Fabulous Five Blog Post!

Another milestone. This is baby’s first blog hop!

I’ve been invited to take part by Matthias Williamson. Matthias was one of the first writers I met as part of the Love’s Landscapes Event on goodreads, and I followed his journey writing Falling for You (available for free as part of the Goodreads M/M community’s Love’s Landscapes event). You can follow Matthias at his blog.

What am I working on?

I am polishing the draft of my vampire novel, Thorns and Fangs, in order to get it send out to beta-readers, and then submit it to a publisher for consideration. I’ve started on its sequel, and have a third and fourth book in this series plotted out, so fingers crossed, you should be seeing a few completed projects from me soon!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Just like real-life is often contradictory, my stories blend elements from a variety of genres. I’m describing Thorns and Fangs as a paranormal romance, but in addition to vampires, erotic scenes and a slowly developing relationship, there are elements of mystery, suspense, humour and horror.

I’m also making an effort to capture something of the horror and threat of early vampire novels where the vampire was definitely the bad guy. I’ve added my own tweaks to vampire lore, and I hope I’ve managed to convey some of the threat and dread of classic vampire fiction with my vampire characters.

Why do I write what I do?

When I was 13-14, my family lived in a really isolated part of the world. I took lessons by correspondence school. The second-hand bookstore on our island and the radio (which had 3 stations) became my link to the rest of the world. I read voraciously, digesting what I read uncritically. One particular YA series became my favourite and I reread the books over and over again. Gradually I noticed something that bothered me a lot. Anytime a guy character and a girl character showed up, they would end the story paired up together. For every guy, there was one corresponding girl. And only one.

My favourite character, the hero of two books in this series, was single. Eventually we learned that it was because his destined girl had died tragically. Their love story moved me — but after I put the book down, I was troubled. My parents had divorced two years previously. Since then, they’d both met wonderful people and started a new chapter of their lives. My stepmother and stepfather were such a part of my life that I told people that I had four parents. And here was this author that I trusted, writing as though love was a thing that only happened once!? I felt hurt. Betrayed. Angry. I still read, but it wasn’t the same. I put books down halfway through if I didn’t like the way the story was going. I made up new, ‘better’ endings to fix the ‘problems’ I saw (I was like all thirteen-year-olds extremely self-dramatizing). Eventually, I started making my own stories.

Even today, I feel the need to challenge weird things I see in fiction. The people I meet and talk to everyday come from a variety of countries and cultures. They don’t have perfect bodies. They have a variety of sexual orientations. Sometimes they make poor life choices and they rant about their co-workers, or the pressures their families put on them. They fall in love and fall out of love. They have baggage from previous relationships, or emotional issues that keep them from pursuing what they want. I don’t always see people like my friends in the fiction I read — but if I write about them, other people will.

How does my writing process work?

I start with a problem. With Thorns and Fangs, I decided that I wanted to do three things I’d never done before — tackle violence, sex and death in a story. All three things I have shied away from in the past (this was before The Case of the Insufferable Slave, and really great practice for that I might add), and I decided I wasn’t going to let myself be fenced in by ‘safe’ any longer. Trying to figure out how to begin was hard, but I decided that I wanted to try a romance plot where the sex came first and the relationship followed.

There was one scene that I knew had to happen, the turning point of the novel. My cast appeared pretty readily. It was easy to write. The sex scenes were a struggle, but violence and gore tended to be relatively pain-free! There were a few points where I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but the momentum of the story carried me through. I let the first draft sit for two weeks before I started looking at it. I realized pretty quickly there were issues, but the LL Event happened and I put it down for 2 months. This was the best thing I could have done! Suddenly I was able to see even more places I could improve, and had new ideas for things I hadn’t seen before! Some beloved passages and chapters got cut, but I steadily rewrote or tightly reworked the chapters from the start to the point where I needed to start entirely from scratch — and that is where I am now. I’ve had a few days off writing, semi-intentionally, and in that time, thought about why I might be having the problems I’m having. And I think I have solutions! So with any luck the rewrite will be wrapped up soon, and sent off to betas.

Who’s Next on the Blog Hop?

Anne Barwell is the writing friend I’ve known the longest! I picked up Shades of Sepia on a whim from dreamspinner press, discovered that the story and style reminded me a lot of a writing friend I’d lost contact with about ten years previously, e-mailed her to ask if she’d seen the book — turned out she wrote it! How cool is that? Anne’s been seriously busy lately — first off, she has Winter Duet coming out soon, Wings of Song scheduled for December and Family and Reflection (the one I am most excited for!) in the works.

Like Matthias, I met K.C. Faelan through the LL Event! K.C. was one of my awesome betas for my LL story, and I was lucky enough to get to beta her LL story, If At First You Don’t Succeed! I really loved not only K.C’s characters, but the insight into her writing processes. Looking forward to the sequel!

Ren Stjerne is another LL friend and beta! We share a love of paranormal romance. She has promised me vampires. She is currently working on the sequel to her LL story Too Pretty and mysterious other projects.

Tali Spencer is another friend I met through the LL event. Her story, The Last Cannoli is my favourite out of all the LL Event stories — which is fortunate as Tali wrote it for my prompt! I’ve also loved Thick as Thieves which in addition to having the best blurb I’ve read in a long time, is pure fun in ebook format.

I met Ana on facebook through a mutual friend, and she has been generously sharing advice and recommending good structure and plotting guide books for writers! I’m currently reading her new release Lab Rat’s Love and am really amazed by it — honestly, the writing is so polished and the story is so tight, that it doesn’t read like Ana’s new to writing M/M romance at all!

Jayson James was one of the first people to friend me on facebook. Jayson’s YA fiction addresses the issues of bullying, coming out and challenging family situations. Not only that, he illustrates the covers of his books himself! At the request of his friends, he has just released This Author’s Drawings. Jayson also has an adorable dog Cooper whose exploits I have been enjoying following on facebook.

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