“Coming Out” as a Romance Writer

My work writing love stories has been evolving. It’s interesting to look back at how my schooling and my culture had convinced me that Romance (with a capital R) was cheap, silly and if indulged in at all, would be a private and guilty pleasure. Romance book covers should be left face down.

 

When I started writing novels about 8 years ago, I thought I was a science fiction writer and maybe a fantasy writer. Ok Ursula K LeGuin (Matriarch of SF) has called sci-fi a “literary ghetto” but I could somehow fit myself there with pride.

Romance was like a sub-ghetto.

It’s taken me years and 4 novels to wake up and realize that the love story will always be at the heart of my stories. I’m a Romance writer and it doesn’t matter if other people think this makes me a hack, or a non-literary writer. In my true heart, I know love stories are sacred. Writing stories about the grit and silk of love is compelling and moving and essential to me. I feel humbled by great Romance writers because when I read their work, I live whole chunks of lives and know that they understand on a very deep level how the human heart can be broken and mended, how it can bleed for a long time and still be able to scar up and be beautiful and full in a new way.

If romance writing is “women’s work” then like the making of homes, the raising of children, and the nursing of the sick, I need to look at it with clearer eyes and see it for what it is. An epic undertaking that I am honoured to call my Life’s Work.

A Course in Living Whole Heartedly

I just signed up for this e-course with this researcher / storyteller (ok right there doesn’t that sound like a cool person?) who has devoted her life to taking life apart and understanding how the big issues work.

I loved what she said here (in her TED Talk) about how connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and how some people are more able to connect that others. Shame, empathy, vulnerability, insecurity, authenticity, numbness, addiction and worthiness and how all of these fit together.


Anybody into this? I’d love to hear what you think of the course, this gal’s book, your own journey and all other what-nots.

Review: Clockwork Tangerine

Clockwork Tangerine
Clockwork Tangerine by Rhys Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a Steampunk M/M Romance novella, and quite frankly – there should be more of these types of stories… but I want novels people! Series-es of novels! Don’t leave me wanting so much more! (Please point me towards them if you know of more!)

I liked the post-crisis world of disastrous devices and the lives scarred by their consequences (hmm that sounds unkind – it was cool ok?) I liked the Chinese ghetto of a Steampunked San Francisco (wait St. Francisco – not sure where we are meant to be actually but I’m going to assume America-ish). I liked the spunky grandmother who loves tea and her gay grandson and wants to apprentice to the dreaded Toymaker. I liked the Toymaker himself and his hairless clockworky cyborg cat, and his terrible exploited past, and his terrible wonderful inventions (uh wanted more of ALL of these, damn novellas). I liked our dashing rich viscount patron swooping in, although felt that he was a bit remiss in tossing his new lover into a festering gang of peerage gossips and corrupted privileged rapists while he had a heart to heart with his grandmother (sheesh).

I wanted more about the technology that was hinted at, but there simply wasn’t room for it. As I’ve said, I don’t like the length / scope of this tale, but then that’s me. Novellas are hard on me. I invariably get to the last page (sneaky e-reader of mine sometimes hides that it’s coming) and shout “WHAT?!” because I hate that it’s over. I know novellas are the new black or something, but please, can we number them and string them together like beads so I can get a real fix here? Prequels and sequels please! Nuff said.

PS If there was a Clockwork Orange meaningful reference, sadly this reader missed it.

PSS The author paid me the honour of granting me an ARC for this review. In return, I poke her to write more! POKE. And hope to spread the word that she is worthy of your support. She is also working much too hard and has furry folk to feed (although not hairless I should think).

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The Diversity Rainbow – Are you a colour?

I was thinking about the Rainbow as I brushed my teeth this morning, the symbol for diversity and for the LGBT community. That’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (and sometimes there’s a Q that can’t decide if it’s Queer or Questioning which is kind of sweet of it).

 

Anyway, I have a friend who wanted to add an S on there for Straight. Or maybe an H for Het. It kind of slapped me that idea, not in a mean way, but in a Wake Up! kind of way. I had to think about that. If we truly celebrate diversity, doesn’t that mean that we also celebrate everyone – even those who are part of the largest group? Are they a colour in the rainbow?

 

And perhaps more importantly, I got to thinking as I walked the kids to school, is the idea that the rainbow is just refracted light. The light itself has no colour and all colours, let’s call it energy or spirit or chi or the Force. (Yup, I’m going to get all new-agey on your ass.) The light doesn’t mind dazzling out into any colour. I can tell you the mini rainbow disco ball that now hangs from my rear view mirror in my car, is a clear piece of evidence that light is happen zap in, flash all over the place in a million points of sparkle, spinning and swinging around in it’s own little party and making the world more amazing.

 

I imagine the souls over there in Heaven/Hades/The Great Cloud all imagining great ideals like generosity, compassion, individuality, but it’s only when you get suited up in a body over here that you really have to put your money where your mouth is, and try it out. It’s only when you put on that suit of many colours and have people laugh at you, or have to look in a mirror and try to love what you see, that you really learn about authenticity, love, forgiveness.

 

Ok that’s my theory on life, rainbows, and diversity. And why I’m glad that there’s a Gay Straight Alliance movement. Anyone who says “Kids today…” should look at that grassroots thing. Kids today rock.

Review: The Magpie Lord

The Magpie Lord
The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
Gimmee more – oh wait, the author did a free short story in between this one (book 1) and book 2 – which I am buying RIGHT NOW!

Just read the story (1.5 in the series “A Charm of Magpies”) and loved it too – “Interlude with Tattoos” can be found on Smashwords – direct link on her goodreads author page if you want a sample of what she’s like.

Love her charcters, her writing style, her plots, her world-building, her titles, her steampunk-ish magic, her british-isms, her hot scenes, her disapproving man servants, and her dire warning about book 2 “Warning: Contains m/m sex (on desks), blackmail, dark pasts, a domineering earl, a magician on the edge, vampire ghosts (possibly), and the giant rats of Sumatra.

Heee! What fun! And yet it’s not so silly and fluffy that I just romp along enjoying the view – it’s heartfelt and lovely as well. Close the door. I may squeal with glee!

I wonder if I can interview this author… Stay tuned!

M

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Book Review of Rhys Ford’s – Fish and Ghosts

Wolf and Tristan are a great pair! Wolf has a ghost buster type business and Tristan owns a ghost hotel. It’s paranormal romance, gothic horror, and M/M (male / male) Romance rolled together! Plus some quirky new agey hippy stuff that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I loved the romance! *melty* There’s definately a strong yin and yang thing going on here because Wolf is very alpha – suffer no fools, dig your heels in stubborn, opinionated and firmly wanting to keep his feet on the ground, while Tristan writes kids books about monsters, plays ball with his ghost dog and tries to settle the ghosts into their after life as best he can. He’s all alone, but he has what he feels is a spiritual calling, and damn all those pesky family members who think he’s crazy. A match made in heaven – or where ever it is those ghosts keep going!

There are always “Ford Moments” in each of her books – moments that stick with me, long after the book is done. Images, usually hot, like volcano hot, but also poignant, trusting, vulnerable, intimate moments that move me and make me like this world a little more. This book was no exception!

The paranormal / gothic elements were good too, lots of great images and details, but I like my villains a bit more gray than black-as-pitch evil (although let’s face it, most gothic horror doesn’t give me that with the exception of Sarah Monette’s so I can’t really complain.)

All in all another great Rhys Ford title that I gobbled up greedily!

Note: this title was given to this reviewer for the purposes of review and she was swamped and late with the review, despite having snarfed up the words immediately!

Lame, but my excuse is that I’m getting published too! Woop!

It’s Official! I’m getting published!

Yup, it’s finally happened!

I’ve signed a contract with Dreamspinner Press for Book 1 of my West Coast Boys series – King of Snowflakes!

It’s an M/M Romance (Male/Male) set mostly at Big White, a world famous ski resort in BC, Canada. Here’s a rough idea of what the back cover might say…

After a bad breakup with his downtown boyfriend, Skyler is in no shape to take the usual being-out-in-high-school teasing. When Ryan and his teammates take it too far, he lets them have it, never expecting a straight jock like Ryan might be moved by his freak out. Becoming friends seems downright ridiculous. Ryan, however, is much more than he seems. Behind his cocky smile is a young man floating through life, cutting ties and feeling hopeless about his own future and value. When Ryan invites him on a ski trip, Skyler discovers just how dangerous it can be to be trapped in the mountains with a lonely straight friend.

***

I’ll keep you posted on progress, but the projected release date is Aug / Sept 2014. Hard at work on Book 2 now! The series will feature epic West Coast locations and wilderness and, since written by me, some loooove and intimacy.

Thanks go out to all the great peoples who have given me their support! Writing novels can be a lonely job, but you never get it done alone.

M