Compiled Blog Tour Interviews, Q&A, 10 Things Lists, Play List, and Bowerbirds Excerpt
The Empty Nests blog tour is now wrapped up, (though the Rafflecopter giveaway is still going for a few more days) and it has been a busy few weeks. I did a lot of Q&A, several 10 Things lists, gave my version of writing advice, and produced a pretty cool writing play list. I know most people didn’t read every single blog, which is understandable, so I’ve combined all those blog interviews together. And if you get to the bottom there is the first public except for Bowerbirds, book two in the Nested Hearts series.
Ten things you didn’t know about me
1. I can light a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Insert all manner of juvenile jokes here. We’ll see who’s laughing after the zombie apocalypse when all the matches run out.
2. I have set my own bones and performed minor surgery on myself. I am now a big fan of public healthcare.
3. I took ballet for most of my childhood. I was the least coordinated and inflexible kid ever to squeeze into a leotard.
4. I can knit lace but I can’t crochet to save my soul. I’ve had my sister try to teach me. I’ve read all kinds of books and watched the videos on YouTube but anything past the most basic chain just doesn’t work. My sister is the opposite; she’s great at crochet but just can’t work out knitting.
5. I attended the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. And before you ask, yes it was cold. So very cold.
6. I only graduated high school because my chemistry final was canceled due to a bomb threat. No, I had nothing to do with it. I would have been fine not graduating.
7. I only saw Frozen for the first time last month because my partner was convinced it was about a girl bitten by a radioactive ice spider. Personally I would have preferred the radioactive ice spider plot.
8. The only time I have had proper alcohol poisoning was when I was trying to outdrink some guys who edit reality television for a living.
9. I’m allergic to marijuana.
10. I cannot make a pie crust. I can make breads, cakes, cookies, all kinds of yummy things but I cannot make a pie crust. Every time I try it either disintegrates or comes out rock hard.
Ten places I want to go and why
1. Qingdao, China
When I was thirteen I spent a month in China on a special student trip. It was not the greatest experience. My traveling companions were a bunch of teenaged Ugly American I would never have spent time with if I’d been given a choice. They were generally dismissive of everything they saw and picked on me for actually wanting to spend time looking at things. The one city a day pace of the trip was like trying to skim read an epic novel.
One of the few truly bright parts of the trip was Qingdao. Possibly because it rained and knocked the smog out of the air. Or maybe because we got stuck by the seaside for an hour. I just remember it being beautiful and peaceful in the middle of a lot of chaos. It might not be as nice as my memory but I’d like to return and find out.
2. London, England
I have a degree in theatre. I love museums. I grew up on PBS which used a lot of BBC as filler long before BBC America was a thing. I need to go to London for at least a month, preferably while something good is showing at The Globe. I need to spend every day in a different museum and every night at a different play. I need to go at some point in my life and just spend time being a giant, shameless, nerd.
3. Cardiff, Wales
I know it’s a day trip from London, and I have been informed there isn’t really much there, but I’m a nerd on many levels. I want to go to Roald Dahl Plass and get my picture taken standing on the invisible lift for Torchwood Three.
I like whisky and the Scottish countryside always looks really pretty in the pictures. Due to some strange aspects of my youth which would take a very long time to explain a cold and wet camping trip in the middle of Scotland is actually an appealing idea. Especially if I have a couple bottles of good whisky as a camping companion.
5. New York, New York
I have visited New York a handful of times but never for long enough stretches. Like London I think I need a month to linger in the museums, see all the shows, and eat at a long list of restaurants. As a born and raised Northern Californian I don’t think I could handle more than a month, and it always takes a few days to get into the swing of the city.
The last time I was in New York I was pregnant. I wasn’t very far in but I remember already feeling huge and exhausted. Add in the lingering nausea and pregnancy food restrictions and I did not get nearly as much out of the city as I would have liked.
6. Hong Kong
I’ve been to Hong Kong twice. The first time was at the end of the China trip mentioned above. By that point virtually everyone had some kind of illness due to food, water, or swimming in the South China Sea. This was also in the years leading up to the changeover and there were some protests going on. In the end the whole group got stuck at the hotel missing anything interesting about the city.
The second time I was in Hong Kong was during an 18 hour layover when I was trying to get from San Francisco to New Zealand using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles. I could have done one of those epic layovers that inspire movie scripts, instead I just walked around a bit, ate some mystery meat dumplings, and went back to the airport not wanting to miss my connecting flight.
I’d like to go back to Hong Kong and actually do something there.
7. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is beautiful. It’s filled with amazing views, rare animals, and stunning hydrothermal displays. It is truly the cream of the US national park system. The first and only time I was there I was in the middle of the hardest depressed crash since my teenaged years. I remember looking at this one waterfall, amazed by its intense beauty, and putting serious thought into throwing myself over it.
I want to see all those wonderful things again while in a good headspace so I can have a better layer of memories.
8. Monument Valley, Colorado
You don’t grow up with a father who loves Westerns without knowing about Monument Valley. There is no place like it on Earth. I have seen it from probably every possible angle in the background of dozens of movies and TV shows but I want to see it for myself at least once.
9. St. Petersburg, Russia
In college I had a wonderful professor from Russia who had a profound effect on my life. Another much loved professor was part of the first group of American academics who were let in after the Soviet Union collapsed and wrote on the costuming museums of St. Petersburg. I like old and beautiful things and St. Petersburg as both of those things in quantities. Any trip will of course have to wait until a change in the current political climate of the region.
My high school guidance counselor must have hated me. I was one of those weird, smart but lazy and a little crazy kids. At some point she asked me what I wanted to do with my life and my answer was to start the Martian Repertory Theatre Company. I think this was the point when she just gave up on me.
I know the MRTC is never going to happen. I will never actually step on Mars or visit a hotel on the Moon. But I really hope someone will walk on Mars in my lifetime.
Ten moments that stayed with me from any book
1. Sam Vimes under Koom Valley, fighting an ancient evil, screaming ‘Where is my Cow’ in Thud! by Terry Pratchett.
2. The narrator first finding Crumleys garden in Death is a Lonely Business by Ray Bradbury.
3. Arthur Dent in front of the bulldozer in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
4. The shadows burnt onto the side of the house in There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury.
5. The golf game in How Much for Just the Planet by John M. Ford.
6. Spock playing chess for money in Ishmael by Barbara Hambly.
7. The narrator finding the Canary Lady in Death is a Lonely Business.
8. Sam Vimes attempting to arrest two armies to stop a war in Jingo.
9. Garak following the lizard in A Stitch in Time by Andrew Robinson.
10. The Halloween party in My Side of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George.
(I did a lot of these. Get ready to learn where I stand on Harry Potter v. Twilight)
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was quite little I wanted to be an astronaut. Then in the middle of morning cartoons the news cut in to report on the Challenger disaster. That killed that.
I did the brief ‘I want to be a doctor’ thing. Then I saw an eyeball surgery on PBS. I still can’t handle eyeballs. I wear glasses instead of contacts because I don’t like the idea of touching my own eyes.
Through most of elementary and middle school I wanted to be a scientist like my aunt who is internationally known and respected in her field. Somewhere around 8th grade I realized that I like science but I didn’t want to make a career out of it. When my mother asked me what I did want to do I said I wanted to be an actor.
I’m not a very good actor. I’m great at learning lines but I have no stage presence.
I did my undergrad in theater directing but I spent most of those four years stage managing. I considered becoming a professional stage manager since I did enjoy it but the hoops needed to get into the union were a little too daunting.
I did my master’s degree in film and television producing. Probably should have done it in writing. I’d still like to be a TV or movie writer when I grow up. I was supposed to pick up my first Oscar four years ago, so I’m a bit behind schedule, but maybe I can get this novel optioned and get one for best adapted screenplay.
If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
What would you say inspired you to write it?
I don’t remember. I started writing it in 2010, finished the first draft in 2011, then got distracted by other things until July of 2014 when I got back to it. I’m sure the original idea was something very meaningful to me at the time.
What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist?
The protagonist, James, is slightly inspired by my own father. He wasn’t a single parent but he did a lot of the hard yards the first few years of my life while my mother was working three jobs keeping the bills paid.
Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
All the time. I write in bursts and can lose a lot of momentum if I take too long of a break or start on a different project. It’s mostly a matter of staring at the screen intercut by taking more showers than necessary.
Your all time favorite book?
Death is a Lonely Business by Ray Bradbury
What made you pick that one above all others?
I’ve actually written a whole blog post about that particular book but in short it’s a book about a struggling writer that made me realize that perhaps I could be a writer as well. It’s also one of the few books written in first person that I really like.
What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
I started Empty Nests in 2010 so this is probably officially the longest. I will confess to having started a never completed a series of fanfic in 2002. I feel a little bad about that.
Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
Empty Nests and its sequel Bowerbirds was originally one giant 130 thousand word book. It was a mess. I sent it to a friend to edit who was always correct in her comments but not always kind. Every time I went to edit or even reread it I would lose hope. The characters were inconsistent, the plot meandered, it was just too long and unwieldy to handle. I seriously considered deleting it. I sent it to my friend Cooper West who told me not to delete it. She told me that I had two books, not one. She told me where to cut it in half then gifted me a copy of Scrivener which made it possible to fix many of the structural problems in that first draft.
What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing?
Five days a week I’m a parent of a very active two year old who has a ‘strong personality’. My days consists of runs around the park, grocery shopping, swim classes, blocks, trikes, yogurt, hugs, giggles, screaming tantrums, flung food, broken crayons, and we’re heading into potty training. Two days a week there is pre-school. I wake up at 6:30, drop the kid off at 7:30, go home, make coffee, write, stop at 5:00, then pick the kid up at 5:15.
How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
All you can do is ignore it. I know authors who have tried to respond to bad reviews, especially on places like Goodreads, and it has always ended badly. I might have a rant at my partner or an understanding friend but I can’t/won’t risk taking the reviewer head on. There seems to be no way of winning that. Especially in the internet age.
Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
This is the first of a two parter (though I have a friend nagging me to do a third). The first book is really about the two characters coming together. The second is more about keeping the relationship going through the stress of their very different lives and backgrounds.
What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
The sequel to Empty Nests is finished and is currently being edited. As for the project after that there are four I have started but I haven’t fully decided which one I’m going to focus on next. I have an M/M BDSM story, an M/M interoffice romance, a sequel to my western Eden Springs, and a non-romance Urban Fantasy. The BDSM or interoffice romance are the most likely ones to come up next.
If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
US Army Wilderness Survival Manual.
Name your favorite fruit.
Mango (especially with a little lime).
Coffee or tea?
How about fav time of 24 hours?
Whatever hour dawn is in.
Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
I was a member of Camp Fire Boys and Girls for thirteen years.
Favorite food for breakfast?
Toast with butter and parmesan cheese.
Latest book you’ve bought and read?
The Rum Dairy by Hunter S. Thompson.
Do you collect things like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
There is perhaps a thin line between collecting and hording. I have a lot of books I have yet to read. I have an extensive blu-ray/DVD collection. I have a small but carefully chosen set of comic books. More yarn then I’m ever going to find time to knit. And a couple of thousand dollars worth of Magic the Gathering cards even though I haven’t been able to play since 2005.
Favorite color, you know you want to tell us!
Green but everyone assumes purple because I have so much stuff in purple. It’s just really hard to find stuff in a properly attractive shade of green.
Drama or comedy?
Comedy, but I’m picky about comedy to the point where some people think I don’t like it.
Have a fav quote or personal motto?
My father swears the family motto is ‘It’s not rocket science’. That’s funnier if you know my family.
Cats or dogs?
Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Candlelight dinner. I’m not good in high energy crowds or social situations in general. I find them very stressful and draining.
What song have you listened to most recently?
Nights Become Days from England Keep My Bones by Frank Turner
Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is…
One particular piece of incredibly trashy, purple prose, completely absurd fanfic, which I reread at least once a year when I need a smile.
Your oldest memory is…
My grandfather helping me pick tomatoes and playing with his train set. He died when I was two so these are very early and a bit hazy.
If everyone would receive a prize for being best at something, you’d be no. 1 at…
Telling people things will be okay in a calm and comforting manner even when things are going completely to shit.
The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is…
Unloading dishes from the dishwasher. I don’t mind loading the dirty dishes but something about unloading the clean ones I just hate.
If a character from any book could become real and you could spend a day with them, it would be… from the book…
Nanny Ogg from the Discworld books.
You were/are a hardcore fan of…
I couldn’t even begin to list the number of fandoms I have be part of over the years. I will say one of my earliest fandoms was Red Dwarf.
If you could have any one superpower, it would be…
The one thing that always brightens your day is…
When my kid smiles at me because she’s happy but not about to do something she shouldn’t.
The most awkward moment in your life happened when…
I’m bipolar. I’m honest about this and pretty self-aware. Even before I was on medication I could usually step back and ask myself if what I was about to do was rational. One summer when I was much younger I got a job away from home in [redacted] doing [redacted]. I spent almost that entire summer in one giant manic high with some minor disassociation thrown in. There was also a lot of drinking involved. What I can remember from that summer is painfully embarrassing to the point where if I ever see someone from that job I will run.
The awesomest thing in your life is…
My life. My life is pretty awesome right now as a whole.
Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.
It’s touched on a little in the sequel to Empty Nests, Bowerbirds, but James has panic attacks that he manages to hide, but not as well as he thinks he does.
Have you ever written something that made you cry?
The sequel to Empty Nests has two parts that make me cry. One is in the second chapter the other is in the last chapter. I’m not sure if the scene in chapter two will make anyone else cry, it’s certainly not the intent of the scene but for some reason I cried when I wrote it.
Have you ever co-written with someone before?
No. I do have a couple of close friends that I’ll let put ideas into my head. I’d like to co-write at some point but I don’t know if I have the personality type for it.
What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
I have phonological dyslexia so I can’t sound words out or even be sure if I’m saying them correctly, making text to speech software useless. I can know a word, use it in a sentence, but have no idea how to pronounce or spell it. It has led to some severely embarrassing moments.
Lately I have been forcing myself to use these words in my writing, no matter how disheartening the little red squiggle in Word still is.
Name your four most important food groups.
Caffeine, chocolate (dark), avocados, BCB (Burnt Crunchy Bits).
Please tell us a little about how Empty Nests came about.
Several people have recently asked me where Empty Nests came from and the honest truth is I don’t remember. I started writing it somewhere around 2010. I got a first draft finished then put it aside for a few years to work on other projects then pop out a kid. I got back to it in July of 2014 to find a giant mess that I very nearly deleted. With the length of time and everything that has happened in between whatever spark that started out this story has been long forgotten.
Are the characters based on anyone you know?
The individual characters aren’t based on anyone I know but some of their experiences are. Due to a change in my parent’s situation just before my birth my mother had to go back to work when I was six weeks old. My father ended up primary caregiver for the first few years of my life. He was the youngest of his family with no experience when it came to babies or small children. He had very little support from friends or family and this was well before the internet was a thing. A lot of stories the character of James tells about parenting come from or are inspired by my father’s experiences.
How long have you been an author? How did you start writing M/M?
Define an author? I wrote my first short story for English class in the sixth grade. It paid loving homage to Dashell Hammett’s Sam Spade stories. The first time I got paid money for writing was for a short story called Through the Dark Clouds which was part of the Dreamspinner Press 2011 Christmas anthology.
As for M/M you can blame Nicholas Lea deciding that Alex Krycek should plant one on Fox Mulder in The Red and the Black. I won’t for one second claim that fanfic I wrote at seventeen was any good but I shipped Mulder/Krycek hard.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
A planner. I have to plan. A step outline, preferably with a three act structure, is a must before I start. If I don’t the story is pretty much guaranteed to die a painful death relegated to a never touched WiP folder.
Tell us about the first thing you ever wrote.
Samantha Sage, Private Ear – The Case of the Calico Cat. I was eleven and I think the title sums it up pretty clearly. My mother swears she has a copy somewhere. I fear this. She would find it amusing to pass it around a release party or if I ever win an award.
In your mind, what is the difference between erotica and romance?
You can have romance with or without sex but you need sex for erotica. I think erotica has a reputation for being light on plot or character and is relegated as ‘porn’ but I have read erotica with far stronger story structure and character development than many proper ‘romance novels’. I think a lot comes from how you market it.
What is something about yourself that would surprise people?
I have set my own bones and conducted minor surgery on myself. You really don’t want details and I love now living in a country with free public healthcare.
Tell us what you have upcoming?
That is a difficult question. I lose a lot of momentum between projects. I currently have four works outlined with a couple of scenes written for each and I think it’ll be a matter of staring at them until I can get up the energy to give one of them a real push. The current four are an M/M BDSM story, an M/M interoffice romance, a sequel to my western Eden Springs, and a non-romance Urban Fantasy. The BDSM and interoffice romance are the most likely contenders at this point.
What is for you the perfect book hero?
I’m a fan of the unlikely or reluctant hero. The common person placed into a hero’s role full of all the doubts and worries that everyone else has. Bilbo, Talia, those characters. One of my favourite comic book heroes is Clint Barton/Hawkeye, especially in the current Matt Fraction storyline. He has no superpowers. He’s just a guy with a bow. I’m also a great fan of the sidekicks. I have a rough story sketched out about a group of sidekicks without any heroes. One day I’ll actually write it.
When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively ?
I studied script writing and have found that if I don’t have at least a solid step outline and a three act structure worked out the story dies before I can get very far. This doesn’t mean there isn’t room to change things as I go, or discover new things about the characters. My stories have a bad habit of running longer than I expect because what looks like an easy step in a bullet list turns out to be 3000 words of prose.
What inspired you to write Empty Nest?
I have no idea. I started writing Empty Nests five years ago. There were a couple of years off in the middle because I got distracted by other projects. Then my brain absolutely melted while I was pregnant, and then I just didn’t have the time or energy for the first year and a bit after. I honestly can’t remember the inception of this. I wish I could. I do know that one of the first scenes written was James ranting at a co-worker about the difficulties of parenting. I wrote it at a point when I was still swearing up, down, and sideways that I would never have kids of my own. Since then I’ve discovered that nearly everything in that scene has been accurate to my own experience.
How excited are you to see your debut novel released?
There are few things I’ve been more excited about but it’s mixed with a good dose of first novel fear. Will anyone like this? Will anyone read this?
If you could be any fantasy or fairy-tale creature what would it be?
I’d probably go with elf but a little old school, a bit kind, a bit cruel, old but looking young.
If you could be a super hero what power would you want?
Flight. Absolutely flight.
Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do.
I can light a fire by rubbing two sticks together. It takes a long time and isn’t easy. I prefer flint and steal. Or better yet a match.
If you could time travel would you visit the past or the future?
The past, especially if I could change things.
Bird or reptile?
Hard to say. On a lazy day probably reptile so I’d have a biological imperative to sit in the sun and not move. Then there are days when I want to fly.
Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry Potter all the way. I had a bit of a falling out with the HP fandom a while back but I grew up on Anne Rice vampires; blood, sex, and homoerotic undertones. Twilight vamps just feel wrong to me.
Slow and gentle or up against the wall?
Before kids, slow and gentle. After kids, sleep and maybe I’ll have a nice dream about sex.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My ambition for my writing career is to have a writing career. I want to be able to write five days a week and comfortably contribute to the household finances with the sales.
How many published books do you have? Can you tell us something about them?
Currently for sale I just have a novella called Eden Springs. It’s a school teacher/lawman western. It could have probably been a novel, and several people commented that if felt like the start of something longer, but I had never submitted anything for publication at that point and didn’t have the self-confidence to put out anything longer.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
James can truly stick with a decision and accept the consequences. At age 14 he decided to raise a kid and he has never let himself waver or regret that decision despite the cost he paid in having his own life.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m working on getting the sequel to Empty Nests up and ready for print. After that I’m not sure. There are a few projects on the books, it’ll be a matter of finding which one will grab me first.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I have so little time set aside for writing, that also has to be used for editing, publicity, and social media, that my goal is to write as much as I possibly can as fast as I can.
Someone asks you for advice about writing. What do you tell them?
Write fanfic. I know that sounds weird but hear me out. Someone, not sure who, said that you should write a million words before trying to get published. It is good advice but it’s also one hell of a word count and it can take years to get through. And if you are writing in a vacuum of just yourself and maybe a couple of friends your writing isn’t likely to improve all that much, even over a million words. It can also be hard to scrape of a million words from scratch.
Fanfic can give you a rough skeleton of an idea to work with, preexisting characters that you can take off in completely insane directions but you’ll still have a little tether to hold you in line. In the right fandom people will give you feedback, sometimes helpful, sometimes not, but it’ll get you used to people reading your work. You can learn story structure, dialog, character development, pacing, and working with an editor or beta reader if you’re smart.
It can create some bad habits, like not describing characters, everyone knows what Thor or Castiel looks like so there’s no need. It’s a dirty little secret that a lot of newer authors, especially in the M/M genre, trained up in fanfic but it’s a good way of getting through that million words.
And for the record I got through about 800,000 before getting up the guts to submit my first work for publication.
How do you feel about e-books vs print books?
As a writer I think e-books really changed the game, especially when it comes in self-publishing. Up until very recently self-publishing really just meant vanity publishing or you were rejected by everyone else because you sucked. Now, for better or worse, it can just mean you didn’t want to deal with a traditional publisher and you don’t end up with 5000 copies of an unsold book sitting in your garage. Just an ego hit when you look at your Amazon ranking.
It has of course also allowed for the rise of the independent publisher. E-books combined with print on demand have allowed for publishers like Dreamspinner press to target a small selection of the market that a larger publisher might ignore because of the overhead.
As a reader I’m not picky. I like proper print books in my hands and filling my shelves but I also live in New Zealand. Books are bloody expensive here because of the shipping costs. The selection is smaller because if the shipping costs, and even if you buy a book online the shipping costs a lot. Last time I went to the states my partner and I spent about 400$ on books which would have easily been a solid grand in NZ. Sometimes e-books are just more efficient and cost effective.
What process did you go through to get your first book published?
I wrote a book, I freaked out about it, almost deleted it, rewrote it and freaked out some more until a friend slapped me upside the head and told me to just submit it. I got lucky and it was accepted. After that it was a matter of signing the contract and getting taken through the editorial process.
How do you find or make time to write?
Daycare. Two days a week the kid is in daycare and these are my work days. I don’t have any other ‘job’. Writing is my job and I have a very short work week so I just make the best of it. If I’m lucky I can squeeze in an hour during a nap time but usually I have other stuff to do.
Name one person who you feel supported you outside of your family members?
Cooper West. She is my primary evil enabler. She kept me from deleting Empty Nests and will cheer me on no matter how absurd a goal I set. So much of what I write is completely her fault.
Tell us about a book you’re reading now.
I’m currently flipping between Tortilla Flat and Hell & High Water. I usually have several books on the go at once until this year when I realized I had over 20 started and not finished. I’m going through them two at a time. One in print and one in digital. I’m not starting any new books until I get through those twenty.
Is there a character in your books that you can’t stand? (Antagonist for example) And what makes them someone you don’t like?
I like most all of my characters. There isn’t really an antagonist except self-doubt and fear. There is one character called Simon who gets mentioned in Empty Nests but doesn’t show up until Bowerbirds. He was written to be a rich asshole but at the same time he was kinda fun to write.
Are there misconceptions people have about your genre?
It’s romance. People assume it’s all nineteen year olds locked in towers with heaving bosoms and sex in the first thirty pages. There is some of that around but I don’t think as much as people think. I’ve taken to telling people I write Relationship Novels instead of Romance Novels. No nineteen year olds falling in love at first sight. More overworked thirty year olds making awkward conversation at parties they don’t really want to be at.
Is there message in your novel that you hope readers grasp?
That being a parent is hard. Being a single parent is worse. Being poor sucks. But no matter how dedicated you are to someone or something else you need to take a moment to consider your own happiness and health.
How has your writing evolved since your first book? (If this is your first book, how do you hope it evolves?)
I hope it gets better. I hope I’m able to bring a more visual style and greater poetry to it.
One food you don’t care if you never eat it again.
Broccoli. There’s nothing wrong with it it’s just not interesting and always gets cold so fast.
My Writing Play List
I’m one of those people who has to sing along to just about any piece of music with words. I’m sure I will be a giant embarrassment to my kid in a couple of years because of this. It also means when I’m writing anything I listen to has to be strictly instrumental or opera in a language I don’t understand. I usually just keep tuned into Radio New Zealand Concert.
There are particular pieces of music I do listen to when I’m working on a specific kind of scene or need to get into a certain head space. I think of them as musical vitamin combos. There are also songs or albums I will listen to on loop before I start writing, again in order to get into a particular head space.
1. Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23 – Tchaikovsky (Played when I’m coming into a writing day low on energy. Tchaikovsky is good for this all around, except for his ballets. His ballets can fuck off.)
2. Rhapsody in Blue – George Gershwin (When I’m writing scenes with lots of little details I’ll put this on loop.)
3. Star Wars Episode IV Soundtrack – John Williams (For when I’m writing romantic scenes. No I’m not kidding but I might be a little weird.)
4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields – Howard Shore (For writing sex scenes)
5. Pacific Rim Soundtrack – Ramin Djawadi (For writing Really Epic sex scenes.)
6. Paint it Black – Rolling Stones (Five times on loop before writing Middle Aged Angst.)
7. Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette (A listen through before writing teen angst. And I am really dating myself with that one.)
8. Summertime Dream – Gordon Lightfoot (For sad/sweet and nostalgia)
9. Albums to keep up general motivation and energy on off days.
a. England Keep My Bones – Frank Turner
b. Recurring Dream – Crowded House
c. The King Is Dead – The Decemberists
d. Passenger – Lisa Hannigan
e. California Bloodlines – John Stewart
Say something to your fans.
I love you all so very much it’s hard to explain. The idea that I even have fans is in a strange one to me. I’ve been in the arts since I was a teenager but always behind the scenes. I was always the stage manager or a tech person. Stage managers don’t get fans.
That I am now creating something myself and that people like it makes me so happy. Thank you for reading my work and I hope I can keep putting out stories of quality that you all enjoy.
Coming from Dreamspinner press in late August or Early September
They headed to the practice putting area so a family of six could get a few holes ahead of them. Dylan dropped the red ball he’d picked onto the green and with hardly a pause, knocked the ball into the hole. James took the time to adjust his grip and set his feet but managed to get his in as well. Gabe took a deep breath, adjusted his grip, tried to remember what a dozen pros had attempted to teach him over the years, and proceeded to knock his ball from one side of the green to the other, passing by the cup by at least a foot.
He looked to James. “Told you I was bad at this.”
Before James could answer, a phone rang. Gabe reached for his, only to find it quiet.
“Oh!” James fished his phone from his pocket. “Hello?” He took a few steps away from the green while Gabe gave the simple practice putt another try. He only missed the cup by a half foot this time. Dylan was leaning on his club, a smirk on his face.
James finished his call and rejoined them, his brows pulled together. “Um…. Mister McFeely died.”
“Our primary mail server crashed. It’s called Mister McFeely. Apparently there was actual smoke coming from the box and no one on campus can get their e-mails. I… um….” James gestured back to the parking lot. “I laid out half the server room as it stands now, and I’ve got the admin passwords for the backup, and—”
“It’s okay. Work happens.” Gabe had never been the one to say those words to a date. It felt odd.
“I’m really sorry. This has never…. You know, you two should stay. Not waste the round. I mean, it’s your night out.”
“It’s our night out and—”
Dylan pulled his keys from his pocket and tossed them at James. “Here, take the Lemon Drop. Gabe can give me a lift back. We can bond.”
A cold thread of fear slinked up Gabe’s spine, but he still smiled. “Sure, no problem.”
James nodded, then gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you. I don’t know how long—”
“It’s fine. Go.” James hurried off. “Well, now I know how my dates feel,” Gabe mumbled once James was out of earshot. He could not even begin to guess how many dates he’d left due to work (sometimes made-up work), but it had never gone the other way.
“Don’t worry about it.” Dylan gave him a slap on the back. “It won’t happen often. Besides, this way we can chat.”