories, 7 novellas, and 3 novels, with another novella due out next month and another novel early in 2017.
  2. I’ve been paid for all but one of the works listed above. (And not only a nominal acceptance fee or contributor copies, which is what I earned on all the fiction I’d had published prior to 2013.)
  3. I appeared on two panels at Gay Romance Northwest Meet-ups: as moderator of panel on kink and panelist on bisexuality in Romance.
  4. I’ve met some truly wonderful people who I never would have met otherwise. Despite the fact that #3 is true, I’m the stereotypical introverted writer—much more comfortable with words than people. Becoming a Romance author has helped me expand my comfort zone to include this amazing tribe that’s accepted me and my odd little stories.
  5. I’ve received some lovely emails and messages from readers. This is probably my favorite of all; taking everything into account the main reason i sought publication in the first place was to engage readers, to tell the stories only I can tell and connect with people.

That felt really good.

I knew it would, and yet I didn’t even consider looking backward until I was searching for an idea for this column. It’s not easy to take a break from striving to move forward—building momentum is important in any career. But we all need a break sometimes. Taking those breaks, basking in the glow of our accomplishments, is an important part of reaching goals and being successful. At least it is for me.

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What’s on your list of accomplishments? What is your definition of Success with a capital “S”? How do you remind yourself of all the little victories you’ve had in your career, or just in life?

 

Thanks for stopping by! Before you go I want to tell you about two fun giveaways you can enter. The gang at Authors Speak is holding a group giveaway—one backlist book from each of the nine authors! Enter the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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I’m starting a newsletter and the first edition will go out on November 16th with an announcement, exclusive content, and a giveaway. Since it’s short notice I’m offering a free ebook to all subscribers through Nov. 16th. Click the rainbow rose to sign up.

onlytheroseSee you next month!

A little of this and a little of that…

love-581837_1920Hi everyone! Charley Descoteaux back for my monthly chat at Authors Speak!

September is one of my favorite months of the year. The weather has cooled a few degrees and we’ve had some rain in the Pacific Northwest. The kids are back in school, and we have Bi Visibility Day coming up. As always, it’s on the 23rd and this year that’s also the first day of programming for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up! If you’ll be in the Seattle area plan to join us—admission is free and we have a lot of fun and informative activities planned.

I thought about writing this column about organization or maybe time management but I’m writing this on the evening of Sept. 7th so honestly, that kind of insight is a bit beyond me. I’m more the kind of person who reads those articles, not one who writes them. 🙂

Things are piling up on my author plate but that’s okay—a little chaos isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The trick (for me, at least) is to tackle it all a small piece at a time. Last night I worked on promo for my upcoming release, Safe House, the night before I started an editing pass on my Christmas story (also in the Buchanan House series, Holiday Weekend). At the moment, I’m trying to figure out how to write about bisexuality without going on for twenty-thousand words.

But why struggle with my own words when someone else has already phrased my thoughts perfectly? You’ve probably heard this before because it’s super quotable, but it bears repeating. (For more from Robyn Ochs, click here.)

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.” ~Robyn Ochs

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That’s why I call myself bisexual too.

As a flag-waving bisexual, I write a lot of bi characters. Since I’ll be on a panel at GRNW (Erased No More: Bisexual Characters in LGBTQ Romance!) I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good bisexual character and how to talk about it without going on for twenty minutes. So far, my answer is this: the character identifies as bi.

Sure, it’s not quite that simple in practice but basically that’s the answer. A bi character doesn’t have to lust after everyone they see—doesn’t have to lust after anyone at all if they’re also asexual. The possibilities are literally endless.

But that’s not an example, so I’m going to share an excerpt from my first published story with a bisexual main character. Not the Doctor was in the Dreamspinner Daily Dose “Mended” anthology in June of 2014. It’s short, so I’m posting two–the second one, Kai’s, isn’t directly after the first but it’s getting late and I was too busy writing the sixth book in my Buchanan House series during my commute instead of writing something for this space. <3

 

Joe

ON OUR two-week anniversary, I saw young Doc Austin again. He said everything was fine, gave me a prescription for physical therapy which would start in two weeks, and told me not to lift anything over one pound until further notice. My mind stuttered when he said get it moving. The words just didn’t make sense. My arm was broken. I’d just had surgery. And he wanted me to move it?

George dropped me off outside my building and headed back to his office. In my kitchen I found a little round postal scale with a note taped to it. Everything weighs more than a pound. His text came through a few seconds later. Don’t push it J.

I was just high enough to be freaked out and retreated to my recliner with the necessary supplies. Plus an extra blanket to hide under, even though it was a beautiful seventy-five degrees outside. The next time I woke up, I remembered he’d talked with the doctor and nurses after my surgery, when I was too woozy to stay awake and eat saltines. It was much easier to breathe knowing my brother wasn’t psychic. The things he could pick up from my thoughts alone! It didn’t pay to try and figure out when he left the scale, though. Pain meds and chronology don’t make easy bedfellows.

 

 

Kai

IF I were the praying kind, I would’ve spent the morning doing just that. Joey looked terrified as he walked down the hall—all by his lonesome. It defeats the purpose to say good luck out loud, but I almost did it anyway. He looked like he could use the boost, and his brother wasn’t exactly the nurturing type. Would it have killed George to come up and help with the bag?

Would I be judging him so harshly if I’d been up to walking Joey down myself?

Over the past few months, since he’d been doing more telecommuting, it grew more and more difficult to ignore the silver fox next door. His chestnut hair had barely started to frost at the temples, but silver fox just sounded sexy. And Joe Prescott was nothing if not sexy. He even had gorgeous feet—which I probably wouldn’t have noticed if not for my own problems down there, but that would’ve been my loss. It’s uplifting to look at something—someone—beautiful. Even a straight someone.

Those two, the Prescotts, they’re about as straight as they come. George wore a sport jacket to take Joe to the hospital. Even he wouldn’t have gone home during the procedure to change. Probably kept his head bowed over an iSomething the whole time. But he noticed me. He always notices me, and not in the same way Joe does. No, George had me pegged from the gate. If I didn’t have thirty years of experience saying I knew better, the zealous way he stepped between us would’ve made me wonder.

But if I’m interested in Joey he has to be straight because that’s my m.o. Show me a hot straight guy—bonus points for each prejudice and phobia he brings to the table—and before you can say Judy Garland, I’ve fallen for him.

Enough talking to myself in an empty apartment, time to cook something.

When Auntie gets back, maybe I’ll have gained a pound or two. Not likely, but it would make her happy.

 

 

notthedoctor_fbthumbNot the Doctor by Charley Descoteaux

A moment of distraction on a lonely highway leaves middle-aged widower Joe Prescott with a broken arm and in need of surgery. He’s no stranger to long hours spent alone in his apartment, but until his arm heals, independence will be a luxury. Joe is used to helping others and doesn’t realize the strength it takes to accept a helping hand, especially from the neighbor he’s had a crush on since he moved in.

Kai Hosino, “retired” chef, lives with his elderly Aunt Tilly so they can help each other navigate life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Kai is drawn to the silver fox next door, but his painful history of falling for straight men makes him hesitant to take a chance.

 

Thanks for reading!

I’ll see you next month–hopefully with a more organized post! 😉

 

onlytherose

 

Pictures courtesy of the lovely folks at pixabay.com.

Taking Chances by Charley Descoteaux

castle-1016717_640Hi there, Charley Descoteaux back for my monthly spot on Author’s Speak. Thanks for visiting and thanks, Lou, for not changing the locks after last month. 😉

Recently, a friend sent me an email about a contest she thought I should enter. I missed the window because I thought none of my books fit the guidelines but that got me thinking about the contests I have entered, and why. (It also forced me to wonder how I could forget the ethnicity of one of my own main characters, but I’m writing that off to Real Life Interference.) Contests are fun to enter, and I always find new books for my TBR pile. With the way 2016 has been going I’m not about to pass up anything fun.

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Earlier this year I entered the Twitter pitch contest #DVpit. In case you haven’t heard of it (I hadn’t until the day before) #DVpit is a Twitter event created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices. Authors pitch their finished manuscripts in 140 characters or less and hope that an agent, editor, or publisher will favorite that tweet. Favoriting a tweet is an invitation to send the story,  to let the author know they want to read it.

My #DVpit pitches were favorited twice—which isn’t bad, considering I hadn’t had much time to prepare—by one agent and one publisher. The agent ultimately wasn’t interested but the publisher who liked the sound of my bisexual genderqueer Romance caught my attention and has since contracted a different story for publication early next year.

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Last week I heard that #PitchWars 2016 was about to start so I checked it out  and ended up submitting my #DVpit story. The submission window has just closed so I probably won’t know if anyone wants to mentor my manuscript until the end of the month, but that’s not really the point. Sure, I’d love to land an agent and a deal with a Big Five publisher but the point is that I took a chance, ventured out of my comfort zone. That carries its own rewards. It’s been fun following the different #PitchWars hashtags (especially #PitchTease and #knowthementees) but I don’t really expect to be chosen from the pool of literally hundreds of entries.

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The larger point of this post is that you never know what will happen when you take a chance. For authors, that could mean catching the attention of an agent or contracting a book with a new publisher. In life in general~the sky’s the limit.

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Next month I’ll be looking forward to the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up (especially the panel on bisexual characters which I’ll be on with some awesome authors and editors) and Bi Visibility Day on the 23rd, so expect something non-monosexual in this space! In the meantime, let’s chat about what you’ve done to shake things up lately.

What chances have you taken lately? How have you pushed yourself to grow—or just to have a little fun?

Leave a comment here or catch up with me online & continue the conversation!

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All photos used in this post are courtesy of the lovely folks at pixabay.com.

Self-Care is for Everyone by Charley Descoteaux

Hello and welcome to my monthly column at Rainbow-Gate!

I had a post all ready to go but I scrapped it. (Okay, archived it.) This is a happier post, but far less editing has gone into it so if you see anything that makes you cringe I apologize in advance.

The past few weeks have been, well, horrible. I’ll spare you the gory deets, but doctors have been and will be involved for at least the next few weeks. In times like these, when life seems to throw feces regardless of which direction I jump, it’s easy to forget about self-care.

So I’m here to remind us all that it’s important to do things that make us happy. Rest and good nutrition are necessary, but so are the little things. Maybe even things we’ve wanted to do for a long time but were hesitant or even afraid to try.

 

I colored my hair purple for Pride and it made me so happy I’ve kept it that way. Not as purple, but I’m making sure the peek-a-boo highlights don’t fade. So many random people have smiled at me since I’ve had my purple hair and some have even said, “I love your hair” or “Cool color” as we passed on the street or in a store. And that feels pretty great.

 

Self-care doesn’t have to be as bold and unconventional as a 51 year old woman walking around with purple hair. Nobody even has to know about it except you. For instance, I tried to sleep in this morning but couldn’t. However, as soon as I get tired this afternoon (if I make it that long *lol*) I’m taking a nap.

 

I have deadlines and emails to write and a cat and apartment that need care—but I need care too.

 

 

What do you do for self-care? We can all use a new idea (or twelve) for how to treat ourselves better. You don’t have to share one to enter the blog’s Rafflecopter, but I hope you will anyway. Bonus points for ideas that are free or under $10 (hint: book recs are welcome!).

Thanks for sticking with me!

Al the info about the Rafflecopter (book $$ is involved) is in this post.

Catch up with me online & continue the conversation!

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All photos courtesy of johnhain at Pixabay.

Charley Descoteaux ~ Safe Spaces

Hello and welcome to my first ever monthly column spot! Thank you for visiting, and thank you Lou for inviting me to participate in your cool group blog!

 

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about safe spaces. Okay, not only lately—I’ve been active to varying degrees in the queer community since the 80s—but this year is the first time I’ve actually created one.

Safe spaces can take many different forms, whether they’re for readers of a specific genre or a place where nobody questions the words anyone else uses to describe their orientation or gender identity. I take everything a little too far so my space has both.

Earlier this year I published my first novella with Samhain. Three days before they announced they would be closing. I was afraid my odd little book would disappear in the face of that big news. It didn’t, but I’ve had moments when I almost wish it had.

My daughter helpfully reminded me that I knew some people would want to rip it a new one and I chose to go ahead and submit it anyway—for some very good reasons (which I’ll probably talk about another time). That is 100% true, and even as hard as it was to read some of the reviews I don’t regret it. Torque inspired me to create the Facebook group Rainbow Snippets and even if that were the only good thing that came from it that would be enough. (It wasn’t, which is even better!) Now I have a wonderful group of people I look forward to seeing every weekend. People who have made me feel safe sharing with them regardless of the pairing in my stories, regardless of the orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic of my characters. And I hope I’ve done the same for them.

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Here is the group description for Rainbow Snippets. If it sounds like something you might be interested in, check us out. The more the merrier!

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

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

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What kind of safe space would you like to see created? Be honest, you never know who you’ll inspire!

 I’ll leave you with a little about the book that inspired all of this, Torque.

Sometimes letting things get complicated is the best way to figure it all out.

Mick Randall is on the run, from the biker culture he grew up in and his impossible vision of love. Alaska should be far enough to escape his old life—until he rolls into a wrecking yard and gets lost in a pair of pale, bottle-green eyes.

Scotty Bell has spent years learning to channel his fiery temper into the heat of a welding torch. His sexual heat has always been slower to ignite, but one look at Mick rouses confusion alongside desire. In all his life, he’s only been attracted to one other person—his best friend, Mercy Taylor.

Mick lands a temporary job at the yard, and finds an uneasy crash pad at Scotty’s place…where the ragged ends of his emotions get tangled up in Scotty and Mercy’s relationship

But when Mick hears a Harley engine from his past bearing down on him, his first instinct is to go back to the half-life he’d been living. Lest his secrets destroy the only two people who’ve ever made him feel whole.

Warning: Contains references to abuse, subversive ideas about sexual identity and gender expression, and a free-range bisexual on a mission.

 

See you next month right here!

Feel free to rattle my cages anytime!

Blog:  http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/

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