Author: gillianstkevern

My new side-gig.

Although I’m a published author, I’m still a long way off being able to write full-time. Since quitting my job as an Assistant Language Teacher in Japan, most of my income comes from freelance jobs, anything from ghost-writing to editing to travel-writing. I also babysit, and this month I added another side-gig to my repertoire—and I think you’ll agree I really lucked out here.

Dog-walking.

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This is my new boss, and although she works me hard, I have to say I enjoy every minute of it. She’s always happy to see me when I arrive, gives loads of positive feedback, and is totally up for taking an untried route. If we get a little lost or walk farther than we intended, it’s all good! She’s not one to watch the clock. All in all, I really enjoy her positive attitude and look forward to many future walks.

Cats Have Staff: A.L. Anderson

My friend M. Caspian shared her cute fluff penname this week, revealing she occasionally writes ‘sugary-sweet M/M romance with HEAs all round‘ (she also reviews notebooks and introduced me to Little & Fridays so I totally endorse following her). I feel like I deserved a treat for getting Dead Wrong submitted by my deadline, and figured a sugary-sweet fic was better for me than eating half a packet of gingernuts. When I saw Cats Have Staff I knew this was the story for me.

Cats Have Staff is short, sweet, uncomplicated but still had me ridiculously invested in Sal and Golightly. In short, it was exactly what I needed tonight, and I thoroughly recommend it for cat-people or people trying to reduce their gingernut intake.

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Salvatore Moretti has spent the last three years alone, ever since his lover Benjamin Cresswell left town for the job opportunity of a lifetime. Sal knew he couldn’t hold Ben back, and instead he’s been focused on creating a solid life for himself. A good life. He doesn’t need more than that . . . does he?

This is a short story of 14,893 words.

Cats Have Staff on Amazon.

September DONE/October TO-DO

September seems to have gone by like a steam-roller. This month was unrelenting with hurricanes, volcanoes, and a national election here in New Zealand that will probably not be resolved until mid-October. When things get insane, I find myself needing more quiet time off social media simply recharging my batteries. At least I got a lot of work done!

I’ve already shared the big news—Dead Wrong is complete and I submitted it to NineStar this afternoon. I’m bizarrely happy with it. Bizarrely happy because it’s rare that I feel this positively about anything I’ve written after submitting it. Usually, the moment I hit ‘send’ on that Submission e-mail, I immediately remember every niggling doubt I had while writing. Author friends, can you relate?

September Goals: 

  • Edit Gentlemen Don’t Murder. Done! Submitted it to my editor friend and betas, waiting for responses. 
  • Complete Dead Wrong. Done! YAY!
  • Freelance Project #3 Still working on this, but this is my client behind schedule, not me.
  • Regular blog updates  Whoops!
  • Submit work to agent Not done–moving to October.
  • Work on craft Not consciously worked on. Will have to do better!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with what I achieved in September. There were some unexpected things that popped up. Freelance Project #3 doesn’t really give a good idea of how much freelance work I did, and from one day babysitting a week, I’ve gone up to one day and two half days. Despite all this, I stayed on track with my primary goals and even got some reading for fun in.

October Goals:

  • Banging the Supernatural (And Other Poor Life Choices #1) – revise draft.
  • Freelance project #1
  • Freelance project #2
  • Read 4 books on Craft/Marketing
  • Plot my Nano project
  • Mindfulness Habit
  • 9 Blog Posts

October’s going to be an even busier month than September… Wish me luck!

Dead Wrong: First Draft Complete!

It’s been a while since my last update. There’s two reasons for that. First, I went back and edited a bunch of old blog entries dating back to 2014. It was actually quite nostalgic, reading entries as I worked on Thorns and Fangs, chronicling my struggle and enthusiasm.

I failed to realise however, that in editing the blog posts, I would cause them to crosspost  to Twitter and Facebook. Whoops! I inadvertently spammed my timeline. Sorry! After that debacle, I decided I should hold off posting for a while to avoid annoying anyone.

The other reason I haven’t been updating, is because I’ve been busy working on Dead Wrong—the fourth and final book in Thorns and Fangs. And approximately an hour ago, I typed the last words of my first draft, giving Nate and Ben a very, very, well-deserved HEA.

It feels good! I was surprised how easy it was to step back into New Camden and into the lives of these characters. Writing Nate, Ben, Aki, Gunn and Kenzies, I actually felt like I was hanging out with old friends. While I am really happy for Nate and Ben, getting to the point they are now, I feel somewhat bittersweet knowing that this is the end of our journey together.

I’m comforting myself by reminding myself that October is the start of a new chapter in this story. I’m revisiting Banging the Supernatural (And Other Poor Life Choices). I’ve been sitting on the completed first draft of this, Aki’s story, for years now. And I’m glad I waited. I now see that what was going to be a self-contained side-story has the potential to be a new series, with a second, possibly even a third story waiting. What can I say? Aki doesn’t make things easy, not even for himself.

This also means that I am on track for my insane goal of writing a story a month from July through December. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m feeling positive. Three down, three more to go!

The Sub-Antarctic Islands As You Have Never Seen Them Before

Heritage Expeditions and Forest and Bird joined forces to create a limited number expedition to the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands. While doing my research for Morgen Curse I became fascinated by the sub-Antarctic islands (the Antipodes Islands, which is the setting for most of the story, are sub-antarctic islands), and so I’ve been following news of the trip.

Well, natural history film-maker James Muir was lucky enough to be able to go on the trip and made an incredible video. It’s beautiful. I was going to tell you to skip to the sub-antarctic islands at 3:56, but the shots of Antarctica are just beautiful, and the oceans…  Must watch!

 

The video, short as it is, really captures the isolation of these islands, and the harshness and richness of these waters—and offers a bit of insight into why Cedifor and Ieuan are the way they are. You don’t spend centuries in a place like this and not be changed by it.

Rock Sugar: Don’t Stop the Sandman

Ever wondered what would happen if an eighties metal band were stranded on a desert island and all they had to listen to was the music collection of a teenage girl? Luckily for us all, Rock Sugar is here to answer that question. The answer: some really incredible mash-ups.

Don’t believe me? Check out the music video for ‘Don’t Stop the Sandman’, a mash-up of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman.’ It is flawless.

 

Rock Sugar have a ton of awesome mash-ups (I really like ‘Here Comes the Fool You Wanted), but this is their only video.

And if you want to know something really crazy… The guy on lead vocals voiced Wakko Warner.

The Biggest Scoop in French!

While in Rotorua, I got a Facebook alert that three people I didn’t know were talking about me. Now, I’m not Facebook famous, so three people talking about me all on the same day was pretty unusual. I wondered what was going on, and voila—I found out.

As scoops go, this was pretty grand. Plus grand, in fact.

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Confused? The Biggest Scoop is coming out in French October 25th!

I wrote The Biggest Scoop for the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads 2015 Don’t Read in the Closet event. The prompt was submitted by Josephine. It was my first YA, and it was incredibly fun to write. One of those stories where the characters (Milo) just take over the story (Milo), going places you never really expected them to go.

When I wrote it, I was still teaching in Japan, and when I reread it recently, I was surprised how nostalgic it made me for my students and my classrooms. My students constantly surprised me with their inventiveness and sheer enthusiasm for life, and I wanted The Biggest Scoop to reflect that.

Then, early 2016, totally out of the blue, I got an e-mail from MxM Bookmark. They are a French publishing house specialising in positive LGBTQ-romance, and they were interested in The Biggest Scoop. I was tremendously flattered, but given that The Biggest Scoop was produced with the help of volunteers from the M/M Romance group, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to sell it. We worked out a compromise. Once the production costs have been covered, all profits from The Biggest Scoop—or I should say, Le Plus Grand de Tous les Scoops—will be donated to a charity supporting homeless LGBTQ teens.

I could not be happier about this (also my grandma is totally impressed).

If you missed it the first time round, The Biggest Scoop is available for free along with an incredible range of stories from the official M/M Romance DRITC site. Here is the original cover (by cover artist extraordinaire Bree Archer) and the blurb:

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The Biggest Story Milo’s ever found is one he can’t tell.

Everything is going wrong for Milo Markopoulos. The future of the school newsletter is in jeopardy, he doesn’t have a single friend among his junior classmates, and his film script has just been rejected again. Worse, he has only one day to find a story that will satisfy newspaper editor, Candice. Enter transfer student, Taylor. Good looking, responsible, and possessed of a mysterious something that has him turning heads on his first day of school, Taylor is the story Milo is looking for — too bad Taylor has plans for a quiet high school experience.

Despite their many differences of opinion, Milo finds himself developing a close journalistic relationship with the future class president. But Taylor’s success might put an end to their burgeoning friendship. What will happen when Taylor is no longer Milo’s story? How far will Milo go to save the newspaper?

Written for the 2015 DRitC event hosted by the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads, The Biggest Scoop is a YA story that focuses on the development of the main characters. Sweetly romantic, the story is freely available in a variety of formats from  the M/M Romance Group.